§ The general conditions of the contract to be entered into shall include a stipulation that the recruit shall not he liable, nor shall it be lawful in pursuance of this Act to call upon such recruit, to take duty in aid of the civil power in connection with a trade dispute, or to perform, in consequence of a trade dispute, any civil or industrial duty customarily performed by a civilian in the course of his employment. Provided that in the event of His Majesty declaring by proclamation, in accordance with the provisions of the Emergency Powers Act, 1920, that a state of emergency exists, this stipulation shall not apply as long as such state of emergency exists.— [Mr. W. M'Lean, Watson.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
Mr. W. M. WATSON
I beg to move,"That the Clause be read a Second time."
I have pleasure in moving this new Clause, and I trust the Secretary of State for War will give it more favourable consideration on this occasion than he has done previously. This is a very fitting time for a change in the Army Act in this direction. This new Clause does not seek to interfere with any powers that are in operation at the moment. It is not only the duty of the soldier, it is the duty of every civilian 1268 to give every assistance to the police that may be necessary to prevent disturbance, therefore, this Clause does not curtail any powers that are at present possessed by the civil authority. I want to make that point perfectly clear. At the same time it should be made clear to the recruit when he joins the Army that he is not to be called upon to take part in trade disputes, and this is, I think, a fitting moment for the Secretary of State for War to give this matter some consideration. It would be one of the best things that could happen if at this particular moment the Government were to make a gesture in this direction. It would appear that the country is on the eve of a great industrial dispute, and if the Government were prepared to make this concession and agree with us that the military should not be used in trade disputes, I am certain it would have a very beneficial effect.
What right have the military to interfere in an industrial dispute? It is a civilian affair and is a matter between employers and employed. My contention is that the military should not be engaged in trade disputes. The Government's business is to remain outside, unless it acts the part of negotiator and conciliator, and not in 1269 terfere in any way with any dispute that may be going on. Looking at it from the point of view of the soldier him self, I do not think he wishes to be mixed up in any way with a trade dispute, and why should he be compelled to take part in any dispute when he has no desire to do so? We must keep in mind the fact that many recruits do not go into the Army voluntarily. They are compelled to join by economic pressure. They cannot get a living in any other way, and therefore the soldier, I say, does not wish to engage in any trade dispute. From time to time, however, the military are brought in. It is not a great thing we are asking in this new Clause. If you look back over the past 100 years you will find that the military have been very seldom used in trade disputes. An hon. Friend reminds me that it is always disastrous when they are used. I can speak with a little experience on this matter. In 1921 I lived in an area where perhaps the first disturbance in the British coalfield took place. It was a little disturbance. We had several big meetings and processions and things began to get a little bit lively. Had those processions been the processions of students, they would never lave been interfered with; they would have been shepherded carefully, and even if a few windows had been broken, it would have been only"an exhibition of high spirits"and what was to be expected.
But in this case we had the miners locked out, and they were engaging in these demonstrations. A few windows were broken, and before anyone knew that anything of the kind was to happen the military were brought in. They remained in the place, occupying church halls and schools, during the whole period of the dispute, and never upon one occasion were they required. I submit that that was not because the people were the least afraid of the soldiers. I can assure the House that a district which year by year sends hundreds of men into the Black Watch is not afraid of the Black Watch. The soldiers were never required. As a matter of fact, they would never have been there had not someone lost his head and got excited and imagined that the end of all things had come. Some people had been expecting the great revolution, just as I suppose we shall hear more of it to-day—the plottings and plannings that had been going on during the period of the War and after the War. 1270 In 1921 everyone was expecting a revolution.
Immediately there was this little disturbance the police were shoved aside and the military were brought in. All that happened was that the local ratepayers had a very considerable sum of money to pay for the expenses of the military. In addition, there was all the inconvenience of halls and schools being occupied during the period of the dispute. It was a policy that was wholly unjustified. The police had quelled the disturbance before the military arrived, and the police were perfectly capable of dealing with any further disturbance that was likely to arise. Yet the military remained during the whole period of the dispute, not only at the place where the disturbance occurred, but in all the villages round about. No good purpose was served by introducing them. As a matter of fact the feeling that was aroused by that action did a great deal more to stiffen the backs of the miners than to conciliate them. I say frankly that, although we shall be in another dispute next month—
Suppose that we are in a dispute next month, and that the War Office still have the power of using the military, that will not alter the position one little bit. It will not prevent the strike taking place, and it will not shorten it by a single day, It will not have the least influence on the strike, so far as the miners or any other section of the community is concerned. Therefore, I cannot understand why the War Office should resist the insertion in the Army Act of a clear and definite statement that a recruit on joining the Army should know that he will not on any occasion be asked to take part in an industrial dispute. The recruit ought to be in no position other than that of an ordinary citizen, called upon to assist the police when the police are unable to deal with a situation. Soldiers ought not to be called upon to go into an area as an organised body, apparently to take a side in a dispute. That is just how it appeals to the workers. Directly they see the military on the scene, the first thing that is said and believed is that those in authority are taking one side, and that makes the position worse.
