MATCHING THE MAN AND THE RIGHT JOB



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MATCHING THE MAN AND THE RIGHT JOB



 

Art Buchwald

 

 

Vice President

Glucksville Dynamics

Glucksville, California

 

Dear Sir:

I am writing in regard to employment with your firm.

I have a B.S. from USC and a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology.

In my previous position I was in charge of research and development for the Harrington Chemical Co. We did work in thermo-nuclear energy, laser beam refraction, hydrogen molecule development, and heavy water computer data.

Several of our research discoveries have been adapted for commercial use, and one particular breakthrough in linear hydraulics is now being used in every oil company in the country.

Because of the cutback in defense orders, the Harrington Co. decided to shut down its research and development department. It is for this reason I am available for immediate employment.

Hoping to hear from you in the near future, I remain Sincerely yours,

Edward KASE

 

Dear Mr. Kase:

 

We regret to inform you that we have no positions available for someone of your excellent qualifications. The truth of the matter is that we find you are "overqualified" for any position we might offer you in our organization. Thank you for thinking of us, and if anything comes up in the future, we will be getting in touch with you.

Yours truly,

Merriman HASELBALD

 

Administrative Vice President


Personnel Director

Jessel International Systems

Crewcut, Mich.

Dear Sir:

I am applying for a position with your company in any responsible capacity. I have had a college education and have fiddled around in research and development. Occasionally we have come up with money-making ideas. I would be willing to start off at a minimal salary to prove my value to your firm.

Sincerely yours,

Edward KASE

 

Dear Mr. Kase:

Thank you for your letter of the 15th. Unfortunately, we have no positions at the moment for someone with a college education. Frankly, it is the feeling of everyone here that you are "overqualified", and your experience indicates that you would be much happier with a company that could make full use of your talents.

It was kind of you to think of us.

Hardy LANDSDOWNE

 

Personnel Dept.

To whom it may concern

Geis & Waterman, Inc.

Ziegfried, III.

Dere Ser,

I'd like a job with your outfit. I can do anything you want me to. You name it, Kase will do it. I ain't got no education and no experience, but I'm strong and I got moxy an I get along great with people. I'm ready to start any time because I need the bread. Let me know when you want me.

Sincerely yours,

Edward KASE

 

Dear Mr. Kase

You are just the person we have been looking for. We need a truck driver, and your qualifications are perfect for us. You can begin working in our Westminster plant on Monday. Welcome aboard.

Carson PETERS,

Personnel


 

Text 2

TALKING LIKE YOUR PARENTS? YOU COULD DO WORSE

John Rosemond

 

In this time of widespread parent-bashing, it's risky to be writing a column in praise of the attitudes my parents' generation brought to the job of raising children, but I've always been a risk-taker, so...

Like most parents, mine were imperfect. But despite their inadequacies and excesses, their neuroses and worse, they had some good ideas about raising children. Their child-rearing philosophy - the same philosophy subscribed to by most parents of their generation (and previous ones) - consisted of a handful of sayings which they often quoted in my presence. Needless to say, these "parenting proverbs" - or, more accurately, "pre-parenting proverbs" - never failed to irritate me. It took me two children of my own to adjust my idealism to the realities of child-rearing and begin to appreciate what my parents were trying to express.

Perhaps the most irritating of all was "because I said so". So irritating, in fact, that young Willie and John Rosemond pledged never to say those four words to their children. It wasn't long before we found ourselves in a constant state of verbal warfare with one child or another. It finally dawned on us that "because I said so" is a statement of fact, nothing more. It says, "You must do what you are told, not because I am successful at explaining myself to you, but because I tell you." In other words, authority is not up for grabs in the family. Parents are in charge. Children are free to disagree, but not to disobey.

