18 JANUARY 1957, Page 19


SIR,—We are often warned that in a democracy, in which universal suffrage obtains, statesmen are ultimately replaced by politicians because vote- catching becomes the prior object.

Judging by recent events this process has already gone a long way towards fulfilment, and there is one aspect which, I suggest, is of historical interest.

In my younger days it was very unusual to hear derisive or rude adjectives attached to the names of the political leaders. However strongly a Conserva- tive felt about the policy being followed by Asquith, Grey, Morley, Haldane; or a Liberal felt about the policy of Balfour and Chamberlain, they did not attach opprobrious adjectives to their names. They may have hated them, but they still respected them. The adjectives I have recently heard attached to the name of the leader of the Opposition would never have been attached to men of the stature of Asquith and Grey by their bitterest opponents.

It is quite evident that this respect has vanished and it bodes ill for the future that the electorate habitually refers to the political leaders in derisive terms.—Yours faithfully.

Road Farm, Churl