§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)
The Temperance (Scotland) Bill, of which I beg to move the Second Reading, comes before the House under exceptionally favourable circumstances. It has twice had a Second Reading in this House in two succeeding Parliaments. It has twice passed through the ordeal of examination by the Scottish Grand Committee. It is in the form in which it last passed that Committee that it is now presented to the House. Temperance reformers have frequently been reproached on the ground that they did not obtain practical results because of the difference of opinion amongst themselves. That reproach cannot be levelled against temperance reformers in respect to this Bill, for the great temperance organisations in Scot- 884 land are united in its support. The other day the Prime Minister received petitions containing the signatures of over 2,000 ministers of all denominations in Scotland. I say, too, without hesitation, that, outside the ranks of temperance reformers, there is a very strong approval of this Bill on the part of the Scottish electorate. Its principles have been adopted year after year by an overwhelming majority of the Scottish Members. I suppose that at the present time five-sixths of the representatives of Scotland are in favour of the Bill.
There are three main points in the Bill. The first is the principle of local option—the provision that the electors in moderate-sized districts should have the power of deciding what number of licences should be granted in those districts. I think the machinery of the Bill is well adapted to secure that it should represent beyond dispute the feelings and wishes of the majority of the electorate. In the second place, to put the machinery into operation it is necessary that a requisition demanding a poll should be signed by 10 per cent, of the electors. The first resolution, which is one for no change—to leave the matter, as at present, in the hands of the Licensing Bench—only requires to be carried by a bare majority. The second resolution—the limiting resolution—requires a majority which must consist of at least 30 per cent, of the electors. The third, and most drastic resolution, providing that no licence should be granted in the district, requires a three-fifths majority, and must consist of at least 30 per cent, of the electors. This provision is modified by a time limit. It is, as the House knows, twelve or thirteen years ago since the Peel Report suggested that a five years' time limit would be appropriate and sufficient for Scotland. Under this Bill no poll can be taken until near the end of 1917, and no house will be closed under this Bill until 28th May, 1918—so that eighteen years will have elapsed since that recommendation of the Peel (Minority) Report. I do not think it is unreasonable to point out that this Bill was approved by the House of Commons in 1909, and "starred" by the Government, so that the licence holders have had really long notice. In 1910 the hon. Baronet for the Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger), whose unavoidable absence today I very much regret, proposed that there should be a time limit of seven years. The trade will, in fact, if the Bill is carried, have a time limit of eight years. 885 I think temperance reformers may fairly ask that there shall be some limit to the demands of the trade. The second point in the Bill to which I may briefly call attention is the provision that no house in Scotland shall be open before ten o'clock in the morning for the sale of exciseable liquors. No one, I am sure the House agrees, desires to drink before that hour except the incorrigible toper. This provision is borrowed from the proposal of Colonel Denny, the Unionist Member for Kilmarnock Burghs, and it was accepted by the Committee without opposition. The third point in the Bill is the club Clauses. There were representations from Glasgow, Partick, and the Convention of the Royal Burghs that licences to clubs were in the first instance granted too easily, and that it was desirable that more stringent conditions should be imposed both as to the granting of the licence and to the grounds on which the objection to the licence could be laid. That is not, I think, a controversial matter. I think hon. Members on both sides are agreed on that point; it also was carried without opposition in the Committee.
I come to the criticism on the Bill. The first criticism is that there should have been a fourth option—that of disinterested management. It is evident that under this Bill there is nothing to prevent those who believe in disinterested management from applying their belief. But what the supporters of that policy ask is more than that. They ask that they should be allowed to obtain a monopoly in a particular district; that under the provisions of the Act, instead of a privately-owned public-house, a house under disinterested management may be substituted. This is obviously no objection to the principle of the Bill. It accepts the view that there should be local option: it only asks for another option, and that, plainly, is a matter not so much for Second Heading, as to be settled in Committee. There are two other objections to the Bill. There is, first of all, the root and branch objection to the whole principle of local option. I see that the Amendment to be moved by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Renfrewshire (Captain Gilmour) refers to this objection, and to another one. The first is fatal to the Bill, and the second is intended to be so, though perhaps not so fatal in form: it is that compensation should be provided, or, at any rate, that a system of mutual in- 886 surance should be forced upon the trade for their own benefit. I am not in the least clear as to what are the real views of the trade on this subject. But I cannot, help thinking, from all I have seen and heard, that what the trade really wants is a compensation scheme something like the scheme which exists in England—that carried in 1904. To setting up anything resembling that scheme, or involving the consequences of that scheme, the Government is entirely opposed. There is nothing in the Scottish system of granting a licence which justifies such a claim. There is no difference of opinion among the legal authorities on that subject of licences being granted for one year and one year only, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Central Division of Glasgow, in giving evidence before the Royal Commission, put the case quite fairly. The granting of a licence in Scotland is a grant for a year, and if at the end of the year the same man gets a licence it is not a renewal but a new licence. In these circumstances we cannot consent to creating a new vested interest in licences. The Unionist Government in 1904 recognised they could not provide compensation for Scotland, and Lord Balfour of Burleigh, having been Secretary of Scotland for many years and having experienced as a member of the licensing bench, said:—If anything in the nature of the English Bill were to apply to Scotland we should be in an infinitely worse position than at the present time. I am apprehensive that an attempt maybe made to extend the general principle of this Bill to Scotland, and I wish to take this opportunity of saying there is such a difference in the circumstances of the two countries that it, would be an act of gross injustice to apply the principle of this Bill to the country north of the Tweed.and it was not applied by the Unionist Government. The reduction of licences has gone on year after year without compensation, and we cannot consent to any proposal which would make the withdrawal of licences under this Bill depend upon money being available for compensation whatever may be the source from which it would be derived. I do not think the figures of the last report in regard to the reduction of licences in England are very encouraging. I see that in 1907, 1,735 licences were not renewed on grounds entitling to compensation, but in 1910 little more than half that number, 991 were refused on that ground. It is not encouraging in Scotland to adopt a similar principle. I shall no doubt be told that what is proposed is a fair proposal if the compensation money is to be found solely 887 by the trade. But that is the case in England, and it does not answer my point at all, which is that we cannot consent to make the scheme depend upon the provision of money from any source. I have received two deputations from the trade upon this subject, and I have refreshed my memory as to the particular words used by the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs in 1910. I remind the House that the hon. Baronet having brought forward a scheme for compulsory mutual insurance confessed he received pathetic letters against his own scheme from members of the trade in Scotland. It was quite evident he had not the support of the trade, and he withdrew the scheme. I am not at all satisfied that the case is different now.
The trade has had two years to reflect after this Bill was approved by the Government in 1909. Yet they brought forward no agreed scheme, and it seems the real reason is there are real differences of opinion and strong objections in the trade to this proposal of the compulsory mutual insurance. Indeed, the main argument which members of the deputation urged for a cumpulsory scheme was that there was a number of people in the trade that would not voluntary join the scheme, which is obviously a confession that there is no agreement in the trade upon the subject. I am very much afraid, judging by what has been stated to me, that no compulsory scheme would satisfy the trade which did not in some way bring about the result that the Government shall be responsible for providing compensation for any withdrawal of licences. I know there is no scheme put forward upon the authority of the trade, but I think one can judge pretty nearly what the general nature of such a scheme would probably be. We have before us the hon. Baronet's scheme of 1910, to the details of which I do not think of binding him. There were other schemes in proposals indicated to me by members of the deputation, or which I heard put forward by representatives of the trade. No doubt there is a demand for compulsory mutual insurance. I saw that in the January report of the Scottish Mutual Insurance Association the directors advocated a compulsory insurance, but that was to be through companies. The proposals the deputations put before me were quite different. They would drop a voluntary scheme and set up a State scheme with Commissioners of Inland Revenue, Commissioners of Customs 888 and Excise, and they would bring the Secretary for Scotland into the scheme. The amount to be paid in compensation was to be settled by the Government and admitted on a certificate signed by the Secretary for Scotland, and the money, according to one scheme, was to be found by a charge upon the quantity of liquor sold; by another it is to be a percentage upon the licence value, and in the event of the fund being insufficient in any year one proposal was that the Government should advance the money required. However, the hon. Baronet did not go so far as that.
Then take the other proposal for compensation to assistants in the trade. One proposal was that it should come out of the compensation fund, but another proposal was that it should be paid by the local authorities. That is not a proposal which I think would commend itself to the local authorities. It has been even suggested that the local authorities should take over the stock of liquor and destroy it, as one Gentleman suggested. I do not care whether they drink it, sold it, or destroyed it; I should object equally in either case. It seems to me all these schemes really come to this. They imply that we should be landed in the position which Lord Balfour of Burleigh very properly objected to, very much the same position as exists in England, and some of the proposals would place us in a far worse position than exists in England, and far worse than ever existed in Scotland. No one objects to the trade insuring itself, no one objects to the most complete system of insurance in the trade if such a system did not involve the objections I have stated, and the advocates of compulsory mutual insurance have to face that. I know it is not the case that the whole trade are united upon a scheme of compulsory insurance, but if there is, as alleged there is, an overwhelming majority of the trade in favour of insurance, then there is no reason why they should not insure, and for the life of me I cannot see why there should be a demand for compulsion. If, on the other hand, there is such a large majority against it, we should be undertaking a task of very great difficulty if we added that to many other controversial subjects.
I am not at all satisfied that the trade cannot protect itself without calling in the Government. There are companies in existence carrying on large businesses insuring millions of pounds' worth of licence 889 value. In 1891 one company was started which claims to have paid several hundreds of thousands of pounds' worth of compensation. I do not know exactly how much, but in 1908 that company said they paid half a million. That company is doing business in Scotland. There is another company specially confining itself to Scottish business, the Scottish Licensing Mutual Association. I call attention to what that association says it does. In 1908 that company has six millions' worth of insurance. The Chairman said:—It is not too much to say that the beneficent operation of the company had changed the whole condition of the licensed trade as regards security of investment.Now that company has 7,500,000 insurances, and in its report last January the chairman made this rather singular statement:—For obvious reasons it has never been our policy to parade our operations in the public eye, and this may perhaps have prevented many of our friends from having a true conception of the extent of these operations.They claim that during the past seven years the average cost of insurance under Clause A, including the assessment, has only been 5s. 10d. per cent. I admit that the operations of this Bill would increase that premium, but that would apply equally to compulsory schemes, and therefore there is not very much point in it. I submit that no sufficient case has been made out for Government intervention or for putting provisions for compulsory insurance into this Bill. There are opportunities of voluntary insurance open to any licence holder who conducts his house well. The argument which I have before used is that a number would not insure, but that is not a sufficient argument. If some choose to take the risk that should not prevent others from insuring, and the evidence is that while some want compulsory insurance others would very strongly object to it. The last point I wish to make is that if you look at the Amendment which is down on the Paper against this Bill you will see that it is not an Amendment saying, "Give us compulsory insurance and we will support your Bill," but it is an Amendment objecting to the main principle of the Bill. The first half of the Amendment asks the House not to interfere with the present position of the Licensing Bench, and objects to the electors deciding the matter for themselves, and that goes to the root principle of the Bill. As that principle has for many years had the continuous and strong support of an overwhelming majority of Scotch Members—and I also believe it has the approval 890 of a large majority of the Scotch electors—I ask the House to give this Bill a Second Reading. This will be the third time, and I hope it will be final. In 1899 the Peel Committee indicated that Scotland was ripe for the application of the principle of local option. "Given ye years time limit," said the Peel Committee, thirteen years ago, "and we think local option should be granted to Scotland." I hope, after this long lapse of time, this great and too long delayed social reform, for which there has been such an unwavering demand from Scotland, may be placed on the Statute Book.
§ Captain GILMOUR
I beg to move, as an Amendment, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add instead thereof the words, "this House declines to accept a measure which, while largely superseding the present system of control of the retail traffic in excisable liquor by licensing authorities, introduces the principle of the prohibition of retail sale; and authorises the arbitrary withdrawal of existing licences, without providing machinery for the compulsory mutual insurance of those persons whose property and business are to be thereby destroyed."
I approach this subject from a solely different point of view to that taken up by hon. Members on both sides of the House. I am ready to admit at the outset that in Scotland there is ample room for improvement in the system of control of the trade and for an advance in the direction of temperance, but with regard to the particular measure before the House I can honestly say that I oppose it because I do not believe it is calculated to attain the ends claimed for it and which it sets out to achieve. In the speech to which we have just listened we are told that this measure is in a peculiarly favourable position at the present time. That may very well be from the Parliamentary point of view, but I should like to say that I do not believe that the people of Scotland as a whole are prepared to give their support to the details of this measure, however much they may be in favour of some particular measure. Last year when we were considering this measure I understood that the Government, at any rate through the utterances of the Lord Advocate, had not altogether shut out of the purview of their proposals the consideration of the question of compensation. If one is to judge at all by 891 what the Lord Advocate said to a deputation in September, 1911, that was what we were led to expect. He said that if provisions for compensation were introduced the Third Reading would be passed without challenge, so far as Scotland was concerned; let them remove all causes of loss and injury to the publican and the battle was won.
If that was the attitude of the Lord Advocate and the Government, are we to understand that that is no longer their attitude on this question? For myself, I think that the position which the Lord Advocate took up then is unanswerable, and I should be the last person to stand in the way of any measure which I thought would achieve the aims and objects which hon. Members on both sides have in view. It is now said that no question of this kind can be considered. I think that the Secretary for Scotland went so far as to say that there was no legal opinion in this country which would support the proposition as to the justice of any such proposal in regard to compensation. If one reads the opinion of men like Lord Lindley, I am bound to say that, while according to the strict letter of the law we admit that the licences of Scotland are granted for a period of one year, and one year only, there is an unanswerable position in the statement which Lord Lindley makes, that it is true that no owner or tenant of a public-house has a right to have his licence renewed, but the expectation that it would be renewed unless there is good reason why it should not be founded upon good and reasonable grounds, and cannot be ignored by any fair-dealing man. I will put aside for the moment the position which I think is absolutely untenable, namely, that of total prohibition. If temperance reformers are honest in the position they take up in regard to total prohibition, the method is not by means of local option, prohibiting in one district and not in another. If you believe in prohibition, your course is clear. There is only one way to do it, and that is to say that you will prohibit the manufacture of drink in this country and stop it. On the other hand, you cannot take such a drastic step, because, rightly or wrongly, the people of this country and of Scotland desire, and continue to desire, to have a liquor service conducted upon proper lines, and while that is so you are bound, in the interests of the country as a whole, with the 892 real purpose of doing the best from a temperance point of view if you are to have the trade at all, to see that it is conducted by good and responsible people. If you are going to have public-houses of any kind you must encourage men of good character and of sound financial position to occupy those places, and anything you do which will add to the insecurity of the conduct of this business must make the class of men who go into that trade less reliable, less responsible, and you will force them to make higher profits, because-they will feel that they have no security and you will give them no encouragement to keep their houses in good and proper order.
I believe that the conduct of the trade under these circumstances laid down in this Bill would be infinitely worse than anything which we have to-day. This Bill sets out, in the first place, to give the right to people in certain districts, by what I consider an unsatisfactory majority, to prohibit totally in that district a licence at the end of five years after the Act has come into operation. All the examples which we have had in the West of Scotland, where total prohibition was carried into effect for only a short period, and the experience I have had elsewhere, where a particular district was entirely closed even for one or two days at a time, have led, in my judgment, to even greater evils than would have been the case under existing conditions. Whatever you may think of total prohibition and of making people sober by law, in practice, as it is seen to-day, if you were to close the whole of Glasgow the inevitable result would be that y[...] would drive the great mass of the people who have a legitimate desire to-take some sort of refreshment out of the area you close entirely into the surrounding areas, and there other evils would immediately arise. One of those evils would be that you inflict a great injustice on the surrounding districts because you drive into them the men you would not allow to satisfy their requirements in their own districts under proper supervision. By the method you propose you make those men go a distance to get their requirements satisfied, with the result that they indulge to a far greater extent than they would have done had they got their requirements satisfied in the ordinary way in their own district.
I do not think this Bill is equitable or just in the manner in which it deals with total prohibition. If it is intended to 893 make this Bill a workable measure we ought to guard against taking so strong a step as total prohibition. When one considers the question of compensation, the Secretary for Scotland has asked why make it compulsory? Why bring in the Government at all? There may be two alternatives, but one thing is clear, and that is that the period during which you allow these people to insure must be greater than that in the Bill. It is all very well to say the trade has had due warning, but last year the Bill was introduced as a private Member's Bill, and it was not considered, even by those who were its ardent supporters, that its chances of becoming law were really genuine at the time. The fact that you have warned people, or that they have had indications, that certain things are going to happen, is no justification for bringing in a Bill which is unfair and unjust. In Scotland the men and women engaged in the trade are not, as for the most part they may be in England, under the tied-house system; they are single individuals putting their savings and their capital into this undertaking; and, however one may deprecate the evils which flow in many cases from the conduct of the trade and from the use of strong drink, nobody can gainsay the fact that the State has in the past recognised and legalised this trade, and the responsibility lies upon the State, in altering the law in regard to this matter, to deal fairly with those whose money is in the trade. It has been common ground in the past that those who conducted their houses fairly and according to the law, who did not infringe the rules and regulations, and who did their best to keep their houses in good order, should have the renewal of the licence; and people have been induced from time to time to improve the position and to do their best to run the trade on good lines. What hope is there now that that will continue? This measure, emanating as I am certain it does from a genuine desire to improve the state of the country find to reduce drinking, will inevitably have the result of driving a vastly greater number of people into clubs, which are undoubtedly less easily supervised than the public-houses.
There is one thing which has always struck me in going about with regard to the public-houses, and that is that even if they do desire to make the conditions a little better and the houses a little more attractive and a little less like drinking shops, the law and regulations do everything to prohibit and to lessen the oppor- 894 tunities of the licensees to improve the conditions. It would be infinitely better for the country, and it would be infinitely more in support of true temperance reform, if we were to recognise the necessity of giving greater powers for extending and improving premises, and for giving greater facilities by means of outside gardens more upon the lines we see upon the Continent. I believe, too, this measure by neglecting altogether to make prevision, or to take into its purview the question of disinterested management, is making a very great mistake. I do not believe you can make people sober by one means and one means only, and, if temperance reformers and those who support this Bill, are genuinely desirous of carrying a meaure into law which will be of service to Scotland, then, I say, they must take account of these matters. The Bill must at least give greater time during which some scheme of insurance can be brought into practical working effect. The period suggested in the Bill is totally inadequate. If it were doubled, I believe there would be some hope of a reasonable scheme of insurance being placed on a sound financial basis, and, without they recognise the infinite hardship which will fall upon many individuals, this House will be inflicting a grievous wrong by this Bill, and will do more to retard and to throw back the question of temperance in Scotland than anything they may desire to achieve by it. I honestly feel the time is not such as the cause of temperance will receive recognition in Scotland by means which will inflict hardship. I do not believe this measures so curtailed as it is, is likely to have the result which the proposers desire, and I beg to move the Motion which stands in my name.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I rise to second the-Amendment.
The Secretary for Scotland, in his-concluding remarks, tried to place upon us the onus of moving what he held to be a direct negative to this Bill. I do not think, if the wording of the Motion is carefully examined, his view can be said to be justifiable. It will be seen we take note of the-large supersession of the present system of control by the licensing authorities, and single out as the ground of our opposition, not the principle of local option, but the principle of prohibition, and we then proceed to deal with the question of insurance. Of course, we know why the Secretary for Scotland to[...]k that 895 course. It is a very convenient thing in the constituencies to represent those who sit on this side of the House as being merely the advocates of the trade and not as interested in temperance reform, as are hon. Members who sit opposite. It is therefore necessary to say that we on this side of the House, in moving this Motion, take as serious a view as hon. Members opposite do in regard to the great evils of intemperance. Personally, I loath the sight of a drunken man. I confess at times I find it difficult to exercise that self control and that forbearance which is usual in regard to drunken men in public places and public conveyances. One has to say to oneself pretty sternly, "There goes, but for good fortune and the Grace of God, the hon. Member for Camlachie." We wish to be charitable, and we ought to be charitable in regard to this matter as well as stern. I want to go further than that. I want to acknowledge the demand, the very considerable demand, from Scotland for legislation in regard to temperance reform. I acknowledge that a majority of my own constituents desire legislation for temperance reform. It does not follow they desire this particular Bill, and I know of no evidence which would show conclusively that is their desire. On the contrary, I think there is fairly good evidence it is not their desire. I see in his place the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge). Will the hon. Member allow me, as his former opponent, to congratulate him, as a very pleasant and very straightforward opponent, on being now a colleague of mine in this House. The hon. Member takes up a somewhat individual position in regard to this matter, as we may judge from the prints which, I take it, all hon. Members have received from him in regard to his desire for an additional option, which, as I understand, has been very carefully omitted from this Bill. The omission, I understand, is endorsed by a large section of what I may call teetotal opinion. The hon. Member differs from this Bill in what is almost a fundamental proposition in regard to it. He differs in the same way as I myself would differ from the Bill. I would venture to associate myself with him in his anxiety to see experiments, constructive experiments, and not merely repression, blank repression, in regard to the trade. I say, so far as there is evidence in regard to my own Constituents, that evidence shows that whether the 896 votes were cast for me or for the hon. Member at the last Election, they were in either case cast for a Member of this House who is not in favour of one of the elements, though a negative element, of this Bill, to which, if I may judge from letters I have received from teetotal associations, the greatest importance is attached by those who advocate the Bill.
We would not debate this matter even at such comparatively short length as we propose to do to-day had we not had experience on past occasions of the stonewall attitude of those who advocate the Bill when we get upstairs into Committee. We know that on quite immaterial matters they will give way, but, when we get to any of those matters with which this question bristles and which involve a difference of opinion as to the methods of advance and in regard to the justice done to those touched by the Bill, then we find we can get no ground of compromise with them whatever. It is for that reason quite essential that here, on the Second Reading, we should put forward the ground upon which we would desire to negotiate, because comparatively little is known by the outside public of what happens upstairs. It is what happens here in the Chamber itself therefore that counts.
There are provisions in this Bill in regard to clubs and in regard to the late opening in the morning of public-houses. I do not propose now to refer to those matters, because I think it will be generally admitted it is the question of local option which is really the issue at stake in this Bill. In regard to that matter there are five points which raise discussion, and upon which compromise is called for, if there is to be compromise at all. Something is to be said in regard to the principle of local option itself, especially in connection with the small areas which are proposed in this measure. Something must be said in regard to that prohibitive resolution which stands first on the list of the resolutions which may be adopted. Thirdly, we have to remark on the absence of any possibility of experiment or any possibility for construction. Fourthly, we have to deal with the question with regard to which the Secretary for Scotland spoke just row, and finally we have to deal, in the same connection, with the period of five years. I propose to say only a few words in regard to each point.
897 First, with regard to the question of local option, especially in regard to small areas, I would like to point this out. In my own Constituency, in the city of Glasgow, there are two wards, each of which would become a unit area for the purposes of this Bill. The division between them passes down the centre of a street. If you assume that prohibition is carried on one side and not on the other you will have public-houses on one side and not on the other. What effect could that possibly have in the way of a reduction of drunkenness? The effect will be not to reduce but solely to concentrate. You will have a piebald city—black and white. You aim at making the good better, but you allow the bad to become worse. That is characteristic of your legislation just now. You are glad enough to help the good to become better, but you leave those in bad circumstances to the tender mercies of the passer by. You want to divide the city into a number of Pharisee and Sadducee wards, the Pharisees passing by and leaving the Sadducees, and the city may be worse for the exclusion of the Pharisees, who may fall into the Sadducees' position. It may be said that probably the option of prohibition will be exercised only in a very few cases. What is anticipated is that this Bill will act in most cases only for the purposes of limitation. I agree. I think that the number of cases of prohibition may not be very large, but where they do occur they will be very unjustifiable. I can see no justice whatever in allowing the owner of land to drain his land by throwing the flood on to the land of his neighbour. That is not a cure. The test of this Bill will be chiefly in the limitations that will ensue.
There is a third resolution, which allows no change, and you are likely to have that carried in bad areas. Will you not thereby tie the hands of the magistrates? Can you imagine a bench of magistrates proceeding to reduce the number of licences in an area which has voted by a large majority for no change? I cannot imagine them exercising discretion in such cases. I cannot imagine magistrates putting themselves in opposition to the large majority of an area which has voted for no change. Yet there are wards in which you have an excessive number of licences. Those are the very wards which will probably vote for no change, and in regard to them we want the help of the better wards to bring some pressure to bear upon them. Therefore, I venture to say that the small 898 areas which you are adopting make not for the advance of temperance, but rather for such unpopularity for your Act as will lead to its neglect at no distant time, and will tend to discredit the whole system of legislative enactment in regard to temperance. It is not only on the matter of small areas that I have to quarrel with the Bill. It is also in regard to the majorities, which may, in fact, be minorities. According to this Bill, in an extreme case it is possible for one-third of the electorate to impose upon an area a prohibitive resolution, and it is possible for little more than one-third to limit the number of licences. That, of course, is based on the assumption that a large number of electors do not vote. A large number of electors are not interested in the matter either one way or the other. A large number neither frequent public-houses nor are they members of teetotal societies. You will in the main leave the battle to be fought out between those who find their social recreation in public-houses—men who are by no means all drunkards—and the teetotal societies. That will involve class tyranny to no small extent. Your teetotal societies are recruited from the middle classes. I do not say there are no members of the working classes in those societies, but among those who use public-houses there is no equivalent body of the middle classes who require their social recreation in that way, or who, by reason of the smallness of their houses, are unable to obtain it in any other way. Therefore to no small extent it would be class tyranny on the part of the teetotal societies as against those who may be perfectly innocent, and who frequent well conducted public-houses because their circumstances lead the[...] to obtain their social recreation in that way.
