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Politics, Gossip And Comment In London Round-up

Special to The Auckland Star.

By DOUGLAS WILKIB LONDON, Aug. 8. THE Conservatives are now criticising the voting system which gave them two-fifths of the votes and only one-third of the seats in the British election; But in the last Parliament the Conservatives had over two-thirds of the seats as a reward for half the votes. If there is any justification for Britain's outworn electoral system it is that it provides some sort of rough justice that promotes a workable majority for the party in the ascendant. One of the victims of the electoral system was Mr. J. B. Priestley, who would have romped in for Cambridge University on preferential voting. Mr. Priestley would have made an ideal Information Minister (but would not have got the job ahead of old Labour politicians). ■ He may now have time to go to Australia and New Zealand. Last time he tried, the British Government would not give him an exit permit for Mrs. Priestley. * * * * SOME people are saying that Mr. Bevin (Foreign Minister) will have Mr. Attlee's job within two years. Mr. Morrison's stocks have slumped within the Party, where many of his colleagues regard him as too much of a careerist. Both Mr. Bevin and Mr. Morrison suffer from too-ready tongues when they get flustered. Sir Stafford Cripps, the President of the Board of Trade, is also a bad parliamentarian. Not so the Minister for Fuel (Mr. Shinwell). Four years ago Mr. Churchill privately picked out Emanuel Shinwell as the most astute and level-headed politician in the Labour party. Sex Analysis MOST canvassers agree that the majority of women voted for Mr. Churchill in the recent election. Why not different coloured voting slips for women, enabling an analysis of the election count on a sex basis? If a woman claims she is a fullfledged political animal, she should not begrudge sociologists this assistance in defining political trends. It would also help the Government to adjust its policies in the light of the women's collective verdict.

New Grouse Cartoonists who helped to put the Tories out of office have a new grouse. Neat, sober, unpretentious, mediocre-looking Mr.- Attlee refuses to make a good model. Mr. Chamberlain had his umbrella, Mr. Churchill his cigar. Mr. Morrison has his forelock, Mr. Bevin his girth, but Mr. Attlee inspired nothing this week from famous cartoonist "Vicky" except an appeal that he grow a beard or wear a carnation buttonhole "so that we can turn on the spotlight of wit and affection." Actually Mr. Attlee's pipe is in authoritative line of succession to Mr. Baldwin's cherry woods and Mr. Ramsay Mac Donald's cigarettes. It is hardly ever out of his mouth, although it is not always lighted. . Mr. Attlee's salary as Prime-Min-ister will be £10,000 a year, which is. £8000 more than he received as Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Churchill will not be paid as Opposition leader if he accepts the £2000 pension paid to ex-Premiers. Cabinet Ministers do not receive pensions, except Lord Chancellors, who are paid £5000 for their judicial services. Four former Lord Chancellors are now costing the taxpayers £20,000 a year.

NOW that we have stopped ducking from bombs, we have got time to stand up and look around at a variety of mad, bad, old institutions confined to England—which everybody deplores and nobody has taken the trouble to remedy. Twenty thousand Justices of the Peace—mostly inexperienced in law —summarily try nearly a million cases in English magistrate's courts each year. They work on a system introduced six centuries ago, and their legal guide is "Stone's Justices' Manual," containing 200 ft pages of references to thousands of judgments in High Courts, Acts, orders, regulations and the rest. Most justices of the peace are more than 60, and plenty of them are septuagenarians. Now we are unearthing yet another scandal in the system of "farming out" orphans to private families and institutions without proper official supervision. Cases of revolting and sadistic cruelty to children have so inflamed public opinion that something mav soon be done about it—about 100 years too late. * * * * •THE British High Court has just 1 risen on a 10-weeks' vacation. Civil actions on the waiting list include more than 1000 divorce cases. The "Frat" Argument •THE "to frat or not to frat" argu■l ment has only just begun. Correspondents in Germany seem about equally divided in depicting the British Tommy as a lonely, sexstarved Don Juan chasing every coy fraulein in sight, or as a lonely, contemptuous young Empire-builder calling for his cricket bat and the latest copy of Punch. The only common denominator is that th» Tommy is lonely. Most harm is being done by a few gay young sparks who come home on leave and say to their wives or girl friends, "Why aren't you English women smarter? You should just see the German women—silk stockinged, smart, using the loveliest perfumes you can imagine." English girls who spend lots of their time queueing up outside bare shops and darning shabby wartime clothes have not been able to loot Europe for perfume like the Germans did. . And then, of course, there is the simple truth that most English girls are no J, good dressers—war or no war. They are just enough aware of this to see red wheh the topic is' mentioned. y **- * * TTHE Reverend Dr. Machin holds a special services in his Southampton church every fourth Sunday to which young mothers bring their babies and park their prams in the aisle. Dr. Machin says, "If the baby wants to cry or run about, let him If others do not like it, then let them stay away." * * * * AN American publisher has apMr. Churchill with £250,000 offer for the serial and book rights of his wartime story.

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Bibliographic details

Politics, Gossip And Comment In London Round-up, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 189, 11 August 1945

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Politics, Gossip And Comment In London Round-up Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 189, 11 August 1945

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