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War and Politics. I


War and Politics. I The discussion of the Army Estimates was the prominent feature of Pa.rlia.menta.ry business last week. It was the complaint of Mr Hobhouae that Mr Tennant, in making his statement on the motion to go into Committee, left the House in darkness as to what was hap- pening on the Salonika, front and in Mesopo- tamia. But it is obvious that the Under Secre- tary for War could not lay information on such matters before the House in open session without the grave&t risk of revealing secrets that the enemy is eager to penetrate. Outside from this necessarily prohibited area, Mr Tennali't's speech ranged almost every subject of War Omce policy and administration. The most acutely controver- sial topics of the moment are, of course, the grievance of .the married groups at being called up much sooner than they had anticipated, and the defence of the country against air raids. Mr Pemberton Billing, the successful "air candi- date" of the East Herts bye-election, delivered his maiden speech within an hour or two of his taking the He received a good deal of in- dulgence from the speaker, for, although the subject before.the House was the War Omce es- tima.tes. a large part of his remarks were direct- ed to the Naval Air Service.  I r Tennant's There ;ere two items in Mr Tennant's "ac- count rendered" which ought to give satisfaction even to the most rigid critics of the War Office. The first related to the provision of the require- ments for the expeditionary force in France, and the second to the health of the troops and the pre- cautions carried out by the Medical Service. Mr Tennant read a letter from Bir Douglas Haig. the Genera! Officer Commanding, which testified in the strongest terms to the quality and quantity of what had been supplied-horses, food, forage, clothing and equipment—and the unfailing re- gularity with which transport and delivery had been maintained. Sir Douglas Haig added :— Our forces in France have been increased from two corps to a large army. The provis- ion made for their well-being, whether in sick- ness or health, has been all that could b< wished. The result of all the strenuous labour devoted to this arm y is that all are in good health and good heart, and confident of vic- tory." v To the care of the health of the Expeditionary Force Mr Tennant read another testimonial. This was from Sir Frederick Treves, the famous surgeon, "who was at one time a critic of the War Omce." Sir Frederick Treves declared that the improvement effected amounted to an actual revolution, and that wounded soldiers are so well cared for that. it is difficult to say in what way their welfare could be more advanced. Mr Ten- nant was able to state that the incidence of disease is low, and there has been an entire ab- sence of epidemic, thanks to the energy of many scientific men and the Sanitary Committee, Highly successful measures have been taken against gas attacks, and the National Health Commissioners have taken up the question of the early treatment of tuberculous cases removed from the Army. "The Medical Service," Mr Tennant said, "has been almost perfected." Wi'th a lightness of touch that had something of the ironicat in it. Mr Tennant alluded to "a certain amount of agitation about the case of the married men." It had been announced in the newspapers, Mr Tennant reminded the House, that energetic steps were being taken by the Go- vernment to revise the lists of starred men and reserved occupations, and to reduce to a mini- mum the number fit for military service who were. kept at home in order to carry on industrial occupations. By these means he believed that I he Government pledge would be fulfilled. What Mr Tennant I)as described as "a certain amount of agitation" is in reality a considerable campaign to inflame the not unreasonable discon- tent of married men, who believe that there are a, considerable number of far from indispensable young men sheltering behind "starring" and re- served occupations, into an utterly irrational de- mand that no married men shall be drafted into the Army so long as one unmarried .man of military age remains unen.rolled. Lord Sel- borne s reply to a deputation of farmers, in which he protested against tha tendency to fall into a panic over the question of skilled labour for agriculture, serves as a reminder that the task of national organisation for victory by utilising all the energies of the country in the manner and place in which they will be most effective can only be hampered and obstructed by reckless agitation. =x Dr. Macnamara, Secretary to the Admiralty, announced in the House of Commons last week the constitution and names of the Joint War Committee, over which Lord Derby is to preside. It will consist of representatives of the Admiralty and War Omce, with advisory members to be called in as required, and a secretariat. The functions of the committee :ire to deal with mat- tcTs of policy from the point of view of con- notion and provision of material. Mr Ten- jjjjit, in hJs statement on the Army Estimates, explained the difnculties which the War Office had had to confront in regard especially to mater- ial and trained pilots, and the ffiJecessful manner in which these difficulties had been overcome. Mr Pemberton Billing's criticisms, as already has been mentioned, were chiefly directed against the Naval Air Service. He complained that, when the material was far more deficient than now, aggressive movements were found possible which are not attempted under the improved cir- cumstances of to-day. His solution of all our dimculties was the discovery and appointment of "The Men." 4: Mr McEenna announced the Government's de- cision not to adopt the proposal for an issue of War Loan in premium bonds, which, as he point- ed out, would be contrary to existing statutes. While there are many advocates of such a. step, a large body of opinion remains unconvinced that It would be a good way of inculcating thrift in the working classes to revive in any form the State lotteries which were abolished in this coMitry for very suSicient reasons. SLr Edward Grey made a statement in the House of Commons upon the cause of Germany's declaration of war against Portugal, "the most ancient of our Allies." The immediate cause was Portugal's requisitioning of the German ships lying in her home and colonial ports since the beginning of the wa.r. The shortage of ton- nage caused by the war made this step neces- sary, and Portugal promised to indemnify the owners of the vessels. Portugal's procedure would have been in order for an entirely neutral nation, but at the beginning of the war she had declared that in no circumstances would she dis- regard the duties of her ancient alliance with Great Britain. Germany had twice in 1914 raided the Portugese colony of Angota and had sought to stir up a native, retbell ion do Portugese East Africa- b "Portugal may rest assured that Great Brit- ain and the Allies will afford her all the assist- ance that she may require.

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From the Pouttry Yard.I !…