ITALY AND OURSELVES [To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—Does
not Mr: J. B. Jones entirely misconceive the relations between the English Press and that of Italy ? Nobody would deny that England has its gutter Press, and that much that appears therein is, on the score of good manners, indefen- sible. But what of Italy ? Their journals are admittedly State-controlled and State-inspired—in not a few instances notably scurrilous articles (e.g., the famous " whisky and potatoes "- utterance) have been attributed without contra- diction to Signor Mussolini himself. Our leading papers, like The Times, the Daily Telegraph, and, let me add, yourself, and among religious papers, The Guardian, are invariably courteous and restrained, however severe their judgements may be or appear to be. When the Italian Press, and the egregious Signor Gayda, stoop to scurrility, it is of set purpose and under State impulse, and, therefore, we cannot be blamed if we resent it. What would Italy say if it could be hinted that our English papers took their politics from daily instructions by Mr. Chamberlain ?
Nor can I see that there is any ground of complaint against the attitude of the English Press towards the unashamed brigandage of Italy's action in Abyssinia or that of Japan in China. Their theory is that "They should take who have the power, And they should keep who can ; '
and ours is precisely the opposite. We cannot permit any muzzling of our newspapers though we may be, and many of us are, heartily ashamed of the offensive methods of some of our gutter Press. The point is that such opinions should be expressed with regard to the courtesies of debate, which is precisely what the Italian papers do not, and what our best representative papers do. And wherein the "gross provocation " lies in the columns of The Times, the Daily Telegraph, yourself, and The Guardian, I really cannot see. In such a matter we should not be judged by the gutter Press, and of this, I do not doubt, . Signor Gayda and his chief, and, I should have thought, your correspondent, must be perfectly well aware.— Yours, &c., H. P. KENNEDY SKIPTON. S. Philip's Parsonage, Reigate.