25 NOVEMBER 1955, Page 16

UNDESIRABLE EMIGRANTS Sta,—As Mr. Robert Kee seeks to defend the

twelve young men without having read their letter, and Mr. Lindsay Anderson fears that some of your readers who did not see it maY have been given a false idea of it, you maY like to see an answer which I and two others sent to the Daily Express and which that news" paper did not publish.

You will observe that our immediate treat- ment of the outburst was much the same as Mr. Fairlie's. It included the word 'incoherent' and we even had the same geographical instinct. But I think the reply does indicate that the original letter was nothing more than a jumbled grumble about life in general, and as much about taxation as anything. It did refer, to Princess Margaret and 'the Establishment, but it is misleading for Mr. Anderson to describe it as a letter 'on the subject of Princess Margaret's choice.' The complaining twelve composed their letter for The Times and had it published by the Daily Express. We are hoping very much that, having drafted a letter for the Daily Express, it will, in fact, find its way into the Spectator. Here it is We, who are also members of the younger generation, were sickened by reading the letter you published over the signatures of twelve young men—we must not say 'gentle' men' because that raises an issue of class distinction—in which they confess that the}' are feeling weary, inhibited and frustrated, because of the administration of this country since the war. We grieve for Mr. Tynan, tortured by the prospect of purchase tax on mops. We suffer with Mr. Searle in his distress over the reduction in housing subsidies. We weep for Mr. Wilson if he reels under the cost of parcel postage and is unconsolable by the success of The BOY Friend, If these literary lions had confined their complaints to the rigours of present-day taxation, we would have sympathised. But when they refer to the cost of defence and go on to write such drivel as, 'If the uphold- ing of national prestige means the indefinite pawning of a whole generation's prospects,

we wish to dissociate ourselves from it as emphatically as possible,' we feel that your readers should know that these particular lions do not roar for England. The gist of their letter, which drags in such unrelated matters as the private affairs of the Royal Family and the defence pro- gramme and the size of the Civil Service, is so incoherent and foolish that it would deserve no attention if it were not signed by some whose names happen to be known to the public as writers and artists.

If this talented band of our contempo- raries carries out its threat to emigrate, we would be poorer (and so would the Treasury), until others stepped in to take their places; but while their present mood persists, the country would be the better for their going. The tradition and 'future of this country, about which they are so confused and despondent, will be safer in the keeping of those who intend to stay and to preserve the One and shape the other.


• ROGER GRAY PS.—We do hope that Messrs. Tynan and Co. may shed their inhibitions in, say, Tonga.

I would add this for Mr. Anderson. I am not contemptuous when he writes or speaks with emotion. I do not question his sincerity. Moreover I, and many others (including, I am sure, Mr. Fairlie, though I do not know him) can be grave as well as gay, and hold strong and sincere views about such contemporary issues as 'the death penalty, homosexuality and divorce.' But if Mr. Anderson and his fellow- sufferers will read again their badly constructed and hysterical document, surely they will have enough Elizabethan gusto to admit that the Only adequate answer to it is 'Come off it, duckies.' On reflection, that is the reply we should have sent to the Daily Express.—Yours 34 Halsey Street, SW3