1271 In this new Clause there is provision for an emergency. If a state of emergency arises, that is to say, if the trouble is too serious, if there is the possibility either of an extended disturbance or very serious disturbance, there is provision for the military being used. We do not object to that; we do not object to the military being used if the other forces available are proved to be incapable of dealing with the situation. But you have not only the police at your command. You have now available a force that you had not in 1921. I refer to the Special Constabulary. My contention is that these two forces are perfectly capable of dealing with any situation that may arise during a strike. If the soldier was called upon to fire, upon whom would he fire? Very likely on some of his own relatives or friends, and certainly on men and women, and perhaps children, whom he does not wish to hurt. I hope that the Minister will give this Clause more sympathetic consideration than he has given a similar proposal on previous occasions. Even Navy men were brought in in the 1921 dispute. They worked the pumps in certain areas. The Army and the Navy should not be used in a conflict between employers and employed, but they should stand outside. The Government should keep them outside, and they will be kept outside if the secretary for War will accept this Clause.
§ Mr. KELLY
I wish to support the Clause, and I hope that it will be accepted by the Government. The Government have no right to throw on to the soldier the responsibility of taking part in trade disputes. The War Office has laid it down in its own Regulations that soldiers must not organise themselves in order to enter into discussions or disputes with those who employ them. Yet, while that is so in the case of the soldier with regard to his own service, the War Office still takes to itself power to use the soldier in the event of a trade dispute. When one thinks of the discussion which took place on the Clause on which we have just voted, and one realises that the War Office still adheres to the death penalty, one tries to imagine what would happen if the soldier refused to shoot down members of his own family in the event of the order being given to fire. Yet, that is the position in which the War Office is 1272 placing the soldier when it takes him into the area of a trade dispute.
The Mover of the Clause referred to the taking of sides. There can be no other view of the interference of the military than that it is the taking of a side in a dispute. I have had the conduct of many disputes during the last 30 years, many of them extended throughout the country, and we have had but one notion whenever the military have been introduced or there bas been a threat of their introduction. We have always felt that the War Office and the Government have taken the employers' side against us. There can be no other view of it. The military are not brought in to assist the workpeople. They are not brought in even to create an atmosphere that would be favourable to the workpeople. They are brought in to assist the employer and to create an atmosphere. Hon. Members may smile, but what other reason is there? [HON. MEMBERS:"To keep order!"] To keep order when there has been no disorder? They are brought in in order that you may dominate the men who are striking against their employers or are locked out.
With regard to the miners, it will not be a question of a strike; it looks more like a lock-out, in the event of matters coming to a head. Most of the disputes with which we have been concerned have been lock-outs. The military are brought in in order to impress the men who are fighting for that to which they are entitled—I have never known any other fight—in order to display the force that will"bring the men," as some people say,"to reason"at a much earlier date. We have no right to throw this responsibility upon the soldier or the sailor. The recruit did not join the Army for the purpose of fighting against his own fellows; he did not join the Navy or the Army for the purpose of shooting down men and women and children of his own country. Yet the retention of this power by the War Office means that at the back of the mind of the War Office is the idea that these men may be used for such a purpose in the event of someone being, like a particular man in the Scottish county referred to, fearful that a revolution is about to take place.
