§ Mr. DUNCAN V. PIRIE,
in moving the second reading of the Temperance (Scotland) Bill, said it would indeed require a very wide stretch of imagination—and that stretch of imagination accompanied by a firm belief that ultimately the right must prevail—to think that anyone of us among the Scottish Members who, almost nine months ago this very day, raised a protest when we learned that a Bill on similar lines to that which I now bring before the House, and which was first brought in last year for second reading, was not to have a fair chance, was not to pass into law, owing to the congestion of business in this House, and other reasons—it would, I say, require a wide stretch of imagination to believe that in nine months from then we should again be in a position to bring forward a measure so bound up with the welfare and prosperity of Scotland.
The present Bill introduces no new principle. It is a principle which, as a matter of fact, was brought before this House as long ago as 1864 by the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson. It is a principle which is also recommended by the Minority Report of the Royal Commission. In an addendum, signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and others, is the following:—That the people in every part of the United Kingdom should have power by a substanted majority vote taken by the widest franchise in force, to prevent any premises being licensed to sell intoxicating liquors in their respective localities.Besides, not only has this subject been formerly before the House, but it has formed the subject of a Bill on two previous occasions in this very Parliament, introduced respectively by the hon. Member for Partick and by the hon. Member for the Tradeston Division of Glasgow, whose absence through ill-health we all regret, and who will be welcomed on his return. In addition, before the introduction of these two measures, a resolution was moved by the hon. Member for West-moreland affirming this principle. [An HON. MEMBER: "When was that "] It was in 1906. As regards the practical aspect of the matter in relation to Scotland and Wales, we have an important recommendation in the Minority Report of the Peel Commission:—We have already said that in England we do not recommend the adoption of a direct popular measure. There are many important reforms to be carried out, and under our proposals with regard thereto, some time must elapse before Local Veto could become an immediate practical remedy in this country. in Scotland and Wales, however, the case is different. There opinion is much more advanced on the path of temperance reform; and we are prepared to suggest that 1015 at the end of the given period (five years) a wide measure of direct popular control might be applied under proper safeguards to Scotland and Wales.
My Bill is to give effect to that. It is a very simple and short Bill. It merely empowers one-tenth of the electors in a given area to demand a poll, and when the poll is granted, the electors will be asked to vote on one of three resolutions. The first is a no-licence resolution, in other words, a Prohibition resolution. That resolution, to be given effect to, must be carried by no less than a three-fifths majority. The second and third resolutions may be carried merely by a bare majority. The second resolution is a limiting resolution, which, if carried, would force the reduction of the licences in the area by one-quarter. The third resolution is merely for no change—namely, that the state of affairs existing before the poll shall continue.
There are, however, two conditional provisos. The first is that it is only proposed to bring the provisions of the Act into operation five years after its passing.
Let me make one earnest request as regards this measure to all sections of this House, whether temperance or those opposed to temperance reforms, that they will look upon this proposition as a genuine, honest effort to secure unity to carry out a great and lasting reform long overdue, more especially with regard to Scotland. The Licensing Commission, in recommending this time-limit for Scotland, recommended it "a matter of grace and expediency." I personally take a somewhat different view. I hold that as the country has been apathetic, criminally apathetic in the past, it must to a certain extent bear the responsibility of the huge monopoly which is sucking out its life blood. I am not disposed to question or quarrel over the reasons, sufficient for me that we have arrived at one common result, namely, that the time-limit of five years is a proper and just limit. Let me emphasise the fact that there is no analogy between the case of Scotland and the case of England. I must explain the difference and lay stress on the fact. The present Lord Chancellor, speaking in this House as Sir Robert Reid on the Liquor Traffic Local Veto (Scotland) Bill of 1905, said:—There never had been the pretence of fixity of tenure in regard to public-houses in Scotland, and people had been frequently dispossessed of their public-houses on the ground that they were not required in the public interest.
And again, according to Lord Balfour of Burleigh, in another place, he cited a case notified by Court, by which it will be 1016 proved that a time limit of five years is ample and generous, because Lord Balfour of Burleigh put before their Lordships a case recorded in the Courts in which there was a licence of the annual value of £200, and yet the gross sum paid down for it was £500—namely, two and a-half years' purchase. Therefore, it is clear that if I have erred at all I have erred on the side of generosity. And, as I have said, my aim has been, and the aim of those who drafted this Bill has been, to secure unity of temperance reformers. We have succeeded, I am happy to say, in gaining that so far as Scotland is concerned.
The title of the Bill, about which there has been some stupid tittle tattle in the Lobby, was deliberately chosen with the great idea of uniting the Temperance party. I am also desirous of meeting the views of the people of the trade, many of whom recognise the evil, and I am glad to say are inclined to accept this measure. My aim has been to eliminate the ban and evil of this great reform, namely, the party influence, and to abolish to a large extent the difference of party in carrying out this large reform. As an example of how we have aimed at eliminating party feeling, I come to this new proviso on the question of later opening. It is not a novel one in this country. There have been many Bills brought before this House with the object of amending the hours of opening of public-houses in Scotland, one of which I may allude to, which was supported by the present Secretary of State for Scotland and the present Lord Advocate.
I would specially refer to the Bill which was introduced by myself bearing on this question exactly ten years ago. I allude to this Bill for the fact that it was, when the Conservative party were in power, in 1899, that was the Public Houses Early Closing (Scotland) Bill, and its backers consisted of four Conservative Members of this House and two Liberals besides myself. The four Conservative Members were Sir Mark Stewart, Colonel Denny, Mr. Gordon (late Member for Elgin and Nairn), and Mr. MacLagan, and the two Liberal Members were the hon. Member who is sitting for Leith Burghs and the late Mr. Colville, whose name will be reverenced by all temperance reformers in every part of the world. Perhaps the name of Colonel Denny ought to and does carry weight with the Gentlemen opposite. I allude to him for the strong views which he has expressed as follows:I have yours on the question of keeping licensed premises closed until 10 o'clock a.m. The necessities for this measure are of course, first of all, the strong 1017 temptations placed in the way of men who may be unable to resist taking liquor in the morning before they have had any food; secondly, that the life of the workers on licensed premises is hard at the best, and is made no easier by the fact that while they are kept open till 10 o'clock at night, under the present conditions they are obliged to, or do, open at 8 o'clock in the morning. The trade done between that hour and 10 is not of the highest class in the majority of towns. I am convinced that the trade would lose little or nothing by keeping closed till 10 a.m.
That is a very strong approval of my position, especially strong as coming from a former Member of the Conservative party, and I hope it will carry weight with hon. Gentlemen opposite when they come to consider this Bill. The necessity of such a late hour of opening is emphasised to anyone who is at all familiar with the scenes that occur outside public works in England. Outside those works you see long strings of men standing outside the public-houses swallowing their glass of raw liquor, then go into their work and work two or three hours on an empty stomach. No one who has the welfare of the people at heart would wish that to continue.
We ask for a measure that we should be free from this habit of the public-houses being opened at an early hour. I must explain the difference in England and Scotland. The Scotch workers take breakfast between nine and ten o'clock. We aim at keeping the public-houses closed until after the men return to work at ten o'clock. As regards the early-closing movement in Scotland, the Inspectors of Constabulary have all reported with practical unanimity. Out of 111 counties and burghs only two have reported against this principle, and over 100 chief constables have reported in its favour and only one against. I do not say that my proposition may not be open to amendment in Committee. It may be suggested that the liquor trade might adopt an Order making later closing optional, or that power might be given to the justices; but these, I submit, are Committee points, and would not be prejudiced by a Second Reading being given to the Bill.
I do not intend to make a long speech, and I hope, in order to shorten the discussion, others who take part in the debate will follow my example.
§ Mr. PIRIE
Because the matter has been discussed time after time during the last few years, and I hope that all, except those Gentlemen who want to waste the time of the House—with whom, of course, I do not include my right hon. interrupter —will accede to the request I have made. 1018 What has been the past attitude and action of Scotland in this matter? I congratulate the opponents of the Bill on the fact that, for the first time in two years, they have succeeded in getting a Scottish Member to move the rejection of the measure. I regret that the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities should have accepted that position; I will only say that had he spent his career, for which I have the greatest respect and admiration, as it ought to have been spent, in the headquarters of the Scottish Education Department in Edinburgh instead of at Dover House, he might have been more fitted to speak for the opinion of his fellow-countrymen.
It remains on record, however, that during the last two years the opponents of similar Scottish measures have had to find, as official proposers and seconders of their rejection, the following interesting Members: In 1907 the rejection was moved by the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool, who has been weighted with heavy resopnsibility in the rather fruitless effort to live up to the reputation of a maiden speech; and it was seconded by the Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone. In 1908 the rejection was-moved by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, who, with his masterly and intimate acquaintance with Scottish affairs, voiced Scottish opposition to the measure; and he was seconded by the hon. Member for Windsor.
I have read the arguments brought forward by those four English Members, and there is only one that I wish to deal with, and that is the gibe and taunt levelled against us by the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool, that, in spite of our increased restrictions on the liquor traffic, the people of Scotland were less sober than the people of England. ["Hear, hear."] I doubt very much whether I shall hear " Hear, hear " when I have dealt with the point; I hope rather that I shall bring a tinge of shame to the cheeks of hon. Members; at any rate, I will leave the House to judge between us whether or not there ought to be shame.
First of all, I say that the comparison is not a fair one. The character of the liquor in the two countries is so essentially different, and the statistics differ so widely in form—in Scotland the figures for breaches of the peace and for drunkenness being classed together—that a fair comparison between the two countries is impossible. Moreover, the increase of drunkenness in Scotland is to a large extent traceable to the great centres of popu- 1019 lation. If you eliminate Glasgow, the statistics, so far as they are worth anything, prove that there has been a decrease from 87,800 cases in 1902 to 83,900 in 1906.
That, however, is beside the question so far as my argument is concerned. What I take exception to is the charge made against us. I am going to relate to the House the deeply moving and interesting history of this question. There have been four Resolutions in this House in favour of a reform of this character—in 1880, 1881, 1883, and 1906—and the respective majorities of the whole House in their favour have been 26, 42, 87, and 227. But what have been the Scottish votes on those four occasions? In 1880 there were 38 in favour, 3 against ; in 1881, 37 in favour, 3 against; in 1883, 36 in favour, 2 against, and in 1906, 24 in favour, 3 against.
Now I come to the Bills which have been presented. Twenty-five years ago we wished to reform ourselves and to do what we could to relieve our nation from the curse of this enslaving habit. In 1884, the late Mr. McLagan, Member for Linlithgow, introduced a Bill, and I congratulate myself on the fact that on the back of that Bill was the name of the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs, who is to second the measure now before the House. The second Bill was introduced in 1899 by the late Mr. John Wilson, Member for Govan, and the Scottish votes in its favour were 40 to 15 against. In 1905, the third Bill with the same object in view was introduced by Mr. Hunter Craig, the successor of Mr. John Wilson at Govan, the Scottish votes on that occasion being 33 in favour to 14 against.
Both of these Bills, in spite of the large Scottish majorities in their favour, were defeated by English votes. Coming to the last two years, when Bills have been carried, the fourth Bill was introduced by the hon. Member for Partick, when there were 52 Scottish votes in its favour, and only 7 against. Last year's Bill was brought in by the hon. Member for the Tradeston Division of Glasgow, and the Scottsh votes were 46 in favour, 5 against. In other words, there has been a diminution of Scottish votes against the principle from 15 to 14, from 14 to 7, and from 7 to 5. The Division later on will show how many Scottish Members are against the measure to-day. What is my answer to that after such a history? I would ask this question:
If we have representative Government in this country does it mean anything at 1020 all? We have a permanent majority against us to face in the other House, and we have the hostility of this House when we wish to reform ourselves. You talk about the treatment being bad for Ireland in this House. I say that no treatment could be worse than the treatment we have received on this question. For 25 years we have asked to free ourselves from the curse of drunkenness, and we are not allowed to do it, and then, what is worse, we have this gibe thrown at us that we are worse in this matter than England. It say it is ignominious—it is worse than ignominious; it is cruel and heartless. We are told that we should educate the people and appeal to their moral qualities. In the past the lives of devoted men have been increasingly devoted to the education of the people, as has been proved by the series of Bills and resolutions to which I have referred. Then on the top of this we are told that we are very drunken.
if English Members realised the gravity of the situation with which we desire to, deal they would enable us to effect this reform, but while opposing the reform they taunt Scotland with being more drunken than England. I hope that the facts before hon. Members opposite will induce them to feel some shame. I appeal not only to the conscience of this House, but to the conscience of the other House, in order that they may be prevented from committing the great crime of not passing this measure. We are told that you cannot make people sober by Act of Parliament. No, but you can give people an Act of Parliament by which they can make themselves sober. It is because Scotland has asked, and does ask, for this measure of reform that I move the second reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. MUNRO FERGUSON
This is a Bill which is severely restricted in its scope, and which creates no obstacles to, further legislation. There are three provisions in the Bill. It provides for a time notice. The nature of this time notice is sufficiently familiar after the discussions which took place last year on the English Bill. That clears the way for better administration by the Courts. It provides for a poll to enlighten the Courts as to the state of public opinion. That provision for a poll has been often carried in this House as to Scotland, and it has been carried without the provision of time notice and without the provision for a three-fifths majority in the case of the prohibition of the grant of licences. In the absence of 1021 these provisions I have of late years not been able to support some of the Local Veto Bills before the House. Therefore, I attach great importance to the provision of the time notice. Then there is a further provision for delay in the opening of houses until ten o'clock in the morning. There are various details in the Bill which might well be discussed in Committee, but, on the other hand, there is no principle in the Bill upon which either ingenuity or loquacity could introduce any novelty in the form of argument.
Let me remind the House of the simplicity of the problem in Scotland as compared with England. The conditions in Scotland and England are as distinct as the two Bills introduced by the late Conservative Government. There is nothing that could better illustrate the distinction in the conditions of the two countries than the way in which these two Bills were introduced and received. The Scottish Act was welcomed by temperance reformers and the licensing courts in Scotland. The endeavour to secure its extension in Committee upstairs was supported by Unionist opinion as well as by Liberal opinion. There was one provision under which every new grocer's licence would have carried with it the obligation to carry on the liquor trade as distinct from the sale of provisions or groceries. That was supported by Unionist opinion, and there was an equality of votes. It was not included in the Bill because of the casting vote of the chairman, Sir James Fergusson, who, to the great regret of the Members of the House, lost his life in the disaster at Jamaica. Nor was Unionist opinion lacking in opposition to the provisions of the last English Act in so far as they restricted the authority of the Court in the interest of the trade.
There are other distinctions which English and Irish Members might well bear in mind, and which are sufficiently realised by Scottish Members. The member of licences in England in proportion to the population are far greater than in Scotland. This Bill therefore is not complicated by any provision for reduction during the time notice. There is no levy on the trade for a reduction fund. There is no question of limiting the retail profits of the trade at the end of the time notice as there would have been under the English Bill of last year. The trade can therefore readily insure against possible reductions under the Local Option clause. The market value of licences in Scotland is far less than in England. Five years' 1022 purchase is a very ordinary figure. Sometimes values rule higher, and sometimes. lower. Lord Peel proposed five years notice in Committee in regard to the Bill. of 1903. I proposed a seven years' notice. The Scottish courts have freely refused the renewal of licences whenever they considered they were undesirable in the public interest. In no way has the claim of property in licences been recognised in Scotland. Public opinion has given the trade and the Government sufficiently broad hints that it would stand nothing of the kind.