I want to go even further than that in regard to the question of minorities. These minorities will include women voters. Not wives who suffer from drunken husbands, although there may be among [...]hem widows who have so suffered in the past, but, in large measure, spinsters who, we presume, have no special knowledge of men. I am ready to admit that a proportion of these ladies are parish workers; I admit that they are the very salt of the earth; but I say that, by reason of the very fact that they spend their lives among the unfortunate and among drunkards, seeking to raise them, they become advocates, they become crusaders, possessed of the same spirit as members 899 of teetotal societies, and they are the last people in the world who should be judges. They are excellent as advocates, but they may prove bad and tyrannous judges. You are substituting rough justice for the measured justice of the magistrates when you are resorting to this popular veto. Do you hope to get justice out of it? It is a rough form of justice to make your crusaders your judges. I venture to say the justice you will get is what is known as decimation in the Army. You have no reference to the special instance or to the special person: you penalise a whole class.
For these reasons I do not believe in this Bill. In regard to the principle of local option, if you want to make that principle work—and I admit there, is something to be said on behalf of it—you must take large areas, take whole counties, take the whole of great cities, in order that the good districts may bring pressure to bear on the bad districts, and so that you may not simply exclude from a good district, which may be a district requiring little service from the public-house, those public-houses well conducted which cater for a small minority of the population that has not large houses to live in. On the other hand you must not allow a particularly bad district, by a "no change" resolution carried by a large majority, to paralyse the prohibitive action of the magistrates. If you want local option to have a chance, you must take a considerable area, and get the measured, careful opinion of that area, and not the opinion of a small district, which may be influenced by particular persons or by individual owners of public-houses. As the Bill stands, one-third of a whole constituency is able to impose prohibition and one-third may impose limitation, and you may therefore have a position in which there is no moral force behind the resolution carried. Lastly, you should exclude the option of total pohibition, the sole effect of which, I think, will be to throw the flood into the neighbouring district, and to set up an attitude of hostility between one district and another.
I turn to the case for compensation. We admit if you remove certain licences a portion of the profits formerly obtained by those houses will go to the remaining houses. At the same time we think you also should admit that there will be, on the whole, a diminution in the amount of drinking and in the amount of money 900 that passes to the liquor trade. Therefore you have to admit that the trade as a whole will suffer, from a financial point of view, as a result of your legislation. Is not that a sufficient burden to place on the trade? You want to go further. You refuse to arrange for the pressure to fall impartially on all members of the trade. The Secretary for Scotland spoke on that matter just now, but he did not go to the root of the question at all. The ground he took was that there were a variety of schemes advocated within the trade; that the trade was not united in presenting to the Government any one workable scheme. This measure divides the trade and renders unlikely that a united scheme can be presented. This measure in each single area in Scotland makes it a matter of calculation for the trade within that area, as to whether it is worth its while to go into an insurance scheme or not. In certain districts members of the trade will be able to look round and say "it is impossible that prohibition will be carried" or "it is improbable that limitation will be carried." They may come to the conclusion that "no change" will be carried, and therefore they will feel that they will have greater security than ever, and that the hands of the magistrates will be tied. The different circumstances that affect the trade in small areas is one of the root reasons why they cannot agree in presenting a single scheme.
It is not very magnanimous, it is hardly statesmanlike, on the part of the Secretary for Scotland to come here and take ground, not on the fundamental Tightness or wrongness of this matter, but upon questions of machinery, when you yourselves have divided up the trade and rendered it almost impracticable, without compulsion, for it to obtain any insurance for itself. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the trade can insure itself. I know it is said commonly, by those who defend this Bill, that there is no need for compulsion, and that the trade can perfectly well insure itself. That is a mockery for the reason I have given, and a mockery also for the reason that I believe—and I have looked into the matter as carefully as I could since the figures were before me—that this period of five years, and even a period of seven years, with all the haphazard chance of local option in these small areas, gives no sound financial basis whatever for an insurance scheme. What is the position? You could have an insurance scheme if you were dealing with the 901 probable action of the magistrates acting with tradition, acting in the careful interpretation of an Act of Parliament, and acting with all their experience and magisterial discretion in the district. With these you could have some sort of basis on which to go; but at the present moment those who favour insurance are at an utter loss to predict what is likely to be the action of this law in the various areas to which it will be applied. Unless you can do that, it is extraordinarily difficult to obtain any sound financial, I will not say actuarial, basis upon which to found the compensation scheme. The worst that you can do in the interests of temperance is to give to your legislation a vindictive appearance. That is the effect of this refusal to grant compulsion on the mere ground that no scheme of insurance has been devised for you; and then backing that refusal by inserting a short term such as you have inserted in your Bill.
My last point is, that I regret, in common with my late opponent the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge), that you have not allowed place in your Bill for experiments. I do not say that necessarily the scheme of what is called disinterested management would be a successful scheme; but this I do say, that what we desire to see is scope for experiments. Your principle hitherto has been to condemn the public-house, to turn it by your refusals into a mere drinking den, and then, having done that, you proceed to try to exterminate it entirely. I oppose that method wholly. It has the appearance of class legislation. Prohibition has been a failure in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. We have only just heard the result of the last vote given in the State of Maine, and we have seen how near that State has come to a reversal of its famous laws. What do you propose to do? Here you have an almost universal demand for some outlet for the social instincts of humanity. Where will you send them? To teetotal houses, blighted with the spirit of charity, or imbued with an air of Puritanism, which is equivalent to a refusal to accept the spirit of good cheer? Puritanism comes naturally to some people, just as celibacy does, but history will tell you that when the State attempts to enforce cither celibacy or Puritanism, reaction, and bad reaction, follows. What we have to do in my belief is to stop this repressive action, remove licences which are in excess—that your Bill will not tend to do—and on the other hand seek con- 902 structively to try to get brightness without insidious temptations, and try to give that brightness without an air of preaching. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh, but let them remember they are dealing with a great and elemental human fact: They are dealing with that fact in a spirit of intolerance. They will fail because they do not recognise what it is they are up against.
§ Mr. BARNES
I agree with much that has fallen from the two hon. Gentlemen opposite, who have moved what is practically the rejection of this Bill. I agree that the temperance party in this country has not always pursued the best policy in regard to temperance reform, in that they have followed, almost exclusively, the idea of repression, and I do not think that the best results will ever be obtained by repression only. I am one of those who have always said that I have no respect or regard for the man who comes home every night and sticks his feet on his own fender, and has no regard for what is going on outside. I want full opportunities for social life and intellectual converse between man and man. Therefore, fir my own part, I should like to see an additional option given in this Bill to the people, not only for reducing or abolishing, but, if they think proper, of introducing a new principle altogether, and that is the principle of making the public-house a place of recreation and even of education, and a place where a man may take his wife and children without the slightest fear of any contamination. There is another reason why I say that. I think the wrong policy has been pursued from an economic point of view. We have repressed and restricted the numbers, and it is in exact proportion as we have restricted the numbers that we find surplus values and monopoly values being left in the hands of a few people, and these monopoly values have been used very largely, if not in resisting reform in other directions, ft all events, generally speaking, in helping to maintain things as they are. For that reason also I am against this policy, and therefore I am against the whole policy of leaving public-houses in the hands of private individuals, whose interests all lie in the direction of pushing the sale of drink. For that reason also I should like to see some additional option given in this Bill.
For my own part, I am in favour of municipalising this trade. I believe that will be the final and ultimate remedy. 903 Those people who think they can altogether eliminate the consumption of alcoholic liquors from the community arts people who have not read their history very wisely or well. You will never eliminate drink from the community, but you can eliminate its evils, or to a large extent eliminate the evils arising from the sale of alcoholic liquors. Hitherto the proceedings have been illogical. First of all you admit that drink is an evil, that it is an evil going into the homes of the people and destroying their mental and physical activity, and then you actually set people up in public-houses, directly licence them to sell this drink, and make it to their interest to sell as much of it as they possibly can. I am in favour, theoretically, of municipalising the drink, and putting all public-houses under the control of municipal public authority, which would see that they were carried on decently and in order, and with as little evil as possible. But I realise that municipalisation is, after all, not in practical politics. There is no reason, however, why another principle which, I think, is a step towards that, should not, be grafted upon this Bill, whereby we might, at all events, eliminate this element of private profit to the individual who runs the public-house. I see no reason why the principle of disinterested management should not be given as an additional option under the Bill. I followed the speech of the Secretary the Scotland with regard to this matter, and I could not quite understand him. He seemed to imagine that the Bill already provided for disinterested management. I see no evidence of it in the Bill. I know this is not the time to discuss it, but I hope that, when the Bill goes upstairs to Committee, something will be done whereby this additional option will be given, and if it is done in Committee I hope the Government will see to it that it is accepted when the Bill comes back into the House.
There is another thing which I believe in, which was also expressed on the other side of the House. I believe that if this Bill is passed without some provision being made whereby interests will be protected, that the Bill might as well be left alone altogether, because I believe it will be largely a dead letter. The people of this country will not close public-houses if they know that the closing of those public-houses means the ruin of the people who hold them. I think it is time we stopped passing Bills that are going to be dead 904 letters and began passing Bills which are going to have some effect after they have been passed. I regret to separate myself in this matter from some of my hon. Friends with whom I have been associated in this House on similar Bills to this, but I cannot help it, for I have thought the matter over. I am decidedly of opinion that if the Bill is passed, some provision should be made, not for drawing upon public funds to compensate publicans—I do not want that—but for compulsion in regard to bringing all publicans within the scope of an insurance scheme. It was said it was not necessary because the publicans themselves could go into such a scheme and insure themselves. That is all very well; but, after all, does that carry us much further? Just imagine, if my hon. Friend was a publican in Scotland, in a fairly safe place, where he knew perfectly well that, local option or no local option, his house would not be interfered with. Is he likely to go into a voluntary insurance scheme? Certainly not! If he thought he was perfectly safe, a voluntary scheme would have no attraction for him. Therefore, in order to have the Bill really operative and in order to protect the interests of men who, after all, have sunk money in public-houses, a perfectly legitimate enterprise, I hope something will be done before the Bill passes to see that some provision is made whereby the dispossessed publican may be compensated from a fund, of course, subscribed by himself and his fellows in the trade. This Amendment is altogether against the principle of the prohibition of retail sale, and on that principle I part company absolutely and entirely from the two hon. Gentlemen who have spoken. After all, they have said nothing new upon the matter. We have heard almost exactly the same speeches that they have made to-day on many occasions. It simply amounts to this, not now and not thus The Mover of the rejection said that the people of Scotland, he thought, would not be in favour of the details of this Bill. After all, is that, any reason why he should not give the people of Scotland a chance of saying whether they are in favour of the details of the Bill? It cuts into the very principle of the thing.
There were two arguments he put forward against the principle. In the first place, he said the clubs might remain; but, after all, that is no argument against the Bill, because it provides for a more 905 strict supervision of clubs than has hitherto obtained, and, therefore, there was nothing in that argument. Then he said the people in the closed areas would drive people outside the areas to the detriment of the adjacent areas. Is that any argument? After all, have not the people in these same adjacent areas exactly the same right as had the people in the closed areas? Therefore if they find it is to their detriment that what might be called the drinkers have been put over the border, they can apply the Bill themselves exactly as it has been applied by the other people. The other argument used by the Seconder of the Amendment, was that he objected to the small areas. That is tantamount to rejecting the Bill altogether. He wants to make it counties or largo areas. Couple that with the difficulty already in the Bill of getting 10 per cent, to sign a nomination and put the Bill into operation, and you have difficulties which would be almost insurmountable. After all the expense of getting this Bill put into operation must be borne voluntarily and, if you are going to increase the area to a county or anything corresponding to a county, you are going to set up a bar which will be of such a character as will prevent the Bill being operative altogether, therefore I pass by that argument. Then in regard to the time limit, five years was objected to, but after all a time limit of five years is fairly reasonable, having regard to all that has taken place. If we had a new thing coming along now, five years might be considered to be rather a short time, but after all this thing has been discussed for the last dozen years. It has already as good as passed this House twice during the last five years, and therefore all the interest in Scotland must have known practically what was coming on them, and if they have not made some provision, at all events, to set the machinery in motion, it is their own fault. Then again, it is, after all, more than five years. The Bill cannot come into operation until 1918, and then while the machinery is being set up will occupy a few months, so that even if the Bill were passed, I should say it could not possibly operate as against any particular publican for six or perhaps seven years.
I welcome the Bill as a measure which, I think, has been too long deferred for bringing temperance legislation into line with Scottish public opinion. Large majorities have voted in favour of it here, not once but on many occasions, we have had petitions sent up from Scotland 906 about it, there have been Ministers of all denominations, and everyone admits that Scottish public opinion is in favour of giving the people themselves a chance of dealing with an admitted and far-reaching evil. I wish to say, on behalf of those with whom I am associated on these benches, that the principle has been discussed in our conferences, not once or twice, but on many occasions, and the last time it was discussed, some three or four years ago, it was decided by about six votes to one in favour of the principle of local option. Therefore I support the Bill on democratic grounds as a Scotch Member and as the spokesman for the Labour party in this House. A good deal might be said of the arguments on the other side is to the majority. For my part I see no reason against the majority, which I think ought to be sufficient. The seconder of the Amendment pointed out that the majority might be as low as one-third of the whole of the voters in a district. After all that, it seems to me, is a very considerable number. The Bill provides that at least one half of the voters in any area shall vote upon a no-licence, resolution, and that three-fifths of those voting shall be a majority before the resolution is put into operation. That means that something over thirty out of every hundred of the voters in any district must vote in favour of that no-licence resolution before such a resolution could be put into operation. That, I think, is a very considerable proportion, and there is no reason to believe that they will not be a criterion of the whole of the people of the district. I wish again to put in a plea that the right hon. Gentleman will not close his eyes or his mind to the need for inserting some provision whereby this matter of compensation shall be settled, not upon its strictly legal aspects but upon other and wider considerations. I heard what he said in regard to the granting of licences only lasting for a year and that therefore there was no legal claim. Everyone admits that, but after all there is something in the mind of the average man or woman altogether over and above legal considerations. I want the Bill, and I want it to be a real Bill in the hands of the people of Scotland, and—inasmuch as I know that they will be very timid in applying any Bill of this sort which carries with it hardship to individuals—I hope something will be done whereby the publicans who are dispossessed may get some compensation when they are deprived of their living.
§ Mr. HOLMES
I hope the House will pardon me for taking part in an important Debate like this at so early a period of my Parliamentary life. I know that hon. Members, remembering that they were once novices themselves, always lend an indulgent ear to the accents of inexperience. My chief apology for speaking now is that I am very anxious that the Bill should be passed into law, and so are my Constituents. Two former representatives of Govan, Mr. John Wilson and Mr. Hunter Craig, were responsible for the introduction of measures remarkably like the one which is now before us. Govan has thus a very honourable tradition with respect to temperance reform, and I should like very much, so far as in me lies, to perpetuate that tradition. I admit it is a very difficult thing to follow the hon. Member (Mr. Mackinder). He divided the advocates of this into Pharisees and Crusaders. I do not know which I am, but, at any rate, I have never been associated with any official temperance organisation, and yet I like this Bill very much, and I have not heard, certainly not this afternoon, a single argument against it. Those of us who take up this question of temperance reform know perfectly well that we should not gain universal commendation for it. If we advocate local veto or prohibition we are stigmatised by a great many people as wild and fanatical teetotalers.
§ Mr. HOLMES
I am not intimidated by the modesty of the hon. Baronet's ejaculation. Then, again, if we do not go so far as that, we are regarded as altogether inconsistent in having anything to do with alcohol at all. I know perfectly well that on both sides of the House there are a great many men who would not feel the slightest inconvenience or annoyance if all the alcoholic drink in Great Britain were tipped into the Atlantic Ocean—there are so many consolations of a reasonable character—but I do not expect that to happen for a long time. I know Lord Byron said:'Tis pity wine should be so deleterious When tea and coffee leave us much more serious.I did not mean to quote that. I do not expect that, in our generation at least, alcohol will ever be out of date, and when I look at the history and even the climate of my native country I know quite well that my fellow countrymen will never be sickeningly abstemious or ostentatiously teetotal, but the fact remains that at present they spend far too much on excisable beverages, and this Bill is an attempt 908 to enable them to spend less, and I think it admirably adapted to that purpose. It proceeds on the assumption, and I think the right, assumption, that the drink trade occupies a quite unique position in our civic life. I think no one will deny that. There is no other trade that so painfully and obtrusively shows itself to the public eye, nor do I think there is any other trade which in so continuous a way drains the public purse of the community. The public has not merely to endure the inconvenience of intemperance—I might say the nuisance of drunkenness, which would be a little plainer—but it has also to pay for the police attendance thereon, and for the reformatory schemes and institutions which are intended to cope with the evils and the social wre[...]kage that result from this great antagonism to progress and civilisation. I do not mean to say anything stronger than what Mr. Gladstone said a great many years ago. He said the drink trade causes a blight more continuous and more terrible than plague, war, and famine put together. The Lord Advocate said, on 26th February, 1909—a very good speech it was—that looking over the criminal administration of Scotland during the three preceding years he could count on the fingers of his hand all the cases that were not directly or indirectly connected with drink. Why, but for the drinking habits of this country our Law Courts would have hardly anything to do! In view of these facts, I think we ought to pardon the views of the extreme temperance party. It is often said that those Gentlemen, by their own intemperate speeches, obstruct the cause. Probably it may be correct. That is the reason why we like them, because if they do exaggerate a little bit, it is very difficult to exaggerate too much. I say that if legislation can do even a little to minimise this great evil, the duty of the Legislature is clear. But can law do anything? We sometimes hear that it is impossible to make men sober by Act of Parliament. Well, we have had during recent years some very good, and, I think, very cogent, reasons that we ought to consider very carefully. The Budget of 1909 raised the duty on whisky from 11s. to 14s. 9d. per gallon, and the result was a very great diminution in the consumption, and, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer remarked, there was a great diminution in the convictions for drunkenness. That shows that law can do a great deal, and I am astonished to hear any Member of Parliament saying that it is impossible to do much by law. 909 Why are we here? Simply because law is efficacious. [Laughter.] I do not see that there is any humour in that remark. Then there is the Sunday closing of public-houses, which has been observed in Scotland since 1853, and which has caused some comments on the Puritanical dreariness of the Scottish streets. That measure has been beneficial in the highest degree, and there is no Scottish Member of Parliament, no matter on which side of the House he sits, who would dare to advocate a return to the old methods.
Talking more particularly about this Bill, I have not the slightest doubt that the later opening of public-houses at ten a.m. would be a most valuable aid to temperance. Everyone, I think, admits that it is wrong to tipple early in the forenoon. I hear no one expressing any opposition to that. I say that any law which enables a man to resist the power of temptation, which stops him from doing what is wrong, is a good law, and such is advocated in this Bill. It is a fine thing, of course—everyone admits it—that a British citizen, whether peer or ploughman, can go past a public-house and feel no desire to go inside. That is the ideal state of affairs. The highest virtue—this is something we heard at college—consists in choosing the right path when it is open to you to choose the wrong one. But temptations should not be needlessly multiplied, and the poor labourer or the working artisan who has to pass a public-house on his way home is having a cruel and undue strain put upon his powers of resistance. I think that is one of the great arguments for the Bill. There was a very clever Englishman who said something like this. I think he was one of the cleverest Englishmen that eve[...] lived. Pope said:—Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,As to be hated needs but to be seen;Yet seen too of[...], familiar with her face.We first endure, then pity, then embrace.There is a great deal in these four lines. Pope had the power of packing a lot of sense into small compass. I heard of the tyranny which this Bill is said to inaugurate, and I said to myself, "The working man of this country ought not to feel rising in him the spirit of envy when he is kept from falling into temptation." We are told that working men, like men of means, should have their rights and opportunities, and I have been told in the last day or two that we seek to deprive them of these opportunities and of their clubs. I do not think wise men will put very much store upon the privilege of being led 910 into temptation—the luxury of walking among pitfalls—as one that is very valuable. Professor Huxley said if each morning anyone could put him right for the day so that he would never come into evil, he would close with the offer at once. I should like to say there is one argument for this Bill that appeals to me more than anything else, because for some time I was engaged in teaching the young of this country—a very useful occupation—teaching "the young idea how to shoot." The scholastic profession, the teachers of this country, are told by the Education Department that they must give formal instruction in temperance, but every teacher in Great Britain and Ireland knows quite well that formal instruction in the schoolroom is, morally speaking, nothing compared with the instruction of the street and of the home. It is grossly unfair to the children of the working classes of this country that public-houses should abound so much in their vicinity. I say that no such unhealthy and undesirable juxtaposition would be tolerated in the wealthy and well-to-do quarters, because local option is practically in operation there already. It is high time in interests of civic morality and youthful morality that every community in this country should have the power to purify its environments. Every class, high and low, should be able to do that.
This Bill applies to Scotland, and there is a widespread belief that Scotland is specially addicted to the consumption of alcoholic liquor. That belief is or entirely erroneous. It both pains and pleases me to say that other parts of the United Kingdom spend more money on excisable liquors than is spent in my native country of Scotland. The consumption per capita is less in Scotland than in England or in Ireland. I fancy that this reputation which Scotland has is one of the penalties she has had to pay for the world-wide vogue of her national poet. That charming singer— I am an ex-president of a Burns' club myself—has in anacreontic fashion allowed the magic of his tongue to countenance the very dubious dictum that—Freedom and whiskey gang thegither.He ought to have said that "licence and whiskey gang thegither." In fact, in making that remark he strained overmuch his own poetic licence. Not only is Scotland more thrifty as regards drink money than the other parts of the United Kingdom, but as my hon. Friend said, temperance sentiment and the desire 911 to accelerate sobriety by Act of Parliament is more advanced in Scotland than elsewhere.
One reason, the greatest reason perhaps, for passing this Bill is that Scotland wants it, and has desired it for a great many years, and nothing, I may say, gives more irritation to social reformers in Scotland, and nothing supplies more strength and volume to the already vociferous desire for temperance legislation for Scotland, than the fact that in Westminster we cannot get sufficiently speedy recognition of Scotland's wants. I do not think you will be threatened if that admirable desire of my country is frustrated by the votes of hon. Gentlemen opposite, who have no direct responsibility to the electorate themselves, but I am sure the very mention of that will be a disturbance to their consciences. It has been said of a limiting Bill like this that we ought to have free trade in alcohol and allow everyone who likes to dole out spirituous liquors over the counter. It was said by one hon. Gentleman that if you take six public-houses and close five all the custom of the closed houses would forthwith be concentrated in the one that remains; or, in other words, that if instead of six you opened twelve, there would be the same consumption of alcohol, but that it would be spread over a wider area and relieve the pressure. In reply to such a piece of simple-minded subtlety I should say that in no parish, ward, or county are the people above feeling—How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds Makes ill deeds done!The houses supply the stimulus, and that is the reason for lessening the number of public-houses. In every generation that is growing up you will have better conditions. Allow me to say, in conclusion, that I do not believe as so many rather sanguinely, I think, and hastily believe, that with the removal or the attenuation of the drink traffic all our social problems will be solved. Nevertheless, there is no minister of religion, no magistrate on the bench, no teacher of youth, and no teacher of economics, who will not agree with me when I say that intemperance is the chief bane of the working classes.
We all know that in future democracy will have much to do with the near as well as the ultimate destinies of this great Empire. To see that this is done aright nerve and clear judgment are required. If a democracy is to be temperate, sober, 912 and sound, we shall feel, I think, that this Bill makes for it a very simple and just claim, that it should have the power to say what the conditions are which are to prevail within the proximity to its own homes. There is nothing unreasonable in that. After these forty years of elementary education, surely the democracy of Scotland at least can tell what is good for it. Even though this Bill made no striking change in the habits of the people of Scotland, even though it did not close a single tavern, it would still be right, because it commits to the people the adjudication upon matters which affect intimately themselves and their children. My remarks have been dictated by no feeling of party, but simply by the feeling that has brought every one of us to this House, namely, a deep and lasting love for my native country and a desire to see the people of that country in a state of prosperity, well-being, fitness, and sobriety.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I take this opportunity of congratulating the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Holmes), who has just made his first speech in this House. I own, frankly, that I did my best to prevent him coming here, but still I congratulate him on being able to make his first speech on such a subject as that of Scottish Temperance. I think he stated that it was a pity wine and spirits were so deleterious and tea and coffee make us so serious. I do not think that the hon. Member made us serious to-day at all events. We have also had a speech from the hon. Member for Blackfriars (Mr. Barnes), but I do not think that he was able to reconcile his conscience to-this Bill, because the first part of his speech was the absolute antithesis of the second part. It was like a dog biting his own tail and then trying to get rid of his own taste. The Secretary of Scotland (Mr. McKinnon Wood), of whose speech I only heard a part, laid great stress on the fact that the vast majority of the people of Scotland wanted this Bill. I presume that he is talking of the result of the last election, which sent a very large majority of Liberal Members here. But we have got to remember that at least 44 per cent, of the electors of Scotland voted for Unionists at the last election, and the remaining 56 per cent, consisted of Radicals, supporters of the Labour party, and Irish Nationalists. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that all these people are strong advocates of 913 prohibition? If not, I do not see how he can argue that the vast preponderance of opinion in Scotland is in favour of prohibition especially when he remembers that we have only 17 per cent, of the Members as against the 44 per cent, we ought to have, or in other words only twelve when we ought to have about thirty-five. If he was going by the results of the last election I would point out that things have apparently changed since then, and the people are getting sorry for some of the opinions which they supported on that occasion. The recent election of the right hon. Gentleman himself when he lost some thousands of votes in his own Division is an example of this. The right hon. Gentleman laid great stress upon the great generosity of not giving compensation under this Bill, and he said that the five years' limit was quite enough. Although he emphasised the fact that the licence in Scotland is only for one year, he must know that everyone who takes up a licence does so with the idea that if he is well behaved and there is nothing against him the licence will be renewed. It is not really a yearly licence. It is yearly only in the sense that it may be taken away if a man misbehaves himself. It is not correct to say that the man who takes the licence is likely to be turned out at the end of the year. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman must know that the chances are that that will not take place. If that is not so, why, in calculating the Death Duties, do the Government capitalise the interest in the house at seven years? That answers the principal arguments of the Secretary for Scotland. He said that he did not see any clear indication in Scotland that, people wanted disinterested management. I would ask him if he did not get a letter from the secretary of the Scottish Temperance Legislation Board asking that there should be disinterested management?
