§ A Census for Great Britain shall be taken in the year nineteen hundred and eleven, and the Census day shall be Sunday, the second day of April in that year.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
moved to leave out the words "Great Britain" ["A Census for Great Britain shall be taken"], and to insert instead thereof the words "England and Wales."
The reason that I move this Amendment is because, up to the year 1900, it had always been the habit to bring forward three Bills for the Census, one for Ireland, one for Scotland, and one for England and Wales. In the year 1900 the custom was abandoned and only two Bills were brought in, one Bill for Ireland and one for England and Wales and Scotland. The Instruction moved in 1900 to divide the Bill into two parts would have had the same effect as my Amendment, and it was supported by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, including the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Burns), who will, I presume, support my Amendment, as he is always consistent. Not only was it supported by the right hon. Gentleman, but by the present Lord Advocate and by one of the Junior Lords of the Treasury. The answer to Mr. Buchanan, who desired to have a separate Bill for Scotland, by the right hon. Gentleman who was then in charge of the Bill and the Lord Advocate of that day, was that it would be much better to have a separate Bill for Scotland, but in the congested state of the business obtaining 214 at that moment in the House, it was quite impossible to get the three Bills through, and for that reason, and that reason only, the Government had departed from the ancient custom and had put Scotland in with England. At the present moment the situation is quite different. There is no congestion of business, and the right hon. Gentleman is face to face with one of the most reasonable Oppositions that any Government have ever seen, and one which is only too anxious to assist him and his party so long as they are reasonable. Therefore, the ground for opposing this Amendment in 1900 falls to the ground, and there will be no difficulty in getting another Bill through. It was thought, in 1900, that this would be a better course, not only by the right hon. Gentleman himself, but by the present Lord Advocate, who ought to have some knowledge of the principles of Scotch law. I do not pretend to be an expert in Scotch law, but it is perfectly clear that it differs from that of England, and Scotch Members are always holding that they are a superior race, and that their knowledge and their laws are superior to English laws. It would, therefore, be much better for them and for us if they were, as they did up to 1900, to have a separate Bill to carry out the special provisions applying to Scotland. Clause 13, which provides for the application of this Bill to Scotland, provides that: "'Secretary for Scotland' shall be substituted for 'Local Government Board' and 'Board'; 'Registrar General for Scotland' for 'Registrar General'; 'registration district' for 'registration sub-district'; and 'poor-house' for 'workhouse'"; and a great many other things. It would therefore be very much simpler if Scotland were dealt with by a separate Bill, and this Bill dealt with England only. When anyone now wants to find out how this Bill applies to Scotland he has to read Clause 13, which, like all clauses which deal with legislation by reference is incomprehensible except to legal experts who have looked up all details of the references.
Therefore, I think I have made out an unanswerable case for my Amendment. It is a case which the bulk of the Scottish Members, including the Law Officers of the Crown and the Lord Advocate, wished to have put in and I can conceive of no objection to it unless it is the objection which was raised by my party ten years ago that the House was too much occupied. That is not the case to-day, and it will be a 215 good thing that they should have something to do, because at present we are spending our time in taking holidays when we might be here discussing useful measures.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I should have thought that on a question of considerable importance to my country the Secretary for Scotland and those of my patriotic colleagues who sit on the other side of the House would have shown sufficient interest in it to give a little time for its consideration. I rise to support the Amendment, because I should like to ask a few questions and satisfy my own curiosity. I have long, as a Scottish Member, attempted to rise to the very great heights of patriotic ardour which my fellow Members on the opposite side have shown. I have never been able to understand exactly the theory which guides them in regard to these questions. They tell us often that we on this side are ignorant of Scotland and careless of Scotland, and that we are ready to leave Scotland to be deal with entirely by the Imperial House of Commons. I am not quite so sure but that that might be done, and Scotland might be dealt with very satisfactorily. I have always resented the idea that Scotland should be governed only by the Scottish Members, and I have not yet found that that opinion is disagreed with so strongly in Scotland as the ardent patriotism of its Radical representatives would give us to believe. But, whatever we may think about legislation for my country being laid down by a Home Rule Parliament or by the Imperial Parliament, I think we may at least insist that proper attention shall be given to the affairs of Scotland and that separate Scotch bills should be brought forward dealing with questions such as these in which Scottish arrangements differ from English. It is all very well to say it is convenient and saves time, and is useful to make the same Bill apply to Scotland. That is not what one would expect from these ardent patriots who are urging nothing but Home Rule as the solution of Scottish questions. In fact, hon. Members remind me of nothing so much as the lady in "Tristram Shandy" who, when found fault with by her husband for purchasing silk at two guineas a yard, immediately fell down to taffetas at 2d. a foot. Hon. Members opposite cannot have Home Rule, so they will have nothing but absolute subjection to the rights and principles which guide English 216 legislation. They cannot have a Parliament of their own, so they will not ask the Imperial Parliament even to take the trouble of considering Scottish questions separately.
Is this quite so easy a matter to legislate by one Act as one would believe from what is said by the Front Bench opposite? We know these Front Benches have a way of making excuses for everything they do. Up to 1900 separate Census Bills were uniformly passed for England and Scotland. Why has this good and useful precedent, which lasted for more than 100 years, been broken away from, and why is it broken away from by the very people who in their patriotic ardour fought against it in the year 1900? How is it that they objected to it, and when it comes to their turn they do exactly the thing which they objected to? The supervising authority in regard to the Census is absolutely different in England and Scotland. The President of the Local Government Board, who is the only Minister present to answer for the Bill and give any reason for the principles that it contains, has nothing whatever to do with Scotland, and, more than that, has absolutely no authority over Scotland. Have we no Scottish Minister who can tell us what are the reasons for this change of proposal, and why the only Minister in charge of the Bill is one who has absolutely no authority over Scotland, and will have nothing whatever to do with the Census taken there? The Registrar-General is a different officer in Scotland. The Registrar-General for England, I suppose, is under the authority of the right hon. Gentleman, but the Registrar-General for Scotland is absolutely independent of the Local Government Board. I want to know why he is brought into the same Bill? Not only that, but all the subordinate officers and the very districts are called by different names. The people who are to carry out the details of this work are not only different persons, they are persons chosen on an entirely different principle.
