Orders of the Day — Central Office of Information

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd May 1949.

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Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Birmingham Aston 12:00 am, 23rd May 1949

It is not saying much that it is one of the most accurate in the world, nor is it so voluntary spirited that it will carry through all sorts of schemes which only the Government can do. Presumably, the right hon. Gentleman does not want any campaigns on diphtheria immunisation or road safety; but wants the country to drift along in an aimless sort of way, particularly on the economic front, so that we can have an economic crisis when perhaps the Tories will get back, which is the only way they will get back. And so we come back to this point, that the real truth of the matter is that the Conservative Party do not want any information at all. It is not the C.O.I. they object to, but the fact that people are now being told things for the first time in history and really learning what the world is all about. So much for the home front side of the matter.

I should like now to deal with the extraordinary contention that it is undesirable for British sponsored magazines to be published in France and, presumably, the Far East and China, that it is a great pity to do this at all and that in any case they are all so amateur that no one buys them because their commercial rivals are so much better. If that is so, how is it that every month during 1948 the average number of magazines printed by the C.O.I. has been 1,700,000?