31 OCTOBER 1947, Page 15


Sta,—The storm signal comes to a sadly battered ship of State, the captain of which should have as his sole care to refit and restore his crew after the long, perilous toil which won victory. Mr. Attlee, two years ago, would have shown courageous wisdom if he had decided it was not the time for ideological experiments; the call was for prudent recognition that even "hearts of oak" have a limit of endurance. Now peril is even greater. Why shape a course towards another cyclone ? The Parliament Act, 1911, was admittedly a makeshift: later there was to be a permanent measure to establish a bi-cameral legislature. That measure has not appeared. The amendment of the Act now proposed will set up a practically uni-cameral Parliament, allowing no appeal "from Phillip drunk to Phillip sober," no precaution against "the never- ending audacity of elected persons" inflicting some great change on the people without their prior consent. No democracy—not our Dominions nor the United States—has ventured on so rash an experiment.

The reason advanced is the chance of delay for one year of a further great extension of the nationalising of industries. The real reason is that such a delay might allow the people to declare against that extension. Their voice must not be heard. It might declare, in the spirit of the fox's refusal to the lion's dinner-party, that they had noticed the tracks of several industries going into the den of nationalisation, but none coming out happier animals. They might even given instances: our own coal industry ; the nationalised shipping industry of the Australian Govern- ment, abandoned because of its vast losses, and many others. In truth, experience has repeatedly proved that nationalisation from the economic point of view is an expensive luxury. From other points of view there are reasons, sometimes, for a prospering community to give it a trial until its necessary exactions on liberty as well as on the purse prove too irksome. But this Mother Country is at present "a gentlewoman in reduced circumstances."—Yours faithfully, FRANK Fox. Savage Cissb, S.W.r.