11 SEPTEMBER 1920, Page 13


THE " SPECTATOR."1 SIR,—All law-abiding citizens will agree with your leaders in your issues of August 21st and September 4th. In your issue of August 21st you say that " the Government should have instantly accepted the challenge " when the Labour leaders threatened to supersede the Government. Would it not have been as well if you had given similar advice a few months sooner? When the leaders of the Sinn Fein army officially declared war on England should not " the Government have instantly accepted the challenge," and given immediate notice

that those responsible for the declaration of war should quit the British Isles within forty-eight hours, failing which, when captured they would be shot? If that had been done should we have had the Labour leaders challenging the Government? Our Government—save the mark !—sees treason and sedition ram- pant, and pretends it neither hears nor sees.

So we drift on. The Sinn Fein army declares war on England; one of its number holding the rank of general is captured, and says he will not eat. General MacSwiney (Lord Mayor of Cork) thought it perfectly safe to make war on England because its Government did not see that "action should be met by action," and that the " challenge was not instantly accepted." He also knew that twenty-four hours after the Government had declared that under no circumstances would hunger-strikers be released they were all set at liberty. The Labour leaders know that in the railway strike last year. after the Prime Minister had said he would not meet the leaders who had ordered the men to strike without notice till the men went back to work, that he did meet them, and thus saved Mr. Thomas's face when the community had defended itself and practically beaten the strikers. If we drift into a coal strike it will be because our Government has thoroughly earned the contempt of Sinn Feiners, Labour leaders, and the community alike, because it does not meet "action by action." As the man in the street tersely puts it : " The Government has got no ' guts,' and our Bolshies know it." Our Government should enforce the law, and they should say to our Bolsheviks, as " Old Bill " said : " If you can find a better 'ole go to it." There is always Russia for our Bolsheviks to go to.—I am, Sir, &c., E. L. OLIVER. The Waterhouse, Bollington, Macclesfield.