EFORE the war and again shortly after its outbreak we pleaded in this column for a " square deal " for our fighting forces. We demanded that this war should not revive the scandal of the last, when those who worked in munition factories received high wages while the men at the front lived in constant anxiety about the economic security of their wives and children.
Unfortunately there is plenty of evidence that matters have only partially improved. Today it is still too often the case that those who have sacrificed their own personal liberty and chance of getting on, through serving with the forces, are economically penalised into the bargain.
And this time there is less excuse for the scandal. The war-time powers invested in the Government, together with the numberless controls which it exercises, make possible a redistribution of available wealth the first call upon which should belong, for the benefit of their dependents. to those who are serving.
We fear, however, that the Government is more concerned to satisfy the demands of those who can exert pressure on it than the demands of justice and decency. It is a scandal that the discipline necessarily imposed upon serving men should protect the community from the action which would be rightly taken in defiance were soldiers, sailors and airmen as free as the civil workers of the country.