Page 4, 25th January 1946

25th January 1946
Page 4
Page 4, 25th January 1946 — QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

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People: Henry Slesser


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MI The Editor Stormy Weather _

WE said last week that the launching of the good ship U.N.O. was fairly successfully effected, This week we have to report the great storm it has encountered almost before ii was under weigh Unfortunately, in our view, Persia decided to

bring her case against Russia before the Security Council under Article 34 Persia, it is true, cannot be blamed, for in these days nations themselves can bc transmuted in a night by the alchemy of propaganda and inuigue and wake up to find themselves a part of Russia. None the less the Persian initiative was bound to extinguish. the rather dim hopes that Russia might let U.N.O. have a fair trial.

Article 35 FROM Moscow the counter-challenge came, and under Article 35 which allows any member ot the United Nations to bring any trouble either before the Council or the Assembly, the U.S.S.R. under two of its impersonations raised the questions of Indonesia and of Greece Article 15. it is clear. is going to prove very awkward since it enables any Power to cause trouble between any two other reountiies and then virtuously to raise the matter before U.N.O in its own time and at its own convenience this is what is happening in the case of Greece. Russia, with the authority it possesses over Communists all °ye, the world, can unofficially exert greater influence over independent countries than lies within the power of those who act openly, as we are doing both in Greece and 1 ndonesia Politics and Morals NTOTHING is more likely to bring

U.N.O. on to the rocks at once than the failure of the leading statesmen to understand that practical politics are infinitely more complex than aeythum that can be categorised into a 'writhe!

of articles So fat as the tette' are concerned the same article can cover cases that bear nothing but the merest formal resemblance to one another Already the danger appears of Mr &yin making the same generous gestures and taking the same academic stands as Britain did in regard to the

League The makers of U.N.O saw the dative and that is why it admitted dependence On the Great Powers makes it more practical than the League BLII even now there may be too prompi and too strong a pull the other way

Politics are not the same as morals, and those who wisb to see real progress towards a oolitioil world in which morals will more heavily count must realise this truth and act in accordance with it The experience of 1919 to 1939 proves the calamitous consequences of pretending that political problems can always he settled by invoking abstract moral principles This, as we have had so many occasions to repeat, is a fallen world. and if we do not want it to fall about our necks once and for all we shall not pretend that it can be worked by a handful of academic humanist principles

The Christian Pattern TT HIS view may sound scandalous to some especially when it .comes from a Catholic source. But It is wholly in the Christian tradition Christianity is riot an ethic nor a legal treatise in which men are reduced to counters to be moved according to an invariable rule, however worthy Christianity is it struggle wherein real men of flesh and blood strive in weakness and ignorance to rise to a God of love who has called them to a supernatural life with Himself As such it is a perpetual dynamism, a constant movement. with every possihle variation of value. each soul and each case always being unique The goal always stands before us. but just because it is so stupendeus and we are so weak, it Is not to be expected that we can just walk into it The point is to keep our eyes an it and to keep on trying according to our best judgment of the conditions In which we are. The world, on the other hand, oscillates between pure utilitarianism or Machiavellianism and a kind of flat, inhuman legalism

The Christian pattern. which sets a much greater store on the right of persons to worship God or in aiding the starving than on ensuring political independence for the benefit of professional politicians would, in fact, prove to be a much safer guide to successful ool i tics .

Scarcity and Plenty PARLIAMENT meets again to tace the hard problems of how the nation is to earn its living Unfortunately that question is gel, being obscured by the prevalent expectation that this can be done by some politica: conjuring trick through which hard and intelligently directed work will be

avoided It is ironical that before the war, in an era for Britain at least of plenty. the pundits expounded an economy of scarcity. theremy causing unnecessary poverty and terrible unemployment And now to-day. when conditions have completely changed because of the destruction effected bs the war and the consumption of all out invisible resources, the politicians. il not the pundits, are maintaining scarcity by advocating an economy of Plenty

