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Editorial – Safe Home

24 January 1942

South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 24 January 1942

Safe Home

Mr. Winston Churchill is safely back from his historic mission to the United States.

It was a great adventure, heroically conceived and executed, shot with imagination. It was also most audacious proceeding, justified only by good fortune. We have gained a great alliance, but it would have been a high price to pay for the loss of such a leader. When Lord Kitchener was drowned on the way to Russia, the disaster chilled every loyal British heart. We shall never know whether the mission to Russia was worthwhile or could have succeeded, but it was the loss of Kitchener, the symbol of leadership rather than the miscarriage of a negotiation that staggered us. But Kitchener was but one leader, not even “primus inter pares,” though his poster appeal was immense and his image held the public mind and faith steady. The real value of this great soldier was hardly comparable with that of the great civilian who now leads us.

To accomplish what he did Mr. Churchill took risks such as, we hope, will not again be necessary. It was not necessary to give proof of his personal courage; he is admired as well as hated by the enemies of our country. They eagerly sought to take and slay him, and about his person there was waged invisible war between our shield and their sword, with the addition to them of natural perils. He won home, and we thank an over-ruling Providence for his safe return.

It was high time he returned, for the bad news from the Far East tends to overspread the brightness of favourable trends elsewhere. It was time he came home to deal with murmurers and fainthearts. He is needed here to give his massive authority and common sense to a balanced view of the struggle, to answer all doubts and misgivings. Here, especially since the tide of war ebbed a little, the contrast between the nobility of those who are giving all and the vileness of those who are getting all, has sharpened, and so has the Public temper.

The nation to-day needs clear answers to a number of questions, and will take them from Mr. Churchill alone. There are manifest dangers in the war debate which the Prime Minister has promised, but they are not comparable with the dangers of suppressed and smouldering criticism Our ill success in the Far East threatens vital unity by arousing controversy and acrimony within the nation and empire

It is high time therefore for Mr. Churchill  to speak with his vast authority, to silence foolish clamour, and to set before us firmly once more the task, the whole task, and nothing but the task.