I cannot believe that any Member of this House would willingly vote against any Bill that would promote temperance in Scotland. I would willingly support this Bill if I thought it were going to be for the good of temperance in Scotland, but I think so strongly that it is going to have the opposite effect that I oppose it. It is entitled the "Temperance (Scotland) Bill," but I think that it ought to be more properly called the "Perpetuation of Intemperance (Scotland) Bill," because it is quite certain that it would have that effect. The part of it that deals with public-houses that is new will do more 914 harm than good. In passing a temperance Bill you want to avoid stirring up opposition, but this Bill, being founded on the grossest injustice to individuals, is perfectly certain to evoke the strongest opposition, and there is absolutely no necessity to do so. The question of compensation one way or another does not affect the Bill the slightest bit, yet in order to play up to certain extremists it is desired to cut out the word "compensation" when the compensation was to come from the trade itself. The introduction of Clauses that every fair-minded man must say are unfair will have simply the effect of putting a great many people against the Bill who otherwise would have supported it. It makes it absolutely impossible for a great many people who are-earnestly in favour of temperance reform to go the length to which the extreme prohibitionists wish to go. You are never going to make men sober by compulsion. By applying compulsion to the people of Scotland the first thing you will do is to arouse every fighting instinct which they have got. You may prevent a man getting drunk in, say, one particular area, where he would be a statutory teetotaler, but you know perfectly well that if he gets into another area he will probably try to get drunk simply out of a savage pleasure in evading the law. I say deliberately that if you get prohibition in an area under Clause 2 you will probably do away with drinking in what I might call a fairly temperance area, but certainly you will never find prohibition carried in those parts where it is most wanted, or, rather I should say, where there is most drunkenness.
You will never get 30 per cent, of the electors in a slum area in a big town in this country, or any other country, to vote for doing away with the only place they have got to go to—I might almost call it their only place of amusement, their only place away from their own homes. There is nothing in this Bill to put in the place of these public-houses, so the result would be that you would stop the evil where there is no evil at all, and deliberately, for the sake of party window-dressing, you would make a law ostensibly to stop an evil in the slum areas, where hon. Members, if they have got any eyes or ears, or brains in their heads, must know perfectly well that the Bill would be inoperative. Putting in this prohibition will make a great many people against, this Bill, will evoke a great deal of opposition, when you could get whatever else is in the Bill 915 without these Clauses. Prohibition is unnecessary in a good area, and it cannot work in the bad ones under this Bill; and what it is going in for I cannot say, except to save the face of hon. Members opposite. Of course, we know that the Government simply took up a private Member's Bill—a most unprecedented thing to do—and, having no time to look into the matter, they brought up the same old Bill without doing anything to meet half-way those who would desire to vote for a temperance Bill. In reference to a suggestion that this Bill was considered last year, the Lord Advocate would be the last person to say that it was considered in Committee last year, and he knows perfectly well why it was not. Yet he has put in the very same Clauses which wrecked the Bill last year. As illustrating my statement that you would never carry prohibition, let me take the case of a parish with 1,600 electors. Under Section 2, 30 per cent, of the voters have got to vote in favour of prohibition, that is 480. You are not likely in any parish in Scotland, even a sober country parish, to get 480 prohibitionists out of 1,600 electors. Then this 480 must be three-fifths of the votes recorded; so that if 800 electors come to the poll the proposal would be defeated. And even with that figure—that is, 800 votes recorded—the prohibitionists cannot carry their point unless they have got 60 percent, of the votes. So it is impossible that prohibition could be carried. In one sense I am not in the least afraid of prohibition being included in the Bill, but I do object to the principle of it, and I do not think that it helps temperance in those small areas. I am absolutely against prohibition, because I have never seen it work well. Hon. Members here do not get the temptation which these men do. Hon. Members know exactly what their feelings are with regard to the drink question, and, for the sake of example, and partly to meet the hon. Member's remark, let us take the House of Commons and make it into an area. Let us put the question whether or not we are going to have, whisky and sodas in the smoke room. The House of Commons is a very sober place, and hon. Members opposite, especially Scottish Members, would never wish to impose legislation to which they would not be willing to submit themselves. See what would happen in the House of Commons. There are 6*70 Members here, and 80 per cent, would mean 201 Members. That number is the 916 smallest that could possibly carry prohibition in this House. Do hon. Members opposite, representing all the teetotal ideas in this country, think that they will ever get 201 Members in the House of Commons to vote for prohibition in the smoking room?
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I would like to see whether hon. Members would agree to abide by the decision. Take the House of Commons. In order to defeat 201 prohibitionists, only 235 Members would have to vote at the poll. I do not think it would be in the least difficult to get 335 Members to vote against prohibition, but I think it would be very difficult to get 201 to vote for prohibition. But supposing that 334 out of the whole House voted for prohibition—I do not think it is at all likely—and supposing 334 voted against prohibition, which is quite likely, that would leave only to hon. Members to vote for limitation. It does not seem likely that more than the two Members would vote for limitation, and to be refused their drink twenty-five times out of seventy-five; nor would it be fair that these two men should carry the point against the 668. Yet that is what will happen under the Bill. The hon. Member opposite would be definitely for prohibition, without any limit, because of his knowledge of the liquor trade and its wickedness.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The hon. Member has got some very strong views on the subject, and he would be put in a very awkward position in voting on this question in the House of Commons. As if prohibition were not carried the vote of the hon. Member, owing to aggregation would be handed over to those who favoured limited drink, and he would actually be in the position of voting for "drink." He cannot get out of that. If a limitation were imposed, do not hon. Members think that it would be a little unfair to the contractor who supplies the liquor? Suppose this contractor had made up his contract with the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee on the basis of previous profits, and put the whole of his savings into the business. Do you think it would be fair— 917 especially as the Chancellor of the Exchequer would probably have taken a good percentage of his profits in the meanwhile—to come suddenly to this man and say, "Your whole contract is finished; we have got prohibition, and we will give you no compensation at all, whether you are ruined or not; you could have insured Against it." Or do you think the drinking could be limited by 25 per cent., when he had placed his business on a basis of former profits? I think the electors would be very careful how they gave their vote. First of all, the different branches of teetotallers do not always agree with each other, and I am not at all sure that you would find them going into the same Lobby with the prohibitionists, because of their being so extreme. I think, further, the result would be that a great many people, because there is no compensation in the Bill, would not vote for limitation lest they should be helping the prohibitionists. Supposing there were three public-houses, a man in each house running it perfectly well, I say that either you have got to vote for limitation or for the statu quo, and I certainly should not give a vote that might have the effect of absolutely ruining one of those men. I think people will be very cautious about giving their votes in view of such considerations, and the electors would say that it would be grossly unfair to an individual to do away with his means of livelihood.
I really think you are doing more harm than good by not putting compensation in the Bill. What is the object? It does not come out of hon. Members' pockets. It comes out of the pockets of the trade, Hon. Members say it can be voluntary, but they must know that it cannot be voluntary, for reasons already given. I think if hon. Members are wise they will certainly leave total prohibition out of the Bill, and put in provisions for compensation. There is a difficulty in connection with this Bill which I do not quite understand. Supposing a Rosyth, or something of that kind, were introduced into an area in which a limitation has already been imposed. You get a whole population coming into the area, and when in three years another election takes place, you go back to the limitation or to prohibition. You can remain at prohibition or limitation, but can you go back to no change, and, if you do, can you increase in view of the increase of population. Probably, in a smaller rural area, it would not matter, but where you have 918 thousands of people in a great centre like Rosyth, you would become hopelessly tied up. There is another bad feature of this measure, and it is that if prohibition be carried it will encourage drinking in the homes instead of discouraging it. It will cause a man to have his store of liquor at home, and the children would be brought up with the smell of drink in their nostrils from their earliest years. In addition, probably the wives would also begin to drink at home. Under Section 3, you could have this extraordinary anomaly. Do hon. Members realise that they would not be able to give a public dinner with the customary beverages in one of those areas where prohibition has been carried? Supposing the coal owners and the miners, so pleased with everything the Prime Minister has done recently in regard to coal legislation, were to offer to entertain him at a public dinner. The only things they could have would be cigars and ginger beer. Such condition of things would be perfectly absurd. These people would be unable to obtain any ordinary refreshments unless they lived in the hotels or were lodgers. The effect of having teetotal areas in one place and not in another would be to lead men to go to those areas where they could obtain liquor. I have had some experience of this subject. I remember, when I came back from the South African war, that I was put in charge of a camp, and I was very anxious to make it a model of sobriety to every camp in Scotland. I forbade all liquor.
The result was that it really was the only camp in which I have ever seen drunkenness. The men, instead of staying in camp, went to the neighbouring town where they could get drink, and they brought liquor into the camp. Hon Members on this side know what it is, though perhaps hon. Members opposite do not, that if a bottle of whisky is brought into camp it is shared perhaps among a dozen men, and who would say it was a pity not to furnish it? The result was that some of these men got drunk. I afterwards found that it was very much better to have a canteen properly looked after. I have got a teetotaler in charge of my canteen. The men go in and get a drink, and go away again; they do not get too much, they are perfectly happy, and they do not want to go into the village or town. I think that exactly the same results would be experienced in prohibited and unprohibited areas. Under Clause 5 you are going to put the whole of the expense, every three years, upon the ratepayers. It is perfectly 919 certain that there will be found enough cranks upon one side or the other to demand a poll, and I do not think it is fair, where there is no pronounced feeling amongst the ratepayers for a change, that they should be put to the expense of an election. I suggest, therefore, that the losing side should be made to pay. If the prohibitionists asked for a poll and they were beaten, I think the signatories to the demand for that poll ought to pay the expenses. If, on the contrary, it was found that the majority of the ratepayers were in favour of that view, then the ratepayers would pay. I do not see why the ratepayers should be put to the expense every three years, if the poll be demanded without sufficient reason by a small number on one side or the other. As to Section 8, that is the one bright spot in the Bill, I am perfectly willing to help the Secretary for Scotland to do all I can in my small way in order to stop these clubs. Hon. Members, of course, are quite entitled to say to me, "You have talked a lot, what have you done, or what do you propose yourself?" I would point out that there is nothing in the whole of this Bill to put in substitution for the public-houses. Hon. Members have places to which they can go, but the working man has not, and you must give him some place instead of the public-house. There is nothing either in the Bill to improve the public-house, which I think is a blot on the measure. That could be effected in two ways. You could have disinterested trustee establishments, and you might also have a sliding scale of licences. The places where they sold new spirits and strong beer and ales might have the top licence. Those who sold matured spirits and weaker beers might have the medium licence, and those which sold weak beers and low spirits might have a nominal licence. I would absolutely prevent all kinds of amusements and entertainments in the houses which sold nothing but spirits, because I think people are best kept out of them, but I should encourage the attractions in other places. There is no more proof spirit in ordinary light beer than in many bottles of ginger beer; that can be easily proved. What you want to do is to encourage people to drink what is good for them, and not what is bad for them. You might allow such houses where they sold weak beers to be kept open longer than the others, and in that way you would do far more for temperance 920 than by playing at prohibition, as you are doing in this Bill. I am afraid, however, hon. Members have no moral courage to go back on this Bill; they want it to save their faces in the country. They say it must be this Bill and no other. It was not in the least necessary for the Government to take up this particular Bill, but they were obliged to do so because they could not stand the badgering outside, and thus the same Bill was brought in for the mere sake of effect. Probably it will be passed, but I do not think it will do much good for temperance.
I object to hon. Members opposite calling themselves the "Temperance party" and calling hon. Members on this side the "Brewers' party." After all, are there no hon. Members opposite who are interested in whisky? I do not say here to-day. Have they no distillers, no whisky agents, and are there no hon. Members opposite who own vineyards or anything of that kind? I think before they call themselves the "Temperance party" they ought to take the beam out of their own eye. When hon. Members opposite are cadging for the teetotal vote they say one thing, and when they are asking for a vote which is not so they say another. There is one hon. Member opposite who-did not want the teetotal vote, or wanted the other vote, in a municipal election in York. When that hon. Member made a speech in York, he had, according to that speech, a dream. I must apologise for the language of the dream, but this is what he said:—I dreamed the other night that I went to hell, and, like a famous classical author, I was conducted through hell and was taken through various sections of the country, and various people were pointed out to me suffering various tortures. I first of all went into a large apartment where there was a boiling cauldron filled with men bubbling up and down, I asked my conductor who those men were, and he replied These are the teetotalers.' Then I went into another room and saw a similar cauldron, filled with men all bubbling up and down, and I asked who these men were, and he said 'These are the anti-gamblers.'The hon. Member then went down to East Edinburgh, and made a speech in which he said:—Scotland must address herself to the question of intemperance. The waste of life and health and wealth continues from year to year, and must be stopped. We are promised legislation this year: that legislation will have my support.There may be something different in the air of Edinburgh and that of York, and it may be that I am wronging the hon. Gentleman. Perhaps he woke up before his dream was over. I do not want to follow up his ramblings in eschatology, but probably if the dream had gone on there may 921 have been still worse places, and a still further Gehenna for those who, like my-self, are, according to some hon. Members opposite, past redemption. It is strange that the hon. Member denied in Edinburgh having made that speech in York.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The hon. Member was reported in the "Scotsman," at the beginning of the Election, to have said, "I never made such a speech." Those are the exact words.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
Of course I accept it, but I think it was a pity the hon. Member did not state so during the Election.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The point is, was the speech consistent with the speeches made in Edinburgh? Well, we need not quarrel about it. The hon. Member has to a certain extent made up for anything of that sort by sending round the circular which we all received last night, and which contains a great deal of common sense. I do hope the hon. Member will work with us to have a great many of those provisions put into the Bill. I do think it is a pity to try and rush this Bill through. Could the Secretary for Scotland not wait and get hon. Members on both sides and those interested to work with him in the framing of a Bill which would really do more for temperance in Scotland and which will be more according to the wishes of the people of Scotland?
§ Mr. HOGGE
We have listened to a speech from the hon. Member for West Perthshire (Marquess of Tullibardine)—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Noble Lord."] I had not forgotten the fact, but I thought it was sufficient to describe him as a Member of the House of Commons. In that speech he has quoted apparently some dream for which I was responsible, and 922 which he seemed to think was of little sense, and he then immediately [...]old the House that I had circulated a statement in which there was a great deal of sense, and from which he failed to quote. He therefore missed a magnificent opportunity for doing something for what he and I have found to be common ground.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
My own speech was very much on the lines of the hon. Gentleman's statements, but I did not want to take up time, as I know he and others would be referring to them.
§ Mr. HOGGE
If that is so, I fail to recognise my offspring. Why I want to intervene at this period of the Debate is this. I am concerned in the discussion of the Scottish Temperance Bill, not so much with regard to what we shall do with the particular specific facilities for obtaining alcohol, so much as what effect such a Bill will have on the whole social problem in Scotland. I am not concerned as to the limiting of licences in a particular area, and the removal of facility for drinking so much, as I am concerned with the reduction of the consumption of alcohol in my own native country. I am one of those people who believe that too much attention cannot be directed to the problem of alcohol as we find it in Scotland. I have always been amazed, knowing the fact that my fellow countrymen are thrifty, how they have consistently wasted their substance in the consumption of alcohol. I think it will be agreed by those who know something about the manufacture of alcohol that the real value of the ordinary bottle of spirits is no more than a mere threepenny bit, and all the subsequent cost of that bottle of whisky goes in profit either to the retailer or the distiller or the advertiser or the State, but that the real essential value of the spirit which is consumed is no more than 3d. Then let us remember that the average Scottish working man who buys and consumes that bottle of whisky, whether in his own house or in the camp of the hon. Member for West Perthshire, is wasting in the consumption of that, bottle of whisky no less than five or six hours of the hard-earned toil of any week. One could go further and point out how all round in Scotland we have enormous economic waste in the consumption of alcohol, which shows itself in the problems we have of housing and overcrowding, and child life, and so on.
Those of us who are concerned about this question of intemperance in Scotland 923 were, let me remark incidentally, twitted from the benches opposite with not having the moral courage to resist the pressure that is brought to bear upon us by those who are entirely advocates of prohibition or veto. I may say as far as I am concerned at my own recent election, and, indeed, on a previous occasion when I contested another election, I have resisted the demands of what are known in Scotland as the vetoists. I have refused absolutely to pledge myself to a measure of veto and veto alone, and I have deliberately, in answer to all the questions that have been put to me, stated that if the opportunity arose in this House I should not only speak, but would vote and work for the widening of the provisions of this Bill so as to enlarge the option and include disinterested management. I said that at the Election and nothing happened. I got in without the support of the temperance party, I and I was assured in the Press that the one reason why I did not get in with more votes was that the temperance party had refused to support me. My point, therefore, is that some of us have got the moral courage to face what is known as the Veto party in Scotland, and to fight a contested election on the veto, and on the giving of a wider option in dealing with this matter.
We in Scotland have been waiting for this Temperance Bill for a great number of years. There are probably some Members inside the Scottish party who, through the whole length of their Parliamentary career, have seen nothing—at any rate, one might say nothing material—done for Scotland in the way of temperance. Now we find ourselves in a perfectly favourable position. We are promised this Bill by the Government, it has been spoken to this afternoon, and I suppose that after the Second Reading—which I as one of the Scottish Members who want to see something done shall support—it will go up to Grand Committee and ultimately become the law of the land. Does it not seem reasonable that when we are at last getting an instrument that will do something to bring about sobriety in Scotland, we should have within the four corners of the Act every possible option that will give the people of Scotland the liberty to try experiments which would teach them whether or not they can achieve sobriety? During the discussion of the English Licensing Bill in Parliament and in the country, one of the most contentious items 924 discussed from time to time was whether or not the veto had been operative as a reform in different parts of the world. One school of reformers said one thing, while another school said another, and the people were left to make up their minds as to the value to be put upon the arguments on either side. But supposing some twenty-five years ago this House had allowed the Scottish Members to have, as they then asked, the experiment of local veto in Scotland, and had not opposed it by their vole, as they then did, we should have had to-day at our very doors an actual experiment in veto, the result of which we could have seen, and which would have been of immense value, in contributing towards the solution of the same difficulty that will arise in England when we come to discuss a Licensing Bill for that country.
I venture to suggest, as the Member for Blackfriars (Mr. Barnes) has already done, that it would be a fatal mistake on the part of those of us who represent the people in Scotland, to confine this measure to the option of veto. The Bill is called a Local Option Bill; but it is not a Local Option Bill at all; it is a limited option Bill; it is a Local Veto Bill. What we want is a real Local Option Bill. We ask that because we know the conditions of our own country, and we can assume to know them better than Members who-represent other parts of the country. What is the condition of Scotland? The density of the population is scarcely one-third of the density of the population in England. There are ten counties in Scotland where the population is not sixty to the square mile, and where, as a matter of fact, there would be no difficulty in carrying out an effective scheme of veto. No one will ever suggest or ask for the erection of a public-house in these parts of the country. You might as well open a public-house in one of these counties as open a bookstall on the top of Ben Nevis. There would be as much chance of custom for the one as for the other. When you look round at the examples which have been carried through in other parts of the world, this is found to be true. It cannot be challenged that, as a contribution towards the problem of sobriety, the veto has been invariably successful in the less densely populated areas; but it has not been successful in the urban areas. Take the most notorious and the most recent example—the State of Maine in America. In 925 Maine you bad prohibition for a great number of years. In Portland, the capital city of the prohibition State of Maine, you had more arrests for drunkenness than there were in the most drunken town in Scotland. That was the case on the aver-ago for a great number of years. There are twenty towns in the State of Maine, not one of which has a population of over thirty thousand. In the recent election, which was concerned with prohibition, nineteen of those towns voted against the re-enactment of the prohibitory law, and the twentieth voted in favour of it by a majority of only ninety-eight, the reason it voted in favour being that it was attached by means of a bridge to the licensed city of St. Stephen in Canada. I want to draw the attention of the Secretary for Scotland to that object lesson from the State of Maine, where, despite the fact that in the urban portions of the community prohibition was not carried in the recent election, it was carried for the State as a whole, depending for its success on the votes given in the rural areas.
Many of us who know the conditions of our own constituencies are absolutely certain—I, at any rate, am absolutely certain—that a vote for the veto could not be carried in my own Division inside the next half century. I see that some Members on the Front Bench question that. Shall we reduce it by half? Would they agree to twenty-five years? However, I will adhere to my own point, because I am perfectly certain of my own division. In certain wards of my division, in the more respectable wards, where the Junior Lord of the Treasury resides, he being one of my electors, they might reasonably veto the public-houses; but in the Royal Mile it is a very questionable proceeding within the next thirty or fifty years. But we will not quarrel over the number of years. If we could get rid of the drink traffic altogether—which, personally, I think is impossible; I do not think it is a natural thing to expect, although I should like to see it—it would be so much the better; but it we cannot get rid of it altogether we ought to get on to the way for getting rid of it. Now there is a way in which we can get rid of the traffic, and I would ask that the Secretary for Scotland should give us the power to adopt it in this Bill. The Lord Advocate in public speeches in Scotland has repeatedly vindicated his point of view with reference to the option of disinterested management. I do not propose this afternoon to go into the question of 926 the meaning of the adjective "disinterested." What we want to emphasise by the option of disinterested management is the recognition of the principle which is at the back of all that the liquor traffic means. It has been pointed out before that the whole anomaly of our licensing system, is that we licence the trade because it is a dangerous trade, and then we proceed to hand over licences to individuals whose chief aim and object in life is to sell as much alcohol as they can. Therefore we want, through the option of disinterested management operating in a locality, to eliminate the personal profit that lies behind and is the motive power of the trade at the moment.
Can that be done? Those Members who are acquainted with the experiments in other countries know that in Scandinavia, there have been repeated experiments of this kind. I remember once strolling into a little town in Finland where there vas only one public-house, and that public-house sold only beer. The notice on the door of the public-house was that beer was sold on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from ten till four o'clock. When I made inquiry I found that that little village was willing to allow these hours to obtain in that particular part of Finland, that temperance sentiment was up to that point, and that that was the carrying out of the sentiment in that particular village. That house happened to be a managed house. As many Members know, there have been a series of these experiments, the best perhaps being those in Norway. Even if you consider the so-called worst example of the operation of the principle of management—the Gothenberg system—you find that you have operating a system which gives one public-house for something like 20,000 of the population, whereas in this country we have one public-house for every 400 of the population. It seems to me that those who are prepared to oppose the granting of the option of disinterested management are people who are so obsess id with the evil that the traffic in itself does that they object to any system which would make it easier to get rid of it. There is a great sentiment in Scotland behind the disinterested management point of view. One continually gets in one[...]s post-bag at this House resolutions from temperance associations and other bodies in Scotland. One is entitled to pay these resolutions a certain amount of respect, but one is also entitled to ask what numerical 927 majority they represent. Whom do they represent? We find them coming to every candidate who stands for Parliament, attempting to pledge those candidates to exclude from any temperance Bill every reform but the option of veto. As a matter of fact, if you go through the names of the public men in Scotland who are behind this option of disinterested management, you will find among them some of the best intellects of the country—men who have held the most responsible positions in Scotland, and whose whole public life is a denial of the argument sometimes used that those who support this proposal are implicated in the sale of alcohol. It is unreasonable and unthinkable that some of the men behind this movement in Scotland should hold any position of that kind.