Let the House consider further the need for legislating in advance of the Act of 1903. The fact remains that the liquor traffic is a dangerous trade, which needs elaborate control—a control in which I have had considerable experience whether in the granting or refusal of licences or in supervising them.
The main question, to my mind, is what amendment in the existing system is necessary in order to ensure the most effective control over a dangerous trade in the public interest. I cannot forget what I have often stated that no reform in my opinion is likely to be so effective as the elimination of private profits in the retail trade. It is a question, I must own, whether in the present state of public-opinion there is a sufficient warranty to, ask the Government to adopt that opinion. Strongly as I am in favour of it, and as much as I agree with the hon. Member for Huddersfield—to whom temperance reform owes more than to any other man—I am not prepared at the present moment, although I regard it as the ultimate goal to which we should aim, to put it in the forefront of the discussion. Convinced as I am that of all the licensing systems in all parts of the world the Scandinavian system stands first, yet if that solution is not provided for by the Bill it does deal with the essential preliminary in providing the time notice which will relieve the Licensing Court from taking other matters into consideration beside the public interest. And that is the kernel of the whole question. The character and independent authority of the Licensing Court are our stand-by in the public interest. We are dealing with a traffic which is recognised by law, but which has attached a hard cash value to the holder of a licence. In fact, under the present system we have that most fashionable form of tenure—dual ownership; and in no case are the evils of that system better illustrated. The tenant on a yearly tenure becomes irremovable, and 1023 a vested right is created which hampers the progress of licensing administration for all time. What we have to provide for is that the magistrates shall deal with the matter, not in the interests of the tenant, but of the community. One way of attaining that end is to make the licence in fact as it is in theory, for a certain period and no longer, and thus free the hands of the Court from a divided responsibility.
Let the House look at the nature of the conditions under which the Courts have to act. They cannot serve two masters. In response to a demand the Court may find itself under the necessity of granting a licence to some Tom, Dick, or Harry to whom it will mean a free gift of three or four thousand pounds. On the other hand, and I have a concrete case in my mind, the Court may have to attach conditions to the renewal of a certificate which practically means the refusal of the licence. Parliament lets loose on the Courts the whole influence of the trade. It is the system which is destructive, and not the licensing administration. There are as good men in the trade as in the Courts. There is no form of sordid or social influence to which you do not expose your bench under the present system. A well-known distiller will ask a well-known county justice for his support to the application of his nominee in the management of a tied house. A police inspector goes to another county justice to solicit his vote for his son's application for a new licence in a colliery district. That is equivalent to £3,000 or £4,000. We read of a number of bank notes left on a bailie's table, or gifts may be distributed to members of a household. A landlord is offered a high price for a site if the Court in which he sits will grant a licence. Many considerations based on expectations of the renewal of a certificate must disappear if the bench is to be protected from annoyance and the public from trade pretensions.
Some of my Friends think that a time notice is unnecessary. Those who are familiar with the evils of intemperance become impatient, and would cut the knot by local option to-morrow. There is no wonder that those familiar with the evils of intemperance are impatient, and regard the time notice as a retribution in payment of past laxity. As regards length of notice, my impression is that during the five years' notice the necessary provisions can be made by licensed holders to provide against the contingencies of local option. 1024 We have the trust accounts, which are more numerous in my county of Fife, and economy is not a strong point of the modern trust system. But under the trust system something is entered in the books as goodwill when a new licence is granted by the courts. On the other hand, where purchases are made that amount is more or less written off in the depreciation account or through the reserve fund. Under the five years' notice the trust would either make no allocation to its surplus profits or else it could insure or it could do both, and in no case that I know of would the shareholders suffer under a five years' notice. The trade could insure in co-operative insurances, and it would do so readily because the value of the licences that remain would rise. Naturally every year added to the three years' notice would add to that security. Five years is certainly not unreasonable. A sliding scale I have no doubt would be a fairer way, and in its absence I should not object to reverting to the figure seven, which I mentioned in Committee upstairs. It is with a view to good administration that I support local option; but in my opinion it will not be seen at its best so long as private property is a feature of the retail trade. As to the elective system to which English Members might possibly object, we are already familiar with it in Scotland in the administration of the licensing system. The Burgh courts, representing the great majority of the population, are formed under the elective system.
I anticipate that the result of the Local Option Clause would be to facilitate substantial reductions where they are needed. Pressure is always welcome in cases of some new departure. Take the English Small Holdings Bill of last year, under which the Commissioners are empowered to exercise pressure on the local authorities to transfer land to the new tenants. Without that pressure it would be a very difficult thing in many cases to act; the courts would welcome that pressure, and the court would often hesitate to refuse a superfluous certificate until it had some definite expression of public opinion at its back. The Silver Paradise of Blairgowrie is not less celebrated for its hard drinking than for its small holdings, and in that case a probable reduction would be a very desirable thing. As a Ross-shire Justice, I supported prohibition in the Island of Lewis. What is the position there? The whole area is 400,000 acres, and there are five licences. The local Justices refused the renewal of the certificates year after 1025 year, but they are overridden. The scenes in the temporary drinking sheds when the fishermen land every morning are simply disgraceful, and for my part I came to the conclusion that prohibition in the Island of Lewis would be a great advantage.
The landowners can exercise prohibition: they can decide whether a certain area shall or shall not have drinking facilities, and the Prohibitionist in this case is probably the person less affected, and all that this clause does is that it provides that the persons really interested should have an equal right to say whether prohibition should take effect—prohibition, which effects so closely the amenity and comfort of the area in which they live. On the third point, not opening public-houses before 10 o'clock in the morning, opinion has matured since 1903.
It may be asked why should not the Court have discretion to close until 10 o'clock? Why should we not ask for Statutory closing until 10 o'clock? I will tell the House. Small administrative areas, which are so much admired by some, are, in my opinion, the modern curse of Scotland. The small administrative area applies to Licensing, to Education, and to the Poor Law. I think the areas for Education and the Poor Law are absurd. The areas for Licensing are better, but even they are too small; and the co-operation of the Courts is, consequently, very hard to get. They are too small to enable uniform action to be taken over sufficiently large areas to secure the desired result. In Fife there are many licence authorites; there is only one authority in Kirkcaldy District, which refuses to shut its public-houses upon certain holidays, when all the other authorities have decided to close the public-houses. The result is that, so far as the inhabitants of the other districts are concerned, the public-houses might as well have been opened everywhere as leaving them opened in one district when closed elsewhere.
I think this House will see how impossible it is to have any satisfactory method of administration under that system. I will take another example. Take a trust house I know of. There the management has closing at nine o'clock in the evening instead ten. We find all the miners' wives petitioned that the house should be opened till ten o'clock, because the clients of the public house went several miles off—two or three miles away—where the public-houses were open till ten o'clock, and were an hour late in getting to bed in consequence. 1026 I would like to know who supports drinking before ten o'clock in the morning. I wonder what the hon. Member who is going to move the rejection of the Bill would say of drinking before ten o'clock in the morning if he were drawing up a model course of health in Scottish towns or regulations in continuation schools under the new code.
This is not an exhaustive measure which has been brought before the House. There is nothing new in it. There is nothing with which the House is not perfectly familiar, and if I have taken up the time of the House unduly it has only been to give practical illustrations from actual experience; but so far as the Bill goes, I do not hesitate to recommend it earnestly to the House, for it well deserves a second reading not only here, but elsewhere also. Scotland has not come off very well of late in Parliament. I do not say why, though I have views upon the matter; but I do say this, that if this independent attempt to improve the administration of licensing in Scotland is brought to naught, it will be remembered and resented by the Scottish people deeply and bitterly. I beg to second.
Question proposed, "That this Bill be now read a second time."
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK,
in moving "That it be read a second time upon this day six months," said: The hon. Member for Aberdeen in moving his Bill appealed to this side of the House to curtail as far as possible remarks upon the measure, which I think he will admit is one of very much importance. Example in this case would be much better than precept, and I shall hope not largely to exceed the measure of his example. I must first say something of the two speeches to which we have just listened, and I would like first to refer not in the ordinary course to the speech of the hon. Member who seconded. I have looked up his previous utterances on the Bill of 1907, and it strikes me that perhaps the change of location which we all have noticed, the different atmosphere which prevails above the Gangway and below it, has brought the hon. Member into a little closer connection and sympathy with some of his colleagues in Scotland than we have been in the habit of finding in that very discriminating support which he gave to these measures when he sat in another quarter of this House.
I observe some touching reminiscences of his freer and less responsible position in his reference to dual ownership and his affection for the English Small Holders 1027 Act, in the discussion of which I think he took a very considerable share in preventing that rapid legislation for Scotland which he lamented did not take place a few moments ago. The hon. Member has proffered a somewhat, I must say, lukewarm support of this Bill. He gave a very large part of his speech, that which was not devoted to the reminiscences of the Small Holdings Bill, to the discussion of the Licensing Courts and the various incidents which might prevail in those Courts and the various effects that might be worked by the process of lessening grants and of lessening the property of the license-holders. I do not intend to follow him in these learned disquisitions. I am quite incapable of doing so, and I do not feel a very great interest in the property of the license-holder ; I am inclined to speak of the larger interests which are involved in this Bill, and which are not affected by the very subtle analysis of the causes to which the hon. Member referred. In 1907 the hon. Member for Leith Burghs said:—Until they could secure disinterested management he was of opinion that they could not do better than keep the licensing authorities as strong and independent as possible, and he was not at all sure that on the whole the influence of public veto would be an advantage.He closed his speech by saying:—In giving a support to the principle many of them had always insisted that they regarded it as an essential part of any reform that other principles should be incorporated with it.
§ Mr. MUNRO FERGUSON
My hon. Friend is assuming that the two Bills are the same, and they are not the same.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
That has nothing to do with the question, so far as I understand it, of free management.
§ Mr. MUNRO FERGUSON
I have always supported disinterested management and local veto. Disinterested management together with local veto; it is an essential part of the Scandinavian system.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
Quite so, but there is no disinterested management in the Bill. Now I come to the very eloquent speech, if he will permit me to say so, of the mover of the Bill. I would only ask the hon. Member when he used very stirring words and spoke with warm sympathy not to believe that those who differ from him have any different views upon the subject or that we less recognise the evil, or that we are less with him in wishing that our country should shake itself free of this curse of intemperance. We give him every 1028 credit for the sincerity of his motives, we only ask in common fairness that he should give us some credit for similar sincerity. The hon. Member seemed to see something of insincerity in the fact that I appear as the opponent of this Motion. He seemed to think that if my official duties had led me to reside constantly and not, as has been the case, very frequently, in Scotland, I should have been so convinced of the degradation of my countrymen that I would have no alternative but to take away from a large portion of them their freedom of action and compel them, whether they would or not, to refrain from consuming a certain article of consumption. Regretting, as I do, the prevalence of drunkenness in Scotland, admitting that it is a disgrace to that nation, yet I think there may be other and better methods which I do not in the least despair of using with my fellow-countrymen for curing that great evil.
Coming to this Bill, as I understand, it is a copy almost verbatim of a certain Bill which now prevails in New Zealand. I have the greatest respect for the Colonies, and am very interested in them, but I think it may be a little overdone, that we always have brought forward this or that notable example of a Colony, whose inhabitants are about as numerous as those of a fair-sized provincial city in England, as a model for this country, with all its tradition and with all its intricate social and economic problems; and that it should be suggested that these should be settled by the simple adoption of something which might be found extremely useful in New Zealand.
It struck me that the title of the Bill is something curious. The hon. Member with that love of romance which distinguishes him has deserted altogether the prosaic titles we are in the habit of using for our Bills. There is nothing about liquor traffic. He has adopted the name of one of the virtues as the title of his Bill. It is elegant and figurative, and I hope it may prove practical. At all events, it gives a range to our discussions of very considerable extent. But I am not indisposed to accept, even with some gratitude, certain portions of the Bill. In the first place, the hon. Member for Leith set up a man of straw against which he tilted with great vehemence, and put strong arguments in my mouth, and anticipated vehement opposition on my part to one provision of the Bill, that relating to closing till 10 o'clock. I am entirely in favour of that, and if the Bill went no 1029 further than that I would be ready to vote for it. But there is a very considerable difference in that provision of the Bill from any other measure. In the first place, Parliament takes into its own hands, according to the proposal of the Bill, its regulation, and I think it is only fair that it should.
If we are to have regulation of the liquor traffic, let it not be by morsels all over the country. Let it be done by the authority of Parliament. In the second place, those whom we restrict by the 10 o'clock rule are a class who are sharply to be distinguished from the ordinary working man. Is it not the case that the man who begins to drink before 10 o'clock in the morning has already formed an unhealthy and rather degrading habit? You have a right to deal with such a man in a totally different way from that in which you have a right to deal with a man who takes liquor at another part of the day, when his judgment, whether you approve it or not, thinks it is proper for him to do so. The drunkard, of course, may drink at 8 o'clock in the day, but there are very few who will form this habit of drinking before 10 o'clock in the morning who have not sunk to a low level of intemperance, and with whom you are entitled to deal in a fairly drastic way.
Let us consider what will be the progress of this Bill. I am not sorry that a Bill should be brought forward which puts in its full terms of exaggeration what I call the fanatical views of the extreme temperance reformers. It will open the eyes of the nation to their intention. I know what we shall be told from the Treasury Bench. We have had experience from the two Noble Lords who in such rapid succession have felt themselves obliged to transfer their services from this House to one which is soon to be dealt with in a very drastic manner. We know exactly the sort of comedy that will be enacted. The Lord Advocate will tell us he is entirely in favour of the principle of the Bill, but that certain Amendments have to be introduced. It will be sent upstairs. But does the right hon. Gentleman conceive it probable that the Bill will become part of the Statute Law? Hon. Members on the other side have had disappointments previously, and they were not caused by the House of Lords. I prophesy that the course of this Bill may not be entirely smooth towards the very end of its progress in this House itself. But if, on the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman tells us that he is entirely in favour of this Bill, that the Government 1030 endorse every portion of it, why were we bothered so long with an elaborate, voluminous, carefully-balanced Licensing Bill? Is it possible that Scotland is only to be the vile body upon which an experiment may be tried which may subsequently be passed on to England? If that is the case, then in the name of Scotland, and I hope also of some of my Scotch colleagues on the other side, I protest against such a degrading use of my country.
On the whole, I am rather glad to see this Bill in its full and avowed policy of what I call the tyranny of plunder. I prefer, on the whole, to see that large and respectable phalanx of hon. and right hon. Members whose names appear on the back of this Bill appear before us frankly in the guise of footpads, not in the guise of the artful attorney who tries to swindle the money out of our pockets by cunning ways. There is no concealment about their intentions, and there is something engaging in the frank and unblushing boldness with which they come before us. This Bill is absolutely without any question of compensation. Compensation was one of the most difficult questions in the English Licensing Bill. I do not think even the most extreme temperance reformer—even the hon. Member for the Appleby Division—
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
Even he does not regard the plunder of the licence-holder as an object in itself if there is not some good object in the matter of temperance reform to be gained by it. We have had no compensation in Scotland in the Licensing Bill of 1904. In the English Bill of 1902 a compensation principle was introduced. It is absent again from the Bill of the hon. Member for Aberdeen. We have heard of the many thousands of licences that have been extinguished in England under the Act of 1902. The reductions in licences everyone knows are to be numbered by thousands. But the case is very different in Scotland. In 1903 there were 11,114 licences in Scotland, and in the year 1907 the number was 10,781. That is to say, in four years there was a reduction of less than 400 in the number of licences. But there was no compensation in Scotland, and it is a fair inference that the absence of compensation was the reason of the small proportion of reductions in that country as compared with England.
