23 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 20


Sra,—Mr. Oldmeadow's letter in your last issue comes as a ray of light in a darkened world. He shows us in a few words how to finance the war. " When I buy a dozen bottles of sherry I give the revenue LI 4s. out-and-out . . . the sherry gives pleasure to my few black-out callers ; I strengthen my country's export- position ; and I do a bit for anti- bolshevist Spain." So says his friend, the " plain citizen " whom he quotes with approval. Could anything be simpler? We have only to drink more sherry, and, if there is a limit to our capacity in that direction, smoke a great deal more tobacco, and all Sir John Simon's difficulties will vanish. But a great deal can be done with sherry alone. There must be at least twelve million persons in England who, if they realised it was a patriotic duty to do so, would drink a bottle of sherry a day. That would mean a million dozen, or LI,200,000 daily into the Exchequer. An equal amount could probably be raised by heavy, patriotic smoking. We could thus get yearly the equivalent of a loan of 86o millions with- out any liability to repayment. Meanwhile our export trade would be working to full capacity, for the sherry and tobacco must be paid for. Our wine and tobacco merchants would - be making vast fortunes. Our dock-labourers would have increased employment in unloading the sherry and tobacco ships. Think, too, of the useful work for our gallant Navy— who are probably finding time hang heavy on their hands—in escorting the additional shipping outward and inward. Think of the happiness of our black-out callers. Think of the joy in anti-bolshevist Spain. Yes, we should be fighting the bolshies, too! Why send munitions to the Finns? Why not drink more sherry?

Some foolish people are still preaching self-denial—Yours