I do not want to discuss details this afternoon— I take it that they will be discussed in Committee—but I hope the Government will not close the door to the acceptance in Grand Committee of an option which need not interfere with the veto, which is not in opposition, but is supplemental to the veto, and that they will give some attention to the views of many Members on these benches and of Members of the Labour party by allowing this option. What I am concerned with is the social progress of my own country. I represent the Division of East Edinburgh. In that Division, along with that of my colleague the Member for Central Edinburgh, we have the Royal Mile from Holyrood to Edinburgh Castle. In my half of it, from Holyrood to Tron Church, I have no fewer than twenty public-houses, and thirty grocers' licences. The people of that locality will not earn on an average more than 23s. a week. There is not one of those houses but what it pays to keep open. Probably there is not one of them but is doing an average amount of business. In the total this means that these people are spending anything between £100 and £150 per day in alcoholic excess. This is in the historic part of Edinburgh. Practically everyone connected with the history and the romance of the city have, at one time or another, trodden the causeways of that Royal Mile. Those of us who are interested in social reform in Scotland say that if you want to see the condition to which drink can bring a man or a woman there is not a better typical example of it than that Royal Mile in the High Street in the ancient city of Edinburgh. One gets tired 928 of that fact. One knows that history and romance still clings to these old buildings, but that something very much more sordid is treading those streets. I do appeal that in this measure, which we hope to put through for Scotland this year, we shall not seek to exclude anything which will promote sobriety. Rather let us arrange this measure so that we shall not have to come to Parliament again within a short time to ask for additional powers. Let us put into this measure every weapon which will possibly strengthen the hands of any reformer who seeks to deal with such a great evil as the drink menace in Scotland.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I have listened with very great interest to the speeches which have been made. There is one observation which fell from—I think it was either the Mover or the Seconder of this Motion for rejection—suggesting that it really was no Motion for rejection. I submit that this is a Motion for rejection, a Motion for rejection in the simplest way, because it proposes that the House should not proceed with this Bill. If this Motion is carried the Bill will be lost. The Seconder, I think it was, made some observations about the difficulty of deciding the question by city wards. He laid stress upon the circumstances that might arise if you had public-houses on one side of the street, and no public-houses on the other. I submit that the question of what should be the area is, after all, a question for the Committee upstairs. It is not, it seems to me, altogether of the essence of the Bill, nor is it a point to be considered on the Second Reading. It must be remembered that five years' grace is proposed in the Bill, a term that really dates from the report of the Peel Commission. It must be remembered that this Bill has been introduced, as my right hon. Friend has pointed out, year after year; and after all that, is in a way introduced in lieu of compensation. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Oh, yes. Indeed those who are interested in the trade themselves have pointed out that the value of licences has been going down because, I am glad to say, of the constant and steady reintroduction of this Bill. Some mention is made in the Motion of compulsory insurance. There are very grave difficulties about compulsory insurance. Everyone on this side of the House, I think I may say, would be pleased to see voluntary insurance—amongst those who like to insure—go as far as it possibly can. There would be no objection to that. But our point is 929 that no arrangements for insurance are to interfere with the operation of this Bill by the voice of the people. If the whole trade are in favour of compulsory insurance it will come about. But it is a very strong order indeed to require those members of the trade and interested parties who are willing to take the risks, or who may say: "I conduct my house in such an excellent way that I believe it will never be touched," to contribute to the cost of an insurance scheme which they do not want. The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Edinburgh, who has just spoken, has told us about disinterested management. I would like to point out that this Bill in no way interferes with disinterested management. It leaves it perfectly open to the authorities to grant licences to trusts—
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
If the hon. Gentleman will wait for a moment he will see where I am going to. I only wish he had told us what he meant by disinterested management. This Bill leaves it perfectly open to the licensing authorities to grant licences, say, to a trust who will be content with 5 per cent, and will conduct the premises in a way the authorities desire. The Mover of the Motion for rejection spoke of experiments. I entirely agree with him as to the value of experiments. I would like to see all kinds of experiments extended, and under these licensing proposals these experiments can be extended. May I point out to my hon. Friend that there is at least one trust of this kind in Glasgow; and there are other trusts in other places in Scotland. It is very desirable that we should see how they work. I take it, however, this does not meet the point of the hon. Member nor give him what he wants. In speaking of disinterested management in a locality he means that all the present licences should be taken away, and that licences should be granted only to—in fact, that there should be a monopoly of licences to the trusts. I myself do not look with very great favour upon the creation of a monopoly, particularly a monopoly in private hands. So far as disinterested management is concerned, I am no great believer in it and its 4 or 5 per cent. However, I would like to point out even that, if that is what is wanted, can gradually be brought about under this Bill—
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
Almost at once, if you can convince the locality that this is what is desired, because, after all, they can pass the resolution doing away with the present licences, and these licences can be regranted along the new lines if they are wanted in that way. Here is the difficulty. This experiment has not extended far; yet my hon. Friend wants to bring this scheme in, although it hits not really as yet stood the test of experience, and he desires to create a monopoly in it. Another question about this monopoly is that if you create a monopoly for these trusts, and they are only to get 4 or 5 per cent., are you free under such local option as this Bill provides to take away altogether or to reduce the licences?
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
That is just it. It is very difficult to find out what the proposals of the hon. Members are. They never mention this, or that, or the other! I do think people who put a proposal like this forward should put clearly, say, in a Bill before Parliament, what they really want.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I have read with great interest what the hon. Member says in his circulars. He wishes to create something which is not denned in them. With reference to the statutory safeguards carefully devised—they surely are very vague! We have here a Bill which public feeling in Scotland has endorsed for years. It is a Bill which is perfectly capable of being made a basis of this new monopoly scheme in private hands, and we are asked to postpone or refer again this matter in order to make way for some scheme which in respect of Scotland has never been formally placed before the electors. I would suggest, to my hon. Friend that when the Bill goes into Committee he should formulate his scheme. Perhaps then we will see how it will work. I am very strongly of opinion that if we do create a monopoly of this kind we will find it a hinderance to progress on local option or veto lines, and that it will stand in the way of reform. I noticed that my hon. Friend spoke of our 931 country districts as being very thinly populated. Yes, but I would remind him that our towns are very much more overcrowded than the towns of England. That is one of the great difficulties we have to deal with. This is a very important matter.
I believe in the principle of local option and in the principle of local veto, not only because of their own merits, but also for this reason: that if those who are interested in the drink traffic knew that there was a principle which would be put into operation if the houses were not well conducted, the real effect of this measure becoming law would be a very strong incentive to those houses to be far better conducted in many cases than they are now. I do not for a moment think, as some hon. Members on the opposite side seemed to suggest, that the passing of this measure is all that is wanted for temperance in Scotland. I know perfectly well, and other hon. Members of this House recognise, that, to a great extent, the condition of Scotland as regards the drink traffic is due to social conditions, bad housing, difficulty of obtaining a living, and the general conditions and difficulties under which many of our people live. We recognise that this great evil of our country must be met in various ways—by improving the conditions and circumstances of the community, by meeting attack by counter-attack based on the simple principle of giving the people of the locality the right to say if they want to have licences or if they want their licences reduced. I remember Sir Wilfrid Lawson saying many years ago that, "What is right for the landlord cannot be wrong for the people." If it is right that the landlord should have the power it is right that the people should have it as well. On these grounds I support the Second Reading, and I hope the Bill will not be jeopardised in any way by alternative suggestions about disinterested management.
§ Major ANSTRUTHER-GRAY
I should like to associate myself with the Amendment moved on this side. I do so because in whatever we do fair play must really be the essence of our work. It will not do for the House of Commons to pass measures that cannot stand the close criticism of the country. If you want to get rid of public-houses you can do so, but you must not do so at the expense of fair play, if you are ruled by fanatics you are sure of passing measures that cannot commend 932 themselves to the public. It is only by being fair and taking time about your measures that you can bring about what you require. With regard to the one-year licence, we all know that licences are granted in Scotland for one year. But it is also the practice in our country that if a man behaves well and carries on his business in a proper manner he is pretty sure to get his licence continued. If you pass this measure you may, by a stroke of the pen, so to speak, have passed by a majority of the House a measure which will do away with all the public-houses in certain wards or districts. So a good man, who has well conducted his house, suffers in the same way as others. Through no fault of his own, he finds his business taken from him, and it may be that he is ruined.
Not only that, but his very loss may be a gain to a man in another district who is fortunate enough to keep his licence, although his house may be very inferior to the one whose licence is destroyed. That, briefly, I think is the essence of our objection to passing this Bill. If you want to make reductions you must compensate the people whom you are going to reduce, and nothing short of that will meet the fair play we have a right to demand. With regard to the Gothenburg system, which I presume is what is meant by disinterested management, I should like to see the experiment tried, and instead of abolishing the public-houses altogether in a district I think you might very well have that fourth alternative which might admit of an experiment being made upon these lines. I cannot but think that if the Government did that it would commend itself to many upon both sides of the House, and I do not see why it should not be tried. If you insist on total abolition you will very likely cause more trouble than before. It was tried in Wales, it was tried in New Zealand, and it was tried in the United States. I remember travelling in the United States and going through one of these prohibition districts. There was more drunkenness in that particular State than in the others. The whole thing was a farce. The thing had not worked out as was expected, and we must beware lest in our endeavour to make our countrymen sober we do not rush into worse evils.
There is one thing that might be done and that is to pass an Act prohibiting the sale of the abominable stuff offered to our people in big towns and cities on fair days 933 and market days. The stuff is very often rank poison, and if we could pass an Act to prevent the sale of it it would be far more effective than this kind of legislation. I tried to get enough data upon which to found such a Bill, but I found the difficulties were very great, and I put it to the ardent teetotalers on the other side who have more brains than I have to try that experiment and perhaps they will succeed. Another thing would be to make it an offence for a man to be drunk in a public place. At present a man can only be arrested if he be drunk and incapable. If hon. Members opposite would bring in measures of that kind I would support them. The long and the short of it is that we on this side of the House are as keen as hon. Members opposite for temperance in our country. We recognise the evils of intemperance. We know that a large amount of heavy crime both in Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland is caused by drink; but it is only by being fair and removing injustices that you will be able to carry out effective reform. This Bill has been twice threshed out in Committee already. I am heartily sick of it. I would do all I could to help the cause of temperance in my country, but a Bill of this kind, which is most unfair in some of its principles, cannot commend itself to the wisdom of my countrymen.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
Like many other opponents of temperance measures, the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down has expressed his devotion to the cause of temperance, but has regretted that he is unable to support the measure now before the House. That is very familiar in these Debates. I never heard a speech against a temperance Bill in which that profession of general devotion to the cause of temperance was not made.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
No; I do not doubt the goodwill towards temperance in general, but I do doubt the goodwill of hon. Gentlemen opposite towards taking the necessary legislative steps to bring about temperance reform, and I think that doubt is justified by our experience of what hon. Gentlemen opposite have done in legislation and what they have left undone. My hon. Friend the Member for Blackfriars (Mr. Barnes) complained that the Mover and Seconder of I he rejection of this Bill said nothing that was new in their speeches. I do not make that 934 complaint against them. I think, on the contrary, in this year's Debate, we have something new in that respect. I think this is the first occasion upon which two hon. Gentlemen from Scotland moved and seconded a carefully reasoned Amendment against a Bill of this sort. I think in previous years they generally left it to English Members to move the rejection of a Bill of this character, and I think they are to be congratulated that they have themselves this year moved an Amendment to the Bill, and advanced reasons to justify their request to the House to reject this Bill. For myself, I ought to offer some apology to the House for intervening in this Debate at all, because I am not a Scottish Member, and I think everyone who hitherto addressed the House is a Member for a Scottish constituency; but, after all, I may claim to have some connection with this Bill, because I made my maiden speech upon a similar Bill seven years ago; and the reasons given in the Amendment against the passing of this Bill are reasons perhaps not confined in their operation to Scotland, and may well be dealt with by anyone interested in temperance, in other parts of the country.
The reasons put forward in the Amendment against this Bill are three: In the first place it is said that this Bill suspends and largely supersedes the present system of control over the retail of drink and of excisable liquors by the licensing authorities. I think the charge against the Bill that it largely supersedes the control of the licensing authorities is in a measure true; but I had hoped some hon. Member opposite would enforce this contention by giving us a description of the licensing authorities. After all, we should remember, I think, why the licensing authorities are there at all. The licensing authorities are there in the interests of the public of this country and of Scotland; they are not there in the interests of the liquor trade, but they are essentially there for the protection of the people. They are there, in the words of Lord Watson, asan authority to interpose between the licensee and the public for the protection of the public.And they are there, in the words of Lord Herschell,to safeguard the interests of the public.And when you talk of superseding the licensing authorities it is, after all, only superseding the agent by his principal. It is only the introduction of the people themselves in a certain decision which is to be taken in place of those who hitherto 935 have been taking that decision on behalf of the people. That, it seems to me, is an interference with an authority or agent which is absolutely justified at any time. It may be as just for a man to say to his agent, "I propose to take into my own hands the functions which I trusted to you as my agent." That interference may take place because the agent has not well discharged his functions, or on the ground that people prefer to deal in a matter of this kind themselves. I submit it is not a real grievance against the Bill, if it substitutes for the protection of the public the public themselves in the determination of this question of licences, and it is not an extreme proposition surely to ask that the people should determine for themselves this question of the issuing of licences. The second objection put forward in the reasoned Amendment is this, that it introduces the principle of prohibition into the licensing system. May I remind hon. Gentlemen of what the licensing system is? They talk about the principle of prohibition. The licensing system in its essence is prohibitory. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are prohibited from selling liquor. The great mass of the people in this country and in Scotland are not allowed to engage in the sale of liquor. I do not know that it could be better put than in an argument in the Law Magazine of 1875, which exactly expresses the point. That article has these words in regard to our licensing system:—The State acknowledges no right on the part of any citizen to sell intoxicating liquors. It strictly prohibits the practice to the whole community because of its acknowledged tendency to produce grievous social wrong, and then grants State permits to individuals selected here and there, for the purpose of administering to the supposed wants of society.You have, as the Statute law of England, and Scotland, and Ireland, a general prohibitory system, prohibiting most of the people to engage in the sale of any liquor under heavy penalties, and you have licensed exceptions to meet the supposed wants and conveniences of the people, and this Bill is simply recognising the fact that the people themselves are the best judges of their own wants and conveniences, and if they wish to have a licensed house they can provide it if they choose, and if they do not want it, our contention is that it is not right to thrust it upon an unwilling public.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
That is an argument I should expect the Noble Lord to have used. I believe the people as a whole are the best judges, and I believe in allowing the enlightened will of the people to express itself as to whether they will or not have a sale of liquor in their district, and allowing some representative licensing authority to select the man and the house, as a better machine, than the people. I believe, far better than any tribunal or Court, is to take the unbiassed will of the people to decide this question first as to whether they will or will not have that licensed house. I listened with pleasure to the Seconder of the Amendment in his very interesting and closely reasoned speech, because I always wish to hear the best that can be said against this cause. He instanced cases of districts in Glasgow in which you might have one ward that adopted the prohibitory resolution and the other opposing that system, with the result that you have a black and white area in the same constituency, but he omitted to tell us which was the black and which was the white.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
In the first place, my argument did not call for that, and, in the second place I could not know until the vote was taken.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
When the hon. Member says one area would be black, does he mean the licensed area or the other?
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
It is no part of my business to explain the hon. Member's speech, and I am surprised that he should shrink from what was pretty evident in regard to what he said. He stated that it would really be a class distinction to have one neighbourhood with these houses and another area without them, and that it would lead to class tyranny. That may be so, but you do not escape that danger under the present system. You have the same class distinction now. Where are the licensed houses to be found in Glasgow? They are not in the large residential areas, because in such areas they are few and far between. No, the licensed houses are crowded together in the places where the poor people live. Why is that? Because the licensing has been in the hands of authorities who represent the well-to-do people of this country. A 937 friend of mine, Mr. James Raper, a very eminent temperance advocate in this country, went up and down this country speaking on public platforms, and he offered a sovereign to any man who could show him a licensed house next door to the house of a magistrate, and he never parted with that sovereign because such a house was not produced. Justices do not want licensed houses next door to them, and I do not blame them, and they are very wise in that respect. My point is that the poor people are just as much entitled to protection in their homes as the magistrate.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
No. I have no reason to think that licensing benches in Scotland are less wise than they are in England, but the truth is that no man wants to live next door to a public-house. The hon. Member opposite does not desire it either for himself or his family, and all I am claiming for the poor people is the same power of self-protection which the hon. Member and his class have always enjoyed, and exercised in this country. The present system is one of class tyranny, because the result of it is to thrust the licensed houses into the poorer quarters of our cities and towns where the people are least able to resist temptation, and where it is most desirable with the help of the law to produce good results. As a matter of fact the poorer places are just the parts where you have the licensed houses most thickly gathered together. Another point put forward in the Amendment is that no compensation is provided in the Bill, and there is no system of compulsory insurance. I need not argue now that there is no legal claim for compensation on the part of the licensee, and no one in this Debate has dared to say that there is any such claim on the part of the licensee in Scotland. I speak in the presence of eminent Scotch lawyers, and consequently I hesitate to say anything in regard to the law. So far as I know, and so far as I have read, and I have tried to inform myself on the point, there is no one who holds that the licensee has any legal claim in his licence beyond the twelve months for which it is granted.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
The last thing hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to do is to put 938 forward anything in the nature of a moral claim. If you go in for moral claims, then the claim of the community is overwhelming. They are entitled to what the law gives them, but there is no moral claim for compensation on the part of the liquor trade, because the moral claim is on the part of those who are injured by the trade. The owners of the property whose property is injured by licensed houses are never paid compensation. I think a good case could be made out to show that the whole value of licensed houses is taken from the value of surrounding property. The fall of rents which results in any residential neighbourhood from the opening of licensed houses would more than make up for the added value given to the licensed houses by this monopoly. The licenseee is the man who gets the benefit, and the money value is largely taken from the property of surrounding owners. When you come to moral questions, there is no doubt where the claim lies, for it lies with those who have been injured, and knowing Scotland, not so well perhaps as the Noble Lord opposite, I say that the injury which Scotland has suffered from the liquor trade far outweighs any injury which is likely to be done to the liquor trade by the passing of temperance legislation such as is proposed in this Bill. With regard to compensation, there in no legal claim for it. The Seconder of the Resolution argued in favour of a scheme of compulsory insurance. I have never been able to see why we should insert in the Bill a scheme of compulsory insurance. If the licensees wish to insure themselves, they can do so on fairly reasonable terms. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Mackinder) argued that this Bill would in very few cases result in prohibition, and that seemed to be the main part of his argument.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
The hon. Member surely did not state his opinion without having formed some estimate of the result of this Clause, and his estimate was that few houses would be closed as the result of the prohibitory operation of this Bill.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I think the hon. Member is trying to have it both ways. First he argued that the prohibitory Clause would be inoperative, and then he 939 says that it would operate in comparatively few areas. Obviously, the risk of the licensee is not so great as the hon. Member was insisting upon in another part of his argument. If it is going to be inoperative, the risk to the licensee is small and the cost of insurance would not necessarily be greater than at the present moment. At the present time a licensee can insure against a non-renewal of his licence on mere grounds of redundancy. I have never been able to see that voluntary insurance would not meet the case.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
The hon. Member is arguing on the prohibitory resolution; but he has also to take into account the reduction of licences which would affect any financial basis.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
What an admission that is! The hon. Member now says that people would largely use the reduction Clauses, but he does not think they would make considerable use of the prohibition Clauses. That is an admission that the licensing authorities in the past have not properly interpreted the sentiments and wishes of the people of Scotland in this matter. They were there to represent the wishes of the people, and they have not closed these houses, although they had the power of closing any house not required for the convenience of the public; they have neglected that duty on the showing of the hon. Member himself. There is an immense redundancy of houses in Scotland at the present time; and surely that is proof of the necessity for this Bill, quite apart from anything else which has been said in this Debate. The hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division (Mr. Barnes) and the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Sir J. Gibson) object to this Bill because it contains no option of disinterested management. I do not want to go into that point, because I think it will be in order to discuss it upon the Committee stage or the Report stage in this House, and then we should have an opportunity of pointing out any difference of opinion there may be upon it.
The hon. Member for East Edinburgh says there is a strong sentiment in Scotland in favour of disinterested management. I would remind the hon. Member that there is a considerable feeling in Scotland against disinterested management, and I think the Government have acted wisely in my judgment in not complicating the proposals by disinterested 940 management, which undoubtedly would divide the forces which are united behind the Bill at the present stage. This Bill has twice passed through a Committee of this House. It has had a united Scotch party behind it, and the Scotch Members in succesive Parliaments have actively supported the Bill without the inclusion of the option of disinterested management in it, and I think the Government have properly interpreted the sentiments of Scotland in introducing this Bill as it left the Grand Committee of this House. I do not want at this point to go into questions that divide us, and I prefer to agree with hon. Members who have spoken in urging the principle of local option, and to determine in Committee what the options should be which are to be included in the Bill. I think the Government has acted well in excluding disinterested management, because I believe that the overwhelming opinion of temperance reformers in this country, as well as in Scotland, is against that course at the present time. After all, the broad issue of local option is really whether or not you shall have a licence. That is the broad fighting issue between the forces of temperance and the forces of the liquor trade the whole world over. Hon. Members opposite seem to me to forget sometimes our experience in this matter. They tell me that there is no desire for local option in this country.
I represent a very large constituency in Nottingham. It is a very large and a very intelligent constituency. There is a residential part of my Constituency called West Bridgford, just outside the city of Nottingham, filled with respectable and well-to-do people. I know they are well-to-do because they have so many servants, if I may judge by the number of protests I received in the course of the passing of the Insurance Act. In that well-to-do residential suburb there is a citizens' committee, which exists for the simple purpose of preventing the licensing authority from issuing a licence for any house in West Bridgford. There is only one licensed house in the suburb, and it is just on the outskirts of the city, and the whole of the rest of that well-to-do residential area is without a licensed house. It is the least Radical portion of my Constituency, but these well-to-do, respectable people, Conservatives and Radicals, Churchmen and Nonconformists, Protestants and Roman Catholics, all unite in a citizens' committee for the one single object of preventing the justices there, who are not all residents in that district, from issuing a 941 licence to anybody in West Bridgford. This Bill would make the whole of the operation of that citizens' committee unnecessary, and would enable them to give an operative and mandatory vote. I do not agree that no one would use a Bill of this kind in this country or in Scotland. I believe there are very large districts where the people would be very glad indeed to have the safety and security which this Bill would give them.
Maine has been quoted against this Bill. I think hon. Members who have referred to Maine in this connection have not acted altogether wisely in the interests of their own arguments. After fifty years' experience Maine has still decided to be a prohibitory State. If anything is to be made from the Maine figures it is not against local option, but against State prohibition. You have probably in Portland a majority against a prohibitionary resolution or law, and the difficulty you are contending with in Maine is not that by a local majority in a given district you have excluded licensed houses, but that by a rural majority you are excluding from a town which might not otherwise exclude the same common sale of intoxicating liquor. So far from Maine being an argument against local option, it is one of the strongest arguments you can bring in support of the Bill and of the small areas in the Bill, because under the Bill you would be sure you would have the public sentiment of the place behind the enforcement of the law. I would remind the hon. Members, as they have gone to the United States in order to find a weapon against local option, of a very interesting Report drawn up by our Embassy at Washington for the Foreign Office in 1907 on the working of the liquor legislation in the United States. I would like to remind the House of the verdict given by the writer of that Report. He is the brother of a Noble Lord who sits on the opposite side of the House, and he is a writer not very sympathetic to anything like prohibitory or local option legislation. This is the verdict he passed on the local option legislation in the United States:—If the aim of local option legislation is to bring about a 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.That is really the case for our Bill. It would enable the people of Scotland, where they are so disposed, to make this experiment of doing without the public-houses. It has been found in the United States that 942 this method of enabling them to do that is the one by which it can be done with the least possible friction, and is the one likely to spread it over the largest areas of the country. I think this House would take a very great responsibility upon itself if it refused to allow the people of Scotland, who have over and over again declared in favour of this principle, the opportunity of making this experiment in social legislation. They might not put it in operation everywhere, but, even if they did not, the mere presence of a local option law on the Statute Book would be one of the greatest incentives the traders could have for good behaviour in their trade. If this were once the law of the land the licensees would know they could not outrage public sentiment in their districts without the risk of losing their licences by the direct vote of the people. It has been found that the inevitable result of local option has been a screwing up of the standard of management of public-houses and a general desire on the part of the licensees not to incur the dislike of the people among whom they carry on their trade. I would like to read to the House a very brief quotation from a speech made by the Lord Chancellor on this very point. I quote him because his authority on a matter of this kind must necessarily be as high as any that could be given. This is what he said in regard to places where local option would not be put into operation:—Whether it is directly used or not, the indirect effect would be enormous, and. for my part, I believe it will be even greater than the direct effect can possibly be. You will find the people in a locality will know whether a place ought to be allowed to continue or not, and you will find immediately a magical change in the way a good many houses are conducted—from fear of public opinion, armed and able to give effect to its own decision.That really is the case for this Bill. It is to arm public opinion in Scotland with power to give effect to its will in regard to the liquor trade that this Bill is brought forward, and I do most solemnly appeal to the House to allow Scotland to make this experiment in social legislation. After all, both parties in this House are committed to social legislation. I am not going to argue that temperance reform is the only reform we want in this country or that a great measure of temperance reform would put an end to all the social evils in our midst at once. I do not think that, but there is not a social evil flourishing in our midst that is not associated with the liquor traffic. There is not a social reform movement in the country that does not find its greatest obstacle in the liquor 943 traffic. Take disease alone. We dealt with tuberculosis in the Insurance Act, and we voted one and a half millions of money for the purpose. Read the reports of our medical officers. Dr. Niven, the medical officer of Manchester, declared in his report last year that the public-houses of Manchester in many cases were centres of infection for the spread of tuberculosis. The medical officer for Liverpool says the same thing in almost identical words. The medical officer for Woolwich repeats the indictment against public-houses. This House may spend million after million to deal with these infectious diseases, but, if it will not remove the causes which spread infection, the money will be wasted. Take from poverty, crime, and disease that part which is caused by drink, and the remainder would be reduced to manageable proportions. It is because I believe this Bill will help the people of Scotland in that way that I am supporting it so eagerly to-day. I believe profoundly the truth of what Cobden said, that temperance reform lies at the very foundation of all social and political reforms.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I think it was quite unworthy of the hon. Member who has just spoken to begin his speech by stating that whilst my hon. Friends behind me profess to be the friends of temperance, the Conservative party have never done anything to put that profession into legislative enactment. If he had paid the slightest attention to the history of temperance legislation he would have known that in 1893 a Unionist Government passed the biggest measure of temperance reform Scotland had seen for more than forty years. That is merely a sample of the intemperance and intolerance of those who profess to speak in the cause of temperance. I trust, when the hon. Member again interferes in casting praise or blame upon parties in Scotland so far as temperance reform is concerned, he will pay a little more attention to the history of the matter, and try to make himself a little better acquanted with it than he is at the present time. The Motion with which I desire to associate myself is not one against the principle of the Bill, as anyone will see who pays the least attention to it. It is a reasoned Amendment, which says:—This House declines to accept a measure, which, while largely superseding the present system of control of the retail traffic in exciseable liquor 944 by licensing authorities, introduces the the principle of the prohibition of retail sale; and authorises the arbitrary withdrawal of existing licences, without providing machinery for the compulsory mutual insurance of those persons whose property and business are to be thereby destroyed.As I read that, if there had been a scheme of compulsory insurance in the Bill, no such Amendment would have been moved, and, for my part, I am quite unable to understand why the friends of temperance reform, if they are really keen and zealous, as I am sure they are, cannot see how much to their advantage it would be to have a Bill which would really be an agreed upon Bill if a matter like that was conceded. It cannot be denied that the Bill does largely supersede the present system of control, that being a system which has for a very long time endured, and which, I think, on the whole, has worked well. It cannot be denied that it introduces the principle of prohibition, nor can it be denied that it authorises the arbitrary withdrawal of licences. All those three propositions are in the Bill, and the Amendment only regrets that, while doing these things, there is no machinery for compulsory mutual insurance. I am quite certain, if the private opinions of many of those who sit on the Government Bench were known, they would undoubtedly be in favour of that compulsory mutual insurance. The hon. Member who just sat down said the Bill would no longer permit licence holders to outrage public sentiment within their district. That again shows a complete ignorance of the local situation in Scotland. There is not a bench of justices or a bench of magistrates who would for a moment give a licence to a man to outrage public sentiment. Under the present system no man gets the continuation of his licence who does not carry on his business honestly, decently, and respectably, with a view merely of satisfying the public needs. If he outraged public sentiment he would not keep his licence beyond the next Licensing Court. I do not know whether that kind of person is tolerated in England; but if he is, he is unknown in Scotland as a licence holder. Therefore, if English temperance reformers proposing to legislate for Scotland think it is a place where licence holders outrage public sentiment, it is quite out of the question for them to interfere in Scotch matters, because that thing does not exist. The hon. Members opposite says this Bill is only to allow 945 the public to judge, and that the magistrates, be they justices or borough magistrates, are only the servants of the public. That is beside the question. You are going to allow the public to judge in this way. Men who are total abstainers, or who do not want drink, or who have private cellars, are to legislate for those who do want drink, who do not have private cellars, and who have a right to have reasonable provision made for their requirements even so far as the supply of strong drink is concerned.
