18 OCTOBER 1963, Page 15


Slit,—Mr. Utley's article is headed 'Answering Utopia' but it is the author who is being utopian in not understanding the necessity in modern conditions for another dose of democratic socialism if we are 'to liberate energy and to keep private avarice and ambition within the limits of elementary social justice.' We shall never do this unless, for example, we exert more control over the development of urban land so as to provide living conditions which are at least endurable and, if possible, physically graceful. In the last twelve years or so those who have been given the 'private opportunity' of property develop- ment have rarely exercised it with any sense of 'personal duty' to society. Si monuntentunt requiris, circumspice.

But your editorial criticism of the Labour Conference makes a fair point. Socialists put more trust in politics than others and are therefore more prone .to the political vices. The major speeches at Scarborough did not contain a proper balance be- tween means and ends. There was no reference to the Delos Declaration which called for an urgent concen- tration of intellectual resources to clarify and solve the many problems created by the rapid growth of the modern city and the increasing tensions of urban life. If these continue, we shall become not battery hens, which Mr. Butler suggests that the Socialists want, but birds of the Alfred Hitchcock type— aggressive, like New York street gangs, and