By Harold Joseph Laski
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155 lieve the congestion of public business which today sties the public departments. Nor need we fear parochialism. That, in truth, is the offspring of a time when distance had not been annihilated by the improvement of transportation. It is possible today to go from Manchester to Liverpool in less than the time in which London itself can be traversed. When neighbouring example is thus contiguous a narrowly local sense is but a figment of pessimistic imagination. And with such a change what we open up is one of the fundamental sources of training in the business of government.
Wilson in New Jersey, proved their fitness for high national office by service of a kind that demonstrated their ability to handle public issues. And it is at least not impossible that one day a similar qualification will be demanded as the basis of membership in the House of Commons. It seems, to say the least, not unlikely that the trained servant of a municipality will prove a fitter member of that Chamber than a young and freshly innocent peer whose triumphs have before been confined to the debating societies of Oxford and Cambridge.
Municipally it certainly is no less efficient than private industry; but, humanly speaking, there is little or no evidence that its administration is more democratic. 183 The permanent official is no more blessed with an mediate appreciation of that hunger to determine the rule of his own life which is the source of democratic aspiration than the private employer. Nor can anyone examine his record in the present war and feel confident that he has any real contribution to offer. 184 The centralisation statemanagement would imply would mean the transference of all power to a class of guardians within the state whose main object, even more than today would, at all costs, be the maintenance of regularity of supply.