13 DECEMBER 1963, Page 13


Lord Mancroft has decided not to rejoin the Norwich Union board. He is quite right and he alone emerges with any dignity from this wretched affair. The Norwich Union have proved that weakness is bad business. Whatever happens now they are bound to lose. It is strange that the situation has arisen precisely be- cause of the absence of a cool judgment on political and international affairs. And presum- ably it was to supply this that Lord Mancroft became a director. The Norwich Union can't have listened to him. Perhaps they didn't ask him. The Arab States concerned have badly mis- judged the temper of the people of this country. Their Information Centre has said that the in- dignation has been 'fanned by a small but vociferous group of individuals hostile to the Arabs and everything Arab.' This is not true. Deep anger is felt by those who are proud to call themselves friends of the Arab world. Most, per- haps all, economic boycotts are futile. The same

people who protest against what the Arab States have done are those who also call for boycotts on goods to South Africa because we detest aspects of 'their internal policies, and for the ex- tension of trade to the Sino-Soviet block even though we detest aspects of theirs. We are told that it is intolerable that the Arab States should dictate to us how we should trade with another State. Exactly. But isn't that what the United Nations is trying to do?