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Editorial – Keep Far Our Foes

12 October 1940

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 12 October 1940

Keep Far Our Foes

Mr. Churchill is the right type of leader for a nation “suckled on gunpowder and weaned on glory.” He does not let us off any of the grimness and bleakness of our situation.

And he is right.

It is of the essence of our power to resist and overcome that we should thoroughly understand how many are the perils through which we have to go. Mr. Churchill insists on painting the picture “warts and all.” Happily he does not neglect the high lights, and the whole nation feels the thrill and surge of our rising air power, the spear-head of ultimate victory. We know, too, that the threat of invasion, though not past, is waning and its hazards for the enemy hourly increase. We do not share the hope expressed by cheerful idiots in camp and parliament that Hitler will try it after all.

The whole purpose of our terrific onslaught on the invasion preparations is to keep this country inviolate from the ravages of war. Those who see an advantage to us in adding sea and land invasion to the difficulties imposed on us by the “airblitz” are shallow and irresponsible fools, and we are sorry to find that they have their spokesmen in high military and political counsels.

“Keep far our foes, give peace at home” must ever be a cardinal item of national policy.

Grim and Gay

In default of real progress with the reduction of London and the liquidation of the R.A.F. the Germans have published an impressive programme for the annihilation of Great Britain. They include everything that the Germans have for months been trying to do, and they mark a significant stage in their progress from willing to wishing.

London and its suburbs continue to suffer, and though, in the vast bulk of it, the damage shows little (as Mr. Churchill pointed out) the killing, maiming, and ruin represent a sorrowful and spreading mass of personal tragedy. London must have absorbed ninety per cent, of the heavy civilian casualties inflicted since “total” air war on this country opened.

Yet London carries on calmly and with grim determination to defeat Hitler’s aim of rendering the capital untenable. I spent a day there last week, and the city was “alert” for the whole afternoon. Clouds hung low over the metropolis, but the blind bombers were busy above and the ground fire gave a rough indication of their movements. Yet the pavements were thronged and the streets were busy with bus and taxi traffic. In clubs, hotels, and restaurants, meals were served with ‘absolute precision; in many shops and offices the staffs carried on, though with one ear cocked for “Jim Crow.”

In short, London has adjusted itself to the idea of living and working under fire. The problems created by the aerial bombardment of London will undoubtedly be eased if those who cannot or will not help in the defence of the city land are not necessary to its economic life, will remove themselves to safer zones, leaving the gallant garrison to fight and work, unhindered. There is a case for, compulsory evacuation of ineffectives. As to material damage, so tar, ‘by good fortune, nothing very precious has suffered, but we cannot expect that immunity to continue., Everything worth restoring will be, restored, and, as Mr. Churchill has said, when we do rebuild, we will build more worthily not only in London but everywhere.

At least the war shall yield us that profit.