There is no nation more ready for self‐sacrifice for the common good than the British. The “ Authorities ” have been put to the proof by the war and the future of the Empire largely depends upon how far they are prepared to abandon nepotism and to accept the service of a man at its value alone. For effective national service means the employment of every available man in that capacity in which he is able to give of his best; it means the very antithesis of the square‐peg‐in‐the‐round‐hole policy so popular with the Government Official ; it means that ability shall no longer subserve insolent ineptitude, nor influence continue to shield the incompetent ; it means the employment of those who for the past four years have offered their services to their country in vain ; it means, in short, the destruction of all those idols which official‐dom loves and the worship of which stands between us and victory. Voices, crying in the wilderness, have raised a plca for cleaner politics, for an imperial and not a party policy, but the plea, so far, has met with little sympathy. But it is not politics alone which are in need of cleansing. The cancer of nepotism, of the necessity for lick‐spittling to secure advancement, has sunk deep into the national life, and even four years of dire peril and unprecedented bloodshed have not mitigated the disease. Knowledge still waits in the ante‐chamber of the clerk ; skill sits on the benches of the Labour Exchange. The introduction of a true and not of a “ camouflaged ” system of national service would afford an opportunity of destroying a system which is sapping the energy of the whole nation. It would be the severest test of the State Department yet devised. No compulsion would be necessary if an honest attempt were made to give every man a fair chance and, if only for this once, to put the right man in the right place.
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