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experiments, through the various grades of farmers is extremely slow. Where good farming exists side by side with poor farming, there has been little attempt in many cases to raise the standard of the poor farming to that of the better. Perhaps it is too much to expect that the farmer of one or two hundred acres of land should become an expert in the three or four branches of production on which he must embark. If so, the need of the specialised manager is evident; but scope for his knowledge and activities cannot be found on farms of the prevailing sizes.
We may, however, assume that the existing organisation of the present farms will persist for many years, and steps should be taken to improve facilities for agricultural education, and to arouse desire for more knowledge. This will be more easily arranged by the extension of local farm institutes—as was contemplated prior to the war; for most of the agricultural colleges are too expensive for the sons of farmers. Demonstration farms, organised and managed to illustrate good farming practice and to show a profit, would be of great value. Where public authorities are spending money and effort in establishing small holdings the establishment of demonstration holdings has been too long delayed. Provision should also be made for the technical education of employees, both to secure the best service in the production of food and to improve their economic and social outlook. With public regulation of rates of wages some farmers will find it necessary to secure greater services from their employees; and from all points of view it is desirable that efficiency in production should be increased by a development of skill and intelligence rather than by an increase in mere physical exertion.
Mr. Middleton states that the development of agricultural production in Germany has been due, in addition to other causes mentioned, to the greater proportion of land under the plough in that country, to the attention given to the credit system and the supply of capital, to the organisation of the business side of the industry-especially by co-operation--and to the provision of facilities for education. These are the fundamental necessities for a development of our own system; and unless these requirements are met, and a new spirit of enterprise engendered in the controllers of the industry, the community at large can obtain no benefit from a system of public subsidies. The treatment of farming as a business, in which capital and intelligence should be obtained from every possible source, is the elemental condition of progress. Upon the quality of the business organisation depends both the financial return to the farmer and the rendering of economic service to the community.
Other remedies for our agricultural ills, besides improvement in technical methods and in business organisation, are frequently advocated. The nation is invited, for example, to establish vast numbers of small holdings, for various social and sentimental reasons held by enthusiasts; but if the whole of England and Wales were cut up into holdings, each large enough to maintain a family, the increase in rural population secured would be insignificant. Considering all types of production, the average size of such holdings would be about twenty-seven acres, and the present cultivated area of England and Wales would provide about one million holdings of this size. But according to the census of 1911 there are already almost exactly one million males over the age of fifteen engaged in agriculture in England and Wales, exclusive of gardeners, woodmen, nurserymen, and seedsmen. So that unless the holdings were very much smaller than twenty-seven acres there would be only a small increase in rural population. If, however, the holdings were smaller the standard of life of the cultivators would almost inevitably fall, although total productio. and the rate of production per acre might possibly rise.
There is a distinct place for the small holding in agricultural production in such industries as market gardening, poultry raising, and some parts of the dairying industry. But a vast extension of small-scale production means a reduction in the standard of production per man.
Part of the difference in the amount of the net output per person in this country and in Germany is due to the fact that in England only 16 per cent. of the land consists of holdings of less than fifty acres each, whereas in Germany nearly onehalf of the total cultivated area is made up of these small units of production. The system of small-scale cultivation and of peasant proprietorship secures a better distribution of the financial returns of the industry than a system of larger farms employing labour ; but as the standard of living ultimately depends upon the rate of production per man, the system which gives good results judged on this standard ultimately gives the best results to the agriculturist.
It must be again repeated that in all discussions of agricultural systems it is futile to consider mere quantity of production without also considering methods of organisation and financial results. If the people of the United Kingdom desire such supplies of home-grown food as cannot be produced by economic methods they must be prepared to pay the price in money and in the possible reduction of the variety of their dietary. Millions of acres of land which may be used for agricultural purposes in the Empire are still unsettled or only thinly settled. On such areas the food necessary for the British population might be produced by methods which would yield the agriculturist a good return for his industry without imposing a drain upon public revenue, and by the settlement of those areas the Empire would be strengthened. The Empire may become self-supporting on a healthy economic system, but so far as can be seen the United Kingdom can become self-supporting in the matter of food supplies only at a prohibitive cost.
