24 APRIL 1915, Page 14


[To Two Emma or row uSrxer.eroo.*1

Sax.—While fully recognizing the advantage of doing away with excessive drinking at all times, and the absolute necessity of doing so now, when it is said to be interfering with the supply of arms and ammunition so urgently required by our troops, I still fail to see the advisability of adopting the draistic measures proposed by the Spectator and some other

journals, when it seems to me that milder expedienta will meet the case without disorganizing the trade of the country.

We might, for example, (1) increase the duty on spirit.; (2) stop the sale of inferior and unwholesome brands;

(3) encourage the production of light ales of the "bust-fast" type, by reducing the duty on those, say, of 1042° S.G., and increasing it on those over 1056° S.G. When the country is spending millions of pounds a day on the war, it cannot afford to go in for the gigantic financial experiment of buying up the liquor trade interests of the count'', and closing down the manufacture of alcoholic drinks. Those who recommend such a course cannot realize that it would mean little short of a financial calamity to stop this industry suddenly. The £40,000,000 which the Excise brings in yearly would only be part of the loss to the revenue, as there would also be a heavy falling off in Income Tax from the owners and employees of breweries, distilleries, and the allied trades. And when we speak of allied trades we must remember that these are so intimately toothed in with the other trades of the country that practically all, with the exception of undertakers, would be seriously and prejudicially affected by the sudden closing down of the liquor trade, which, I think is now generally allowed, has not been the cause of so much trouble as was first reported. Cockroaches are objectionable insects, but we do not employ steam-hammers to kill them.

While on the subject of the delay in the supply of arms and munitions of war, I should like to point out that individuals who scream the loudest about the delay drink is causing in the delivery of war supplies appear to be quite oblivious to the fact that the Trade Unions have dune as much, if not more, in this line than drink has; or, if they do recognize it, why do they not demand the closing of the men's Unions daring war time as they demand the closing of the breweries and din. tilleries P Surely "what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander." No unnecessary delay in the provision of arms and munitions of war must be tolerated for one second, but do let us keep our heads and banish hysteris.—I am,