The basic truth is that we can only obtain plenty now by producing more and consuming less And when. at length. bitter experience drives this truth home. there will not be many tears shed for those who gain popularity and power to-day by telling people otherwise Crown Rights and Nationalisation S1R Henry Slesser. in a Sunday Times article, brings to light an important legal aspect of nationalisation. The gist of his argument is put in the following words: " As matters stand. unless special legislation is introduced affecting each nationalisation measure, as the mines, the railways or whatever else may be collectivised and fall under the domination of the State, to that extent the subject will be deprived of legal remedy if he is in any way damaged by the action of a servant of the Crown acting in any capacity." This arises from the fact that, as the Lew stands to-day. the subject cannot sue the Crown or its servants as such. Sir Henry Slesser concludes thus: " it is not too much to say that if collectivism proceeds at its present pace, unless something is done, the legal rights of the subject will diminish to such an

extern that. in the end, the copetituclonal privileges of the people will become almost valueless—and that, it is feared, without their recognising what has happened." fie urges the acceptance of the Crown Proceedings Bill drawn up at the suggestion of Lord Hewett but never presented to Parliament. The need for it, in face of the nationalisation measures passed or in contemplation, is urgent But apart from the situation created by this legislation, it is a fatal defect in our constitution that the authority of the Law as transcending both ruler and ruled has no legal recognition. It is just this transcendent authority which is the ultimate safeguard • against tyranny—whether of an individual sovereign or of a Government.

Belgian Elections THE iesues in the coming Belgian elections towel this country much more closely than may appear at lust sight. The monarchy, whose fate will be substantially decided. is to-day the symbol in Belgium of Western and traditional ideas, and in Belgium, especially, relations with Britain ate bound up with the supporters of Leopold who look to this country in a way their opponents do not. We cannot get away on the Continent from the truth that the leftward direction is the Moscow direction, whereas the rights ward direction is towards London. The presence of a Labour Government here only strengthens the ride. for it means that many moderates and genuine social reformers feel the safer in looking Right.

None the less the Belgian Government in timing this snap election has shown political skill. At the cost of endangering Belgian finances through a policy of over-importation, it has led a strong economic recovery, and many Belgians will be swayed by this record, though they may have to pay for it later. On the other hand the SocialChristians are still unprepared and lacking leaders. It is possible that the .parties will emerge much the same as now, a verdict which will be tantamount to the rejection of the King.

The Questionnaire HE Royal Commission on Population is responsible for the questionnaire now being set to one-tenth of the women who arc or have been married.

Facts in this case are less important (statistics are bewilderingly plentiful) than a deeper understanding of the moral problem involved. The most favourable view of the present phase is that civilised man is passing out of the stage when parentage was the result of an unregulated instinct. This

brought it bow a reaction which

availed itself of the knowledge whereby it was possible mechanically to control the number of births. That the motive for this control and the method adopted for attaining its object were wrong does not justify the former heedless and irresponsible way in which children were begotten. Criticism of birth-control has been too negative. To bring into the world human beings dowered with a divine heritage, as animals are brought into the world. is obviously inconsistent with a Christine sense of parental responsibility. What we must aim at, therefore, is not a return to the previous state of affairs, but the development of an intelligent and moral control of the marvellous power with which men and women have been entrusted CarOiff Tries To Try the Pope " (.;11114.11-0 the Pope he tried -us a " War Criminal?" Such was the title of a proposed debate for the Cardiff University College Union, whose members had previously invited the Archbishop of Cardiff to lecture to them. After hearing of the proposal the Archbishop very naturally cancelled his acceptance. Later the title of the debate was changed to the more sensible one, " That this House deplores the Vatican State policy." a subject, by the Way, on which a couple of good Catholic speakers could wipe the floor with any opposition, even Laski or the Western Mail. But the truly extraordinary thing about the whole business is the evidence it furnishes of the readiness of people in this country to view the Pope and the Church in a totally different light from any other religion or religious figure. Perhaps at bottom this is a compliment. At any rate the Pope seems real to them. whereas the others are more like stage figures to be addressed in conventional style only.

The Other Side of the Picture wE recommend Nuremberg and After, an anonymous pamphlet. published and printed by the Montgomeryshire Printing Co., Newton.

Mont., Wales Basing itself strictly on the details oh the Nuremberg indictment, the writer sets out the charges that can be made against the Soviet Union We reeommend it, not because we wish to attack the Soviet Union, but because we believe that no lasting good to the world can come from so selective an indictment as the one being made in Nuremberg If all political crimes cannot be tried fairly. then the criminal aspect of them is best overlooked and the remedies sought through political ways The only sound alternative is trials by national. according to national laws. The Germans are the right people to try their cruel leaders

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