had necessarily to skate on thin ice. For some English Catholics will favour forced military service in peace, and others will be bitterly opposed to it. But there is one important point that affects us all.
Under the new doctrine and
precedent now established by Mr
Neville Chamberlain, it will be
possible in future for a Prime Minister to make a pledge, or even a series of pledges, to the people through their elected representatives, to pursue one policy and then, after a brief but intense campaign in the Press, announce that he " has changed his mind."
Provided he has a majority in the Commons (which may have been elected on eutirely different issues) and the backing of the newspaper proprietors, it will not be necessary for him, before he " changes his mind," to obtain a mandate from the people at a general election, nor will he have to run the risk of a minority vote from a plebiscite held after the event to approve (or disapprove) what he has done.
It is now possible therefore, that at any time, and without any warning other than a rapidly growing volume of propaganda in the daily Press, the present or a future government may " change their minds " and thernselveti start a " preventive " war to deter the " aggressors."
In such a war we should fight aide by side with the Russian Bolshevists and attempt to destroy those Christian countries which are to-day the main bulwarks against the " domination of the world " by Communism.
Under these circumstances, a large conscript army, ready to do the bidding of the Government at short notice, is much more likely to be a menace than a safeguard. We should be much better off with the voluntary system which, given social justice, could and would provide forces adequate to defend our own Empire but not large enough to encourage the Government to engage in a world war, which would bring the most frightful misery and suffering to hundreds of millions of Christians on both sides, and result in the end of our civilisation and the establishment of World Communism.
F. W. O. WIUTE. Nottingham,