12 SEPTEMBER 1924, Page 13


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—It is ill work criticizing critics, but the importance to our civilization of the problem of rural reconstruction must serve as my excuse. I therefore ask permission to deal with certain grave misunderstandings that appear in a recent issue of the Spectator in an interesting review of my recent book on the rebuilding of rural England. I have suggested in this book that a definite share of profits that would arise from the organization of distribution of produce should be allocated to the development of the life of the village com- munity. This strikes me as a reasonable proposal, based on an old idea and to some extent adopted in co-operative movements. Your reviewer interprets this, if I understand him, as a proposal which will throw this cost on the landlords. I see no excuse for this interpretation. Next to take the question of the organization of markets. I propose that distribution of produce should be entrusted to a national

organization of co-operative form, which I explain in some detail. Your reviewer calls this " pure bureaucracy " ; appar- ently he does not understand what " co-operation " means ! Thus in two points of real importance in dealing with rural reconstruction these proposals are caricatured.

The writer of the article further assumes that even most " extreme Communists " would not accept views such as mine. He fails to realize that the line of policy set out in this book has been in the past and is now being discussed

in town and country at meetings, Conferences and big com- mittees and in the Press, and is admittedly popular (in many of its features) amongst farmers and other country people. Moreover, many of its details have wide support in the United States and Australia, whilst the general line of policy recom- mended has with some of the specific proposals been recently officially adopted by the Independent Labour Party.

Your reviewer may regard me as a " fanatic " and state that I am armed with " frail experience," whatever that may mean, but even if the view and statement were true and not merely the gift of a too vivid imagination, we come back to the fundamental question. It is this : Is what is put forward by the modern school, whose views I have endeavoured to set out without prejudice in my writings, true or untrue ? The consideration of this question is made more difficult if writers in so important a paper as the Spectator misinterpret the proposals.—I am, Sir, &c.,


Jordans Hostel, Beaconsfield, Bucks.