SCOTTISH UNIVERSITIES' BY-ELECTION [To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sia,—Some
of your readers here were surprised to find Janus so ill-informed about the above by-election. From his comment in The Spectator of January 14th, one would certainly gather that there were only two candidates—Sir John Anderson (nominated by the Unionists) and Sir P. Chalmers Mitchell (nominated by a Labour group), whereas in actual fact there are four, and possibly five.
The two Janus omitted are Professor Dewai Gibb (National- ist) and Dr. Frances Melville (Independent) ; the possible fifth is Sir William Whyte (Independent); • -
In view of Janus's laudatory remarks about Sir John Ander- son, may I suggest that it is usually held to be desirable that a candidate should have intimate and up-to-date knowledge of his constituency ? Personally I believe • this to be a wise test. It is therefore unfortunate that Sir John Anderson has been working out of Scodand- for over thirty years; and has, so it is now revealed, accepted directorships of an English bank and (of all things) an armament firm. - These facts will not exactly commend his candidature to Scottish graduates however much the Government may want him in at West- minster.- It has quite properly been suggested in The Scotsman that the Government might gain their wish by elevating him to the Lords.
Sir P. Chalmers Mitchell is no more familiar with modern conditions in Scotland and her Universities than Sir John Anderson.
On the other hand, Professor Dewar Gibb has an up-to-date and familiar knowledge of bdth the Universities and Scotland'; while Dr. Frances Melville as retired Principal of Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, has had equally intimate contact with Scottish Universities, though her qualifications to represent wider Scottish interests are certainly not as strong as Professor Gibb's.—I am, yours faithfully,
49 George Square, Edinburgh 8. ANDREW ROBERTSON.
[Janus writes : I was fully informed of the facts regarding the four candidatures at the Scottish Universities' by-election. I see no reason why, if I wrote, for example, about the qualities of one or even two candidates for the Presidency of the United States, anyone should gather that these were the only two candidates in the field.]