The Government have no right to use these men for the purpose of black-legging. Hon. Members opposite pro- 1273 fess to have a great, regard for the man in the fighting ranks. They say in their speeches that they want him to be able to take his place in civil life when he leaves the service; yet if he is to be used in these disputes as has been recently threatened, if he is to be used to take the place of men who are on strike or are locked out, he is being made a black-leg he will go back to civil life with that stigma upon him. It is a stigma which even hon. Members opposite recognise as one which can only be wiped out after many years. We know what happens to anyone who attempts to blackleg in the professions of medicine or the law. Will hon. Members opposite, despite their views concerning blacklegging in those professions, refuse to accept a Clause which seeks to prevent the stigma of blackleg being imposed upon the man in the ranks? We have heard this afternoon of what officers can do. We have heard that an officer who felt that his nerves would not allow him to lead his men, could go to his superior and say he was not feeling fit to lead those men. We have heard that the officer in such a case can resign. [HON. MEMBERS"No! "]
§ Mr. KELLY
Others were referred to, besides the wounded man. An officer can give many reasons for resignation, but the man in the ranks has no chance of resignation. He is compelled to act under orders and may very probably he sent on duty such as this, into the very district where he has spent the early part of his life. He may meet former fellow workers, and he may find himself called upon to assist the employers against those men in a trade dispute. That is unfair to the men. You have no right to call upon these men to help the employer in defeating workers who are fighting either for good conditions or against the imposition of bad conditions. The soldier is compelled to be blindly obedient, and we should try to save him from having to do work which is not clean and which is not fitting work for him.
§ Lieut.-Commander BURNEY
I think many hon. Members who have listened to 1274 the speech of the Mover of the proposed new Clause will deprecate some of the remarks which he made. Although the country is overshadowed by the possibility of a dispute, I think most hon. Members have confidence in the leadership of the more enlightened trade unionists and employers. It is somewhat unfortunate that this new Clause' should be brought forward at the present time. When one considers the arguments which have been put forward and the wording of the proposed new Clause itself, one is somewhat amazed. The Mover said he had no objection to the military power being used to support the civil power in a case of emergency and for keeping order, but the Clause says' that the recruit is not to take duty in aid of the civil power. Surely the civil power would not require aid unless for the purpose of preserving order. [HON. MEMBERS:"Oh!"] I think that is so, but this proposal is that the soldier should be in a position to interpret his orders. The soldier ought not to be in, the position of taking responsibility. His function is to take orders from his superior officer. The superior officer' takes orders from the War Office, and the War Office has its instructions from the Government of the day. What the new Clause, in fact, means is that the-recruit or soldier ought to be in a position to interpret whether the Government of the clay are giving correct orders or not. That is a responsibility which ought not to be placed upon him.
The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) who spoke last used the argument that a soldier might have to serve in-the district in which he had been brought up. Surely that is what happens in the case of the police all the time. The police in most cases are recruited from, and live in, the district in which they keep order. Has it ever been said that the police would not carry out their duty because they happen to be in the district where they had been brought. up? I have never heard a more muddle-headed argument put forward. What is the actual position? With the complicated industrialisation of our community to-day, there is a time when the Government, in order to preserve the life of the nation as a Whole, have to take steps in aid of the civil population as a whole and to see that irretrievable damage is not done. In the case of railways, mines and 1275 other matters it may be that, in order to preserve the life of the, country, the Government have to take over services and run them during an industrial dispute. In doing so, they are not interfering in the dispute or prejudging the issue, but it is the function of a Government to preserve such order and to maintain such communications and supplies as arc necessary to ensure that the civil population who are not responsible for the dispute should not suffer. Not merely the present Government, but any Government, even a Government of the Labour party, would be forced, owing to the conditions, to carry out functions of that kind. Knowing the conditions, we need only attempt to envisage what would be the result of this proposal by which any soldier on duty could say to his commanding officer,"I interpret these orders quite differently from the way in which you do it, and I am not going to carry them out." Could anyone expect a, responsible Government to accept a proposal which would lead to such a Gilbertian situation? It would be in the best interests of responsible labour if this new Clause were withdrawn.
§ Mr. BROMLEY
I do not intervene for the reason suggested by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Uxbridge (Lieut.-Commander Burney), but in order to explain our opposition to the calling in of military in industrial disputes. I suggest that the Clause does not give power, either to the recruit or the seasoned soldier, to choose what he will do in certain circumstances. The Clause seeks to alter the law of the country so that neither the recruit nor the seasoned soldier will be called upon to interfere in industrial disputes, and it makes a special provision for cases of real national emergency. We are not so foolish as not to recognise that, in the final analysis, all government rests on force, and we are not so unwise as to believe that, if ever our organised millions really rise in revolution, whatever laws may be on the Statute Book, the government in power will not suppress us by military force. That, possibly, is the reason why some of us are too wise to make revolutionary speeches—because we know it would mean the sacrifice of our own people first. I am not so optimistic as to believe that a 1276 Conservative Government would scruple to use those forces at the earliest opportunity.
