STATE OF THE TORIES
By Auheron Waugh
FRIENDS of Mr. Selwyn Lloyd might feel that he has had some hard luck in the timing of his report on the Conservative Party, since the activities of another exCabinet Minister necessarily stole most of his thunder.
But his true friends and no doubt after so many years in office he still has some -will probably think he has been quite lucky, as his report certainly does not stand up to a very close scrutiny. Few of the recommendations could not have been guessed by someone, like myself, living in France, miles front the nearest Conservative constituency. None of the real defects of the system which ensure such a level of mediocrity in Conservative M.P.s arc even mentioned.
One is the extreme stupidity of local Conservative chairmen, another the prevalence of healthy old-fashioned prejedices like antiCatholicism, anti-Semitism, antiEuropeanism. belief in the Empire and, no doubt, a conviction that the earth is flat, in most constituency associations. Probably the worst defect is the way in which so many associations ask candidates how much they can pay towards election expenses and judge them on that. I have nothing against rich people as such, but surely it is a mistake, as well as an insult to themselves, to allow their richness to be the only standard of judgment in choosing an M.P.
One can only hope that Mr. Lloyd's published report was accompanied by a secret one which mentioned a few of these points.
Ecumenism READERS of this newspaper will have noticed earlier this month in the
edition which was overshadowed by the Pope's death
an article by an extremely distinguished theologian and cleric on the subject of Christian unity or reunion.
It was the first completely balanced account I have seen. Yet while describing the Catholic and non-Catholic approach it did not point out that there is a contradiction between them, even as they are most hopefully presented. The Catholic ecumenist hopes that our doctrine, if properly presented, will eventually win the assent of all Christians. The Protestant, on the other hand. who rejoices in divergence, would dispute the right of any one code of beliefs to be universally accepted, even if be happened to hold them himself, but hopes that a framework may be devised to accommodate all.
The ultimate problem is one of authority. Those who are not prepared to acknowledge the authority of their own church to teach definitively what is right and wrong, will scarcely be prepared to accept the authority of ours. Even if the Archbishop of Canterbury decided that he accepted the claims and the teachings of the Roman Church, how many of his clergy would follow him? And how many lay people follow the clergy?
Undoubtedly. the ecumenical movement has incomparable value in bringing Christians together in a spirit of charity. but the only fruitful struggle must be for the conversion not of a church, but of its individual members.
Fact and Fiction
THE revelation of a general knowledge survey carried out by Granada, that only seventeen per cent of young people in England know who Ramsay MacDonald was, forty per cent know who Gandhi was and fifty-three per cent know who Mussolini was, provides food for thought.
Gandhi. of course, is the wellknown surrealist artist who lives in America. Mussolini is either an opera singer or an ex-member of the Conservative Cabinet. Ramsay MacDonald is the present Prime Minister !
But, equally I should think it is preferable that these young people be kept in ignorance as to who these people are, than that they should be invited to accept without question Granada's version, of Ramsay MacDonald through the eyes of Mr. Muggeridge, Mussolini through those of A. J. P. Taylor and Gandhi through those of James Cameron.
IF it is true, as I saw reported in one newspaper, that the governments of Canada, Australia and New
Zealand have told Mr. Field that they objected to the in
dependence of S. Rhodesia in the present circumstances, then it really looks as if the Commonwealth has had its day.
By their objections they can only drive this unhappy country into the arms of South Africa, since it is not in our power either to deny independence or to revise the constitution of a self-governing state.
By our anxiety not to tread on toes which are extended for the trampling, we will have suceeded in creating another apartheid state where none was before and none need have been. It does not matter a jot whether Uganda,
Tanganyika and Ghana leave the : Commonwealth, since they get as little front their membership as we do from our association with them.
What does matter is that yet another country will have been forced to abandon the ultimate ideal of a multi-racial society in favour of the harsh injustices of racial supremacy.
SOMEONE I hope a wellwisher—has sent me a curious document which describes itself as the Bulletin of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare.
It seems to claim, in fifty expensively produced pages, that concern for animal welfare is an essential part of our religion, and runs a correspondence on such important theological posers as weekly fast days for dogs and cats A pertinent question is raised inside the pages. Remarking that animal lovers are often criticised for spending vast sums on animals rather than giving it to the poor. a correspondent asks: Why are not the people who spend all their
money on themselves, buying mink ,
coats, luxury cars. yachts, every • kind of luxury. told "You should not have done that: you should have given the money to poor people".
The reason why such people are less often criticised. at least in this column, is because their selfindulgence is not masquerading as Catholic action. What part of their income goes to charily is their affair, and rests cm their conscience But they do not form themselves into the Catholic Study Circle for Luxury Motor Car Owners and they do not pretend that mink coats are an essential part of their religion.