18 OCTOBER 1940, Page 24

What's All This ? By Robert Blatchford. (Roudedge. 75. 6d.)

MR. BIATC.HFORD will be ninety next year, but the introduction to this anthology of his own writings displays all the optimism and the literary skill that two generations of readers have admired since Merrie England made him famous. He repudiates Mr. Tillett's suggestion that the Labour movement in which they were pioneers has failed ; he reminds his old friend that we have " a happier, cleaner, saner England " than the England of 189o. Mr. Blatchford, as this book shows us, has never been a Socialist in the Marxian sense, but rather a social reformer who has drawn attention to the specific evils of poverty and mal- administration and sought to get them removed. His command of simple and direct English and his humour made the Clarion a political force while it lasted, and it is pleasant to fmd some typical Clarion articles reprinted here. The author's versatility is illustrated in the sketches of army life, travel pieces, short stories and literary papers which make up an entertaining volume. The final article on the Englishman's love of England is a good message for these war days.