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41

Sunday, August 18th 2019, 12:33pm

4 May
Three men stood on the windy foreshore looking out to sea. The area was the most northernmost and remotest point in the British Isles, to the east lay the town of Thurso. The men were trying to unfold a large sheet of paper.
"So this will be the site?" one of the men asked.
One of the other men, in the uniform of the Royal Navy replied, "Yes, this is a suitably remote and secure place. And being not far from Scapa affords us excellent cover."
The third man nodded, "Once the Treasury is squared away we can begin cutting turf."
"The Treasury?" the first man grappled with the wind swept plans "I thought this project was secret?"
"Don't worry, only a handful of people know its true purpose, even only three of the Cabinet are in on the secret."

6 May
At Cambridge University the first practicable stored-program computer, called EDSAC, has run its first program, calculating a table of squares and a list of prime numbers. The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) was inspired by John von Neumann's seminal First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, the machine was constructed by Maurice Wilkes and his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory.
EDSAC uses mercury delay lines for memory, and derated vacuum tubes for logic. Input is via five-hole punched tape and output is via a teleprinter. The available main memory is 512 18-bit words.

7 May
Tate & Lyle have introduced its Mr Cube brand of sugar cubes to shops across the country.

9 May
The Royal Air Force Gliding & Soaring Association has been formed at RAF Detling to provide recreational flying to all RAF servicemen, in particular those normally employed in ground duties.

10 May
The House of Commons was packed. The mood has been febrile for some time, the Conservatives know that Labour is likely to call a General Election within the next twelve months and has recently been struggling with economic and foreign policy headaches and despite the popularity of the new Welfare State, its not certain that Labour will be able to carry enough momentum to win the next election.
The Member of Parliament for Woodford stood up to speak. This redoubtable political figure is a stalwart of Westminster, sometimes a loose cannon and in most quarters seen as a rabid Germano-phobe, but impressively connected and a vocal critic of the Labour Party, Winston Churchill was about to launch his broadside at the government.
Churchill who had once been First Lord of the Admiralty retained a key interest in naval matters and was well-connected with the Admiralty too.

"Nobody can fail to notice any longer Germany's build-up of arms and ships. Most worryingly the creation and growth of a formidable fleet of amphibious invasion ships that dwarfs that of the Royal Navy. In the last month alone four new ships have been added to this fleet. According to the latest intelligence estimates the German Navy has fourteen large assault transports, two engineer support ships, two specialised mobile base ships, twelve landing ships plus perhaps the same number again in the shipyards as I speak and no less than 270 landing craft of all types. Such ships of course must rely on bigger ships to escort them and all the little but vital ships of the lifeblood of any navy, the doughty destroyers and frigates. Germany is not short of these either, twleve new escorts have been recently completed plus two powerful anti-aircraft cruisers. Members of this House of course cannot be unaware that Germany has recently recalled elderly reservists to man old destroyers taken from mothballs to further grow the fleet. Make no mistake, this is no defensive fleet, such vessels are built for attack. Her erstwhile allies France and Russia also have large fleets of such vessels. Who you may ask is this fleet directed at? Nordmark has much to fear, indeed sources there tell of incessant naval exercises off the German and Russian Baltic coasts, disgorging tanks and men onto beaches and creating a super-navy welded from the three main states of the Grand Alliance. But the ultimate purpose of such a fleet can only be the invasion of our own island, for Germany knows to win any war with Britain would take more than reliance on his U-boat fleet to starve us into submission. The Hun knows he must invade and conquer these islands. [loud cheers and jeers from the house] Some of my right honourable members across the House may say I am alarmist [laughter from the Tory seats] but there is uncontrovertable evidence, even from the German chancellor's own mouth, that Germany is secretly hording millions of tons of raw materials and millions of gallons of oil to feed her factories and armies and navy in the event of a war. I do not say Germany intends to invade tomorrow but each day that passes Germany and her allies grow stronger while the socialists sit on their hands and refuse to act. Their inactivity is negligence of the highest order and I call on the Government to do what it is supposed to do, to act and govern. If it cannot then it should make way for those who are willing to. [loud cheers and jeers from the house] "

The Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, rose to the dispatch box to make his reply.
"My right honourable friend makes his case as robustly as ever. But this government is not inactive nor unaware of what is going on. The previous Tory governments largely cooperated with the Germans, showing them battleship plans and making little deals while turning a blind eye to Germany's annexation of Austria and her growing thirst to dominate the European mainland and largely wipe out her perceived poor treatment at the hands of the Allied powers in 1917 when a harsh peace was forced upon her. Germany has been driven by threats from the previous Tory government into preparing for the worst case scenarios. That she chooses to pump so much of her resources into building up her armaments and raw materials is a sign of fear and weakness, not strength. It is Germany's population who can look to our Welfare State while they wonder why their government chooses guns over butter and why stockpiling of raw materials is driving world commodity prices higher and causing the price of goods in the shops to rise further and further. The Admiralty is maintaining a close eye on German naval developments and our Navy continues to grow with continued investment. At this moment in the shipyards are four of largest aircraft carriers in the world, twelve cruisers and destroyers and five submarines. Our Seaward Defence Programme continues to provide our colonies and allies with the protection of the Royal Navy that encompasses still the entire globe and which is freeing up frontline ships to further strengthen the core fleets of the Navy. As the House knows, Canada has agreed to form in this country a powerful second airforce of fighters and heavy bombers to bolster further our defences. And to those who say this Government sits on its hands, I can confirm that talks have been held with several leading powers about defensive alliances, but of course secrecy prevents me of course from providing details at this stage. I still feel our best course is to follow diplomatic courses that reduce the tensions between us. The age of Grand Alliances makes less sense in the new modern free-market world, no nation can gain by war. If Germany cannot see that then it is her ruin and not this country's for Britain is a member of the world open to all and not a closed shop. [cheers from Labour benches]"

42

Sunday, August 18th 2019, 11:09pm

It is Germany's population who can look to our Welfare State

Stop, stop, you're killing me! :D

43

Sunday, August 18th 2019, 11:16pm

It is Germany's population who can look to our Welfare State

Stop, stop, you're killing me! :D


A most interesting set of speeches.