§ [FOURTH DAY.]
Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [12th November] to Question [10th November,]
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—[Mr. G. Lloyd.]
Which Amendment was, at the end of the Question, to add the words:
But regret that Your Majesty's advisers have no policy for the planning and coordination under public ownership or control of the principal industries, including agriculture and the banking and financial machinery of the country, nor for British initiative in international action to deal effectively with the outstanding and vital problems of war debts and reparations, of international currency and exchange, and all the factors which are at present constituting economic barriers against the free flow of international trade, so as to enable the people of this country and the world to enjoy steady employment and to reap the full advantage of the ever-increasing productive power of mankind; and further regret that there is no mention in Your Majesty's Gracious Speech of any intention of reversing the unjust economies imposed upon the unemployed and other classes of persons or of restoring and developing the social services."—[Sir S. Cripps.]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Mr. LUNN
I rise to support the Amendment of the Labour party to the King's Speech. It was moved yesterday by the ex-Solicitor-General in a remarkable speech. It was clear and concise, and I hope it was convincing. My hon. and learned Friend dealt with the points in the Amendment referring to the planning and co-ordination of our industrial and financial system under public ownership and control, which is the policy of the Labour party, and for international arrangements regarding War debts and reparations, showing that the Labour party are opposed to barriers being established 400 against the free flow of trade, a subject on which I have often heard the Prime Minister speak. In fact, I think his first speech in support of Protection has yet to come. The Amendment has not been replied to. We have had a speech from the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs which I think was not equal to him. I know how clever he can be. I suppose I have never heard a miner in the country speak well of him except myself. I have often spoken well of him, and I know his qualities. I know what buffoonery he often tries on the House, and, although he tried it yesterday, I think he failed to come up to his usual standard.
There was one point in his speech which cannot be overlooked. He said that what the Government desired was to get rid of the Members of this House as soon as possible and that they are anxious to be able to deal with matters in a dictatorial way through the authority of the Cabinet and apart from discussion by Members of the House. That is a very serious proposition. We got a little of it in the last Session in the powers that were obtained under the Economy Bill whereby, through Orders-in-Council, the Government can do nearly as they like. Although the will of the people has given us a House such as we see to-day, this kind of thing may be used later by another Government and, although we do not expect our Amendment to be carried, the points in it, which are of vast importance to the country and are the only plan before the House to-day, may be dealt with in a similar manner to that which the Government desired as was expressed by the Secretary of State for the Dominions. If we are to give powers of this description to the executive, they may be taken for other purposes, and I should have no objection whatever to the will of the people prevailing—I am not complaining—and to removing any part of the Constitution, whatever part it may be which is an obstacle and which is not elected by the people. I shall be prepared to use those powers to remove those obstacles at the earliest opportunity, and also to remove the domination by any private monopolies over what should be done by the House in the interests of the people. This is going to be an interesting Parliament. I have been in one before where the Labour party was not 401 much stronger than it is to-day and its constitution was very much like this, obtained by fraudulent means, by lies and deceit. Let me give you what the Prime Minister said of the 1918 Parliament in his book "Parliament and Revolution":The election of 1918 was a special manifestation of passionate blindness and the exploitation by political leaders moved by unusually low standards of honour.I agree with him; I agreed with him then. But he was the victim of this low-standard of honour at that time. To-day he is equally the villain to use those low standards of honour, and not only those low standards of honour, of lies and deceit, but the fear that has been impressed into the minds of the people that the only honest men and the only people who were to be trusted were the few who were then the Government of the day. When I heard the speeches congratulating you, Sir, on your reappointment, I began to think that we had got back to the two-party system and, like every honest Labour man, I should have welcomed it, as we realise that there can be really only two parties, those who are out to establish a Socialist state with international understandings and agreements and those with narrow selfish nationalism who are opposed to that. We hope the day will come, and then we shall be clearer as to our position. But listening to the Debate—I have heard nearly the whole of it—I am satisfied that there are more parties than ever. There are more cross currents on that side of the House than I have ever seen, and this emptiest of King's Speeches has been attacked by nearly every supporter of this bogus National Government.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) said on Wednesday that the old gang had gone from the Front Opposition Bench. That is true, though I believe some of them will soon return. But what of the old gang on that side? I can see them strewn all over the House. There are more ex-Ministers than I have ever seen, and it seems to me that they are going to be equally menacing to this Government as they would be to a Labour Government. They get nothing in this King's Speech at all. Although the country has been told of the blessings that would come to the people from such a Government, obtained by lies and deceit at the Election, that deceit is being continued 402 before the House of Commons, and they are to get nothing but consideration, inquiry and shuffle. In my maiden speech in this House in 1919 on the appointment of the Sankey Commission, I said that I hoped that there would be action, that the Government would not shuffle—I used that word in that speech—and that they would take steps to see that the mines and the minerals were nationalised and the coal industry used in the interests of the nation. I have seen a great deal of shuffle, of delay and inquiry, and of pigeon-holing the results of the inquiries since that day. I have heard speeches in abundance by Members on that side, attacking not only the Labour Government but various Governments for sending everything to a committee and for avoiding action, which has been the policy of all parties.
You have to-day the cleverest Government of diddlers that were ever in office. There could not have been chosen, no man could have chosen, a cleverer lot to diddle the House and to diddle the country than we have in the Cabinet to-day. They are led by a Prime Minister who is equal to any of them. He has never finished anything—you all know that, and those of you who have been in the House before have said it—and he does not intend to finish anything in this Parliament. You have the idea in the King's Speech, and you know where he is. [.Interruption.] Yes, and he has done that, unfortunately. He will, I am sorry to say, although he has been reverenced and loved by millions of our people, and as much by myself as by any living man, pass out cursed by millions who have revered and loved him. I am sorry that that is to be the end of men like him and Philip Snowden who have been loved and trusted so much in the past.
The Tories during the election from a thousand platforms urged the necessity for a general tariff at once with no wobbling, no waiting, no hesitating. That there was no need for an inquiry has been said time and time again, and it could not brook delay. The new Minister of Health, speaking at Sheffield a few days ago said:We cannot wait for a dilatory committee dealing with this matter. We know all there is to know, and we must have this implemented at once. It cannot brook delay.403 Similar speeches have been made by hon. Members on that side since the House met a, day or two ago, but the Government have let them down in the King's Speech, and have promised nothing. There is not one of them who has the backbone of a herring to demand from the Government what they want.
§ Mr. LUNN
There is nothing wrong with the herring, but you have not the backbone of a herring to drive the Government or you would have moved an Amendment to the King's Speech in favour of tariffs to show to the country that you intended to see that they were put into practice. [An HON. MEMBER: "We leave the fishy backbones to you !"] They are sometimes nice and tasty. We know, and hon. Members opposite know, that every Protectionist country in Europe has lower wages, longer hours, and worse conditions of employment than we have in this country. Protection offers nothing to our people but starvation, poverty and degradation. But you were elected to see that protective duties were imposed, and now that you are in and almost within grasp of the nettle you are afraid of the sting, and your Government will be the same. What are you going to do? The electors were stampeded by fear into believing that you were the only honest men in the country, and that their savings would be in danger if a Labour Government were elected. That matter has been dealt with on this side by the late Postmaster-General and by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for Epping, and we are entitled to a reply from whoever is to speak on behalf of the Government to make sure and to give evidence to our people that this is a constitutional country, and that whatever Government which accepted the Parliamentary system were in power their savings would be quite safe. Mr. Snowden has allowed himself to be drawn into that sort of thing, and, although he had spent 40 years with us, in a fit of madness he was prepared to throw over his old friends, and go over to those who hate him, and who want to get rid of him at this moment. The lies and the deceit at the election have never been equalled, and 404 the Prime Minister, who has been a party to it all, has now sold his soul, and if he is to implement Protection, in my opinion, he will sell the bodies of millions of our people to a lower standard of life than they have to-day.
