8 NOVEMBER 1913, Page 14


[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—Mr. Lloyd George's speech at Swindon is one more example of the growing tendency of the present Government to belittle the local authorities and to arrogate to a Government Department or Commission administrative work which rightly belongs to the authorities in the different localities. I would only recall the action of former Radical Governments in getting rid of vestrydom and in establishing parish, district, and county councils, elected on a wide popular basis (including women householders). But now that these bodies are established the Government mistrust them, simply because they are not, I presume, constituted to their liking. At the Swindon meeting the speaker treated as a joke the very idea of the properly elected local authorities carrying out new duties. But by what right should the Government put them aside ? If the councils carry out their duties in a manner displeasing to their constituents, the latter have only to express their disapproval at the poll. But failing this, the Government have no right to put this slight on the different

local authorities.—I am, Sir, &c., I. E. SHAW. Greenwich.