1919 and 1920

An editorial from the Hornsey Journal, 26 December 1919.

Christmas 1919 and the passing of another year – a year whose advent was welcomed with the greatest hopes and the sincerest wishes that have ever accompanied the annual birth! A year almost of peace compared with the five years that went before! Yet in spite of the signing of the peace treaty, a year of war abroad and unrest at home! Still more British graves across the seas to mark where Britons have laid down their lives for their country. Russia and the Indian Frontier have each taken their toll, though not on the same scale to which one had been accustomed for so long.

Now 1919 is dying and but few of the hopes and wishes which were uttered nearly twelve months ago have been fulfilled. The peace is not yet completed and our former ally, Russia, shows no signs of finding any settled government and even on an exchange of prisoners an agreement cannot be reached; Ireland is in a state from which anything might happen at any moment; India is full of unrest; in Egypt there are serious disturbances; the future of the Turkish Empire is all undecided; throughout large districts of Europe famine threatens or has already arrived.

At home there is some substance in the social struggles but the threat of further controversies makes one fear that it is but a lull in the storm before it breaks out again, perhaps with greater violence than ever. The unrest here is but a symbol of what is taking place all over the world. The United States has not settled if it will bring an end to its policy of isolation and take its share in the world duties of all great Powers. The League of Nations that was to end war is not yet set up and appears less likely to fulfil the ambitions of its begetters than it has done since it was first mooted.

The year 1920 is upon us and our hopes are no longer positive but negative. Britain has faced grave social issues before which threaten the very framework of the State. We must rest assured that in her own manner she will solve her present difficulties. Widespread bitterness may lead to disaster to the State. The problems that are to be solved are too great for careless expression. There was never a time when moderation in words was of greater importance. 1920 must be a year of solution and that can only be reached by moderation. It would be wrong to pay too much attention to the utterances of extremists of any faction.