T ' tecoguition of the Provi sional Government of France marks a stage in the long and difficult process of the liberation of Europe At present the German propaganda, lacking any cheerful military news, is making a great deal of the fate of Europe at the Allied hands. Naturally, it seeks to contrast present disorders and hardships with the " golden age " of the German ocimpatiun, Whatever may be thought of that " golden age," it is certainly able to draw an unpleasant picture of what is now happening, and the lecture is not wholly fictitious. It is important for us to realise that the difficulties we are facing are inherent in the work that we are attempting. In many ways things might be worse. Nazism, for example, has been Germany's worst enemy. But for the streak of brutality am bad manners that no ideological conception can disguise, the Germans might well have created something not unlike a golden age in Europe. Churchill himself recognised the danger of Hitler assuming the mantle of a new Charlemagne. Undoubtedly the attempt was made, especially in the case of France, but the Nazist evil and the German brutality pierced through the veneer of order and peace. Nor could anyone forget the contrast hetween German behaviour to a Poland which the Nazis despised and a Paris aboot which they had a cultural inferiority complex,
But the opportunity of " liberating " Europe of many of the terrible weaknesses manifested between the wan most certainly existed. Conquering Germany could bring not only financial and economic unity and control; it could put an and to political incompetence and corruption ; it could keep within bounds the disease of class division with its concomitant refusal to work or to take interest in work; and it could, no doubt, have fostered a degree of national autonomy which would satisfy the average desire for liberty and national traditions. We shall, of course, not be allowed ta remember the number of Europeans who fell .for the German caricature of such a Charlemagne programme; and we may well be thankful that our present task of liberation is a liberation from the gross caricature and not from what an intelligent Germany might have attempted after the mistakes of the 1919-1939 era.
Liberation from Everything
RUT though Germany bas been Is" thoughtful enough to leave us a telsitively easy task, our difficulties are
real enough. For our conception of liberation is entirely opposite to the Getman. We mean by liberation the removal of all controls and brakes, save those needed by military authorities. Up to a point this is inevitable. Obviously them has to be a removal of everything that smells of German or Italian control, and since practically every control imposed since the war has been imposed in connivance with Germany, we find ourselves obliged to foster the removal of practically everything regardless of its intrinsic merit
and the need fur it. Inevitably, too, the national regimes which rise under the influence of our conception of liberation accept this view and indeed carry it to extremes that make it ludicrous. Certainly in Italy to-day, and possibly in France, it is not the Italians or the French who maintain the elements of order and control : it is the military needs of the Anglo-American armies. But for the presence of these: armies and the overriding demands of the military campaigns, there is no knowing what might happen.
This is a most dangerous situation, and its existence renders all the more
puzzlnie the delay in the recognition of the Fretteli Provisional Government. The solution must lie with the liberated countries, not with the hberators. Out belief in the primacy of liberty makes it quite impossible for us to undertake the control of Europe after the German model (this, of course, is not true of Russia, which does not share our convictions about liberty and morals). We have no option but to put our money, so to speak, on Frenchmen soil Italians and, ultimately. Germans themselves. But so long as the military situation requires it, we possess an excuse for doing all that is in our power to help lay the foundations of order and control in conjunction with provisional Governments, and to do this we need to afford every possible support to the most responsible authorities. By far the greatest support we can give is fully to recognise them and to enable them to create a close and confident partnership between their country and ours. Wc need, too, to give them all the economic help we can. The more firmly established they can be right from the start, the greater their opportunity to tertiess extremists and to counter the false ideologies rushing into the vacuum created by liberation from all that has taken place in the past.
Unless Britain, America and Russia intend to go back on all their pledges and attempt an imitation of the Germari plan of imposing an alien ideology, they will do well to drop the present phin of ordering the world in the name of the Big Throe. and. instead. to concentrate on the task of quickly restoring an independent and native authority in the smaller countries and inviting them to joint partnership
The Franco-Spanish Border
A N example of the absurdities that 1-3' can be reached is given by the prebent extraordinary situation in districts or South-Western France where civil war against Spain is being openly prepared; and this has at least the advantage of making clear the degree of anarchy to which we are being reduced. It is possible to awe (though we think falsely at the moment) -that Franco's is an imposed minority rule and that the time is ripe for the overthrow of Franco and the Phalange. But scarcely anyone, not definitely desirous of the overthrow of all order in Europe in the interests of what is conveniently called by the now almost respectable name of Communism, could feel happy about the existence of uncontrolled revoluntary bands in Country A preparing to overthrow the existing order in Country B. Such a situation, if allowed to endure, can only mean that all constituted regimes are directly or indirectly threatened by armed lawless elements of which the Spanish Maquis in France is typical Furthermore, from the point of view of the Left such a situation simply encourages the very thing to which they are most opposed, namely, the strengthening of counter-revolutionary regimes. We, for our part, have more than once expressed our disappointment in regard to the outcome of the Spanish Civil War. We do not think that the Franco-Phalangist regime hus served Catholic Spain well, and we believe that the restoration of the monarchy would have been in the best interests of the country. But the present state of affairs surely goes some way to justify retrospectively Franco's behaviour. And ceitainly it will vastly strengthen his position. If one country is going to tolerate open preparations for irregular assault on its neighbour, that neighbour has no option but to pul itself in a state of emergency. And still more unpleasant is the fact that the repression of such lawless forces must tend to militarise the authority of the country which has tolerated them. Thus we find ourselves faced with the dilemma ot anarchy or a quick return to something like the regimes of the dictators. The dilemma is as old as history, and We must face the truth that only the establishment of regular law and order in the name of a tradition or an ideal can prove a safeguard against dictatorships either of the Left or the Right. That is the real problem of liberated Europe.
