2 MARCH 1929, Page 3

* * * Last Saturday, at Bolton, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald

said that no one " outside Bedlam or the Headquarters of the Conservative Association " ever entertained the idea (attributed to the Labour Party by Mr. Baldwin) that under nationalization the coal mines would be conducted by five or six bureaucrats in Whitehall. The Daily Telegraph has opportunely recalled what happened at the Sankey Commission on the Coal Mines in 1921. Lord Haldane. who gave evidence before that Commission, said : " I could undertake to find half a dozen men, any one of whom put at the head of a great Department, and with a system such as we are discussing, would carry it out." There is the proposal which Mr. MacDonald repudiates, and it came, not from Bedlam or the Conser- vative Headquarters, but from Lord Haldane when he was first showing his sympathy with the Labour Party. It is true that the Labour Party has since adopted other schemes, but at the time Lord Haldane's proposal was accepted as the perfect expression of Socialism. In a pamphlet on the subject Mr. Tawney and Mr. Laski described Lord Haldane's proposal as the " profoundest contribution yet made to the idea of nationalization." The case against nationalization in general could not have been better stated than it was by Mr. Baldwin in his speech at Manchester on Wednesday. Trade is enterprise ; enterprise means risk ; officials of the State who handle public money are not justified in taking risks.