HC Deb 18 August 1919 vol 119 cc1980-1

4.0 P.M.

The other advantage is that I am making my statement on behalf of the Government on the eve of the Adjournment, and I propose, after reviewing the situation, to place before the House and the country a series o suggestions and proposals which the Government have formulated to deal with many of the difficulties that have arisen. They are put forward with a view to discussion. They are put forward with a view to enabling Members to consult with their Constituents, and with others who have first-hand knowledge of the business complexities of this and other countries, and so to come back and to assist in improvement by the adoption of some suggestions, and the elimination of others which may not appear, on reconsideration, to be worthy of adoption or to have a strengthening tendency, or which may appear inadequate to the needs of the situation. All I am going to ask at this stage is that the country—realising the gravity of the position—will give a fair and an impartial consideration to the suggestions put forward. I ask everybody to realise that the future of the land depends upon the way in which these difficulties are faced, and the way in which Parliament attempts to grapple with these questions. I think it necessary that I should state that. I am afraid I shall be disappointing to some. I noticed to-day that one egregious journalist, who has been pursuing a kind of Corsican vendetta, publishes columns of denunciations of a speech which has never yet been delivered, and of proposals that have never yet been put before the country. If that be the spirit in which these proposals are to be considered, I really despair of our ever coming to the solution of a problem which more deeply concerns the prosperity and life of this country than any of the problems we have ever considered in this House. I do urge that all personal con- siderations should be set aside when we are dealing with big questions of this kind—that we should remember that this is our common country, and that we should do our best to help.