20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 19


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

SIR,—The sting of your article " Another Short Cut," pouring its Victorian vial of mild vitriol upon Sir Oswald Mosley • and his co-signatories, resides chiefly in the sentence that if our small island " cannot thrive on its export trade, it is difficult to see how it can thrive at all."

That is the position of you Free Traders. We Protectionists believe we can thrive on our home markets. All the remedy you can suggest (as Mr: Strachey so well puts it) is " to send Our'statesmen bleating round Europe with everything to ask for, and nothing to offer." We, on the contrary, have a constructive policy. Protection, you say, is in flat contra- diction' to Labour's traditional policy of internationalism. Is it ?` Surely Labour is basically Protectionist. How can there be guaranteed wages without guaranteed markets ? And haw can we rely—as you, Sir, would 'have us do—on foreign countries for our trade, -when those countries are themselves manufacturing the articles we used to sell to

then:. ? • • • To say that economic nationalism is an accursed thing seems to me to be the result of shallow or senile thinking. No one thinks me a dangerous character because I like pro- tection in my private life. In spite of policemen, walls, and ether safemairls to my home (indeed, because of the sense of security they glee me) I am ready to co-operate with my neighbout. I can conceive of an age when no external restraints may be necessary, • but meanwhile the absence of barriers between individuals, as between nations, would not make for peace, but for anarchy. A world of high tariffs, with each Ration relying mainly on its home market and securely based on agriculture (the root of all sane living) would not necessarily be a world -ripe for war : on the contrary, I think that it would -be a stable and contented world, and that the Free

Trader's paradise (which is really very like a free light for markets) would lead to a state of affairs (if the nations of the world were ever misguided enough to adopt it) in which the horrors of peaceful industrial penetration could be alleviated only by the lesser horrors of war.--I am, Sir, &c.,