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THE WELSH OUTLOOK JUNE, 1917 NOTES OF THE MONTH Industrial The two most prominent features Troubles of the public life of the country during the last month were the continuation of severe military activity on the Western front (with extension to the Italian and Salonika fronts, on both of which British troops are taking part in the operations), and a serious industrial crisis at home. The latter is possibly the greater event of the two for it is certain that if strikes of this character are at all frequent or prolonged, the military operations must be severely hampered. For once, the pundits cannot point the finger at South Wales. The strike has been largely confined to the engineering trade, and has affected most other parts of the country. Its immediate causes are somewhat obscure and so far as the Government has permitted the publication of them, appear somewhat trifling. The Government case is that the strike has been due to a quarrel between different sections of Trade Unionists,-a revolt of a consider- able part of the Society of Engineers against their own officials. That is a phenomenon with which South Wales is well acquainted; and it presents a most difficult problem. Constituted authority is essential in any society, and as the Unions are the most demo- cratically organised associations in the country, rebellion against such authority is an offence against the whole democratic principle. At the same time, it seems a little difficult to believe that so widely- spread and disastrous a strike should have nothing more behind it and certain contributory causes can very easily be discerned. We regret that the Government has not seen fit to give a much wider publicity to the case of the strikers. It may well be as bad as the Government thinks it is but if so, publicity could only have meant a far stronger public opinion behind any action that the Govern- ment wished to take. Civil Liberty kWe have no doubt, indeed, that the Government policy of sup- pressing open discussion of this and kindred topics is one of the main ancillary causes of the present unrest and unless this policy is modified, the unrest will not end with this strike. The determination of how much to reveal and how much to conceal, what discussion to allow and what to suppress, is one of the most difficult of the political problems of a belligerent Government. The simple criterion of not giving information to the enemy is not enough,- it Has indeed long ago been abandoned. The Government must strengthen and maintain opinion at home and though it may never legitimately conceal or falsify any great happening which seriously affects the issue of the war, it may quite properly save a sensitive and excited public mind from continual pinpricks and irritations. The policy of Trust the people is much more than a window dressing device. It is the policy which ought to be applied to every major event and issue. But like all other political principles, it has its limits and it is a difficult and delicate task to define them with even tolerable precision. On the whole, we should say that the Government has erred by defect -always the tendency of a more or less bureaucratic regime. Here, at least, was an event or an issue which cannot be called minor and we are confident that a fuller statement of the facts from both sides would have helped towards a clarification of the problem. The loss of free speech is only one of the depriva- tions of civil liberty which this country has endured and no doubt the accumulation of all these losses is again a cause of disturbance. It is folly to expect in war all the freedom of peace; but on the other hand it is extremely bad policy for any Government to invade that freedom to any greater extent than is