Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/88

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personally, to censor every piece of news submitted to the Press Bureau, there would, I venture to think, be a speedy end to the system—or want of system—which permits an item of intelligence to be published in Edinburgh or Liverpool, but not in London; and that the speeches of Cabinet Ministers, reported in our papers verbatim, would be allowed free passage to the United States or to the Colonies. I wish here to do the head of the Press Bureau the justice to say that he is an Englishman who knows his own mind, and has the courage of his own convictions. Yet that does not alter the fact that the Press censorship as a system has worked unevenly, with very little apparent method, and with an amazing disregard of the best foreign and colonial opinion which, all along, it has been our interest to keep fully informed of the British side of the case.

When the subject was last before the House of Commons, some very caustic things were said. Mr. Joseph King, the Radical member for North Somerset, moved, and Sir William Byles, the Radical member for North Salford, seconded, the following rather terse motion:

"That the action of the Press Bureau in restricting the freedom of the Press, and in withholding information about the war, has been actuated by no clear principle and has been calculated to cause suspicion and discontent."

Now it will be noted that there is, in the first place, no possibility of attributing this motion to political hostility. Both the mover and the seconder are supporters of the Government, not merely at the present moment, as of course all Englishmen are, but in the ordinary course of nightly political warfare. Mr. King did not mince matters. He roundly charged the Press Bureau with exercising inequality,