I want to know who are to be the enumerators in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman, as I expected, cannot tell me, and I have failed to make it out myself. Under Clause 3 of the Bill we are told that "overseers and assistant-overseers of the poor, relieving officers for Poor Law unions, and collectors of poor rate, shall, if so required by the Local Government Board, act as and be enumerators for the purposes of this Act." Does the right hon. 217 Gentleman not know that not one of these officers exist? In Clause 13 I find that "sheriffs, sheriffs' clerks, chief magistrates, town clerks, inspectors of the poor and assistant-inspectors of the poor, shall perform such duties, etc." Are they to act as enumerators? Instead of taking Poor Law officers to act as enumerators, you are taking judges and stipendiary magistrates acting under the authority of the law. The right hon. Gentleman cannot even tell me whether I am right or wrong in that supposition. I assure him, quite honestly and sincerely, that I do not know any more than he does from reading the Bill. You lay down certain rules for England, which the enumerators are to follow, and you have told them what they are to do. Under Clause 17 they are to perform, not the duties laid down by the Bill, not the duties which Parliament prescribes for them, but such duties as may be prescribed by some bureaucrat in some office. By jumbling up Scottish legislation with English you have not only led to confusion, but you have absolutely left these rules which you carefully laid down in your Bill for England to be prescribed as is thought proper by some bureaucrat in an office irresponsible to anyone. Is that what the right hon. Gentleman intends? Why does not he take the whole power himself? The attendance of Scottish Members and the absence of the right hon. Gentleman responsible for Scottish business during the discussion on this measure, which is very important for Scotland, shows what is the real worth of all this talk of Home Rule. It comes from the lips outward. I now ask the Lord Advocate who are to act as enumerators for Scotland? Are they to be the sheriffs, sheriffs' clerks, chief magistrates, town clerks, and the inspectors of poor, or are they to be the people indicated by Clause 3 of the Bill? It would be useful to know, and it is very difficult to make out from the Bill. Then you have the rule laid down that they are to perform, not certain definite duties, but certain duties which may be prescribed for them. They are to perform such duties as were imposed by the old Act of 1890, which was a separate Act for Scotland. You are not going to have a separate Act for Scotland any longer. You have followed the very device which you denounced and voted against in 1900, which raised the indignation of all your patriotic feelings, and when you want to lay down definite rules you have to go back actually to the separate Scotch Act of 1890. Is this not a very 218 reductio ad absurdum? You cannot have a Home Rule Parliament and you cannot have all legislation made by the few men who pretend that they represent the whole feeling of Scotland, which they do not, and because you cannot have that you have nothing but botched and huddled and jumbled legislation, mixed up in a corner in an English Bill, so confused and so ill thought out that the Minister in charge of the Bill has to confess himself ignorant of how it will act in Scotland.
§ The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Burns)
The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) quoted "Hansard" of some ten years ago, in which my name figured in the Division List inconsistent with the advice which he rightly assumed I was going to give the House to-day in answer to his Amendment.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I did not assume that at all; I thought the right hon. Gentleman was going to be consistent—that he had made an error, and forgotten how he voted, and that he would now admit his error.
§ Mr. BURNS
Consistency is only a virtue in one's "salad" days. When one is responsible, one is obliged to revise one's previous opinions; one's duty is to the whole, and not to a section. The right hon. Baronet was under the impression that I should support the views of his Amendment. I can assure the hon. Baronet that I am going to do no such thing. What concerns me is not the quotation he has given, but rather the reason that induced him then to abstain and yet in the present Debate to adopt another view. I was anxious to know if he was going to tell the House what was the reason that induced him to abstain, but he did not, though I think I could gather.
§ Mr. BURNS
I thought I could gather it, because to-day the hon. Baronet, who is an Imperialist in politics, and who invariably preaches the unity of the Empire, is against the struggling nationalities which, as some of his Friends say, are part and parcel of the United Kingdom. He to-day takes up an entirely different attitude in Census matters, and he twits the Lord Advocate with not being here to demand on behalf of Scotland a separate and distinct method of numbering the 219 people of North Britain. He supported that view by making a statement in which he had the concurrence of the hon. Member for the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen (Sir H. Craik). The hon Member said that it has been practically the rule to have a separate Bill for Scotland for 100 years. That is not so. From 1840 to 1900 there has been a Census Bill for England, Wales, and Scotland, while there has been during the same period a separate Bill for Ireland, and we are under the impression that the rule that has been adopted from 1840 to 1900 should still continue.
§ Mr. BURNS
I beg pardon. I should have said from 1840 to 1890, and not to 1900. The hon. Member for Glasgow University went further, and said that he was surprised that no one was here to answer the point put by the hon. Baronet as to a matter which he thought went down to the very roots of Scottish life. Well, I hope my hon. Friend will pardon me if I reply by suggesting that we consider the practice which it has been thought necessary and advisable to follow regarding Bills of a similar character to this, and Bills embodying a large amount of legislation should be followed in this case, namely, to pass it so as to apply to England and Wales, and put in a clause at the end of the Bill adapting it to Scotland by the necessary Amendments to enable the measure to apply to both countries. We think it saves time, and that there is no reason why separate legislation should go to the extent of having separate Bills for England, Scotland, and Ireland. If we were to recognise that demand in this particular case, there is probably reason why the Welsh Members should ask a separate Census enumeration for Wales. Hitherto in this matter one Bill has been thought to be all that was necessary for England, Wales, and Scotland, whilst, owing to some extent to the great difference between Ireland and the other parts of the United Kingdom—hon. Members opposite frequently recognise and sometimes emphasise the difference—it has been the rule to have a separate Census Bill for Ireland. It seems to me that the arguments advanced by the hon. Baronet or the hon. Member for Glasgow University are not such as to warrant us accepting the Amendment. The hon. 220 Member for Glasgow University asked What is the meaning of "overseers of the poor" in the English Bill, and what relationship have they to Scottish life, institutions, and officials in Scotland? He will find on page 5 of the Bill, Clause 13 providing for its application to Scotland, and in the four Sub-sections all the questions he put to me are answered.
§ Mr. BURNS
Well, that is my interpretation of his question. For instance, he wants to know who is the equivalent of an English overseer of the poor. He will find in Sub-section 4 that "Sheriffs, sheriff clerks, chief magistrates, town clerks, inspectors of poor, and assistant inspectors of poor," and so forth—
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Does the right hon. Gentleman say that a sheriff in Scotland corresponds to an overseer of the poor in England?