Then there was "children should be seen and not heard”, the lynchpin of an all-but-lost child-rearing philosophy. Specifically, this meant that when in the company of adults, children were to pay attention, not clamor for it. In other words, children should look up to adults more than adults look down at children. More generally, "seen and not heard" meant that adults should supervise children well, but not become highly involved with them. They were to maintain a certain respectful distance from children, thereby enabling children to learn, by trial and error, how to stand on their own two feet. Both of these understandings have since been turned upside-down. These days, parents seem to believe more attention should go from parent to child than from child to parent. Then they wonder why children ignore them when they speak. This generation of parents believes the more you close the distance between yourself and your child, the better parent you are. They then wonder why children don't want to face challenges on their own. I also heard "you can't get something for nothing" a lot. This was sometimes expressed as "you have to earn your keep around here." Translate: Children should be fully responsible, contributing members of the family. As a child, I had responsibilities, and I had freedoms. If I wanted my freedoms, I had to be responsible. Give and take. Reciprocity. Simple as that. Many of today's kids lack this fundamental moral. They benefit from membership in their families, but are rarely, if ever, required to put effort of any sort back into the system. No surprise, then, that employers often tell me many young people want a full paycheck for less than a full day's work. A child's lessons - whatever they are - always begin at home.

 

Text 3

 

INVESTING IN PAPER

Art Buchwald

 

Every time you pick up the newspaper, you see advertisements screaming the words "TAX FREE" at you. I'm not knocking it since the ads pay my salary, but it seems to me that with high interest rates and inflation, Americans are now trading in pieces of paper instead of things.

The other day I got a call from my accountant who said, "I've got good news for you. If we give your bank 5,000 pieces of paper, it will give you back almost 6,000 in six months."

"Big deal. The toaster probably cost them three pieces of paper."

"But I could use the toaster more than the paper”, I told him.

"Look, if you don't want to go for the bank's deal, I can get you into a money fund which will pay 7,000 pieces of paper for every 5,000 you give them, unless the interest rates go down."

"Why can't I take the 5,000 pieces of paper and put them down on an automobile?"

"Because an automobile wears out. In three years you'll be lucky to get 900 pieces of paper for it."

"Yeah, but you can't get around town on a piece of paper."

"Believe me, this is no time to get out of paper. If you don't want to put your money in notes, put it in stock. It's more of a gamble, but it's still paper."

"What kind of stock?" "There is a company called A&C that is rumored to be buying out the P&Q Company. The buyers have offered 65 pieces of A&C paper for each P&Q certificate, which is only worth 30. If you buy, and the deal goes through, you'll make a paper profit of 35 certificates."


"What does the A&C Company do?"

"Who knows!"

"Is the P&Q Compamy making any money?"

"No. That's why A&C wants to buy it. You see, P&Q had a bad year and has huge tax losses. A&C had a good year and made a lot of profits. So, if it buys the losing company, A&C will be able to offset its profits against P&Q's losses, and then it won't have to pay any taxes to the government."

"Sounds like a good deal. Would it be all right to buy a dishwasher this fall? Ann says the other one is falling apart."

"This is no time to buy a dishwasher. I need all your cash to put into an ALL-Savers account so you can get tax-free interest."

"Great. But what do we do with all the dirty dishes?"

"Let them pile up until the loan rates go down."

"I don't think Ann's going to like that."

"She will when you show it to her on paper."

"My wife was never much for paper. She likes to buy things like chairs and lamps and clothes."

"Most of my clients' wives are like that and, believe me, it doesn't make my life any easier. But you just have to hang tough and explain that the more pieces of paper you can put away right now, the less you'll have to worry about your future."

"What do I give my grandchildren for Christmas?"

"How about some nice, safe municipal bonds?"

Text 4

IN THE BANK[6]

Stephen Leacock

 

When I go into a bank I get rattled. The clerks rattle me; the wickets rattle me; the sight of money rattles me; everything rattles me.

The moment I cross the threshold of a bank and attempt to transact there, I become an irresponsible idiot.

