25 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 3

Overworked Ministers When Lord Cecil, in his Sidney Ball lecture

at Oxford last week on "The Machinery of Government," was lamenting that modern Ministers are overworked till they lose the power of decision, some of his historically minded hearers- must have wondered whether Mr. MacDonald land Sir John Simon would envy their predecessors Burleigh, while following Elizabeth from country house to country house, could, almost single-handed, control home and foreign affairs ; Castlereagh, with one assistant. and no shorthand typist, could represent England in the Peace Congresses before and after Waterloo. These were incredible feats that rival anything in modern politics. Yet there was substance in Lord Cecil's plea for a better organization of the Cabinet, so that the Prime Minister and his chief colleagues should have time to think and plan instead of being overburdened by petty details. Lord Cecil would have four Committees of Cabinet instead of two, and an Assistant Foreign Secretary to attend all the League meetings that are not of the first. importance. He would also excuse the Prime Minister from regular attendance in the House. But, in the last resort, much depends on the temperament and physique of a Minister. Some men, in polities as in any other walk of life, can take lightly the labours and responsibilities that worry other men into their graves.