The Government have made no mention in the King's Speech of any proposed legislation of a social or of an industrial character, and because of that omission we are moving our Amendment, which provides the basis of the legislation urgently needed, in order to rid this House of dictation from outside, and to lay the foundation of a better standard of life. I do not expect, as I have said, that it will be carried to-day, but 7,000,000 voters refused to be stampeded during the election, and we shall fight and educate, educate and fight, until we have convinced 17,000,000 of the electorate to vote for us and give us power to put our principles into practice. We have no faith in this Government, and the faith of the people in it will soon go. They have achieved their position by unworthy means. The electorate will soon see through their deceit, and when the opportunity comes—and one will come—they will send them to their doom.
Our Amendment is the only suggestion of a plan to deal with the dreadful conditions in the country to-day. You all know that a similar Amendment has often been moved in this House by the Prime Minister or by Mr. Snowden. If I had wished, and the Standing Orders allowed it,. I could have spent the whole of this Sitting quoting from speeches and writings of the Prime Minister and Mr. Snowden in support of the Amendment, and every Member of the House knows it. Will the Prime Minister vote for it to-day? If not, who is the deserter? He has urged the planning and the co-ordination of industry under public ownership and control on innumerable occasions in this House.
§ Mr. LUNN
He has asked for international action to deal with the vital problems of War Debts and Reparations, and he has opposed Protection. To-day he is the leader of the Tory party. There has never been a greater betrayal in the history of politics in this country. I want to know what the Government are going to do. The electors have been 405 stampeded, and they ought to know what this Parliament is going to do with the conditions as they are. In the last part of our Amendment we deal with the cuts in unemployment benefit and with the other cuts in the services, notably in the remuneration of the teachers and the police. We ask for their reversal, and we promised their reversal if we became the Government. In that respect I would like to point out to the House the greatest betrayal by the Prime Minister. I read not only his speeches but his writings. On Sunday morning, I put on a gramophone record of a recent speech by the Prime Minister, and I listened to his charming voice as he said:The Labour party was born out of the hearts and needs of the people. The nation is rich. Millions of pounds are spent every year in deteriorating luxury. Our claim that the unemployed should have work or maintenance still holds good.It does still hold good as the policy of the party to which he belonged and to which I have the honour to belong to-day.Those who are out of work will be adequately maintained.And he emphasised very strongly that:They will not be driven on to the Poor Law.The right hon. Gentleman moved in this House the Economy Act, which is to send one million of our people to the Poor Law any day. Most respectable, honest, hard-working people, who have been loyal supporters of his for a gneration, are now to undergo the degradation of going to the Poor Law. That has ever been considered a degradation by the people of this country. We desire to see those cuts restored. I know that any appeal to the Government from this side is very likely to be ignored. Therefore, we shall have to take steps to see that in other ways the people are made aware of the actions of this Government in these matters, and we know that we have the means by which we can convert them to our point of view.
May I ask, as no mention is made in the King's Speech, what is going to be done with the mining industry? The agreement will soon come to an end in all districts. The legislation of this House dealing with hours and a minimum percentage of wages will terminate in July next. We are entitled to know very soon what the Government intend to do in this matter. I would like to see 406 shorter hours and better wages in the mining industry. As I have said ever since I came to this House, the only cure for the ills of the mining industry is to be found in public ownership and control of it. That has always been my policy. We are not going to use raw coal as we use it to-day, and we are very dependent upon foreign countries for our oil supplies. If we had a Government of action we could very soon be rid of that dependence and provide the oil from the resources that we have in this country. I should like to see a Government in power that would rid us of this incubus of foreign supplies, see that we provide these things for ourselves and, at the same time, provide work for our people.
What are the Government going to do to provide employment for those who are unemployed? I suppose that we may expect something that this Government have in mind for providing employment. I agree, with Mrs. Sidney Webb, in her evidence before the Unemployment Commission yesterday, when she said:So long as we live in a community which leaves its production to be organised in the main on the lines of capitalist profit-making, and with a banking system correspondingly arranged, the promotion of works of public utility, by the Government will not genuinely increase the aggregate volume of employment.Our industries ought to be owned and controlled by the nation, coordinated and amalgamated in an all-embracing national amalgamation. What we need is not protection gainst the workers of other countries, but protection for our workers against the predatory classes at home. The cause of poverty and unemployment is private ownership of land, machinery and capital, and the policy of the Labour party is to secure their transfer to national ownership and control. We must continue, on the platform and at the street corner, to urge for a change in the make-up of this House. Whilst we accept for the time being the position in this House, as expressed by the people, obtained by fradulent methods, we may live and we shall live to see a change. When that day comes, as come it will, we must sweep aside all those parts of the Constitution which are an obstacle to progress. We must remove the domination of this House by the Bank of England or any other monopoly outside 407 the House, and see that real action is taken which will give security to our people in the future.
This morning, I looked up a speech that was made a long time ago by Philip Snowden, in his better days, in the days when I often went about with him, and before he became a rich man. That speech is entitled, "The Christ that is to be." It is an address full of very honourable and high sentiments. Although I do not agree with his actions to-day, I accept a good deal of what he said then, namely, that the Labour party must build according to the life of Jesus of Nazareth and that we must endeavour to make the golden rule apply to all our actions, not only as individuals but as nations. I hope that the Labour party will keep on the high-road to that end, and I am confident that ultimately it will be successful.
§ Sir AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
There is no more interesting and, I might even say, no more pathetic sight than that of a democrat in defeat. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken professes a profound faith in democracy, but is unable to see in the clear and decisive choice made by the electors anything but the result of a course of jying and deceit. The hon. Member, the hon. and learned Member the late Solicitor-General, who spoke yesterday, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, all seek to deny the force of the decision which was taken by the country. It would be churlish for any one on this side of the House to grudge Gentlemen opposite any satisfaction they may derive from this attitude; they have contributed each and all of them powerfully to it. There is scarcely a mistake of which the Opposition could have been guilty which they did not commit either before or during the election, and, if we are to judge by the speeches they have made since their return, they have not yet learnt wisdom.
We began with a confession, a very refreshing confession, from a Gentleman who is usually so well satisfied with all that he undertakes. We began with a confession in this House during the August sitting. The then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Arthur Henderson, told us that he and his colleagues had been faced with a task to which they were unequal and that for his part he had 408 told the Prime Minister that the sooner they were out of it the better he would be pleased. Then we had the plan of campaign which they intended to pursue expounded in all places of the world in the columns of the "Daily Express" by Mr. William Graham. Was there ever a meaner document from the pen of a public man? The right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade explained that the Labour party had been going downhill and was facing defeat, that there were disagreeable things which, in his own words, must be done, but that the Tories would have to do them and bear the odium; the Tories would have to take the consequences of the mistakes and faults of their predecessors while the Socialist party would ride triumphant into power on the unpopularity of their opponents who would have to undertake this necessary task.
