SO the old war horse (at Stalin banteringly called Winston Churchill in the days when the Great Alliance was to last for ever) is to have another chance to show his mettle. But the battlefield and the type of weapons in use have
changed since the 'forties.
Then, he inspired and united a nation in the face of danger. That same ability is needed today, hut the task this time is if anything more difficult. With a background of bombings and battles, people hardly needed convincing of the existence of danger—it was all too real.
Now the danger, military without, economic within, is there again. but is not so obvious and there are still plenty who have yet to be convinced of its existence at all. Nowhere is that more true than in the vital industries upon which both defence and economic recovery depend.
I: is undoubtedly the fact that the
existence of a Labour Government at Westminster did help to minimise the class-war in the fac tories. Loyal trade unionists saw it as their Government in particular and so quite logically the majority felt that to strike or otherwise to impede production was to hit at their own side.
But if the next six months, during which the wage claims of some six million workers will be pushed forward against a background of inflation, are to he free of widespread industrial unrest. Churchill will have to command a national loyalty equal at least to that narrower one which Labour was able to use.
IN the making of converts the human contact plays the greatest part That would seem to be the lesson drawn from some interesting figures compiled by the Legion of Mary's Leeds Enquiry Centre for Non-Catholics.
It is, be it noted, a body which makes converts on a scale which makes it possible to produce statiss tics of some value — in fact there have been a hundred people come into the Church as the result of its course; in the last couple of years.
Those attending classes were asked to fill in a questionnaire when the course ended. The second such set of completed questionnaires has now been digested. Both show that it was personal contact with Catholics which first made them interested in the Faith, in the one case 44 per cent., in the other 74.4 per cent. " Books" were responsible for 8 per cent. of those who attended the first course and 2.2 per cent. the others. In answer to thc question " What aspect of Catholicism impressed you most favourably?" 18 per cent. answered " the Mass" and a similar number " apparent sincerity of Catholics."
Typical of our time was the answer: "Permissibility of killing in war." which 4 per cent. gave to the question: " Mention anything you found impossible to accept." Both questionnaires reveal that the overwhelming majority of those who answered found the most helpful session in the series the demonstration Mass and talk on the Mass.
1-1 was good to find the other day a thoroughly enlightened. in
deed one might say fundamentally Catholic view, of the employer's
responsibilities to his workpeople expounded in a brochure produced by a great industrial
The firm concerned is Newton. Chambers and Co.. Ltd.. of Thorneliffe, who manufacture anything from enormous gas-holders and excavators to household disinfectant.
Their brochure Thorncliffe quotes Sir Harold West, the managing director, as saying in a magazine article ' What is the first. final and permanent object of industry? What is its grand design? It is the object of all life to perpetuate itself. What is the purpose of industry? To continue in being, to maintain economic employment, to provide life and living for the greatest possible number, to feed and strengthen communities of people." When I read that I turned back (as I so often do) to Professor Alfred O'Rahilly's little book Social Principles for a passage I recalled, where he is applying the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas to modern industry. This is what he says: " . . . the object of a hoot-factory is not just to produce hoots, it is not even altogether to distribute boots; it must also allocate incomes, it must distribute purchasing power. We can therefore say of modern specialised production taken as a whole that its end or object is the allocation of incomes to individuals (or rather to families). to enable them to utilise goods and services for human life." That, when first I read it in 1948, seemed to me to be revolutionary and, 1'11 confess, somewhat removed from the hard realities of the industrial world. To find that a similar approach motivates one of this country's most enlightened and successful enterprises is therefore all the more pleasant today.
* * HERE'S a significant job for keen people : A few weeks
ago I mentioned in this column a " meet your friends day," which was being organised in Camden l'own by the Legion of Mary's
Our Lady Queen of Africa branch, which is doing a grand job among African students quartered in London.
There was. I mentioned, also to be a concert " at which the Overseas personnel will entertain and, we hope, agreeably surprise the natives of Britain."
I now learn that the most agreeable surprise of all was that over one hundred such Overseas students turned up. When they talked of future lines of work it was decided to organise a day for discussion—but, no enthusiasm was shown for sporting events and little for socials. This is particularly interesting because in the past those who have worked among colonial students have usually thought almost exclusively along the latter lines.
A discussion day is now being organised for November 11, at the Maria Assumpta Training College in Kensington. Subjects will include a talk by a Nigerian student, "Impressions of an African Catholic in London," and another by a West Indian. " Some Aspects of the Colour Bar."
Now for the job for keen typo. The president tells me that because of the success of their work (the branch is now in touch with over 500 Overseas students) members are " finding it heavy going." New members are urgently needed to share the load. 1 can think of no more re. warding and worth while work than this.