12 JUNE 1920, Page 14


[To Ts EDITOR or THE " SPECTATOR.") Sin,—Your leader with the heading " Ration the Departments " (Spectator, June 5th) is both timely-and to the point. Nothing strikes the ordinary man in the financial policy of the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer more than the fact that so little is said of economy. Accustomed to five years of bureaucratic oppression, a kind of resigned apathy and helplessness has seised the busi- ness man. He sees the Land Values Department kept in being, though its work has gone; he sees huge Labour Exchanges, which no one wants, paying an army of officials; he is asked to spend three millions to provide scarlet tunics for the soldiers. Like the Russian peasant he shrugs his shoulders and says " Nitchem," or, like the placid Turk, resigns himself to the will of Allah. Through it all, however, there is an under- current of suspicion (rightly or wrongly) that some Government departments are merely trying to save their skins at the cost of the community. He rather suspects that the proposed War Wealth tax has for its object, not only the reduction of debt, but the provision of work for officials whose usefulness has disappeared. I was told the other day that a certain M.P. replied as follows to an inquiry why he did not press for the dismissal of useless officials :—" How can I ? I should be inundated with letters from my constituents whose sons have Government positions, begging me to plead for their retention."