Ministerial Changes.

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

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Photo of Mr Cyril Culverwell Mr Cyril Culverwell , Bristol West

I should not have offered them anything. I should have tried to keep them quiet as we did when we closed the Burma Road. I should like to know why we are always surprised by the enemy's strength, weapons and mobility. As far as I know, since the beginning of the war the enemy has continually surprised us. He has evolved new weapons and new tactics which our experts do not seem to have used at all or even foreseen. I should like to know what has happened to our Intelligence service, especially in Libya. Why should we be surprised by the enemy's strength and the fact that he has a larger tank gun than we have? Surely, that information ought to be made available. I should also like to know why when we embark on military operations, the Press and the military spokesmen talk so big and raise our hopes so high. It was not necessary for the Cairo spokesman to inform us that we should be content only with the annihilation of the enemy's forces. What happens? When we do not do it, and do not blow Germany to pieces with bombs, people are disappointed.

Lastly, I should like to know why we always under-estimate our opponent. These are a few questions which are exercising people's minds and causing great concern. I think the Government should give some explanation and endeavour to reassure us, in some way, that the direction of the war which is responsible for such a series of reverses has, at any rate, been altered. I should like to know whether it is the Government's policy, in the light of the experience that has been gained over the last two years, still to build up a huge heavy bomber force. Do they still pin so much faith on this weapon as a war winner? Because it seems more and more doubtful whether strategical bombing is an economic proposition. The Germans, who generally seem to be a move ahead of us, appear to have abandoned it. It has been asked in the Press and in the House why the Government should persist in expending our very limited resources on the building of huge bombers, seeing that the labour might be diverted to ships, or other purposes, if these weapons are found by experience not to be valuable. I do not know whether the policy is right or wrong, but I beg the Government not to be afraid to abandon it if necessary.

The ordinary man is doing his best under the most trying conditions. It is very easy for unscrupulous politicians and organs of the Press to exploit or exaggerate his grievances for their own ends. I think that all that the ordinary man in the street wants is to be quite sure that his efforts are not being stultified and that the products of his labour are not being wasted by inefficiency and stupidity in high places.