5 MAY 1923, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sta,—I entirely agree with the very able article on this subject in the current number of the Spectator, except that in my opinion there is a very high degree of probability, amounting almost to a certainty, that the failure of Con- servatism means the accession of the Socialist Party to power. I am sure that we shall be wise to work upon this assumption. And I think, too, that if we can secure two terms of office for Conservatives the British People will have advanced so far in breadth of view, in reverence for the past, in appreci- ation of the Constitution and of the Obligations of Empire, that, no matter what Party is in power, British traditions will be respected and observed.

I submit, therefore, that we ought to encourage all those elements in the nation and in the national character which make for stability, tranquillity and strength ; that we should make men feel that what they earn and save they will con- tinue to possess ; that we should not allow them to be " worried " by the tax-collector (I refer to the zeal which outruns discretion and rakes in the pence of efficiency while dropping the pounds of policy), and that we should deliberately study to encourage the temper that works and saves in place of that which loafs and wastes.

Take, for example, old-age pensions. The man who is careful and thrifty and saves a little money derives no advan- tage from it under our present system because, when he reaches the pensionable age, his little savings are taken into account. That is the way to encourage idleness, thriftlessness and vice. Everyone should get his pension free, his full pension, without deduction or inquiry. Then, if a poor man can manage to save a little, his savings and his pension together will make his old age comfortable, and if he can manage, in addition, to put in a few hours' work a week it will add a little to his income and a great deal to his happiness. This suggestion indicates the way in which, as I venture to submit, the Conservative Party should deal with the British People. But I would go further. We have been, and we hope to be again, a wealthy nation. All classes contri- buted and will contribute to that wealth, and no class or group of classes should monopolize it. And I think it should be the deliberate and concerted effort of our Party in Parlia- ment, and out of it, to dedicate to public use as many of the good things of life as possible, not in the way that degrades and emasculates but in that which invigorates and inspires. There is such a way if we can find it and will follow it. It may help us if we remember that good citizens are silent but numerous, while the bad are noisy but few.—! am, Sir, &c.,