14 MARCH 1958, Page 6

A Spectator's Notebook

LOYALTY to his colleagues is one of the Prime Minister's virtues; but it is one he should indulge more mod- erately, or it may end by making him look foolish. When asked in the Commons on Wednesday whether he would review the Government's public relations he replied that 'the whole system has been very much improved and is working very much better than ever before.' It may be working better in the sense that files are being circulated faster, and 'Pending' trays cleared more expedi- tiously; but if Mr. Macmillan can find one single Conservative supporter in the country who would support his contention that it is giving results— that people have a clearer idea of what the Government is doing, and why—I should be very surprised. For all I know, Dr. Charlie Hill may have proved a capable organiser, but there has been nothing to show for his efforts; and Lord Hailsham's spirited expressions of his own incon- sequential opinions are a poor substitute for reasoned explanations of Government policy. How many people, for example, have any idea of the nature of the obstacles on the way to the Summit? Mr. Macmillan's own excuses, sincere though they undoubtedly are, sound like those of a dowager in depressed circumstances who has been invited to the manor. She is very anxious, she says, to meet the new owners; but they really ought to leave cards first.