§ Mr. BURNS
I did not say so, but we were anxious not to exclude any person who may be called upon to take any part in the work of the Census. We have put in the Bill this provision, that these persons, in the absence of others, may be called upon to help. Both in England and Wales overseers of the poor will only be called upon in certain rare and improbable contingencies. If enumerators are not available for the particular work of the Census, they would be called upon. If that contingency does arise, it will be necessary to make someone responsible, and the overseers of the poor are the persons named for England and Wales, while in Scotland the persons would -be those named in Sub-section 4 of Clause 13. The hon. Member asked, What is the type of persons who are to be enumerators? Well, he claims on other occasions that the Scottish people—and I think it is generally admitted—are probably, and to an extent even beyond the German people, the best educated people we know. Scotland boasts of its education, and the state of things there is mainly due to the fact that they had a system of education by means of parochial schools at a time further back than any other part of the United Kingdom. It may be assumed, therefore, that the Scottish enumerators will not be behind the English, Irish, or Welsh. On that matter we were advised by the Committee that sat on the question of the Census. Mr. Agnew, a competent witness who gave evidence, at the time expressed 221 himself quite satisfied that the enumerators appointed to carry out the work on the previous occasion were quite fit. Since that testimony was given the general standard of education and competency has improved everywhere, and not less in Scotland than in England and Wales. It is the opinion of those connected with the Registrar-General's office in Scotland, England and Wales that the men who will be employed will be from the point of view of fitness and competency for this class of work better than their predecessors of forty and fifty years ago. Another question asked was whether this is not a case in which separate legislation should be insisted upon? The Scottish Office in conjunction with the Local Government Board are quite content with this amalgamated Bill. It follows the example of previous legislation which adapts English Bills to Scotland, and it seems to me that the case submitted by the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment does not justify the Government in accepting the Amendment. I therefore ask the House not to accept it.
§ Mr. STUART-WORTLEY
The right hon. Gentleman has stated that consistency is a virtue of one's salad days and he does not consider consistency a ground why he should accept the Amendment. On the other hand, he opposed the Amendment on the ground of precedent. Surely it must be seen that that is not a reason which avails him in this particular instance. If it be true that from 1840 to 1900, according to the right hon. Gentleman, or as history says, until 1890, this House followed for five decades the practice of dealing together and not separately with England and Scotland, and, if at the end of these five experiences Parliament abandoned the practice in 1890 and took a different view that is a very good reason for not dealing with England and Scotland in one Bill. In 1900, it is true, the two countries were included in one Bill, but that was not on account of legislative difficulties, but because of the highly congested state of Parliamentary business in that Session, as those who were in the House at the time will remember. The right hon. Gentleman has not made any attempt to resist the proposal on the ground of administrative convenience or advantage. He says it is according to modern principles of draftmanship that the Bill should be applied to England and Scotland. We are to have what is called an "Application Clause" with respect to 222 Scotland at the end of the Bill. That procedure has some advantages, but surely in this case there is a balance of inconvenience rather than advantage. We cannot apply the Bill to Scotland without word of reference that those who are to carry out the work are to look to another piece of paper and to other documents for information, so that whatever you gain by supposed convenience of draftmanship you lose by the vicious principle of legislation by reference.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. FALCONER
I intervene in this discussion solely for the purpose of pointing out to the President of the Local Government Board that the practice which he has suggested, is a growing one, namely, that of dealing with Scottish matters by a separate clause in an English Bill. It is one which is deprecated very much from the point of view of those who have the responsibility of trying to carry out these Acts of Parliament in Scotland. It is difficult, in the first place, because there are many expressions in an English Bill which do not have any technical meaning in connection with Scottish law. It is difficult also because it is almost impossible to frame a Bill with a set of rules of procedure applicable to England and apply the measure to Scotland without introducing some part of English procedure which has nothing corresponding to it in the legal procedure of Scotland. These are difficulties which constantly arise in connection with general Acts. I admit that we are driven to this position when the time which can be given for legislation in regard to general matters in this House is limited, and very often the representatives of Scotland have to consider whether they will take a clause in a general measure applicable to Great Britain or go without any general legislation on the subject at all. I admit that in that dilemma it is better to take a clause with all its inconvenience than stand out for a separate Bill. I am bound to say that is a very bad practice. It works out badly in legislation, and it is very inconvenient for the people who are regulated by these Acts of Parliament. It ought not to be followed where it is possible to avoid it. I would, therefore, in this case ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will not reconsider this matter, and, as there seems to be plenty of time at the disposal of both sides of the House to facilitate the getting through of all necessary legislation, I would ask whether he would not revert to what, I am 223 sure, many Scottish Members consider the better practice and have a separate Bill for Scotland, especially in cases where he has a clause such as we find in this measure, giving not only definitions which are separate but a definition clause making provisions under enactment which are separate, and bringing in a separate Bill for Scotland, passed in 1890, as part of the Definition Clause, and defining the duties for the different classes of people. I am sure that everyone who has to carry out this Census operation in Scotland, and there are many people who will have to be engaged in it, would be greatly convenienced if they could have one complete code in a complete Scottish Bill. Then they could carry out their duties with knowledge, instead of wondering what is the meaning of the different expressions of English administration, and having, perhaps, to send for the Census Act of 1890 in order to understand the meaning of an English Bill of 1910–11.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
The defence of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill was really nil. The only defence he put up that I could see was that it was less trouble to carry the Census through an omnibus Bill instead of having separate Bills, as has been suggested by my hon. Friends behind me. He cited precedent. He said that the precedent was to have one Bill for England and Scotland. It is very refreshing indeed to have hon. and right hon. Gentleman on that side of the House quoting precedent. To follow precedent is a very excellent thing in its way, but we have heard a great deal lately of the bad effect of following precedent. We have heard the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister this afternoon. Therefore it comes rather badly from that side of the House to have as the only argument put up in support of having one Bill only for England and Scotland, the argument of precedent. They have not got even the very good reason which was given in support of a Motion similar to this in 1900— namely, that there is not time. It is notorious that there is plenty of time to pass three separate Bills if we only approach the matter in a reasonable spirit, which there is no disposition not to do. The House has been adjourning early, discussions have not been at all prolonged, it has not been found necessary to suspend the Eleven o'clock Rule, and, therefore, 224 there can be no just reason why, as far as time is concerned, two Bills should not be brought in—one for England and another for Scotland. What seems to me is the greatest reason why the Amendment of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London should be accepted is that at the present moment there is a Bill being put through to take a Census for Ireland. I can quite well understand having an omnibus Bill which would apply to England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. I can quite well understand having a separate Bill for all those four countries; but I do not understand why it should be considered right to have one Bill for England, Wales, and Scotland and a separate Bill for Ireland.
