21 JANUARY 1938, Page 3

Food in War-time The Minister for Agriculture was not particularly

expansive when he spoke on the Government's agricultural policy at a Farmers' Union dinner on Tuesday. As he justly said, the Government could adopt either an attitude of coercion or an attitude of encouragement. It has adopted the latter, at a considerable cost to the taxpayer, and in view of the need for preparing for emergencies the expedient can be defended. But subsidies do not make a policy, and as Mr. Christopher Tumor demonstrated convincingly in Wednesday's Times, the number of vital questions which the Government has to all appearance left unanswered in the field of agriculture is formidable. Mr. Tumor thinks the demands for food- storage put forward by such authorities as Sir Arthur Salter go beyond what the situation demands. It may be so, but there is no sign as yet that the Government is doing anything effective about food storage at all. To pour out millions on ships and aeroplanes and artillery and air-raid precautions, and leave the vital problem of food supplies in war-time unsolved, seems a peculiarly dangerous form of mental deficiency. The Government may have got much further with its plans than the public knows. But there is no reason why the public should not know, and if it does not it cannot be blamed for concluding that the reason is that there is nothing to know. This is not a case in which secrecy can be required in the public interest.

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