Orders of the Day — White Fish Authority (Publicity Scheme)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th March 1970.

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Photo of Mr James Johnson Mr James Johnson , Kingston upon Hull West 12:00 am, 10th March 1970

The debate seems to have taken a queer turn. Since just after eleven o'clock, the other side of the House has taken up a new posture. Hon. Members opposite seem to take it upon themselves to pursue in an almost sinister fashion, if not a hunt, almost a vendetta against the White Fish Authority. I wonder what lies behind this.

The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) and I were on the Select Committee, and we questioned the chief executive, Mr. Meek, about the functions of the Authority, and the advertising campaign came into it, and he agreed—I do not think I am betraying anything—that the authority should perhaps think of ceasing its existence. That is what we are getting all the time across the Floor of the House in this vendetta. It has been suggested that the authority might consider that its existence could be justified only if it was given more money to do the job that it wished to do.

This is what is happening tonight. The authority is getting the thick end of £500,000 to do a job of advertising. This means giving to the housewife, to schools, to the general public, a fuller and deeper appreciation of what is the best fish. This is a laudable exercise. I am not going into the mechanics of it, or its function as opposed to the Civil Service. I am puzzled to know what lies behind the sly comments which are knocking this buffer organisation. I would have thought that the Opposition would accept that it has done a first-class job.

The Minister gave us a lucid explanation—