Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, MAY 12, 1919. DEBTOR AND CREDITOR.
A feeling' of gratitude and relief must be instinctively felt by the people of all the lands that fought JPrussiaiiism that.it is the Allies who dictated the peace terms, and not the Germans. There is a tendency, to exploit such thankfulness, as is demonstrated by /j;he Japanese claim that if Japan had sidedwith Germany, Mr. Hughes would now be in a German internment camp. Such statements spring from irresponsibles, but will ; serve one good purpose if they remind those in the Dominion who are rejoicing because they are on the winning side, that. they Owe their position partly to the soldiers who left these shores to take part in the world struggle.. It may oe declared by some that such recognition is general, and no reminder is necessary. We are not so. certain. Returned soldiers •complain of unemployment; some have committed suicide through mental anxiety brought about by fears of future poverty and helplessness. Returned soldiers also unfold grievances regarding the payment of pensions and allowances, and outsiders might well be excused for imagining that the people of the Dominion had treated the men who defended them very shabbily, whereas, the nation is unanimous that generosity as well as justice shall dominate the procedure regarding assistance to returned soldiers. Ample regulations and provisions exist to allow this demand being realised, and Ministers are frequent in their assurances that the nation's wish is being given effect to. Yet, the soldiers complain. Apart from a few confirmed grumblers, it is not reasonable to suppose that the men who endured every discomfort on active service would be querulous over trifles, now they have returned, and it is the real and immediate duty of the nation to take more active steps to enquire into the soldiers' grievances, There is no need to go outside Ashburton County to find evidence that the 1 soldiers are not getting what is, under the cir-
cunistances a fair deal. The particulars Aye published on Saturday, concerning the indifference shown by the authorities to the opportunity of purchasing Mr. T. Bowling's Springfield estate for returned men, is an indictment that should be investigated thoroughly. The land offered to soldiers should not be of the kind few practical farmers would agree to expend their labour and money on, and there seems to be a general opinion among those Ashburton farmers who know the possibilities and peculiarities of most of the County holdings, that so. far most of the arens obtained by the Land Purchase Department are not of the quality grateful debtors should offer considerate creditors. The Hon. I). H. Guthrie, as the Minister responsible., should prove that district farm-
ers' comments are ill-founded, or else replace his present officials, and reform the procedure. Another glarine 1; instance of official' ineptitude is; ; the Hon.. G. W. Russell's refusal to allow the ; Lady Liverpool Fund Committee ' to vote a grant out of its surplus I ifunds to the Christchurch Re-. I turned Soldiers^ Club BuildingFund. The money was originally subscribed to supply comforts for the men when on active service; surely, now that the men have returned, having finished their part of the contract, it is logical to permit some of the money still in hand to be expended, on comforts for the soldiers at home. The war wa-s supposed to have altered maiiy things, but officialism has not, f apparently, been changed. The nation is really to blame for its passivity towards red tape methods.