Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/61

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55
THE PERIL OF NOT DOING ENOUGH

will have been entirely overcome, and that we shall be experiencing a shortage, not of supplies—but alas! of men.

That day cannot be far off, and when it dawns the problem of raising men will assume an urgency of which hitherto we have had no experience. Up to now we have been content to tolerate the somewhat leisurely drift of the young men to the colours for the simple reason that we had not the facilities for training and equipping them. We cannot, and we must not, tolerate any slackness in the future. The wastage of modern war is appallingly beyond the average conception, and when our big new armies take the field, that wastage will rise to stupendous figures. It must be made good without the slightest delay by constant drafts of new, fully trained men, and when that demand rises, as it inevitably will, to a pitch of which we have hitherto had no experience, it will have to be met. Can it be met by the leisurely methods with which we have hitherto been content?

I do not think so for a moment, and I am convinced that our responsible Ministers should at once take the country fully into their confidence and tell us plainly and unmistakably what the man-in-the-street has to expect. I have so profound an admiration for the men who have voluntarily come forward in the hour of their country's need that I hope, with all my heart, their example will be followed—and followed quickly—to the full extent of our nation's needs. But I confess I am not sanguine. The recent strikes in the engineering trade on the Clyde have gone far to convince me that, even now, a very large proportion of our industrial classes do not even to-day realise the real seriousness of the position, for it is incredible that