13 APRIL 1956, Page 17

AN ARRESTED BUREAUCRACY SIR,—I am most grateful to Dr. Johnson,

MP, for having summed up so concisely the reasons for the continued monopoly of the State- managed pubs in Carlisle. The only reason which the Conservative Administration can advance is that they have been there for a long time and this has created local vested interests which arc most difficult to shift. This league is at present circulating a petition and if we can obtain enough signatures it is

to be hoped that our bureaucratic monopolists will be shifted from their 'rock face' as Dr. Johnson puts it. Whilst we do not wish them to hurtle down into the abyss, we would like to sec other energetic climbers also climbing the face, and maybe showing the bureaucrats the way up.

I would like to pass one other comment on this very peculiar set-up and that is the Un- fortunate fact that the legislation which created this State monopoly also placed it to all intents and purposes beyond the control of the local licensing bench. Applications for new licences and complaints against the existing licences arc exclusively the concern of the Secretary of State, who thus incorporates in one person the functions of brewer, publican and magistrate—quite apart from the fact that he is also the head of the police force. This seems to us to be a most undesirable set-up and one that should not Ile tolerated in our allegedly highly developed and democratic society.—Yours faithfully, J. M. L. NORTH Chairman

Carlisle and District Licensing Reform League