15 MARCH 1963, Page 5

Living Together

Ttioucti Mr. Fenner Brockway, MP, recently I introduced his anti-discrimination Bill to the Commons for the ninth time, his measure seems no more likely to win popular support than before. As Government speakers in both Houses have continually stressed that only 'education in the widest sense of the word' can excise the social wart of racial prejudice, anti-discrimina- tion laws will be no part of our law. But this is defensible only if there are attempts to educate informed opinion and if that education does have noticeable effect. Here the record of the Govern- ment is far from good: though urging educa- tion for years, its first positive action was to set UP the Commonwealth Immigrants Advisory Council. last summer, a body which as yet has hardly been able to do more than amass infor- mation. A few leaflets have been sent out to schools. Otherwise, it has shied away from Practical support for proposals designed to im- prove inter-racial harmony in this country. In particular, a scheme for short courses for teachers on the sociological problems of racial, integration, promoted by Lord Walston and the Royal Commonwealth Society, received a re- markably curt Whitehall brush-off. The reasons advanced by the Government for refusing any form of financial assistance were on the lightweight side. For it is no argument against granting assistance that because it is official policy for teachers on government courses to Pay their own travel expenses, the Ministry can contribute nothing. Such a vital social prob- lent deserves greater governmental interest. It is astonishing that no scheme for teacher ex- change exists with the West Indies or Asia—yet a scheme is in force for exchanges with Canada, Australia and Southern Rhodesia. It is time Whitehall realised that 'education in its widest sense' is not meant to be a polite euphemism for doing nothing. Time is not on • our side: by l9 70 the many immigrant children now at pri- mary school may well provide an impossible employment problem, if public opinion is not genuinely 'educated' now.