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The Navy Estimates

31 January 2014

January 30th, 1914.

THE quidnuncs who told us to look out last week for the revelation of a serious split in the Cabinet over the Navy Estimates were very much out of it in their prognostications. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was to have had a fall with the First Lord, but these two gentlemen walked away from the Cabinet meeting arm-in-arm to enjoy tea for two at the Admiralty House. Nevertheless, the Navy Estimates are a subject of deep concern to the Radical Party. There is an extreme section of Little Navyites, among whom that true Briton, Sir Alfred Mond, is conspicuous, as he is also among the would-be despoilers of the Welsh Church. So loud have been their demands for the reduction of our naval armament below the barest minimum of safety that the Westminster Gazette has been compelled to enter a strong protest, and to assert what it says are the general naval principles to which the Liberal Party adheres. The Navy, it says, is the special guarantee to this country that it will not be involved in the militarism that affects Europe. If we starve the Navy,we shall have to increase our military strength, unless, of course, we are prepared to go under the moment we are threatened with invasion. . . "If we wish to be masters in our own house, and to be secure against irruptions of Continental militarism, we must be prepared to pay the price." We may assume, therefore, that Mr Churchill will obtain what heasks, and Mr Lloyd George, as we know from his own lips, will not resign.

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