The Thieves Kitchen Records
There has been a very flat month in the Thieves’ Kitchen, and the debates, centring largely round matters of finance, offer nothing of sufficient interest to find place in these records. The Oral Answers, however, provide some food for reflection, as they usually do.
On March 20th Mr. Gwynne “asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the father of A. Judge, able seaman, H.M.S. ‘Vectis,’ sent a telegram on the 7th March to the Admiralty asking them to transmit a message to him of his mother’s death; that no reply was received until the 11th March, and then to the effect that the Admiralty were unable to forward private messages to naval ratings at public expense.”
The Minister admitted the truth of the facts implied in the question, which is surely a sign that the war is over. How short a period is it since nothing was too good (on paper and flag days) for “our heroic watchers of the deep” And now our bosses candidly admit that they are too parsimonious to spare a few coppers to tell one of the Jack Cornwalls that his mother was dead!
Another answer to which attention might be directed is that given to the Member for Clitheroe, who asked the Under-Secretary for foreign affairs whether he was aware that the bodies of seven murdered Jews had been found in a forest in Hungary. The answer he got was that if the facts were as alleged there was no call for the Government to interfere.
But suppose that such an allegation had been made against the Bolsheviks, what would have been the tone of the reply ? One calls to mind how much slenderer excuse served to make war upon the Dutch Republics of South Africa at the end of last century.