It is quite a different matter to lay it down that a bare majority of 30 per cent. of the electors, not of population, shall say in a district there shall be no supply of liquor at all. That is not allowing the people to judge their own concerns. It is allowing the bare majority to judge the concerns of others. It is just the kind of class tyranny that allows a man who does not want to drink, or who thinks strongly on the drink question, to prevent a man who enjoys a glass of beer or of whisky having it, simply because he has not the means to provide it privately. It is a vexatious argument in favour of private residential districts. If one goes to some districts in London it will be found that the public-house is not very far from the door of the peer's house. That is the case in Mayfair. I venture to assert that that kind of argument does not advance the cause one bit. The point I make against this refusal to introduce mutual insurance is exactly the point made by the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow, who said, and I think it is quite true, that, without the insurance Clauses, the Bill will be a dead letter. That, be it remembered, is not a statement from this side of the House; it is a statement by an hon. Member who described himself as the spokesman of the Labour party; and, if that is the view held by an important section of the House which claims to speak for the working classes, how can the hon. Member assert that the Bill will do without these provisions? Those who know anything about the matter declare that if you do not put in these Clauses, in so far as Scotland is concerned, the Bill will be, to repeat a phrase I previously used, a dead letter. I believe to a large extent that that is true. People have said over and over again, "We are not going to deprive persons, who have carried on their business decently, of their means of livelihood, unless there are some means of compensation." So far as the prohibition Clause is concerned, I agree with those 946 who do not think it will have much operation. Over and over again it has been said on that point that it will hardly ever be carried into effect.
But take the other case, the reduction of licences. Thirty per cent, of the electors can reduce the number of licences by 25 per cent, in a most arbitrary fashion without any compensation. Those who profess to be friends of temperance are, in my opinion, doing the worst possible thing they can, in the interests of temperance, by saying, "We will not allow this fund to be established for compensation purposes." They declare that they will have the Bill without compensation. The Government will be well advised to agree to give the publican an opportunity of creating a compulsory mutual insurance fund. If they do that I think they will have little difficulty in passing the Bill. Without it I believe the passage of the Bill will be beset with great difficulties, and there will be still greater difficulty in putting it into operation. I appeal to the Government to take their courage into their own hands, and not allow themselves to be overruled by extreme temperance men who have no regard for sound principles of justice or equity in this matter. It is said they can get a cheap insurance, because the rate just now is moderate. But do you think the rate will be so moderate if, by passing this Bill, you allow 25 per cent, of the licences to be destroyed by a popular vote? Of course, under such circumstances, the rate will go up. I was amused to hear the answer given to the moral claim on the ground that there is no legal right to compensation, and that nobody ever suggested that licences in strict law were entitled to last for more than one year. Everybody knows that, in actual practice, the licence is renewed from year to year, and may go on for any number of years if the man conducts his business well. The hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division of Nottingham repudiates that statement, and he speaks as though licence holders are unworthy of being members of a decent community. But they are members of the Church, and they are contributors to public funds, and I think it is monstrous that they should be spoken of in that way. Why does not the hon. Member go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and ask him to refuse this blood money in the shape of Licence Duties? Let him remember what was done about slavery. Compensation was given then.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
When the slave trade was abolished compensation was only-given where legal property was interfered with. You are not interfering with legal property in this case.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
The compensation paid in the case of slave owners was compensation paid to make up for taking away from them a legal vested interest which they had in the labour of slaves. There is no such legal vested interest taken away in the case of the publican. When there was a similar expectation in the case of the slave trade, when ships were built and companies were formed for carrying it on, when that was abolished not a single penny of compensation was paid.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
The hon. Member is a supporter of the present Government and its financial arrangements. He supports the proposal that for purposes of Death Duty seven years' purchase is the annual value of a licence. Why has not the hon. Member the courage of his convictions, and why does he not say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that that is not right. I submit he cannot justify his position. A great deal has been said about disinterested management. Many Members on both sides are in favour of that. I have received a great many letters from Scotland and from important legislative bodies asking the Government to allow this disinterested management. I have a resolution here of the Scottish Temperance League which says that, while heartily approving the provisions of the Bill, the council desires to express its earnest convictions that such a measure will be incomplete unless provision is made for this disinterested management. I cannot understand why that proposal should be received in any spirit of antagonism. I ask the Government to take it into consideration. Why not give the people a chance of having this disinterested management, and why not allow the publican to provide a compulsory insurance fund? If, they do that, I believe the passage of this Bill will prove an easy matter. If not, I believe its course will be a stormy one.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Ure)
The course of this Debate has shown the difficulty of putting forward any fresh view on the temperance question. That reflects 948 no sort of discredit on this House, its ingenuity, its resources, or its debating skill. After all there are some public questions which are susceptible of thorough exhaustion. This seems to me to be one of them. I share very much the view of the hon. Member for St. Andrews, when he said he was sick of temperance Bills. We all feel this subject has arrived at a stage when we desire to count heads and have done with it. I am not one of those who think that, in this House, a temperance Bill can be carried on the crest of a wave of popular enthusiasm, because, differing very nearly from every other social reform, it does not command the enthusiastic support and approval of those for whose benefit it is mainly intended. The strenuous champions of temperance reform are those who need it least. I think the absence of new conditions is responsible for this reasoned Amendment in which the Opposition ask this House to refuse its assent to the principle of local option unless it is accompanied by a scheme of compulsory insurance. Many as have been the reasons assigned by opponents of local option in this House, for challenging its operation in the country, this is the first occasion on which this House has been asked to refuse its assent to the principle unless it be accompanied by a scheme whereby publicans dispossessed of their licences may be entitled to claim some relief for their loss. The right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate did not take up this challenge, but I venture to point out that is the point which goes to the root of the question and which will have to be met.
My right hon. Friend said, "Do you mean by the production of a system of compulsory compensation to say that, if it were carried, the putting into operation of a no-licence resolution is to be conditional upon the sufficiency of the insurance fund?" In short, is it to say that a no-licence resolution, even if carried, is never to be put into operation until the publican can be absolutely assured and guaranteed that there will be an adequate sum at the credit of the fund to pay him his compensation? If that is what hon. Gentlemen opposite really mean, they ought to have said so. If they did mean that, then surely this Amendment goes to the very root of the question; it is then a proper Second Reading Amendment, and it is then obviously an Amendment which, if carried, would be destructive of the Bill. We have had no answer to that question. In my judgment it is impossible, because 949 I tell hon. Gentlemen opposite that if the carrying of a no-licence resolution is to be conditional upon the adequacy of the insurance fund, then it would be resisted strenuously by every Member on this side of the House, and, I suspect, by a large number of Members who sit on the opposite side of the House, because then we should be introducing into the law and practice of Scotland just the very feature which Lord Balfour of Burleigh, in the passage quoted by the Secretary for Scotland in his speech to-day, condemned as striking radically at the very foundation of our licensing system in Scotland.
You would then be setting up a vested interest, which no Scotsman would ever stand, in favour of any holder of any licence. But if, on the other hand, hon. Gentlemen opposite tell me that what they mean is that the carrying of a no-licence resolution and the putting into operation of a no-licence resolution should be entirely independent on the adequacy of the insurance fund; that, howsover insufficient the fund may be, that will not in the least degree affect the carrying or the putting into operation of a no-licence resolution, then I say at once that this Amendment, if it means that, is not a proper Second Reading Amendment at all; it does not then strike at the root of the measure, and it ought to affect no man's vote upon the Second Reading, but it is a legitimate topic for consideration when we reach the Committee stage of the Bill. I welcome with great gladness the assurance given by my right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Scott Dickson) that he and his Friends do not desire to challenge the principle of local option. I hope he was speaking not only on behalf of the hon. Members who sit behind him, but also on behalf of the whole trade. It was very significant that, just at the moment he was speaking, there was put into my hands a telegram, which appears to come from the largest association in Scotland of licensed grocers, who emphatically protest not only against the principles of this Bill, but also against the proposed compulsory insurance scheme.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
That refers to grocers. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he has not also had a letter, dated 22nd March, from the Scottish Licensed Trade Defence Association, and dated from Edinburgh, stating that no Bill would be satisfactory that did not provide for compulsory insurance to be raised by the trade?
§ Mr. URE
No, this is the only telegram I have received in connection with this matter. I shall deal with that proposition also later. I observe that in order to give a semblance of destructive force to this Amendment its framers hare contrived to radically misrepresent the existing law of Scotland. They say that this Bill which is now before the House for Second Reading introduces the principle of the prohibition of retail sale. It does nothing of the kind. They say i[...] authorises the arbitrary withdrawal of existing licences. It does nothing of the kind. What this Bill does is this: it proposes to transfer to the electors of the parish, or to the electors of the burgh, the wide discretionary powers which are now enjoyed by the licensing bodies. It does not propose to transfer the judicial powers exercised by a small body to a large body; it does not propose the conversion of the judicial powers exercised by a small body into discretionary powers exercised by a large body. I repeat that all it does is this: it proposes simply to transfer the wide discretionary powers now enjoyed by the licensing bodies to the electors themselves, a comparatively large body. That is the proposition which is before the House. I am always told that these powers ought to be exercised judicially. I agree. But that carries you a very short distance. I have never been able myself to place compulsory insurance in its proper perspective, or to realise exactly what part it plays in relation to local option. We all know that a licence is for one year only, but we also know that a practice has sprung up by which a new licence for a new year is granted almost—here I agree with my right hon. Friend opposite—as a matter of course, wherever the publican has conducted his business with propriety and within the limits of the law. That practice has been condemned by some and supported by others. I neither condemn nor support it. I regard it as practically inevitable. No man in his senses could expect that a respectable man—for he must establish his respectability to the satisfaction of the licensing body before he can secure a licence—is going to embark his capital, and bestow his energies upon the conduct of the business, if he has not a reasonable assurance of continuing for a period of years, or if he thought there was a reasonable probability of its being brought to a rough termination at the end of twelve months.
It must never be forgotten that the licensing bodies at the present moment 951 have an absolute discretion, at their will, to grant or to withhold a new licence for the new year, and that no one can question the exercise of that discretion so long as the proceeding is within the law. Then the hon. Baronet, the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir George Younger)—whose absence to-day we all regret, especially those of us who know the reason for it—constantly reminds us that the licensing bodies exercise discretionary powers in a judicial way. What does that exactly mean? One is very apt to be misled by that expression. You cannot pry into their methods, you cannot scrutinise their credentials, you cannot dive into their minds and find out what are their reasons if they refuse, as they may refuse, upon any cause, to grant a new licence for the new year. When they come to the exercise of their discretionary powers they come equipped with knowledge and information which can be derived from all sources. The House remembers that there is no avenue of information which is closed to bodies who exercise these discretionary powers. They may, and often do, visit the public-houses themselves. They may perambulate the neighbourhood; they may receive the publican, or his friends, or his enemies; they can receive information through the tittle-tattle on the country side; they may receive information from the man who goes to business in the morning and who returns in the afternoon, and from the man they meet at luncheon in the town; they may receive information from deputations consisting of ardent teetotalers and of moderate drinkers. When they go into Court they may receive information from the Chief Constable or from the representative or agent who has been employed in the trade by some temperance society, some distance off—an agent who has collected information quite outside the knowledge of those who have employed the agent. All these sources of information are at present open to the licensing bodies.
What a vast difference there is, therefore, between a body armed with discretionary powers and a body which is to exercise judicial powers. Does the House realise that a properly constituted judicial body can have its decision set aside if it receives information from anyone of the sources I have mentioned? If a judge were to visit the scene of an accident in regard to which a matter was pending in the Court, if a single juryman were to visit the scene of the accident during the pro- 952 gress of the trial, the verdict or the judgment would be set aside without more ado, as has been done over and over again. If a judge says he disbelieves a witness because he went to a spot where the latter said something took place, and the judge says it was impossible for it to take place, his judgment is set aside. The House will therefore see there is a wide gulf fixed between the exercise of judicial powers by a properly constituted judicial tribunal—a judge and jury on the one hand, and the exercise of discretionary powers on the other hand. When we transfer, as we propose by this Bill to transfer, these discretionary powers from the licensing bodies to the electors, the real question for the House to consider, which the trade has to consider, and hon. Gentlemen opposite who are here representing, I take it, the interests of the trade to a certain extent, have to consider—
§ Captain GILMOUR
I altogether dissent from the view that I am here representing the interest of the trade in any sense. I have no connection with them at all. I am here to express my opinion as a Member of the House on this Bill.
§ Captain GILMOUR
I simply move it as an ordinary Member, and not as representing the trade. I have no concern in it whatever.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. URE
I am not disputing that. I take it that the hon. Member is only desirous of seeing fair play. The point is what we, the House of Commons, have to consider when we are faced with this reasoned Amendment. The point is whether or not there will be a greater risk, and if so, how much greater risk, there will be of publicans being dispossessed, as they say, of their licences, when these wide, discretionary powers now confided to the licensing bodies are transferred to the electors. Is there a greater chance—this is the question everyone must consider— of a licence being done away with by the electors in the various areas to which the Bill applies, than there is if the licensing bodies were still in the saddle and entrusted with the same powers they at 953 present possess? I have heard widely divergent answers to that question this afternoon. I admit that we are here entering upon the region of speculation. My right hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down, as I understood him, pressed the view that not a single no-licence resolution would be carried if the Bill were denuded of compulsory insurance. I do not think he expressed any view with regard to the restriction of the number of licences. Some hon. Gentleman behind me expressed, and I suppose entertained, the view, on the other hand, that no-licence resolutions would be carried in many districts, and at all events restricted resolutions would be carried in a large number of districts. All this is a matter of conjecture. Let the House remember that the electors in parish and in borough are men of like passions and are drawn very largely from the same class as the licensing bodies, They are open to exactly the same influences that the licensing bodies are now open to, and they will derive their information from exactly the same sources as are open to the licensing body, and no more than the licensing body are the intentions and motives which actuate them open to scrutiny afterwards. They have a perfectly free hand. The vital point it seems to me is that these men to whom we propose to transfer these discretionary powers are exposed to exactly the same influence as the licensing authorities are, and the same fountains of knowledge are open to the one as are open to the other.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite by this reasoned Amendment, certainly commit themselves to the view, I take it, that, given power, the electors will exercise it, and that it is absolutely essential, as a safeguard to the publican to rescue him from ruination and bankruptcy, that there should be a compulsory scheme set up by which the members of the trade will contribute to an insurance fund from which, if they are dispossessed of their licences, they can secure adequate compensation. My view upon the question of the compulsory insurance fund is on record. It has been referred to by more than one hon. Gentleman opposite. I have nothing to withdraw. I have nothing to modify in anything I have said on this subject. I stand by it here tonight as I have stood by it in the country. The question of compulsory insurance has always presented itself to me under two aspects—firstly, as an indispensable act of 954 justice to a dispossessed publican, and, secondly, as a method of smoothing the path to proposing a no-licence resolution. It is on the latter aspect, of course, that it appeals to me most strongly. I quite see that the electors, exposed to the same influences and actuated presumably by the same motives as the licensing bodies, may probably do very much as the licensing bodies at present do. I think it is not unnatural, at all events, to draw that inference. The vast majority of the electors are not teetotalers; they are what are usually known as moderate men. I want to put in a plea for the moderate man, whose voice is very seldom heard in these discussions, who never stands on the public platform, never joins a temperance board, never appears as a member of a deputation, and never writes letters to the newspapers, who sits by his own fireside, thinks his own thoughts, is usually a man with some business instinct, and is usually imbued with a sense of justice and fair play. I know him well, for I frequently meet him and converse with him. Usually he is in favour of temperance, and he is usually in favour of prohibition, but he will not vote in favour of prohibition if he thinks that the result may be to inflict hardship and injustice upon respectable people carrying on a business which, I always like to remind myself, has at all events been legalised by us and which is carried on under restrictions and regulations which we have imposed.
I have felt very strongly that we temperance reformers must get the moderate men on our side. They preponderate in the community. I do not say they would ever vote against a non-licensing resolution. I do not believe they would go to the poll and vote that things should remain as they are, but they have only to stay away in sufficient numbers and the no-licence resolution will be defeated under the provisions of this Bill. These are the opinions which I have expressed in the country and which I hold at present, and, though I cannot honestly say I have met with conspicuous success in endeavouring to force them upon my fellow-countrymen, I none the less sincerely and strongly hold them on that account But I am not yet quite satisfied, and hon. Gentlemen opposite have done nothing this afternoon to satisfy me, that the trade are not quite able by voluntary means to ensure themselves against these risks. The trade is singularly well organised, and it is singularly well 955 equipped to conduct a propaganda and to conduct a careful and painstaking investigation, and to take in hand the services of the most competent men in the country. It is generally supposed, I do not know with what truth, that the trade is well supplied with money, and that it is really in a position, if it chose, to give this House and the Government very accurate information with regard to the success with which a voluntary scheme could be engineered in Scotland, and, having in view the considerations which I have urged before the House that the electors will be actuated by very much the same motives as the licensing bodies at present are actuated, I should imagine that the trade would be able, if they chose, to start and run a voluntary insurance scheme. I do not say they cannot satisfy us that that is not possible. All I say is that evidence has not yet been forthcoming, and I hope this House, and especially my colleagues from Scotland, will keep their minds open on the subject. It will be difficult to satisfy them that a trade which is so thoroughly well organised, and which have hitherto stood solid, four-square, to all its assailants, is unable to protect itself against a risk which none of us seem to be able to appreciate the extent of, but which, in my judgment, is a great deal less than some hon. Gentlemen opposite seem at present to imagine.
Nor have I ever seen produced a workable and practicable scheme of compulsory insurance. I have never applied my mind to the consideration of such a scheme. I have always thought that was no part of the duties of those who brought forward a temperance Bill. It seems plain, surely, that it is for those who are to work the scheme itself, for those who are alone to contribute to the scheme, and for those who are alone to benefit from the scheme, to lay before the Committee a workable and business-like plan. The hon. Baronet (Sir George Younger) laid a plan before the Scotch Committee last Session. He would agree, if he were here, that it was a mere outline—a mere sketch. It was not practicable. It indicated fairly enough the sort of thing which the trade were then, as we believe, pondering, but he added at the end of his speech the pathetic observation that he did not feel that he was really able to command the support of the whole trade in support of the Motion; and it looks from this telegram that I have received as if there were 956 a considerable body of the trade who are opposed to this compulsory system. I do not say that may not all be dispelled. It may merely be froth upon the surface. We all know that people sometimes indignantly repudiate ideas which afterwards they embrace, and that may be so in this case. Again, I invite my colleagues from Scotland to keep an open mind on this question, to consider it seriously and earnestly during the period which must elapse between the Second Reading and the Committee stage.
Very little has been said in this Debate—it is significant that so little has been said—regarding the five years' time limit. The more I have thought of the five years' time limit the less I think of it. It is put forward, I know, in every temperance Bill. I am quite aware of the origin of the five years' time limit. I am also perfectly aware that it has been accepted by temperance men of all shades and all varieties of strength of view on the subject. It has been put forward, I think, by hon. Gentlemen opposite as a proper period during which a publican may look about to seek for a fresh investment for his capital and a fresh field of operation for his industry and his energy; but if it is put forward on that ground it is palpably far too long to-enable the man to look about for a new investment and a new business. It has been put forward again as a notice to quit, and, of course, viewed from that point of view it is too handsome for words. If a man holding upon a yearly tenure were promised a five years' notice to quit it is uncommonly handsome treatment. But there again the analogy is not complete, because at the end of the five years there is no notice to the publican to quit. There is only a notice given that those who at present have a discretionary power to compel them to quit will leave the saddle and their places will be taken by a body of electors, whose position I have explained to the House. Then it has been put forward as a present to the publican of five years' purchase of his net profits, but a moment's reflection will show that there again the analogy is not complete, because he does not receive five years' net profits. During that five years his capital is embarked and his energies must be expended on the conduct of his business. I want to make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they are quite serious with their compulsory insurance scheme I hope they will do their best to satisfy the Scottish Committee and the Government that it must be compulsory, 957 and I hope they will also do their best to produce a practicable working scheme, and while they are about it will they consider whether or no it is really necessary, having all these considerations in view, to have a five years' waiting period in order to make this insurance scheme sound and solvent. I should have thought that too long a period. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will quite easily see that they will have an opportunity of giving something to temperance reform by limiting the period to five years, and in return there may be a compulsory insurance scheme which will be practicable and workable, and in my judgment—this is only my own individual feeling—give an impetus to the no-licence side of the Bill. The temperance question has now become, as a matter of fact, a business question. I have all along deprecated the use of exaggerated language or florid phrases from the lips of temperance reformers. The effects of drinking, such as pauperism, blight, disease, and death, speak with an eloquence and a pathos far deeper than the most elaborate art of the most experienced orator. Social reform must depend upon the wholly incalculable action of human passion, human emotion, and human sentiment, and not only upon logic and reason. I commend this measure (o the House as a step—some of us think a very long step—in the direction which, I gladly admit, my hon. and learned Friend opposite and all the members of the House, irrespective of party, are agreed in desiring to take.
§ Mr. LYELL
I have listened with great attention to the speeches of hon. Members on the other side of the House, but I am bound to say I found a non sequitur between the speeches they delivered and the votes they are going to give. They placed on the Paper an Amendment which was equivalent to the rejection of the Bill, but every one of the arguments I have heard are arguments not for the rejection of the Bill, and not against its principles, but upon certain points which must be discussed and decided later on. As to several of these points, I am not at all sure that I do not agree with them, but I do not come to the same conclusion that it will be necessary to vote against the Bill. One of the points on which they lay great stress is the question of prohibition. I agree quite cordially that the question of prohibition is on a different footing from the question of limiting the number of licences. I agree that a much larger majority is necessary before a no-licence 958 resolution could take effect than in the case of a resolution limiting the number of licences in any area. Before this Debate took place I was in considerable doubt whether the majority necessary for the carrying of a no-licence resolution was sufficiently great. I was not sure whether I would not be prepared to vote for a larger majority than that provided for in the Bill, but on that point I have been, completely reassured by the Noble Lord the Member for West Perthshire (Marquess of Tullibardine). He told the House, and I think he was probably quite right, that such was the proclivity of the inhabitants of the country from which we-both hail that he thought it was highly unlikely that any no-licence resolution would be passed in any part of the kingdom of Scotland. On the faith of that I propose to vote for keeping in the Bill the majority as it stands at the present moment.
A point made by the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Mackinder) was in regard to the smallness of the area. He said, "give us larger areas, and your Bill will be very much more workable." But the hon. Member for Camlachie was answered by the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for West Perthshire, who said, "Just think of the difficulties that are going to arise out of the Bill. Let hon. Members take note that it will be perfectly impossible to hold a public dinner which anyone would care to attend in any no-licence area." Well, the effect of areas being large would be to give rise to the difficulties complained of. If the area were small it would be perfectly easy for any dinner which the hon. Member for Camlachie would care to attend to be held over the boundary of the prohibition area, so that we would both be able to enjoy the evening in the way we desire. The hon. Member drew a dismal picture of his constituency, one part of which was to be black and the other white—but he declined to be drawn as to which was to be the black one and which was to be the white one.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
I put that not with special reference to areas in my own Constieuency, but merely in order to make my argument evident as to places where there are two wards divided by a street.
