§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now Adjourn."—[Mr. Gulland.]
§ Mr. HOGGE
I wish to draw attention to the fact the Scottish Members are unable to get any time of the House for the discussion of Scottish Estimates. We had a day put down this week on which we were to have certain Votes dealing with matters affecting Scotland very peculiarly and particularly. Owing to circumstances over which no one had any great control—the fact that we had a discussion on the strike—half the time of the one day that has been allotted to Scotchmen was taken away, which means that for the twelve separate Scotch Departments which ought to be discussed while we are discussing Supply we have only had four hours this Session. That is a practice to which we are becoming accustomed, and which the people of Scotland very much resent.
I have given notice of the fact that I was going to draw attention to this, but neither the Prime Minister nor the Scottish Secretary is present, though they both 1502 are supposed to be Scotch Members. I do> not think that is treating the Scotch Members in the way they deserve. Some Members opposite say we always vote right. I have not voted with the Government once this week, and it is now Thursday night. It is time some sort of attention was concentrated on this neglect of Scotch affairs in this House. We are brought up from Scotland; we have been kept nearly six months, and we are going to have our vacation shortly, and shall probably be taking the bulk of the House with us, and we shall be brought back in October to discuss business which does not particularly appertain to Scotland. When we were discussing our Scottish business this week the closure was moved, not from this side, but from the other side, and was carried by the help of the Irishmen whom we are continually helping by our votes. I consider that is a scandalous state of affairs. I do not think it is a matter which ought to be settled by question and answer between the Front Benches at Question Time. We ought to have a pronouncement by the Prime Minister as to whether he means to give Scotland any consideration or not, and I consider it an insult to the people of Scotland that neither the Prime Minister nor the Scottish Secretary is present.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I sympathise with some of the motives which have prompted the hon. Member to make his remarks, but if he had taken a leaf out of the book of the Irish Members he and his Radical friends from Scotland would be able to give effect to their views a great 1503 deal better than they do. He says he has not voted with the Government this week. Of course not, because it did not matter a pin whether he did or not, and, in fact, that is one of the outstanding features of Scottish Radical policy and of English Labour Members that when the Government is quite safe they vote against them, and when they know the Government is in the least danger they take uncommonly good care to vote with them. It is only fair that the professions of Scottish Radical Members should be followed by practice I am sorry to say I have been compelled to vote a great many times with the Government, and the Government are coming to rely on the Opposition now for their support against recalcitrant Members of their own side.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
We are doing our best. That is why Scottish interests are so little attended to, that Scottish Members do not show their teeth at the proper time. Let them take a leaf from the Irish Nationalist Members' book. They could have a good Scottish National party to give effect to their views in the House of Commons, but they will not have the courage to do it. The hon. Gentleman said that the Closure was moved from this side. So it was, when the Debate had degenerated, not into a discussion of Scottish political matters, but of personal quarrels between Members above and below the Gangway.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I think not. I think the hon. Member will agree that it became a dispute as to whether some Radical Members had signed a petition in favour of Scottish Home Rule, this year, last year, or the previous year, and whether they had changed their opinions. I agreed with my hon. Friend that it was high time that that very uninteresting discussion was closed. But I would remind the hon. Member that the Government supported the Closure, and, if I am correctly informed, we only anticipated by a minute or two, their view and their intention about moving the Closure. If Scottish Radical Members wish to see effect given to Scottish opinion in this 1504 House, let them vote against the Government on critical occasions, and take care that they do not voice opinions in the House and in the Lobby to which they do not give effect by their votes. It is strange to find that when a Scottish Radical Member voices the opinions of Scottish Radical Members, there is not a single Member of the Government present. You are proud of your Government, you Scottish Members, and you will support them whenever there is the least chance of your getting a change.
§ Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
Much thanks he got for it. He has been one of the best-abused men in Scotland for doing it. He is likely to find that among those who take a reasonable view of temperance matters he has not the support of his party in Scotland. I am delighted to find that I am in entire accord with the hon. Member in saying that it is not right and fair that Scottish affairs should be treated as they have been. If we had a reasonable patriotic party in Scotland it would not be tolerated for a moment that the Scottish Estimates should be treated as they are. I think it is out of the question that we should not have another day to discuss Scottish matters. What is the use of the enormous array of Members opposite when there is not one Member of the Government present, although the hon. Member gave notice that he was going to raise this question. There is not a Member of the Government who has had the condescension to listen to what he had to say.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I think my hon. Friend was well advised in calling attention to this matter. The condition of the Government Bench is eloquent of the official attitude towards Scotland. But it is not the attitude of this Government only. I must remind my right hon. Friend who has just spoken that, if this year we only get half a day to discuss the Scottish Estimates, I have known two or three years go by when the party opposite was in power with no day having been found for the Scottish Estimates.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
About the year 1895. There was one year when the 1505 Liberals were responsible, and two years when the present Opposition were in office; at any rate, the time given by the Tory party, when they were in power, was equally short as the time given by this side. The real question is a serious one. Each of the English Departments has its day. The Board of Agriculture, the Board of Education, the Local Government Board, and all the other Departments have their day or days. I think the English Board of Agriculture has had two days this year, while the whole of the Scottish Departments are lumped together within one half-day. That kind of thing really is a scandal. The condition of things has been aggravated ever since the Scottish Office was instituted. I remember the days when the Scottish Members were able to consult with the Lord Advocate in this House, and arrange their business in some way, but since the Scottish Office was established it has been impossible to get any discussion of that Department, or any kind of discussion in this House. That is the serious part of the situation. 1506 Notice should be taken of the condition in which we find Scottish business now, and I hope that in these days when self-government is talked about some better arrangement will be made for the Scottish control by their representatives of Scottish affairs. We are delivered time after time into the hands of a rapidly developing bureaucracy. What aggravates the question very much is that while there has been an enormous development in recent years of bureaucracy in Scotland and a great deal of power has been passing into the hands of officials, there is less time in this House to control them. That is an unsound condition of affairs, and I am sorry that the Government have not been represented here in this matter, which I think my hon. Friend was well advised in bringing forward.
And, it being Half-past Eleven of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at Half after Eleven o'clock.