22 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 7

Parliament on the Air There is new talk of televising

the proceed- ings of Parliament. Before the photogenics, non- photogenics, radicals and conservatives do battle again, two points in the general argument should be noted. The first was put to me some years ago over a glass of whisky, late at night, by that dis- tinguished back-bencher and publisher, Mr. Harold Macmillan. As he pointed out, all the objections to televising the House of Commons were trotted out at the time of the great battle for Hansard and the rights of the press to report speeches in the debates. The second is that television—as Mr. Robin Day claims rightly --is the new form of journalism; and that Baird will go down in history as being just as important as Caxton. Taking the long view, therefore, any person who is concerned for the future vitality of British democracy must agree that Parliament will ignore the new mass-medium at its peril.