14 NOVEMBER 1931, Page 28


In spite, however, of some of these world problems, both political and financial, depending for their solution not upon our own Government's policy, but upon the question of international co-operation, there is, I think, every reason to face the future with more hopeful hearts than has been possible for some time past. It was, of course, too much to expect that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald would wish to emphasize the many points of difference between the position on last Monday and that of a twelvemonth ago. It seems necessary, however, to refer to one or two of these points of difference not by way of recrimination, but by way of clear recognition so that we may not miss our way once again in the coming months. A year ago, as. head of the. Labour Government, it was Mr. MacDonald's task to make light of the ills from which the country was then suffering, or, at any rate, to make light of them so far as the Government's responsibility was concerned. But when last Monday he emphasized the supreme importance of economy in the National Expenditure and a balanced Budget, he was really admitting and recognizing one of the principal causes of the prolonged depression. For it is in the present Government's pledge of Economy, including an immediate check to any abuses of the Dole, that we find the chief explanation of the fact that, in spite of our having temporarily abandoned the gold standard, confidence in the country has been very largely restored ; and the oft- repeated assurances given by the Prime Minister during his speech at the Guildhall that we have now a National Government and not a Government committed to a consideration of any class interests also explain a good deal of the better feeling existing at the present time and also the impairment of confidence which resulted from the last Socialist administration.