30 DECEMBER 1972, Page 25

Skinflint's City Diary

The first premium bond prize is to be increased to £75,000 I was glad to see. It has always struck me that football pools perform a useful anti-inflationary function by channelling small amounts of money, which otherwise might have been dribbled away, into one large amount which is likely to be invested. Additionally the anticipation of football pool wins, like premium bond prizes, breeds a benign capitalism and has become the twentieth century's response to nineteenth-century evangelism. Instead of being bowed down by work in this unfair world, waiting for salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven, punt now; and you may be independent too.

Cunynghame's theory

The creation of a situation which results in big wins is somehow similar to the laws of primogeniture on inheritance and is rightwing, making for stability. On the other hand, the Napoleonic law of equal division, though superficially fairer, is disruptive. The economist Sir Henry Cunynghame, who died in 1935, was a student of Alfred Marshall. I recently read a passage of his which seems to have some connection with this matter:

The only way successfully to attach the accumulation of capital without resorting to communism, is either periodically to confiscate and redivide it at death or otherwise, or else at uncertain and unexpected times to confiscate the whole or a portion of it by law. The former of these methods is in use in France, the latter has been done with some effect by means of so-called witchcraft trials by the Zulus. For their theory is that no one who has abnormal wealth can have acquired it fairly. He is therefore executed, and his property transferred to the Crown. The success of such attempts, however, whether made by public democratic bodies, or by autocratic governments, depends upon inducing persons to sink their capital in fancied security, and then suddenly to seize it, using at one time the 'support of manufacturers against the landowners, and at another uniting the landed interest in an attack on capital sunk in industrial undertakings. This method if systematically pursued would probably ultimately place capital in the hands of financial syndicates, who, by the rapidity of their movements, would defeat and confound the slow operation of statutes and would render needful an occasional measure of wholesale confiscation, and perhaps of expulsion, as in the case of the Jews in Russia.

Let us hope that those sections of the Conservative Party clamouring for an inheritance tax do not get their way.

Praising Princess Anne

It is a pleasure to see that Princess Anne Is continuing to foxhunt in spite of doctrinaire and cranky liberals' outbursts

of furious indignation. Anyone aware of the anti-bloodsport people's tormenting cruelty to horses and hounds is forced to conclude that they enjoy inflicting this pain and will not easily be deprived of the pleasure.

Excitement of the chase

It has been said that this desire for excitement is deep seated and was easily satisfied during the primeval hunting stage of our existence. The chase, like war and courtship, was exciting, but with the coming of agriculture and commerce the satisfaction of the hunt was in a different direction. Life grew dull for aristocrats and those of independent means who, denied the pleasure of the commercial chase, were forced to return, literally, to the hunting stage.

On Christmas Day I saw next to my pew in a small church in a remote village the following memorial, in which the words "Go and do thou likewise" are unlikely to be relished by those radicals so savagely persecuting Princess Anne who seem to require ,in support of their selfesteem, satisfaction of their primitive impulses of cruelty to horses and hounds.

Near this place lies interred Thomas Johnson Who departed this Life at Charlton. December 20th 1744.

From his early inclination to Foxhounds He soon became an experienced huntsman, His knowledge in this Profession wherein he Had no superiors and hardly an equal, Join'd to his honesty in every other particular Recommended Him to the Service and gain'd Him the approbation of several of the Nobility And Gentry.

kmong these were the Lord Conway, the Earl of Cardigan, The Lord Gower, the Duke of Marlborough and the Honourable Mr Spencer.

The last Master whom he serv'd and in whose service He Died was Charles Duke of Richmond, Lenox and Aubigny

Who erected this monument to the

memory of a good and faithful servant. As a reward to the deceased and an incitement to the living Go and do thou likewise. St Luke Chap X ver. XXXVII

Here Johnson lies. What Hunter can deny Old Honest Tom the Tribute of a Sigh? Deaf is the Ear, which caught the op'ning

Sound, Dumb is that Tongue, which cheard the Hills around.

Unpleasing Truth — Death Hunts us from our Birth,

In View; and Men, like Foxes, take to the Earth.

Harry Truman, second best

It has been my judgement that Harry Truman who died this week was the second, and only the second, best President the United States has had this century, Eisenhower must be my first choice. Neither he nor Truman were avid for continual praise, but, in addition, militarily and politically Eisenhower was a master who never forgot the lessons of West Point.

He took America out of Korea and kept them clear of deep involvement in Indochina. The mark of his greatness was the conduct of his domestic programme; his magnificent inaction allowed industrial and commercial America to enrich itself sufficiently to afford the moon race, and Kennedy's years of folly in Vietnam and Johnson's socialism.