22 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 7

Annus Mirabilis When Mr. George Brown cried gleefully in the

Commons on Monday night, 'We're all nationalisers now 1,' in response to Sir Keith Joseph's public land acquisition plans, it showed how confused and Gilbertian British politics is becoming these days. A similar incident, where the story is against myself, happened to me last week. I had been addressing the annual dinner of the Oil Industries Club, one of those vast captive audiences at Grosvenor House. I spoke to them in brave, stern, statesmanlike terms about •the need for cheap energy, onward and upward and forward. When I had finished—and just after the well-oiled cheers had ceased to roll towards the top table—a friend came up to me to tell me that a well-dined tycoon had remarked to him as I sat down, 'Good fella, that! Alec ought to have him in the Cabinet— better than some of the fellows he's got.' Do you know his politics? He's a Socialist,' my friend answered. The tycoon snorted, 'Don't be damn silly, man. We've had enough political miracles for one year as it is.'