As regards the other side of the picture, it must be borne in mind that production can still be increased in this country to the advantage both of producer and of consumer by the adoption of sound technical and business methods. The most trenchant criticism of the policy of guaranteed prices yet published is the work of a tenant farmer, and is contained in the separate report of Sir Matthew Wallace on Agricultural Policy. He states :
' Efficiency is the keynote of the situation, and the means of securing this the State can provide. Instruction and information have not yet reached the man who tills the soil ; his desire for knowledge has not even been quickened. Give the farmer education, acquaint him with the reason of things, and you will give him the most wholesome kind of State aid. To some extent this has been done, and where this is the case I am certain that never in the history of British agriculture has there been a period of better farming and greater production.'
With or without guaranteed prices, or other fiscal assistance from the State, the future health and stability of the agricultural industry will depend in a large degree on the adoption of good field-practice, upon the adoption of sound business organisation, and upon the facilities created for the training of intelligent farm managers and workers.
ARTHUR W. ASHBY.
THE DARDANELLES REPORT
HE issue of the report of Lord Cromer's Commission on
the Dardanelles has given a great shock to our countrymen, but it marks an epoch in the history of the war and of the British Empire. In the ordinary course of Cabinet Government the culprit usually escapes. At some stage or another of the operations the minister in charge has to fall back on his colleagues, and the aegis of the whole Government is thrown over him. Hence the individual responsibility of a minister is seldom brought home; the popularity of statesmen and the reverse are in consequence more often decided by individual characteristics than by policy. Mr. Asquith's Government, in full confidence, challenged a verdict by granting this enquiry; they have got it with a vengeance. For the first time since the Crimea the fiction that slackness cannot be brought home to persons at headquarters has been exploded.
The present writer was not among those who pressed these enquiries or desired to force any disclosure from the Government which on patriotic grounds might be inopportune. Like most other Englishmen he has always regarded the war as the supreme issue. The Ministry of 1914 had already made large drafts on public confidence, and many felt a doubt as to its composition. But so long as it represented the country, there seemed no alternative between strengthening its hand and striking a deathblow. It is hardly overstating the case to say that, with this report hanging over prominent members of the Ministry of 1914, what occurred last December could only have been postponed till March.
The disposition to attack Lord Cromer and his colleagues for their statement of the case is not creditable. The composition of the Commission was thoroughly impartial, and its chairman had on many subjects a bias strongly in favour of the Ministry.
What most people fail to recollect is the divergence between efficiency as it is understood at the outskirts of the Empire and at the centre. Great Britain has never been better served at 'out-stations' than in the last fifty years. The pulse of the pioneer notoriously beats faster than that of the politician,
and remoteness from Downing Street has only quickened loyalty and self-sacrifice. On the other hand a nation so prosperous as ours, and secure in its insularity, has been inclined to look placidly on the enthusiasts who dreamed in Dreadnoughts, National Service, and Food Supplies. Lord Cromer came home from Egypt ten years ago to find all minds centred on doles and domestic grievances. It is difficult now to realise to what degree questions like Defence, the Declaration of London, and the Bagdad Railway, on which the life of our Empire was to be tried, took a back seat. Indeed, if national spirit were to be weighed by political preoccupations, it was a decadent nation which had to face the crisis of 1914. Lord Cromer has ended his life by a service to the country which will be remembered side by side with his regeneration of Egypt. He has told a plain story with remorseless exactitude, and has exposed shortcomings in official procedure with unrivalled knowledge. But it was no part of his province to go back and ascertain the habit of mind which led to these aberrations. It is proposed briefly to do so here.
Of the twenty years before the outbreak of war, the Unionist party had held power for over ten years and their opponents for nearly nine years at a stretch. Experience shows that after five years a Government loses its 'snap,' and however outwardly formidable is inwardly disjointed. The Boer War caught Lord Salisbury's Government at a time when it had earned rest, and the great resultant strain, aided in 1903 by the Tariff explosion, landed it in the greatest defeat of the century.
The Campbell Bannerman-Asquith Government had a still more formidable trial. For nine years it stood a bombardment, possibly well earned, but certainly never-ceasing. Education, Church, Budget, Liquor, Navy, Ireland, with two General Elections, made each year a long-drawn-out platform and parliamentary struggle. Graver issues were inevitably put aside. Writing on the wall was not wanting, notably in 1911 when France and Germany were on the eve of mobilising, but there is no evidence that the ministers chiefly concerned, Sir Edward Grey and Lord Haldane, took any step to meet the emergency. Lord Salisbury once declined to back a representation to a foreign power urged by a very strong Viceroy with the words, He * always wants me to negotiate as if I had 200,000 men at my