1 MARCH 1930, Page 18

Letters to the Editor


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sin,—I think it was John Jorrocks who said that the best way to keep a pack of hounds together was " to kill off the slow uns, and knock the fast uns on the 'ead."

This theory is exemplified by the Protectionist Press publishing everything that they think will promulgate their cause ; and by suppressing all contradiction of the farrago of rubbish and gross misrepresentation which they daily present to their readers. They hope, thereby, to convey the impression that their assertions—they are nothing more— are unanswerable, because unanswered.

The Spectator a few weeks back stated—if I remember rightly—that the " Press " of, to-day had a higher standard of the conception of its duty to the public than at any period in its existence. This, at all events, though I forget the exact phrasing, was the trend of the eulogy.

Can the Spectator see any ethical difference between publishing a statement which is untrue ; and then suppressing the reply which disproves it, and ordinary common cheating ? What moral difference obtains between falsifying the books of your, employer, and falsifying the information purveyed to the public ?

If the Spectator sees any distinction between the two, I fear I cannot agree.

Let me give an example. The " Safeguarding duties " are declared to be an outstanding success. Are they ? Silk is mentioned as an illustration. Not only has the unfortunate consumer to pay anything up to 50 per cent. more than he need have paid, for some of the products (silk and rayon) of this industry, but he has also to bear the cost as a taxpayer of the growing unemployment in the trade, owing to this ridiculous impost. • With the decrease in imports so ardently desired by Protectionists, our entrepot (re-export) trade in the silk industry has fallen from (1924) £4,005,875 to £1,417,568 (1928). While the latest figures of the export trade of British Silk manufacturers, £814,854 (for the first six months of 1929) indicate that there is likely to be a decline from-the last Free Trade full year (1924) total of £1,898,086! Unemployment has increased from 4 per cent. to 11.2 per cent. Nor has the capital value of this sheltered industry—and at least two others—been " protected " from a disastrous shrinkage. Here are the figures :

Issues, 1928. Value in August, 1929.

Art silk companies .. £8,269,250 £3,339,583 Film companies .. 1,676,463 661,314 Gramophones 3,465,000 1,431,547

£13,410,713 £5,322,444

A drop of 60 per cent. ! !

Lord Rothermere's papers aver that the foreigner pays the tax. Does he ? I had occasion to buy a petrol lighter the other day, and tendered the price I had paid for my old one—a shilling. The shopman told me that they were 1s. 3d. now. I asked him why? He replied, "There's a duty on them—that's why the price has been raised."

Who pays the duty, the foreigner or the consumer ?

I use a certain kind of wrapping or lining paper for some work I do. For this I paid 44d. a roll. I was asked 5I-d. for it, after the paper duty was passed.

Who pays the duty, the foreigner or the consumer ?

Messrs. Woolworths' Stores hi this town had recently this placard displayed in their window : " Pistol gas lighters 6d. Duty 6d. Extra."

Who pays the duty, the foreigner or the consumer ?

What is Lord Rothermere's reply ?—I am, Sir, &c.,