5 MARCH 1932, Page 15


:[To the Editor of the SrEcTivron.] years ago the speech of no Empire politician was complete without reference to the need for migration. To- day the Press seems to leave the subject alone, and the Dominions Secretary declared a little while since that there were more migrants coming back to Great Britain than leaving it. Recently two letters have appeared in the Spectator on the subject or proposed mass-migrations and on the factors necessary to their success. Reading them, I have been struck with the lamentable ignorance of the writers. The conclusion seems hardly escapable that migration is one of Great Britain's " subjects—a sort of safety- valve for all the gaseous nonsense that collects hi the minds of people who would be public-spirited, but do not quite know how : A happy hunting ground for cranks, ignoramuses and Dismal Jinunies. Usually these people finish on a wailing note about the quality of the migrants—their lack of enter- prise, adaptability, endurance or virility, especially as against Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, or South Africans. It is a sort of stock grumble. Migrants used to leave Great Britain accompanied by the pious doubt as to whether they would turn out to be " the right type," and a doubt also as to whether Great Britain was quite in order in sending people to the Dominions whose rightness and type were in doubt. The part played by the migrant, if he played properly, was to disappear into the blue and not be heard of again. If any trickled back, the proper assumption was that they were not the right type. Anything else was unthinkable. As one of these "migrants-out-into-the-blue," I have had during the last nine years much greater opportunity than is usual of knowing intimately the outlook and mentality of migration authorities besides the public views (or lack of them) upon the subject. I can say that, generally, there is no -lack of virility, enter- prise, pluck, or endurance amongst migrants—but rather the reverse. On the other hand, I find an extraordinary lack of enterprise, virility and even of common sense amongst those officials or others who busy themselves in finding reasons for others to migrate. The whole subject of migration is indeed a jungle of warped sentimentalities, mock patriotism, pre- judice, cant, false glamour, stupidity, patronage and humbug. That is where the pioneering will have to be done—and done in England. That mental jungle will have to be cut down or grubbed out before a clearing can be made wherein a few sound ideas may be sown. The Spectator's influence could work wonders in connexion with migration—in clearing the