What would G. K. Chesterton, the prophet of Distributivism, say to the Beveridge scheme?
Many must have asked themselves that question. They may be moved to ask now what Chesterton would say of a proposal for virtually universal Stele insurance in Ireland, which the Bishop of Clonfert published last week.
The publication of the scheme caused no small sensation, for it was assumed to be approved by the Government and to adumbrate intended legislation. A day later. it was officially slated that the scheme had not been before the Government at all. save in that a complimentary copy of Dr. Dignan's paper had been sent to the Minister for Local Government simultaneously with its general publication.
For twenty-four hours people supposed that this plan was our own Government's Beveridge scheme and it was studied with lively interest.
Whether this scheme would meet with the Government's approval and whether other parties than that in power would find fault with it in principle it is not possible at present to affirm. for the excited discussion that
has arisen has not revealed the official views of groups or parties. What the detached observer remarks,* as its most striking feature. is that the Bishop's plan appears to contemplate greater and greater dependence on the State and a departure from the principle that workers should own the land they labour and co-operatively own the factories in which they work, looking to the farms and factories for benefits and pensions—the distributive principle.
For long, a school of opinion has been growing, which -holds that the tendency of the age towards the elimination of all economic factors between the worker and the State is so strong that Ireland cannot resist it—that this little island of distributive practice must be overflowed by the collectivist practice of the greater lands. Is Dr. Dignan's paper to be regarded as a weighty act of assent to this judgment? and, if so, will he carry national opinion with him?
t do not know the answers to these questions. but the tender care of the Irish State for its citizens is something more valuable than merely monetary benefit and we may be sure that by one method or another Ireland will sec that she is not outdone by Beveridge benevolence. We, the Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of England and Wales, unite in expressing our feelings of deepest sympathy for the people of martyred Poland in their untold suffering,s. We grieve with (hate in the unspeakable tragedy of Warsaw. , We invite the faithful to join us in fervent prayer for the brave Polish nation, inipluring God's help for her hi this critical hour In her history.
The above statement was issued by the Hierarchy of England and Wales at their October meeting at Archbishop's House. Westminster.