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But General Public Took It Without Undue Excitement

Special to Auckland Star. By DOUGLAS WILKIE

LONDON, Aug. 2. DRITAIN took its "revolution" very quietly. Westminster gutters ran blue with Tory slaughter, but staid old London, which had celebrated Hitler's death with only a polite cheer, could hardly be expected to be rude enough to gloat over victory nearer home. Besides, wide satisfaction with the decision to "give the other blokes a go," was mingled with genuine regret that it means dispensing with good old Winnie. There was glumness at the swanky Savoy Hotel and a few bonfires in the drab East End, but it was vast middle-class swinging vote which had returned Mr. Attlee as Britain's new Prime Minister.' Everywhere one saw these people reading the election results, in streets, trams, buses and trains, and glancing at each other with a guilty smirk, rather like children who had done something clever and rather naughty. Too Cautious

In this diary exactly seven weeks ago I predicted that Labour would win over 100 seats. This was 100 per cent over-cautious, but I had a few less cautious bets with a Stock Exchange fellow who was more "bullish" than he ought to have been.

Tory Press baron, Lord Camrose, who completed the sale of his Financial Times to the former Minister of Information, Mr. Brendan Bracken, on the eve of the Labour victory, must also have known a thing or two. Labour supporters are saying that England has now become part of Europe again, and there is only one freely-elected Right Wing Government left in the world—the Irish Free State. The British swing to the Left is already having repercussions throughout Europe among the would-be dictators and monarchs who wrongly imagined that they could look to Britain for support. There will be events worth watching in Belgium, Greece and Spain. Finland is floundering in the throes of inflation, social unrest and first-class political upheaval. Turkey may go topsy-turvy at any moment. And there are strange happenings

I behind the scenes in Iran, where the. "British, American and Russian oil interests are waiting for the Potsdam talks to smooth some very rough edges. Everyone is worried just how well Mr. Attlee and Mr. Bevin (Britain's new Foreign Minister) will carry on with Generalissimo Stalin where Mr. Churchill left off. President Truman and Stalin have got along fine so far. They are both hard-headed businessmen. President Truman took over-President Roosevelt's role of mediating between Stalin and Mr. Churchill when they started skirmishing. But this does not mean that Mr. Churchill and Generalissimo Stalin do not hit it off. Mr. Churchill likes him for it but cannot occasionally resist a sly Georgian dig which does not fit the Churchillian temper until they have both had another vodka. Some say that Stalin prefers to deal with a "known quantity" like Mr. Churchill rather than vague, unscientific idealists like Messrs. Attlee and Bevin. Orthodox Marxists have no time for vague idealists. And such a truculent heavyweight as Ernie Bevin has no time for anyone who would dare call him a vague idealist. It remains for Stalin and Bevin to decide between them who is wrong. Do not imagine that the new "Socialist" Government is going to nationalise banks, railways and heavy industries immediately. Mr. Attlee's first task will be to find houses, jobs and export markets for Britain before attempting any surgical operations on the British goose, which must lay some eggs pronto if it is going to survive to pay the doctor's fees. But maybe there will be debates on nationalisation to satisfy the Labour Left Wingites. Coalmining is one industry that is rotten-ripe for drastic reform. Perhaps the new Government will seek its immediate and rigorous national control. Doing Well

An Australian gunnery officer attached to the British Forces, just back on leave from Germany, tells me that all the beer and skittles are not confined to Potsdam. His unit, stationed in the lovely Harz mountains, enjoys plenty of swimming, trot.ft fishing and deer stalking. "The deer are a little tough, but all right when soaked in burgundy," he said.

I was almost glad to hear that the first breakfast served him at a West End hotel was—bully beef and weak tea.

Hundreds of rain-soaked women rushed the quayside when the Queen Mary berthed at Glasgow to welcome Robert Montgomery. After five hours women were still waiting in the rain and still had not recognised their film hero. Mr. Robert Montgomery, a homely little public relations officer returning from New York, had walked off the ship. The other Robert Montgomery was still in America. « * * * A battle is going on behind the scenes at the Food Ministry. Chief protagonists: The King's Physician, Lord Horder, who wants Britain's wartime "national" loaf retained; the millers, who want to extract vitamins—and money—from wheat before selling it. Before the war, 28 per cent of the flour—the most nourishing part—went into profitable by-products, including cattle food.

jL' In 1940 the Government insisted that 85 per cent of wheat should be put into flour and the resultant halfwhite national loaf was hailed by doctors as mainly responsible for maintaining the people's health. . In Russia, the Balkans and many peasant countries 100 per cent wheat goes into bread.

Writing in the B.M.A. journal, Dr. Lennox Johnson says that tobacco is not merely a habit, but a drug ad-

diction. The symptoms include depression, apathy, moral deterioration, loss of energy, appetite and weight and sexual potency. Both British and Americans smoke 50 per cent more cigarettes than before the war, says the gloomy medico. * * * * Sign of the peace: The Australian Military Mission is moving out of Australia House to make way for a flood of immigration officials. * * * * Warning members of the Crawley Hunt that "the eyes of the world are upon us," the Duke of Beaufort says: "It is essential that our sport shall be carried on with a minimum of expense and ostentation."

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450804.2.15

Bibliographic details

But General Public Took It Without Undue Excitement, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

Word Count
989

But General Public Took It Without Undue Excitement Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

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