Symud i'r prif gynnwys

VOLUME XV THE NUMBER IV WELSH OUTLOOK Where there is no vision the people perish NOTES OF THE MONTH WALES, as a whole, showed a deplorable lack of interest in the recent County Council elections. Contests were few, and the number of electors voting in those con- tests was pathetically small. Only in the indus- trial areas of Glamorgan and Monmouth was there election activity of any account, and in these places it was due to the introduction of party politics, a form of grouping ill-suited to a sane solution of local difficulties. This apathy is difficult to understand. We grumble at our rates. We cherish high ideals about national schemes of education. We express pious con- cern about the housing problem. We demand better roads. We deplore the lack of organiza- tion in agriculture. We are moved by the de- population of the countryside. The disappear- ance of the yeoman and the small holder leads us into pessimistic prophecies of a coming C3 popu- lation for Wales. Public health, maternity, child welfare, distress amongst the unemployed- these things, we say, present problems of the first magnitude, demanding instant attention. But when somebody asks, with an injured air, "Wihy is not something done?" most of us seem to find complete comfort in the assurance that Mr. Baldwin (or Mr. Lloyd George or Mr. MacDonald as the case may be) "is the boy to put things right." The rest of us vow that no Welsh good ever came out of Westminster and in the same breath demand that the Mother of Parliaments should give birth to a Welsh baby whose native precocity is to unravel our local knots. WHEN the Welsh man in the street dreams of the progress of his country, the County Councils never enter into his calculations. And yet the County Councils are APRIL 1928 entitled to deal with all these problems. The Local Government Act of 1888 conferred very large powers on the Councils and succeeding Acts have added to the importance of the work they may do. To-day they are, in effect, local Parliaments. Finance, education, agriculture, roads, health, housing-all these things, and more, fall within their province and progress along any of these paths is open to them. Many of their powers have not been exercised, at all events to their full ex- tent, but there is no doubt these bodies have worked well. Their successes have been largely due to the presence in each county of a few able and public-spirited men who have devoted them- selves to Local Government work, with the result that the counties have been, in effect, run by these men. But the type, we are told, is dying out, and the young men who should fill their places are not coming forward. In any case the situation to-day demands more than a sprinkling of men in each Council with a live and intelligent interest in the work of local government. A Council which con- templates using its many powers to the full re- quires not only a live Councillor in every seat, but also an intelligent, interested and critical elector- ate behind the Councillor. CAN anything be done to create or revive public interest in these very important bod- ies ? A very common belief is that the field for a Councillor's initiative is small and the in- cidence of his actions purely local. Is it any use pointing to the effect on the rest of the country of such local experiments as the establishment of the first Municipal Bank by Birmingham, the appoint- ment of the first medical officer of health by Liver- pool, the initiation of a sterilized milk system by St, Helens, and the development of tramway en-