27 OCTOBER 1950, Page 1


The causes for Sir Stafford Cripps' resignation are fully understood and universally deplored. In the last year he has shown unmistakable signs of overstrain and no one can be surprised that a period of rest has become imperative. The appointment of Mr. Gaitskell as his successor was adventurous but welcome. For one thing it ensures continuity in policy as no other appointment would, and at the same time the new Chancellor has shown himself possessed of sufficient person- ality to make it certain that continuity will not mean slavish imitation. The weight of the burden Mr. Gaitskell has to carry must, in fairness to him, be fully recognised. Entering the Cabinet for the first time, he will have to face far-reaching demands for defence expenditure and the need for compen- sating but unwelcome economies, which Ministers hitherto senior to him will strenuously resist. And the menacing problem of wage-rates, inflation and the rise in the cost of living will inevitably prove more rather than less acute between now and the next. Budget—which, if a General Election should intervene, Mr. Gaitskell may not introduce. If he is wise the new Chancellor will take more trouble than his predecessor did to conciliate opposition. To treat profits as something little less than criminal, and the taxation of private enterprise as the application of an inspired principle is to aggravate controversy when the public interest requires that it be reduced to a minimum. Let Mr. Gaitskell by all meads begin by going straight forward on the path so far trodden at the Treasury. But let him not hesitate on occasion to deviate from it as his own wisdom dictates.