I knew this beforehand, but my salary had been raised to fifty dollars a month and I felt that the bank was the only place for it.

So I shambled in and looked timidly round at the clerks. I had an idea that a person about to open an account must needs consult the manager.

I went up to a wicket marked "Accountant". The accountant was a tall, cool devil. The very sight of him rattled me. My voice was sepulchral.

"Can I see the manager?" I said, and added solemnly, "alone". I don't know why I said "alone".

"Certainly", said the accountant, and fetched him.

The manager was a grave calm man. I had my fifty-six dollars clutched in a crumpled ball in my pocket.

"Are you the manager?" I said. God knows I didn't doubt it. "Yes," he said.

"Can I see you", I asked, "alone?" I didn't want to say "alone" again, but without it the thing seemed self-evident.

The manager looked at me in some alarm. He felt that I had an awful secret to reveal.

"Come in here", he said, and led the way to a private room. He turned the key in the lock.

"We are safe from interruption here", he said; "sit down".

We both sat down and looked at each other. I found no voice to speak.

"You are one of Pinkerton's men, I presume", he said. He had gathered from my mysterious manner that I was a detective. I knew what he was thinking, and it made me worse.

"No, not from Pinkerton's", I said, seeming to imply that I came from a rival agency.

"To tell the truth," I went on, as if I had been prompted to lie about it, "I am not a detective at all. I have come to open and account. I intend to keep all my money in this bank".

The manager looked relieved but still serious; he concluded now that I was a son of Baron Rothschild or a young Gould.

"A large account, I suppose", he said.

"Fairly large", I whispered. "I propose to deposit fifty-six dollars now and fifty dollars a month regularly".

The manager got up and opened the door. He called to the accountant.

"Mr. Montgomery", he said unkindly loud, "this gentleman is opening an account, he will deposit fifty-six dollars. Good morning".

I rose.

A big iron door stood open at the side of the room.


"Good morning", I said, and stepped into the safe.

"Come out", said the manager coldly, and showed me the other way.

 

Text 5

 

INDOMITABLE LITTLE MAN[7]

Joseph North

 

Only those who reach for their gun when they hear the world “culture” (like the late critic, Herr Dr. Joseph Göbbels) can dislike Charlie Chaplin whose works are enjoying a revival in New York today. I took the occasion in the current torrid spell to re-see his “Modern Times”. I can only say that it remains a masterpiece of art, and a profound comment on contemporary life in these United States.

I recall no author of novel or treatise, or, for that matter, sociologist, historian or journalist or labor figure who captured so memorably the condition of his time as Chaplin did in this film. Since it has become fashionable in many circles to deride the Thirties as an era of literary and cultural renaissance, one must add Chaplin’s works as refutation. The apex of his career can be found in that period, for he, the prescient artist, involved with mankind, reflected the power of the people’s resistant will with which he identified himself.

The film of ironic genius portrays a time of unemployment and simultaneously, the march of the machines. His hero, the hapless vagrant, is fired by the resolve to earn a living to help the child of a workingman shot dead in an unemployment demonstration. In his inimitable flatfooted way, Charlie races through a vast crowd of desperate jobless seeking work in a newly opened factory. After screwing the bolts in the ever-faster belt, which attains a lunatic speed at the bidding of the polished, well-clad gentleman in the executive’s office, Charlie goes in as crazy the tempo. Wrench in hand, and obsessed by the need to fasten all the bolts tight, he goes after anything that looks like a bolt. And this to the consternation of several ladies adorned with large buttons in delicately strategic spots.

There are many delicious, yet profoundly pertinent moments, like his natural desire to snatch a moment’s respite from the belt and steal a smoke in the men’s room. The televised image of the scowling man in the front office flashes on the wall with a command to drop that cigarette and get back to work. Remember this film was made in the mid-Thirties, the use of television as a tyrannical spy awaited full comment for nearly thirty years in the current best seller by Vance Packard.

