HOMELY NOTES FOR PUBLIC. TOLL ON CREDULITY. THE PENCIL OF TIBERIUS. [By A. Spbnoc.] Each side in iNorth France ie hurrying troops to the decisive field bet-ween Lille and the sea. The German object is undoubtedly to press down on Dunkirk, Nieuport, and Calais. The object of the Allies is to block the path. The German flag must not rise over Calais. The places captured and recaptured would be worth discussing if it were not for the fraud which the censor is working off on the public. When the Allies capture any place we hear. When the Germans recaptum it,, not a word comes. The best English pajiers are now rebelling, and something more about the censor appears in this column lower down. It may serve to give the intermediate classes a glimpse of duukerdoni, British and Prussian. The censor is the people's enemy.
Of course, we f;ct news —the censor's news. A Ramsaate lad walked to London and interviewed Buckingham Palace, and Scotland Yard, and Lord Kitchener on general principles. 31 seems that Kitchener was nuwontedly jovial. He said : "You are- 100 young, . sonny !" Afterwards he beneficently sent the youngster on to a military school, in approved story book fashion. When the general was in the North Island at the Johnsonvilie manoeuvres, near Wellington, some of the farmers of the district saw his car coming along a very lonely road. Except for the driver, he was all by himself. They lined to one side of the track and stood with heads respectfully uncovered. Kitchener drove past like an iceberg, without a. glance. The North Island "cockatoos/' 1 thought, felt a little hurt. They will be interested to notice now that a young Rainsgater has thawed the atavistic dislike which Kitchener bears fur the public. Elsewhere in the cables is a rather in tere.sting message from the Athens cone spondent of ' The 'Times.' It vouches that Germany has sent £1,000,000 infold to Turkey, and consignment* of artillery are going forward. Eight hundred Austrian* and other sailors are stepping on to the decks of Turkish warships. There may be a good deal in this. THE LOST QUARTET. Sll6, Sll7, Sllß, and 8119, the four German destroyers which fell to the, gun nery of the Undaunted and the rest of the' Harwich patrol, were boats of 420 tons each. Each destroyer of this class is manned by 55 men. and the class of men drawn for service in the destroyers and sunbmarines are the best which East Fliesland. Oldenburg, and other districts near the sea can furnish. Two or three months ago I had a conversation with an English artillery officer, who had just seen as much of the German naval turnout as the outsider is permitted to see, and he had come back front bis trip of inspection much impressed with the stamp of men serving in the. German fleet. So the Undaunted and the others fought no "Johnny Raw," as far as men go, though the type of destrover encountered was not modern. The first of the class Sll4-119 was begun in 1902, and the last finished in 1904. The modern German destroyers are double the tonnage of the four tliat wem sunk, and are each manned by about 90 men. The lost boats were " 28-knotters," but many built since can top 35 knots. We have no word yet to tell us what the lost quartet were out at sea to do. The point of interest is, of course, whether they were proceeding to the Scheldt. DOES OSTEND MATTEI!' A great deal of weight must always be attached to the editorial opinion of the London 'Times' and to the opinion of its contributors. Yesterday I outlined some uses which the. Germans may make of Ostend. for submarines aii' airships, an opinion which 1 do not feel inclined to abandon. 'The. Times.' however, puts the other side of the case, and puts it very well as far as it goes. The London journal points out that Germany cannot bring large vessels of war to Ostend. That is true, the reasons being too obvious to state. 'The Times' adds that a Zeppelin shed at Ostend would be agreeably vulnerable. That is true, too: but this does not exhaust the possibilities. The Zeppelin is the kiiiig of air fighters, but something humbler may be brought to Ostend—the aeroplane, for instance; and Germanv has over 800 of these. They require 'no hangars. The most interesting statement of opinion by 'The Times' is as follows :-—" Used as a base for sub marines, it would lie insta.ntly and effectively tackled." It would indeed have to be instantly attacked, but to the writer, at- least, the manner and method of this instantaneous tackle -arc a little vague. I think that 'The Times' has talked ■ somegood horse souse in parts, and then lias rounded off its opinion with reassurance and words of. hope- which some ot the panicky in England, especially the ri.-b. ma-v perhaps be in need of. That is pvuIjabJv why the message concludes with the statement that the German occupation of Ostend is not woith a second thought.