I come now to the question of the principle involved in the Bill. That is really 1031 the strong point. You may argue as to temperance and intemperance as you like, and you may quote what statistics you like. The real principle at the bottom of the Bill is a large, broad principle, of which every citizen is capable of judging, as well as the experts themselves. What class of Members are entitled to support this Bill? I am quite prepared to say that the man who on physiological or on religious or on moral grounds feels that alcohol is a poison which must at all hazards be resisted and banished from the country, is entitled to support this Bill. I am bound in common courtesy to believe that all those who backed the Bill did so from that motive. [An HON. MEMBER: "Quite wrong."] If not, they are either debarring their fellow citizens in the large number of cases from the use of a food which they are entitled to use or they conceive that their fellow citizens are not able to exercise the discretion which they themselves do exercise. We who are discussing this Bill all know perfectly well that however your local veto might operate it would not change the habits of one of us in the remotest degree. We know we are legislating for a class of our fellow citizens altogether beyond the class to which we belong, and that their lives are going to be regulated by a measure which we are not prepared to adopt for ourselves. That is the broad principle involved to which I am opposed.
I am bound in courtesy to the hon. Members who placed their names on the back of the Bill to attribute their action to the sincere conviction that alcohol in any shape or form is a poison, because, if not, I should attribute to them the much more odious action of degrading their fellow-citizens by telling their fellow-citizens, "You are not able to exercise that discretion which we exercise for ourselves." I can see no alternative. Let us appeal a little to history. Some of us—I am sorry to say that I myself—can recall quite well the habits of some 50 years ago. Is it not the case that in what we called conventionally the upper or richer, or the more well-to-do classes, the habits of temperance were 50 years ago much less prevalent than they are now, and that intemperance was not looked upon with that horror and that revulsion with which it is regarded now by any man who aspires to bear the name of a gentleman? The habit of sobriety now, with all those for whom we have any respect in our own lives, is no longer considered as a virtue. We con- 1032 sider want of sobriety a habit from which all our instincts and all our feelings would make us revolt, as from something disgusting. Has this been brought about by legislation? Has the class to which 1 refer been subjected to restrictive legislation? Have you advanced the class to which we belong by means of any tutelary action on the part of the State or any restrictive laws which tell us what we are to drink and when we are to drink it?
We have raised ourselves by a natural process of improvement of opinion and the development of a higher sense of self-respect. For my part I believe that the same thing exists for our fellow-country-men of other classes in Scotland. We see no doubt more patently at this moment of the terrible evils of drink. I totally deny that that comes from any increasing degradation among my countrymen in Scotland. It comes from the absolutely pernicious and detrimental effect of the aggregation of citizens under unhealthy conditions. The hon. Member for Aberdeen anticipated an argument on my part that this evil would be cured by education. I am not inclined to say that education more than anything else will work miracles, but I do say that the question will be touched by many other influences far better than that of severe restriction. It will be touched, first of all, by the refining influence of a little sympathy, and sympathy is the last thing that is given by the extreme intemperate temperance reformers. I may remind you at this point of some words used by Sir Walter Scott in "The Antiquary," in the passage in which Maggie Mucklebasket, the fisherman's wife, says, in reply to a rebuke of drinking habits by Monkbarns:—It is easy for your honour to say so, that hae stouth and rowth, and fire and fending, and meat and claith and sit dry and canny by the fireside—but if ye wanted fire and meat and claiths, and were dying of cauld, and had a sair heart, which is worst of all, with just twopence in your pouch, wadna ye be glad to buy a dram with it to be ending and claes, and heart's-ease into the bargain.
We want a little of that sympathy, a little of the heart-felt appreciation of the difficulties and the temptations that surround the poor, a little power to lift them up into something of self-respect, a little more attempt to raise them and improve their conditions, and not allow them to be crushed under the juggernaut of advancing industrial progress. Would this not be something better than your eternal desire to impose new restrictions to steal away the very manhood of the nation and impose the will of the majority upon the minority. I have been looking 1033 back upon the debate on this subject in 1907, when a notable speech was made by the hon. Member for Blackfriars, and I am bound to say that there were certain expressions in that speech which moved my indignation as a Scotsman. The hon. Member said:—In such cases the spirit was often willing but the flesh was very weak. This Bill would give such men an opportunity of saving themselves from the temptations of drink.
Really, are we to say to the workingmen of Scotland—is the hon. Member coming in their name cap in hand to this House to say on their behalf:—We are unable to restrain ourselves; we cannot exercise moderation and temperance for ourselves, and we entreat you to take away from us the power of exercising the choice which is ours as men: we entreat you to fetter our hands, and to close these opportunities to us.
As a Scotsman as warm in my feelings to every class of my countrymen as the hon. Member for Blackfriars, I venture, on their behalf, to repudiate any such degrading act of humility on the part of my countrymen. How is this local option going to operate? You are going to give two-thirds of the inhabitants of a locality the power to say to the other one-third that they are not to have any opportunities of indulging in alcoholic liquors.
You are not going to deal with the wine merchants, although they are the people from whom all classes obtain the means of indulging in alcoholic liquors. Suppose you go to a community where drunkenness is widely spread, and where there is a great mass of the inhabitants who are in the habit of using public-houses. In such a case will you be likely to secure an absolute majority there in favour of prohibition? On the other hand, where you have a well-to-do villa population, who attach more importance to their own surroundings and making themselves comfortable, are they not the very persons who would move heaven and earth to get a majority in favour of prohibition?
It is exactly in those places where the evils of drink are worst, and where the great majority of the community are determined that they will have and will misuse the opportunity afforded them for obtaining alcoholic liquors, that you will find it impossible to obtain your majority for prohibition. Therefore your local option will not only be wrong in principle and degrading to your fellow-citizens, but it will in many cases operate precisely in the opposite way to what you intend. It is on these grounds that I feel bound to oppose this Bill. Anxious as I am that some cure should be found for intemperance, I am not able to accept a cure 1034 which involves the bringing of a degrading element into the life of a large body of my fellow-citizens.
Some years ago an eloquent and witty Englishman said, "He preferred to see England free to England sober." That phrase caused an immense amount of lifting up of the eyes amongst the unco' guid. I wish to see both Englishmen and Scotch-men first of all free men, exercising their own judgment and discretion, and that moderation which is the very essence of temperance, and I refuse to believe that you advance one whit in moral stature or elevation by telling people " We shall tie your hands, force upon you the opinion of a fanatical two-thirds majority, we shall take from you every opportunity of being temperate or moderate, and we shall treat you upon the same level as school children." It is upon these grounds that I move the rejection of this Bill.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
I second the Amendment. I shall first reply to the fiery denunciations of the hon. Member for Aberdeen of those representatives of English and Irish Constituencies who venture to have an opinion on a Scottish subject of this description. I notice on the Licensing Bill that there was no reluctance on the part of the Scottish Members to vote on an English temperance question; and, in common fairness, the claim on the other side should be allowed.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
In addition to that, it is rather unfortunate that this Bill has been brought up at such very short notice. I think a considerable number of Members here only looked at it this morning.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
It was not generally expected that the Bill would be taken to-day. I think it is a matter of regret—I dare say quite unavoidable—that a Bill of this great importance should be brought up in this House before there has been any opportunity for representations to be put forward on the part of the country which it affects. It is particularly unfortunate to-day because the majority of the Scottish Members who sit on this side of the House are, from various reasons, away in Scotland. Therefore, the Unionist vote in Scotland is less adequately represented here to-day than it usually is. I think the hon. Member said 1035 that on Divisions in the past—on one, 42 voted for, and 6 only against the Bill.
I think we must bear in mind that there is a very considerable section of opinion in Scotland that has got an extremely small representation, and that while the Radical Members represent about 140,000 Scottish votes, the Unionist Members, far smaller in number, represent 100,000 Scottish votes. Therefore in their absence I think it is perfectly reasonable for English Members to take some part in this debate. There are two additional reasons why all sections of this House must take an interest in this matter. It is quite certain that if this principle is admitted for Scotland it will be a great weight in the attempt to extend its operation to England and Ireland. I think for that reason it is not a question which should be dealt with in a Private Members' Bill at all. If it is dealt with for England it will be dealt with in a Government Measure; and surely it ought to be dealt with in the same way for Scotland.
There is no instance of this principle of local veto having been embodied in legislation. There is no precedent for interfering with the liberties of the minority by the decision of a local body. We know that under our local government system in England there are many opportunities given to localities to decide for themselves whether they shall increase the advantages of the neighbourhood and the facilities which their populations enjoy.
I think there is no precedent whatever for giving into the hands of a small majority of only 10 per cent. the power to take away from the minority a liberty which does not in any way affect that majority, and who do not wish to make use of it. I do not think that power should be given to localities to contract such liberties. If they are to be restricted it ought to be done by Parliament for the country as a whole. Surely, if the consumption of alcoholic, liquor is to be prevented because it is wrong, then it is wrong for the whole country. If it is wrong in Perth it is wrong in Inverness. Why should you pass a measure which would enable you to have a different system in different places? We may be told that in the United States of America the matter is left to the individual States, but I do not think that is an argument applicable to our small local areas. The States have considerable autonomy—they can even decide as to the franchise and women's suffrage; and therefore I do not think the fact that prohibition exists in some of the States can be used as an 1036 argument in favour of applying that principle to the small areas in this country.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
I feel quite certain that the figures relating to the State of Massachusetts show that the population is no soberer. I think the experience of Scotland shows that repressive legislation has not had the effect that was expected from it. When Sunday closing was passed for Scotland it was generally anticipated by its advocates that it was going to bring about a great increase of sobriety. What do the statistics of drunkenness show? In 1897 there were 25,000 convictions, whereas in 1906 there were 40,000 convictions. We are told that the police regulations in Glasgow have been made more stringent lately; I believe the answer is that they were only made more stringent in the year 1906.
It is seen, therefore, that Sunday closing has not lessened drunkenness, and if you carry local veto for the whole of Scotland it will probably be found that public opinion is not ripe for drastic prohibition, and it will be seen that there is possibility of getting an extreme expression of opinion from a small area compared with what would be obtained if the opinion was derived from a large area. It is quite certain that you will only get prohibition in those areas where it is least needed.
As the hon. Member for Aberdeen University pointed out, you are likely to get this in villa districts. I have had experience of the narrow-mindedness of villa residents to the interests of other classes in the surroundings of London. I know that in many communities there is a great feeling against having any property of a low rateable value. Many local authorities are trying to keep up their assessments by discouraging the working classes from living in their areas. I had an instance the other day in the London County Council. We had a petition from a certain locality not to press for workmen's trains facilties being given, because they thought, if so, it would lower the general amenities of the district, and 1037 lower the rateable value. I think the local authorities in the well-to-do districts will use the same reasoning, if they have the power of prohibition of the sale of liquor. They will know that the well-to-do classes will be independent of those restrictions; they will know those restrictions will operate to keep out the working classes; and they will be strongly tempted to prevent public-house licences being granted, so as, if possible, to keep out the working classes and to keep up the wealthy and general level of assessment throughout those districts.
The districts where you will find it impossible to get the prohibition motion passed are exactly those districts where it perhaps will be most needed, the districts where there is at the present moment a great amount of intemperance and a large population. At the present time there is a possibility of decreasing facilities for drink in those districts by the action of the magistrates in reducing the licenses. Statistics show that in those districts where there are the largest number of convictions for drunkenness there are, generally speaking, the smallest number of licences per 10,000 of the population. That is entirely due to the fact that the Licensing Justices have realised in those districts that there were too many licences, and they have decreased the numbers. If there is an attempt in Scotland in those intemperate districts to carry a no-licence resolution, and if that attempt fails, is it not certain that the magistrates will feel their hands are tied, and that they cannot go against the expressed wish of the people in the form prescribed in this Bill, and that they will not feel justified in keeping down the licences as they would at the present time.
I think there is the least case in Scotland for this Bill than there is in any part of the United Kingdom, because in Scotland the ratepayers are already represented on the Licensing Authority. In the boroughs and counties alike representatives are chosen from the local bodies to sit on the licensing bodies, and therefore at the present time there is a very considerable opportunity of the wish of the local bodies to be expressed on the licensing body. After all, any restriction of this kind would be quite inoperative without the endorsement of public opinion, and I think a 10 per cent. margin is nothing like enough.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
A one-tenth majority will be able to upset it. [An 1038 HON. MEMBER: "Sixty per cent to 40 per cent."] Even so, it is a very small majority, because in America there is an enormous amount of evasion of the prohibition laws.
Another strong objection to the Bill, and one which would not have existed if the measure of last Session had passed, is that no hotel will be able to have a licence to sell drink in a prohibition area. I have a considerable interest in Ireland, and if this Bill passes I anticipate that the various resorts in that country will gain a great advantage, because those who now go to Scotland will very much resent not being able to get a drink when staying at a Scottish hotel.
But the chief objection, I think, is that you will drive out of the licensed trade all who have any interest in keeping up the respectability and the general status of their houses, and if you drive out all men of substance and respectability the cause of temperance must enormously suffer. Under this Bill after five years there will be no security whatever that a licence granted one year will be renewed the next. We are told that in Scotland that security does not exist at present. Perhaps there is no legal basis for the security, but, speaking generally, a licence is renewed one year after another. If this Bill passes you will undoubtedly decrease that security and thereby encourage the publican to make his profit in a short time. He will feel that he is engaging in a far more risky trade than at present, and that he must leave no stone unturned to make his profit and get out before his means of livelihood is taken away.
After all, what business has the majority to dictate to the minority as to whether or not they shall have facilities for drinking How is the majority affected? If they do not want to go into a public-house they need not do so. They are not encouraged to drink by seeing drunken people ; in fact, I should think that if a man sees a drunkard in the street he is thereby discouraged from following his example. I have not heard any argument of weight to show that the majority will in any way be in a better position in the prohibition area by preventing the minority from the reasonable exercise of their present power to obtain drink in moderation.
I think the hon. Member for the Leith Burghs disposed of a great deal of the ground for this Bill when he told us that already in Scotland there are fewer licences than in the rest of the country. 1039 It is perfectly certain that the smaller number of licences in Scotland has not decreased the amount of drinking, there being about twice as many convictions for drunkenness per thousand of the population in Scotland as there are in England. I do not believe that this measure, if passed, will increase temperance in the least. All that it will do is to increase drinking in the homes of the people; and by driving drink underground, away from police supervision, and out of the control of those who have their livelihood to lose if they permit drunkenness, the cause of temperance will be, not advanced, but retarded. And even more, I object to this measure because I think it is a very great innovation in the laws of this country. I think it strikes at the root of the liberty of the minority to do anything they wish to do so long as they do not interfere with their neighbours.