He is caught up in a demonstration of the jobless and is mistaken for a “Communist leader” by the police. Again the clubs descend, again there is jail, and he makes acid comment of contrast between his life behind bars and the roaring hunger outside.

There is the dream of the good life he describes to the discouraged and lovely waif whom he aspired to help. It is that of a rose-covered cottage with fruit-trees growing outside the kitchen. He can pluck an orange from the window, milk a convenient and congenial cow for the breakfast coffee, all is clean and brilliantly cheerful in this imaginary homestead where his lunch is packed with éclat and abundance. The security of love and ample food reigns over his household. A dream.

Whatever the vicissitudes and thwarted aspirations, this underdog is indomitable. There is that ultimate fade-out that can be translated as corny as he and the little lady finally proceed up the road into the dawning sun. The scene can be interpreted otherwise. Though there is no safe harbor, they have eluded the cops, and survived the clap of despair, and they go anew and undaunted.

It is a tale worth telling, worth hearing, and seeing. Certainly it is one of the best products of the Thirties, or for that matter, of modern times, certainly the finest in cinema.

To the cavemen at the helm of society, Chaplin is of course a dangerous man. Thus they exiled the finest artist of our age, made him go through the paces as Voltaire did who had to flee the Paris of his time; or Zola after his “J’accuse”, or Brecht after the critics” came to power who reach for their gun when they hear that damnable word.

Text 6

CONGRESS – WHAT IS IT?[8]

D.C.Coyle

 

The United States Congress differs from a parliament chiefly in the fact that it does not contain the executive. The President and his Cabinet are not members of the House, as the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are in England. The Congress cannot peremptorily ask a question of the President except in an impeachment proceeding; and if it refuses to pass an Administration bill, there is no “crisis”. The President in that case does not resign; nor does he dissolve Congress and force a new election.

In the United States Government, the people are represented in one way by the Congress and in another by the President. Each has the right and the means to appeal directly to the people for support against the other, and they do. The effect is that the struggle between the Executive and Congress varies between open hostilities and armed truce, even when the President’s party is in control of Congress. Another situation, that cannot occur in a parliament, arises when the people choose a President of one party and a Congress of another, putting the executive and the legislative branches automatically in opposition to each other.

The United States Congress is therefore more irresponsible than a parliament, for the member of the President’s party can vote against an Administration proposal without voting to have the President resign. This lack of responsibility encourages demagogues in Congress to play for headlines, since the party in power does not feel that strict discipline is a matter of life and death.

One effect of the separation of powers is that the Senate is as important a body as the House. In other countries there is a tendency for the lower house, since it controls the executive, to assume all the power, letting the upper house live on as a debating society of elder statesmen.

The tradition of a two-chambered legislature is deeply rooted in American political life. The colonial governments had two chambers and so do all the States except Nebraska. But the principal reason that no one can conceive of any movement toward a one-chamber Congress is that the United States is still a Federal Union of large and small States.

The fact that all bills have to pass two different bodies does not cause delay in emergencies when the people are united in favor of following the President’s leadership. But on ordinary matters in ordinary times, legislation is slow, hearings are duplicated, and an opposition has advantages over the proposition.

The Senate and the House of Representatives differ in their composition and attitude, even though the Constitution has been amended to shift the election of senators from the State legislatures to the plain voters. The senators average a few years older than the congressmen. Congressmen often move up into the Senate, but few ex-senators have ever run for the House. The senators are more distinguished by their office because there are only 100 of them while there are 435 congressmen. A seat in the Senate has a high publicity value which can be used for good or ill purposes.

 

 

Text 7

INTRODUCTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS[9]

Peter Lyon

Those who depend upon the press – and upon the televised “news” programs – for their information about what is going in the world can be excused for believing that there is nothing to the United Nations but the Security Council and the General Assembly; that what goes on there is only an interminable, sterile debate, periodically punctured in the Security Council by Soviet vetoes; and that there is no achievement, no progress, no positive action proposed, planned, or indeed possible.

