wR ITING before the "inquest" on the defeat in Libya and the Prime Minister's speech, there can he no useful purpose in prolonged comment. We hope, however, that attention will be drawn to the potential consequences, even in modern warfare, of one mistake. According to accounts at present available the Eighth Army expected victory, but something went wrong in a matter of hours, and the debacle with its stream of tragic results took place. There has been a tendency on the Allied side throughout the war to stress the quantitative, as opposed to the qualitative, factors in war. In 1943, or maybe 1945. the weight of American production will annihilate the enemy. A thousand bombers will do the trick where a hundred won't. The numbers available to this country and America will form an irresistible Continental Army. The Germans know the value of weight, but they put more emphasis upon speed, efficiency and ability to im
provise. In Russia their weight failed as it did in England. In
Western Europe and in Africa their speed and skill and understanding of the elements of "motoring" warfare were of more account than their weight. Nor can we put our trust in the mere passage of time. Vast territories and key points of defence have be-en lost in a few moments. There is no guarantee that mistakes will not lose us even our last defences. The war is on now, and our final victory depends upon what we do now, not upon what we persuade ourselves we shall be able to do in a couple of years.
BROADCASTING last week to the Portuguese nation, Dr. Salazar expressed misgivings about trends of opinion here and these misgivings will not be foreign to readers of this paper. The Portuguese Prime Minister and his people are not only formal allies of Britain, they are personal friends who would consider a Nazi triumph as a world disaster. All the more reason then why we should attend closely to a point of view much too little understood and appreciated by our people. Dr. Salazar spoke of the great confusion caused in all minds by the AngloSoviet Alliance. He denied that Britain wanted to promote Communism, but he feared the possibility of an eventual British victory being exploited by strong elements who would turn it to an ideological victory and bring back to Europe its twenty years of disorder. He pointed out that England's power of gradual self-adaptation enabled her to solve her own problems, but made it especially difficult for us to understand the real meaning of events on the Continent and the true character of the new regimes which were not essentially anti-British.
Since the beginning of the war we have held the view that our foreign policy (which is an essential part of our war effort) would have been far more successful if we had taken into account the potential strength of the Catholic and Latin tradition. This tradition must be fundamentally on the side of those who are fighting barbarism. What puzzles and alienates it, however. is the impression of fundamental irresponsibility which manifests itself in those who believe it is possible to save Britain without any consideration for the great principles of justice and order that spring from Christendom and that are still incarnated in Western European institetions, The Anglo-Soviet Alliance is, no doubt, a necessity of war; fundamentally much more dangerous is the way we allow ourselves to become the victims of the disruptive and anarchic principles that have torn the Continent and produced nothing stable. It is not altogether surprising if Dr. Salazar senses the danger that Britain, having saved herself, is perfectly willing to see Europe handed over to the elements which he knows by his own experience to mean another arid even more critical battle between the principles of order and the principles of dis., order. He may wonder, too, whether this time England herself will escape the fuller repercussions. The Channel is much narrower than it used to be.
LOOKING TO DE GAULLE
0UR own views in regard to un happy France have been based upon similar fears. There again we have always seen France—and especially a defeated France that deeply realises the causes of her prolonged weakness—as a country that will stand in the future for civilisation arid order and social justice as against all barbarism, whether Teutonic or otherwise. As such we have seen her as the best and truest friend of Britain still fighting against barbarism. We have seen no fundamental divergence between a Main holding terntorial France together and a de Gaulle, still fighting outside French territory on the side of civilisation and France herself. Tragically the situation has been exploited by those who find it to be in their interest to divide Frenchmen and to pursue subversive internationalisms. In this way Nazi Germany (in our view) has been given substantial help in its policy of squeezing the real life out of France and making the country an economic vassal of Germany. Asthis Nazi policy succeeds, so do more and more loyal Frenchmen stand out in resistance. But resistance for what? Laval, rather than face that future, openly opts for French vassaldom. It is a cowardly way out, The future must lie rather with do Gaulle. Can he restore to resisting Frenchmen everywhere that fuller idegl of an ordered traditional yet modern France which a post-war
Europe will so badly need? His recent manifesto gives some hope, but we frankly 'fear the influence of some of those who have led the fight against Main.
THE ENGINEERS' CLAIM
THE precise nature of the engin eers' new claim is still shrouded in some obscurity, but the latest information suggests that certain newspaper reports have been fantastically exaggerated. There is reason to believe that what the A.E.U. is asking for is simply the balance of the 4d. an hour which they demanded last December. The balance of this claim would involve a payment of approximately another us. a week. It is, however, important to grasp that the present agitation is only panty to be interpreted in economic terms. It is really an expression of a general malaise. For instance, one of the most acute grievances is that men are being sent away from their homes to an extent which they believe a more intelligent planning could reduce.
