The Passing Show

To guard the country

Those people who fought so long to bring about the establishment of the new capitalist state of Nigeria must have been reading of the latest developments there with great pride. For on March 29th Dr. Azikiwe, the Governor-General of Nigeria, put on the uniform of a field-marshal and addressed the two houses of the Nigerian Parliament. His remarks were as martial as his clothing. He announced “defence measures including a chain of police posts to guard the country’s eastern frontier’’ (The Times, 30/3/61).

“In the first speech from the throne by a Nigerian Governor-General, he said the Government intended to seek expert advice on how to establish an air force. The Government would continue to build a defence system which would not only ensure internal security but ‘will also serve as a deterrent to any would-be aggressor.'”

The new Nigerian ruling class are clearly losing no time in building up armed forces to protect or . extend their interests both at home and abroad. Thanks to their own efforts and to their allies in the reformist parties in this country, they have established their rule over the people of Nigeria. Now they are creating a carbon copy of the older capitalist states.

Paris in the springtime

The idea of gay, fashionable Paris, the city of elegance and spacious boulevards, took a hard knock recently. The French Government (like a lot of other governments) wanted to persuade the electorate that living conditions would be a lot better in a few years’ time: so they put on an exhibition about it. Unfortunately from their own point of view, this showed just what living conditions in Paris are now. Of some 2,700,000 dwellings in the Parisian area, 800,000 have been condemned as unhealthy. Of the homes in the city itself, only 17 per cent have a bathroom, while in the suburbs the figure sinks to just over ten per cent. Parisians have only one square metre of green space per head.

Needless to say, there is already a “housing drive” in progress to “solve” the slum problem. One new dwelling is completed every six minutes. Unhappily, a new Parisian is born every three minutes. And besides those born in Paris, thousands more stream in every year from the provinces—600,000 in the last five years.

There is more to Paris than the tourists at the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées ever see.


The death of Belinda Lee in a car- crash in California was followed by an article in the Vatican news paper, L’Osservatore Romano, attacking the people of the “world of the cinema screen”. “It is a generation ”, said the editorial, “without a fixed address, a generation for whom fiction becomes a reality.”

Well, well. One would have thought that clerics were the last people to be able to accuse anyone else of taking fiction for reality.

A Christian celebration

Seen recently in a stationer’s shop window in Woolwich was a card bearing the notice:

“Easter is a Christian celebration Get your Easter greetings cards here.”

How solicitous shopkeepers are to remind the religious of their duties and obligations! After making Christmas the excuse for an intensive two months’ sales campaign, they appear to be starting on Easter. All that remains now is for the supermarkets to put up large notices reminding shoppers of their duty to fast during Lent. Then we will have seen everything.

A. W. E.

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