15 JUNE 1929, Page 1

Mr. Thomas as Lord Privy Seal is to work at

the problem of unemployment, and the Dominions and Colonial Office which he administered before will be under Mr. Sidney Webb, who will, presumably, be created a Peer. This is an unexpected appointment, and it remains to be seen whether Mr. Webb can develop the sentiment which counts for so much in all our Imperial questions. The Empire overseas is not to be satisfied with a mercantilist policy, even when favourable to them. The harm (as we think) that Mr. Amery has tried to do in that direction has always been mitigated by his admirable sentiment. Perhaps _Mr. Webb has the same sentiment or sensibility, but so far he and Mrs. Webb have hidden it under a dry and dusty layer of statistics, of minute and valuable research into unsentimental subjects. A _ bold and :interesting: appointment is that of .Captain _Wedgwood Benn to the .India Office. We have particularly admired .

. him as a -.Liberal Free Trader and. as a very - gallant fighter at sea and in the air. We cannot help believing that he has as much natural individualism as his elder brother, but, lacking the patience that voluntary progress demands, fell into the delusion that people can be made happy and good by socialistic compulsion. He held minor office under Mr. Asquith and won the popularity of the whole House of Commons. Indian affairs are likely to be of immense difficulty and import- ance. We confess to no regrets that Lord Olivier has not been reappointed to control them. Lord Birkenhead's wayward brilliance gave us no confidence there, and though Captain Benn's experience in that sphere is less than we should like, we have no doubt of his ability, energy and high-mindedness, and we wish him well. • * * *