24 OCTOBER 1952, Page 1


HE present Government completes its first year of office this week. On the whole it can claim to have justified itself. It inherited difficulties some of which were inevitable, but some gratuitous. Financial prob- lems had to be grappled with vigorously, and they have been. The present financial situation is very far from reassuring, but it is immensely better than it was a year ago, when the country was quite definitely on the verge of bankruptcy. Part of the improvement is due to a turn for the better in the terms of trade, part of it to the stern measures Mr. Butler has imposed. But the difference between expansion of exports all round and contraction of imports all round is fundamental. The latter expedient is a barren-,businels. In other fields the Government has done well. At the Foreign Office Mr. Eden is showing himself so completely indispensable that a change of 9overnment would be something to regard with the gravest apprehension on that ground alone. Mr. Macmillan has ttimulated house-building remarkably, and at the Ministry of Food Major Lloyd-George need not, to put it mildly, fear com- parison with his Labour predecessor. And the value to their party and the country of Ministers like Lord Salisbury and Lord Alexander, to say nothing of the Prime Minister himself, on whose mental and physical vigour age seems incapable of making any impression, is far greater than attached to their opposite numbers in the Labour Government. Sir Walter Monckton has succeeded quite beyond expectations at the Ministry of Labour, but in that post no man can be called happy till he is (officially) dead. Altogether there is no case at present for a, change of- rulers. The coming by-elections, particularly at High Wycombe, will cast some light on the country's views on that. But the Government's • majority, though narrow, is enough to withstand one or two reverses.