PEACE, BUT NOT PLENTY
THERE is magic in a formula. Everyone seems to be reasonably satisfied about the future of ISIS country since it has been established that we shall need to export 50 per cent. more than we exported before the war. It's the e0 per cent. that does the trick 1 But 100 per cent. would have been equaLly effective. So long as any limit is mentioned and a definite aim given, we feel satisfied that all is well. No one seems to remember that before the war we were making pretty considerable efforts to maintain and increase our exports, and everything in the way of a percentage increase — or even a halt in the percentage drop— was considered a triumph. But we almost enjoy the thought of brightly Stepping UP our post-war exports by 50 per cent.---and that despite the realisation that in almost every way we are bound to face the effort in a rela tively most depressing position. Left almost without assets, we have to watch our great competitors already beginning to get into their stride, whereas the total war organisation of our own country prevents us from embarking on the task. The publication of our export trade figures with their speclacider decline is a solemn reminder that with peace will not come plenty. Happily the immense efforts of the war will not all be wasted. We have created immense capital assets much of which can be converted to the uses of peace. But all depends on intelligent direction, t he maintenance of a great many controls (not least control over the appetite for party politics and the party airing of grievances) and the willingness of the people to maintain in peace somethine thisi cannot he far short of the war effort. We should have thought that the time had come when these realities of the situation could be explained to the country with all its propaganda resources. The result might be surprisinely encouraging.
AN IRISH " BEVERIDGE"
wE would draw attention to a
remarkable speech delivered recently by the Bishop of Clonfeu to the Committee of Management of the Irish National Health Insurance Society. It is often said that Catholic ecclesiastics are ready enough to lay down abstract moral principles for society, but unable to show how they could be applied in a concrete situation. The Bishop of Clontert has answered that by proposing detailed plans applying Catholic principles of insurance to the case of Ireland. He bases everything on the family and the family wage and boldly criticises the influence of the Manchester School in causing the assumption that Capital and Labour are in competition and consequently in a state of mutual antagonism. Against that bat:aground he offers the Catholic " Beveridge" which he recognises as being necessary because (1) of man's freedom to abuse any system ; and (2) complex modern industrial conditioas and the dependence of one country on others. He suggests family insurance with single men paying for " assumed" depends cots; benefits will be open to all, though not compulsory above a certain income level with contribution according to income; a co-ordinated health service; and an administration representative of the great interests of the country,
His Lordship's speech deserves the study of Catholics in this country both for its differences from our White Paper proposals and its resemblances. On the whole we are more struck by the latter, and we welcome the confirmation of our view that in modern conditions a comprehensive social insurance is n cessary even if it does haunt us " from the cradle to the grave."
A REGIONAL SCHEME FOR WALES
THE Welsh members, in the THE Welsh members, in the debate on the needs of the Principality, which took place in the Commons last week, allowed nationalistic and political considerations to obscure the more practical requirements of their country, and Mr. Aneurin &Yin's criticisms of their proposals were not without justification. If the problem of Wales is viewed from the economic standpoint, there is one solution, urged by far-seeing Welshmen for many years, that immediately suggests Itself, In the Severn Wales possesses the means of supplying the country with sufficient electricity to give it the prosperity which its undeveloped sources promise. A regional scheme for the electrification of Wales based on the potentialities of the Severn offers far more substantial results than the appointment of a special Secretary for Wales. A writer in Sunday's Observer, advocating this solution, quotes the example of the Tennessee Valley Authority as an example of what can be done in building up a prosperous countryside. The story of this experiment is, indeed, one of the marvels achieved by scientific exploitation of natural resources. But an even better example, though less well-known in this country, is the work accomplished by Jewish settlers in Palestine. If ever a land was derelict it was this land, but, by means of efforestktion, irrigation, drainage and other modern methods, they are in the way to make Palestine one of the most productive countries en the Middle East. There is no reason why Wales, possessing the mast powers of the Severn, should not, under the direction of a non-political, non-cornmercial authority develop its resources Ott a similar scale. Instead of appealing to nationalist sentiment. Welshmen might study the records of the T.V.A. and this work described by Walter Clay Bowcrmilk in Palestine, Land of Promise. and bring about the adoption of similar methods to the Principality.