What we desire to point out, however, is something quite different. If hon. Members opposite are fair to their own inner consciousness they know that military forces have been placed on the scenes of industrial disputes, not because there has been the slightest semblance of disorder or riot, but with the fixed intention of cowing the workmen in favour of the employer. [HON. MEMBERS:"No!"] There is no doubt about it. Let us be honest with each other here at all events. We may blink these things on political platforms, but we are men of the world here, and we know troops have been brought in, often with disastrous results, in order to intimidate strikers and for no other purpose. [HON. MEMBERS:"No!"] I shall try to enlighten hon. Members opposite. My experience is a fairly lengthy one. I can go back to 1896 when I was stationed, as a railway fireman, at Aberdare. A mines dispute was in progress, and, as a young man, I marvelled at the peaceable spirit shown by the miners. The greatest disorder I saw there was the assemblage of miners on the mountainsides to sing hymns—if my Welsh Friends will forgive me for -referring to that as disorder. The powers that were in those days, however, imported a squadron of lancers—I am not sure if I have the military terms correctly—and stationed them in the centre of the coalfield at Aberdare Junction. The soldiers used to gallop through the narrow streets of the small mining towns where there was an absolutely peaceful population, for the sole reason of terrorising and intimidating the strikers, and accidents—including several fatal accidents—occurred to school children whist scurrying out of the way of the galloping troops.
That is the kind of thing to which we object. Some of us remember when gunboats were sent to the Humber to quell the dockers at Hull. I was in Liverpool in 1911 when there was a dispute. There was no disturbance until a certain incident happened, but a warship was sent to the Mersey. Does anybody suggest that had there been a riot in the streets of Liverpool a warship could have fired on the rioters? Not at all. It was simply for the purpose of showing the strikers that their employers controlled the 1277 Government of this country and in order to endeavour to instil fear into them. I am trying to get hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to see what our point of view is, and to reason it out, for this the place where we are told that we reason things out.
I shall turn now to the famous incident at Featherstone. A great friend of mine, a member of my organisation, who is at present an alderman of some years' standing on the city council in one of the most progressive cities in this country, was the fireman on the train that took the troops to Featherstone. He has told me that, far from there being any riot, as the train approached the station, a very lively cricket match was being played with hundreds of miners watching it. Seeing the troops with their heads out of the train, the crowd rushed down to the station to see the soldiers, and within half an hour many of them were stretched cut dead. That fireman, who is now an engine driver, says that he would never operate a train taking troops into any dispute in future. There was another unnecessary loss of life by the importation of armed forces when there was no need whatever.
In 1911 we had a railway dispute, and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer held a Ministerial post which empowered to send troops. He suggested sending them to Manchester, but the Lord Mayor said that they were not wanted. In spite of that, they were sent. There was no trouble in Manchester. Railwaymen are the most mild mannered workers in the world. When they strike, they strike peaceably. They remain away, and there is no history of any rioting among them. Troops were sent quite unnecessarily, merely for the purpose of intimidating the strikers. I feel I ought to refer to another incident in the same dispute at Llanelly. There was quite a peaceful dispute there, but troops were imported into the district, and that eventually caused the loss of the lives of people who were in no way interested, except as spectators. There the troops were marching about the streets with a certain officer, who shall be nameless, intimidating the strikers by telling them where they should place their pickets. I may have the power of placing pickets, and no military or police officer shall intimidate me from placing pickets. This 1278 gentleman did so, and it caused resentment. Eventually, a train was stopped there by the boyish trick of a young fellow. He lifted up the balance weight of the signal just as the train was starting and the train stopped. The officious officer rushed troops up to where the train was stopped. In a few moments there was firing, and people who were sitting on the walls of their gardens looking down at the little scene at the station were shot. They were quite unnecessary victims, not of rioting or disturbance, but of the fact that military forces had been sent there quite unnecessarily.
