Spanish Journey. By Halliday Sutherland. (Hollis & Carter, 15s.).
Reviewed by MICHAEL DE LA BEDOYERE
HALLIDAY Sutherland was in Spain for three months in 1946, the guest of the Government. Be accepted this arrangement on condition he could go where he liked and talk to whom he would. Previous residence in Spain enabled him to understand Spanish. The Spanish Government, in fact, put a car at his disposal to enable him to cover as much of the country as he wished during his stay.
There is no need to introduce or dwell upon the writing qualities of the author of The Arches of the Years. and many will enjoy this book for no better reason (nor is there a better one) than that Halliday Sutherland is the author.
To myself, however, the chief interest is other. I was M Spain for a much shorter period during the present year, but in somewhat similar conditions. Halliday Sutherland is a doctor and sociologist, and it is interesting to me that he paid attention tov aspects of contemary Spain which re
hardly saw, whereas there is little or nothing in this book about the running of State or Church, or the relations between them, subjects which 1 studied. Instead, Mr.
Sutherland concentrated on hospitals and prisons and, as any intelligent doctor must, on the material fate of the ordinary people, especially the children in almost every quarter of Spain. Paetieularly valuable is the contrast be constantly draws between the actual conditions in Spain and those obtaining in Britain, e.g., is medicine, in prison adminstration and the impact of the law on the individ
ual. Halliday Sutherland does not pretend that everything is perfect in Spain, but neither is it in England. In particular, he has a good deal to say about the harmful effect of Press censorship and the differences, for good and ill, of the contrasting legal traditions of both countries-strict in principle in Spain, but relaxed in application. broad in principle here,
but severely applied. Nor does he hide the evil and the evil effects of the ubiquitous Black Market.
But the book, apart from its entertainment value, is a sound and documented demonstration of the truth that on the level of ordinary living for the people Spain to-day
is has improved since 1946 is a country comparing favourably with any other in Europe. That being 50, it is the worst form of doctrinairism to condemn the regime because it would not suit the Anglo-Saxon temperament. As for the wild and malicious charges still directed against the country from the Left, these are beneath contempt and in the eyes of any fair observer they condemn no one but their authors.