Chalfont St. Peter " Anarchists"
My fellow-citizens of Chalfont St. Peter will be sorry to hear that our home town may not be mentioned in jest on the B.B.C. So tells me Gunk Potter, who feels rather sore about the quantity and quality of the B.B.C. censorship. It appears that now no real place-names may be named in jokes However, he got round the Chalfont St. Peter matter neatly by changing the name to Beacons Bottom, a village in the Chilterns of which the censor had never heard Another cut imposed on him was the word " anarchists." " Would not ' gangsters do better?" he was asked. ." Just at present we don't want to offend our Russian Allies.' Whether the Russian communists would have been complimented 1 cannot say.
The Italian Way
LUNCHLUNCHING last week in Fleet Street with ING Italian friend, I felt rather proud of the ample wartime fare. and rather unkindly asked ; " I wonder how much they're getting in Italy to-day?" But my friend gave an unexpected reply. " I daresay they are doing even better." And he reminded me of the fact that it is not the habit of Italians to obey State regulations with the precision of Anglo-Saxons. " You can be pretty cer tain," he said, that most Italians have got very nice stores of food hidden away. I remember in the last war when oil was said to have been short that every house in my village had ample reserves stored away, and nothing would have induced the people to disclose these to the authorities."
Atlantic Charter Omission
AFTER arguing about the morals of this, the conversation turned to Italy and the peace. My friend talked in ltilien and I in English and occasionally we tried to understand each other better by my bursting into bad Italian and he into bad English. The gist of it was that neither Britain nor America realised how deeply the Italians felt about colonial expansion in order to absorb their rapidly increasing population. " That," said he, " is the real basis of the Fascist success," and his view was all the more impressive in that he has been from the first a consistent opponent of Fascism And he made an excellent point: " There could only have been one thing in the Atlantic Charter which would have impressed the Italians, and that would have been the lines of a policy about post-war emigration. But not a word was said about it."
IN reference to the Abyssinian War which he opposed, he explained how he visited some twenty Italian Bishops to get their views. Ile had to admit that they all supported the national policy He reminded them of the moral arguments against the war, and they admitted their force. But they answered him by putting forward another moral argument, the argument of distributive justice that the Italians had the right to live and that since every avenue of emigration was closed. war was the only alternative. lie did himself accept this answer, but he thought that the problem of Italian emigration and economic expansion must be squarely faced if we hoped successfully to nurse a non-Fascist regime in Italy after the war
So Old and yet so New
HAVE you heard the story of the nouveau riche who was buying a property In the country? He was taken round the garden by the agent, and when they came to a sundial the purchaser asked what it was. The way in which a sundial tells the time was explained to him. " What will they think of next?" he exclaimed.
The Girl and the Play
ITOOK a little girl of ten to her first play last week. (It was a dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice excellently rendered by the Amersham players.) Luckily she has only been allowed to go to the cinema three or four times in her life. But it was amazing to see how infinitely more vivid and real to her was a play than any make-believe cinema. I doubt it she will ever want to go to a cinema again, but the demand for a visit to Amersham tivill be insistent. I mention this to show that the country theatre, even to-day, gives much better entertainment value to the natural unspoilt human being. I wish every town had its repertory theatre at popular prices.
Ways of Rationing
THE Government now appears to be letting us have a number of cigarettes. It probably pays it best to prevent us having the matches needed to smoke them.
\Iv INC-Commander R. Grant-Ferris, one of our younger and more ener,getic Catholic Members of Parliament, speaks with pride of the increasing efficiency of the R.A.F. at Malta. In the early days of the war, he was one of those airmen to add lustre to the story of the Battle of Britain. He took to flying some years ago as a member of the noted No. 605 (County of War wick) Bomber Squadron, Auxiliary Force, which won a number of trophies in the realm of volunteer flying. Most of this flying was undertaken by members during week-ends. Grant-Ferris was educated at Douai, and later studied estate agency. He was called to the Bar and in the same year entered Parliament for North St. Pancras. His mother, Mrs. Ferris, of Kings Norton, identifies herself with the Catholic life in Birmingham. Some years ago she purchased Harvington Hall and presented it to the Archdiocese.
84 and 82 T CANNOT refrain from publishing the I following charmitig letter, though marriages and even diamond weddings are not normally announced in editorial columns: " 1 write these few lines to let you know It is my father's and mother's diamond wedding on November 19, 1941. My father has taken you paper since it began. They were married at Old St Ann's Cathedral, Leeds, and their ages are 84 and 82. Their names William and Mary McManus It would be a great pleasure to them if they saw the announcement in your paper."
Sheets, Blankets or Forks?
MRS. GIVEN WILSON took mo over the house that is to be the club for the women of the Forces. It seems to be ideally suited for the purpose, with an excellent dining-roam, lounge, rest room, bathrooms —one with a luxuriant shower, excellent kitchens and even an ironing room where the girls will be able to do their own laundering. This is not the best time to set out to equip a club and Mrs. Given Wilson is sending out an urgent appeal for blankets (almost prohibitive to buy), sheets, knives, forks and anything else that a well-furnished house needs. Current periodicals (not ye ancient back numbers) arc also asked for. The committee mean the club to he everything that the modern girl would like if she had the choice of a club of her own.
"Above all, we need voluntary helpers," she said, " We know quite well that everyone is busy now, yet we feel sure that Catholic women will sombhow find the time to make this club the pleasant homely place we desire, and to serve the girls who are giving up so much to serve their country." If you can spare either goods or time. please write to her at C.W.L., 39, Eccleston Square, S.W.I, or call there any morning between 11 and 1 p.m.
The National Religion
I WONDER what is at the back of Hannen Swaffcr's mind when, he quotes, apparently with relish, the sentence of " a famous wit yesterday ": — " Worship of Winston is now the national religion; and the Church was ill enough before then." Substitute Adolf for Winston, and Rosenberg might have been the wit. But perhaps it would not then have sounded quite so funny to Hannen.
The System is Wrong
IN the same column Hannen Swaffer very • wisely pleads for a reprieve of a recent young murderer of 18, and speaks of his lifelong objection to the barbarism and fatuity of capita, punishment." " System," he says rightly, " is so often the cause of crime." Now I wonder why he, a convinced humanitarian socialist of the old school, who could scarcely approve of the international political and economic system, finds it so easy to be barbaric and fatuous and punishing in his references to an international criminal of whom — to quote his words in reference to the murderer—" it is reasonable to assume that the unhealthy excitement in which the boy lived had a morbid effect upon his mind."
IN reference to the forty-six Irish airmen • who have won fifty-six war-honours between them, a correspondent sends the lotlowing tribute from Edmund Spenser: " I have heard some great warriors any that in all the Services, which they have seen abroad in foreign countries, they never saw a man more comely than the Irishman, nor one that comcth on more bravely in his charge."
Culture and War
r-INE of the unfortunate results of the hate campaign against our enemies is that we become unable to.learn from them even when they have a good dea, to teach us. I read recently that Dr. Goebbels was considering reproducing in Europe some of our interminable dance music concerts in order to give an object-lesson of the spiritual and cultural quality of the civilisation which we hope to save for Europe. In the account it was pointed out that while our music seemed to he largely limited to this stuff, even in war-time Germany about sixty opera houses vfere going strong. That gave me a nasty jar. 1 also read in Mgr Jackman's Holy Roodlers (what a name I) that Hitler has banished astrology from Germany. Which is the most culturally backward of the great nations of the world? A nice subject for a discussion group. = recommend it.