§ Mr. LYELL
I do not desire to put any aspersions on any part of the hon. Member's constituency. He said there might be two areas, inhabited by Pharisees and Sadducees. Here, again, I was puzzled as to 959 who were the Pharisees and who were the Sadducees, until I remembered that one of the attributes that distinguished the Sadducees was that they did not believe in any kind of spirits whatever. Now we know who were the Pharisees and who were the Sadducees. There is one point upon which I disagree with the hon. Member, and that was when he told us that a resolution for the abolition or reduction of licences would be contributed by women who were parish workers— women who went down into the slums and were witnesses of the degradation caused in too many cases by the very vice which the House is trying to grapple with. I believe that in attempting to exclude some of these people we would be attempting to exclude some of the most distinguished authorities who could be asked to deal with the subject. Surely the hon. Member is not serious in saying that you should not take the vote of men or women who go into the slum areas.
§ Mr. MACKINDER
My argument was that a minority of electors in an area could by resolution, under the Bill, enforce this, that the minority might be made up of advocates rather than of people voting as judges, and that they would be teetotalers and parish workers.
§ Mr. LYELL
In that case I do not think I misrepresented the hon. Gentleman at all. He was casting some sort of aspersion, as if these parish workers should not be counted like everybody else. I think these are the people whose votes would be most valuable in a poll of electors on a no-licence or reduction resolution. Another point made was that this Bill would have a positively deleterious effect, because if a no-change resolution was carried by a majority the discretionary power in the hands of the present licensing authority would be impaired. I believe that is a complete misreading of the Bill. What I understand as the meaning of a no-change resolution is that there would be no change in the present system. I understand that if a no-change resolution were carried it would be just as open then as now for the actual licensing authority, the magistrates, to carry out any reduction by withdrawing any licences which they considered redundant. The Lord Advocate will correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that power will remain absolutely unimpaired.
§ Mr. LYELL
I come now to the question of compulsory insurance, to which full justice has not been done. I hope that I am wrong, but I thought I detected some divergence of view on this particular matter between the speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland and that of the Lord Advocate. I thought that a certain amount of scorn was poured on the idea of compulsory insurance by the Secretary for Scotland, whereas the Lord Advocate welcomed it with qualifications.
§ Mr. LYELL
As between those two opinions I desire to associate myself very much more with the Lord Advocate than with the Secretary for Scotland. But there is one argument of the Lord Advocate which I do not think fair to this particular principle. He spoke of the calculable risks, and compared the proposed compulsory insurance against the loss of licences to ordinary insurance, such as fire, burglary, or any other ordinary risk. I think that in doing so we are really employing something in the nature of a false analogy. If you insure your house against fire you insure against a perfectly definitely ascertainable risk, and if your neighbour's house catches fire, provided that it is not next door, and that the sparks do not blow across, it does not follow that your house is more likely or less likely to catch fire. Therefore your risk remains unaffected. The risk against the loss of licence is not quite the same. If you remove one licence not only is the risk of losing others decreased, but the actual profit made by the remaining licences is increased. That is a point of which we have to take note in any decision which an open-minded Scotch Committee may come to as to whether a case had been made out for compulsory insurance. The only information we have on the question is the information supplied to us by members of the trade themselves. They were heard on a deputation to Scotch Liberal Members. They told us that all branches of their trade were agreed on such a plan, and that no less than 98 per cent, of the trade was prepared to accept this principle. Whether they were right or not I do not know, but I quite agree with the Lord Advocate when he says that it is not our business to construct a scheme of compulsory insurance. It is our business to vote on it, to judge of its merits, and to say whether it should be put into our Bill. If they are united in the way in which their 961 representatives describe, if they have got anything like 98 per cent, of their numbers at the back of a scheme of compulsory insurance, it is for them to bring forward their proposals and clothe them in the form of Clauses which we can insert in a Bill, and consider on their merits, and add or not to the Bill as we see fit.
There was one question which I put to the representatives of the trade in Committee and I think they gave a perfectly satisfactory answer. I asked whether their scheme was of such a nature that in the event of deficiencies in the fund there would be any difficulty whatever in or any drawback to a scheme either of reduction or prohibition of licences, and they said none whatever. They did not propose that any reduction scheme of no-licence scheme should be framed dependent upon the existence or non-existence of a sufficient fund for compensation purposes. That being the case, I submit that when we tome to decide this question upstairs it matters very little in principle whether such a scheme of insurance is inserted or not, since the question of possible or total suppression remains the same. At the same time I agree cordially with what was said by the Lord Advocate and the hon. Gentleman who filled that office in the last Conservative Administration, and many other speakers to-night, that the likelihood of carrying out a reduction resolution, or a no-licence resolution, is enormously increased if we have some sort of practical scheme by which some form of compensation provided entirely by the trade itself is provided. On the question of disinterested management, I hope that the Scottish Members upstairs will keep just as open a mind as about this question of compulsory insurance. Why should we not put this extra option in the Bill? What damage can it possibly do to the property?
My hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire asked what was meant by disinterested management. I have no doubt whatever that the hon. Member to whom he addressed the request was wise in not being drawn, but I would venture to say what I mean by disinterested management. I mean that the number of houses over a given area, such an area as is described in this Bill, should be, in the event of this option being deliberately exercised by the voters in that area, placed under a scheme of management by which there should be no special inducement to any man to drink excisable liquor, by which the profits over a certain percentage, say 962 4 or 5 per cent., should be devoted precisely to those forms of counter attraction the absence of which has been deplored. That is the kind of scheme which I desire to see tried. Several hon. Members, some of whom have spoken against disinterested management in this House, said that they want to see various kinds of experiments tried, but people who have given my thought to the matter know perfectly well that no experiments are of any avail when tried on a single house in active competition with a large number of other houses. The only way in which the experiment of disinterested management can be given the fair trial which we desire to see given to it is by placing the whole of an area under some such scheme and giving it an effective monopoly in that area. As long as your disinterested house under a public trust is competing with other houses less well managed your scheme is of no avail. If you can place such an area, or two or three areas, in juxtaposition under such a scheme of disinterested management, we shall be trying an experiment really worth trying, and from which I hope for most encouraging results. All these are matters of detail. The principle of the Bill has not been challenged by any hon. Member who spoke with the possible exception of the hon. and gallant Member for St. Andrews (Major Anstruther-Gray). The principle of the Bill is that the discretion should be taken out of the hands to a certain extent of those who hold it now. That is, as the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Leif Jones) said the principle should step in and take the discretion out of the hands of the agent, that in Scotland, a country where temperance opinion has long been far more advanced than it is in England, at least the people of the country should be able to say whether they desire the licences, whether they would have fewer licences than at present, or whether in the event of a large majority being of that opinion they should have no licences at all.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
While it is perfectly true that very little that is fresh can be said upon this subject, which has been so often debated in this House, when hon. Members on the opposite side complain that they are sick of the subject, they have got the remedy in their own hands; because if it had not been for the difficulties and obstructions which they have put in our way in this House, and in other places, we might have had our Scotch Temperance Bill long before this. 963 I am one of those who feel very glad indeed that the Government have introduced the Bill in its present form, because I believe that it is in its present form a trite reflection of public opinion in Scotland. Seldom has there been a Bill introduced into this House which has come before it with such emphatic sanction and approval on the part of those who are chiefly concerned in it. From the year 1880, when the first local option Resolution was introduced in this House, down to the year 1910, when a Division was taken upon the Second Reading of the Scottish Temperance Bill, the Scottish Members have always by a majority supported either the Resolution or the Bill, and in some cases by a very large majority. We have had the Bill read four times in the House already by large majorities, and there have been only a mere handful of Scottish Members who have voted against it—on one occasion seven, another five, another two, and on the last occasion only five. We have already had the Bill twice through the Scottish Grand Committee. That is a sufficient reason in itself for the Government adopting the Bill in the form in which they have introduced it. Criticism has been made upon the fact of their having adopted a measure which is practically in the form of a private Member's Bill, but it carries with it the weight of opinion in Scotland itself. This has been challenged this evening by hon. Members on the other side. I should like to refer to the evidence we have of the weight of public opinion in favour of this Bill.
The Mover of the Amendment and, I think, other speakers said that, while they admitted there was a strong temperance sentiment in Scotland, it was not in favour of this Bill, or of the particular object in it. If you go to the Scottish constituencies to-day you will find that they are even ahead of the House of Commons in regard to the views which the electors have expressed upon this particular Bill and in their anxiety to get this measure. I had the honour of presenting a memorial to the Prime Minister last month, which contained no fewer than 2,109 signatures of in embers of the clergy of Scotland, representing sixteen denominations, in favour of the Bill and of the Bill in its present form. That in itself was a very strong piece of evidence of how the opinion was growing in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Scott Dickson) is in his place, and I 964 would like to ask him whether he is prepared to accept the opinion of the city of Glasgow as worth something on the subject? We got, on the 28th of March of this year, a petition in favour of this Bill from the Glasgow Town Council, which represents the largest city in Scotland. I should like to inform the right hon. Gentleman, further, that on this occasion, when the motion was made, only one person rose in the council to move the previous question, and he could not find a seconder. So we have got the city of Glasgow represented by the town council in favour of this Bill, and in favour of the Bill in its present form. The Bill is founded upon a sound democratic principle, and I for one am very much surprised at the attack of hon. Members sitting on the other side of the House. Those who are always prepared to advocate the Referendum, when it is applied in a very modest form to obtain the opinion of the ratepayers in any particular district on the subject of licensing, are at once opposed to it, although they have accepted the principle on many other occasions. I am further surprised that they should have refused to accept a Bill which embodies not only the findings of the Minority Report but the Majority Report of the Royal Commission on Licensing with respect to reduction, as the Royal Commission on licensing were all in favour of the number of licensed houses being largely reduced.
When hon. Members come to attack this particular Bill upon the prohibition option, they forget that in Scotland prohibition, through the action of landowners and through residential influence in certain quarters of our cities, is already an accomplished fact, and all that is being sought by this Bill is to extend the power to poorer districts, and to those who are not equipped with the weapons which have enabled the wealthier portions of the community to secure prohibition in their districts. In England and Wales at the present time there are no fewer than 3,903 rural parishes, with a population of over half a million, tinder prohibition, through the action of the landlords, and in Scotland, taking the returns for 1907–8, 210 parishes, with a population of 145,000, are under prohibition through the action of the landlords. I think that when we seek to extend that power to other sections of the community, we are only asking what is fair and just. In regard to the 965 form of the Amendment which has been moved, there has been on this occasion a considerable change in tactics on the part of hon. Members. Their hostility to this measure hitherto has always been openly displayed by moving the rejection of the Bill in the ordinary form, but, in 1910, they could not get a Scottish Member to perform that duty. It may be that is the reason, or one of the reasons, why they have introduced their Amendment in a different form this year. In 1910 they went to the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Bottomley) to be their champion and to move the rejection of the Bill, and they got the hon. Baronet the junior Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) to second the Amendment, although it cannot be said that their acquaintance with Scotland or Scottish affairs was such as to justify either the Mover or the Seconder of the rejection being asked to undertake this important task.
Now we have got the Amendment in a different form, a reasoned Amendment, and considerable criticism has already been directed to its terms. But it has struck me as somewhat inconsistent and somewhat surprising that hon. Members opposite, who not so very long ago moved a reasoned Amendment which had for its object to destroy the compulsory Insurance Bill, should now come forward with an Amendment which has for its purpose to set up a scheme of compulsory insurance which is founded upon the necessity of coercing a certain number of licence holders into paying a levy which they consider neither just nor necessary in their case. But when we come to deal with the actual wording of the Amendment—I do not wish to go into details—I should like to point out that in attacking the Bill, on the ground of their objection to the "arbitrary withdrawal" of existing licences, they forget that under the present system, which remains under their own Act of 1903, that withdrawal of licences proceeds every year without compensation in any form, and is thoroughly justified through the discretionary powers which have been given to the magistrates in our districts, and which I am glad to think in Scotland are being exercised every year with greater effect and with greater benefit to the community itself. I do not think the hon. Member who put this Amendment down can be congratulated upon having chosen words which are appropriate in referring to the destruction of property. I think if he had consulted 966 the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Central Division of Glasgow he would have been informed that he was putting his case a good deal too high in referring to the destruction of property. It was the right hon. Gentleman who, before the Licensing Commission, made it perfectly clear that in Scotland that view had never prevailed. In answer to the question as to what the practice in Scotland was, and whether he could throw any light on the decision in Sharpe v. Wakefield, his reply was:—In my opinion I do not think there was ever any doubt in Scotland as to the question raised in if Sharpe v. Wakefield, because our Statutes provide that a certificate shall last for one year and no longer, and therefore in one sense it might be said that every application, as it came up at the Licensing Court, was for a new certificate.I do not think that anyone who has read this Bill and has considered the [...]ength of the time limit can say that the Government are not taking into account any equities that might arise in the case of dispossessed licence holders, and have not fully met the case. A good deal has been said as to compulsory insurance. The view has been expressed that this matter should be left open, and this view has been supported on the ground that it is a matter which will be considered further in Committee. I desire to say however that I believe the Secretary for Scotland and the Lord Advocate also, in making it perfectly clear that no insurance scheme can be allowed to stand in the way of the free exercise by the ratepayers of their options under the Bill, have been voicing the opinion of the people of Scotland, and that no scheme for compensation payable to the trade which will have that effect, or could have that effect, would be acceptable or could be considered by them. When you come to consider the position of the trade and the present facilities which they possess with regard to insurance, their case is really not a hard one. I would like to quote the words of the chairman of the Scottish Licence Mutual Insurance Association, Limited, in the report of that company for the year 1908, showing quite distinctly that the trade had in view then that there might be the chance of licences being taken away at any moment owing to the action of the magistrates, and they felt that they were fully covered in that case:—It is not too much to say that the beneficent operations (of the company) have changed the whole condition of the licensed trade in Scotland as regards security of investment. It is not easy to exaggera[...]e in 967 describing the change for the better it has wrought. Ten, twenty, and thirty years ago, people entered the spirit trade and invested their capital in it with much the same feeling that our more adventurous spirits during a war-time ran the blockade in the hope that if they succeed in making a few successful runs they will gather some capital which they can then invest in a less hazardous enterprise. Of course they also run the risk of being blown up or sent to the bottom of the sea, but these are details. That feeling of insecurity has entirely disappeared, all through the working of our association, and when every eligible licence holder is a member then there will be absolute security for all.I think that makes it very clear that the trade then and this big Licence Insurance Company had in view the possibilities of future legislation, as in their later reports they show even more clearly they were prepared to undertake such a voluntary scheme as would meet the claims of all concerned. I think a little further consideration of this matter will show us, as indeed the Lord Advocate indicated also, that it is perfectly within their power and their ability to raise a voluntary fund which will, without in any way adding to the burdens of the State, or without in any way associating the State in the administration or control of that fund, enable them to meet any claim which may arise through the action or operation of this Bill. One word with regard to the peculiar relation of Scotland as to compensation. We stand on an entirely different platform from England in this respect. We have never in any way been committed to the principle of compensation in any shape or form. From the earliest period, from the date of the Forbes MeKenzie Act enacting Sunday closing throughout Scotland, when one day out of seven was taken, there was no call for compensation, and when the ten o'clock closing was adopted there was no call for compensation, and when the table beer licences were abolished in 1878 there was no call for compensation, and there has teen no compensation in any shape or form given through the long period of years during which magistrates have been, in largely increasing numbers, reducing licences throughout the whole country. Last year in Glasgow alone there were thirty-four certificates refused, and the total reduction for Glasgow in 1911 was forty-seven. If we take the average for the whole of Scotland for the eleven years 1900–10, there was a reduction of fifty-seven per annum of licences during that period, and while that reduction was proceeding according to the views of the people of Scotland, it was upon these lines without compensation. In England the situation 968 is very different. Although there has not been much reference in this Debate to the 1904 Act, has that Act had the effect which the promoters of it, or many of them, said would necessarily result from its compensation scheme? Lord Salisbury, speaking in the House of Lords in 1904 about that Act, said:—Under this Bill we propose to change that possible and occasional 200 (closed under the existing practice) into a constant number of nearly 2,510, which is an enormous change in the direction of suppressing those licensed houses which ought to be suppressed.How has that Act worked in practice, and have we had the 2,500? Instead of that, in the year 1910, in a constantly decreasing rate of reduction of licences, the figures had fallen to 991. I should like to call the attention of the House to the decreases in Scotland and England, from the year 1907. During that period in Scotland the percentage of reduction increased from.43 in 1907 to.94 in 1910. In England the percentage of reduction decreased from 2.13 per cent, in 1907 to 1.29 per cent, in 1910. If you take the actual on-licences which have been taken away with compensation in England, that number has steadily decreased from 1,735 in 1907 to 991 in 1910. What is the reason? I should like to refer hon. Members to the reason which was given in the licensing statistics for the year 1910. Why is it? It is because the levy in many instances has not been sufficient. That is made perfectly clear if hon. Members will refer to the compensation proceedings in the year 1910. In that year there were twenty-six out of 142 compensation areas where no proceedings whatever were taken for the extinction of licences. The reason given in the Report is:—In some of these cases the absence of new work in 1910 is due to the fact that the funds available were hypothecated to licences standing over from previous years.Therefore we have the fact that the fund was insufficient, and consequently there was no further extinction of licences proposed—a result which might equally arise under any other compensation proposals. Our experience in Scotland has shown that the withdrawal of licences without compensation is proceeding apace to-day. It represents the view of the people of Scotland expressed through their representatives on town councils. In England, on the other hand, under the Compensation Act you have exactly the opposite. The number is decreasing, and decreasing very rapidly. With regard to the question of disinterested management, the hon. Member for 969 East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) has apparently not yet got to know his own Constituency very well if he thinks they would prefer management. He said he did not think that there would be much chance of the prohibition option of this Bill being put into operation there for at least fifty years. In that Constituency there are wards in which, I believe, the option might be put into operation almost immediately. The Calton and Canongate Wards of East Edinburgh, I think, without being too sanguine, would adopt prohibition, or, if not prohibition, certainly reduction, at the very earliest period. In regard to the Canongate Ward, in which the Royal Mile is situated, and where, as the hon. Member says, the public-houses are so close together that the people would not vote for prohibition, I say that that is the very reason why a great many would vote for it, in order to have the public-houses taken out of their midst and the temptation removed. The population of the Canongate Ward has been extending far beyond the district in which the Royal Mile is situated, but even there there would be a considerable chance of a reduction taking place at a very early date. The question of disinterested management is one to be discussed with greater advantage in Committee. I would only say that it has already signally failed to secure the approval of Scottish Members. In the Scottish Grand Committee it has been defeated twice by large majorities. I think that that shows that Scottish Members, reflecting the opinion of Scotland, are against it. As it has always been supported by those who are most hostile to the provisions of our Bill, I think we have reason to suppose that it might be accepted with a view to defeating our objects, as many hon. Members have openly declared they would like to do.
I submit that this Bill is absolutely fair to all interests concerned. The Government is bound, in the first place, to be fair to the public interest. It has a great trust imposed upon it to see that the public interest does not suffer in this matter. The Bill is fair also to the trade. The five years' time limit some hon. Members opposite seem to regard as short. But the five years under the Bill is really a great deal more. Those concerned have had notice of this measure from the beginning of the year or for much longer. The Bill is to come into operation in June, 1917; a poll cannot be taken until the November or December following; the 970 Resolution will not come into operation until the 28th May, 1918. So that really they are getting six and a-half years under the Bill itself, which I submit is a very substantial time limit. If we stood on our rights we might ask for a much shorter period. Many moderate people in Scotland would think that no time limit at all was necessary, but in order to meet any possible equities in the case this time limit has been inserted and very widely accepted. Hon. Members say that we are extreme. I would remind them that this is one of the most moderate Bills ever introduced. Mr. McLagan's Bill in 188[...] was an out-and-out prohibition Bill. Now we have inserted the other options, the five years' time limit, and a three-fifths majority instead of a simple majority for the prohibition option. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Mackinder) referred to "undoubted" majorities. Purely a three-fifths majority makes the situation clear enough for him. The Bill is fair to all interests concerned. It will secure to the ratepayers of Scotland what they desire to have—namely, full and unfettered discretion in the exercise of the options contained in the Bill. I believe that many of the provisions will be put into operation very soon after the Act comes into force. After waiting for so many years the people of Scotland are entitled to ask from the Government that they shall have an effective measure, and that they shall not be thwarted again in securing a measure on the lines that they desire. The power is in the hands of the Government to-day. We ask that they should use it to enable the people of Scotland to enforce their wishes in regard to a trade whose existence can only be justified by the needs of the community, and to protect their homes against what, after all, is our greatest national foe.
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
The last speaker criticised the fact that in 1910 the Motion to reject a Bill similar to this was moved and seconded by English Members. I think it must have escaped his notice that, for some extraordinary reason, that Bill was also introduced by an English Member. I am neither a Scottish Member nor interested in the trade, but as an English Member I venture without apology to intervene in this Debate, because I think we have all a right to regard the possibilities of legislation of this kind in reference to its indirect effects upon other parts of the country. We have also an equal 971 right to criticise measures that we believe to contain elements of injustice, hardship, or inconvenience to great masses of the people. The question of local option as such is one which I need not labour. To me it always seems that there are very great difficulties connected with the fact that you would have what are called "dry" and "wet" areas contiguous to each other, with the obvious inconvenience of boundaries between the two, necessitating in some cases one side of a street being "dry" while the other side was "wet." This Bill proposes to transfer, to a great extent, to certain masses of the electorate, the powers which have hitherto been exercised by the magistrates. That is to say, a certain proportion of the electorate are to have it in their hands to decide whether or not a particular district shall have any licences at all or fewer licences, and so forth. I submit that the electorate are not able in the same way as the licensing authorities have hitherto been to take evidence on the subject, and they must therefore be guided much less by evidence than by their instinctive feelings.
I think that a great number of people could not help being influenced very largely by personal considerations. There is no doubt that a man who lives next door to a public-house, or opposite a public-house, would have a very strong inclination to vote in such a way as to destroy that public-house, simply because he personally objected to its proximity. In this way yon rather encourage a certain proportion of the population of a district to exercise a tyranny which is so far from granting a proper freedom to the rest of the inhabitants. You will always have a number of people desirous of making the rest op the community adopt their own method of living. That you cannot avoid. There will always be people who want to impose their own habits and their own views on their neighbours. But equally you would have the same feeling if you suggested the abolition of butchers' shops. The vegetarian would say, "It is a very good thing for the world to do without meat." You would perhaps have some ladies desirous of abolishing tobacconists' shops to prevent their husbands smoking as much as they could do. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] Because they would think it would be a good thing for their husbands to smoke less. And certain others might wish for the shutting up of other shops 972 that our wives waste a good deal of money at, such as old furniture shops, and bric-à-brac establishments.
Let us consider a little who will have the power of exercising this tyrannical judgment. In many cases those who will vote on this licence matter will be those who have private cellars of their own. They will vote quite irrespective of the feelings of those who have no private cellar. I think it was the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nottingham who said the reason we do not find public-houses in the well-to-do residential districts is because the licensing authority is usually composed of magistrates living in those districts who will not allow public-houses to come near them. As a matter of fact it has nothing to do with that. The reason that public-houses exist in less numbers in the residential districts is simply because the people there having, as they do have, private cellars, do not require public-houses; whereas in the working class district there are not private cellars and the proximity of the public-house is a very natural thing. The theory of this Bill is, of course, that in each district you give a majority of the people the power to coerce the minority into their views. It is necessary, I think, to consider the effect that this will have on other classes of people who do not reside in that area. That is a point which will naturally require serious consideration. What is to be the position of bonâ fide, travellers who happen to stop for dinner in that area? Are they not to be allowed to have their dinner in the way they choose, or are they to be coerced by and like the inhabitants of that district?
There is really the serious question of the refreshment rooms of the railway. Are these to conform to the particular area in which they happen to be? Is one station to be dry and the next wet, and so on all down the line, or will some agreement be come to? There is, too, the question of the dining cars. Are you going to adopt the system which I believe has had the most curious effects in America, where you can call for a bottle of beer or wine at one moment, and the next moment be told that you have run out of the wet area into the dry, and that you cannot get a drink for two hours. If that method is going to be adopted, it will be necessary for a traveller going north to see that he gets a good drink at Berwick, because he will not be able to get another till he arrives at Edinburgh! These are points which will, I 973 take it, be seriously considered in Committee. As to the electorate who are going to decide upon these questions, who are they? I understand that they are to be electors of the county council and the municipal electors. These municipal electors do not include by any means the whole of the working man element, but they do include a great many women, and we may perhaps here get a very interesting illustration of some little sex legislation.
There is one point on which I should like some information, for it seems to me really a little difficult to understand. What is to be the outcome of the working of Clause 4? In the case of a "no-licence," which you might have by the first poll of the electors, what follows? After the district has had "no licence" for some considerable time under Clause 4 that decision may be reversed. The "no-licence" may be cancelled. Where are you going back to? Do you go back to a licence, or a limited licence? What machinery is there in the Act for arranging this matter? How is a district to discover whether, and how, it shall go back to a great number of licences or how many, or whether the original public-house which presumably in the interval of "no licence" has been used for other purposes shall be re-established? What really is likely to be the effect of this legislation upon temperance? Surely the experience of the world, so far, has not been altogether satisfactory. Take the instance of New Zealand, where temperance legislation has been in operation. You have there the very extraordinary fact that the consumption of liquor per head of the population, in spite of legislation, has increased from £3 8s. in 1900 to £3 13s. in 1910, and you have also this other fact, that the consumption per head in New Zealand is greater than in this country.
§ Mr. MORTON
If what the hon. Member says is the case why should the drink interest oppose this Bill?