Amendment proposed: "To leave out the word 'now' and at the end of the question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—[Sir Henry Craik.]
Question proposed: "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
My title to speak on this Bill is perhaps derived from the fact that a few years ago I fought a member of my own party on the particular question of Local Option in Scotland, for which this Bill provides. I do not apologise for what I did then, but I give it as an illustration of the fact that I do attach very great importance to this Bill. The hon. Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen has dealt with this question at considerable length, and I feel that we are all under considerable difficulties in dealing with it. We have to discuss it until it is threadbare. It may be that arguments have been repeated by the hon. Gentleman who moved the rejction of the Bill, but it is impossible that it could be otherwise. He appealed to us to give him credit for sincerity. I am sure we are anxious to give all credit for sincerity.
We ask for ourselves that an equal measure of credit should be given to us. After all, I am getting a little tired of hearing hon. Members on the other side of the House claiming great credit for their own sincerity and talking of us as footpads and temperance fanatics. If they are the only people who know how this question ought to be dealt with, why do they not do it? They have been at it for 400 years, but have their methods of education and of 1040 social amelioration for the people shown such distinguished success? [An HON. MEMBER: "There has been a decrease."] There has been a decrease of drunkenness I admit, but at the same time we are left, to use the words of the Leader of the Opposition, in the face of the ever-present tragedy of drink. That is the state that your other methods have left us in the face of to-day, and, therefore, we ask additional powers. I think there is a certain amount of cant in this assumption of the immaculate virtues of the upper classes. They are not so immaculate, but they know better how to conceal their tragedies, and I think the hon. Member is in a somewhat weak position.
I do not say that the hon. Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities is incapable of forming an opinion, or that he is not entitled to express his opinion to this House, but I think that he and his Friends are surely in a weak position when they come down and say that they are standing for the liberties of the poor, down-trodden working classes, as if they alone were their protectors, when we have in this House the representatives of the working classes themselves, who get up time out of number and appeal to this House to put into the hands of the working classes the means of protecting themselves against a public nuisance.
The hon. Member who seconded the Motion asked for information respecting Massachusetts. We are getting weary of these prophecies as to how local option is going to work. What would clear them all away would be a little practical experience. A little while ago I had a speech sent to me which was delivered by a great University light in the United States. He is the Vice-Chancellor of Harvard, the greatest University in America. He says that at one time he was against "No licence" when it was first introduced, but that he attached as much importance as does the Member for Aberdeen University to the doctrine of liberty. But he said that 20 years of experience has convinced him that it is desirable to override individual liberty in the effort to get the greater good that comes from this " No licences" movement. The importance of this lies in the fact that Harvard is situated in the No-licence City of Cambridge, which has by annual vote declared for No-licence during the last 20 years. That experience has at all events convinced President Eliot, who is not a teetotaller, of the practical value of this plan. 1041 I do not say that I agree with everything the Vice-Chancellor says in his speech; but that is an illustration. You say that you cannot do it. Go to my county of Lincolnshire. The people are marked by level-headedness, commonsense, and great moderation Six hundred and ninety-five of its parishes are in no-license areas. The system goes on under our eyes. Have we not heard of the Canadian temperance liquor system, which has cleared large areas in the maritime provinces, and under which Prince Edward. Island has become an entirely prohibitive island? An hon. Member has said that he objects to have New Zealand thrust down his throat. New Zealand is merely one instance. This Bill follows the legislation not of New Zealand but of New South Wales. Lord Milner gave local option to the Transvaal by a majority of votes. Was Lord Milner then a footpad?
You have got experience all over the world—in New South Wales, New Zealand, and other Australian Colonies; in Massachusetts, in the Southern States, over the whole range of Canada, and you have precedents in the British Empire and outside of it. I say that there is no real and final remedy for the evils of the licensing system, except the policy of "no licences" resting on the willingness of a democratic community.
An hon. Member objected to the fact that wine merchants were excluded from this local option. That was done by the promoters of the Bill in deference to the wishes of the Member for Ayr Burghs. He said last year's Bill included the wholesale licences. This Bill excludes not only the wholesale wine merchants' licences, but all the wholesale licences, under which beer may be sold in 4½ gallon casks.
There is some objection that no compensation is granted under this Bill. No compensation is granted in Scotland at the present time. Scotland is getting on just as fast in percentage of reduction as England, where the proportion is 1 per cent. There was a time limit of 14 years in the Licensing Bill of last year. In Scotland there is no vested interests such as are recognised in England, though we hold it was wrongfully conferred under the Act of 1904. Therefore five years is a very considerable time, I think, to give Scotland under this Bill. Now, stating my own case very briefly for Local Option, I shall make five propositions. I cannot give the evidence 1042 for them in the time at my disposal or give the full case, but the facts are known. First, the drink bill is lower in Scotland than in England because of restrictive legislation, and the drink bill in the veto countries is far lower than in the licence countries, and my authority for that is the Brewers Almanack. Second the converging evidence of New Zealand, Massachusetts, and Ontario, and several other States is that where you get "no licences" put in force you have a reduction of drunkenness by 66 per cent. Third, it is not only cases of drunkenness you have to deal with, but the vast economic effects that come from this exaggerated effects that come from excessive drinking. The reason for the "no license" movement in America is because the American has found that no license pays. I wish the hon. Member for the City of London would investigate the subject from that point of view. Fourth, it has a great cautionary effect upon the trade. In New Zealand the trade comes forward and declares they will not employ barmaids, and will not serve young men under 21 and young women at all. In England the liquor trade fights everything. Fifth, this measure of no licence and local option produces a most marked effect upon public opinion. The hon. Member who spoke last described how, though no renewal right remained in Scotland, yet there was a customary growth from the mere expectation of renewal. The routine of the Licensing Court is such that the liquor trade as a whole gets into the habit of expecting this renewal. We know how we have suffered from that in England; we know how far we have been away from the right theory that a license is the property of the State, granted to an individual over which the State has complete control, and how we have got into the habit of regarding this dangerous monopoly as the property of an individual which the individual might hold as against the State to the detriment of the State. Why is it that you never find that latter theory held in Canada, the United States, or any of the local option countries? It is because the routine procedure of the licensing meeting which has the habit of working along fixed lines creates that expectation, but where you have the popular vote you have a real safeguard against the up-growing of those customary rights in the future.
Another point I would venture to put is this. Here we have this question up for the eight time, and for the eighth time we are going to vote on the second reading 1043 of this Bill. The other House killed the Licensing Bill of last year, but I think you may trust that the ghost of that measure will live in this House. We may be defeated on one point, but you will find us fighting on another. We shall be persistent, incessant, and determined until we get home. This House is overburdened with work; cannot you take this question out of politics? Where this local option proposal is granted the question does get taken out of politics, and the tension on the legislature is very much relieved. I do not say that the Bill is perfect. I object to this three-fifths majority, and I think a bare majority is quite sufficient, such as exists in the United States and elsewhere. I do not see why a man who votes to get out of a locality the nuisance of the drink traffic should be regarded as having a vote of less value than one who wishes to retain it. I do not see why you should give 50 per cent. more voting power to the people who wish to keep up a public nuisance. That is a provision against which we have the right to complain.
It seems to me also that the five years' notice is a disadvantage. It is proposed, as I take it, out of the hardness of man's heart, because they wish to be indulgent to vested interests and wish to give some notice before a system is changed. I would like to put it to some of my hon. Friends who would agree with me on this point and who might think that this Bill has in the case of Scotland gone further than was necessary—I would ask them, nevertheless, to unite heartily in favour of it. The Secretary for Scotland said last year that it was a long lane that had no turning. It has been a very long lane indeed, and the turning has been long in coming, but I hope with all my heart that those who in Scotland and in England take a moderate view on this question, and those who take a more extreme view will try at last with one united support to get it settled.
§ Sir JOHN DEWAR
I speak with great reluctance on this subject, and I will try to put my objection to this measure as calmly and moderately as I can. I recognise the fairness of the mover and seconder and that the Members whose names appear on the back of this Bill do not hold by any means the extreme views that have been herd by promoters of similar measures in the past. Still. I should like to observe 1044 that I believe they have been more or less pushed into the position of promoting this measure by those who hold extreme views on this subject and are prepared to give expression to their views by extreme and, I may say,. unfair methods.
Before there can be trade there must be a buyer as well as a seller, and the great majority of the country use alcohol in one form or another. I do not think it is fair or reasonable or statesmanlike to take the view that the liquor trade is existing against the will of the State. We must recognise the fact that the demand creates the supply, and if there was no demand for the article there would be no supply. It is always a delicate and painful task to speak against any measure devised to carry out a great and necessary reform. The results of the abuse of alcohol are so terrible and so evident to everybody, and to none more than to those engaged in the business, that it is not surprising that there should be some impatience at the slow progress that has been made in making this nation a more sober nation. Nay, I will go further and say this, that I think this country is justified in trying almost any experiment which is likely to cure or alleviate this terrible evil—to try, I say, any experiment so long as no injustice is inflicted on any private individual for the public good.
This subject has been discussed so often and so fully in this House that I do not propose to weary the House with the arguments against the principle of local option for licences, but let me say what the objects of the Bill are. Stated shortly, the main object of the Bill is to provide a means of shutting up a certain number of public-houses in Scotland. Whether the shutting up of a certain number of public-houses is likely to ensure a greater sobriety in the people I do not propose to. discuss. In some cases it would, in others it would not; but what I want to ask is, admitting that the result would be a decrease of drunkenness, is the method proposed in the Bill the best way of securing that end?
We are told that a Local Option Bill proposes to give to the people the control of the licences, that by this method the voice of the people will prevail, but it is sometimes forgotten that that argument comes down from the time before licences were in the hands of the people as they are now. At present the licensing authorities are directly or indirectly the elected representatives of the people, and it is proposed by this Bill to go behind the public representatives sitting in a judicial 1045 capacity, and by a vote in a ballot-box compel them to take a course which already in their judicial capacity they have decided was a wrong thing to do.
That is what I object to in this Bill. If already the magistrate sitting with all the cases before him has decided that he can not fairly take away a licence, then it is not in the interests of good government to say that by a ballot vote you will compel him to do what already he has decided he ought not to do. This method of enforcing public opinion is not tried in any other form of local government. It was tried in Scotland in reference to public libraries, and had to be given up. In the case of public libraries the people of the district had the right to over-rule the opinion of the Council. It was found that, owing to the apathy of the great body of the people who were not interested one way or another in public libraries, you had a fictitious expression of public opinion, and it was found that the true way of arriving at public opinion was to leave the matter in the hands of the representatives of the people; put us in this case, you would get a truer expression of public opinion by leaving the matter in the hands of the magistrates. The present licensing magistrates are also the police magistrates, who have complete control of the police, and control of the public-houses, and who sit in the police-court from day to day and judge of all kinds of cases that come before them relating to the illicit sale of, and over-indulgence in, liquor.
I cannot conceive a better body to form an opinion as to the number and kind of licences and the special individual licences needed. The Bill is simply one to facilitate the reduction of public-houses. Whether that is a temperance reform or not, I am not going to argue. In many cases it is; in other cases it is not. If judiciously done, I believe it is a temperance reform; if injudiciously done, it is the very opposite. I heard the other day of a district in Scotland where 50,000 or 60,000 people came out to a football match. There is only one public-house in the place, and there is to be seen a queue about a mile long outside this shop after a football match. Is that a condition of things that is desirable? Our present system of reducing licences is one that is likely to do it judiciously and fairly. The magistrates, sitting as they do now, considering all the circumstances of the case, the circumstances of the applicant as well as the interests of the neighbourhood, are much more likely to make a judicious, 1046 reasonable, and suitable reduction than any bench of magistrates coerced against their will by the chance vote of the polling booth.
I have known a bench of magistrates composed of extreme teetotallers, who held their views as strongly as my Friend who has just spoken. I have not the least doubt that these men in the ballot-box would very gaily vote for a reduction of all licences; but when they are on the bench, and feel the responsibility of deciding what is to be done, they make very good licensing magstrates and give very good, satisfactory, and judicious decisions.
Licences are being gradually reduced in Scotland. If they are not being reduced as fast as some hon. Members wish, then there must be some reason for it, and that reason is because the inhabitants of the district often feel that it would be a great hardship upon a licence holder to take away his licence in the way suggested by this Bill. It is true the man might have no legal title to compensation, but you will not find that the community is willing to inflict a hardship upon a man and ruin and take away his property without some very strong reasons. I think this difficulty could be met by some system of mutual insurance for the dispossessed publicans, and then I am sure the rate of reduction would be fast enough to suit all reasonable men. What would be the result of passing this Bill now? It would mean that one-fourth of the licence holders would be ruined and three-fourths would be enriched.
One reason advanced by the hon. Member for Leith was that at the present time there is an unfair pressure brought to bear upon the licensing magistrates. I wish to. point out that this Bill would not get rid of that difficulty, because as a matter of fact it would intensify it. If a resolution were passed that one-fourth of the licences in a given district should be taken away, there would be an extraordinary pressure brought to bear upon the magistrates as to which licences should remain and which ought to be suppressed. It is not in the interests of good government that a measure of this kind should be passed. For these reasons I object to this question being dealt with by a Private Member's Bill. I venture to assert that to interfere with the convenience of the great majority of Scotland and to inflict a hardship of this kind upon those who are engaged in a legitimate trade is something which is not in the interests of good government.
If a licence holder knew that within three years he might be deprived of his 1047 licence, his one object would be to make money as fast as he possibly, could, and he would not be so careful in conducting his public-house as he might be under other circumstances. This has been the case in America, where licences have been reduced, and the only result has been a great increase of illicit drinking and the adoption of unlawful means of satisfying the necessities of the community. I recognise that the evils of drunkenness ought to be dealt with, and those evils justify almost any experiments so long as they are well considered and so long as we make sure that the cure is not likely to be worse than the disease.
The hon. Member for Leith referred to small areas. Let me take as an example the county of Edinburgh. There you have on the one hand the miners and on the other hand the agricultural labourers, and in such a case as that I do not think you can possibly get a fair expression of local opinion under this Bill.
Take the question of opening in the morning. To suggest that the opening should not take place till ten o'clock is a little absurd. You open in England at six o'clock, in Ireland at seven o'clock, and Scotland at eight o'clock. To propose to make that ten o'clock is to treat Scotland more or less like a child. Scotland should be put on a similar footing, and not on a worse, than England. The object that everybody has in view to increase the sobriety of Scotland, as well as of England, I believe can be more fairly carried out if it is left to the magistrates to reduce the licences as they see opportunity.
In this Bill you propose to interfere in the most arbitrary way with the freedom of action of this judicial authority. You have got the machinery at present absolutely controlled by public opinion, and if the reduction in the number of licences is not fast enough or not as fast as you would like you may be quite sure there is a good reason for it. I believe one of the reasons to be that licensing magistrates hesitate to take away licences which otherwise might be withdrawn, because to do so would be to inflict a hardship upon the licence-holders; and in this connection you must bear in mind that licences in Scotland, unlike in England, are almost entirely held and owned by the occupiers of the licensed premises. But if we had a system which would give reasonable compensation to dispossessed publicans who were dispossessed 1048 in the public interest I believe the process of reduction would proceed more rapidly, and would certainly be of a more satisfactory character than any reduction which would be carried out under the unjust provisions of this Bill.
