31 JULY 1936, Page 6

A SPECTATOR'S NOTEBOOK M R. ORMSBY - GORE has got together a very

able Commission to report on the situation in Palestine distinctly more weighty than any of the various bodies that have already held inquest on that unhappy country. It might almost be described as an army of generals, for Earl Peel has been in the past chair- man of the Burma Round Table conference, Sir Horace Rumbold chairman of the League of Nations Commission that investigated the Greco-Bulgarian dispute in 1925, Sir Morris Carter chairman of the Commission on land problems in Kenya, Sir Harold Morris chairman of the National Wages Board for Railways for more than ten years. With Sir Laurie Hammond, formerly Governor of Assam, and Professor Coupland of Oxford, to complete the panel, the Commission should command universal confidence from the outset. The Arabs, in particular, in view of the total dissociation of all its members from Jewish connexions or influence, ought to realise that the fullest justice will be done to their case, and to realise that it is all to their interest to get the Commission work- ing as soon as possible by restoring the peace and order which must prevail before it can start for Palestine.

* * " If all the young maidens learned typing and short- . hand," then, no doubt, there would not be the shortage of young maidens versed in typing and shorthand that appears to exist today. Of its existence I had some minor evidence myself a few months ago. Now I hear credible stories of the complete inability of schools where such accomplishments are taught to meet the demands made on them by would-be employers. One such establishment has, I am told, the astonishing number of 900 unfilled vacancies on its books. This refers in particular to juniors of 17 or 20 at salaries of 25s. to 35s. a week, but what the explanation is no one seems to know. Not altogether the lower birth-rate of the War years, for girls of 17 would have been born after the War. Partly, no doubt, it is due to the fact that during the depression years a contracted demand pro- duced a contracted supply, and that there is a lag in the response to demands due to trade expansion. But even so the shortage seems surprising. I see that the Leeds clothing industry is suffering from the same lack of women workers.

* * * • Last week-end produced almost as virulent an epidemic of conferences as Easter and Whitsuntide commonly evoke. And very erudite some of them are. Readers of The Spectator are of a high average of culture, but I should be surprised if one in ten of them (outside the ranks of avowed classical scholars) could divine the nature and purpose of the Speleological Society, whose deliberations were conducted at Buxton. (It consists in fact of students of caves and their contents.) The Society of Speech Therapists advertises its raison &lire better, but it will be news to most people that at least one London hospital boasts a professional speech therapist. But the speech therapists, I am rather glad to find, are by no means agreed as to the kind of tongue their remedial care is to mould English into. Dialectic idiosyncrasies, I suppose, must be ironed out, though a Devonian's or Yorkshireman's betrayal of his origin always appeals to me. But at any rate let the therapists leave Scots English and Irish English alone.

I transcribe without comment a notice posted in the lounge of a Derbyshire hotel where I spent a night this week :


Or rather, without comment other than this, that local requirements in the matter of weather threaten to create a certain confusion. A week earlier I was in Skye. There plants were shrivelling for lack of moisture, sub- stantial young streams were reduced to trickling brooks, and domestic water-supplies were being rationed. What it comes to, presumably, is " Let me have whatever weather I happen to ,want wherever I happen to be "—a form of petition which tallies neither with . accepted theological conceptions of prayer nor with my own.

Mr. McKenna hit the bottle-party industry pretty hard at Bow Street on Monday, and a very good thing too. The proprietor of one establishment raided by the police was fined in all £200 and £80 costs, and other defendants had to pay another £40 between them. A bottle-party can be legal if anyone who wants a bottle and its contents orders it individually during permitted hours. But this is a cumbrous business, and at many clubs the bottles are ordered in quantities by the estab- lishment and resold to guests during hours which are usually far from legal. That involves a risk, that may be worth taking if only a moderate fine follows conviction, but when a club-proprietor gets mulcted in penalties of £200 the game will hardly be thought worth the candle very long.

• * * * Drink may be the quickest way out of Manchester, but motorists who try that way out of London will rarely get beyond Wormwood Scrubs. The trouble is that it is increasingly hard to find any other way, particularly westwards, where the congestion at Notting Hill and Hammersmith gets worse every week. For that reason the programme of alterations and new construction approved by the L.C.C. on Monday deserves a tumultuous welcome. When Notting Hill High Street is opened up; and the derelict Western Avenue extended to Edgware Road at one end and beyond Uxbridge at the other, and Cromwell Road carried on across the railway to Chiswick, then the way to the West will lie almost as open as it did a century or two ago over Hounslow Heath. All the changes have lagged badly behind the need.

* * One Way of Putting It " For some years it has been said that the ranch was not showing a profit, and it was rumoured early this year that the King might give it to one of his brothers."—