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
The hon. Member referred to me personally, but I am not speaking from the standpoint of the drink interest. I speak on much broader grounds than that. I object to this interference with the liberty of the subject. We propose to pass legislation which to my mind certainly will not have the desired effect of producing more temperance. 974 Hon. Members may perhaps have seen the report which was made by Mr. Carson in 1908. He was requested by the Prime Minister of Western Australia to inquire into the working of liquor laws in the other Australasian Colonies and New Zealand. Hon. Members will find the report given is very much against the view that legislation of this kind would produce good results in the way of temperance. They will find, too, on examination, that legislation of this kind worked very capriciously. The hon. Member goes on to say:—The social reformer has still some right to expect that the drink Bill of the country, after 51 per cent, or so of the electors voted 'no-licence' in 1905, and 52 per cent, voted 'no-licence' in 1908, would at least reflect in these later years soberer habits on the part of the whole of the people. As it does nothing of the kind the inference is surely that the 'no-licence' vote, successful as it has been in blotting out licences and possibly diminishing the traffic in drink in 'no-licence' districts, has not appreciably, if at all, influenced the habits of the New Zealand people. The whole quarrel is that as the Drink Bill advances there must be more drinking in the homes of the people or in the licensed houses or both.That seems to me to afford an example that this kind of legislation does net produce the desired effct. I do not propose to go into the question of compensation except to point out that it seems to me this legislation in Scotland will in some respects have a harsher and more unjust effect than if it were applied in England, because in England, where you have tied houses and where you have a number of houses belonging to one man, the extinction of some of those houses will to some extent have an effect upon the trade of the others and compensate for the loss; but in Scotland, where the tied-house system does not exist, it seems to me loss is likely to fall upon the owner of a small house and upon smaller men less able to bear the loss than is the case amongst English traders. I simply oppose this scheme on the ground that it will not and cannot, in my opinion, be expected to have the result which you desire in the way of promoting temperance. I do not believe you can produce this wonderful scheme of sobriety by legislation, and I am perfectly certain that in any case you cannot do what you propose to do without creating a very considerable amount of injustice to some and inconvenience and hardship to a great many more.
§ Mr. ROBERT MUNRO
I am sensible of the truth of the observation which fell from the Lord Advocate at an early stage of his speech, to the effect that there was 975 some difficulty within the ambit of argument open to us upon this subject in finding an argument of any novelty. That is not less true when the Debate has reached the stage it has now, and, while I do not feel that that justifies me in giving a silent vote, at the same time it will lead me to make my observations very brief. If this Debate has revealed that there is a considerable amount of disagreement between the two sides of the House, it has also revealed the fact that there is a certain measure of agreement. We all agree, I suppose, with regard to the magnitude and importance of the problem with which this Bill seeks to deal. We all probably agree with the expression which, I think, was quoted in an earlier stage of the Debate from Mr. Gladstone, that the drink curse in this country was greater than the other three curses of war, famine, and pestilence.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I understood the observation was general, but whether that be so or not I do not think there will be any disagreement with regard to the truth of the statement whether in regard to Scotland or elsewhere. We are all agreed that temperance is greatly to be desired. So far we are in agreement: but when the Government proceeds to find a specific scheme to abate the mischief we are all agreed in deploring, then apparently our paths diverge. We are all agreed as to our destination and the end we desire to achieve, but we differ with regard to the means by which it should be achieved. Before I say a word about the means which the House is discussing tonight, may I endeavour to make good two preliminary propositions, which it is necessary to make good before we come to consider the Bill? The first proposition is that it is necessary to legislate upon this subject, and the second is that it is proper to legislate upon the subject for Scotland. Of course, there are many persons who say you should not legislate at all, but should leave it to the quickened conscience and to the opened mind of the people to work out their salvation without any legislation. I think there is an answer to that, and it is that experience has abundantly demonstrated that by moral means alone you cannot acheive the end which all temperance reformers, on whichever side of the House they sit, desire to acheive; that, in other words, the policy of negation is 976 a policy of despair, that the policy of sitting with folded hands and doing nothing to abate the ravages which we all deplore is condemned by experience, while, on the other hand, experience shows that you can, by legislation, if not entirely remove, at least lessen temptation. If it is a proper thing to secure by legislation that a minimum wage should be paid to certain classes of workmen, it seems to me to be no less desirable that by legislation it should be provided that they should be subject to a minimum degree of temptation in the surroundings where they spend that wage.
So far as experience goes in Scotland, at any rate, it is abundantly proved that there is intimate relation between facilities for drinking and drunkenness. Reference has been made to the Forbes McKenzie Act, which has been the law in Scotland for fifty years. Anyone who knows Scotland knows that the provisions of that Act have been entirely beneficial and have diminished drunkenness in the country, and no one would for a moment suggest the propriety of repealing that Statute. Precisely the same argument appears to have been used in regard to tyranny and repression when that Act was passing as is now used in reference to this Bill. I venture then to suggest that it is clear that legislation is necessary, and if it be necessary, then surely Scotland has the first claim to such legislation, and that for more reasons than one. This Bill has for many a long year had behind it all that is best and most responsible in the public opinion of Scotland. Churches, charitable societies, and labour conferences are behind this Bill. The Members for Scotland, by a very large majority, have for many years been in its favour, and therefore surely one is justified in saying there is a national demand for the measure. I respectfully ask any Member who has any doubt upon this subject to consider whether he should not take the view expressed in 1910 by Mr. Hilaire Belloc, who was then a Member of the House, and who, while professing that he was not very much in love with the measure, said he proposed to vote for it on the ground that it was a measure desired by the overwhelming majority of Scottish Members. That is the position so far as Scotland is concerned.
Not only are the Scottish people and Scottish Members in favour of this 977 measure, but let me say, with great respect, that in Scotland we consider in this matter, as in other matters, we are in advance of public opinion in England. For example, we have had Sunday closing for fifty years. We have had the option of early closing for some years, and probably neither the one nor the other is within the range of practical politics in England to-day. That may be a matter for congratulation, or it may not, but so far as Scotland is concerned she has demanded this measure for many years, and being in advance of those who live on this side of the border on temperance questions I think Scotland should receive the legislation which she desires. If then legislation is necessary, and if Scotland is the proper area for legislation of this kind, what about the legislation which is proposed now? I do not intend to go into it in any detail, but it seems to me that this Bill is founded on a simple and sound proposition. Scarcely anything has been said against the provisions in regard to clubs or with the regard to the proposal that public-houses should open later in the morning. The principal subject touched upon in argument has been that of local option, and so far as that goes this Bill really transfers the discretionary power at present exercised by a more or less unrepresentative bench, and places it in the hands of the people in the localities affected. Surely it is a democratic proposal, because the people who live there know where the shoe pinches; they wear it, and they ought to know, and therefore they ought to have some say in the discarding, it may be, of that particular item. So far as the localities are concerned, the people will enjoy a right of self-protection they have not hitherto enjoyed, and the bench will be deprived of the right to use, and I am afraid sometimes to misuse, the power which it enjoys.
If that be the proposal it is a simple, and, I submit, a fair proposition, and what is said against it? I have read the Amendment, and as far as I can understand it, it is based upon two propositions. First, it is said that we include the principle of prohibition in the Bill; and, secondly, that we exclude the principle of mutual insurance, and these are the two objections raised to this measure. With regard to prohibition, it is undoubtedly included in the Bill, and I submit it would not be logical if it were not included. If the people in a locality, having 978 full regard to all the considerations. affecting that locality, come to the conclusion that there ought to be no licences in that locality, why should they not have their way and invoke the principle which, is practically the same principle as that which many large land owners in Scotland have adopted—which was adopted by the late Leader of the Opposition, amongst others, and very properly adopted—of prohibiting the existence of licensed premises on their property? Although, no doubt, this privilege will be sparingly exercised, it is a privilege which the locality ought to possess. Having listened to the speeches of hon. Members opposite, I do not know whether the anticipation is that this provision will be inoperative, or that it will be freely exercised, but the argument was the same against the two Acts of Parliament to which I have already referred. My last point is the question of mutual insurance. It is made the subject of complaint that this is not provided for in this Bill. I desire to observe the injunction which the Lord Advocate enjoined upon us to keep an open mind upon this question in order that it may be fully and properly discussed upstairs. I think it is asking too much to ask us on this side of the House to vote against a Bill or delay its passage in respect of some scheme of insurance which, so far as we know, is entirely in the air at present.
I think we are entitled to ask three questions before we commit ourselves to this scheme. In the first place, what is the meaning of the scheme of mutual insurance? The Lord Advocate put a question on that subject, but it has not been answered. There seems to be some confusion as to what mutual insurance precisely is. That has, first of all, to be determined. When you have settled that, what is the particular concrete scheme which it is sought to apply? We have no knowledge whatever of that, and our adhesion to the principle may depend upon it. Lastly, we are entitled to know what is your mandate for putting forward such a scheme. Does the trade want that scheme or not? It is really no answer to say, as the hon. Member for Camlachie said, that the Bill itself has divided the trade into two on this question. Surely, it is a large order to impose upon one section of the trade a scheme of insurance which it does not desire merely because another section does desire it. The thing is at this stage far too nebulous, so far as compulsory insurance is concerned, 979 to express any considered opinion upon it. I venture to say that the reasons put forward in favour of this Amendment do not afford sufficient grounds for delaying the Second Reading of this Bill, and I hope the prophecy expressed that this is the last time the House of Commons will be troubled with this particular measure will turn out to be perfectly true, for the simple reason that the Bill will pass its Second Reading, pass through Committee and the other stages, and become the law of the land.
We have been discussing a Bill introduced by the Secretary for Scotland in a speech which I thought was not only comprehensive, but at the same time exceedingly suggestive, which indicated the history of this question very distinctly and showed how it had been treated during the last sixty years. The speech made by the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. James Mason) was answered in nearly every detail by the hon. Member for Wick Burghs (Mr. Munro). One hon. Member drew a comparison between a butcher's shop and a licensed house, and asked why the same power of coercion should not be used in both cases. If a butcher's shop produced the same evil results as a liquor shop we should deal with them in the same way. The conditions are so different in each case that it can scarcely be taken as an analogy. But, apart from that, I think the history of this question is worth looking into. Ever since the year 1880 the Scotch Members have year after year voted in a certain direction for local option resolutions in this House. In 1880, thirty-eight Scotch Members voted for local option and only three against it; in 1881, there were thirty-seven for and three against; in 1883, there were thirty-six for and two against; and further on, in 1907, you had fifty-two in favour of local option and seven against. The majority in 1907, when the House discussed this question, was 156 in its favour. In the year 1909, again, you have a majority—thirty-five Scotch Members voting for and only one against, with a majority of the whole House of 110. In 1910 you know what happened, for there was a similar majority of 113: forty-five Members for Scotland voting for and only five against the principle. In 1909–10 the Bill passed the Scottish Grand Committee and was reported to this House. The greatest authority I know of in that way is 980 the Lord Chancellor, who, speaking in Caxton Hall at Westminster on the 31st October, 1910, said:—Scotland has escaped the Act of 1904 There never has been in Scotland a vested interest that has been recognised … I was always opposed to the State having anything to do with insurance at all. I believed it was sufficient that the trade might insure itself if it thought tit. If once you bring in the action of the State you will be led to say, unless the insurance fund is sufficient to compensate, then no existing licence shall be refused. I beg respectfully to warn my countrymen in Scotland not to touch this thing.With an authority like that, I think it is well to consider what Scotland thinks outside this House. The moral aspects of the question are well worth looking into. So thoroughly have they been brought home to the constituencies, that there is no doubt the electors have been informed on this subject, and they are now asking that the local authorities should be able to make it possible to reduce facilities to get alcoholic beverages. For upwards of sixty years social reformers in Scotland have been working hard. Thousands of pounds have been spent, not only in going into the villages, but into the towns and cities of our land, and the result is that there is no man or woman in Scotland, who has taken an interest in the affairs of the country, who does not know this question from beginning to end. England has never been treated in this manner. That is one reason why public opinion in this country was not equal to the views of hon. Members inside this House. In Scotland it is different, Public opinion is as strong in Scotland as it is among her representatives inside this House, although that is strong, there being fifty Members against twelve on the other side. It is easy to trace poverty, vice, and destitution in certain districts in Scotland where licences are numerous compared with other districts where public-houses are few in number, and in some districts where they are not allowed the absence of this poverty and drunkenness is quite apparent. That is the reason why we are asking now that this house should walk in that direction. I have great admiration for the Bill of Lord Bal-four of Burleigh. I think that Bill brought incalculable benefit to the inhabitants of Scotland. It reduced treating, and certain Clauses in it have been exceedingly helpful to us. The closing of public-houses at ten instead of eleven has been a vast improvement. We have not in our country what goes on in London, the opening of public-house at six in the morning and keeping them open till 12.30 at night and giving facilities for the sale of 981 drink on Sunday. London is fifty years behind us, and English Members considering this question should remember where Scotland has been during the last fifty-eight years. We have Sunday closing and we have no security of tenure for all licence holders in Scotland. We have never dreamed of doing things of that kind. We believe the rights of the people ought to be preserved against the rights of individuals who simply hold licences.
Scotland at one time was looked upon as the most drunken country in Great Britain, but we are gradually improving, and if we could get rid of this curse it would be a perfect paradise, for nature has made it the most beautiful country in the world. That is the reason we are so earnest to see this carried out. We are making steady progress. Six years ago Scotland consumed £1 per head more than England of alcohol. Now Scotland consumes 15s. 3d. per head under England, although England's drink bill is also reduced. Is it a wonder that the best citizens are anxious we should take a still further step in the right direction and take away this blot from our national life? We believe it can be done by legitimate means when public opinion is behind us. We have in Scotland more abstainers in proportion to England; and, although we have that state of drunkenness, when you strike an average we come below England. The sights we behold in Scotland on Saturday night are exceedingly sad, and we are anxious that Saturday night in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Greenock should be brought into line with all the rest of the nights in the week, and to effect that we are prepared to see this Bill carried out. Scotland is at the back of this Bill. We are anxious that the moral aspects of this question should be looked at, and, if the House will consider what I have been saying, I am inclined to think it will grant us the right to say whether licences should continue as they have been or whether they should be reduced, or, better still, whether all licences should be removed by a sufficient number of votes given in each district. For fifty years and more many earnest men and women in Scotland have been doing their utmost by moral suasion and example and by educational methods to bring about that time when there shall be favourable opportunities given to all those who desire them, of living in such an environment as shall make their lives better and nobler.
§ Mr. PETO
I want to try and elucidate what are the real arguments for passing this measure. The hon. Member who has just sat down has drawn a picture of Scotland, which, of course, he knows far better than I do, and he asked us to regard this, purely from the moral point of view, as doing away with the drunkenness which he admits or claims as one of the misfortunes of that country. He did not say, however, a single word as to the morality of the means by which it is proposed to carry that out. The hon. Member for the Wick Burghs (Mr. R. Munro), who spoke just before, said it was perfectly idle for anyone to take the line of argument that by moral persuasion a great deal of improvement could be effected, and that it was absolutely necessary to legislate in order to produce any result. Surely the hon. Member was historically wrong. It cannot be absolutely necessary to legislate for the poor, because it has been proved to be wholly unnecessary to legislate for the rich. There was no Act of Parliament passed sixty years ago to absolutely prohibit the drinking of three port wines to a man after dinner, and yet that custom has absolutely disappeared. I venture to think those hon. Members on this side of the House who opposed this measure by their speeches are absolutely justified in saying nothing has been said either to prove the Bill is necessary or that it will accomplish what is intended. The Lord Advocate gave us a most lucid and interesting speech, in which he drew the clearest possible distinction between the judicial functions of the present licensing authorities and their functions which are purely discretionary. He said it was only proposed under this Bill to transfer from the licensing authorities to the electorate, who, he said were in the main exactly the same kind of people, the discretionary powers. I listened to hear what was going to result from this minute change. It was perfectly obvious the line of the Lord Advocate's argument was, as people were exactly the same, one was merely a sample of the remainder, and the sample having discretionary powers, the whole body having had such powers transferred to them, no result would be produced, and we on this side need have not the slightest fear that the exercise of the local veto would really be carried into effect with respect to licensed houses. Surely that line of argument is another argument against the introduction of this compulsory Bill 983 altogether. If it is not going to produce any effect, where is its value? If it is then the argument of the Lord Advocate was wholly disingenuous. Hon. Members know perfectly well that they are asking powers to be given to a 30 per cent, minority in any district to ride roughshod over the moderate men for whom the Lord Advocate has such a tender heart. They know perfectly well that it will produce arbitrary distinctions and divisions into districts.
Further than that, it is desirable to see how far the elector, as denned under this Bill, agrees with the description of the Lord Advocate. The definition under the Bill is for the burgh and municipal franchise, and in the parish it will be those who are entitled to vote for the parish council. Everybody can see that this is a Woman Suffrage Bill, brought in by a side door, bringing the woman's vote to bear on the very kind of subject which those of us who are in favour of the broad principle of Woman Suffrage most dread in its application. If it were dealt with honestly, it should be called a Bill to enable women in any district to prohibit licensed premises, and it was hoped that it would pass through without observation. With regard to the main principle of this Bill, which is the only one on which I feel in any way entitled to say a word, it is a question whether it is morally right, in order to accomplish something you believe to be for the good of the country to give power to a minority of the people in any district so that by exercising their vote on a particular subject they can absolutely dictate to the real majority. If hon. Members do not like that definition let us admit it is a majority of those who vote—three-fifths of those who vote. The Lord Advocate said that the quiet men of moderate opinions whom he had met constantly in Scotland were generally in favour of prohibition. I believe the Lord Advocate is entirely mistaken in saying that most moderate men favour prohibition, and I do not believe myself that moderate men will give a vote for it because their sense of justice is much stronger than their sense of antipathy to drink. I want to know why there is any necessity for a ballot on this subject. There is no proposal to have a ballot which would apply to other classes. It has been put from this side of the House that a proposal to prohibit drink within 984 the precincts of the House would not have the slightest chance of success. It seems to me perfectly obvious this is beginning altogether at the wrong end of the stick. It is not charity at home; it is the charity of the middle classes who want to goverin their poorer brethren. It is a charity which has a great deal of the Pharisee in it as well. People who have well-lined cellars do not wish their neighbourhood denied by public-houses. The Lord Advocate spoke of a telegram he had received from, I believe, some grocers' organisation. But the grocer was always opposed to the honest licensed trader, and therefore it is very natural to hear that the grocers' trade in Scotland are not in favour of contributing to a compulsory scheme for providing insurance for their enemies the licensed holders. I think this Bill is based on thoroughly bad and immoral principles. I do not think it is going to be good for the country if this principle is put into practice, and should I have an opportunity of voting against the Second Reading of the Bill as a whole I shall do so without in the slightest degree feeling that I am voting for intemperance or for the representation of any trade or interest. I shall feel I am voting in favour of the liberty of the subject and of the maintenance of fair and moral principles in our legislation.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
Although I ought perhaps to apologise for intervening in a Scottish Debate, seeing that I am an English Member, I claim to possess a qualification which is not possessed by some Scotch Members, and that is, I am a Scottish elector, and, therefore, to that extent, I am affected by the provisions of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Wick Burghs a moment or two ago very properly pointed out that this Debate today had shown that there was a very large measure of agreement concerning the objects which are in view in this Bill. It has also shown that there is a considerable body of approval for certain of the specific proposals contained in the Bill. There has been no criticism of the proposal for later opening or of the proposed greater restrictions on clubs. I believe there has also been a very considerable measure of agreement concerning the desirability of some measure of licence reduction in those areas in Scotland where there is at present an excess. I have never personally attached the importance to that particular proposal which is attached to it by many of those actively interested in the 985 licensing movement. I have never yet been convinced that, so far as the ultimate problem of the reformer is concerned—I mean a substantial diminution in the amount of excessive drinking—that there is any strict or necessary relationship between the number of the facilities for the sale of liquor and the amount of liquor that is sold or consumed. It has also to be remembered that, so far as Scotland is concerned, there is by no means that great amount of excess in the provision of facilities for the sale of liquor that characterises conditions in England. The proposals of the Government are not extreme in that respect. They do not really go quite so far as Lord Peel's proposals went in 1899. I was careful at the time to attempt to apply the Peel provisions in regard to the reduction of licences to the whole of the Royal burghs, the municipal burghs, and the police burghs in Scotland, and I believe his proposal represented a reduction of something like 28 per cent, of the existing number of licences, whereas the proposal in this Bill is simply to secure a reduction, on local option principles, of 25 per cent.
While I do not quarrel with the aim of restricting the number of licences[...] I do feel that the Government have not quite properly applied the principle that they are invoking. I think it is a mistake to fix a uniform and stereotyped measure of reduction for all localities indiscriminately, without any regard to the local conditions and needs. There are certain districts of Scotland for which a 10 per cent, reduction might quite suffice. There may be other areas in Scotland where a 30 or 40 per cent, reduction is urgently needed—that is, in the relatively few areas in Scotland where any great measure of excess happens to exist at the present time. I would have much preferred some provision for the reduction of licences which was more elastic, which allowed of larger discretionary powers to the locality, and which sought to fit the measure of reduction to the actual needs of the neighbourhood. I desire however to concentrate attention on what to me is a much more important point. I am in entire agreement with what I understand to be the basic principle of this Bill—the principle of local self-government in reference to the conduct and control of the liquor trade. I believe that nothing could be more absurd than to make permanent that stereotyping of our licensing system which has been the illogical and absurd feature of our licensing 986 arrangements right down the centuries. It is perfectly absurd to ordain by Act of Parliament that all localities indiscriminately shall have only the same opportunities or the same precise forms of reform open to them. It is almost a rudimentary principle in licensing reform that a licensing system to be sound must be a system with a certain elasticity in it, and it must be of a nature which makes it quickly responsive to the growth or advance of local public opinion or sentiment. My complaint against this Bill is this, that the Bill gives only a partial and a very limited expression to its basic principle of local self-government. This Bill does not give anything like real initiative to localities. It prescribes certain limits and powers, and it compels any locality that wants to take a step in advance to conform its step or its movement to the rigid and arbitrary limits and forms prescribed in the proposals of this Bill. Supposing, for example, in a certain locality there are 10 per cent, of the electors who want to bring about a reduction of licences. In older to test local public opinion concerning it they have to bring to issue before the electors two further options. It seems to me a perfectly unnecessary complication in the matter to force communities to vote upon three distinct options when there may be the desire to test local opinion concerning only one of those three options. Is the Secretary for Scotland quite convinced that, by basing the Bill upon the principle of local self-government he does absolutely secure that local public opinion shall prevail? Take the most controversial provision in the Bill, with reference to no-licence or prohibition. I am rather sorry that a somewhat hybrid American phrase has for the first time been given statutory form in the legislation of this House. The people of this country and in Scotland do not understand "no-licence." Only a small expert part of the population understands that American phrase. I prefer to put before the electors the plain issue of prohibition which is meant by the phrase "no-licence."
Take the proposal with regard to prohibition. Personally, and I have never disguised my view, I do not hold that prohibition is the best method by which to try to secure that progress and reform which all classes in the community desire to see accomplished. Personally, I have 987 not much faith in the efficacy of prohibition, even when you have placed it on the Statute Book, but, given proper safeguards, I have never been able to see that the local veto option could be arbitrarily ruled out of any comprehensive scheme of licensing reform. I believe that all the old a priori objections to prohibition have lost their force, and that the advocates of prohibition to-day may quite justifiably plead that the proposal to give the community a direct voice in the provision of licences is nothing more than a logical development of our political procedure in other matters. It must be obvious that the first condition of a proposal of so drastic a character, a proposal which aims directly at the most personal as well as the most deep-rooted social habit, is that it must be safeguarded properly when you give it statutory form. Does the Secretary for Scotland for one moment pretend that the option of prohibition in this Bill is properly or safely guarded? What is the proposal of the Bill? I would like the right hon. Gentleman to try to imagine the propsal in the Bill operative in connection with the communities in Scotland. It has been argued this afternoon that it is perfectly right that the people of a community shall have the same power of controlling or of vetoing the traffic as is now possessed by licensing justices or private individuals. There does not seem to be any relevancy or force in this appeal to areas of a circumscribed type, which are now prohibited by the ordinance of the landlord, because it is one thing for a workman voluntarily to go to a prohibition area, and it is quite another thing to remove the facilities of an area in which a man already lives. Nor can it be suggested for a moment that those who now live in these prohibition suburban or urban areas of a strictly circumscribed type are teetotalers. They are men who do not need and are not accustomed to frequent the public-house, but who are able to meet their needs from outside supplies, particularly in those business districts of the city where they spend the chief part of their working day. I should like to ask my hon. Friends, who have been speaking so eloquently to-night about local self-government and giving complete control of the matter into the hands of the people themselves, do they actually propose to give that popular or democratic control and government in this Bill? You 988 do not propose, to start with, to give the inhabitants of the locality the power to decide the matter. You place the power, first of all, in the hands of a minority of the population, the municipal electors. The House does not, I believe, understand fully what that minority is. In the principal towns and cities of Scotland the municipal electors, who will decide this matter, represent only something like 17 per cent, of the total population, and they only represent something like 25 or 26 per cent, of the total population above fifteen years of age, and it is this small section of the community who are to be the arbiters in the first instance in this matter.
