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Ministers, spies, and censors

21 November 2014

THE proceedings of Parliament have largely consisted of questions and answers, the former coming not only from the Opposition but also from the back benches of the Ministerial side. On the whole, the replies have been made on the Government's part with good temper as it is recognized that the questions have been raised not in a critical spirit but as the expression of the public desire for such explicit information as may safely be vouchsafed. The Home Secretary alone took the questions in bad part, appearing to think that he was made the object of a personal attack. It makes no matter to us whether he, or the War Office, or the Admiralty, is responsible for the duty of suppressing espionage, which assuredly is being practised on an extensive scale; what we want to know is the nature and extent of the measures adopted for its suppression. There are people in high places who are left at large, while humbler folk are interned, but the capacity for mischief is proportionately greater where wealth and social standing afford larger opportunities for treachery. Much discontent also is felt by the public over the Press censorship. We see no good reason for withholding from us facts which are perfectly well known to the enemy. Thanks to his elaborately organized spy system, which in our genial and stupid way we tolerate, he is better informed than we are of the movements of our ships and troops. Therefore, as it seems to us, we might just as well be enlightened. We resent being treated like children.

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