Why should Ireland be put upon a different footing from England, and have a separate Bill all to itself, while England, Wales, and Scotland are put together in one 1 Surely, if it is right to have one Bill for Ireland, it is equally right to have a Bill for Scotland. Surely my hon. Friend behind me (Sir Henry Craik) thinks that Scotland is as much deserving of consideration as Ireland. Scotland has been much longer within the Union, and therefore ought to have her demand conceded before those of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman surely could give the reasons if he wished. He did not say one single word of solid reason why the Amendment should not be accepted. He simply said he thought it was a good thing to follow precedent. He implied that it gave less trouble to his Department, and he also said that, in his opinion, it would be better not to have separate Bills. That may be so. The right hon. Gentleman is a man of great common sense. Possibly he is right. But what we want here are arguments in favour of the course the Government is pursuing, and not the bare word of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board. Not having the honour to be a Scottish Member, I should like to protest on behalf of the Members on this side of the House at the absence of the Lord Advocate, who has now left the House. He was here for about ten minutes while this Amendment, which affects Scotland, was being discussed, and he did not say a word about it. He has now left the House, and I do not know whether my right hon. Friend has any answer at all to what has been said. I think that when there is an Amendment like this, which affects Scotland, I should move the adjournment of the Debate in order to secure the attendance of the Lord Advocate.
The CHAIR MAN
I do not think I could take it at this stage. If any real inconvenience was being caused by the absence of the Lord Advocate—
§ Mr. ASHLEY
There are very intricate questions connected with Scotch administration and Scotch technical terms which English Members, at any rate, cannot understand in the very least. Therefore, what we desire is to have present some Scotch Member of the Government, who should be able to explain these matters to us so that we should be able to decide whether we shall vote for this Amendment or not. Therefore I press my Motion for adjournment on the ground that we cannot vote properly without understanding what is going on.
§ The CHAIRMAN
There is no question of adjournment. At the present moment I cannot take the Motion for adjournment.
§ Mr. BURNS
As has been suggested by my hon. Friend who has just sat down, the Lord Advocate came in to attend to that section which relates to Scotland. He has been compelled to go away only for a short time upon public business that necessitates his absence from the House, I believe only for a few minutes. But the hon. Member will pardon me if I suggest to him that the difficulty that he points out is almost imaginary. The procedure that we are adopting in regard to this Bill and the application to Scotland of the Census legislation for England and Wales has been adopted with the approval of the Scottish Office, and has been objected to by no authority responsible for Scottish affairs. It is a matter of convenience for both Scotland and England and Wales that they should be embodied in one Bill. Particularly is that so because unfortunately owing to the untoward circumstances of this Session, into which I need not go, we have been unable—not through any fault of the two Departments—to bring in this Bill in the month of March or April. And I say that because 226 I am anxious to reply to the hon. Member who has spoken as to time. It would be practically and physically impossible for us to withdraw that portion of the Bill that applies to Scotland, and bring in a separate Bill applicable to Scotland only as suggested by my hon. Friend, because the Registrars-General in both countries have been proceeding very properly with all the arrangements for the taking of the Census on the basis of this Bill going through; and I can assure my hon. Friend that it would be impossible for us to accept the suggestion of a separate Bill, as time would not permit. So far as difficulties are concerned, we do not anticipate the least difficulty in having a Census of Scotland taken under the conditions embodied in this Bill any more than we had when a Census was taken in that country under a precisely similar Bill on a previous occasion.
§ Sir WALTER MENZIES
I confess that there is a great deal to be said for the proposition of my hon. Friend the Member for the City of London, which was seconded by the hon. Member for Glasgow University. But if they had backed up their position and their arguments with any reference to facts which would be wanted by the Scotch people, and which would not be received in the Census, then I should be inclined to vote with them in a Division on the subject. But I am not aware that the people of Scotland want any information from this Census which they will not get under this Bill. If they could have pointed out that the population of villages or towns or separate counties would not be received under this Bill, then I should have voted with them. If they could have pointed out that there was any great demand for an immediate Census, then I should certainly have "voted with them; but I can find no such demand. I think the Census will be taken quite as well under this Bill as it would be under a separate Bill; and, of course, with regard to the different names which are given to the enumerators and those connected with them, I have no doubt whatever that the Scottish Office will issue a leaflet giving all necessary information. The hon. Member for Glasgow University taunted as much as ever he could us hon. Members from Scotland with a certain want of patriotism in not insisting upon a separate Bill for Scotland, and said that we were giving lip-service to ideas regarding Home Rule for Scotland which we did not want to follow up by votes in this House. I can only say with regard to 227 that that I myself have stated in the country that I believe that a Scottish Grand Committee sitting in this House would serve the purposes of Scotland at the present moment so far as Home Rule is concerned. But I have to acknowledge with regard to that position that my belief and my opinion have received a very severe shock, and that occurred only lately at a meeting of the Scottish Grand Committee, when I was told by a Noble Lord now in this House that the idea that Scottish opinion should be deferred to in legislation simply because it is Scottish opinion was of no moment.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
My recollection is that I said that Scottish opinion was not decisive. Of course, it is natural that Scotland or any other locality should have its local opinion, to which due and reasonable deference should be paid, but the doctrine that Scotland is a separate country entitled to manage its own affairs indifferently to English opinion is a doctrine which is absurd from the point of view of history and common sense.
§ Sir WALTER MENZIES
The exact words of the Noble Lord on that occasion, so far as I remember them, were that there were some muddle-headed people, Irishmen and Scotchmen, who supposed that the opinion of Scotch Members upon Scotch legislation ought to be deferred to, but that there was nothing of the kind. If that is the case, even at the Scottish Grand Committee, then I have to acknowledge that there is a great deal to be said for the proposal of the hon. Member for the City of London and the hon. Member for the University of Glasgow, that there should be separate Bills for everything relating to Scotland.