A glance at the structure of the United Nations, however, affords a quite different and happier view of our present and future. It also shrinks the Security Council to its proper scale.

The General Assembly is the core of the United Nations, here the nations, whether great or small, sit on an equal basis, each with one vote. Ringing the General Assembly like five planets around the sun are the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Economic and Social Council. Each has its particular function, each its particular authority.

The influence and authority of the Secretariat depends to an extent (though not nearly to the extent that is popularly supposed) on the talent of one individual – the Secretary General. The job is a peculiar one. Some of those who drafted the Charter imagined that the Secretary General would be merely a superclerk, taking orders from the great powers as they desired; others sensed that he might become an executive, willing and doing, even sometimes obliging a Great Power to tail along after him. In the event, the Secretary General has exerted power according to his individual capacity.

The International Court of Justice, which sits in the Peace Palace in The Hague, is the juridical arm of the United Nations adjudicating international squabbles of a special kind. The qualification is a weighty one, involving that sacred shibboleth, national sovereignty. Obviously, there are times when a proud power does not care to have fifteen impartial judges, citizens, as it may be, of fifteen foreign countries, deciding that particular power’s rights. The rights may be so important that the power may elect to fight for them. This being the case, no issue comes before the Court unless the disputing parties have agreed to abide by the Court’s decision. (Many treaties and international conventions contain clauses binding the signatories to accept the jurisdiction of the Court). Despite this limitation on its jurisdiction, the Court manages to smooth a considerable number of petty frictions, and keep them form becoming serious vexations.

The Security Council, as we are all painfully aware, has the responsibility of keeping peace in the world. Since war, as one of its proponents has observed, is only the continuation of politics by other means, the Security Council has in practice taken on the more intransigent political problems of the time; when they have continued to resist solution, they have been transformed into various bureaucratic appendages of the Security Council: the Disarmament Commission, the United Nations Operation in Congo, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and so on. To the Security Council has also been delegated the decisions as to whether a state qualifies for membership in the United Nations: down through the years this responsibility has spawned some epic spats, and provoked repeated use of the veto (not always by the USSR). Moreover, in the Security Council the dialogue, spoken and snarled, is exceedingly public, and therefore the diplomats are obliged to strike the posture of propagandists. In the process the cause of peace is not served, but the kindergarten theory flourishes.

 

Text 8

IS THE MONROE DOCTRINE DEAD?[10]

Let me assure you that any report that you may have read concerning the death of the Monroe Doctrine was greatly exaggerated.
Carl Vinson, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Is the Monroe Doctrine outdated? Not by a long sight. It cannot be possibly regarded as dead. Has it been put in the hands of an inter-American committee? Or does it have the pristine vigor with which President James Monroe challenged the threats of banded European powers to recapture the colonies that had revolted against Spain? That is one of the questions posed by the Soviet presence in Cuba.

In 1825, President Monroe told the monarchs of the Holly Alliance “that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety”.

The doctrine worked – with the blessing of the British fleet. And when Napoleon III set up Archduke Maximilian an Emperor of Mexico during our Civil War, it worked again, this time supported by a 50,000 army of observation moved to the Mexican border, as soon as the war had ended.

President Cleveland vigorously invoked the Monroe Doctrine in 1895 against Britain in a dispute over the boundaries between British Guyana and Venezuela, and the British consented to put all the disputed territory under arbitration.

At this time Cleveland wrote that the doctrine “cannot become obsolete while our Republic endures”. Perhaps not – but it did change. Still its importance has been as great as that of any principle in America.

Originally the United States did not object, in theory, when European Nations resorted to debt collecting by force against defaulting Latin American states. But it did not fail to grasp the danger of such expeditions. The Caribbean became recognized as a particularly sensitive area, and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 produced a variant on the doctrine, which became known as the Roosevelt (or Caribbean).