I could go on; one Minister of the Socialist party after another has contributed his quota. Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands—I am not on this occasion referring to the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), although I gratefully acknowledge his contribution. There is not one member of the Socialist party here or elsewhere who did not contribute his share to the victory of the Prime Minister and his colleagues. I think I must make one exception. I am glad that the present Leader of the Opposition has found an ark which has not been submerged in the flood. His occupations in office were harmless. His benevolence is universal, and there is no need in this case to pray as a Nonconformist minister prayed on one occasion when his congregation made what he thought was an inadequate contribution to his stipend:Oh Lord open their purses and make their hearts as soft as their heads.The only criticism which anyone can offer of the right hon. Gentleman is that his heart is so large that it never allows his head to have anything to do with his policy; indeed, it obscures even his sense of humour, or otherwise how could he have produced an Amendment of this character at this moment to the Gracious Speech from the Throne?
It was said by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs yesterday, very truly, that the Opposition were 409 endeavouring to censure the Government because on its return to power it did not adopt the policy of the Opposition which was so decisively rejected by the country at the election. What is the Amendment? There is an attack on the banks. We had that during the election; and even in poor districts like my own it contributed not a little to the defeat of hon. Members opposite. We have control of savings and investments. Do hon. Members opposite think that that added to their popularity? We have the reversal of all the economies. That was the bribe they offered; and it was scornfully rejected. The Opposition before the election made, and are still making, two mistakes. They under-rated the patriotism of the classes who were affected by the cuts, and they under-rated the common sense and political intelligence of the generality of our people. They sought a mandate not from the people, but from those whom their leaders described as their bosses. The people, who desire a free Parliament freely elected, have given them their answer. Never since the days of Mr. Fox's secession has any Government had so large a majority or so complete a control of the House of Commons as is possessed by His Majesty's present advisers. They have won an overwhelming victory. The great majority,, which covers not merely these benches, but spreads itself to all quarters of the House, is the answer to the appeal which the Prime Minister made to the nation for a national mandate to deal with our present difficulties.
He asked for a free hand, He has had a generous, an almost overwhelming, response. What use is he going to make of it? His hands are free; the hands of the Government are free. When you appeal for a free hand it does not mean a free hand which is going to hang limply by your side, but that you may act, and it is for action that the country is looking. I make no complaint that the Government, in the face of the immense and complicated problems which confront us, have asked for proper time for deliberation; I make no complaint or criticism of the words which they have put into His Majesty's Gracious Speech. I do not find it as empty as hon. Members opposite find it. I see in it a reaffirmation of the purpose with which they went to the country and a promise of its fulfilment. But I venture to urge that they should not take too much time 410 in deliberations. The country is looking to them for action. It will give them a generous consideration and will welcome anything which they may propose. I am certain it will forgive mistakes, and mistakes are inevitable when you are dealing with such vast and complex matters. It will pardon almost anything except inaction. Inaction is not what it was led to expect, and that is the one result which will bring not only on this Government but on this House the contempt, and I would say the condemnation, of the country. We are looking to them confidently and hopefully for skilful guidance, for bold decisions, and, when occasion requires, for prompt and decisive action, and it is in the faith that they will justify those hopes and give us that for which the country asks that we offer them our whole-hearted and most loyal support.
There is one other matter with which I wish to deal. I have been in attendance during a great part of this Debate, waiting in the hope that I should find some moment when the Home Secretary was in his place. I have not been fortunate, and I must now say what I have to say in his absence. We have heard, in the course of the existence of this Government, a great deal about its balance. We always recognised that it was necessary that the parties who contributed to the Government's success should be represented in its councils. But they are now the Government. In the old phrase, the Cabinet are His Majesty's servants; they are the executive and representatives of the nation. I saw with regret a statement in the Press soon after the election that it was the intention of the Home Secretary to hold weekly meetings of the Liberal party or at least of so many members of the Liberal party as might respond to his invitation. I have even heard whisperings of a Liberal shadow cabinet. I hope that the Home Secretary will take the earliest moment to repudiate both those suggestions. These things have no place in our Parliamentary system. They are an innovation introduced by the party opposite, followed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs, and the results in either case are not a very happy augury for the experiment which they made.
But they are more than that. They are incompatible with Cabinet secrecy; 411 they are incompatible with Cabinet responsibility. I would beg the right hon. Gentleman to discard this intention if he had it. Let the Cabinet, now that it is formed, remember that it is a unit, and let it act in unity. Let it deliberate, as deliberate it must. Let each put into the common stock whatever he has to contribute. Let them take their decisions together, and, having taken them, bring them on to the Floor of this House to be debated and discussed before all men and in the light of day. I think I know already something of the temper of this new House. The great majority, I think, is anxious to support them, and it will judge them in no cavilling spirit. "We are only anxious to uphold their hands in the day of battle. But they must take their own decision and shoulder their own responsibility; it cannot be devolved on anyone else. The task before them is an immense one in every sphere. Problems of vast importance confront them in foreign affairs, in Indian Government, in our Dominion and Imperial relations, political as well as economic, no less than in our own internal position. We have confidence that they will grapple with them. We have confidence that they will act as a united Cabinet, that they will bring their decisions straight to this House and not to any hole-and-corner meetings elsewhere. This House will give them the authority for which they ask and support them in the action they may think proper to take. So, and so only, will they fulfil the task which the country has entrusted to them, and so, and so only, will they restore this country to the place it ought to occupy in the councils of the world, and this House to the respect and interest of the people whom it represents.
§ Mr. LEONARD
I rise to support the Amendment because of the ambiguity that is admittedly contained in the Speech from the Throne. I want particularly to refer to the second paragraph in the Speech. It states that the Government are going to considerThe serious financial and economic situation of the world.And it adds that they are going todo their utmost, in co-operation with other governments, and in the spirit of mutual helpfulness, to find ways for restoring the voulme of international trade.412 I would have liked to have heard before this some particulars as to the means that are to be taken in order to attain this most desirable end. I realise that there has been much comment on this point. I suggest that there has been in this country already sufficient guidance in the past to indicate where at least some advantage can accrue to this country in general and to the people of this country. I do not understand why this House should look to other countries for a surplus of purchasing power in order to absorb the products of British factories, when, at the same time, they calmly accept the idea that the people of this country who ought themselves to have great purchasing power, are to have taken from them that purchasing power which they already possess. I paid a little attention to the parades which have recently taken place in London especially on Armistice Day, and when I saw the people standing in silence, I wondered whether they were really thinking of the charge which is supposed to have been given to them by the men who lie on Flanders fields. Those men are supposed to be saying to the people who are standing in the Two Minutes Silence:If ye break faith with us who die,We shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders Fields.I wonder what is the idea of those people, of the faith that: was in those men who died? Was it a faith that, in the future, after their lives had been given, we should go into industrial conditions which contained more anxiety and degradation than they had experienced before? Was it not a faith that the prominent people of this country who promised them that those anxieties would depart from the lives of the workers and that the people would have happier and better conditions than ever before, would carry out that promise? Was it not because of that faith that those men laid down their lives? I am inclined to think that if you had told those men the story which you are telling to the working people of the world to-day, you would not have found them marching in your uniforms to Flanders or to any other fields.