§ Mr. JOHN P. BOLAND
The President of the Local Government Board in his speech just now remarked that the Registrars-General of England and Scotland had already made their arrangements on the basis of this Bill, and that to separate this measure into two Bills would mean an alteration of those arrangements. There are several Amendments on the Paper, but if arrangements have already been made upon the Bill as it is, what is the good of our discussing them? If officials immediately a Bill is introduced are to make their arrangements and get their forms printed, it is practically doing away with the power of this House to shape legislation. If the argument of the right hon. 228 Gentleman is to be carried to its proper conclusion that would be the result. Ireland holds the position she has always held in this matter, and if Scotland were separated from Great Britain for the purpose of the Census she would be in a better position than she is in now. From the point of view of legislation it seems to me that it is better that Scotland should have a separate Bill for this purpose. In Ireland, for the purposes of our legal procedure, for the working of our courts, it is much more valuable to have Irish Bills kept separate from Bills for the United Kingdom than to have them all lumped together, because the adoption of the latter course would cause a tremendous amount of difficulty to the law courts and to public men. Another reason why I think the President of the Local Government Board and Scottish Members on the other side should welcome this Amendment is that it comes from these benches. After this Amendment is taken to a Division the hon. Member for Aberdeen University and the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London will give up, when writing to Scotland, the practice of putting in the address the letters "N.B.," and will recognise Scotland as a national entity by addressing their letters to Scotland, and not to North Britain. It is an additional advantage when we find that the representative of the City of London is going to be found in the same Lobby with us, and that he is going to recognise in future that Scotland is not really a part of Great Britain, but is a nation in itself, demanding separate legislation for dealing with the Census and with other important matters. I believe that, in the interests of legislation, and in the interests of the public service, it is an advantage to have a separate Bill for the Scottish Census. I am glad to welcome the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London and the Member for Glasgow and Aberdeen University among those who are at last coming to recognise that there are other nationalities in the United Kingdom than that of England.
§ Mr. EUGENE WASON
I do not know whether the hon. Member who has just spoken is aware of the fact, but the reason why Members do not add "N.B." in addressing their letters, but put "Scotland" instead, is that many of the letters addressed "N.B." go to New Brunswick, and not to Scotland. I am glad to think that the hon. Member for Aberdeen University thinks this is a case in which Scotland 229 should have separate treatment. I do not know the reason why we should not have a separate Bill in this instance. If there be any good reason I should be glad to know it. No one knows better than the hon. Member for Aberdeen University that, so far as concerns ecclesiastical matters, scholastic matters, and other matters of importance, Scotland is in an entirely different position from that of England. All our laws and customs in Scotland are different from those of England. I only want to know whether there is any real objection—as we are told there is—or what objection there can be to Scotland having a separate Census, apart altogether from England and Wales, and also Ireland.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Ure)
There is no objection to Scotland having a separate Census. Scotland had a separate census. The only difference we have made is that a separate Census is provided for in the same Bill as provides for the Census of England and Wales. In 1901 this House came to the conclusion, after considering the question, that it was quite possible to include the provisions for the Census in Scotland in the same Bill as provided for the Census in England. It was an experiment. In 1890 Scotland had a separate Act. It was found, however, that by skilful draftsmanship and the application of a little good sense that a Bill could be drafted, including all the necessary provisions for both countries. The experience of 1901 has shown that the House was right, and the Census was never better taken in Scotland than at that time. We have a separate Report from Scotland, a separate Census, and the procedure is exactly the same as if it were under a separate Bill. As my right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board explained, we are enabled to include all the provisions in this Bill which would be found in a separate Scottish Bill. Therefore, in the interests of saving time and of saving money, we have thought it right to follow the precedent of 1901. Having found by experience that we had made a correct experiment, we propose to repeat it now.
§ Mr. GEORGE FABER
I was not about to cast any reflection upon the right hon. Gentleman, as he would have seen had he waited until I finished my sentence. I 230 was about to say that the Lord Advocate, unfortunately, was absent from the House when the President of the Local Government Board made his second speech. In his first speech the right hon. Gentleman based the present procedure upon precedent. Now there was the precedent of 1890 and the precedent of 1901, and the former precedent is against the right hon. Gentleman. I think it was in 1900 that the President of the Local Government Board, being then in Opposition, and when he had greater freedom and lesser responsibility, voted against the very course which is now being pursued by the Government of which he is so distinguished a Member. His argument as to precedent, therefore, is not entirely sound. Then, again, his second speech is inconsistent with his first. An hon. Member put it to the Government that we had plenty of time to divide the Bill, and to bring in one for England and one for Scotland. One of the reasons why, in 1901, that course was not followed, was that there was a great pressure on Parliamentary time, and the two countries had to be driven abreast, both being put into one Bill. That reason does not operate now, as the right hon. Gentleman admitted in his second speech. Then he fell into this line of argument: "If we had only known that we were going to have plenty of time"
§ Mr. GEORGE FABER
Yes; only in those earlier months, and from the events which occurred, it was found that Parliamentary procedure was practically dislocated. But the right hon. Gentleman admitted that now there would be plenty of time to divide the Bill into two, one for England and one for Scotland. What is to prevent the right hon. Gentleman from dividing the Bill now? He knows perfectly well, quite as well as I do, that there is nothing. So he had to fall back upon this argument: "Oh, but we have now given all our instructions." But why did you give all your instructions, and make all your plans before the Bill was introduced into the House? Why should you assume that the Bill was going to be put through the House practically without alteration? I know that this Government, even with its present hotch-potch majority, in nine cases out of ten can carry their Bills in the form in which they bring them in; but surely that amounts to discourtesy, and it is not treating the House well that the Government should say, in 231 their magnificent style, that it does not matter what the House does or how it discusses a Bill. They have made up their minds to pass it without the alteration of a dot or a comma. We are convinced that there is plenty of Parliamentary time for the purpose of dividing this Bill into two. If the Lord Advocate had heard the President of the Local Government Board's second speech, he would not have based himself so certainly as he did on the general convenience of having the Bill in this form, because the right hon. Gentleman did not share that opinion. The Lord Advocate, not having heard the President's second speech, took the line which he did, saying that the precedent of 1901 was good and that the Government, having to make up their minds between that and the precedent of 1890, discarded the latter as bad. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board does not share that view. I am sorry at the want of unanimity on the Treasury Bench on this matter. It would have been much better, there being time to do it, to have had separate Bills, one for England and one for Scotland.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
The Amendment of the hon. Baronet assumes that England and Wales are one. I object entirely to such an assumption as that. Wales is far more different from England than is Scotland. We have got our own language. Welsh is spoken in every county in Wales. We have got dozens of Welsh newspapers with circulations of thousands per week. We have a periodical literature and other activities of national culture.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
If the hon. Member votes for the Amendment he will vote to have Great Britain left out.