But the case is really worse than that. You do not even secure under the Bill that the electorate, as such, which itself is a small minority of the community, shall decide the matter. You propose that three-fifths of those voting may decide the matter so long as they constitute a third of the municipal electors. Does the House appreciate the condition of affairs which may be brought about under that condition of things? I have been at some pains to apply the provisions of the Bill to-the actual electorate and the actual conditions in seven of the principal cities and towns in Scotland. I have taken Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Ayr, Perth, and Greenock, a list which is at least fully representative, and I have tried to find out what actually would be the position under this Clause if it were made operative by statute. It would be possible for 5 per cent, of the population of any ward in these towns, or 5 per cent, of the population of the town as a whole, to rule out all facilities for the purchase of liquor for the remaining 95 per cent, of the population. There were thirty-one wards of these seven cities contested last November. The electors in these wards, the body that is to decide the matter in this Bill, represent just 17 per cent, of the total population, they represent 26 per cent, of the total population above 15, and they represent 31 per cent, of the total populaion above twenty. I am bound to take twenty as the limit, because it happens to be the Census limit, and I am helpless in the matter. So that your total electorate, to begin with, is only 31 per cent.,—less than one-third,—of the total population over twenty years of age. But the Bill proposes to allow 30 per cent, of that electorate—of that 31 per cent, of the total adult population—to rule out all licences in any one of the areas adopted in the Bill.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
The total number of persons qualified to vote in municipal elections in Scotland represents only 17 per cent, of the total population, and the proportion of those qualified to vote who have voted in the last few years only amounts to 56 per cent, of the whole.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
Of course not, but you are bound to deal with the use that is made of the franchise, based on the experience of some years, and my hon. Friend can offer no fair ground for the suggestion that the proportion of those qualified to vote who will vote under the Bill, is likely to be very much greater than those who have exercised the municipal franchise in the years gone past. The Bill says 30 per cent, of these people shall decide. It may work out that 5 per cent, of the total population of these thirty-one wards, 7.8 per cent, of those above fifteen years of age, and 9 per cent, of those above twenty years of age may rule out the whole of the licences in that particular area. I want to ask, with all frankness, is it pretended for a single moment that that is a democratic proposal? Is it a Liberal proposal? I have not so learned my Liberal faith, and if that represents Liberalism I for one am not a Liberal. I may be told that, after all, it is by procedure of this kind that we decide ordinary matters of municipal arrangement, but that is not necessarily a vindication of our existing municipal arrangements. Apart from that, this matter of the indulgence in alcoholic drink is not an ordinary matter. It is a most intimately personal matter, a deeply rooted social habit with long generations and even centuries of custom behind it; and when you are dealing with a matter that is so intimately personal as indulgence in the alcoholic habit it seems to me that you are bound to provide very much greater safeguards than are provided in this particular Bill.
But I have a further complaint to make, and, in my judgment, a very important one. I very much regret that the Government, in framing their Bill and in basing it on the principle of local self-government, have given such a very partial and limited expression to that principle. If you are going to concede local self-government at all, why not concede it in full and complete measure? There 990 has been a tendency in this Debate, not confined to the back benches, to rule out from the Second Reading discussion matters which to some of us are extremely important on the ground that they are really Committee points and not Second Reading points. I submit respectfully that when you introduce legislation founded upon a great and far-reaching principle it is perfectly relevant and germane to a Second Reading Debate to point out any defects or limitations in the application of that great principle. I associate myself entirely with hon. Members, and particularly with my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) in the plea that if the Government were going to introduce the local option principle at all, the[...] they ought not to limit the option or the power of option in the way proposed. The question of prohibition is constantly discussed as if it represented local option. Local veto is not local option, and you really do not concede the principle of local self - government when you arm a community with powers in certain directions and arbitrarily rule them out from the exercise of similar powers in other directions. I can understand a distinct and specific issue being put to the electorate, but I cannot understand why it should be complicated by another option for "no-change." If you want to test local opinion on any of these points, it is perfectly logical to put that issue to public opinion to see whether public opinion is ready to adopt it, but the moment anyone enters a plea for widening the options one is met in the House, or rather has been met to-day, with the question, "Why seek to enlarge the options of the Bill? Why not concentrate on those points on which there is general agreement?"
§ Mr. SHERWELL
My hon. Friend the Member for the Rushcliffe Division says "Hear, hear." For whom was he speaking? I quite recognise that the organised temperance societies through their committees and officials to-day would to a large extent ask that we should concentrate on those points alone. But I venture to submit that we are legislating for the nation, and not for a small, however respectable, element in the community. I submit that magnificent and self-sacrificing as is the work of many of the organisations, they are not entitled to speak for the whole nation of Scotland any more 991 than a small minority of people are to speak for the people of England. When you ask us to concentrate upon certain specific options, I ask whether you can really concentrate. That plea should only be urged on one ground, namely, that concentration should be agreed to because you have a sufficient and satisfactory policy without the enlargement of the options. That is a position from which I should certainly strongly dissent. Suppose this Bill is put on the Statute Book in its present form, how far will you have travelled towards the goal which you seek to reach? It is probable that a certain number of localities may elect to reduce the number of their licences, but no one questions the fact that when you have succeeded in securing the greatest possible reduction in the number of licences you will still have a large number remaining, and a large volume of trade in alcoholic liquor. I ask my hon. Friends what is to be their attitude towards that large residue of trade in alcoholic liquor? The moment one asks that question we are pointed to the second option, and they say, "Let local authorities sweep it away by voting the local veto." I have no logical objection to giving them power under proper safeguards to veto the trade where they so desire, but does anyone believe that if the Bill were put on the Statute Book to-morrow, any considerable number of communities in Scotland would adopt the local veto, or, if adopted, that they would be able successfully to make it operative? I quite admit that by the Bill, as drafted, if you are going to allow an insignificant fraction of the community to decide the matter it is possible you may carry local veto in a certain number of communities. My point is that if the experience of the whole world counts for anything you are not going to make your prohibition effective or operative in any considerable number of communities when you have passed it by your vote. Speaking from experience, as one who has investigated the operation of local veto and prohibition laws in all parts of the world, I challenge any advocate of local veto to show me a single place where local veto has been successful in great urban districts, which are the districts that constitute the real problem? It is possible, indeed probable, that in some rural and sparsely populated districts in Scotland, and may be occasionally in the suburbs of a large city or in 992 some particular ward of a large city you may carry local veto, but what are you going to do about the solution of the problem of intemperance in those districts which create for us as legislators the problem of intemperance to-day. In Great Britain the problem to be solved is not the problem of suburbs or sparsely-peopled rural districts, but it is the problem of the town, the great urban centre. There is no evidence in any part of the world that when you have put local veto upon the Statute Book the remedy has been operative or effective in those districts which call most urgently for reform at the present day. I think that the Government have no excuse if they shut the door against any widening of the options of this Bill in Grand Committee upstairs. My hon. Friend the Member for the Tradeston Division (Mr. Dundas White) challenged us who advocate disinterested management to give our proposals. I would remind him that last year I did put on the Order Paper my proposal for the inclusion of the option of disinterested management in the Bill, but I was not on the Grand Committee, and therefore had no opportunity of expounding it to the Committee. But everyone knows that the option of disinterested management has been well before every school of earnest temperance reformers for the last forty or fifty years. There are great historiacl experiments in it which are open for the investigation of anybody who is interested in temperance reform. My hon. Friend rather suggested that there was something revolutionary in the proposal. In what way is it revolutionary? Where is the essential difference if there are to be a hundred licences in a town between handing them over to a controlling company of private citizens or to a body of brewers or to a hundred private publicans? There is no essential difference in principle, but you have in the option of disinterested management the promise of achieving something which all the experience of the world shows that in the present position of public opinion in this country you cannot hope to solve by local veto, and to have some satisfactory diminution and some substantial progress made in the great urban communities, which really constitute the problem which this House has to solve.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
Nothing can better illustrate how hopelessly the English 993 representative can be out of touch with Scottish sentiment than the speech just made. I feel that the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell) is an enemy to the Bill. I have rarely heard a more constant succession of heresies from, anyone who claims to be a temperance reformer. His first objection to the Bill is that 5 per cent, of the electors might bring about no licence. Five per cent, is quite sufficient to send the hon. Member here if nobody else voted. But we have no other way of forcing people to vote than by placing before them an issue in which they are interested. The hon. Member claims to be a temperance reformer. The whole reform with which we are dealing is of vital importance and touches the community in its most vital interests yet he assumes that 70 per cent, of the electors would stay at home. We have put in a safeguard. What would the hon. Member suggest? We have put in 30 per cent.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
The hon. Member speaks of 100 per cent. My point was that 70 per cent, have not the power of voting if they desired to do so.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
If you include children in arms, I dare say the figures are right What issue would he submit to the electorate, or would he submit an issue at all? If he would submit an issue, how would he submit it? The Bill proposes that the issue should be submitted to the ratepayers. The hon. Member further stated that he could see no connection between facilities for getting liquor and the amount consumed. Therefore, I can understand the fallacy under which he rests. If in his study of the subject the hon. Gentleman can see no connection between facilities for getting liquor and its consumption, he must be absolutely blind to all the facts and the history of this particular movement. Take the Budget, which reduced the facilities for getting liquor by making it dearer. Men found that they could not buy the more expensive liquor, and as they could not pay the consumption was reduced in amount, with the lessened crime, degradation and disease that always follows in its train. Take Liverpool, where during the strike, hotels were closed and facilities diminished. Sobriety followed, together with the absence of crime and of police offences. Here you have a distinct connection between facilities for getting liquor and the amount consumed. Take the ten o'clock closing. 994 Here the closing of the doors even one hour more in the twenty-four reduced the facilities and the amount consumed. The hon. Member said that prohibition has been a failure. That has been reiterated by the enemies of this Bill. It was said that it was impossible to reduce the amount of liquor consumed by any system of local veto such as this. The hon. Member said the reduction of facilities did not reduce the amount consumed.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
The hon. Member must not put words into my mouth which I never used. I made no such statement. On the contrary, my argument was in favour of the reduction of licences up to a certain point. I merely announced that I had never yet been convinced that there was anything like a precise connection between the number of promises and the amount of liqour consumed.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I took down the words, "no connection between facility[...]s for getting liquor and amount consumed."
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
"Precise." I did not hear that word. But modified even to that extent, the words do not apply. I repeat if you reduce facilities for getting liquor you reduce the amount consumed. That is the whole basis of our position; that is the Bill before the House to-day. If you reduce the amount of drink consumed you reduce all the poverty and degradation and insanity and crime associated with its use. That has been admitted by all who studied the question, with the exception of the hon. Member. I will give an example of the effects in a no-licence district. The hon. Member seemed to think that no-licence and prohibition were synonymous terms. [Mr. Sherwell indicated dissent.] Prohibition means to prohibit the manufacture, use, and importation of alcohol, but no-licence means simply that you will not license anyone to keep an open bar to retail it. If this Bill passes it will be possible by a three-fifths vote to withdraw or to fail to renew a licence to retail liquor but the Bill does not, as one hon. Member mentioned, say that it will be a sin to drink. Temperance reformers do not say so. They say it is unwise and injurious and a bad example, but nobody says that it is a crime. The point is, will you allow open bars to continue or not. We do not even make that claim in the Bill, but we 995 simply allow the community to determine. All that the Bill asks is that the community should be allowed to determine whether they will have the open bar, and, with the open bar the facilities for obtaining liquor which increase consumption. Here is a conspicuous example of the result of no-licence in a large inland town in New Zealand, with a population of 11,000. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is only a small town."] I admit it is not as large as a town with a population of 12,000, but it is larger than a town with a population of 10,000. In Masterton, the year before it "went dry," to use the common phrase, there were 302 cases of drunkenness, and in the year after, 1910, the number was thirty-nine. The year before no-licence the cases of vagrancy totalled 24, and the year after none; common assaults the year before 12 and the year after none; of obscene language the year before 21, and the year after none; indecent exposure the year before 4, and none the year after; disorderly conduct, 15 the year before and none the year after; breaches of the peace, 9 the year before and none the year after; indecent assault, none the year before, one the year after; attempted suicide, 2 the year before, 1 the year after; burglary, 7 the year before and none the year after; forgery, 9 the year before, 1 the year after; theft, 69 the year before and 3 the year after. The hon. Member said that if you had no licences in country districts and suburban districts it might be to some extent successful, but that it was in the large towns the problem existed. If you have reduced facilities in the country and suburban districts you may have good object lessons for subsequent reforms in large towns.
The hon. Member complained that disinterested management is not in as an additional option. The trade makes that complaint, too, but if you introduce another option you detract from the value of the temperance vote. It would be absolutely fatal to bring in another issue, and thus divide up the forces of the temperance vote. There are already three options in the Bill: first, no change; secondly, reduction; and thirdly, no licence. You can destroy entirely the efforts of temperance reformers by splitting their votes. There is a provision in the Bill which safeguards that to some extent. Clause 2 (4) says:—An elector shall not be entitled to vote for more than one of the resolu- 996 tions submitted at the poll, and if a 'no-licence resolution be not carried the votes recorded in favour of such a resolution shall be added to those recorded in favour of a limiting resolution, and shall be deemed to have been recorded in favour thereof.'This prevents splitting with the three issues. If you introduce another issue what provision are you going to make against splitting the forces in favour of temperance reform? Whenever temperance legislation has been introduced into any legislature with which I have been familiar the trade has always come along with this additional option. It has been a trade movement. The trade does not want the Bill at all, but if a Bill is to be forced upon it, the trade says, "Let us spike the guns of the measure." You will spike the guns effectively by bringing in another option and thereby splitting the temperance votes. Disinterested management, so far as it is supported by the trade, represents not its views on reform, but its own private interests and the protection of its licences. Not only is disinterested management a dangerouse option to introduce, but, as a reform, it goes upon an entirely erroneous assumption. Disinterested management assumes that it is the profit from the sale of liquor that is the evil. The evil is not the profit, but the liquor itself. It is not the profit that makes a man drunk; it is the alcohol that he consumes. A man on his way home goes into an open bar and consumes a certain amount of liquor. Afterwards he-staggers home, taking up much more of the roadway than he is legitimately entitled to. His little child runs to greet him when he reaches home; he catches her by the heels, swings her round his head, and dashes out her brains against the wall and furniture. What, in the name of fortune, has the destiny of the profits in the hotel to do with that occurrence? None whatever. The evil is not in the profits of the trade; it is the alcohol consumed.
Somebody spoke about pushing the trade. You cannot push the trade in liquor except by planting a number of bars along the pathway traversed by workmen on their way to and from work. You do not go out and canvass as grocers do with sugar and tea. The facilities for getting-drink are the evil. You may put up the gorgeous placards that decorate our hoardings, but that is not pushing the sale of liquor. It is pushing one brand as against 997 another. You cannot sell liquor by posters or advertisements. You only sell one liquor as against another. You do not require to do anything more to sell liquor than to open wide a door at a street corner, have a bar there, and a pretty barmaid. It is the facilities for buying the liquor that is the evil. Alcohol has the power of creating a craving for itself; and put these two things together, the facilities for getting alcohol and the property of alcohol of creating a craving for itself and they are sufficient to account for the enormous amount consumed and all the associated evils. Finally, I want to emphasise this, that those in the trade do not believe in nor advocate management but they want the option in the Bill. I distrust these. You may kill the Bill by rejecting it or you may kill it by this option. No doubt the hon. Member thinks that this is reform, and that it does not matter what the facilities are for getting liquor- Doubtless he would be in favour of withdrawing all licences and of having free trade in liquor. There are those who think that alcohol will produce little or no [...]vil provided it is sold by some one who has no profit in the sale. But the man who is drinking does not inquire who is making the profit—a private or a municipal owner. We are not going to solve the problem by having State management. If you had municipal management to-morrow it is not going to improve the matter one iota. Those advocating it are entirely misled by the notion that if they eliminate private profit they eliminate the evil that alcohol does. You cannot eliminate this unless you stop the temptation to drink it.
People seem to ignore the properties of alcohol. It is a drug, a poison. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Why does a man get drunk by drinking it if it is not a poison? This is a scientific dictum: "Alcohol is a brain-cell paralyser, which paralyses the brain-cells in the inverse order of their development." The last developed go first—that is, those presiding over self-control. If hon. Members observe a man drinking—they, I know, have no experience!—the first faculty he loses is the last he obtained—his self control. Then he loses his knowledge of his environment, then his brain power over his muscles, then his lungs, and finally his heart. He loses his faculties exactly in the inverse order in which he acquired them. That is how drunkards are made. The drinker by small doses of alcohol extending over a number of months or years paralyses his self- 998 control and loses his power of resistance in the presence of alcohol. That is a scientific and physiological fact. The hon. Member opposite challenged me when I said alcohol is a poison; that is what it is. If alcohol is a poison it should be in the power of the community to say, not "Thou shalt not drink" or "Thou shalt not possess drink," but "Thou shalt not for the purposes of profit tempt others to drink." That is all this Bill asks. That is a simple proposition which does not entrench upon the liberty or the rights of the individual. All it says is that a man shall not have the power to tempt your son or mine to drink this poison, to undermine his prain power or his mental faculties, if the community so determines. When you say that you do no more than confer the basic elements of liberty upon the community.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow says, "You are giving the teetotalers and those who have well-stocked wine cellars the right to say to others, 'You shall not drink nor buy drink nor sell drink.' You are giving these people the right to impose certain disabilities upon the community." But the fact is you are giving this very power and right to those very parties, the publicans themselves, who are financially interested in the result. You are giving to the barmaids, to the porters, to the brewers, and to the distillers the right to vote in this matter. All those interested in the liquor traffic will have this right to vote. You give the right to vote to those having a money interest in the liquor trade. I have no money interest. You may say I have distorted views, but they are not selfish views. You give the right to vote to an enormous number of people engaged in the manufacture of alcohol, yet the right hon. Gentleman accuses temperance reformers of wanting to load the position with their votes. So far as I can see, if you take away all the prejudiced and distorted statements made about the Bill you bring it down to this simple matter that you are trying to limit the consumption of a pernicious poison. The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. James Mason) said it would be as wise to allow people to vote for the closing of butchers' shops in the interests of vegetarians as to give them the power of closing public-bars. If the hon. Member could demonstrate to me or to the electors that the consumption of meat caused 80 per cent. 999 of the crime, more than half of all the poverty, predisposed people to zymotic diseases, created a number of diseases in itself, and helped to fill our asylums, hospitals, and goals, then I should help him to bring in a Bill with a view to closing butchers' shops. I have nothing more to say than to add that this issue is a democratic issue. It is to enable the people themselves who suffer most to have the right to exclude what they conceive to be a dangerous poison which is destroying the social body, and when they are satisfied that this is the case, to establish the new civic law, "Thou shalt not tempt thy neighbours' son to drink for the sake of profit."
§ Mr. AUBREY HERBERT
I should not have risen at this late hour but for the speech to which we have just listened. If that speech is not the most eloquent in favour of the Bill I think hon. Members will certainly agree it is at any rate the most effective against it. I think the House will appreciate one fact, that while a certain amount of the crime of this country may be due to the excessive drinking of wine and spirits, a great deal of nonsense is talked and a great deal of frenzy is created by drinking nothing but water. The hon. Member for Stirlingshire described the downward course of the drunkard and the way in which that course could be watched. He seems to have spent a very considerable time in that amusement, and I wish him joy in it, because it is about the most cold-blooded and icy performance I have ever listened to. The hon. Member for Govan appealed to hon. Members on this side not to obstruct this measure, which was intended to produce a great deal of good, on the ground that he knew the necessities of his own country far better than we do. In that I agree not only with the hon. Member, but also with John Stuart Mill, who put this matter in a nutshell when he laid down that the world would get on very much better if everybody would mind their own business. I oppose this Bill to-night, not because I do not know the necessities of Scotland, but because it contains a principle that may possibly have a wide extension and may be applied to my own country. I put this question to the hon. Member for Govan and those of his persuasion—Will they pledge themselves if this principle is applied to Scotland not to support the further extension of that principle to my 1000 country? [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] An hon. Member says "No." In that case why should I not oppose the initiation of that principle to Scotland?
All those who have listened to the speeches to-night must have appreciated one fact, and that is that there have been very few hon. Members on both sides who have not spoken with a considerable amount of bias. I maintain, however, that there is a considerable difference in our bias. Hon. Members opposite have spoken with a bias in favour of abstinence with coercion. On our side of the House we speak with a bias in favour of temperance with freedom. Hon. Members opposite say, "if you trust the people, the people will do wrong." We on this side of the House say, "trust the people, and the people will do right." If you read the speeches made by hon. Members opposite, not in this House, but outside this House, you would think everyone of them believed that the Devil himself had invented drink. I hear hon. Members opposite applaud the sentiment. I would go further, and I would say that the next invention of the Devil was local option, and that was one worse than drink. The real paradox, of which I am rather surprised the hon. Members opposite have not convicted themselves, is this: I do not suppose there is a single hon. Member opposite who when he has gone and addressed his constituents at an election, has not told them they were competent to exercise their opinion in the way they desired. What happens? You go down to your constituents, and you tell them that in their hands lies the destinies of the whole Empire and the future, good or bad as it may be, of this country. You do that, and then, having taken their suffrages by telling them that all wisdom lies with them, and the right to decide what is to be the future of this country is their's, you say one section, the section that happens to be of your opinion, should absolutely dominate the other section. Where is this legislation going to end? Our opponents say drink is bad for a man; therefore, as far as you can, take away the possibility of giving drink to a man. You can go further than that. Betting may be bad for a man. Are you going to close all the racecourses because a number of people disapprove of betting? You can go further still. There are some men who get very absurd thoughts into their heads, and who 1001 act on those thoughts from reading. Are you for that reason going to close all the free libraries in the country? I do not think it can be denied that the present Session is a Session of class legislation. Yon cannot prevent the man with wealth from drinking. If he wants, he can get a bottle of champagne from the chemist's. There was a very witty speech—
§ Mr. McKINNON WOOD rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 155; Noes, 101.1003
|Division No. 65.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Hackett, J.||Neilson, Francis|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Do[...]caster)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barnes, George N.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Dowd, John|
|Barran, Sir J. (Hawick)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hayden, Jinn Patrick||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Hayward, Evan||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Henry, Sir Charles S.||Radford, G. H.|
|Boland, John Plus||Higham, John Sharp||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hinds, John||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hodge, John||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Hogge, James Myles||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hudson, Walter||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Clough, William||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rowlands, James|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushciffe)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Keating, Matthew||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Cowan, W. H.||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bildgeton)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S.Molton)||Snowden, Philip|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lansbury, George||Taylor, Theedore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Davies, Tomthy (Lines., Louth)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lyell, Charles Henry||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Doris, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macpherson, James Ian||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid.)||M'Callum, John M.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Furness, Stephen||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Gelder, Sir W. A.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Martin, J.||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Glanville, H. J.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Millar, James Duncan||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Mo[...]teno, Percy Alport||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Mooney, John J.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morgan, George Hay||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Morrell, Philip||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro, Robert|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)|
|Baird, J. L.||Boyton, J.||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Campion, W. R.||Da[...]rymple, Viscount|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Cassel, Felix||Eyres-Monsell, B. M.|
|Barnston, H.||Castlereagh, viscount||Fell, Arthur|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilton)||Cautley, H. S.||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Cave, George||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Malcolm, Ian||Stanier, Beville|
|Foster, Philip Staveley||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Gibbs, G. A.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|G[...]azebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Goldman, C. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Swift, Rigby|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nield, Herbert||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Gretton, John||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Peto, Basil Edward||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Hohler, G. F.||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Ratcliff, R. F.||Winterton, Earl|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Jardine Ernest (Somerset, East)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Keswick, Henry||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Knight, Captain E. A.||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Sanders, Robert A.||Gilmour and Mr. Mackinder.|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."1004
§ The House; divided: Ayes, 153; Noes, 100.1005
|Division No. 66.]||AYES.||[11.10 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro, R.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Hackett, J.||Neilson, Francis|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Harvey, H. T. (Leeds, W.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barran, sir J. (Hawick Burghs)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Dowd, John|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hayden, John Patrick||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Rayward, Evan||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, central)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Henry, Sir Charles E. H.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Boland, John Plus||Higham, John Sharp||Radford, G. H.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hinds, John||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Bowerman, C. W||Hodge, John||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hogge, James Myles||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hudson, Walter||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hughes, S. L.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Clough, William||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts., Rushcliffe)||Rowlands, James|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Keating, Matthew||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Cowan, W. H.||King, J. (Somerset, North)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S.Molton)||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lansbury, George||Snowden, Philip|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Tennant, Harold John|
|Davies, James Arthur||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|De Forest, Baron||Lyell, Charles Henry||Thomas, J. H. (Derby)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lynch, A. A.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Doris, W.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macpherson, James Ian||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||M'Callum, John M.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Furness, Stephen||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Gelder, sir W. A.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gill, A. H.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Martin, Joseph||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Glanville, H. J.||Menzies, Sir Walter||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Millar, James Duncan||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Molteno, Percy Alport||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Mooney, J. J.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morgan, George Hay||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Morrell, Philip||Illinoworth and Mr. Gulland|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Baird, J. L.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Baker, Sir Randol[...] L. (Dorset, N.)||Gardner, Ernest||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gibbs, G. A.||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Eccl[...]sall)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Goldman, C. S.||Ronalds[...]ay, Earl of|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Barlow, Montagu (Salford, South)||Gretton, John||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Barnston, Harry||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon)||Stanier, Beville|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Boyton, James||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hunt, Rowland||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hunter Sir C. R. (Bath)||Swift, Rigby|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Campion, W. R.||Keswick, Henry||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Knight, Captain E. A.||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Cassel, Fellx||Lewisham, Viscount||Valentia, Viscount|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Walter, Col. William Hall|
|Cautley, H. S.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Cave, George||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Malcolm, Ian||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Winterton, Earl|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Yate, Col. Charles Edward|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Nield, Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Captain|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Gilmour and Mr. Mackinder,|
|Eyres-Monsell, B. M.||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Fell, Arthur||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Peel, Captain R. F. (Woodbridge)|
Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for To-morrow.-[Colonel Seely.]