It appears to me to be humourous at times to hear the economists. They tell us that we must rationalise. "Rationalise," I presume, means that we must 413 produce more, and in the next breath they tell us that individually and collectively we must economise. We must produce more and consume less. We have been doing that far too long. We hoped that the last election would display a determination on the part of the working people to put an end to the sort of activity that had been going on and to a position in which they were expected to bear the burdens placed upon them by the actual controllers of this country. I notice that a, gentleman named Mr. Price who visited (Germany recently to get first-hand information on what has taken place there, has said that the loans given from this country were "rash loans given by the English bankers." He also quotes a statement made by one of the great German bankers when asked what they were doing with the money which Great Britain was directing to them. The banker said:We used your money partly to pay our reparations, partly to re-fit our industries, so that we are now, industrially, the best equipped nation in the world, after America.Yet we find in every part of the Press a, recognition that the money interests of this and other countries are still intent on putting Germany again on its feet—a position from which it should never have been displaced. May I say, in passing, in regard to the mistakes which the Labour Government is supposed to have made—a matter which has been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain)—that those mistakes, whatever they may have been, by no means approach the mistakes made in 1918 and since by Cabinets which have ruled this country. In 1918 the competent politicians of this country actually believed that they could squeeze £24,000,000,000 out of Germany, and, from 1918 down to the recent meeting in Downing Street with the financial experts of the world, those people have displayed mistake after mistake. Every time they met they were forced by circumstances to step back and admit their mistake, and the mistake was that they ever went to war at all instead of co-operating in the manner referred to in the part of the King's Speech on which I base my remarks. They continue to expect things which they will not get. I find in "The 414 Times" of 20th August a director of the Bank of England telling us that we must give Germany more money, not on short term, but on long term loans. That is necessary in order that this country should escape the consequences imposed by the men who had control in 1918 and from that time onwards.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has referred to the spectacle of democrats in defeat. I am not going to link myself with any statements which have been made with regard to personalities in this House, but I am going to say that I do not look upon it as a defeat. We have in the past endeavoured by theory to prove who were the real controllers of this and other countries. We are now in the extremely advantageous position of realising more clearly than ever that before our theories, which have to be applied intimately with regard to production, can be attended to, we have to attend to that great financial machine. That machine has never before displayed itself so openly in this country. I admit that Austria had a display of its powers through the medium of the French banks. I also Temember that the British banks, in order to checkmate the French banks, gave Austria the loan which the French banks refused. I also remember that when the representative of Australia or of Queensland came to this country in order to get sufficient money to carry on certain advances in that country, he was told by the representatives of the financial machine here that he could only get it on the understanding that certain social legislation which had been passed in that country was cancelled, and that it he was not prepared to do that he could not have the money in this country.
I remember that in the pre-War years the financial people of this country were very jubilant about the opportunity to indulge in a Bulgarian loan, and they urged participation in that loan because in Bulgaria they had so many real, tangible assets controlled by the people of that country. As they were prepared to countenance that there, it is quite possible that they might be prepared to countenance a great deal of social advance in this country in the form of control of industry provided they are permitted to give the money as they were permitted to do to Bulgaria. But now that we see the effects of the power that 415 has been allowed to reside in their hands, I am afraid that before Socialist opinion in this country will pay any attention to the question of control of industry, it will first pay attention to the control of the great factor in industry, namely, finance; and I cannot understand why business people in this country have been asleep so long.
A few years ago the Society of Manufacturers passed a resolution deploring the great control which the banks were exercising in this country. I have been at a lecture in Essex Hall where a gentleman called Major Douglas, about whose theories I do not know very much, but who had a chairman in the person of a political economist, a professor, who said at that time that the economic interests of this country were in the control of 10 men and that this was not good for the business people of this country. Furthermore, more recently we have been told by the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. A. M. Samuel) that all trade is barter and that money is the wheels upon which it runs, and that business people, if they are still to continue in control, are themselves beginning to question the advisability of the things that they produce being interfered with because the wheels they are running upon are controlled by people who are not particularly interested in trade as such or the requirements of the people.
I would also draw to the attention of the gentlemen who are worrying about heavy taxation that the producers of this country have to pay to the non-producers no less than £275,000,000 a year in War Debt interest alone, and I am of the opinion that a great deal of that debt should not be countenanced at all. In the public accounts of the city of Glasgow I find that Glasgow during the War, in order to take- part in the great patriotic orgies forced upon them, were approached by the Scottish banks in order to take up War Loan, and they did so to the extent of £4,000,000. Not a penny piece did they ever give to the War or to the country, but in the short space of four or five years they made a profit on revenue and capital account of no less than £116,000, for which they never gave a single penny piece or any service at all to the country. You can multiply 416 that all over this country and other countries where people were supposed to have credit at their banks. If the country required it they could quite readily have got it from the people who had it, instead of adopting those secondhand or third-hand methods of piling up debt. I trust that that matter will be attended to in the future.
A speaker who addressed us yesterday said the Socialist theory was not capable of giving any satisfaction. If that be the case, I would like to ask why it was that, during the War, your very patriotic business men proved themselves so greedy that you had to interfere with the great freedom that capitalism demands for the private individual. I would like to know why you required to interfere with the re-export of tea, which was actually going to Germany, and with cotton and cement. You had nationally to interfere with the ordinary freedom that capitalism claims for its individuals and to control your factories. You had to control everything that was essential to war, and to the well-being of the people, simply because you were afraid of the consequences if the War should not be won.
I remember that the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) said, after this great experiment, after admitting that millions of pounds were saved to this country, that it was the application of Socialism in this country and that he did not care whether it was called Socialism or not; it was good for the country, and he was pleased that it had been done. I am suggesting that the co-operation that is referred to in this part of the King's Speech will only succeed in bringing happiness to the people of this country if it is based upon the lines that have already been tried in that direction, and proved capable of giving satisfaction. It will only succeed if it will allow the advantages of that co-operation to percolate through to the common people of this country and allow them to live a life that they have not enjoyed for many years, if at all.
I have already referred in this House to the increase of productivity per head in this country, and will not refer to it again, other than to say that it will be unsatisfactory unless there is an exten- 417 sion of all those advantages down to the people who have created them, and I think this will eventually be demanded in this country. The crisis which was the most potent force in the last election at least was not able to alter the opinion of 7,000,000 people, and that figure will grow, and has grown to that stage by the steady acceptance of the people in this country and other countries that what has figured in the past in the form of capitalism has not given them happiness. I look to the future to produce an ever-increasing volume of opinion that will steadily link itself to the idea that co-operation is much better than the present competitive method, and that will display itself by an alteration in the personnel in the seats in this House.
It is a very pleasant task to congratulate the hon. Member for St. Rollox (Mr. Leonard), who has just addressed us, and I am sure the Labour party must be very pleased that it has got one forcible speaker who can put his case so well as the hon. Member has just done. I am afraid I cannot, in this welter of maiden speeches, claim the same indulgence of the House for myself, but listening to the two hon. Members who have spoken last from the Opposition Front Bench, namely, the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) to-day and the hon. Member for the Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams), who wound up last night, it has been most extraordinary to observe the general lines running through their speeches. The hon. Member who has just spoken did pay the compliment to the House of addressing himself to the Amendment, but hon. Members on the Front Bench opposite entirely ignored it, though in their opening words they both said that no one else had paid any attention to it either. As a matter of fact, they were very much like the old "cabbies' whom one used to see in the London streets waving their arms about; they were trying to keep themselves warm in the chilly blasts of Opposition, which are blowing about their heads.