Mr. L. WILLIAMS
To bring England and Wales together shows an absolute ignorance of the condition of things in Wales. If you are going to get a separate Census Bill on the ground of the antiquity of the connection, then Wales has the first right. As the Lord Advocate has pointed out, this is really a very small matter. We all get a separate Census. We get a separate Census in Wales though we never had a separate Census Bill, and there is a separate Census in Scotland exactly as if there was a separate Census Bill. Therefore, though I am very anxious on any real matter of importance to insist on the separate entity 232 of Wales in these matters, and especially matters of legislation, I think this is a very trivial matter.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The hon. Member (Mr. L. Williams) says that Wales is more separated from England than is Scotland. What are the facts? The Registrar-General for England is the Registrar-General for Wales, the enumerators are the same, and the general law is the same in England and Wales. In Scotland there is a separate Registrar-General, and the Local Government Board which acts for England does not act for Scotland. There is a separate Local Government Board for Scotland, and all the law and ail the minor officials who are mentioned in this Bill are entirely different from those of England and Scotland. Those are reasons why we say Scotland does not stand on anything like the same footing as England.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I understood the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Burns) to say in his first reply that there had always been one Bill for England and Scotland until 1890. I do not think that is correct. My hon. Friend the Member for one of the divisions of Sheffield pointed out that in any case the last Bill of Scotland joined with England must have been in 1880. The debate which took place in 1900 on this point showed a very different state of things. Speaking on 9th March, 1900, the Member for Aberdeenshire E., Mr. Buchanan, said:—I wish to draw the attention of the Lord Advocate rather than the President of the Local Government Board to one point…Hitherto there has been a separate Bill for Scotland, but in the present case there is only one Bill, and the Scottish census is put into an interpretation clause at the end of the Bill. There have been substantial differences in the way in which the census has been taken in England and Scotland. I daresay that these differences may be provided for under this Bill, but the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate has departed, not only in this but in other Bills, from what has been the general practice on Scotch legislation…The then President of the Local Government Board said in reply:—If the Scotch census has been included for the first time in the English Bill; it is solely in order to save Parliamentary time in a Session when less time than usual will be available for legislation.I say that is not the case now. The then Lord Advocate said healways understood that the counsel of perfection was to have measures which dealt equally with the three kingdoms. That was the whole tendency and desire of modern legislation. The only difference between England and Scotland in this matter was that in Scotland the names were rather different.In the Committee stage Mr. Buchanan again moved an Instruction to divide the Bill into two parts. So that both on the Second Reading and Committee stages 233 Mr. Buchanan and the then President of the Local Government Board held distinctly that it was an innovation that we had for the first time in 1900. The only reason given in favour of the proposal to include both countries in one Bill was to save time. There was a Division and the Lord Advocate voted with Mr. Buchanan. That is only ten years ago, so that the very last time the present Lord Advocate voted for the Amendment which I am now bringing before the House. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board said, "Oh, yes, but that was in my salad days. Now that I am in office I throw over all the opinions I had in my salad days." I shall not venture to apply that to the Lord Advocate.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Lord Advocate does not commit himself quite so far as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Burns). He gets out of it in another way. He now says he was wrong then; that the experience of the measure shows, as it very often does, that the Conservatives are very often right and the Radicals very often wrong, and that therefore he follows the precedent brought in by my colleagues. There is no doubt the only argument advanced in 1900 against this Amendment was that there was no time. There is plenty of time now, and therefore I shall divide the Committee.
§ Colonel GREIG
I think I should state, as a Scottish Member, my view on this Question before the House, and as it is perhaps a little different from that of the other Scottish Members I may give the reasons for it. We have been treated to an exhibition that we Scottish Members on this side will note with considerable satisfaction. We have at last attracted the attention of the hon. Baronet the Member for the City (Sir F. Banbury), and his enthusiasm for separate legislation for Scotland will, I hope, communicate itself to other Members who sit on the opposite side of the House, and, above all, to the Noble Lord who sits for the University of Oxford (Lord Hugh Cecil). We have had an exhibition within the last week or two as to real legislation for Scotland in the action of certain Members on the opposite side of the House. 1 am glad to see my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Glasgow (Sir H. Craik) taking a course which I think we 234 all approve of now to a certain extent, but which is somewhat different to the action taken the other day.
§ Colonel GREIG
This Bill raises no separate principles at all of legislation or law. The law in Scotland as to the taking of the Census is, I believe, absolutely to the same effect and on the same lines as in England. The machinery, no doubt, is somewhat different, but, as the Lord Advocate has pointed out, once the Bill is set in motion, that separate machinery will be set in motion, and the thing can be done separately. As a matter of convenience, and as a matter of precedent, it has been pointed out that the whole of the legislation necessary for the Census can be combined easily and properly in one Bill. I will say at once I am in favour of separate legislation for Scotland, on principles vital to the law of Scotland and to Scotland itself; but it is rather extraordinary that the enthusiasm we have seen displayed this afternoon on the opposite benches on a matter that is purely trivial, and in open court, as it were, where observations of this sort will filter down to the Scottish newspapers, that that enthusiasm disappears when we have a Scottish Temperance Bill, where we have English Members telling us that that is separatism, in a country where the temperance law is quite different, and that it is silly to have separate legislation. Curiously enough, the strongest supporter of that line was the hon. Member for Glasgow University.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The hon. Member entirely misrepresents me. I did not say that, separate legislation was not a good thing or a desirable thing, but I said that a separate legislative body was a most undesirable thing, which is quite a different question.
§ Colonel GREIG
I do not deny what the hon. Member says. I only say, and I think I am within the recollection of Members on this side that we were told that separate legislation for Scotland was silly That was the expression used by the hon. Member.
