3 MARCH 1939, Page 2

A.R.P. Progress Sir John Anderson's comprehensive speech in the House

of Commons on Wednesday constituted by general consent a valid and convincing vindication of his own administrative work. The disaster, as Mr. Herbert Morrison urged, is that nothing effective was done before Sir John took office, in the two years in which the international situation was mani- festly and visibly worsening. There is at any rate today, with some qualifications, a definite policy, and the material preparations needed are as well advanced as could be hoped for in the circumstances. Sir John Anderson laid down on Wednesday the sound principle that persons in great cities engaged in non-essential work should be evacuated, though it is not clear where they will find accommodation or what their financial position will be—for most persons who leave their " non-essential " employment in a city will be unlikely to find alternative employment in the country. The outstand- ing controversy is in the matter of deep shelters, which the public is most intelligibly demanding. Full weight must be given to the views of Sir John Anderson and his expert advisers on this point, and in any case he is entirely right to press on with a short-term programme and not be diverted into long-term measures. But this is a case where on psycho- logical grounds considerable concessions may have to be made to a public demand, even if the public appreciates the argument for and against the deep-shelter policy less adequately than the experts.