15 NOVEMBER 1935, Page 17


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sta,—The Government's education offer is much like Sir 0. Mosley's Fascism (see Janus)—" Jam tomorrow." Instead of a generous education (including vocational training and the actual placing of our youth into the most fitting employ- ments) up to (say) 18, the Government give with one hand, only to take away with the other—a really clever conjuring trick.

This election " sop to Cerberus " will raise the school-age to 15—an absurd, as well as dangerous, age ; and then only (1) in some future unspecified—it may be years yet ; (2) if a job is not meanwhile found, or offered—" beneficial employment " (that blessed phrase I) has hitherto always included any old blind-alley job ; (3) without any "mainten- ance " allowed to the many parents too poor to keep their boy or girl on at school after 14 (why, indeed, doit't they eat cake ?) ; (4) without any organised plan to make this mean addendum a part of a generous secondary education ; (5) for the first time in history, a new and vicious principle is intro- duced— as Lady Simon has pointed out —never before now demanded by any responsible body of opinion (only by the inner, unspoken, Tory consciousness of what is " fitting for the poor " : I see, I think, the hand of Lord Eustace Percy in this generous scheme), viz., that the poor child of 14 may be " exempted " to help in the hothe ! But ought not a poor over-worked mother to be helped by extending the social services (less a few warships), and not at the expense of the poor girl WhOse last year at school will never comeback ?

What with cheap labour-pressure (neither France nor Germany would allow it)—that crime against' young English souls—and grim home-pressure, few bonnie bairns over 14 will benefit from this delusive Tory " sop."

The offer is an insult to a great people : intended, it seems, to make us dream that we have really " higher education." Tories never want higher education (for the millions) ; but it isn't said : millions of pounds for beetroot and bombs, never for brains (though brawn seems more cared for, if on the cheap).

Yet bread—and knowledge, education, reason (the voice of God) and, judgement—are the raw materials of wisdom, and of every great nation, as well as the foundation of our future civilisation. As your (unsigned) article "The New Education Programme " rather' glosses over any serious criticism, I hope you will do the poor children, at least (I don't matter), the justice to print this so that your readers may do more for the common good, which (I assume) is what we are set on earth for.—Yours sincerely,