§ Colonel GREIG
It was used by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford. We have had now an expression of opinion in favour of separate legislation for Scotland. Let that be carried out on vital matters and we are perfectly 235 content. On this occasion, although I hold that view, I believe this Bill is the most convenient, most in accordance with precedent, and the least likely to arouse opposition from irresponsible Members on the opposite side, and I shall support the Government.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
Several criticisms have been directed against certain observations made by an hon. Friend and myself some days ago in the Committee Room upstairs; but I do not think those observations have any bearing on the present discussion. We deny that there can possibly be more than one nation within the United Kingdom. When an hon. Member opposite spoke of the realm and of the nation, I was tempted to ask what he meant by those terms.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I do not think the definition is correct. If it is, there are in this Kingdom one nation and several realms. My definition of a realm would be that it is subject to one king. What a nation means is a most intricate question. In the United Kingdom there is only one nation; but there are local circumstances in Scotland, or in London, or in Hertfordshire, and if you are dealing with a measure which has relation to
§ those local circumstances, that measure must fit in to the circumstances. I have never denied that, and I do not deny it now. I am afraid, however, I shall find it impossible to support my hon. Friends to-night, my difficulty being that they do not seem to have made out a case for separating the Bill as a matter of machinery. They have not sought to make out a case on national grounds, because they do not believe any more than I do in a separate nationality. Hon. Members opposite have spent time in proving that the national issue does not arise, and I think they are right. The question is purely one of machinery, and therefore it must be decided on business considerations. Is one Bill more convenient than two, or are two Bills more convenient than one! Personally, I think that one Bill is more convenient than two, and I only regret that the Government did not include the Census for Ireland in the Bill for Great Britain. The sole reason I can think of for their not doing so is that it would have made more apparent the inconsistency of the way in which they have dealt with the religious question in Ireland.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 206; Noes, 131.237
|Division No. 75.]||AYES.||[5.50 p.m.|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Glanville, Harold James|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Glover, Thomas|
|Agnew, George William||Clough, William||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Alden, Percy||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Greenwood, Granville George|
|Allen, Charles Peter||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Grenfell, Cecil Alfred|
|Armitage, Robert||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Gulland, John William|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Hancock, John George|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Cowan, W. H.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott||Crossley, Sir William J.||Harris, H. P. (Paddington, S.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Barton, William||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry|
|Beale, William Phipson||Dawes, James Arthur||Haworth. Arthur A.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-shire)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Henry, Charles Soloman|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)|
|Bowles, Thomas Gibson||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Higham, John Sharp|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Elverston, Harold||Hindle, Frederick George|
|Bryce, John Annan||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Falconer, James||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Fenwick, Charles||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||Hudson, Walter|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Byles, William Pollard||Fleming, Valentine||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Fletcher, John Samuel||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Fester, John K. (Coventry)||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lanes., Heywood)||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Gibbins, F. W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Grady, James||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Toulmin, George|
|King. Joseph (Somerset, N.)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Lambert, George||Pearce, William||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Lawson, Hon. Harry||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Verney, Frederic William|
|Leach, Charles||Pointer, Joseph||Vivian, Henry|
|Lehmann, Rudolf C.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Walton, Joseph|
|Lincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.||Pringle, William M. R.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Radford, George Heynes||Wardle, George J.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Rea, Walter Russell||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rendall, Athelstan||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Waterlow, David Sydney|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|M'Laren. F. W. S. (Line, Spalding)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Roe, Sir Thomas||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Rowntree, Arnold||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Manfield, Harry||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Marks, George Croydon||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Menzies, Sir Walter||Schwann, Sir Charles E.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Millar, James Duncan||Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Mond. Alfred Moritz||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Snowden, Philip||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Soares, Ernest Joseph||Winfrey, Richard|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Spicer, Sir Albert||Wing, Thomas|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Munro, Robert||Steel-Maitland, A. D.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Muspratt, Max||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Sutherland, John E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master|
|Nussey, Sir T. Willans||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||of Elibank and Mr. Fuller.|
|Nuttall, Harry||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Grant, James Augustus||Nield, Herbert|
|Adam, Major William A.||Greene, Walter Raymond||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Arbuthnot, Gerald A.||Gretton, John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. A. G.|
|Ashley, Wilfred W.||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Bagot, Captain J.||Haddock, George Bahr||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Peel, Hon. Wm. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Proby, Col. Douglas James|
|Barnston, Harry||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Quilter, William Eley C.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardy, Laurence||Rankin, Sir James|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.)||Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Hope, James Fitzalan||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Brackenbury, Henry Langton||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ridley, Samuel Forde|
|Brassey, Capt. R. (Oxon, Banbury)||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Butcher, John George (York)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Butcher, S. H. (Cambridge University)||Kerry, Earl of||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Calley, Col. Thomas C. P.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lewisham, Viscount||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Clyde, James Avon||Llewelyn, Venables||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Cooper, Capt. Bryan R. (Dublin, S.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey (Boston)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. A. (S. Geo.,Han. Sq.)||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Mackinder, Halford J.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Duncannon, Viscount||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Valentia, Viscount|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Mason, James F.||White, Major C. D. (Lanes. Southport)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Fell, Arthur||Mitchell, William Foot||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Morpeth, Viscount||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Forster, Henry William||Mount, William Arthur||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Newman, John R. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Goldman, Charles Sydney||Newton, Harry Kottingham||F. Banbury and Sir H. Craik.|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. FELL,
moved to leave out the words "second day of April," and to insert instead thereof the words "twenty-eighth day of May."
This Amendment practically postpones the Census for two months from the date suggested in the Bill, and I hope that the President of the Local Government Board, when he has heard the reasons I shall adduce, will agree that there is a strong case for the postponement until the days are longer. The date proposed in the Bill is 2nd April. Next year that date comes before Easter; but the most important point is that it falls at a time when in ordinary circumstances the equinoctial gales prevail in this country. It is therefore the most inconvenient time that could be selected if weather and considerations of that kind are to have any influence in deciding questions of this sort. The day after the Census is one in which a very full day's work is required of the enumerators and other officials. What they will have to do is shown in Clause 5:
"Shall visit every house in his district on the day next following the Census day, and shall collect all schedules…and shall complete such of the schedules as on delivery thereof appear to him to be defective." It is a most strenuous day's work for all concerned in it, and I should have thought it would be at once apparent that the longer the day you could get for the purpose the better, because it is more than can be done in a day. Therefore, I suggest that by postponing it for a couple of months you will enable the work to be carried through with much greater accuracy, because it will be done in daylight instead of, to a considerable extent, in darkness, as in the earlier period now fixed. The days are more than an hour longer in the evening on the day I suggest. It will, therefore, give a twelfth more time for the collectors of these papers to visit the houses, and to do the far more important part which is thrown upon them— that is, to fill up these papers, if necessary, or to assist the occupiers to fill them up, and to correct them where there are manifest errors. This can only be done in the poorer quarters of the town by daylight. Unless you do it in daylight I do not believe you can do it at all. I suggest the time when you will have an hour or an hour and an half more daylight, and thereby those concerned will be enabled to make up the Census papers more accurately.