Flagrant cases of chronic wrongdoing or governmental impotence, said Roosevelt, may ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the western hemisphere the adherence of the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, to the exercise of an international police power. The power was exercised in a number of Caribbean nations – Cuba (where it was provided for by the treaty of 1903), Santo Domingo, Haiti and Nicaragua among them.

The idea of the United States as international policeman was, of course, not popular in Latin America, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, dedicating the nation “to the policy of the good neighbor”, moved rapidly toward the renunciation of “armed intervention”.

So the Americas moved by degrees toward common measures for defense and mutual assistance. In 1939, when the war broke out in Europe, the Act of Panama set up a neutral zone on the seas (sometimes called the Pan-American Security Zone, but more commonly “chastity belt”).

Measures for defense against the Axis powers were concerted (with some feet-dragging) and the destroyers-for-bases deal with Britain was billed as a measure for hemispheric protection.

With the war’s end, the hemisphere moved to a treaty of mutual defense and establishment of the Organization of American States. These provide for consultation and joint action. There has been rather more consultation than action.

Feeling against intervention, joint or single, is strong in Latin America, as well as fear of the Yankee “Colossus of the North”. Some are afraid lest it should apply the Monroe Doctrine independent of and even opposing the Charter of the United Nations.


 

Text 9

THE GREAT DEBATE[11]

 

The “captains and kings”[12] of the Commonwealth having departed, the tumult and the shouting about the Common Market are more likely to flare up than to die down. This is as it should be. The Government’s pledges about the Commonwealth and EFTA were not given to them. They were assurances given to the British people. Whether the pledges have been kept or not, and whether Britain will be in a position honourably to join the Six, will be for Parliament to decide. Even more strongly is it for the nation through Parliament to weigh the advantages and disadvantages, the opportunities and the hazards, of such a step. The sooner the great national debate can get under way the better.

It has always been unreal to believe it could be postponed until after everything had been signed in Brussels. Now that the talks threaten to go on for a further appreciable time the Government will be forced to campaign if a national will to enter is to be maintained. This is not merely a matter of the merits of the case having to be kept in mind. A government that does not appear to be actively fighting for a cause it believes in is apt to find that cause losing ground whatever its merits. The same thing is true within the Conservative party. It is by no means unanimous about the Common Market. The opponents will not match any official restraints. Next month’s party conference could start a hardening process one way or the other.

Mr Gaitskell is perhaps in the most difficult position. Exactly how his party is split on the Common Market is hotly disputed on another page. That it is split is obvious. However much he may lean one way or the other, Mr Gaitskell cannot afford yet to come off his fence. He declares the economic arguments are evenly balanced. He is ominous about the political hazards. He summons up the glow of our historic past generally and the gloom of today’s Commonwealth on this particular issue. The one thing he is forthright about is that the terms Mr Heath is likely to get will not be good enough, the implication being that a Labour Government’s negotiator would get better ones.

There is no need to warn so able a politician as Mr Gaitskell of the dangers he runs. If a general election gave him office he might find himself quickly having to justify his assertions. Either he would have to negotiate, with no certainty of making good his terms or he would have to turn his back on Brussels and lead Britain in some other direction.

The national debate will be healthy only if in this matter of alternatives certain questions are frankly answered. What are the actual possibilities of Commonwealth trade being built up to be a satisfactory alternative? How many Commonwealth countries would be willing to mortgage enough of their economic freedom for a sufficient number of years ahead and advantageously enough for Britain to make this abandonment of the will to join the Six a fair exchange? Most important of all, how long under such an arrangement would Britain be able to remain a satisfying enough market for the Commonwealth? The debate on the Common Market must never be allowed to stray far from the state of the British nation.

Text 10

WHY FLOG A DYING WHITE ELEPHANT[13]

A galaxy of Ministers have gathered at the wake of Nato in Paris for the last meeting of the Nato Council there before General de Gaulle bundles the organisation and all its works out of France.