A few years ago there was an unofficial strike of railway men that started in South Wales and travelled about England before it could be stopped. The right hon. Member for Derby (Mr. J. H. Thomas) and myself rushed down there in order to try and appease the strikers in a dispute which had arisen out of a misapprehension. Everyone there of any responsibility was desirous of ending it. The Government sent armed troops down. There had not been a dispute in the street, not even a serious altercation between a striker and a representative of the employers or anyone else. Troops with steel helmets and fixed bayonets marched into Newport, and I admit that, I felt like throwing in my lot with the strikers instead of against them.
I ask the House to recognise that in the workers when they are on strike there is the same bulldog spirit as when they wore khaki. I would suggest, as a last argument, that the time when organised workers are terrorised by the importation of troops is passing. It did answer at one time, but it is far more likely to-day to rouse resentment and cause the very thing it is supposed to prevent. If our Amendment be analysed, it will be found that it is a perfectly fair one. It does not go to any extreme by saying that under no circumstances of national emergency may forces be used by the Government. That time of emergency may come when this side of the House forms the Government, and I will have great pleasure when we avail ourselves of it then. This is unnecessary; this is purely intimidation which both the House and employers ought to bar. To intimidate men from standing up for what they believe to he their rights by saying,"Here is a power that can deal with you 1279 if you give the slightest excuse"is not just. I can recall times when those excuses have been taken advantage of, and have resulted in serious loss of life, often of innocent people.
An hon. Member opposite spoke of enlightened trade union leaders who would always suppress a strike. We on this side do not always suggest that those who are always against the power of their organisations are always enlightened. There are no Members on this side, and I do not know many leaders of trade unions, who wilfully seek a strike. We have many sleepless nights, and make many efforts in trying to avoid a strike, but there are times when one of two situations may be created. Either the rank and file whom we lead or whom we serve—whichever you prefer to call it—are so indignant at their treatment, and are so satisfied of the injustice of it, that all the enlightened leaders in the world could not keep them from fighting for what they believe to be their right; or, on the other hand, there are times when all the leaders, enlightened or otherwise, are convinced that we will never get justice without force. It is not a frame of mind that I am proud of. It is forced by circumstances which would prove to the most stubborn of us that we do not get justice unless we can back it with force, but that is not seeking trouble, rioting or disturbance or anything of the sort in such trials of strength.
If it comes in the near future, all of us will regret it. Some of us are doing our best that it may not have to come. Whether it conies or not, I suggest very seriously, fairly, and honestly, that it would be no loss to the power of the employer or to the Government if our Amendment were accepted. It would ease any feelings of bitterness when military are introduced in disputes. It would certainly save the lives of innocent victims when some possibly honest officer takes advantage of—I say it without offence—his class feeling against the people who are striking. I do not say it offensively, but I have heard the expressions of some of these people about what they would do to the strikers. On one occasion I asked them to try it on me, but fortunately for me they did not. I say there are some officers who, out of class feeling against the strikers, may take advantage of some slight excuse and 1280 kill some men, women, and children who have nothing to do with the strike. It is for those reasons that I support this new Clause.
§ Captain KING
Most of the speakers on the benches opposite have rightly laid down the duty of the civil power to maintain order. The Mover of this Clause rightly described the obligation on the citizen to assist the civil power in so doing. That, in the first place, is the obligation under which the soldier also is called upon to assist the civil power to maintain order. It is his Common Law obligation to assist in maintaining order. He has to use force, as a citizen, if necessary, and to use such force as may he necessary, and not more. He has also to do his best in assisting the civil power. This Clause seeks to prevent him from carrying out that Common Law duty. It is said that, Though he has that liability under the Common Law, yet he must net be allowed to exercise it in support of the civil power. But surely the Committee will agree that a soldier, as one of His Majesty's Forces, can do his best in support of the civil power by acting as a disciplined man, by acting in accord with those with whom he serves, and under the orders of his officers. He has to do his best, and, therefore, he should use his military discipline, and, if necessary, he would have to use his weapons.
The Clause would prevent the soldier being used—apart from emergency—in support of a civil power in case of an industrial dispute. I take it that hon. Members opposite accept the principle that the civil power is not taking sides [HON. MEMBERS"It does!"] That may be so, but the only reason for the civil power intervening in any way is to maintain order, and, if necessary, to prevent any blow at the life of the community. That is obviously the duty of the civil authority, to whatever party it may belong, but the military can only he called in at the request of the civil powers. The hon. Member who moved the Clause gave us instances of the cases where the troops were called in obviously at the request of the civil power.