The licensing magistrates hesitate to deprive licence-holders of their means of livelihood and their life's savings at one blow; but you propose by this Bill to obscure the consequences, the hardships, the injustice which would result by putting the process through the ballot-box. I honestly believe that if a reasonable system of compensation were introduced you would obtain all you want with the least possible disturbance, and would be much preferable to adopting a system such as is introduced in this Bill, which would give the maximum of disturbance and discontent with the minimum of satisfaction.
Without a system of compensation this Bill will create great anomalies and injustice. It will pauperise one set of licence-holders and enrich another. It will ruin public-houses on one side of a street and greatly increase the profits on the other. It will result in the shutting up of public-houses and ruining the licence-holders, and the opening of clubs on the same premises or in the immediate vicinity. You may tell me that licence-holders should insure against the possible loss of their licences. But what insurance company would accept such a risk, or what sort of premium would they ask as applicable to licences held under this Bill. I do not believe it will be possible to devise a system that would cover such a case.
If this question were taken up by the Government, and the licensing authority given more power, and power to provide adequate compensation, I am convinced that greater progress would be made in the direction desired.
§ Mr. G. N. BARNES
I rise to associate myself with this Bill, which has for its object the lessening of the temptation to drink and the lessening of the power of the drink seller and the drink maker. I am not one of those who believe that drink is the root of all evil. There has been a good deal of controversy as to whether poverty causes drink or drink causes poverty. I suppose people will talk about that as long as they live, and probably future generations will go on talking about it. It seems to me a very unsatisfactory sort of topic and one that you can never get to the end of. On the whole, I believe that poverty is the cause of drinking, and 1049 that many men who have to live in squalid slums, face to face with drink, or owing to various circumstances, are tempted even by the smell of drink. In some instances there would be far less drunkenness among these men if their environment were improved, and they had the opportunity of living in a better style.
I was very glad to hear the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities appeal to those who are putting forward this Bill to deal a little more sympathetically with those who are victims of the drink evil. I cordially endorse all that he said on that ground, but I venture to express the hope that when the Labour party bring forward the Right to Work Bill, as we shall do very soon probably, hon. Gentlemen opposite will do something, as I hope and believe they will next week do something on the Bill to amend the housing conditions of the people. When measures are brought forward in this House to limit the power of landlordism and give the people of the country a little more power over their own destinies, and therefore a little more power over their moral and physical conditions, may I express the hope that we shall have the presence of hon. Gentlemen in the same lobby with us? [An HON. MEMBER: "You may express the hope, but it will not come off."] The Bill, after all—let us come to the gist of it—gives to the people in appropriate areas the same powers that the landlords at present enjoy. It is of no good talking around the matter.
Nobody can visit certain areas without seeing that the landlords, consulting nobody, but of their own sweet will, have banished public-houses from those areas. If you go into those areas you will generally find the people not only more sober but more prosperous, and, therefore, you will find that those areas have relieved the community generally of the immense burden which it has to bear by reason of drunkenness in other areas. We say that what the landlords are at present doing it is only fair that the community should do for itself in appropriate areas where it thinks proper to do so. In this Bill there is the principle of the five years' time limit. I have been brought round to support it somewhat reluctantly.
Landlordism, capitalism, and liquorism are the three chief enemies of the people to-day, and it seems to me that to deal with any of those three you have always got to make terms. It is not as if you were exacting random, but giving ransom to get a little of your own back. I suppose we had better put up with that sort of thing 1050 until we get a real democratically-organied community with a proper vehicle to give expression to the will of a democratic community. We have not got that yet. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that the hon. Member for the City of London endorses that sentiment.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
No, no. I cheered to show my pleasure that we had not got the state of affairs the hon. Gentleman mentioned.
§ Mr. BARNES
At all events, the hon. Gentleman endorses the statement of fact. That is what I want to go on with in the meantime. I accept the principle of a five years' limit because I recognise as the result of three years' experience in this House we have got to make terms in order to get anything done at all, and because I suppose we should have a greater prospect of it being carried. I can conceive such circumstances under which the magistrates, when faced with the alternative of getting rid of houses at once or after the expiry of a five years' limit, would be much more likely to deal with the question knowing that they could allow those five years in order to get interests to adjust themselves. I believe if that were put to the people of the community or area they would feel it with even more force than the magistrates.
There is another new provision in this Bill, and that is the ten o'clock opening in the morning. I am in favour of that, not for the reason given over the way by someone who depicted a picture of a queue of men of a big factory at five minutes to six in the morning waiting to get liquor. I believe people ought to be comfortably tucked up in bed at five minutes to six o'clock in the morning; therefore that argument does not appeal to my mind at all, but I am in favour of ten o'clock limitation because I believe that no man who is, at all events, free from the drink craving wants liquor before ten o'clock in the morning. I do—not believe a demand for liquor before' ten o'clock is a legitimate demand at all. I am in favour of it for other reasons, because I want to limit the hours of labour of those who are servants in public-houses. They are a very considerable number in the community.
I have some of my own friends engaged in the business, and I have had the tale poured into my ears of them having to go down into the public-house at six o'clock, or somewhere about that time, the place having been closed all night and crowded before that with people. It is not a pleasant place to go any time, but least of all 1051 at six or eight in the morning. Therefore I am in favour of ten o'clock opening. The mover of the rejection of this Bill cannot be congratulated, as he generally observes moderation, to-day upon his moderation of language in moving the rejection. He told us that the Bill was tyranny and plunder, and also said that those who were putting forward the Bill were footpads, if I understood him aright, or something of that character.
I suggest that no Bill is furthered and no course of argument, even in opposition to a Bill, is forwarded by that sort of language. It might possibly be tolerated, if not excused, from these benches; but for it to come from a representative of Universities is different. The hon. Gentleman asks why the Bill is put forward only for Scotland. The simple answer is that Scotland wants it. For 25 years or more Bills of this character have been put forward, and at every election the people of Scotland have endorsed the action of their Parliamentary representatives. I think I am right in saying that the number of Scottish Members favourable to the passing of this and similar legislation is larger to-day than ever before. That, I think, is sufficient reason why this Bill should be passed for Scotland.
Then the hon. Gentleman suggested that this is class legislation, and he seemed to think that he had confounded me by reading an extract from a speech which I made two years ago, in which I said that working men would be glad to have the temptation removed from their midst. I repeat that, and with even more emphasis than anything I have yet said or may say. I repeat it, as the result of close observation and experience. As the result of knowledge of working men's lives and families, scarcely one of which is free from the drink curse, I repeat that I want working men to have removed from their midst this temptation to drink, but for which I believe many of them would live better lives than they live to-day, and have clearer heads than they have now. Other classes also muddle their heads, and may have a better am of hiding it. Working men, in whom I am chiefly interested, often muddle their heads, and I want the temptation removed, for then their heads will be clearer, and they will look after their own interests in an individual and general sense a great deal better than they do now.
The hon. Gentleman says that, having put that forward. I am asking for class legislation. I ask nothing of the sort. I 1052 do not ask, nor does this Bill, that the working people alone in a particular area should be able to vote for the suppression of public-houses. If that is not the implication, there is no point in the remark. The hon. Gentleman says that this is an anti-democratic measure. I assert that it gives expression in the largest possible way to the democratic principle. The hon. Member who has just spoken said the licensing authorities in Scotland are more democratic than elsewhere. I am glad it is so. It is a characteristic of Scottish institutions generally; and I believe that if the people of Scotland had the right to manage their own affairs there would be a good deal of that sort of thing, and they would make a better use of it. But if it is right for a bench of licensing magistrates to have charge of licensing, and that is defended on the democratic principle,—as I gather it is—surely it cannot be denied that this Bill gives a larger and fuller expression to that same democratic principle. It asks the whole of the people in a district—not the working people only—whether or not they will have facilities for drinking in their midst, and I am in favour of the Bill for that with other reasons. The hon. Member also said that there was a great deal less drinking in Scotland than there used to be, and he attributed that to education and to the improved habits of the people generally. [An HON. MEMBER: "Self-respect."] It is all summed up in the word self-respect perhaps. Might I suggest that it is to some extent due also to restrictive legislation passed for Scotland? We have now a condition of things under which public-houses are closed on Sunday, and it so happens that I have been in close touch with those whose memory carries them back to the ante-Forbes-Mackenzie Act, and I have been told of the scenes that used to be enacted in the streets in Scotland in those days.
Although Scotland may perhaps be a little too sober on Sunday—[laughter]—I do not mean in the literal sense. I mean that, although it may be a little dull on Sunday and that a great deal might be done to brighten up Scottish life in Scotland on Sunday, not by the opening of public-houses but by the opening of libraries and picture galleries, I do not think anybody would seek to go back to the old days, when public-houses were open on Sunday. That being so, I think we may fairly claim that the improved habits of the people of Scotland so far as drinking is concerned may be due not altogether to improved education, but, to some 1053 extent, to the fact that those temptations have been removed from their midst.
The seconder of the Amendment put forward some extraordinary opinions. He asked, "If this is good for a district, why not for the whole of Scotland?" It seems to me that a sufficient answer to that is this: We are not merely looking at this question from the abstract point of view. We are not mere logic choppers. We are putting forward this Bill, as many other reforms are put forward, from the point of view of social necessity—from the point of view of how best to get the thing done. If the people of Perth want this, why should they not have it? And why not Inverness as well? But if the people of Perth want it and the people of Inverness do not want it, why should you thrust it upon Inverness if Perth is ready for it? That is in accordance with our traditional method of dealing with these questions. You do not deal with housing, public libraries, drainage, or parks in any other way. They are all regarded as matters of local administration, and we only ask that the same principle should be applied with regard to this Bill. We believe that that is the right principle.
Moreover, the hon. Gentleman gave us some interesting figures as to the number of voters who had voted for the supporters of this Bill as against those who voted for hon. Members on the opposite side. If the figures are applied to the whole of Scotland it seems to me that he comes rather badly out of the argument. The number of people in Scotland who voted for the supporters of the Bill was over 140,000. whereas the number who voted on the other side was less than 100,000. Therefore, if you are going to make this a national affair in the sense of a Scottish affair, it seems to me that these figures indicate that the Bill ought to be passed for the whole of Scotland. Those who support the Bill are moderate people. We do not ask that it should apply to the whole of Scotland. We only ask that it should be allowed to set about making Scotland a little more sober just as we can develop public opinion in any particular area in Scotland. That is all we ask, and it is, I think, a very fair and moderate proposition. The same hon. Gentleman said something about fewer public-houses not lessening the consumption of drink. I take occasion to differ from him.
I believe that if we had fewer public-houses we should have less drink. He is going against the principle of a Bill 1054 passed by a Government of which he was a member. I believe that this Bill is on the same lines; and I hope and trust that England and Wales will no longer stand in the way of Scotland being allowed to give effect in this Bill to its desires, and that the Bill will pass through all its various stages in Parliament.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I will not follow the hon. Member into landlordism and capitalism as well as liquorism. I do not see what the other two isms have got to do with the Bill before the House, but if the Bill means the abolition of those two isms then my opposition to it will be increased. [An HON. MEMBER on the Ministerial side: "If that were possible."] If that were possible! An hon. Member tells us that for 400 years we have been considering our remedy, and now it is claimed that the methods embodied in the Bill should be tried. It is not for 400 years or anything like it that the method of example has been followed. During the last 30 or 40 years the example of various classes in the community has been used to show that drunkenness is abhorrent to a great many people in the country, and the effect of that example has been to decrease the evil. I do not for a moment deny, and I never have denied in all the speeches which I have made against Bills of this description, that drunkenness is an evil. I have never denied that I should like to see drunkenness decreased; but I have said that you will never decrease it by taking a man by the throat and saying, "I am a superior person. I never get drunk; and under no circumstances or on any account shall you have a glass of beer or a tumbler of whisky and water." That m ill not diminish the evil; in fact, I am inclined to think that it will increase it.
The hon. Member who introduced the Bill made some remarks about the Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool in moving the rejection of the Bill of 1907. He said that the statements of the hon. and learned Member for Walton should bring a blush of shame to my cheeks. I am in no way responsible for the statements of the hon. Member for Walton.
I have taken the opportunity of referring to the speech which the hon. Member made in moving the rejection of the Bill in 1907, and I can find nothing in that speech which should bring a blush of shame to my cheek or the cheek of the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen. It is not correct that the hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool said the people of Scotland were more drunken than the people of England.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I cannot find that in his speech. It was the hon. Member for Hackney, who is a supporter of the party to which the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen belongs, who made that statement. He said the percentage in Scotland was 9 per thousand, and in England 6 per thousand.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not sorry to refuse the hon. Member the power to reform himself, but the difference between us is this, that I do not think the means he wants to apply is likely to be efficacious, and it is for that reason I enter upon this course. Now it is said this is entirely a Scotch question, and that English members should not interfere in a discussion upon this Bill. To that I reply that unless I am very much mistaken—I admit I have not looked up the Division List—I believe I am correct in thinking that in the Division upon the English Licensing Bill hon. Members opposite for Scotland who were in favour of that Bill voted for it without having any regard to the fact that they were not English Members, and that the Bill did not apply to Scotland.