They are the Foreign Secretary (George Brown), the Defence Minister (Denis Healy), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Jim Callaghan), and the Minister for Europe (George Thomson).

De Gaulle took France out of Nato some time ago, because he said staying in meant being run by the United States and he wasn’t having that.

VETO

By the same token he proposes once more to veto Britain’s entry into the Common Market, because, in the words of the Evening Standard Paris correspondent (December 14), “he regards Mr Wilson as President Johnson’s stooge agent and so it follows for him that Britain must not be allowed to stage any Trojan horse staff for the Americans inside the Market”.

Meanwhile there was a considerable row in the House on December 12, and, according to the press, another at the Parliamentary Labour Party’s meeting two days later.

This was a result of George Thomson’s announcement that the Government had agreed to “make no changes in their troop and supply dispositions in Germany” and to go on talking with the Americans and Germans at least until next July about our share of Nato defence costs.

It had further been agreed that they would continue to “act in concert with their allies and follow the prescribed Nato and Western European Union procedures”.

CONSENT

These require the consent of our allies to reducing our commitments in Nato, however tough our economic situation, instead of cutting our Nato defence costs now and by our own decision, as the Government has so often said it would do and as the state of our economy says we must do.

The House was treated to the extraordinary spectacle of Labour backbenchers cheering Sir Alec Douglas-Home when he recalled the Chancellor’s pledge on introducing his budget last May, that the Government would secure “relief from the whole of the foreign exchange costs of keeping our forces in Germany”, and concluded that therefore George Thomson’s statement represented “a complete failure of the Government policy in this respect”.

FEEBLE

Michael Foot banged home that point: it was about time the Government understood, he said, that many of us on the Labour back benches “find the continued stalling of the German Government on this subject, and the utterly feeble response of the British Government to it totally intolerable”.

This was particularly so as when they introduced the wage freeze on July 20 they had repeated that “part of those very stringent measures involved severe cuts in the amount which we spend on our forces in Germany”.

He warned the Government that if it did not do better than that, it was going to have a first-class row on its hands.

“Manny” Shinwell, who as chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party and former War Minister is no longer often a rebel, pointed out that ”this matter has been dragging on for many years”, and that “Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery, who certainly knows as much as anybody on either Front Bench about military matters, has asserted that no more than 20,000 troops are required in Germany” (instead of our present 55,000).

IMPOSSIBLE

On the former point, the Prime Minister told the House two years ago (December 16, 1964) that the upkeep of BAOR meant “a gap falling on our balance of payments of £55 million to £60 million. I am certain the House will agree that this is an impossible situation”.

Over a year and a half ago, on May 11, 1965, he told the Nato Council that “a very high proportion of Britain’s balance of payments problem is created by overseas defence expenditure, not least within the Nato area…. I want my colleagues to realise that we cannot and do not intend to continue to take this unfair share of the economic burden”.

But ten days ago, on December 6, Foreign Secretary George Brown told the House that the BAOR is costing us £94 million in foreign exchange this year and the Bonn Government is offering only £31 million by way of off-set payments.

RACKET

That means the “gap” is several million pounds wider today than when the Prime Minister declared two years ago that the situation was impossible.

On the second point – the value of Nato – Lord Montgomery told the Lords on November 30, not only that 20,000 British troops would be ample, but that “the real danger in Europe is Germany”, and that Nato is well on the way to becoming a political racket. Money is being chucked like water. Every nation is trying to grab as much as it can. There are enormous military headquarters, from Norway right across Europe down to Naples.

Parkinson’s Law is evidently working on an American scale in Nato. It is working politically as well as financially: the more Nato costs, the less sense it makes, and the wilder the reasons advanced for trying to keep it going.

In the November 30 Lords debate the long-standing pretext that Nato is necessary to protect us against Soviet forces marching in to impose Communism was all but officially scuttled.

