Guards, our very finest regiments, have lost heavily in this last disagreeable fashion: other regiments have lost even more heavily. Now British soldiers do not surrender readily, and we can take it for granted that when a large number of our men are made prisoners it is not without very heavy fighting. One single daily paper recently contained the names of very nearly two thousand officers and men killed, or wounded, or missing, on certain dates in January. Where, why, or how these men were lost we do not know, and we are told absolutely nothing. The real fact is that the news is carefully concealed under a tiny paragraph which announces that a line of trenches which had been lost have been brilliantly recaptured. We are glad, of course, to learn of the success, but would it not be well for the nation to learn of the failure? Can it be supposed for an instant that the Germans do not know? Is it giving away military information of value to the enemy to publish here in Great Britain news with which they are already perfectly well acquainted? Is it not rather that in their anxiety to say smooth things the authorities deliberately suppress the news of reverses, and tell us only the story of our triumph?
The most injurious suppression of news by the Government has made its effect felt in practically every single department of our public life which has the remotest connection with the prosecution of the war.
Take recruiting as an example. Recruiting is mainly stimulated, such is the curious temper of our people, either by a great victory or a great disaster. Failing one or other of these, the flow of men sinks to what we regard as "normal proportions," which means in effect that the public is