10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 16


SIR,—It is not on personal grounds that I resent the suggestion of Mr. C. M. Woodhouse that "few of us could emerge unscathed from the Attorney-General's scrutiny of at least some parts of our own lives in the last three years," but I question his facts. Many people undoubtedly traffic in clothing coupons, wangle extra petrol and so on—but surely not most people. Is not the " enjoyment and horror " with which we read of the Inquiry akin to the enjoyment and horror with which we read a fantasy in the Arabian Nights?

What proportion of us must plead guilty to Mr. Woodhouse's charge is difficult to assess exactly without an enquiry on a nation-wide scale. But there can surely be no doubt that if such statements as Mr. Wood- house's have any effect it will be a wholly bad one. The more often the innocent (a majority, as I hold) read that " everybody does it," the more they will be tempted to do it themselves. Smugness has its social uses! I am not pleading that we should shut our eyes to admitted facts, but simply that we should not assume facts without adequate evidence and then make mischievous statements about them.—I am, Sir, your obedient