Page 11, 27th May 1938

27th May 1938
Page 11
Page 11, 27th May 1938 — OWNERSHIP FOR ALL

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From a Correspondent


The Liberal Party is now pledged to a distributist social policy following very closely the same principles on the ownership and distribution of property laid down in the Papal encyclical Quadragesimo Anna.

The " Ownership for All" report of the Liberal committee of inquiry has been adopted by the Assembly of the Liberal Party organisation which. was attended by thousands of delegates at Bath on Thursday and Friday lasts

The resolution, which was carried unanimously amidst great enthusiasm,

" views with indignation the present conditions of society under which the control of property is concentrated in the hands of a few, while the vast majority possess little or nothing that can be called their own," regards such a systenz as " morally indefensible, economically objectionable and politically perilous," holds property to be " a guarantee of security and independence, and considers its widespread distribution essential to the preservation of our civil and political liberties, now threatened from both the Right and the Left."

Tribute to G. K. C.

In moving the resolution approving the report Mr. Elliott Dodds, the chairman of the committee of inquiry, paid a striking tribute to the inspiration of " that great Liberal Mr. G. K. Chesterton," and quoted from the " Ballad of the White Horse" King Alfred's words before the battle of Ethandune:— " People, if you have any prayers, Say prayers for me: And lay me tinder a Christian stone In that lost land I thought my own, To wait till the holy horn is blown, And all poor men are free."

Mr. Dodds declared that in adopting this policy they embarked upon a tremendous battle against the forces and interests making for " planned scarcity" and they did so in order, as Mr. Eric Gill had said, " to abolish the proletariat and make everybody owners."

In a striking passage Mr. Dodds went on to assert the task to be something more than a political or economic battle, it was a religious crusade.

"Democracy for which we are fighting has no sure ground save in the Christian conviction that man is not a ' thing '—an accident in the cosmos—but a child of

God and an immortal soul. It is no mere coincidence that the totalitarian regimes, both Communist and Nazi, are anti-Christian, for both deny this conviction and degrade man to an instrument, not an end."

Enthusiasm for " The Small Man" There was no mistaking the sincerity and enthusiasm of the conference as firstly Mr. A. S. Comyns Carr, the famous KG, dealt with the evils of unfair rating upon small producers, then Mr. Harcourt Johnstone (a man of Chestertonian physique) rose to speak on the subject of the "Small Man," and Mr. Ronald Walker, an industrialist of sturdy northern independence, attacked monopoly.

The resolution on Foreign Affairs condemns efforts to divide the nations into ideological camps, but also condemns the Rome agreement in its present form for its implied recognition of the annexation of Abyssinia and the breaches of the nonintervention agreements in Spain. The discussion on this resolution was noteworthy for a magnificent denunciation by Sir Charles Hobhouse of the violation of Austria. " The citizens of that Empire whom he had addressed freely a year ago, Were now, some M prison, some dead, some, it is pretended, are suicides, but all are in chains."

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