After all, not even their Lordships can swallow that stuff any longer.

REVIVAL

Instead speaker after speaker agreed that we must not cut our forces in Nato, because we want to enter the European Economic Community (whereas our loyalty to the U.S. is going to keep us out), and that we have to keep them there because of the revival of Germany nationalism.

One Noble Lord said he had “always regarded Germany, and not Russia, as our potential enemy”.

In view of the revival of German nationalism and neo-nazism he thought we should keep all our forces in Nato to “guard against possible trouble in Germany”. He was “profoundly glad that the Russians are along the frontier”.

The logic of that muddled argument would be that Britain should get out of Nato and join the Warsaw alliance.

OPPOSED

Instead, the Nato Council decided to admit West Germany to a share in taking nuclear decisions.

On January 31 and July 3, 1963 Mr Wilson declared that the Labour Party was utterly and unalterably opposed to such a policy, on the double ground that it would whet the Bonn Government’s nuclear appetite and make impossible any agreement with the USSR on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

That is equally true today.

In any case it would make more sense to close with the repeated Soviet offers to scrap both Nato and the Warsaw alliance and conclude all-European agreements for disengagement and disarmament, non-aggression and peaceful settlement of disputes and collective security on lines consistent with the UN Charter.

That would, in effect, mean at long last acting on the policies to which the Labour Party has been officially pledged ever since 1958, and on the principle, proclaimed as recently as in the Government’s 1966 Defence White Paper, that defence must be the servant and not the master of foreign policy.

Ay – there’s the rub; to do that would mean ceasing to flog the dying white elephant Nato, owned and trained and entered for the Armageddon Stakes by Uncle Sam.

LOYALTY

In other words, it would mean breaking with the policy pursued by all three parties in Parliament ever since the war, of basing our world position on all-in loyalty to the U.S. alliance, which, because of the vast disparity of power, necessarily and inevitably means total subservience to the U.S. Administration. It is the United States in conjunction with Blimpish and arms manufacturing interests at home which is forcing the Government to go on playing the economically ruinous, military megalomaniac “east of Suez worlds” role and to scrap our own policies for making peace in Europe.

Anglo-American policy confounds the social and ideological challenge of Communism which is real, with an entirely mythical and non-existent threat of Soviet aggression. It reverts to type the exploded fallacy, which nuclear weapons have made literally deadly, that the way to preserve peace is to prepare for war – through a balance of power sustained by the U.S. run alliance Nato, Cento and SEATO and a crushingly costly race in weapons of universal destruction, in service of President Johnson’s anti-Communist crusade.

NUCLEAR

The American alliance has become a nuclear Holy Alliance, a global successor to Hitler’s anti-Communist Axis.

The alternative is to take our stand on the United Nations Charter in deed and not only in word.

That means co-operation on equal terms with West and East, the U.S. and USSR; peaceful co-existence and co-operation with both and not being allied with either against the other.

That is the policy to which Labour is pledged and in which most of the party believes. It is the only policy which will work.


 

ABBREVIATIONS


A.C. – A. Coppard

B.Sh. – B. Shaw

B.P. – Belva Plain

Ch.D. – Ch. Dickens

E.W. – E. Waugh

G.& d’U. – G. Gow and A. d’Usseau

G.G. – G. Green

J.D.S. – J. D. Salinger

J.F. – J. Fowles

J.G. – J. Galsworthy

J.S. – J. Steinbeck

I.Sh. – I. Shaw

K.G. – K. Grahame

K.M. – K. Mansfield

L.C. – L. Carroll

L.D. – Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

L.A.D. – Longman Dictionary of American English

M.S. – M. Spark

M.T. – M. Twain

R.Ch. – R. Chandler

R.L. – R. Ludlum

R.P.W. – R. P. Warren

Th.D. – Th. Dreiser

W.G. – W. Golding



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