21 AUGUST 1936, Page 18


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Spt,--I am a life-long Fabian and was 'a Liberal-Socialist M.P. for nearly twenty years, and agree with Mi. Rowses aims, but I admit to some distress at his diacOnic methods both in his article and in his treatment of your cormapondents.. Does one ever call an adult stupid when one has normal control ofone's own mind ? Surely stupidity is a misfortune and not a vice and should be treated with a kindlY rationalisni and not with irrational fervour. How is our materialistic middle class to be persuaded to give Socialist views thoughtful consideration if their early attempts to do so are treated 'se harshly ?

Mr. Rowse's article was a clear, emphatic and wonderfully condensed statement of the educated Socialist's view -of " What we should fight for." But 'surely he exaggerated when he said that nobody in the Labour movement would be prepared to fight in a war conducted by our present Government " for whatever purposes." Might not the question of sanctions arise again, greater enthusiasm and unanimity be, obtained from League members, and con- ceivably a war undertaken to support. them ? Are we to suppose that M such circumstances the Labour Party would stultify its League views and refuse support on the ground that the Government was " incompetent " and " could not be trusted," Sre., &c.

Mr. Rowse's last paragraph deals with this point, but only to beg the question and interlard it with extraneous matters. Mr. Rowse knows as well as I do that the last Labour' Govern- ment had its share of crocks and incompet.exits; and that .

we have not too bright a. prospect for the next. one: I write this mild protest because I fancy most people think our present Government is incompetent and are now wondering if more competent and sounder men are miailahle. HI am right it seems better to be looking for minds to influence than for heads to hit.—Yours faithfully;