20 MARCH 1942, Page 12

have taken The Spectator for years, and appreciated reading it.

I am therefore shocked to find that you have published the letter signed W. R. Tarr, 16 The Highlands, Rickmansworth. Why you gave it room in your paper makes one wonder. Everyone to whom I have shown it agrees witn me. During this trying period of the war I should have thought your paper would have tried 10 stimulate the nation, not help those who wish to magnify its mistakes and ignore our more successful endeavours.—Yours truly, Broad Oak, Northwood, Middlesex. LILIAN M. HEYS.

[Sound judgements are arrived at not by ignoring facts but by facing them. No accurate estimate of the state of mind of the nation is possible if only opinions that appear laudable are published. —En., The Spectator.]

[From a great number of other letters on the subject we select the following points.]

Your article " Braced and Compact? " and the correspondence it has aroused are a valuable contribution to the clearing of our minds. We want more of this sort of thing. When will the Government and the B.B.C. realise that the education of the people is a vitally impo- tent duty at the present time? And that, in consequence, the most " difficult," " delicate " and " dangerous " topics are precisely those on which they should have most to say, instead of, as their Present policy seems to ordain, the least? If the fetish of "national tin* is to be preserved at all costs, including the cost of our honesty and courage, we shall be united in defeat. No matter what Quarrels .we may have—they will clear the air. Anything is better than susp10011 and cynicism smouldering beneath the surface. So let us have full and frank disussion, immediately, of our social and political Problems' Commander Stephen King-Hall's suggestion, in The Times, of a new Magna Carta will do excellently for a starting-point. And please can the policy of " austerity " be extended to cut out astrology from the Press and to reduce the volume of lowest-grade senthnentality that we get from the B.B.C.? These arouse a suspicion that there is no desire, on the part of those responsible, to encourage people to

think, or to invigorate popular taste! J. CRYER.

In spring, 1940, the people rose as one man and one woman to Churchill's call, ready for work, fighting and sacrifice. Now they care nothing, not even if a continent is lost, daily. This change for the worse was made inevitable. They were ready for their orders and never got them, so now they are self-seeking and hedonistic. Since June, 1940, they have only been directed negatively—less petrol, less food, less fun—and on the whole have adapted themselves creditably—but they are far from fools and scorn to wait daily for the voice which has not spoken to them.

The voices have mainly been reproaches, appeals, moral exhorta- tions and requests to keep their morale, or grow some if they have none. Even Sir Stafford Cripps added his moral reproof. - He said we were a nation of spectators. We were told daily in great detail of trouble the other side of the earth but not what we must do about it hem So we have become habitual spectators.

If the wireless were to tell us " The Germans who landed at Dunstable have now occupied Henley " what should we do? A year last June we manned a post regularly at 3 a.m. till to p.m. to watch for invaders. We had lots of morale. Powerful weapons would have increased it. My wife does not know if she should (t) resist the invader, (2) hide in the cellar, or (3) burn the house down.

After all, it is this country which has been fighting Hitler since. June, 1940, with no support from Russia until June, 1941, and no military intervention from America until December, 1941. I have no doubt that the Government have made lots of mistakes—even in the only sense in which I think mistakes can be reproached against this Government, i.e., decisions which wiser men would have decided differently in the light of the information available at the time. What I would wager is that not even the most omniscient of your contem- porary editors knows what these mistakes are.—Yours, &c.,