Indeed, the London 'Times' is a littU inconsistent. On August 28, when the Allies had fallen back from Belgium, it stated j "If against our hope and belief we juts unable to resume the offeninVe, and. beat back the German attack in the north,* one of the consequences will be that the Germans «rill establish air bases on the other side of the Strait of Dover, and thereby •cquire better naval information, and be able to keep us under constant observation, oot to say attack. One at the things we must do, therefore, is to meet this by counter-attack in the same element, and to turn out quickly plenty of searchlights and anti-aircraft guns." So it seems that, despite its confident) message caßled yesterday, 'The Times' has its fears. THE SENSELESS CENSOR.
It is not the Kaiser this time. It is the censor. Reputable English papers were against this wooden-headed Tiberius as early as August. If one would know what Prussian militarism is he will find its expression in the English. t military censor. A wonderful man, wonderfully pompous as the military caste (which live on the people generally) is; a wonderful autocrat ; a wonderful fool.
The ' Nation.' August 29 : " Secrecy in war time has its uses, above all at the opening of a campaign, when the General Staff may have some daring and original plan which it hopes the enemy may not divine. Snch secrecy as our censorship is practising is a policy suicidal in a country which depends on the goodwill of the volunteer and the steadiness of public, opinion. IT SOWS PANIC; IT DAMPS ENTHUSIASM; ANI> IT BEGETS A SENSE OF APATHY. The enemy who are pressing on our armies know only too well what they are ; no secrecy in London will embarrass them. Self-respect in such a situation requires the unvarnished truth. When the country realises how grave the situation is it may be trusted to do its duty. . . . The average citizen is not yet stirred, anil the reason is largely that he has not the faintest conception of what this war means. Some telling and simple message is due irom Ministers, but, above all, the censorship must mend its ways. The nation is sound enough to answer the call of danger." On August 27 the London 'Times' said practically the same thing. It is a yellow trick copied from the Japanese, and the authorities have not been above imitating it in New Zealand. About the movements of our troops there is no real secrecy; you only have to ask the next man in the street, or some officer on a coastal boat, and yon know all. The Press in this day of Tiberius may not talk —" for military reasons." In the absence of news comes many-tongued rumor. Some day a mighty canard about the sinking of colonial transports, with the loss of thousands of iive.s. will speed on skates through our cities. The feelings of mothers, wives, sisters, friends, and sweethearts will be harrowed. What for? A heavy sacrifice of emotion on the pitiless military altar. FOB ONE-EYED MEN. Spitting in the faces of British wounded was chronicled yesterday. It happened in a train from Brussels to Landeu. The informant is an Amsterdam journalist, apparently. The wounded British had been lying on filthy straw, foodless tor fha days. •' The German soldiers distributed soup to others, but tantalised the Britishers by holding food to their noses and then withholding it. and they spat in the Britishers' faces. ... A sergeant roared • They are mercenaries.' " And so on. Great pains seem to have been taken to get this news out from London to us. The censor smiled. No blue pencil. The news just went. It was IT. Nothing rouses the national feeling more quickly than this sort of thing. But one- pauses before he believes, and the more he pauses the more he is inclined to pause. Wounded who survived live days without food were phenomenal wounded. Soldiers who have looked conjointly into the eyes of Death are apt—very apt—to establish a strange kinship, whatever their country may be. The kinship is. no doubt, a rude one. but every feeling of antipathy would halt before it held food to the nose of a dying man.
What the intelligent reader will notice as this war goes on is this .- Turn to the files,of the mo-t reliable English journal- ' The Times'—and you lead little about outrages in the sense in which we gc* them, though the lurid 'Daily Mail' Inn; plenty. On the other hand, the London
"Titties' has stated very distinctly that the captured French wounded, going back by train to Gcrmr.ny. were met, at the railway stations by the German women and German Bed Cross societies, and coffee, cakes, and cigarettes were distributed impartially to Germans and French. The German military authorities did not like it. but it was done. I once hud a conversation will) n HritiMi naval officer who was enlrn-ted with giving out the Press news to the war correspondents at Peking dining the Boxer rebellion. He stated that" he- gave them daily a true account of the operations, which, obviou.-ly. there was no need to conceal. He way. he said, usually met with the remark: "Oh. conic, old man ! This won"4 do! It's too tame:'' The officer added that nothing lie could give these young sensation-mongers was lurid enough for them. A reporter —a "Daily Mail' reporter—once told me: "Oh. we know the kind of guff that the dear old public like, and we give it to them." The public of New Zealand have some leasni? to lie thankful that their mvn Pre-: do not specialise in this sort of thing.
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THE PAUSE., Evening Star, Issue 15628, 20 October 1914
THE PAUSE. Evening Star, Issue 15628, 20 October 1914
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