14 JUNE 1963, Page 9

A Spectator's Notebook

' e know no spectacle so ridiculous as the W

British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.' It is almost certain that Macaulay's famous dictum will be proved right again in the next few weeks. The British public has, been given, rather I think to its not very secret delight, a series of glances into low conduct in high places. The Duchess of Argyll was good enough or bad enough for most connoisseurs of scandal and now we have got a Secretary of State for War Involved with a `model' of an extremely generous temperament and, what is thought to be very much worse, lying about it to the House of Commons. It is on the second charge that Mr. Profumo is most vigorously condemned. And What he did was very wrong and—what some people think worse—very foolish. But unless we take 'truth' in an extremely literal sense, it is not the first time that the House of Commons has been deliberately misled. Was any attempt made to tell the whole truth in the Jameson Raid affair? Was the whole truth told at the beginning of the Marconi aliair? I have every sYmpathy with Conservative MPs who have enough worry about getting re-elected without unforeseen catastrophes like this. And if they take their bad temper out on Mr. Profumo, this Is very human and forgivable. But I hope there Won't be too much of general moralising.