School; Monovian Editorials

Editorials - 1937

 

 

No. 34 Easter, 1937.

 


Editor:J. F. Salmon

 

SPEAKING EDITORIALLY

"..............and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the world." -Abraham Lincoln. These were the words of Lincoln in 1863. Seventy years after Mussolini, dominant power in Italy, proclaims boldly that "The democracies are done for." These sentiments, at first glance, seem to apply only to world affairs-as, of course, they were intended to - and to be irrelevant matter in a school magazine. But their application to school life was felt to be very pertinent by a number of members of the School early in February, when a debate was held on the motion that "The present system of election of Prefects is not in the best interests the School"-the present system being nomination and voting solely by the Upper School. The motion was, and some will say unfortunately, carried by fifty-five votes to forty-five. Despite the fact that the majority was composed largely of Lower School boys who, perhaps, anticipated their enfranchisement under a new system, it is evident from the presence of hose fifty-five votes that the democratic element in the School being threatened, and that a section of its members is in sympathy with a definite curtailing of their liberty. To the French philosopher Voltaire it seemed irrational and absurd that the canon law should impinge upon the civil life of the community and dispose of it in the interests of an organisation purely international; similarly, though in a minor "world" which concerns only a small group of boys, it seems irrational to transfer the responsibility of electing representatives of the mass from the shoulders of the boys to the begowned ones of the Masters. Probably the Staff could choose more wisely and well than the Upper School; the disadvantage of the change of system proposed in the debate lies not in any faults of administration which might arise, but in the general principle, in the gradual undermining of democracy involved, which would lead inevitably to the loss of capability for self-government in the School. It therefore devolves upon every member of the School to uphold democracy. To do this, it is essential that the School as a whole shall show itself capable of selecting wisely its leader s and of giving them loyal support by obedience uninfluenced by the sobering effect of Staff supervision.

 

 

No. 35 Summer, 1937

 


Editor: J. F. Salmon

SPEAKING EDITORIALLY

Auferre trucdare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinern faciuut, pacem. appellant. Wednesday, May 12th, 1937. A heterogeneous mass of people throngs the pavements, crowds irreverently round the ancient statues on which they formerly gazed with such awe. From a distant corner comes a shout, unintelligible, confused, but nevertheless well-intended. Like a well-trained ballet the crowd sways, uncertain as to the reason, but obedient to a wave-like motion with no apparent source. Periscopes are produced in scores, hats swiftly removed, and the undertone of excited murmuring swells to a burst of cheering as the first soldier appears. Successive contingents of resplendent soldiery troop past the enthralled spectators, each distinctive marching tune swiftly rising to a crescendo and once more merging into the distance. All the might of the far-flung Empire is represented in this great union of force and display, and yet the watchers are unsatisfied. At last, the climax of the whole magnificent scene is reached: the great royal coach, cumbersome but glittering, comes into view, and now it is impossible to distinguish any particular sound from the crowd but a prolonged roar. At night, England's new King and Queen appear again and again on the balcony of their floodlit palace. "Coronation" photographs, articles cartoons fill the press for days afterwards. All London is the setting for scenes of inspired loyalty and pageantry In the south of England is a camp of big white tents; the occupants, now almost all adopted and sent to various parts of the country, are by no means strangers to the British press and thus, to the British people. A few months ago, four thousand frightened children forsook the sorrowful land of Spain for the summer peace of the English countryside, leaving behind relatives with no hope of similar escape until the declaration of peace. The rights and wrongs of the Spanish civil war we cannot attempt to decide; in fact, there is no man sufficiently unbiased for the task. But the plight of these refugees gives this generation an insight into the horrors of warfare, which in these days of highly-developed "civilisation" strikes combatants and innocents alike with the grim impartiality of Death. Patriotic Englishmen, seeing these children, and recalling the recent Abyssinian dispute, are apt to condemn the instigators of such misery as self-centred unheeding monsters who, nevertheless, being "foreigners," cannot be entirely blamed for their actions. Let them not forget that England already has her Empire- which means that certain of their predecessors, filled with fervent but misdirected enthusiasm, once subdued or "pacified" the luckless inhabitants of various lands and colonised" their territory just as Man has done and will continue to do until civilisation provides a solution. The desire for pre-eminence and power has obsessed most strong-willed, capable persons. invariably with disastrous results to one of the parties involved. Obviously, It will continue to do so; and the magnitude of the disaster which constantly attends this obsession grows as the science of killing is developed. The world is very old: in comparison. Man is in his Infancy-an infancy which has, nevertheless, produced great characters. So promising a child surely merits the opportunity to develop into maturity and ultimate perfection. Just as the School, by weekly subscriptions, is endeavouring to aid two Basque children to lead useful lives, so should the rulers of the world determine to guide their charge into a healthy future. This then is the responsibility of every ruling body. For the leaders of so vast a unit of the world as the British Empire the task is heavy indeed. At this critical time of crises and explosions in politics, our new King and Government have together embarked on a sea fraught with perils. If they were to fail, the world would be in sorry plight. For this reason we wish King George VI and his Cabinet every success in the uncertain future.

 

 

No. 36 Christmas, 1937

 


Editor: F. C. Carpenter

SPEAKING EDITORIALLY

Christmas is still a legend. Children may have killed Santa Claus, but the older generation is afraid to bury the corpse. It is still a joy to remember Wenceslas and the snow; the Wise Men and the star; and the little Child. And Christmas comes but once a year, to tell us the story of the babe of Bethlehem. Now after close on two thousand years Christmas is a time to eat, drink, and be merry; to cast aside fear and enmity in a brave show of goodwill. Perhaps we are a little tired of the story, and as time takes us farther from it, the haze of romance deepens into the mists of forgetfulness. When Christmas is over, the world has that sad air of the last days of the year when hope and joyful expectancy are gone like a dream. The glowing sentiments of goodwill have cooled off; the empty chairs and the remains of the feast stare at us in silence as if to ask what it has all meant. Everyone keeps Christmas, and not without a thought of Christ; the celebration is but half complete without a carol; and the little Child is simplicity itself, simplicity, the quest of every age. Many tales are told of Christmas on the Western Front how, overcome by feelings of goodwill, enemies of yesterday joined camp and remembered together the Light that came into the world. Would that the spirit of Christmas were not spent in two days, but that it lasted through the year! Sentiment is not always evil, nor so far removed from charity. And the spirit of Christmas is charity, not a mean and niggardly charity, but the love of Christ showing imperfectly in thousands to whom Christmas is more than a name. The spirit of Christmas would never have allowed the Great War; it weeps even now at the plight of China and Spain. It does not see long, despairing lines outside the Labour Exchanges and tell us blandly that prosperity is at hand. But once a year it reminds us of the brotherhood of man and tells us that men were born to live, not to die. This it has done for more than nineteen centuries, and will do as long as the name of Christ is remembered on earth. Let Scrooge's lesson not be lost on us: I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, Present, and Future. The Spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach."

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