Will the hon. Gentleman explain what that civil power generally is? Does not the power remain with the Standing Joint Committee or with the chief constable?
§ Captain KING
It is with the chief constable, who is representing the civil power. He is responsible for the maintenance of law and order in his particular district. Therefore, if he considers that the force at his disposal is not sufficient to maintain law and order, it is his duty to ask for military assistance, and it is only on such requests that the military are introduced. Again, one hon. Member suggested that the military had pushed aside the police. That is never done. The military are merely there in support of the police; in support of the civil power. We agree on these benches with what has been voiced by hon. Members opposite, that it is a very distasteful duty and certainly not one entered upon unless requested by the civil power.
With regard to intimidation and taking sides, there is no question, to my mind, of taking sides, and I can see no reason why there should be any suspicion of intimidation. The troops are there—[Laughter.] The hon. Member for Barrow (Mr. Bromley) laughs, but the honest man is never afraid of a policeman. It is only the wrongdoer who is afraid. As long as any of us keep within the law and behave ourselves, we have no fear of meeting a policeman or of seeing a policeman at the street corner. It is only the wrongdoer who fears, and, providing the strikers in an industrial dispute are keeping within the law, and intend to keep within the law, there is no need for them to have any fear whatever, and there is no reason for them to be intimidated. The hon. Member for Barrow mentioned various cases, of which I cannot recollect the details. They sounded to me in some particulars, perhaps, not quite complete, but in any ease I cannot deal with them, because they are not within my knowledge or recollection. I want to emphasise, however, that it is more by reason of misrepresentation that strikers look on troops as being there to intimidate them. They are there just as much to protect the strikers as any other people. [An HON. MEMBER:"In theory, but not in fact!"] In Fact. The civil authorities, the police, and the soldiers, are there to give protection to the wives and children of the strikers. They are there to preserve law and order, and to see that the civil population shall not be unduly upset and shall not unduly suffer from a purely 1282 local dispute. The dispute is between the employers and the employed, and neither the police nor the military interfere in any way as between those two parties. They are there merely to preserve law and order and to see that the rights of the other citizens are maintained.
With regard to one question raised by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly), with reference to blacklegs, there again he did not give a case where troops were being brought in for the purpose of assisting the employers. A question was put with regard to them being used for essential services. They are only used in any such way either for military purposes, if it is necessary for them to do a civilian's work, and that lies within their duty, or on the other hand, if they are called upon to carry out certain services to save the vital life of the community. There again they might be entitled to do so, but there is no question seriously—and I do not think the hon. Member himself put it seriously—that the soldiers are actually being brought in for strike-breaking or black-legging. It certainly is not the intention. Certain wider powers than I have mentioned have been authorised under the Emergency Provisions Act, but I am speaking of the time before the state of emergency arises, of the possible interference to come from the military. With regard to the question of not bringing them in so soon, of waiting until the Emergency Provisions Act is brought in, of waiting till the emergency actually arises, which is, in effect, waiting till the police are overpowered, surely prevention is better than cure. It is very much better that the troops should be available, should they be required by the civil power. Prevention is better than cure, and for that reason we do not consider it possible to accept the Clause. We consider that those powers that we have must remain, and under these circumstances, especially seeing the hour and that there are other Clauses following, I hope we shall be able to have a Division on this question, without much further delay.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
There can be no doubt in the mind of either side of the Committee as to the importance of the subject we are discussing, and I rather deprecate, and certainly do not propose 1283 making, any reference whatever, in the discussion of this important Clause, to the present industrial situation. I refuse to do it for two reasons. First, I do not think it would be a good thing, in a discussion such as this, to say a word that might render the situation such that it would be connected with it, and I certainly think our duty in this matter is not to say anything to render more difficult the task of those on both sides who want peace. Therefore, I certainly do not connect it in any shape or form with this Clause. It is the mere incident of the Bill being under discussion to-day that causes that situation, and, indeed, I emphasise that, because nothing would be worse than, in a brief report of these proceedings, for a person ignorant of Parliamentary procedure to connect the industrial situation with the discussion that is now taking place.