I claim the same right which hon. Members opposite exercised upon the English Bill, and, moreover, I point out that if this Bill was carried and local veto established in Scotland a precedent would be set up for applying local veto to England. I often objected to a Bill, but I was told I ought not to object because such a Bill passed for Scotland. I do not want to be told that again. May I ask the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen what he thinks is going to be the fate of this Bill. He may be very much in earnest—and I give him absolute credit for being sincere in his desire, but I ask him what does he think is going to be the result? Does he not 1056 know perfectly well if he gets this Bill through this House it will get no further?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The inference is that if an English temperance Bill was rejected in "another place" last year the Scotch Bill will meet the same fate.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Because they are both equally bad. I should have thought that the hon. and gallant Member would have done better in pressing forward his views on that task, which we on this side of the House desire to deal with, with the object of finding out what is the dominating issue in another place, than by bringing forward a Bill which only wastes time, and which is bound to be rejected if it ever leaves this House. I may also ask the hon. and gallant Member if I am rightly informed that there are clubs in Scotland licensed in the same manner and practically conducted in the same manner as those in England. My belief is that there are, and I would ask why the hon. and gallant Member does not deal with clubs in this Bill?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I did ask whether the regulations were different, and I understood they were not. Perhaps some hon. Member for Scotland will deal with the matter, but I believe that clubs do exist in Scotland, and this Bill does not touch them at all. Now, if hon. Members believe that in order to stop drunkenness you must limit the opportunities of getting drink, they must deal with clubs as well as public-houses, and I fail to see the logical conclusion at which they have arrived in supporting a Bill which allows clubs to continue in future in the same position as now. It has been said that the Sunday Closing Bill in Scotland has resulted in a decrease of drunkenness, but I find that in the " National Review " the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley said:Broadly speaking these improved conditions are in force in Scotland, and intemperance and all the evils of the drink system abound there.Therefore the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Spen Valley does not agree that the improved regulations as to closing that exist in Scotland have resulted in the diminution of drunkenness, and I would like to ask the Lord Advocate 1057 whether it is not correct that two days ago, in answer to a question, he made a statement concerning the number of arrests in Scotland to the effect that in 1908 they were 58,000, and in 1907 they were 55,000, and whether from that, with the figures given by the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment, that in 1897 the number of arrests were 40,000, it does not appear that the number is increasing in Scotland from year to year? I am glad to see the hon. Member for Lincoln back in his place again, because he told us in New South Wales that total prohibition had been a success.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman remembers the similar report which was issued as to prohibition in the United States in 1907. No doubt he does, because here is an extremely interesting extract from that Report which was laid upon the Table of the House at about the period when a similar discussion was going on in the House as is going on now—upon the Scotch Local Veto Bill:At one time or another, 17 States had stringent prohibition. It is now only retained by three, and in those it cannot be looked upon as a success. Parts of the prohibition States have always been in open rebellion against the law. Drinking has never been impossible. The sale of liquor has always been profitable, and seldom disreputable. Violation of the law has been open and avowed. In urban districts, it has not been possible to find any sound ethical basis for the law or to persuade the majority to regard its violation as immoral. Juries have violated their oaths, judges have hesitated to impose statutory penalties, blackmail and corruption have been directly mitigated and the law brought into contempt.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I will read it:Of all the systems tried local option has been the greatest success.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Perhaps the hon. Member would make his point when he rises. As I understand this Bill, the object is to promote prohibition. It is true there are three options in the Bill; but if the locality by a majority of three-fifths votes for prohibition, prohibition will result, and therefore the evils which I have just alluded to will result. There is this difference in Scotland in the liquor traffic between the Scotch publican and the 1058 English publican: In Scotland, as I am informed, in the vast majority of cases the publicans own their houses. There is no such thing as a tied house. I have always understood that the party opposite, and especially the Temperance party, had a very great objection to tied houses, though I cannot say myself that I agree with it. That is one of their points of attack on the system of public-houses in England. In England a time limit of 21 years was proposed, and as in England the system is that the houses are held by the brewers and not by the individual occupant of the house, the result would have been that though the brewer might have lost a considerable amount of property, he would not have lost his whole property, because it was not conceivable that the whole of his houses would be taken away from him.
But what is going to be the effect of the Bill if it is passed? The unfortunate man in Scotland who owns his house cannot have a bit of the house taken away, but the whole of it, and therefore the whole of his livelihood is taken away at once. Therefore the Bill is very much harder upon the publican in Scotland than it is upon the publican in England, and the publican in Scotland is a man who the party opposite say is carrying on business in the way it ought to be carried on. He is free to buy his own spirits and wine and the house is his own. The party opposite are not very kind to their friends, because they are going to mete out to these people very much harder treatment than would have been meted out to the English publican. In addition to that, the time limit, when you are going to take a man's whole property, is absolutely absurd.
If the system in Scotland was that the houses were held by the brewers you might say that you were going to take away one-third of his property in five years, and he may compensate himself for his losses by the increased rent that he will get for his houses. But in Scotland you cannot say this, because the whole of his property will be taken away. An example of the extraordinary and far-reaching effects of the Bill is that it is going to abolish not only public-houses, but hotels as well. I can see no possible reason for endeavouring to prevent tourists from going to Scotland. This affects English people. A great many English go to Scotland during the autumn season. When we go to Scotland, if we stay in a hotel, are we, simply because the Scotch people get drunk, not to be allowed to have a glass of claret when we go to put 1059 our Saxon money in the pockets of the Scotch hotel proprietors?
Really, I do not believe that, when hon. Members opposite realise what is the true meaning of the Bill, they will be able to screw up their courage to vote for it. It may be well to draw attention to some very startling provisions in the Bill. There is one provision of which I hope I may have some explanation from the hon. Member for the Appleby Division. On Page 2, Clause 3, Sub-section 2, provides:—An elector shall not be entitled to vote for more than one of the resolutions submitted at the poll, but if a no-licence resolution be not carried, the votes recorded in favour of such resolution shall be added to those recorded in favour of the limiting resolution, and shall be deemed to have been recorded in favour thereof.Why should it be deemed to be recorded in favour of a thing when it has not been recorded in favour of it? There are three Resolutions—one for limiting, one for total abolition, and one for doing nothing. In a moment of aberration I vote for total prohibition. Why, because I have done that foolish thing, should I be deemed to have done something which I did not do? And why, if the votes which are recorded in favour of this prohibition are added to the votes recorded in the limiting Resolution, are not there votes which are recorded for doing nothing added in the same way?
The object is to jerrymander the votes in order to give effect to the wishes of the promoters of this Bill. Then Clause 5 provides: "Where a poll has been taken a further poll shall not, except as hereinafter provided, be taken before the expiration of three years from the date of the last poll." Why not? Why should not a poll be taken when the inhabitants for the district think they would like to rescind the Resolution which they have arrived at? As far as I can make out Clause 5, its effect is that if a limiting or prohibition Resolution is in force, no poll can be taken for three years by the people desiring to rescind those Motions.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not know so much about making it clearer because I think it ought to be altered. I hope this House will pause before it passes any more of these fanatical temperance Bills. The hon. Member opposite said that Sir Wilfrid Lawson brought in a Bill of this 1060 sort in 1864, and that is 45 years ago. It is perfectly evident that if there had been a desire in the country that legislation of this sort should be passed, you would not have had to wait 45 years for it. If that argument has any effect at all, it shows that for 45 years there have been certain foolish fanatical people desirous of doing certain things and for that period the nation has resisted them.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
If a Bill of this kind had been passed in Scotland, then the argument of the hon. and gallant Member opposite would have been right, but his explanation does not alter my contention that for 45 years Bills of this kind have been introduced and they have not become law. Therefore, it is evident that the sense of the country is against Bills of this kind. I think, when the Division is taken, the sense of this House will show that they are determined to maintain what the country desires, namely, the right of every man to have a glass of beer when he feels thirsty without the interference of the hon. Member for the Appleby Division or the hon. Member for Lincoln.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I desire to remove the erroneous impression given by the hon. Baronet with regard to the effect of the Report of 1907. So far from that Report justifying his condemnation of this local option Bill, I find that it is the strongest possible argument for this measure. That Report was not written by anyone particularly identified with local option or prohibition, but by the brother of an hon. Member of this House who sits on the Front Bench opposite, and who has never shown any remarkable sympathy towards the temperance cause. So far from justifying what the hon. Baronet said, I maintain that it fully justifies local option as against State prohibition. It goes through each State in turn. Take Georgia: Mr. Harkness, His Majesty's Vice-Consul at Charleston, reports that his experience appears to provethat the local option plan has worked successfully and effectively. As compared with the prohibition States, or with South Carolina, under its Dispensary Law, the system has caused far less irritation and friction, it is more soothing to the feelings of the people than that of State control, inasmuch as it preserves the principle of local self-government; and it does perhaps more than any other system to minimise the liquor business as, with the exception of the larger towns of the State, with a considerable foreign population, nearly all the counties in Georgia have gone 'dry,' as voting for Prohibition is called.
That is local option—one instance of the Act. The other is in the summary of 1061 States, giving the general effect. Page 106 of it says:—Local option now is the most widely prevalent system in the United States, embodying, as it does, the thoroughly American principle of decentralisation and delegation of authority. If the aim of liquor legislation is to bring about the diminution of drinking, it may be said that local option, of all the systems in force, effects real prohibition over the largest possible area with the least possible friction.
These extracts prove that the right hon. Baronet misrepresented—unintentionally, I have not the slightest doubt, but misrepresented—the purport of this Report, which is a justification of the local method of approaching this question as against prohibition in the large areas of the States.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Alexander Ure)
So far as I can remember I have never heard the case for local option better put than by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackfriars, and I will add that I have never heard the arguments against it more fairly, moderately, and temperately stated than by the hon. Member for the County of Inverness. If my words are few I hope they will be clear, pointed, and free from ambiguity. I have frequently supported this principle on the platform and in this House. I see no reason, therefore, having supported this principle on former occasions, why I should not vote for the second reading of the Bill to-day, as I intend doing.
I go a step further and say, so far as the Government of which I am at the present time the humble spokesman are concerned, no obstacles will be placed in the course of its appointed path through this House. I do not, the House will observe, go on to state the reservations with regard to details as the Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities anticipated I would. That familiar commonplace I abstain from for the best of all possible reasons that I have always been a stickler for concentration on principle and disregard of details at this stage of the progress of the Bill. There are some reservations which reserve themselves, and this is one of them. Nor do I dwell upon the magnitude of the evil. This is common ground. I only say that during the past three years, when I have been under my right hon. Friend, Lord Shaw, the Government head of the Criminal Administration of Scotland, I could count on the fingers of my hand all the cases which were not connected either directly or indirectly with drink. As to the earnest desire which I firmly believe most intelligent men of Scotland, to whichever side of politics they belong, to see such a measure as this passed. I willingly bear my testimony 1062 —aye, even characterised as that measure has been, and as the Member for the Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities characterised it—namely, a measure of tyranny and plunder. I bear my testimony not from knoweldge gained at second hand, but from knowledge gained at first hand, neither yesterday nor to-day. How these moderate and intelligent men would cast their votes I know not. Whether they would choose to have no licences, have no change, or have a limiting Resolution, I do not know. No man can tell. I have my own opinion, which is of no more value and no less value than the opinion of any other intelligent citizen. What struck me in listening to the arguments on this question was this: that most Members opposed local option seem to assume that the no-licence Resolution will inevitably be carried. I do not take that view. I think it will be carried, probably in some places at once, but in other places it may not. I do not enter into that at this stage; it is a very bootless speculation. What I am certain of is that these moderate and intelligent men are now ready and willing, and have been for years ready and willing and desirous to assume direct responsibility themselves of considering and deciding along with their neighbours whether they will have public-houses in their midst, or whether they will have a smaller number than exists at present. These men do not shrink from the responsibility of themselves sitting down and carefully considering and deciding by their votes the question without the intervention of the licensing bench or any other body. [An HON. MEMBER: " At somebody else's expense."] As citizens they are entitled to exercise the discretionary powers which are exercised by the magistrates. Popular opinion in Scotland is far in advance of public opinion on this side of the border. There are many and various reasons for that; I do not speculate upon them at all. First and foremost in our country we have had no 1869 Beerhouse Act; we have had no Act of 1904.
In our country we have had no tied system developed to the same full and perfect extent as it is on this side of the Border. We have no Sharpe and Wakefield case, because no intelligent Scotsman believed that permission for twelve months meant permission ad infinitum. My countrymen were never under any illusions on this matter. No intelligent Scotsman ever believed that a personal privilege granted to a particular man to traffic in a particular commodity in a particular place and for a particular time—to wit, twelve 1063 calendar months, and no more—meant any more. For generations back they have recognised the liquor trade as a great terror to our people, and that if we were to protect the community against the menaces and the dangers that were inherent in that trade, it would require to be placed under continuous and rigorous control. We recognised that, and accordingly for generations back we have denied to the most respectable citizen, except to the most eligible, the right to sell a single drop of drink to an equally respectable citizen unless he obtains permission. Permission from whom? From ourselves, through our agents.
We do not entrust our servants or agents with the right to give that permission for a single moment longer than the 12 calendar months. When the clock struck 12 at the end of the year every Scotsman knew, every member of the trade knew, the licence died a natural death, and that there was no day of resurrection for dead licences, and that unless a former licensee obtained a new licence that he knew he could not sell a drop of drink without a breach of the law. When you talk to an intelligent Scotsman about fixity of tenure, about vested interest, about property or a kind of property, you speak to him in a strain of unintelligent language, and to deny to him the right to do what has been entrusted to his servants and agents to do seems to him to border on the absurd.
Accordingly, we in Scotland have never at any time believed that the licence was more than a privilege, a personal privilege or permission to carry on the trade for a definite time and for a definite time only. Now, Sir, if those views are correct, and I think they are, then in that case it is plain that the time limit is unassailable. On the other hand, if those views are incorrect, the time limit is indefensible. You can never say with truth that a licence is property, or anything approaching property, in the real sense of the word, that is absolute property. In that case, no time-limit can get over the difficulty. It never has been, never can be, and never will be, property in Scotland. That is absolutely unassailable. I think fair-minded and intelligent persons will admit although our servants at the end of the year may, having regard to the change of opinion or change of circumstances in a locality, refuse to give a new licence for the new year, they are by so doing rendering nobody liable to pay compensation.
I say, although we have too long recognised that was fair-minded and intelligent, 1064 Scotsmen have also recognised that a practice had grown up, by no means so uniform or continuous on this side of the Border by which the licensing bench where a licensee has conformed to the law, and conducted himself and his business with propriety, gives him a new licence for the new year. Has any intelligent man ever denied that that practice has come into existence? Did any intelligent man ever deny that these licensees, in reliance upon obtaining a new licence for the new year, if they conducted their business with propriety and committed no, breach of the law, made their business, domestic and other arrangements, and that therefore it would be a great hardship—but no illegality—to refuse them new licences at the end of the year, mid that you would be doing a distinct injury to and inflicting a distinct hardship upon members of a trade which you have legalised if you suddenly deprived them of their means of livelihood? I say hardship and injury, but not illegality or injustice of which any man would have a right to complain or which would give him a right to take action against anybody for damages or compensation.
Recognising that, the authors of thin Bill have—very wisely, as I conceive—inserted a time-limit. What they say is this: "You who are now carrying on this trade, if you conform to the law and commit no breach of the conditions under which you are allowed to carry on your business, may rely absolutely on having your licences every new year for five years; but at the end of that time you must, if it is thought fit, give up your licence and cease to carry on this trade, which will then be under our complete and absolute control."That is the essence of the time-limit. I will not detain the House by discussing the precise length of the time-limit; that is a question which depends upon considerations which are not now and cannot be before the House—such as market value and so on—but which ought to be taken into account in fixing the length of your time-limit.
If I am right—and I think I am—in supposing that a licence is a mere privilege or permission, a time-limit is sound and unassailable, and only the question of what is the appropriate length is left to be discussed in Committee upstairs. Does any hon. Member dispute that a time-limit is perfectly fair? I will offer two illustrations which I think make clear the justice and propriety of such a method of getting over what I admit is a difficulty and in many cases may be an injury 1065 or hardship. Take the case of a yearly tenant of land, whose landlord has made up his mind to resume possession of the farm in order to occupy it himself or for some other reason. Did any hon. Member acquainted with agricultural affairs ever hear of a landlord who, under these circumstances, gave his tenant five years' notice to quit? I never heard of one. I see the hon. Member for Dulwich opposite. I have heard or read that he is a Tariff Reformer. I do not know whether he is or not. I know quite well, and he knows as well as I do, that by the imposition of Customs duties at our ports you cannot give additional employment in this country. I agree with him that you cannot by the imposition of Custom duties on goods entering our ports divert trade from one channel to another. You cannot cast a blight on one and make another prosperous. If the hon. Member for Dulwich gets his opportunity he will try his hand at Tariff Reform. When he casts a blight by a Customs duty on some particular trade, will he suspend the application of his Budget for five long years? Let the House remember that that is a perfectly fair test, but it is fairer to my hon. Friend than it is to me, because he is going to blight a business in which the trader who is engaged in it has a legitimate right to believe that he is going to carry it on for an indefinite period without interference by any statutory action, whereas in the other case the licence-holder has no reason whatever to believe that he will be allowed to carry on for more than one year only. I will listen with interest to hear what my hon. Friend has to say in answer to that, and how he can say that a licence with a year's permission to sell drink is unfairly treated if you give him fair warning with a full run of profits for five years, and with the absolute assurance that during that period you will not interfere with his trade, provided that he complies with the law.
