13 DECEMBER 1940, Page 16

Rural Salvage The correspondents who have criticised my remarks on

rural salvage overlook certain important points. Because I set down certain facts does not mean that I am responsible for them ; nor, I think, does criticism mean a lack of patriotism, otherwise many M.P.s, most of the Press, and a large percentage of the rest of us would be guilty of it every day. "To draw a general inference from a limited experience" may be a mistake ; but to suppose that my own area is the only one in which Salvage is unsatisfactorily handled would be nonsense. And there is, of course, a reason why it is unsatisfactorily handled. This has nothing to do with the villagers, who have their own salvage committee and salvage depots, but is simply that in so thinly populated an area (the parish population of zoo is spread over many square miles) the contractors to the rural district council do not find it a paying proposition to make more than very infrequent journeys. And this, I find, is the official reason for the delinquency. An attempt to overcome this very real difficulty in thinly populated areas is now being made by substituting car trailers for lorries. This still leaves the problems of larger scrap metal untouched. Not all villages have schoolmasters ; some even lack schoolmistresses; some, like my own, even lack schools. Nor do I see even the most zealous of schoolmasters carrying away, single-handed, engines weighing a ton. Anything farcical in the rural salvage scheme is not of my making. I simply state the facts in the hope (very faint) that the criticism implied by them may result in something better.