But the highest or perhaps lowest common denominator in those Front Bench speeches was violent denunciation of the Prime Minister himself, which is most extraordinary when one comes to analyse it, because, after all, none of 418 them would be here at all if it had not been for the activities of the Prime Minister in the past, and it seems to me that some of them might reconsider, in the weeks and months to come in which they will have plenty of leisure, some of the comments they made yesterday and to-day. When I last spoke from this bench seven weeks ago I took some hon. Members opposite to task for giving us dress rehearsals of the speeches they were about to make at the forthcoming election. To-day I can only say that they have been treating us during this Debate to a re-hash. Some of the speeches have been made on the platform and others, obviously, at overflow meetings and street-corners. As to the general burden of the attack upon the Prime Minister, he himself, is quite capable of dealing with hon. Gentlemen opposite.
The second general criticism which they have made against the King's Speech and tacked it on to the part of the Debate which dealt with the Amendment, has taken the line that the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs was for 25 years a great advocate of national planning, and now he has deserted all his old ideals. That has been running through the Debate this morning as well as yesterday. All I can say is that if he has changed his mind about that which he has advocated for 25 years, it only shows that as he grows older he is growing wiser, and it does not lie in the mouth of anyone to complain of that. After all, it is what we all hope to do.
The third line of complaint is that there is nothing in the Gracious Speech dealing with unemployment, housing or agriculture; in fact, to hear the Leader of the Opposition, there was nothing in the Speech at all. I have observed, as a matter of fact, that success in any field of legislation appears to be in inverse ratio to what is put in the King's Speech. I took the trouble to look up the last King's Speech which was drafted by the present Prime Minister. In that Speech there were certainly plenty of promises of legislation—a regular calvacade of them. Might I remind hon. Members opposite of some of those promises? They had reference to the school-leaving age, trade union law, Consumers' Council, town planning, factory legislation, 419 electoral reform, Washington Hours Convention, safety at sea, London traffic. All that monstrous regiment of Bills was paraded in the Gracious Speech from the Throne, but not one of them has yet reached the Statute Book, and I do not suppose that they ever will. It seems to me that the best hope of getting something done in this House is not to mention it in the King's Speech at all. The Prime Minister, I suppose, was largely instrumental, if not chiefly personally responsible, for this particular Speech, because I understand that the Cabinet was not constituted until after it had been drafted. He, too, no doubt had learned wisdom as he grew older, and remembered that it was a mistake to promise a lot of legislation in the Gracious Speech.
Another line of attack which we have had from the Opposition on this Amendment—the hon. Member for Rothwell devoted practically all his speech to it— has been about tariffs—Protection— which, curiously enough, is not mentioned in the Amendment. One congratulates hon. Members opposite upon having taken every possible opportunity, within the Rules of Order, of airing their views on this subject, but if one reads the Amendment very carefully, as I have tried to do, there is nothing in it which would exclude approval, in due course, of the application of tariffs in this country. But the Labour party have been rather cunning about that, because, although they have devoted all their speeches to attacking any suggestions of tariffs, they can quite well turn round, and no doubt will in due course, when the joint committee of the party and the Trades Union Congress have decided that the Labour party in the House must support tariffs, and they will be quite consistent, because there is nothing in this Amendment against it.
I understand that the party opposite are going to bring forward great schemes for discussion during this Parliament, so that we shall be able on the Floor of the House to debate in great detail all the ideas which are floating through some of the Labour heads. I remember a date, which, I have no doubt, conveys nothing to anybody in this House, and that is 5th February, 1926, when on the ballot for private Members' Bills, the 420 official Labour party produced all the schemes with which it was to regenerate this country. I do not mention the Scottish Home Rule Bill, which was one of the largest Bills ever introduced, because I cannot remember the date of that. But there was, first of all, a Factories Bill introduced from that side by Miss Wilkinson, supported by Mr. Arthur Henderson, and therefore an official Bill. There was a Bank of England (Nationalisation) Bill, which was, to be sure, introduced by the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) and his friends, but which was supported by Mr. Tom Johnston and the Chief Whip of the Labour party, who were then in the fold. Then there was a Bill called the Hours of Industrial Employment Bill, which was to bring in the whole scope of the Washington Convention, introduced by Mr. Mackinder, supported by Mr. Tom Shaw; and also a famous Bill called the Prevention of Unemployment Bill, which was introduced by Mr. Lees-Smith, and supported by Mr. Clynes, the present Lord Passfield and the right hon. Gentleman himself.
Those Measures, introduced on that famous date, 5th February, 1926, have all gone back to the pigeon-holes of Transport House, where they were completely overlooked during the two and a-half years that that party was in office. One would have thought, in view of the great increase of unemployment during those two and a-half years, that the Prevention of Unemployment Bill might have been trotted out, at any rate for an airing, but it completely disappeared from the ken of this House, and so, I suppose, we are going to have a modernised edition of this poor old Bill. If that is all that is meant by this Amendment, I am sure that some of us will find it very interesting to debate those Bills when they are introduced.
That is absolutely all there is to this Amendment. As a matter of fact, practically all of us could entirely support it, with two exceptions. If, instead of reading at the beginning:But regret that Your Majesty's advisers have no policy for … public ownership"—and so on, it had read:But are profoundly thankful that Your Majesty's present advisers have no such schemes.421 we could unanimously have supported all the words down to the last line but one, but we could not stultify ourselves by admitting the adjective "unjust" as applied to the economies. We recognise that the economies which the last Parliament had to impose on millions of people brought great hardship to them, but we are not going to say, in the circumstances of the time in which they were introduced, that they were animated by any definite injustice. We did our best to avoid them, and it may be that our efforts were not very successful, but certainly none of us could support an Amendment of that kind. The House, in the course of a few hours, is going to vote yes or no whether His Majesty's present advisers have its confidence or not. This is an official Amendment to the Gracious Speech. It is the one—I should say the earliest—opportunity when the Opposition can formally parade their strength and show the country that the Government have not got their support. As one looks about the House and hears the speeches one recognises that, of course, the great mass of those present are supporters of the Government.
A great deal has been said about the tariff issue. The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) said that every Member must interpret the mandate which he received from his own constituents, and while some hon. Members opposite hold up their hands in horror at the very mention of Protection, there are others who are continually exclaiming that Free Trade is dead. The Government have obviously a very difficult job ahead of them. Though you may have the resounding brass and the tinkling cymbals—it may be Bournemouth or it may be Birmingham—yet without charity, we have it on the best authority, they are nothing worth. Charity in this case means that there are hundreds of Members who have been elected to this House and have come here to be loyal to the Prime Minister and to the pledges which he gave to the country. I should like to make that perfectly clear, because I might claim something different, having had the opportunity of an opponent in the Liberal party who was blessed with the Home Secretary's personal coupon, but I am one of the hundreds who are going to stick to the Prime Minister if he will carry out what 422 he told the country he would do and, by the use of any means, get us out of our present situation. We are not to be deflected one way or the other by extremists on either side, and I hope that those on this side will give an encouraging message to the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench in their difficulties.