I approach the question not from the standpoint of an Opposition merely opposing the Government, but from the standpoint of a full recognition that those of us who sit on this side of the House will sooner or later—much sooner, I know, than some people on the other side expect—be sitting there, and, therefore, we have quite seriously to keep in mind, in dealing with a subject of this kind, not only the position of an Opposition opposing, but of a Government responsible to the country, and I certainly propose to discuss it from that point of view. In the first place, I would say that there would be common agreement on both sides of the Committee that there is no country in the world where the mass of our fellow citizens are so law-abiding as they are in this country. Without distinction of any sort or kind, there must be common agreement on that broad, general principle, and the best evidence of it is that, beyond any emergency, often the citizens themselves come to the rescue and help of the civil power. There will be common agreement that, so far as the soldier is concerned, he is not only a good fellow, but, if there is one thing he hates more than another, it is going outside his job of soldiering and being mixed up with these disputes at all. There will be common agreement on both those points. There will also be common agreement that in a state of emergency, regardless of consequences of any sort or kind, the 1284 Government of the country are responsible and must govern. Therefore, if there is common agreement between all sides on those three general principles, let us now approach the Clause in its application to those principles.
I am afraid the Financial Secretary to the War Office, who has just spoken, does not quite know, and has never been engaged in, trade disputes sufficiently to understand the psychology, the mentality, and the feeling existing among people who believe that they are fighting for their bread, when he says that the mere drafting of troops into a district can have no effect upon people unless they are wrongdoers. That is not what we are dealing with. We are dealing with a great dispute where thousands of people are involved, and where troops are brought in when order is being kept, when there is no breaking of the peace, when, in a case of which I know, the mayor himself objected to soldiers being brought in. The only conclusion—I believe it is a wrong conclusion—that these people could draw from a circumstance such as I have described is that the troops coming into the district under those circumstances have come for an ulterior purpose. That only provokes people. Take the incident of the unofficial strike in Wales, where, the Committee may remember, I went down myself, to try to settle it. It was in the midst of the War, and when I got to Wales I found the whole place in a blaze. The one person who was not safe, who was in danger, was myself, because I went down, let hon. Members observe, to persuade, and more than persuade, thousands of men who were out to go back to work. When I got down there, my position was aggravated by the arrival, preceding me, of a whole train load of troops in Newport. I went straight to the commanding officer, and I said: "Look here, nothing is going to save the situation, because of the effect of your troops on this dispute. I believe I can handle it, but T cannot handle it if I have to face people who have got the impression that I have brought the troops down with me." That was the kind of impression they had.
§ Mr. THOMAS
I admit the reasonableness of the officer in charge, because it 1285 was a miserable business for them, and they hated it. I said: "What I suggest that we should do is this: Take all their guns and ammunition from them. I know the Newport girls. Let them loose with the girls to-night." And he did it, and it had a most magnificent effect. The result was that an entirely different atmosphere was created. The moral of that is, as my hon. Friends have pointed out, that you might, if you had a stupid person handling it, have got a situation where, before a little tact could be used, the whole thing would be ablaze. That is the thing we fear. That is what leads to all the trouble.
Let me give another illustration Take the great national strike of 1919, when for 10 days the whole railway system of this country was paralysed. How many people know that there were 174 football matches between the soldiers and the strikers for the benefit of the strikers' fund? That was a magnificent thing. The point I am making is that that proves, that as far as the soldiers are concerned, they do not want to be connected with strike-breaking at all.
The general principle of this Clause has been discussed repeatedly, but the right
§ hon. Gentleman will observe that there is a remarkable addition to it. The addendum is not to abrogate the right of the Government. That right must be maintained, and no one challenges it; but we certainly suggest that the emergency can and will be dealt with by any Government. We believe that the police themselves are responsible persons. We know from experience that the drafting of troops—without attaching blame to anyone—has the natural effect of provoking trouble, and that is why we ask the Committee if they cannot accept the actual words, to accept the principle, because we are not desirous of being at war with the soldiers. We are not desirous of trying to persuade the soldier not to do his duty, but we are desirous of avoiding an unpleasant situation for the soldier, of helping the situation so far as the masses of the people are concerned and to make it clear and definite that the State in these industrial disputes must be, and ought always to continue to be, impartial as between both sides.
