By MARIAN CURD
Peace-time conscription, dried eggs versus American films, Priestridden Catholics, and other widely differing subjects were discussed at a Brains Trust held by the Civil Service Catholic Guild in London. Mr. W. Teeling, M.P., was in the chair and expertly gave the usual kind of verbal prods to the speakers—Dr. Letitia Fairfield, Mr. Cunningham, of the Ministry of Supply and Mr. Consterd ine.
On peace-time conscription, everyone agreed that it was most definitely
not wanted for industry. For the Armed Forces both Dr. Fairfield and Mr. Cunningham wanted oonscription for men in older to be able to maintain and back our national position. To the surprise of some in the audience, they also wanted the conscription of women; they thought it would he a good thing in giving them a wider range of outlook and skills. It was a great pity that the mutterings and murmurings of the people around me couldn't be used to turn the Brains Trust into a debate—open to all I Mr. Consterdine pointed out the snag of studies interrupted by the National Serice period.
EGGS ? FILMS ? WHISKY ?
Plenty of amusement came from the question, "Is the Brains Trust in favour of importing dried egg in preference to American elms and petrol, and, in any case, is the export of our whisky too high a price to pay?"
Mr. Tceling favoured the whisky. Dr. Fairfield said: let the U.S. have the whisky and give us the eggs—and some films, too. She voiced everyone's opinion in hoping that there would be a full statement on the egg question in the House, and an explanation of the financial difficulties— if they were the cause of their disappearance.
From dried eggs they turned to COM. inUniStS.. " If the peace of the world is to be secured, can a Conintrigist State he tolerated any more than a Nazi or Fascist otw 1' Dr. Fairfield put the answer in a nutshell ; " Up to the present the Nazis and Fascists have been the greatest danger; the question of whether the Communist States Can be tolerate(' rests on thern.selves and their hehavionr."
"Ate Catholics priest-ridden?" Not in this country—cxeept perhaps as Cunningham pointed out — the few who have no minds of their own and have to go for authoritative answers for every question.
The increase of the control of the Civil Smvice over the life of the corninursity—the question whether this should be viewed with disfavour or not seemed to the Brains Trust as a whole to depend on whether the Civil Servants remained " servants" of the
public or otherwise. Here some of the "servants " of the Labour Exchanges got their usual run-down, but were championed by Dr. Fairfield.
The question as to whether a National Catholic Organisation would be a good ehing or not was discussed and the maiority were against. Dr. Fairfield thought that too much time and energy would be needed and there would be the danger of over-officialdom and lack of room for initiative. Mr. Cunningham thought that a political organisation would be bad, but that one formed from the existing organisations should be able to give a unified Catholic outlook.