3 JANUARY 1931, Page 32


Dealing with these points in their reverse order, I think it should be frankly recognized that among the many causes contributing to depression and lack of confidence during the past year must be included political conditions, both international and domestic. In quite vague fashion, perhaps, there has none the less been a certain amount of uneasiness with regard to inter= national affairs, causes of friction existing in more than one direction, while more as a potential than an imme- diate cause of trouble the general attitude and tactics of Soviet Russia have been viewed with considerable concern. As regards domestic politics, there is, of course, no question at all that Socialistic finance and Socialistic legislation have played a leading part in contributing to a lack of confidence and financial depres- sion throughout the past year. To this influence must also be added the ever-increasing weight of taxation, but it would not be fair to link such apprehensions solely with a Socialistic administration, for nothing did greater harm to the Conservative cause, at all events in business and financial circles, than the complete failure of the Baldwin administration to curtail the National expendir ture. To what extent, then, may these influences be expected to continue during the present year ? The possibilities in the direction of international political developments I must leave to the political experts; merely recording the City view that the good offices of Great Britain will always be in the direction of the maintenance of international peace.