In the British Isles, westerly winds are more common than other winds and the recent long spell of westerlies, which lasted with some breaks for 45 days, is not without precedent. The reasons for the persistence of particular types of weather over many weeks are not understood at the present time, but the Meteorological Office is engaged on research on the problem because of its importance to long-range forecasting.
Mr. Gresham Cooke:
If the Government cannot give me an answer to this very simple question of why we had 45 days of westerly winds—which might help them over the "Torrey Canyon"—can the hon. Gentleman say whether the world weather watch and the putting up of satellites to examine the clouds will give us the answers to these problems and lead eventually to control of the weather?
We ourselves have a research team at work in this matter—but it is no good beating about the bush. The amount that anybody knows about this subject is very small. The hon. Member is falling into the same mistake as his right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) on Monday evening in pretending that a Government can control the weather.
Does not my hon. Friend agree that in a recent debate the fact that the wind was not westerly was given by the Opposition spokesman as the reason why the Government were saved over the "Torrey Canyon" incident? Does not this demonstrate that neither in the political nor in the meteorological field do the Opposition know which way the wind is blowing?