PARLIAMENT AND PLANNING SIR,—In spite of an almost hourly increasing
literature on matters related to economic planning and its manifold aspects, comparatively little attention has been paid so far to the essential point how to adjust a system of economic planning to the principles of the parliamentary system proper. The impending conference of the Liberal party is there- fore of a special significance, as for the first time one of the non- socialist parties will have to decide on this vital issue.
There can hardly be any doubt that the way to progressive economic reconstruction must run parallel with the endeavour to establish economic self-government. The task to build up such a system of economic self-government under the authority of Parliament and along the approved traditions of British political self-government is certainly not an easy one. This the less so as it would have to be a true cross-section of the nation's economic structure, managed—or administered—by people with common sense and practical experience from all walks of economic life. In pre-Hitler Germany it took about ten years of passionate arguing until an agreement could be arrived at between the German Reichstag and the German Economic Council on the final shape of the latter and satisfactory to both. Owing to Hitler the Weimar Constitution could not endorse this agreement, nor came the Economic Council in its final shape ever into operation. But the German experiment seems to prove that—at least on principle—the parliamentary system does not exclude a working synthesis between political and economic self-government with statutory competencies determined and controlled by Parliament.—Yours