240 There is another point which I call attention to. That is the prevalence at that time of gales in this country. In the last ten years there have been two occasions, I believe, when the Census could not have been carried through. The one occasion was in the first week in April when the snow was at least a foot deep in many parts of this country, and when the papers could not have been collected. It is a perfectly good and valid reason that you should not select a time which is of all times one of the most doubtful in regard to the weather. There has, I say, been snow on two occasions early in April. In the country it will be very difficult to carry this Census through, because the equinoctial gales may be expected about that time. At that time there is very rough weather. There are many other days in the year—long days—and it will be just as well to hold over the taking of the Census till eight weeks later than proposed.
I have a third reason—[Laughter]— which I hope, if we are considering this matter seriously, will have some weight. I do not know whether hon. Members on the other side intend to discuss this matter seriously. If they are going to do so my reason will surely have some weight with them. It is this, that those persons who winter abroad and who for their health or other similar reasons are not able to return, or have not returned, to this country by 2nd April will have returned eight weeks later. That is a perfectly good argument. People who go abroad are the older people—heads of families and the heads of houses. These are the people who will have to fill up these forms. I cannot see why this Census should be carried through in the early spring and before Easter—why it cannot wait till Easter is over and these people have all returned and are living in their houses. Thus when they receive their papers in due course they will be able to fill them up, and greater accuracy will, I believe, be obtained. For these reasons, unless the Government have some strong reason to the contrary for the selection of such an early date as the beginning of April, I do not see why the matter should not be postponed to a more reasonable time, when, I believe, it will be carried through with much greater accuracy.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
I hardly think the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken has dealt seriously with this matter. I would point out to him that he has in his 241 last reason destroyed his previous two— if they were reasons. He began by asking the House to give more time for the enumerators to perform their task. It is quite clear that the more people you have in the country at a later date the greater that task will be. His last reason was that there are many people who are not able to stand the infliction of the English winter. I believe this is the best climate in the world, and that all these people will have come home. Therefore the reasons the hon. Gentleman gives for postponement are in reality reasons for keeping to the date already fixed. Let me reassure him. It is not true that people do not come back to England in April. Why, Sir, April is one of the best months of the year in this country.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
They come back as soon as April is heard of. Does not the hon. Gentleman remember what Browning said:—Oh to be in EnglandNow that April's here.Let me take his argument as to the weather. The hon. Gentleman says that the 2nd April is a time of the equinoctial gales. How does he know?
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
I know something about the equinoxes, I ask the hon. Gentleman what is his definition of the equinoxes?
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
The hon Gentleman's information is in relation to the gales! I know something of the gales. Let me inform him that the equinoctial gales come at a considerable period before or after the equinoxes, according as the humour takes them. It would be an admirable thing, for a sailor at any rate, if not for the enumerator, if you could be sure when the first equinoctial gale would come. Nothing is more uncertain, let me assure the hon. Gentleman, than gales of wind. You cannot tell whence they come or whither they go. Nor can you tell when they will arrive. It is a sad picture that the hon. gentleman has drawn of the enumerators being blown out of their senses by the equinoctial gales, but it is one that really cannot command the attention of the House. The hon. Gentleman says that the equinox is the 242 worst time for taking the Census because of the lack of daylight. It is an ideal time in my opinion. It is the time when day and night are equal. It is the average ideal day of all the year. There is neither too much light nor too little. It is absolutely, I repeat, the ideal day of the year. Therefore it seems to me that the hon. Gentleman opposite cannot sustain that argument. Were it not that I have never seen pretty artistic obstruction in this House I would really believe that the hon. Gentleman was at this moment guilty of obstruction.
§ Captain BRYAN COOPER
I regret to be obliged to vote against the Amendment of my hon. Friend. I would have voted for him possibly had he also put down a similar Amendment to the Census for Ireland Bill, for the result of this Amendment will be that the Census will be taken on one day in England and another in Ireland. I wish he had extended his charity to the enumerators of Ireland.
§ Captain COOPER
Very good, Sir. I will come to the interests of Great Britain now. It is desirable that persons should not be counted twice over. It is quite conceivable that a Member of this House might possibly be enjoying an Easter recess on 2nd April and be enumerated in Ireland, and then subsequently be counted in England.
§ Mr. BURNS
There is small point in the alteration of the date as put by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. If the Amendment is carried the Census would probably be taken at a day different in Ireland to that of England, Scotland and Wales. But may I put it to the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment that our experience—which in this case has many precedents—is against him. We find that during the last sixty years the Census has been taken seven times. This will make the eighth. The dates have ranged between 30th March and 5th April. It seems to statisticians desirable to keep up the continuity of the dates, so that they may be comparable, whether it be in Ireland, or in England, Scotland, and Wales. Another argument against the adoption of this Amendment is that, oddly enough, it is the very day—the hon. Gentleman mentions 28th May—for "flitting" in Scotland. That is the day in Scotland on which the largest number of people, particularly of the working classes, 243 move to fresh lodgings and into new houses. I think that his suggestion about there being more daylight on 28th May than in April is really a disadvantage, because in the early days of April the fact that the hours of darkness are longer induces a number of men, particularly those who are engaged in the building trade, or in agricultural operations, to add an hour or two—it may be two or three hours—to their time at home in order to grapple with the Census paper. I do not know that there is much to be said about the gales. As a rule when the weather is threatening certain men stay at home. I do not think there is much argument in that. As to the English weather, I can only shelter myself behind the very good judgment of Sir George Wombwell. He said that for ten months in the year the English climate is the best in the world, and that for the other two months there was no other climate that came within a hundred miles of it. I do not think the hon. Gentleman has made out any case for this Amendment, and I trust the House will not accept it.
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ Clauses 2 and 3 added to the Bill.