Welsh Journals

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THE WELSH OUTLOOK NOTES OF THE MONTH The War We desire to draw the attention of our readers to the opening article of this issue, in which we discuss the condition of the national mind in the face of the present position of the war. The gloom cast by the fate of Rumania has not been dispelled by the fine advance on the Ancre and the fall of Monastir, while there has been much anxious speculation as to what is really hap- pening in Russia. The bribe to Poland, the deportations in Belgium, the sinking of the Britannic, have furnished fresh evidence of the grim cynicism of the foe. On the West, our casualties since the July offensive have been very large, probably much larger absolutely and relati\ely than those of France. In the South-east the wastage from sickness is enormous. When we turn our gaze from the field of war to the scene at home it is to find the coalfield in the thick of a sordid game of grab. For it cannot be pretended that the high food prices are pressing very hardly on the miners themselves. They are not. The miners are better off than most of us, as shopkeepers can testify, and places of amusement are thronged. The demand of the men for an ad- vance of 15 per cent. and of the owners for a reduction of 10 per cent. are, at this juncture, simply two moves in the general scramble to profit at the expense of the consumers. Actually" says The Nation (November 25th) in the midst of the miseries of this war, millionaires are swallowing up one great industrial concern after another, and preaching the gospel of the Industrial Revolution in a spirit that makes the War itself appear a mere incident in the aggrandisement of the few." (With some of the underlying pre-war causes of this extraordinary situation we deal in our second article.) Simul- taneously we have the spectacle of a silly band of belligerents attacking a noisy body of pacificists at a perfectly legitimate public meeting. There are grave days before us, and, plainly, many of us are not in the frame of mind to meet them. Why is this ? DECEMBER, 1916 The Want of candour on the part of Government the Government is the chief and the Press explanation. This has a double baneful influence. Where it has not led to distrust it has bred a false confidence. The more thoughtful feel that the Government has so often misled the public through the Press that they do not know what to believe. One illusion after another about the impending collapse of Germany has vanished. How often has Germany been bankrupt and starving how often has she called up her last man and been on the brink of revolu- tion ? The man in the street accepts the victorious suggestions of the persistent placards at something like their face value and believes we are doing very well indeed. Despite the heavy casualty lists, to many the greatest war in history sinks to an unpleasant episode at a distance which need not seriously inter- fere with the fight for wages or profits. Muddles This complacency is fed by the halting Cabinet Ministers of the Runciman type, who lean to laissez-faire as a war- policy and are surprised to find that the country is tired of being lectured on food questions and that it wants to be governed." This is his amazing confession after over two years of war:- We have been driven bit by bit against our will, and here I speak for myself, because, as the House knows, I do not like the arrangements if they can be avoided, to suspend the easy flow of purely voluntary action." And almost in the same breath he announces the appointment of a Food Controller (anonymous), suddenly discovers him to be the most essential man in the Empire," and, not waiting for the Napoleon of Nutritions he himself hurries off to prevent the Savoy Hotel giving gala dinners at twenty-five shillings a head and the potato growers from making undue profit.