29 JANUARY 1960, Page 11


SIR.—I do not retract a word of the appreciation of the virtues of the 'oligarchy' at County Hall which I included in a critical letter you published a year ago,. On the contrary, the equally critical report which Mr. Levin generously quoted in your last issue refers also to the LCC's fine patronage of the arts, to the vital role played by Sir Isaac Hayward and his col- leagues in the saving of the Sadler's Wells Opera, and to the decision to reserve the finest site in London for the National Theatre and to hold it for ten years against all-comers. The report adds: 'The LCC has done and is still doing really wonder- ful work. I admire very greatly, not only the past record but also the present devotion of many good comrades with whom 1 take the liberty of respectful but firm disagreement. If the LCC had been governed by Tories for the past twenty-five years every citizen of London would be the poorer. Fewer people would be housed and they would be worse housed; children would be less well educated in poorer schools; at every point the level of urban life in the capital would be lowered. The LCC has begun to set a pattern for the future. With many slips and hampered all along the line by the Tory Government and by the very nature of the acquisitive society in which we live, the LCC is fumbling towards the idea that it is the duty of a city to make itself beautiful; to make itself a pleasant place for its people to live in and an attractive place for the world to visit.'

But a party which has been in power for many years, without the stimulus of a quality opposition, tends to become rigid, especially if the leadership is unchanged over a long period. I am concerned to expose what is bad, only so as to remove some of the impediments to still greater good.—Yours faithfully, HUGH JENKINS