This is the first vote of confidence that this House has had the opportunity of registering. We shall do it with the utmost satisfaction, because we know that the country is behind us. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Rothwell said just now that he has no objection to the will of the people prevailing. I am sure that that is good of him—very good indeed, even for a Friday morning—but we are going to see that the will of the people does prevail, and in order to make it prevail we are not going to start quibbling with Ministers. We are going to give them time. It is time for action, but not too precipitate. The Prime Minister made that appeal to the country, and the country answered it in no unmistakable manner, and when the question is put in a short time we shall freely support the words of the Gracious Speech, because we know that, if the Government carry on as they have started, they will, in the lifetime of the Parliament, with the support of the great mass of Members who sit in all corners of the House, be enabled to achieve such success as will make this Parliament conspicuous among all those that have preceded it.
§ Mr. PARKINSON
We have heard a speech from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) in which he appealed very benevolently and kindly to the party in Opposition. There are one or two words I should like to say in reply. He said that we should have to bear the odium of our own action. I do not know that the Labour party have ever refused to bear the odium of their own actions or have run away from their responsibilities. [Hon. MEMBERS: "Oh! "] That remains to be proved, and it has not been proved yet, although the proof has been asked for many times. It has never been proved that the Labour party ran away from what they thought to be the right thing.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we had under-rated the patriot- 423 ism of the poor people. We have never under-rated that patriotism. The poor people have shown their patriotism in such a manner that nobody could underrate it. We do mistrust the patriotism of the other people, but not of the poor people, and we do not think that it is a reasonable proposition for the other people to claim to have all the patriotism. During the years 1914 to 1918 the patriotism of the poor people was shown in a manner which would probably be shown again, but I hope will never be required, because they gave up their all in order to defend their country. It is not necessary, therefore, for us to be told that we under-rate their patriotism. Their patriotism is beyond doubt, but the patriotism of the people who claim to be patriotic is a very doubtful quantity indeed.
The right hon. Gentleman made another point in regard to the Liberal shadow cabinet, and in a sense appealed for complete unanimity in the ranks of the Government. I never heard him say a word about the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft). There appears to be something there much stronger than a shadow cabinet, and something with which the right hon. Gentleman's own party will have to deal. There is nothing that I can do about that because it has not any connection with may party, but I would say that before you attempt to sweep other people's doorsteps you had better get your own clean; and before you find fault with shadow cabinets or combinations in other parts of the House you had better make sure that they are not there in your own domain.
Yesterday we had the moving by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) of the Amendment which has been put on the Paper by the Labour party. The statement which he made was one which, if not very acceptable to the House, was very well argued, well thought out, and in keeping with the best order of debate in this House. We did expect a real reply from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. When he got up to reply, we expected at least that he would devote himself to the Amendment. We listened, however, to a very long diatribe of abuse 424 of one kind and another, and I do not think that through the whole of his speech he touched the question of the Amendment at all.
During the whole of the Debate this week, it has seemed to be the policy to attack persons rather than to deal with the questions at issue. I am not going to indulge in recriminations of any kind. All I have to say about the people who left the Labour party is that they have spent a considerable number of years in the Labour movement, and have been helped from every point of view; they have been nurtured and supported. Now they have left and have changed their minds, which everybody is entitled to do; but everybody is not entitled when they change their minds to abuse the people with whom they have been associated so long. Now that they have left the Labour party and taken on the reins of the National Government, they will have to meet in future what their action merits, be it good or bad. My own opinion is that they will meet something which is very unexpected and which will not be very acceptable to them, something which will be in payment for the action which they have taken.
The Amendment is divided under certain heads. The first is the co-ordination under public control or ownership of the principal industries. That is a rather big thing and one cannot go thoroughly into the merits of the question this morning, because time is limited. Unless something of this kind takes place, our industries, which at the moment are in chaos, will be in a very awkward position in succeeding years. I would ask the House to witness the sad position of industry under capitalism at the present time. It cannot be said that that has been brought about by a Labour Government by any means, because government in this country has been going on for hundreds of years, and the aggregate period of Labour Government has been something like three years. If, therefore, the conditions of industry under Conservative and Liberal Governments for hundreds of years was such as to cause it to collapse in the few months of the work of the Labour Government, it was not very stable.
Next I would like to turn to the position of the mining and textile industries. They are two of the greatest in- 425 dustries in Lancashire, and two which have really been the backbone of our export trade. At the moment 400,000 people have been displaced from their employment in the mining industry, taking the country as a whole. I am not quite sure of the figures relating to the cotton industry, but about a quarter of a million of the workpeople in my county and the adjoining counties have no opportunity of getting further employment. Those industries have completely, or almost completely, broken down under the capitalist system. In the division which I represent one finds derelict villages, haggard men and women and children without prospects. The people do not know what to do because they can find no employment. Industries have been closed down, and the people are left dependent on what they can get in the way of unemployment benefit or from the public assistance committees. It may be said that the rationalisation of industry is doing a lot of good, but, so far as I can see, every bit of new machinery brought into the works is displacing labour, making it more difficult for people to find employment. So long as there is no possibility of employment for the people they ought to have the right to some means of support; but in this case they have nothing beyond the ordinary means, which have been so much maligned and criticised in this House during the last two or three years. I would like to read a statement from a letter which the Prime Minister sent to a candidate in Manchester, Alderman Henderson, during a by-election in June of this year:So far from doing anything to increase the efficiency of industry, our predecessors by their hurried return to the Gold Standard augmented the difficulties of the export trade and directly produced the coal crisis of 1925–26. This crisis they mishandled from start to finish, beginning with a futile and wasted subsidy, then drifting into a disastrous stoppage, and finally legislating to lengthen the miners' day and launching a frontal attack on the workers' organisation.He goes on to say:We, on the other hand"—That is the Labour party, of which he was at that time the leader—have reduced miners' hours; we have actively promoted the reorganisation of the coal industry, and are also doing all in our 426 power to assist the; cotton and iron and steel industries to reorganise on modern lines.That is what we are asking the Government to do in this Amendment. We are asking that this Amendment shall be put into operation in such a way as to give the greatest common measure of help not to any section of the community but to the whole community. The second part of the Amendment deals with our banking and financial machinery. The grip the financial people have on the industrial community is one that can hardly be broken. They have a grip upon practically every industry. I remember a book written by the hon. Member for Stockport some time ago and entitled "Lancashire in Pawn." Anyone who reads' that book will find that not only the coal industry, but the cotton, iron and steel and other industries are really in pawn and in the grip of finance. That grip has been tightening day by day, until at the moment they are not able to carry on.
I am not qualified to speak about all the intricacies of commercial finance, but I claim that there will have to be a loosening of the bonds by which industry is controlled. There will have to be a greater flexibility between finance and industry if our trades are to carry on and be of use to the community. In the future our financial resources will have to be used more in the interests of the whole community rather than in a sectional way and within a confined area. The financiers ought not to have the power of closing down works and putting in a receiver. The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) spoke about the closing down of collieries. We know of cases where the banks have put in receivers and collieries have been closed down, and for two years the injured workmen have not been able to get one penny of the compensation due to them, because the whole proceeds of the sale of the collieries is being eaten up by expenditure which goes beyond what one might call reasonable expenditure. That shows the power of the banks, and the system ought to be so altered as to work for the greater advantage of the nation.
