Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

5 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Political Notes


Political Notes By F. W. Jowett, M.P. I MAN-POWER. The New Man-Power Bill is having a. storm- passage. and no wonder. Mr. Lloyd George in- troduced it in a speech that in many of its parts was quite contradictory, and as he proceeded to tatP the proposa ls of the Bill it "became more and more clear that the whole of the Irish "Party and a considerable number of other mem- bers were bitterly hostile to them. It is difficult to understand how the Government expect to increase the fighting strength of the country by their proposals. Everybody knows that. the weakest link in the national chain so far as this country is concerned is shipping. The man- power reserves of the Allies are in America. Mr. Lloyd George himself admits that only 7 per cent, of all the men between 41 and 51 that he propose to conscript will be fit to go into the army. But in the United States there are many millions, if there were ships in which to carry them. Moreover, the men lie now proposes to conscript cannot become efficient soldiers until Jaw in the present year, whereas large numbers of the Americans are already partially trained. Some time ago Mr. Lloyd George stated that 20.000 shipwrights were to be brought out of the army, but only a thousand or two have actually been returned. BRITAIN'S HUGE BURDEN. The position of this country with regard to it:, share in the war is that it has the largest arniv in- Europe except that of Germany. It is responsible for most of the world's transport and for keeping- the seas open for traffic. The heavi e>r financial burden is upon this country. All this in addition to providing huge quantities of coal. ammunition, and equipment for the Euro- pean Allies. If the present bill is passed, the age limit for military service in this country be two years higher than in France and five years higher than in Italy. Not. content with this, the Government is asking for power to raise the age to 55 by Order in Council when- ever they think fit. However, the Government ha., mad e du. mistake of thinking thiiv Ijitjami wili oe -conscripted.' We sliuTl see. GERMANY'S OPPORTUNITY? General Smuts, who, when he took a leading part in deporting the South African laoour leaders shortly prior to the war. was referred to by Mr. A. M. Thompson as the unspeakable Smuts." is perhaps the most effective propagan- dist member of the War Cabinet. Speaking re- cently at a function given by one of the City Companies, the dothworkers" Company. lie said that Germany had an opportunity of responding to the Allies war offer to ma ke peace on moder- ate and fair terms when the Prime Minister, )fr. Lloyd George, made his statement concern- ing: war aims to the Labour Con fere nee last January. The statement in question, in the opinion of General Smuts, was made in the spirit of moral idealism and was afterwards approved by Piesident Wilson and M. Clemenceau, and was subsequently practically endorsed by the Labour and Socialist Congress of all the Allied Countries. LLOYD GEORGE'S MORAL IDEALISM. Of the moral idealism" of Mr. Lloyd stateiii#tit regarding the war aims of the Allies to the Labour Conference I have no wish to remark I)iit I do wish to point out in fit(-t, not, ) i i n, 1110,1'fl that the statement was, in fact, nothing more than a dexterous effort to make it appear that the Labour Party's own statement of war aims. then recently issued, was substantially identical with tii,- war aims of the Government. Vi it-h re- gard to Alsace Lorraine, with regard to the promises made to Italy and to Kumania. Mr Lloyd George on that occasion misted the La- bour Conference by his deliberately obscure lan- guage. He declared that Great Britain would stand to the death with .France for the toc,-con- sideratimI" of the position of Alsace-Lorraine, and that Great Britain regarded "as vital the satisfaction of the legitimate claims of Italy for union with those of their own race and tongue" and that we mean to press that justice be done to men of Rumanian blood in their legitimate aspirations." but this was to the Labour Con- ference, and, even so, the language in each case I was capable of meaning quite different things. HIS VERSAILLES STATEMENT. I I The Prime Minister's Labour Conference-state- m?nt was followed directly aft?nvards by the l sult4,?ill ent oil tlie. atithoi'ltv of the A?ied Governments. In this statement there was no rpferenep a t. all to the claims of France, of Italy, of Rumania, or of Great Britain for an- nexations of territory, obscure or otherwise. There was just a re-affirmation of the "knock- out blojv policy, and nothing more. Therefore, the set-ret treaties which have promised Italy territory inhabited by people who are not of their own race and Rumanian territory inha- bited by men who are not "of Rumanian blood" still hold the field, as, indeed, Lord Robert Cecil has since acknowledged, and these a.ims are part of the Allied war aims along with others equally indefensible. It is for General Smuts and othti- Government propagandists to explain how these war- aims can be justified, and where there is to be found in them the moral idealism of which he speaks. I PEACE POSSIBILITIES. I It is on account of the existence of the secret treaties and the refusal of the Allied Govern- ments to renounce them that one opportunity after another has been lost of entering safely upon peace negotiations. If the Allied Govern- ments could speak as fairly and as openly to the German people as President Wilson does the people of Gennany would absolutely decline to endure the losses and privations they are now enduring at the bidding of their rulers. Presi- dent Wilson in his latest declaration says. "We have ourselves proposed no injustice, no agres- sHin. We are ready whenever the final reckon- ing is made to be just to the German people, to deal fairly with the German Power as with all others.. FOH WE ASK NOTHING THAT WE ARE NOT WILLING TO ACCORD." This is the thmn above all others that the AWed GOV<jl'lHIIPnts ought to be able to say, but so long as the secret treaties remain unrenounced the Allied Governments cannot say it. and there is no hope of dividing the German people from the- military rulpr" of Germany so long as the fact remains. ITHE STUMBLING BLOCKS. I Tiie inability of the Allied Governments to bring themselves into line with President Wil- son by scrapping the secret treaties and declar- ing. as he has done, that they ask nothing they are not willing to accord to the nations they are fighting, not only deprives the Allied Gov- ernment of the moral force necessary to defeat German militarism, it also forces President Wil- son into a false position, which, to the people of enemy nations, appears nothing less than hypo- critical. Every German and every Austrian who reads President Wilson's professions of good faith and honesty of purpose in this war and his searching indictment of the mlers of Germany and their annexationist policy is fully aware of the annexionist plans of Allied Governments, which are prepared for execution if they have the power. Yet President Wilson, who knows all about the annexionist plans of the. Allies, says nothing in condemnation of them. This does not go without notice, and there is no doubt that, from the point of view of people of enemy nations, his utterances must appear to Ix* insincere. He cannot insist effectively on a non-annexionist policy for the Central Powei~s so long as the Allies of America adhere to the annexationist policy of th-e secret treaties.

Our Easter Conference.