§ Question put,"That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 103; Noes. 283.1289
|Division No. 189.]||AYES.||[7.32 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Siesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hayday, Arthur||Smillie. Robert|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Smith, H. B. Lees- (Keighley)|
|Barnes, A.||Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Barr, J.||Hirst, G. H.||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, W. (Bradford. South)||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Stamford, T. W.|
|Broad, F. A||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Stephen, Campbell|
|Bromley, J.||Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sutton, J E.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kelly, W. T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Buxton, Bt Hon. Noe'||Kennedy, T.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Cape, Thomas||Kirkwood, D.||Thurtle, E.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Les F.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Clowes, S.||Lowth, T.||Townend, A. E.|
|Cluse, W. S.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||March, S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Connolly, M.||Montague, Frederick||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Cove, W. G.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Murnin, H.||Warne, G. H.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Naylor, T. E.||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Dennison, R.||Palin, John Henry||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda|
|Duncan, C.||Paling, W.||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Gillett, George M.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W,||Whiteley, W.|
|Gosling, Harry||Potts, John S.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Riley, Ben||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Ritson, J.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Groves, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Windsor, Walter|
|Grundy, T. W.||Scrymgeour, E.||Wright, W.|
|Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Sexton, James||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond|
|Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. Hayes and Mr. B. Smith.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Albery, Irving James||Applin, Colonel R. V. K.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Alexander. E. E. (Leyton)||Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Gates, Percy||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Astor, Viscountess||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Meller, R. J.|
|Atkinson, C.||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Merriman, F, B.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon, Sir John||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Balniel, Lord||Goff, Sir Park||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Banks, Reginald Mitchell||Gower, Sir Robert||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Grant. J. A.||Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Morrison Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Beamish, Captain T. P. H.||Gretton, Colonel John||Murchison, C. K.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.(Bristol, N.)||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Bethel, A.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Nicholson. Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrst'fd.)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Hammersley, S. S.||Oakley, T.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Owen, Major G.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Cilve||Harland, A.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Penny, Frederick George|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Harrison, G. J, C.||Perring, Sir William George|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Hartington, Marquess of||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-Genera! C. R. I.||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Haslam, Henry C.||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hawke, John Anthony||Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Preston, William|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Henderson,Capt. R.R. (Oxf'd, Henley)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Burman, J. B.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)||Raine, W.|
|Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.||Heneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.||Rawson, Sir Alfred Cooper|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Hennessy, Major J. H. G.||Rice, Sir Frederick|
|Campbell, E. T.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Cassels, J. D.||Hills, Major John Waller||Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Hilton, Cecil||Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R.(Prtsmth.S.)||Hogg, Rt. Hon.Sir D.(St. Marylebone)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Holland, Sir Arthur||Ruggles-Brise. Major E. A.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Holt, Capt. H. P.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)||Rye, F. G.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)||Salmon, Major I.|
|Christie. J. A.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey. Farnham)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney,N).||Sanders, Sir Robert A.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hume, Sir G. H.||Sanderson, Sir Frank|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Huntingfield, Lord||Sandon, Lord|
|Couper, J. B.||Hurd, Percy A.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'brs)||Savery, S. S.|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew. W.)|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Rt. Hon. F. S.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Jephcott, A. R.||Skelton, A. N.|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Cunliffe, Sir Herbert||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)||Smithers, Waldron|
|Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemet Hempst'd)||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Davidson, Major-General Sir John H,||King, Capt. Henry Douglas||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Davies, Dr. Vernon||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)|
|Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Little, Dr. E. Graham||Storry-Deans. R.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Strickland, Sir Gerald|
|Drewe, C.||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)||Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.|
|Duckworth, John||Loder, J. de V.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Looker, Herbert William||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Lord, Walter Greaves-||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Ellis, R. G.||Lougher, L.||Tasker, Major R. Inlgo|
|Elveden, Viscount||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Thorn, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)|
|England, Colonel A.||Lumley, L. R.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Montetth||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Tryon, Rt. Hon, George Clement|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Macdonald. Ft. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Faile, Sir Bertram G.||Macmillan, Captain H.||Waddington, R.|
|Fermoy, Lord||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Wallace, Captain O. E.|
|Fielden, E. B.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Ford, Sir P. J.||Macquisten, F. A.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Forrest, W.||MacRobert, Alexander M.||Watson, Rt, Hon., W. (Carlisle)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wells, S. R.|
|Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Malone, Major P. B.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)||Wise, Sir Fredric||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)||Withers, John James|
|Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)||Wolmer, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)||Womersley, W. J.||Major Cope and Captain Margesson.|
|Winby, Colonel L. P.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|