Turning to War debts and reparations, we must not forget that this has been a problem even since 1918. I am proud to be able to say that our country took 427 a notable stand in the matter: Lord Balfour offered on behalf of this country to cancel all War debts. Some step in that direction will have to be taken again. Unless some settlement is arrived at in this matter, then not only one nation but many nations, particularly the nations in Europe, will become bankrupt. It is a thorny question, and one which will have to be dealt with by every country according to its commitments, but I think this country ought to make a bold effort to bring about that confidence of which we have been talking so much in order that some definite agreement can be reached between the nations of the world. It is not right that one country, or even two or three countries, should always stand in the way of the financial readjustment of the whole world, and by so doing practically drive nearly all the other countries into a condition of bankruptcy.
Then there is the question of the free flow of international trade. We have heard a lot about that during this Debate. The free flow of international trade must be a necessary and desirable thing for every country. It is true that we are faced with countries which have very high tariffs while others have lower tariffs, but so long as any one country maintains a tariff wall it is making it almost imposible for other countries to live, because it is imposing high burdens upon the people. As was pointed out by the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn), countries with high tariff walls are not in any better condition than we are, and the working classes in those countries have both a lower standard of life and, at the moment, greater unemployment than we have.
The right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) claimed that the Government have been given a free hand to introduce full Protection. What would full Protection do? Is it going to ease the situation from the point of view of the majority of the people? Is it going to increase the standard of life of our people? In what manner can a tariff help the mining industry or the textile workers or the workers in the shipyards? If the position in other industries were dissected it would be found that a tariff of any kind could not help the working classes as a whole. Seven out of every 428 10 people cannot be benefited, but on the contrary they would be punished by a higher cost of living. That would be the inevitable result of tariffs and Protection, which would increase the cost of living, and reduce the purchasing power of the people. Every foreign country in Europe which has imposed tariffs is in a worse condition than Great Britain, and before the Government launch out on this policy of tariffs I ask that they should give careful consideration to the effect it will have on the great bulk of our people. If it is not likely to benefit the people, then it is not worth while. If it is not likely to improve the standard of life and the condition of the people, then it is not worth dealing with in that way, because what is done on one hand will be counteracted on the other hand by the hostile tariffs of other countries, and we shall find ourselves in a worse position than we were in before tariffs were adopted.
I will now deal with the unjust cuts in unemployment benefit and the cuts affecting other classes of the community, with which the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) said that he could not agree. The burden of these unjust cuts will fall largely upon the unemployed people, and they will be very much harder to bear than many hon. Members imagine. On this question I am speaking of what I know. I have lived in a mining area all my life, and I have been in close touch with the mining industry. Consequently I know the hardships of these people, and of those employed in the textile and other trades. Hon. Members only need to visit any large industrial area, and they will find evidence of the hardship of these cuts which cannot be justified. People I have known for the last 20 or 30 years have been walking the streets for the last five or six years unable to find employment because there is no employment to be found. Many of these men cannot find employment, not because they are unable to work, but because they have reached the age of between 50 and 55 years. They cannot get employment because there are so many younger people out of employment. These are men who have borne the burdens of industry. Many of them served their country in the War during 1914 and 1918, and they are now simply 429 eking out a miserable existence in the best way that they can.
Hon. Members will recollect the contemptible statement which was made by the Prime Minister to the effect that a comparison showed that after a reduction of 10 per cent. had been made those in receipt of unemployment benefit would be 1½per cent. better off than they were in 1929. The Prime Minister knows very well that if the policy of the Government is carried out, it will be impossible to avoid a rise in the cost of living. Already that 1½ per cent. has gone, because there has been a rise in the cost of living which makes the position of these people worse than it was in September, 1931. The right thing to do would be to restore this cut. That is absolutely necessary in order to enable the poor people to stand the rigours of the approaching winter. At the present time they are underclothed, underfed, and quite unfit to face the hardships which are to be imposed upon them. Their physique is being broken, and they are hardly able to follow work if it is offered to them.
The cut in unemployment benefit was not a matter of necessity from the Government point of view, but it was simply a question of yielding to the clamour of people who have never known what it is to be in need or want. It has been said that there are a number of people who do not want work, but that argument might be applied to almost every scale of life. I know that hundreds of people apply for every job that is advertised, and they have to be turned away. My view is that if 95 per cent. of the unemployed were offered work they would jump at the opportunity to-morrow and take the work. Work is not provided for them, and they are held in the grip of starvation by this cut in unemployment benefit. I think the Government might very well reconsider this question, and accept full responsibility for dealing with it.
The last question I wish to deal with is the curbing of the social services, a policy which presses more stringently upon the poor than the rich. If the National Government intend to restore confidence and help people to improve their condition, they must extend the social services in order to maintain a nation of strong and virile men and women, Ruskin once said: 430That country is strongest which has the greatest number of happy human beings.If the Government will proceed on those lines they will lead the country out of chaos, and make the life of the people brighter and happier. We have had hundreds of years of Tory and Liberal Governments and we know the result. The Labour party has been responsible for the government of the country for about three years, but it cannot be held responsible for the actions of past Governments which have been carried on by other political parties. If the present condition of things is the result of hundreds of years of responsible Government by all parties, is it not time that a new order of things were built The well-being of the whole community must be the object of the Government, and we want a new order of things which will give greater happiness to the community and greater strength to the nation. The Government to-day have the largest majority which has ever been known in our history. They claim to have all the intelligence on their side, and they have not wasted any opportunity of trying to pull everybody towards them. They have the strongest Government of modern times, and a strong mandate from the people. They asked the country to give them a free hand, and they have the right to go forward with any policy which meets with the approval of a majority of their supporters. I ask the Government carefully to consider the best way of leading the country out of the present impasse which has not been created within the last seven or eight years, but which has been brought about gradually during the course of hundreds of years, and for which the Tory party must take its share of responsibility. The Government have an opportunity of applying a new order of things which will give greater opportunities to our child life, and greater possibilities of comfort for the working-class community than ever they have had before. If the Government step out boldly in that direction and take that responsibility upon themselves, we may hope to see things better in the future. I repeat once more that by cutting down unemployment benefit and dealing with transitional benefit in the way that they have done, the Government have done the greatest disservice to the people who, during their 431 whole lifetime, have been fighting the battle of industrial freedom, and who would much prefer to have some kind of employment than try to exist on unemployment benefit.
§ Mr. HARRIS
Everyone will agree that the tone and temper of the discussion this morning have been on a high level, and the last speaker has avoided the temptation, always great in connection with election controversies, to indulge in personalities. I should like to refer to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain). Anyone who heard it must have been impressed by its fine spirit and splendid tone, which afforded an example to some of the newer and younger Members. I may perhaps include myself among the younger Members, because, although I have been here for some 10 years, the right hon. Gentleman is very nearly, if not quite, the Father of the House. He appealed to us to give real public support to a new Government on national lines, to drop party controversies, and to give the Prime Minister every opportunity to carry out the mandate expressed in his memorandum when he appealed to the country. As far as my Liberal friends are concerned, I am sure that we shall respond to that appeal in the most generous sense. We are not going to indulge in carping criticism. On the contrary, we come here, as I understand, to help the Government get the country through the wood in which we still are.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to some Liberal party meetings which have been held during the last few weeks. I suppose that we are constituted in our own peculiar way, but I think I am right in saying that we have been holding those meetings ever since 1918. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) was Prime Minister, our weekly meetings went on right through his period of office. They continued in 1922, 1923 and 1924, and I am afraid that most of us will still continue to meet and discuss the Government of the day in our own Liberal way. But, if the presence of the Home Secretary is an embarrassment to the Government, if it is going to be difficult for him to be present at those meetings, needless to say we should relieve him from regular 432 attendance. I recognise the importance of Cabinet unity and Cabinet secrecy, and our only desire is to strengthen the hands of the Government, but we cherish the right as a party to meet weekly in our own way, and I am sure we shall not be found fault with for exercising a right which is enjoyed by every other section of the House, whether they recognise the Government Whip or not. When the Government has a majority so gigantic that there is a real danger of its becoming unwieldy, and of the House breaking up into cliques and sections, surely it is better for us to meet in our own way according to our party predilections; but, as I have said, if the Home Secretary is embarrassed by attendance—and, after all, he is a very busy man, and will have his hands full— we shall not make any difficulty for him in any way. I should like to say that on behalf of my colleagues.
