§ Mr. Wyatt
As the Army Estimates require us to make provision for 170,000 enrolments this year and only 18,000 have actually been made, is it not now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that the Government were extremely foolish to launch this ludicrous scheme, and should not this farce of trying to organise 1250 the Home Guard when there is no imminent danger of war be abandoned before further Government money is wasted?
§ Mr. Head
The danger of war, in my opinion, is dependent upon the efforts of preparedness of this country. Since it has receded, it would be very unwise to let slide these efforts. As regards recruitment for the Home Guard, one of the main difficulties is that owing to the rashness of some individuals on the other side it has to some extent become a party matter, which I deeply regret.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that this has become a party matter when, in the course of the debate on the provision of a Home Guard, hon. Members and right hon. Members on this side of the House supported the principle of the creation of a Home Guard, but warned the right bon. Gentleman that the time was inopportune to proceed; and do not the figures—perhaps deplorable figures, according to one's opinion—indicate that it was a mistake to proceed prematurely with this scheme?
§ Mr. Head
No, I would not agree that the figures indicate that. The men we have got are extremely good men and will form a valuable cadre against the days when we may have to expand. As regards the party side, I am aware of certain qualified support, but the fact remains that many men who might have joined the Home Guard have gained the impression that those who belong to the party of the right hon. Gentleman opposite are definitely against their joining.
§ Mr. Wyatt
Since only 10 per cent. of those required have come forward, and even newspapers like the "Evening Standard," which does not belong to this party, are against this ludicrous scheme, does not this show beyond all doubt that this is the wrong moment to try to arouse enthusiasm in those few volunteers who can be found to support the Government?
§ Major Beamish
Is my right hon. Friend not aware that there is no reason to be disappointed with the progress that is being made? The first step was to provide headquarters, commanding officers, adjutants and quartermasters. This has been successfully done, and we hope that a great deal more progress will be made as the months go on.