19 NOVEMBER 1954, Page 6

Pundits Feasting I attended last night a sort of regimental

reunion of the BBC, Brains Trust. The dinner, at which Lord Winster presided was held in the House of Lords, and when it was over those present were invited to say, briefly, what in their opinion the British were best at. Mr. Gilbert Harding thought it wa fighting. Somebody else suggested hypocrisy, to which Si -Harold Nicolson riposted that hypocrisy implied a desire to deceive others and that our talent lay in deceiving ourselves. Lord Dunsany thought that it was not modern poetry, and supported this view with a quotation from Mt', T. S. Eliot. Several speakers laid direct or indirect stress o4 our disarming capacity for amateurishness. This pervasive, national characteristic was perhaps responsible for the fact that the sea was only mentioned once and the Empire not at all.