These are my views on the principle of the matter, and I shall be prepared to enter into the details when the proper time comes. In the classification of temperance reformers I am a moderate man. My hon. Friend, I believe, occupies the same position. The House will believe me when I say that it is neither a comfortable nor an easy position to occupy. You are regarded as a fair target for both sides—the extreme supporters of reform on the one side and the members of the trade on the other. All I can say is that I entertain no animosity towards the one or the other. The ammunition, so far as I am concerned, 1066 which has been freely discharged, has been entirely thrown away. If I were a member of the trade, and if I believed that the trade was being wrongfully treated, then I suppose I should cherish the same view which has been so well and fairly expressed by the Member for the County of Inverness; but if, on the other hand, I were an extreme reformer who came closely into contact with the drink evil, then my language would not lack robustness and it would be more extreme. But with all respect to my hon. Friends who are promoting the Bill, I would counsel them to be as temperate in their language as in their habits—to be as moderate in their temper as they are in the consumption of alcohol; and then I think they may cherish a confident hope that sooner or later this reform will be carried, that they will go a long way to regenerate Scotland and to relieve our country from the blight from which it has suffered for many long years.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The Lord Advocate has in Scotland occasionally given me very hard knocks, and I have done my best in my own feeble way to give him as many knocks again in return. But I want now to congratulate him on his promotion, which has been well deserved from his ability and hard work. He began his speech by saying that my views on the subject were all wrong. I have never in the smallest degree advocated local option. On the contrary, I have said on a measure of this kind that it was an extremely bad way of dealing with the evil. The hon. Gentleman said that he and I had been in the same boat posing as moderate men. If I had been in the same boat with him on this subject I should not have been a moderate man. The hon. and learned Gentleman devoted his speech to other subjects than arguments against the Bill. He even introduced an argument about Tariff Reform. If you would allow me, Mr. Speaker, I should have the greatest pleasure in dealing with that question; but I fancy that is hardly a subject of debate this afternoon. If, however, the hon. Member has some doubt whether or not I am a Tariff Reformer then he knows nothing whatever about Tariff Reform.
The hon. Member who introduced the Bill boasted that Scotch Members had not been found to oppose it. Scotland has not permitted me to be a Scotch Member, but my interest in Scotland is as strong as ever it was. My interest, too, in temperance is very strong—stronger than many who talk about it. The speech to which 1067 we have just listened is an illustration of the confusion of ideas on the subject of intemperance. Hon. Gentlemen here and in the country make long speeches about the evils of intemperance. They confuse the disease with the cure. I can make speeches, not eloquent, but as long as theirs on the same subject. Extreme temperance reformers say that we should pursue the same methods as are pursued by the Socialist party. They rely for their support in pointing out the evils of the present system, and they seem to assume that once they have proved the evil, we should jump at any remedy.
Let me take the speech of the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill. The hon. Member said all classes of temperance reformers were in unison as to the character of this Bill. We had a sample of what that union is in the speech of the hon. Member who seconded. That hon. Member said that, in his opinion, by far the most effective remedy for this evil of intemperance is disinterested management. There is not a word about disinterested management in this Bill. The Union, therefore, has been obtained by inducing the hon. Member to leave out of the Bill which he supports the very clause which would have made it, in his opinion, most effective and useful. Then the hon. Member for Aberdeen dwelt upon the charge that had been made that Scotland was not the most sober country. He spoke on this subject in a most eloquent way, saying that he hoped to bring a blush to the cheek of my hon. Friend.
I think the hon. Member had his eye upon possible reports in the Aberdeen newspapers which would justify him in the eyes of his Constituents. But how did the hon. Member carry out his argument? He said this blush of shame should be brought to the cheeks of the hon. Member because ho would not allow the proper legislation to be provided, that which would cure this evil in Scotland. The hon. Member who seconded told us that the number of licences in proportion to population is smaller by far in Scotland than in England. They are smaller in proportion, and would have been smaller even had licences in England been reduced under the Bill of last year. Then you have in Scotland this restrictive legislation to a far greater extent than in England, yet in spite of these advantages it is admitted—because you cannot get over the police statistics—that the people of Scotland are more subject to drunkenness than the people of 1068 England. Now how is it that, in spite of the eager desire of Scotch Members to reform everybody except themselves, that this condition of things continues? The answer will be found in the remarkably able epigram which was used by the Prime Minister in his speech on another subject the other day—because hon. Gentlemen do not "rise superior to the temptations of tomorrow."
The hon. Gentleman made another remark with which I entirely agree. He said that excessive drunkenness in Scotland was due partly to the climate and partly to the nature of the liquor consumed. That is entirely true, and I may say in passing, as giving my own view, that I do not believe legislation can do very much to reduce intemperance, but I do think that anything it can do can be done in one or two directions only. One is disinterested management, for which the hon. Member for Huntingdon pleaded so eloquently and the arguments in favour of which seemed to me exceedingly strong, one of the most important being that a man was not tempted to force the sale of liquor, and the other was that a man has a direct interest in selling other things at the same time which tends to make the public-house a more human institution, and by that means to tend to diminish drunkenness. That is one of them. The other you have is the one referred to by the hon. Member who moved the introduction of this Bill. I believe legislation can do a great deal to diminish drunkenness if the attempt were made to encourage the consumption of alcoholic liquor with a small percentage of alcohol and to discourage the consumption of alcohol where the percentage is large. Those were the methods of the Mover and Seconder of this Bill, but not one of them has pretended that they would be helped even in a small degree by the Bill.
The real point we have to consider is first of all whether this Bill is going to do away with the evil, or going to diminish the evil, and, secondly, we have to consider whether it is just to existing interests. I shall take the last of these as the least important first. The hon. Gentleman devoted the first part of his speech to proving that this Bill is just to existing interests. They were the old familiar arguments of which we heard a great deal in the last Autumn Session, and after the debates which then took place—debates which in my opinion convinced moderate men all over the country that the Bill was unjust—I do not believe that there is any man who will contend that five years' notice, even admitting the difference which 1069 prevail in Scotland, could be fair or adequate compensation to those engaged in the trade. The hon. Gentleman gave in support of his views an illustration with which we are familiar, about the landlord who lets his farm from one year to another. I say that that very illustration condemns it. It is no good for hon. Gentlemen to get up and say there are no expectations of any profit. A sufficiently long expectation carried over a sufficiently large number of years does introduce and give a title indistinctive from any moral title to some form of property. Let me give an illustration from the very point of view he takes.
Take the Irish tenant who in Ulster is merely on a letting farm year to year—no more than that. Still a custom had grown up of the man who had a right from year to year selling his interest. It was a recognised right, and Parliament the moment its attention was called to it legalised it. If Parliament in a case like that, where it has no interest, says there is a form of property, is it not obliged in other cases to go further, and award compensation to the men who are engaged in this trade. I would like to refer to some observations of the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment. He told us that at present there is a good deal of corruption in the granting of licences in Scotland. I am sorry to say that that is true. I am sorry to say that all the information I have received is to that effect, and that the increase of popularly elected members of licensing benches has resulted in a great increase of corruption. The hon. Gentleman admits it, and he suggests that this Bill is going to cure it. How in the world is that effect going to happen? Suppose one of these Resolutions is carried, the licensing magistrates are to have power to diminish licences entirely as they think fit. There is to be no limit, and the value of such licences in such circumstances would be enormously greater than it was, and the temptation to exercise corrupt methods instead of being diminished would be enormously increased by the adoption of this Bill. The hon. Gentleman went on to say that one of the absurdities of our existing system is that by granting a new licence you have to give a man who has no right property which is of real value. I would like to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite and representatives of the Government, if it was open to them to speak, why is it that you have made the distinction in this respect between the English people and the Scotch. The Government seem to look upon Scotland 1070 as a kind of backwater untouched by the currents that influence the rest of the country, and think that there they can consider without any danger predatory schemes which they are not willing to apply to England.
One of the arguments used in favour of the English Bill—and I confess it was one of the strongest—was that you were going to get this monopoly value for the State. If you are going to rob existing holders it is a far more sensible proposal to take the money into the coffers of the State than to give it to other individuals who have no more claim to it than anyone else, yet this is precisely what the Bill proposes to do.
Now I come to what I think for this debate is by far the most important aspect of this subject. Is this Bill going to improve Scotland from the point of view of temperance It seems to me that hon. Gentlemen who now press forward the temperance movement have forgotten one fact which is vital in all questions of this kind, and that is that you cannot legislate with success in 'advance of public opinion. Is there anybody who knows Scotland who will tell you that Scotland is ripe for the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors? I will give a very simple test by which that can be judged. When you find that the Members representing Scotland are willing to apply to themselves the restrictions which they propose to apply to others—
§ Mr. SONAR LAW
Many of you do, but many of you do not. When, after making eloquent political speeches in favour of temperance, they get home to the privacy of their fireside and they comfort themselves with a bottle of ginger-beer instead of whisky and soda, then, and not till then, I will believe Scotland is ripe for such a change.
I would ask another question in regard to this Bill, and I think it is a very essential one. What is the theory on which the Government, who are responsible for it, for they have given facilities for it, support it? Their theory, as I understand it, is this: You can promote temperance by imposing restrictions on the temperate. You can put down drunkenness by interfering with the sober. That is their principle. It is not mine. If that is their principle, why do not they carry it logically into effect? If they are going to stop intemperance by limiting drink, why do they touch one source of supply only, and not all sources of supply? I admit freely that in one respect this Bill 1071 is more consistent than the English Bill. This Bill does propose to deal with grocers' licences. What is the reason of that if they did not deal with them in England? Is it too much to suggest that perhaps the reason may be partly found in this, that the licensed grocers in Scotland are all in favour of us on this side of the House and in England they are largely in favour of the party opposite. I know no other explanation. I can find no other justification for leaving the grocers out of the English Bill.
But though the grocers are included in the Scotch Bill, what about the clubs? The clubs are to be left absolutely untouched. That is to say, the effect of this Bill is simply to be to transfer the sale of liquor from one source of supply to another. The hon. Member for Aberdeen, in the course of an interruption, said the restrictions in Scotland were so effective that there was no need to make any legislation in regard to it in this Bill. I notice that even so moderate a man as the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed in a public speech the same view. How is it possible to make such a statement in face, for instance, of this definite statement made by the magistrates of Glasgow, who were horrified by the increase of drunkenness which had arisen since early closing was adopted:—Facts Facts which have emerged in the course of proceedings in the police courts and before the Sheriff, proving beyond a doubt that in spite of the safeguards contained in the Licensing Act of 1903, it is not only possible but easy for clubs to obtain certificates of registration, although the main reason for their existence consists in the facilities for drinking which they supply.If that kind of thing has resulted from simply closing at 10 instead of 11, what is going to be the effect when you restrict drinking all over Scotland? If your object is to restrict drunkenness through diminishing the opportunities for obtaining drink all over Scotland, what possible object can there be in driving it away from sources of supply which can be and are effectively controlled and driving it so sources of supply which all experience has shown cannot possibly be controlled? Yet that is the effect of your Bill. I believe that the hostility and the animus which are shown against the trade by so many extreme temperance reformers, are due to the belief that the organisation of the trade creates a vested interest, which is a strong obstacle in the way of all reform. Do they mean to tell us if you transfer the supplying of drink from public-houses to clubs, that a vested interest will not grow 1072 up in these clubs, which is far stronger, and which the State will find far more difficult to deal with than the vested interests now existing in public-houses?
If you want proof of that, look at the way that the clubs were treated in the English Bill last autumn. The Government did not dare to touch them, although they knew that the clubs all over the country were holding entertainments for the sale of drink, and by means of these entertainments were themselves increasing the sale of drink. Do you really believe that legislation of this kind is going to restrict the consumption of drink? If you do, you are going against what is the undoubted experience of the whole world in this subject. I know that the hon. Member for Appleby does not think so, but other people, better able to judge than he is, do. I have certainly good authority for making that statement. Let me read an extract which I copied out the other day from the report of the directors of a distillery company in the United States. It is interesting for this reason: that it was not written for any political object. It was written simply to satisfy the shareholders of the company. It says:—Long experience shows that all attempts to regulate the traffic by Statute have invariably resulted in an increase in the per capita consumption in the States affected. The effect of the prohibition law is only to change the method of distribution.
That view was confirmed in the speech of the hon. Member for Huddersfield. He stated that remedies of this kind had been tried nowhere so extensively as in the United States. Yet, experience there had shown that, in spite of that legislation, the consumption of alcohol in the United States had increased at a far more alarming rate than in the United Kingdom, and that, whereas 30 years ago they consumed hardly half as much per head as we do, they now consume three-quarters as much as we do in the United Kingdom. I remember when he said that that an hon. Member interrupted him by saying if it does not do any harm, why cannot you let it alone? But that is one of those cases in which, if it does not do good it does an immense amount of harm by demoralising the people all over the districts where it is carried out. I was speaking to a friend of mine who is the manager of steel works in an industrial town in the midst of an agricultural populaton, in an area in which prohibition is in force. He said that in the agricultural districts these restrictions have all worked fairly well, but that in the town the actual amount of drink consumed had enormously increased since 1073 prohibition had been carried; and, what was far more important, he said that the young men who go secretly and illicitly to obtain drink are demoralised to an extent that could not possibly exist if they did it openly, and if the ordinary means of supply existed.
There is only one other remark I desire to make, because I do not intend to cover the whole field of discussion. The really interesting part of the whole of this debate is the fact that the Government have given facilities for this measure, and they are really responsible for bringing it before the House. For that reason the measure is being hurried through. Now what is the object of hon. Members opposite in having this measure discussed? They know that its consideration is purely academic, and that it cannot possibly go a step further. The Government themselves know that if this Bill could go further their whole cry against the House of Lords, from their own point of view, would fall to the ground. The Bill will not go any further, and it is not intended that it should go any further. If this is part of the game of the dominating issue which does not dominate—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I quite recognise the importance of the hon. Member, but I can assure him that it was not of him I was either thinking or speaking. Let me take as an example the English Licensing Bill. Suppose it had been a perfectly good Bill—does anyone deny that by affecting a trade which is, and is going to continue to be, one of the most important trades of this country, it did disturb that trade, and it created an amount of uncertainty which had an immense effect in shaking confidence all over the country; and, more than that, whatever the merits of the Bill, no one acquainted with the facts will deny that it was in itself responsible directly for a great amount of unemployment. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh."] There is no doubt whatever about that. What the Government are trying to do is to extend the same feeling of insecurity which they have established in this country across the border. They are doing this by giving their support to a Bill which is absolutely and essentially unjust, and by taking this course the Government are committing the greatest crime open to any Government without any conceivable object, because they are shaking, and shaking to the foundation, the confidence on which the 1074 trade and industry of this country depends.