There is also a great deal of petty irritation due to the manner in which the Employment Exchanges handle lodging allowance. Thus men going home on holiday are in some cases allowed to draw the allowance while
absent from work. But in other cases it is stopped—despite the fact that the man may be compelled to keep on his " digs" while he is away at the risk of being shelterless when he returns. But the fundamental cause of the trouble is that the engineers have no confidence in the managements as a class. The memory of their treatment over the past twenty years is inextinguishable, and nothing that has so far. been said or done can shake their conviction that the street and the dole will again be their portion when the war is over. Since that is their view, it seems almost pardonable that they should exploit their brief summer to the utmost, nor can we hope for a change of attitude till there has been a radical reorientation and reconstruction of the whole of our industrial life to a degree that would render their fears chimerical and ridiculous.
NOMINEE SHAREHOLDING IT is to be regretted that, as was A evident from an ansiker given in the House of Commons last week, the Government can hold out no hope of introducing legislation at an early date to abolish nominee shareholding. The immediate preoccupation seems to be with the anonymity of the owners of shares in newsagencies and newspapers. But the question is a much wider, and, we think, a much more important one. Nominee shareholding lies at the heart of one of the most serious forms of corruption in our political and business life, a fact that is recognised by many of the more enlightened and important elements in our business life, from whom indeed comes the main impetus for reform.
The prevailing system powerfully assists the company director and company executive who uses inside information for profitable trading in the shares of his own concern. It also assists the politician who wishes to exploit an inside tip.
THE NATION'S HEALTH
A STEADY rise in infant mortality during the first two years of the war is a grave feature of the Registrar-General's returns. How far this hundred per cent.. increase is offset by the much better showing for the first three months of the present year which constitutes an all-time low record, is not clear. Another feature of the returns is the twenty per cent. increase in the number of illegitimate births. Lastly there is a record of a rapid increase in deaths from tuberculosis. The rise in the 'death-rate from this cause in 1941 was twice that of 1916, the second year of the last war, and the increase OD peacetime figures was from 45 to a hundred _per cent. Despite these setbacks, the general health of the nation has stood up splendidly to the conditions of war. This may be due in large measure to the fact that the war has forced many of us to live more simply and naturally, making fuller use of God's neglected gifts and less use of man's improvements on them. Among children especially, life in the country would more than make up for deficiencies in vitamins and inspections. Let us hope that these lessons will be remembered if and when the days of plenty return.
LADY Allen of Hurtwood has
brought before the national, press (in an interview with the Observer) what we in this paper have been saying for some time about babies being put into nurseries while their mothers go out to work. " Babies in State nurseries," Lady Allen said, " many as young as three weeks, are not only deprived of their natural food but also of a more intangible but possibly more important nourishment, the warm, personal relationship of the mother. No amount of institutional care can replace either of these."
Recently we published some statistics, supplied by the Ministry concerqed, showing that apart from the moral undesirability of mothers " parking " their children in institutions during early infancy, it was a far front economic proposition, and Lady Allen discusses this point at
some length. She shows that if children up to the age of two years were excluded from day nurseries there would be a saving to the country of £1,034,375. The annual total saving in woman power (i.e., adults required to took after the children), if only the two to five age groups were catered for, would be 3,115. The saving on staff salaries 075,000.
A NAIVE COMMENT
UCH the most neve of the com
ments evoked by the Joint Pastoral has been that of the Tribune, entitled " A Naive Pastoral." We have long hoped for the creation of some understanding between Catholics who strive for a Just social system and those Socialists who are clearly moved by a genuine desire for a more equitably ordered world. And in some respects we have felt that the Tribung stands among the most honest and sensible of the Left papers. Alas, we are always cut short by some evidence of the extraordinary narrowness and blindness of these people. Refusing, unlike Mr. Fenner Brockway who, however much he may disagree in detail with us, sees at once the common ground, to consider the merits of the Bishops' practical points, the Tribune demands, in effect. a Joint Episcopal Denunciation of anyone and everyone upon whom the label "Fascist " can be put. As though that alone would get anyone any further, especially these days when the precise differences between many " Fascist " reforms and many "Socialist " reforms are hard to discover. Surely the Tribune can begin to get some dim appreciation of the truth that there is a great movement towards Totalitarianism, whether Bolshevik, Fascist, Socialist, Phalangist, and that the vital task is not to increase the rivalry between the rival brands, but to shape and moderate the one movement in such a way that the essential rights and duties of the person are brought out fully and fully safeguarded within a novel order. In this task none can play a more decided part than the Christian Church, and any sincere Socialist who knows his business should be intensely interested in what the Church has to say, instead of being content to stir up old misunderstandings and to encourage more mudslinging.