2 OCTOBER 1942, Page 4


watching, which, in fact, very many women are already doing, with no ill results. There is absolutely no reason, as Miss Ellen Wilkin- son points out, why women should not face the same dangers from bombs and fire as men. Then, say the aldermen, there are moral dangers. These are unspecified ; but, whatever they may be, should not women face them with the same intrepidity as men? And are they, as a sex, more likely to be overthrown by them? History and experience do not so indicate. It is a pity that people will not cease from talking nonsense on important subjects.

* * * One such subject (even more important than fire-watching) is the existence or otherwise of a God. There are many reasons for supporting both theories, and each man must make up his mind as best he can. But a very odd reason for believing in God has lately been advanced by a distinguished philosopher. He has been " convinced at last of the reality of human evil." At last? With the whole of human history (that shocking record of cruelty, oppression and chicanery) before us, not to speak of daily life as revealed in newspapers, in the behaviour of others and of ourselves, is it really possible for even a philosopher not to have noticed evil all these years? What with tyrants roasting people alive in brazen bulls in order that the bull might bellow, what with all the torturers, oppressors, ravishers and cheats who have done their horrid stuff down the ages—if evil implies a God, then God must have been firmly established in what is called the dawn of history. No need to wait for the Nazis to convince us of it.

The meeting in the Albert Hall called by the Industrial Christian Fellowship was full of spirit. In a hall packed to capacity (and I forget how many halls-full turned away) the two Archbishops and Sir Stafford Cripps declared to an enthusiastic audience an advanced social policy for the future. The high-spot was the admirable and moving speech of Sir Stafford Cripps. But Archbishop Temple, too, was excellent ; he seems of late to be recovering something of his earlier form, which seemed to many people to have become rather blurred during his years at York. There was no definite commit- ment of the Church to a specifically socialist policy (though enough socialist salt to irritate several anti-socialist M.P.s to protest in The Times); but the trend was socialist as against laissez-faire, and such a meeting could scarcely have been held even twenty year back. Certainly the social conscience of the Church is strengthening year by year ; people may not go to church much (I gather the numbers are in dispute), but they cannot now plausibly give th reason that the Church, as a whole, is socially callous• or reactionan Probably the usual reason is the inability of the ordinary man an woman today to believe in its religious teaching. Something migh be done to meet this difficulty if the deplorable hand of the Sta were shaken off so that the Church would be free to revise its o formularies. But who knows? One understands that the Rom Catholic churches are still full and their religious teaching is mu more excessive than the Anglican, so perhaps many people

believe anything if they give their minds to it. In con to this Anglican meeting was a luncheon last Wednesday wh distinguished Roman Catholics spoke of the future: Where di Anglicans suggested what line a repentant and socially consciou Christian Church should take, the Romans affirmed that its leader ship would solve all. Is a repentant Christian Church an exclusivel Anglican concept?

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One thing (among many) which I cannot at all believe is tha the extremely noisy minute when Big Ben is striking 9 o'clock ju before the News is a likely .or suitable moment for meditation an prayer. Who thought of this first? And if they want us to medita and pray just then, why make that noise? There was a speak the other night trying to put this across us ; but beyond son allusions to "Holy Writ " (painful phrase), he failed to make h point clear. I think his voice was against him, perhaps ; too lou too assured, it had a je ne sais quoi that suggested a Free Ch mission meeting.

Talking of voices, there was a beautiful voice late one nigh reciting poetry over the air. One of a number of new voices, it wa said, selected by audition. It read Ben Jonson's Triumph of C very nicely indeed. But suddenly it spoilt all by giving that lovel lady a "fore-head." Is this dreadful fore-head coining in? It I not a pronunciation admitted in any respectable dictionary, even an alternative. What would its addicts make of the little girl wl a little curl right in the middle of her forehead who when she W bad was hore-head? This growing tendency to pronounce Engli as spelt is revolting. Are we to have cox-swain, Wed-nes-day, extra ordinary, lewtenant, and all the other phonetic emendations of good old erratic English language which may suggest themselves t spelling-hypnotised minds?

* *. * • *

Speaking of pronunciation, the B.B.C. dramatic performanc in which Germans are the villains and some of our allies the her do not gain in realism by having the conversation of the German with each other rendered in English with a German accent. Th speeches of Russian characters are, on the other hand, translat into perfect English. This is, no doubt, to mark the differen between friend and foe: but it is not necessary, for you can alwa tell our allies by the nobility of their remarks and our foes by th caddishness of theirs, which gets over the great problem in radio drama, that of knowing who is speaking. "These pig-head people, they will not own that they are beaten." "You can our bodies, but you can never defeat our souls." Ally or foe? is a guess so safe as to be dull, quite apart from accent.

ausi us.