27 JANUARY 1939, Page 19


prestige of legislative institutions depends increas- ingly on the abilities, experience of the composition of_ membership. Can we admit that we secure the best to present themselves for public life? Under the present Party caucuses, it is not refuted that wealth plays too impressive a role in selection of candidates, which acts unfavourably to government for the people, by the people. I know poor men may be helped, but are they likely to have their cases con- sidered when financial advantages are sought by constitu- encies? If Croesus corrupts, there are, too, the receivers who are not immune from censure. Surely the person who is pre- pared to devote talents, time, to active service should not be expected to have the added burden of shouldering expenses to finance elections, to nurse the constituency, also to keep the machinery in operation. The fact is some local Con- servative Parties do not face the problem of financial support, independent from aid of the candidate. If the agent is too much engaged, why not have voluntary secretaries to assist him, as those who can give more often do least? We are assumed to be democratic in selection of our candidates, but only the one recommended by the selection committee is put forward for endorsement. What do we know about the claims and reason for rejection of others interviewed?

I am not against candidates subscribing to the local Party ; but to accord primary consideration to amounts is unjust, be he rich or poor. Is it a good thing for inexperienced and inept men to woo industrial constituencies because they run the machine and wish to get safe seats as a result of such aid? My contention is that in hopeless seats, or on border- line, you need promising material as, after all, you are missionaries preparing the soil for fertility in the future. How many good candidates at the Central Office are shelved because of the means test, as, unless local caucuses ask for them, they are doomed to political extinction.

If it is true that the Conservative Party has ceased to have the richest chest, it is equally accurate to assert that merit is often marred by poverty. It would be of absorbing interest in balance-sheets issued by local parties to have details about receipts from its members, as well as to learn how many sub- scribe to its funds. Why not special funds for needs of the constituency? What are treasurers, finance committees, appointed for, unless to discover ways and means to improve

local exchequers. Money is sometimes not attracted because of the lethargy prevalent in executives, who discourage ideas and are wont to have re-elected inutile cyphers.—Yours 23 Dartmouth Park Hill, N.W. 5.