Ministerial Changes.

Part of War Situation. – in the House of Commons on 24th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Clement Davies Mr Clement Davies , Montgomeryshire

I hope that the hon. Member will be right, and that just what he has said will occur. Even so, what does it mean? I do not know, and that is why I am asking these specific questions. I am afraid that the mentality of the people in this country is not a war mentality. We have never yet been fully mobilised for war. The two policies, as I see them, were most clearly described by the Prime Minister in separate speeches. In one speech, which he made as First Lord of the Admiralty in February, 1940. he uttered these words: There is no need for alarm nor need anyone think that we cannot continue our normal life and win this war That is one policy. The other was described in a great speech in November, 1916, when he said: This country at war is an Army. It should be organised like an Army, directed like an Army, clothed like an Army, fed like an Army That is the other policy. Which is the policy which is being followed to-day? Obviously we cannot win this war and continue our normal life. The two things are not possible. We are fighting against the totalitarian peoples who have been hard at work since 1933. We began with the handicap of being unprepared, and we should therefore have been spurred on from 3rd September to do these great things straight away. Why is it, as the hon. and gallant Member for Hornsey said, these things are not begun until too late, or, when they are begun, they are too futile? I will quote the Prime Minister in the statement he made in that great speech in November, 1916, complaining of the very same things of which the hon. and gallant Member and I have been complaining, and saying to the then Government, "Why is it they have to be driven on step by step until it is obvious that the step has to be taken?" Then came these words: But in war what is obvious is often obsolete. That is a striking phrase which I wish he would remember. Why is it that we have to wait for mobilisation? Why is it that we still continue with certain privileges? Why is it that people are still property-minded, profit-minded and wages-minded when they ought to benothing else but war-minded? When will the Government put into operation that Act of May, 1940? They have put it into operation with regard to the conscription of women. Women have been called up, but property still remains. When will all of us be mobilised on a war footing, so that each one is doing his very utmost in the war effort? I need not go on giving other instances. What I should like to see is the stopping of these appeals which each one of us has to make this month. Why is it that the Government go on in this way, taking 10s. in the £ in taxation, and the rest of the money having to be obtained by the Government, with the assistance of Members of Parliament, going cap in hand, asking for the money, getting admirals, captains, officers of the Navy to stand on the platform as a show? Women are conscripted, but the Government still have to go cap in hand for the money in order to fight a war against Nazism. How long will that state of affairs continue? When shall we be placed on an economic footing? When shall we have an economic Budget instead of a financial Budget?

With regard to outlook, is that going to change now? One hon. Member after another has referred to India, Burma, Malaya. Is the outlook of the Government the outlook which members of the Government. had in 1900, or has it changed? Do the Government still look upon India as it was looked upon by young officers, they being of a superior race to the Indians they had to serve, or have they realised that there has been a complete change among the peoples of the earth, a change which we have helped to bring about ourselves, founding schools and universities, teaching them our ways and our methods, and, above all, giving them the freedom to think and to act? When will that change be recognised, and when will these people be brought in to co-operate with us? What inducement is there for Indians to fight on our side?