Allocation of space in this week’s New Statesman:
Fall of Tobruk (with 20,000 prisoners) – 2 lines.
Suppression of the Daily Worker and the Week – 108 lines.
. . . . All thinking people uneasy about the lull at this end of the war, feeling sure that some new devilry is being prepared. But popular optimism is probably growing again and the cessation of raids for even a few days has its dangers. Listening in the other day  to somebody else’s telephone conversation, as one is always doing nowadays owing to the crossing of wires, I heard two women talking to the effect of “it won’t be long now” etc., etc. The next morning, going into Mrs J.’s shop, I happened to remark that the war would probably last 3 years. Mrs J. amazed and horrified. “Oh, you don’t think so! Oh, it couldn’t! Why, we’ve properly got them on the run now. We’ve got Bardia, and from there we can march on into Italy, and that’s the way into Germany, isn’t it?” Mrs J. is, I should say, an exceptionally sharp, level-headed woman. Nevertheless she is unaware that Africa is on the other side of the Mediterranean.
 A Communist newsletter for private subscribers edited by Claud Cockburn; see 519, n. 3.
 This conversation must have been overhead shortly after 5 January 1941, when Bardia fell, to which the unidentified Mrs. J. referred on the next day. The fall of Tobruk was not complete until 22 January, when the Italian garrison surrendered. Some 30,000 prisoners were taken (as compared to 40-45,000 at Bardia), for the loss of some 1,000 British and Allied killed and wounded. Mrs J.’s confidence was not, therefore, quite as misplaced as later events proved. That the New Statesman allocated only two lines to the fall of Tobruk was partly a result of this being last-minute (and premature) news. Peter Davison