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Training Pamphlet

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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9.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many copies of the Civil Defence Manual of Basic Training, Volume I, Pamphlet No. 9, entitled, "Reconnaissance and Reporting," are being printed; and what is the total cost involved in its production.

I am informed that 50,000 copies of this pamphlet have been printed by Her Majesty's Stationery Office at a cost of £1,516 10s. 4d.

Does the Minister realise that this pamphlet contains countless really fatuous remarks, one of which says that a building severely damaged by a bomb usually presents an appearance of complete chaos? Would he not agree that that kind of remark is about as superfluous as saying that Lord Woolton tells lies in an election campaign.

I must ask for the withdrawal of that remark. It is not in order for hon. Members of one House to make imputations of that character about a noble Lord in another place.

I withdraw the word "lies" and substitute "grossly misleading statements."

With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, which is the only relevant part, I think that if any one of our speeches were to be subjected to having one sentence taken out of its context it might present the same somewhat platitudinous aspect; but I ask the hon. Member to read the whole of the pamphlet and to consider in a short time, when the sales of that pamphlet are determinable, how well it has gone and how much help it has given.

If the Minister will read it himself, he will find that there are numerous similar fatuous statements. Will he see to it that they do not occur in any future pamphlet of this description?

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that a few months ago, shortly before he went to the Home Office, I sent a number of specimen pamphlets on Civil Defence to the Home Office asking urgently that they should be simplified because they contained so much verbose matter. The Home Office promised to do that. Will my right hon. and learned Friend look into this matter and see that it is done in this case?

I should certainly not like to argue with my hon. Friend on any question of verbosity. I shall certainly look into his point with great pleasure.