The need for action was clear enough. School buildings and maintenance had practically ceased during the war, and many schools had been destroyed; there was a great shortage of teachers; the pre-war plans for raising the school-leaving age and providing secondary education for all children had still to be implemented. Clearly the contribution of the voluntary schools would be sorely needed, and the country was in no mood to object to moderate concessions. True, the Trades Union Congress in 1942 had declared itself opposed to denominational instruction in schools and to the payment of state grants to denominational training colleges; but Roman Catholic and other trade unionists had effectively protested. Generally speaking, it might be said that a candidate for parliament was far more likely to lose votes than to gain them by manifesting


hostility to religion: believers would be offended, and even many of those indifferent would consider him guilty of intolerance or bad taste.