ANOTHER wave of strikes
in France, a flight of capital from Italy, cracks beginning to appear even in Essen, the go-slow in English ship-building and engineering which threatens to make nonsense of our expansion targets, all these have in common that they are attributable to the same cause.
It is a European malaise which does not seem to exist in America, so far as one can see, and springs from a misunderstanding of the principle of collective bargaining, aggravated in places by a half-digested form of socialism and, here and there, by a conscious effort to sabotage. The principle of collective bargaining should ensure that every worker gets the absolute maximum return for his labours which is consisten't with continued investment in that industry. It cannot guarantee an annual rise of wages in line with other industries, nor can it ever hope to secure a higher wage than the productivity of the industry justifies.
If socialist convictions are grafted on what is essentially an acquisitive system with the aim of diminishing the investor's share, the investor will inevitably withdraw from the partnership, just as the worker will if the investor dues not meet him half-way.
In America. at the moment, there is great indignation because Mr. James Hoffa, head of the Teamsters' Union, wants a natiurwide contract for his members to increase their bargaining powers Cries of "Dictatorship" go up from the N.Y. Herald-Tribune.
But it seems to me that the interests of British trade unionists, as well as those of the nation. would be better served if the unions were administered by a few hard-headed toughs than as they are now, by half-baked politicians.
Not understood LOOKING around church last week in a representative West Country parish, I saw Italians, Spaniards and Indians, a couple who were probably French Africans, one person whom I knew to be monolingual French and any number of indeterminate origia. As travel becomes easier and there is greater coming and going, no doubt the proportion of foreigners will increase. In London, certainly, natives seem almost outnumbered. Yet for some reason it is thought progressive to introduce national tongues into what is the only supra-national occasion left in a world blighted by rival nationalisms Thirty years ago it may have been thought progressive because of a dawning awareiless that Latin was no longer a current language, and that it was not easily understood by a majority of the faithful. But it is no worse understood now than it has been for 500 years, and the English heirarche assembled in Rome might reflect that the suggestion to introit:cc a lot of incomprehensible languages, however progressive or enlightening in intention, is totally reactionary and obscurantist :it effect.
IN an excellent article on the latest Berlin crisis, Edward Crankshaw analyses Khrushchevsi motives for provoking the incident. ending with the cosy conclusion that they do not add up to warlike intentions. since if Mr. Khrushchey wanted war there are far easier ways of setting about it.
Reasons he gives Ito distract attention from economic weakness at home: to impress the pro-China lobby: to frighten and divide_ the West: to remind the world thast he is still able to blow it up) may -1 am not sure—be reconcilable with a burning desire to ease tension for peaceful co-existence. On the other hand, perhaps it is just good, old-fashioned brinkmanship. But the most frightening thing is surely that at this moment in Russia there are brains no less keen than Mr. Crankshaw s which have accepted the Soviet explanation of the event and are now busy analysing Mr. Kennedy's motives for provoking the incident. They might decide that President Kennedy is anxious to distract attention from the out-now of gold, to impress the Rightists inside the Pentagon and the armaments lobbies before the next election, to divide Russia and China still further by forcing Russia into a position of weakness and to show the world that he is still able to atblow it For holdup, acceptance or either anyone who was not present .
version must be an act of faith. It is one which I make quite readily. and no doubt the Communists make theirs in thc sense spirit. whichever side is right, and whichever wrong, it shows he idiocy of ever deciding a course of action with reference to world opinion. since world opinion will always be presented" with two versions of what happened, and will always believe whichever it chooses. T are older and more soundly tested ways of judging a course of action. If we abandon these in our anxiety to placate world opinion, we may never again be able to distinguish ti uth from falsehood.
Chewing gum WHEN President Kennedy wished to rally support for an additional $600m. in foreign aid, he pointed out that this was less than the national outlay in cosmetics and chewing gum, and asked whether they could really not afford it. Quite plainly t he comparison was cosmetics and chewite gum is irrelevant, since public expenditure on foreign aid is not determined by private expenditure in this or any other single field, but the consideration does raise one interesting question as to whether, in fact, America can ever afford to discontinue foreign aid.
Of a proposed foreign aid budget of $4,500m., 90 per cent. was to be spent in America—that is to say $4,050m. was to be spent employing American labour and American capital equipment whose end product never appeared to embarrass the American market.
One can regard this as a tax en over-efficiency in an inefficient world or, like the arms stockpile, as a means of maintaimag an artificially inflated standard ot productivity in circumstances which do not justify it. In any case, it is essential to the Americo economy.
Goodness knows what would happen when a state of total consumer satiety was reached. Until it is, the under-developed nations should rejoice that Americans ran spend as much as 5600m. a year on cosmetics and chewing gum.
Contempt for law AT a time when evidence mounts of a growing contempt for the law in S. Africa, whereby people acquitted on one charge are promptly re-arressed and held, without trial, it was most heartening to hear of Mr. Field's readiness to modify the S. Rhodesian constitution in favour of Africans' participation.
Since no concessions short of complete and immediate surrender to the anarchy entailed Ey "one man one vote" will ever be acceptable to Afro-Asian ,pinion inside the Commonwealth, er indeed to liberal opinion here. there can be very little incentive for Mr. Field's government to make any concession at all.
AFEW people have suggested that Lord Shawcross's speech last week on treating criminals by "kid glove methods" was unfortunate to coincide with the report of the Sheffield Police Tribunal, where iron fists were more in evidence. In fact. the Sheffield incident adds weight to Lord Shawcross's case. There would be no reason for police to beat up a suspect whom they believed to be guilty if there were adequate legal means of establishing his guilt or innocence in the first place.
If our purpose in having a legal system and maintaining a police force is to keep order with justice rather than to save the criminal from the normal consequences of his actions at the hands of his neighbours, then the case for an examining magistrate seems unanswerable.
What a shame they thought of it on the Continent first. Now, I fear, we can never change.