Lord Esher, speaking at Callender Public School last Saturday, uttered
a serious warning to the country. He was no alarmist, he said, but no one could look at recent events without becoming aware that Britain stood in a more perilous position than at any time during the last hundred years. Our safety was based on the Fleet, and for the first time since 1805 our supremacy had been challenged. His earnest conviction was that unless our Government, and the Governments of our Dominions overseas, took strong steps, the boys of this country might find that they would have to fight for their freedom.
Our rulers should make up their minds that they had to build two ships for every one of the next strongest European Dovrer. As for our defences by land, it was the duty of every young man, unless there was some vital reason which prevented him, to be trained voluntarily as a soldier. He was not anxious for compulsion, but it might become necessary. He hoped, however, to see the day when any young man who was not trained voluntarily for the defence of his country would be pointed at with contumely. We are glad to note that Lord Esher accepts as the best standard of naval superiority what is, in our opinion, much the simplest and safest formula. The two-Power standard is apparently capable of ambiguities, and in this matter we cannot afford ambiguities.