20 DECEMBER 1957, Page 18


Sm,—What a remarkable mind Mr. Curran has! in his article 'The Politics of Envy' he analyses with some shrewdness the social climate of envy and jealousy and discontent. Much of what he says is true; there is this sense of envy and of the severely restricted mental vision which goes with it. But the essence of Mr. Curran's article is that this is a new phenomenon and to prove it he says at the end of the article, 'The unsolved problem for the Con- servative Party is how to re-establish in Britain the envy-free climate of a free society.'

When did this envy-free climate exist other than in the nostalgic reminiscings of Conservative minds? Does Mr. Curran regard the prewar years, those years between the two great wars, as envy-free? Does he regard the Conservative Party with ifs innate capacity

for trifling and fiddling and footling away the valuable hours as likely to usher in a splendid new age? Does he think that the manipulation of the economy, the financial juggling, could re-establish anything other than a parody of true community life?

The problem for Britain is the establishment, the creation—not the re-establishment, the re-creation-- of a truly free society. I suggest this will come only when the roots are bared, when the rewards for good work, for good citizenship or even for industrial efficiency are not simply 'money without place'—the cheap, condescending sop of the Conservative Party —but recognition and respect, and the deep sense of usefulness which these things can give. Together with the freedom to move in any society these things could bring about the social prosperity which this country has never known, irrespective of the prevailing material prosperity. It is unlikely, probably extremely unlikely, that such social content will come about under either Conservative or Socialist governments. Smugness and hypocrisy and a concern for material things, an un- yielding impersonality of the 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' type perhaps, but hardly anything else.—Yours faith-