Mrs. Williams' real ambition
MRS. SHIRLEY. WIL LIAMS, who came seventh in the voting of the Parliamentary Labour Party for membership of the Shadow Cabinet. was appointed Shadow Minister of Education and Science by Mr. Wilson last week.
However, she says she "doesn't take at all seriously" the recent Observer article tipping her to score the double first of being Britain's first woman and first Catholic Prime Minister.
But, she says: "I would like to try my hand at a real job in the Cabinet. I would like to see how my ideas work out in practice.
"I would very much have liked to be able to do something about sorting out the future of higher education; but my wider preoccupations are especially how to eradicate the rump of poverty and underprivilege in our society. It's not just a matter of shifting money. Attitudes must change, particularly in the areas of housing and social security.
"And then we must try to achieve on a world scale the massive redistribution of privilege that has gone on in this country since the nineteenth century," Mrs. Williams, daughter of the feminist Vera Brittain and the professor Sir George Catlin, was irritated by the Observer's misreporting her remark that she didn't think anyone had seen a child in the Department of Education and Scidce before she had taken her small daughter there.
Flourishing at school
THE Daily Telegraph review of the new book Paying for Private Schools (published by Allen Lane, the Penguin Press) was headlined "Fewer
Public School Pupils As Fees Rise By 200 per cent." In fact, the book states that in the last 25 years "public schools have flourished while the other types of independent school have declined."
Between 1962 and 1970 the number of pupils at Catholic public schools (members of the Headmasters' Conference) rose from 3,177 to 3,741. This does not take into account Worth and Prior Park, which joined the Headmasters' Conference this year.
Whether this rise in pupils can he taken as a sure sign that the schools are flourishing is another matter. They have held their share of the market all right, but then there is a lot more money around. Have they the same inner confidence that they used to have? Just what kind of future have they?
The elaborate structures of statistics that people set SO much store by these days tend to be misleading at the best of times; but when you try to answer the really important questions they are more often than not simply irrelevent.
Putting his boots away
CHAIR BOUND executives under continual pressure with their lives continually interrupted by the telephone are getting more and more exercise conscious these days. Sometimes, how
ever, the cure can be worse than the complaint.
Take Fr. Paul Byrne, O.M.I. 37-year-old director of the Shelter (Family) Housing Aid Centre (SHAG). Longing to get some fresh air down his lungs and some really strenuous exercise, he donned his rugby hoots without any training for the last game of the season. The result? Two cracked ribs.
They have healed now and Fr. Paul has wistfully shelved his rugger ambitions as the demands of his job do not allow him time to train to get properly fit for the game. Presumably it was his athletic frame that earned him his fearsome nickname of "muscles."
He was prefect of discipline at the Belcamp secondary school run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate just outside Dublin when he earned this s o u briquet. Notwithstanding the job and the nickname, he was popular with his pupils.
Fr. Paul's other gift is the ability to he the life and soul of the party on nothing stronger than orange juice. Like his predecessor in the Catholic Housing Aid Society, Bishop Eamonn Casey, he is a Pioneer and an inveterate singer. It would appear to be a safer way of unwinding than rugby.
She knows the plans
ONE of the ecumenical side effects of the vast shake-up
of London government five years ago, was the setting of the Greater London Churches Consultative Group in 1965.
This body, financed by the major denominations on a proportional basis, exists largely to help the churches thread their way through the tangled undergrowth of planning regulations and decisions.
In charge of feeding back this information to the churches is the executive secretary. Miss Barbara Wollaston, who has spent much of her career as a fulltime Anglican parish worker. She began work as a librarian in Surbiton on leaving school, but then took a degree in sociology at the London School of Economics.
She was subsequently involved in parish work in Surbiton, Clapham and Woolwich where she helped in the liaison and planning between various churches involved in the new town of Thamesmead. She was appointed to the G.L.C. post in 1968.
Effects of CS gas
ON the afternoon that a couple of CS gas grenades were lobbed on to the floor of the House of Commons chamber, I happened to be talking to Francis McDonagh, editor of Sheed and Ward, about a book they are publishing in September called "The Battle of Bogside."
One of the main conclusions of the author, Russell Stetler, is that the effects of CS gas on a civilian population. naturally including old people, sick people and children. have been under-estimated or ignored by the authorities.
The Himsworth Committee blandly assumed that only "compromised persons" would not seek treatment at local hospitals for the effects of CS gas. Stetler shows how this assumption fails totally to take into account the way people feel about things in Derry, and epitomises the failure of the "law and order" mentality to come to grips with the real problems.
Warning to magazine
THE first blossoming of the Jesuits' new-look Month magazine, which now in corporates Herder Correspondence. did not raise any production problems, says its editor. Fr. Peter Hebblethwaite, S.]. Its format has changed to the old Herder size and it has a circulation of nearly 9,000.
The July issue contains an ave atque vale piece from the former editor of Herder Correspondence, Robert Nowell, who wishes the new editor well but suggests that if he follows determinedly in the traditions of Herder Correspondence there might well be another McCabe affair (Fr. McCabe was dismissed from the editorship of New Black friars in 1967 after writing an editorial saying the Church was corrupt).
Forward in retreat
ONE of the leading ex
portents of the community-orientated retreat arrives this week to conduct a ten day retreat for over 60 Jesuits at Campion House, Osterley.
He is Fr. Riccardo Lombardi, S.J., better known as the founder of the Movement for a Better World in 1952. The movement, with 250 full time helpers and thousands of part timers, under Fr. Lombardi's leadership seeks new ways of building a better and more truly Christian world in families, parishes, dioceses and civic communities.