§ Mr. HAZLETON
I may say at once that I am in favour of this measure for the reasons which have been stated by its promoters throughout the course of this debate. It will not be necessary for me to go into those reasons, but, apart from the merits of this measure, there is another reason why I am glad of the opportunity of voting for it to-day, and that is the sympathy and support we on these benches have always received from Scotch Members on the question of temperance legislation for Ireland. They have helped us, so far as it was in their power to help us, with Irish temperance legislation, and I think the least we can do with them today will be to loyally help them in this effort. With the views of the Seconder of this Bill to-day, as to the question of the elimination of private profits, I find myself in entire agreement. I have always believed in the principle, and the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down stated that he believes as well in the principle.
He said that one of the grounds of his objections to this Bill was that it did not contain that provision. It is quite true that that principle is not in this Bill, but I do say this: that the passage of this Bill would make the realisation of that principle easier, and therefore I regard this Bill as a big step in the right direction.
The objections to this Bill have been fully answered in the course of this debate. They did not need very much answering. They answered themselves. Take one or two arguments advanced by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He attacked the five years' limit contained in this Bill, and said it was a monstrous injustice. He brought forward as an example the Ulster Tenant Right, which, by the way, the party to which he belongs vehemently opposed when it was proposed in this House to recognise it by law. What is the difference between the Ulster Tenant Right and the proposals in this Bill? This—that when the Ulster Tenant Right was brought to the notice of Parliament it was legalised, whereas Parliament has always refused to legalise in Scotland the right to hold a licence for more than one year, The right hon. Gentleman's chief argument against the Bill is that Scotland is not ripe for this measure at the present time. But, even if this Bill were to pass into law, which I hope it will do, our whole case is this: that it is only in those 1075 districts where opinion in Scotland is ripe for this Bill that it will be enforced at all. Therefore there is no ground whatever for that objection of the right hon. Gentleman.
For one moment let me take the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of the measure. He said that those who looked upon drink as a poison on moral and religious grounds were quite justified in supporting and voting for this measure. Then he went on to say that this Bill was robbery and confiscation. In my opinion he must have a very poor opinion of morality and religion if he thinks that they will lead people to support robbery and confiscation, and turn them, according to his description, practically into footpads.
With regard to his contention that the restriction is an insult upon the people, that is an argument which has long since been exploded. The Seconder of the rejection of the Bill, whose right to speak for the liquor interest nobody will deny, made a very clever and ingenious speech. He sought to prove that he was on the side of temperance and progress as well as on the side of the publicans. I am reminded of the story of a certain American who came to the City of Dublin. He was accompanied by a friend employed at Guinness's Brewery. He was taken to the Cathedral, where his friend pointed out the large amount of money that the Guinness family had spent in restoring the edifice. Then the American was taken to certain schools, where again he was shown how generous the Guinness family had been in building them. Then he was taken to Guinness's Brewery. When the American had seen all this he said: " This Guinness family must be very extraordinary, for here in this city at one time they run education, salvation, and damnation." In my opinion the hon. Gentleman who seconded the rejection of this Bill sought to do this in his speech, but I do not think he met with a very considerable amount of success. Scotland wants this Bill. As a Home Ruler, I say that if Scotland wants this Bill she ought to have it, and that before the conclusion of the Session it should be passed into law.
§ Mr. ROWLAND HUNT
The hon. Member who introduced this Bill spoke of its provisions as likely to be of benefit to the community, but I am afraid that it cannot do any real good. It may please very desperate advocates of temperance, but I do 1076 not think it can do anything else, and I am pretty certain that it will not pass. The basis of the licensing system in this country is altogether wrong, because under it it is the business of every publican to sell as large a quantity of beer and spirits as he can. That is exactly what we do not want. You cannot blame the publican any more than you can blame the draper or the grocer for endeavouring to sell as much of their stock as they can. Until you can get rid of this selling as large a quantity of beer and spirits as consumers can comfortably carry away you will never really get at the root of the matter. It will be seen that the Bill does nothing whatever to prevent the sale of bad liquor, which, I am quite sure, does an enormous amount of harm. At the same time it does nothing whatever to prevent the publican from selling as much of it as he can. The only effect of the Bill will be to drive people from one district to another. If a public-house be shut at nine o'clock in one district they will go to another where the houses are kept open until ten o'clock. It is a tinkering measure. It will only have the effect of enabling a majority in certain districts to tyrannise over the other people and dictate to them what they shall drink and what they shall not.
It seems to me to be rather class legislation. A rich man will be able to store his liquor and to carry it about with him, and in very many cases the poor man will not be able to get it at all. An hon. Gentleman on the other side told us that Prince Edward Island showed what a good deal of good prohibition could bring about. If you introduced into this island the power to prevent anybody either buying or selling liquor, no doubt we should be all frightfully. sober. But you cannot do that. There is an island in the north-west of Scotland where there are only two public-houses. One is so far away that scarcely anybody ever uses it. The result in that particular island is that practically nobody gets drunk except once a year. If nobody ever got too much to drink except once a year we should not have so much to complain of. An hon. Gentleman opposite said that the only way to deal with this question was to take it out of politics. The only way to take it out of politics is for the Government to buy all the ordinary public-houses and conduct the sale of alcoholic liquor as a State monopoly for the benefit of the people. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is Socialism."] I do not know that it is more Socialism 1077 than the Post Office. They have no solution to offer. Have not all those tinkering Bills they have brought in shown how useless their ideas are? Here is a clear idea by which the Government could regulate the sale of drink, and could sell nothing but good liquor—surely two very great matters. The sale of bad liquor would be done away with, and bad liquor does an enormous amount of harm, especially in the very north of Scotland. Although not a Scotsman, I happen to know something about Scotland. Two glasses of really new bad whisky, such as can be got up there, would almost drive a man mad, while a couple of glasses of good whisky would do him no harm at all. Some people say that good whisky will do a man just as much harm as bad. It seems to me not only that there is no sense in that view, but that those who hold it ought to remember that you can get considerably more bad liquor than you can good. For that reason alone they ought to be in favour of only good liquor being sold. But I think also that such people ought to be drenched with a shillingsworth of really bad whisky, and afterwards by a shillingsworth of really good whisky, and then left to learn from the state of their heads what the difference is. If the Government bought up all the licences they could put respectable men in the houses, and give them a small percentage on non-alcoholic drinks and food. There ought to be places to which a man could take his wife and children, as there are abroad; there is no reason against it. The object of teetotal fanatics is to make public-houses so bad that they may have an excuse for getting rid of them altogether. There ought also to be some form of amusement in public-houses. If this drinking habit is, as we nearly all believe, such a frightful curse, surely the Government might take the bull by the horns, get rid once and for all of these licensing wrangles, and give the people a chance of being as free from the charge of taking too much alcohol as are the people of France and Germany. It seems to me that the present democratic Government might really make an effort. They have tried to do a lot, though I do not think the result is much; but here is an opportunity to give the people a real chance of becoming more sober than they are. If the Government would pass such a measure as I have suggested, they might get back a little of their credit. By such a scheme they would not lose in the end; although they might lose at first, they would get all the new licences in the future, and thereby gain eventually.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON
I quite agree that under ordinary circumstances there would be no chance of this Bill passing into law; but the present Government have a knack of taking over Private Members' Bills and pressing them as their own, and therefore I think my hon. Friend was mistaken in treating in such a light-hearted manner the possibility of this Bill passing into law.
I oppose the Bill because I believe local veto to be contrary to the interests of the people. I oppose it for the same reason as my hon. Friend who has just spoken. I claim that this measure is class legislation. It is opposed to that which the party opposite have always held themselves as opposed to—that is, one law for the rich and one for the poor. It is absolutely impossible that those conditions contained in the Bill can be made to apply to rich people. I remember when first I came into the House I recorded a vote against a Sunday Closing Bill for England. I was attacked in the Lobby by a relative of mine who was then a Member of the House, and I was asked my reason for voting against it. I told him I was opposed to one law for the rich and another for the poor, and that if he would make me a promise that in future on every Sunday at his own house he would close his cellar, and not allow any guest or any member of his family to have a drink of alcohol, I would then pledge myself to support the Bill. His reply was; " I should like to, but I dare not." When the hon. Member for Aberdeen moved the second reading of this Bill, he gave a, long list of what had happened on previous occasions when similar Bills came before the House. He gave the votes of Scottish Members in regard to this question. Scottish Members in the House may be teetotallers, or they may be temperance fanatics—although I do not think they are—all of them at any rate. There is, however, no question that the people of Scotland are certainly not teetotallers. They are not so much total abstainers as we are in England. What is the result of prohibition in the past? It has not been in the direction of temperance reform. In Scotland they have far more stringent licensing laws than we have in this country, and the result is that we see drunkenness in Scotland going on increasingly year by year. The exact figure at present is 10 per 1,000. In the past 20 years I believe 1079 the increase in drunkenness in Scotland has been no less than 50 per cent. That is since the introduction of the more stringent laws that exist in the country at the present time. What has been the result of prohibition in America? We have seen that prohibition there has not been a success. In the prohibition States there is
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 189; Noes, 64.1083
|Acland. Francis Dyke||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||O'Grady, J.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Alden, Percy||Harmsworth, R.L. (Caithness-sh)||Partingoton, Ozwald|
|Ashton. Thomas Gair||Hart-Davies, T.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Hayden, John Patric||Pearce, William (Limehous|
|Astbury, John Meir||Hazlethon, Richard||Pease, Rt. Hon. J.A.(Staffs, Wald.)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Hedges, A. Paget||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hemmerde, Edward George||Philips. John (Longford, S.)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pollard. Dr. G. H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Henderson. J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Raphael. Herbert H.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Higham. John Sharp||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Beale. W. P.||Holt, Richard burning||Rees, J. D.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Hooper, A. G.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Birrell. Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hudson. Walter||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Branch. James||Jenkins, J.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Brigg, John||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Bryce. J. Annan||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roe. Sir Thomas|
|Buchanan, Rt. Hon. Thomas R.||Jowett, F. W.||Runciman. Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Russell. Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kekewich, Sir George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Kilbride, Denis||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Clough, William||Lambert, George||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Clynes. J. R.||Lamont, Norman||Sears, J. E.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Seddon, J.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Lehmann, R. C.||Shackleton, David James|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward (Stafford)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lewis, John Herbert||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lundon, W.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cross. Alexander||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Maclean, Donald||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||M'Crae, Sir George||Steadman, W. C.|
|Delany, William||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Dickinson. W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||M'Micking, Major G.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Mallet, Charles E.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Meagher, Michael||Ure, Alexander|
|Elibank, Master of||Menzies, Walter||Verney, F. W.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Micklem, Nathaniel||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Evans. Sir Samuel T.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wardle, George J.|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Waring, Walter|
|Fenwick, Charles||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Weir, James Galloway|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Murnaghan, George||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Gibb. James (Harrow)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||White, Sir Luke (York, H.R.)|
|Gill, A. H.||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny. S.)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Myer, Horatio||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Greenwood, Harmar (York)||Nicholls, George||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gulland, John W.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Gurdon. Rt. Hon. Sir W. Brampton||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Mr. Pirie and Mr. E. Wason.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Bignold, Sir Arthur||Cave, George|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bowles, G. Stewart||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Dalrymple, Viscount|
|Ashley, W. W.||Bull, Sir William James||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon|
|Balfour, Rt. Ho. A. J. (City Lond.)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Carlile, E. Hildred||Fell, Arthur|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Forster, Henry William||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Stonier, Beville|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gretton, John||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Newdegate, F. A. N.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Hill, Sir Clement||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Hills, J. W.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Rawlinson. John Frederick Peel||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hunt, Rowland||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Kerry, Earl of||Renton, Leslie||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir H. Craik and Mr. S. Wilson.|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)|
|Question put accordingly: "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."||The House divided: Ayes, 174; Noes, 64|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gurdon, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Brampton||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Agar-Rebartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Partington, Oswald|
|Alden, Percy||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)|
|Astbury, John Heir||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hart-Davies, T.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hayden, John Patrick||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Hazleton, Richard||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Hedges, A. Paget||Rees, J. D.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hemmerde, Edward George||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bertram, Julius||Higham, John Sharp||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bethel, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Holt, Richard Doming||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hooper, A. G.||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Branch, James||Hudson, Walter||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Brigg, John||Illingworth, Percy H.||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Brunner. J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Jenkins, J.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jones, Sir D. Brynmoor (Swansea)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Buchanan, Rt. Hon. Thomas R.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Williams (Carnarvon-sh.)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Sears, J. E.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Kekewich, Sir George||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Kilbride, Denis||Seddon, J.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward (Stafford.)|
|Clough, William||Lambert, George||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Lamont, Norman||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Leese. Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lehmann, R. C.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras,W.)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Cross, Alexander||Maclean, Donald||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Crae, Sir George||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||M'Micking, Major G.||Ure, Alexander|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Mallet, Charles E.||Verney, F. W.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Meagher, Michael||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Delany, William||Menzies, Walter||Wardle, George J.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Waring, Walter|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Moltenu, Percy Alport||Waterlow. D. S.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Elibank, Master of||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Esslemout, George Birnie||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Murnaghan, George||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Fenwick, Charles||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Myer, Horatio||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Nicholls, George||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Pirie and Mr. E. Wason.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Nugent, Sir Waiter Richard|
|Greenwood, Hamar(York)||O'Grady, J.|
|Gulland John W.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Forster, Henry William||Nicholson. Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gardner, Ernest||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Gretton, John||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Renton, Leslie|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hill, Sir Clement||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hills, J. W.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hunt, Rowland||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Stanier, Beville|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cave, George||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Du'wich)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire).|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fell, Arthur||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Walter Guinness and Mr. S. Wilson
|Fletcher, J. S.||Newdegate, F. A. N.|
Bill read a second time.
§ Question put: "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House."
§ The House divided. Ayes, 51; Noes, 172.1085
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fletcher, J. S.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Ashley, W. W.||Forster, Henry William||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Renton. Leslie|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harrison-Broadley, H.B.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hill, Sir Clement||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hills, J. W.||Stanier, Beville|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kimber, Sir Henry||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cave, George||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred. Dixon||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord Valenta and Sir A. Acland-Hood.|
|Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cowan, W. H.||Hazleton, Richard|
|Alden, Percy||Cross, Alexander||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Delany, William||Higham, John Sharp|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hooper, A. G.|
|Barker, Sir John||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hudson, Walter|
|Barnes, G. N.||Elibank, Master of||Illing worth, Percy H.|
|Beale, W. P.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Everett, R. Lacey||Jones, Williams (Carnarvon-sh.)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Fenwick, Charles||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ferens, T. R.||Kilbride, Denis|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)|
|Branch, James||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lambert, George|
|Brigg, John||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lamont, Norman|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes., Leigh)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Gulland, John W.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Macdonald. J. R. (Leicester)|
|Clough, William||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Maclean, Donald|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||M'Crae, Sir George|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Cooper, G. J.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.)||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Hart-Davies, T.||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Meagher, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Menzies, Walter||Rees, J. D.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Ure, Alexander|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Verney, F. W.|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Murnaghan, George||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wardle, George J.|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Waring, Walter|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Wedgwood, Josiah C|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonsh.)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|O'Grady, J.||Sears, J. E.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Seaverns, J. H.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Partington, Oswald||Seddon, J.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward (Stafford)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.
Pirie and Mr. E. Wason.
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Smyth, Thomas|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Spicer, Sir Albert|