I should also like to thank the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank). There is no more skilful party man that he is. He is an artist in controversy. No one more enjoys that part of his work as a Member of Parliament, and no one displayed in the last Parliament greater skill and ingenuity than he did. Therefore, I think it was very generous of him to set such a good example by curbing his wit and making it easy, as I understand he endeavoured to do, for colleagues of mine to take a Liberal point of view. I agree that our business now is to let the new Government work out its salvation, to let the nation and the House see what it is made of. We exclude nothing from its programme, and we do not want to confine or limit its operations and its work. The great danger at the present time is that of concentraing too much on the home market, of talking too much, for and against if you like—for both sides, no doubt, have been equally guilty—about the necessity for Protection or for adhering to a Free Trade policy in reference to our industries.
If the trade returns are examined carefully, it will be found that it is not our home trade that is disturbed and upset, but our foreign trade. It is remarkable that, as exports go down, imports go down also. They always seem to move together, like weight and 433 measure. If we study the figures for the last nine months we find—although I do not imply that they represent what has been happening during the last few weeks—that what is most depressing and discouraging is the general disorganisation of our world trade. This country cannot exist without foreign trade. Other nations are luckier. France, for example, can be to a large extent self-contained, but we have, somehow or other, to bring into this country each year something like £400,000,000 worth of food and drink, and £250,000,000 worth of raw materials. Even it all the hopes and anticipations of some of my Protectionist friends were carried out, the reduction of the need to import food and raw materials would be comparatively small, and, even if the imports of manufactured goods are studied, it will be found that two largo items are non-ferrous metals and oils and fats, the greater part of which will still have to be imported. The benevolent foreigner does not send these goods to us out of any love for our nationals; he wants payment. He cannot get payment if our exports decline, and the last nine months show a continuance of the steady decline of our exports.
Coal is a very notable item. In the first nine months of this year, coal exports have fallen by no less than £10,000,000 as compared with 1929. There is also a continued decline in our cotton industry. ft was bad enough last year, but, unfortunately, the first nine months of this year show no revival. For the first nine months of 1929, the figure was 8104,000,000. By 1930 it had fallen to £71,000,000, and during the first nine months of this year, 1931, it was only £42,000,000. Of course, there has been a drop in the prices of raw materials, but, nevertheless, if the quantities in the various sections of the cotton trade be studied, a most remarkable decline in our exports is shown. Everyone knows that our imports of cotton goods are comparatively small and unimportant—something under £7,000,000 even in a good year. There is a slight decline this year, but, even if all the imports of cotton goods were kept out, we should still have to face this terrible depression in the cotton industry, which affects the employment 434 of the workers and the occupation of capital in that world-wide trade.
The unrest in India must be very largely accountable for it, and the fall in the value of silver is a contributory factor. The war in China, which, unfortunately, continues on an even more complex scale owing to the trouble with Japan, is also one of the causes, and changes in fashion and changes in the customs of world populations must also be taken into account. I say to the Government, and especially to the new President of the Board of Trade and the new Minister for Overseas Trade, that they must keep their attention riveted on the importance of doing something to revive our foreign trade, because without our exports we must starve. If we cannot export our manufactured goods to the four quarters of the globe, the food and raw materials on which we depend must cease to come in.
Nor is the position more satisfactory in the Dominions. Australia, as has been pointed out, especially by Lord Beaver-brook, was up to a year or two ago an increasing purchaser of our manufactures, but during the last two years trade has been paralysed by various causes. One of those causes is the drop in world prices. Australia and New Zealand are largely dependent for their prosperity on wool, which hardly pays for the cost of production. What has happened is that, while every other article of production has increased in quantity, because of the introduction of machinery, scientific manures and various other contributory factors, gold has remained static. Practically no new gold mines have been discovered in the last 20 years. With increased production, even without the disturbing cause of the War, there was bound to be a drop of world prices due to the shortage of gold and dislocation as the result of international currency. But on the top of that Australia has gone in for a progressive system of tariffs. Following the example of Continental countries, she is trying to become self-contained. The result is an increase in the cost of living and in the cost of production, and, while she was one of our very best markets, she has now in many articles ceased to be a buyer.
These tariffs may not do any good to the countries that indulge in them, but they strike at the very heart of our econo- 435 mic prosperity as a nation which must exist on world trade. I understand the Lord President of the Council is going to speak on the currency question. My view is that you cannot divorce currency from tariffs. We still claim to be Free Traders. We are still unashamed of our Free Trade views, but we have never pretended that the tariffs of other countries do not do us harm. On the contrary, if this tariff struggle continues, if Continental nations are to be followed by our Dominions putting up new tariff walls, they can strangle our industry and paralyse our whole economic life. If they refuse to take our goods, obviously in the end we cannot buy our food and raw material. I understand that we are to have a conference on Disarmament. I hope that will lead to good results but. there is another kind of war which is equally serious, and I am glad that the Prime Minister hinted that there was a possibility of a Conference on another line. We want,, at the same time that we have a conference on Disarmament, to have an economic conference from which nothing in excluded, where not only currency can be discussed, but tariffs, reparations, War debts and the whole economic field can be reviewed.
Even if Protection, or Safeguarding, or tariffs, or whatever you like to call it, secured all that its most fervent advocates anticipate, your international problems still remain. The world market will have to be re-opened, and I suggest that this Government, with all the moral authority of a large majority and the prestige of being able to call itself national, representing all three parties, should be able to appeal to the nations of the world and claim that a conference like this should be summoned with the least possible delay, and no one is likely to be able to lead the nations of the world along the right path more successfully than the Prime Minister. His prestige in America is unrivalled. His status in Germany is great. Even in France, with his three years' of premiership, he ought to be able to bring influence to bear to get their attendance. We know that we have an advocate of economic co-operation in M. Briand and, therefore, I suggest that this as an opportunt moment. I ask the Government, while they are trying all these remedies for our economic distress, not 436 to be diverted from the most important contribution to our economic prosperity, the machinery of international conference. I believe even the official Opposition would back him in any action on these lines that he might take. He has an unrivalled opportunity, and, if he takes it, he will go down to history as one of the greatest premiers of this country.
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
We are to-day debating an Amendment moved by the Labour party to the King's Speech. The issue, therefore, is the King's Speech as presented to the House, as against an Amendment moved by the Labour party, and whether the House will accept the Government policy as laid down by the King's Speech or the policy laid down by the official Opposition. The King's Speech to me presents no policy at all. One of the difficulties in this Debate is that you have an Amendment which may be good or bad. It may be a proper or an improper Amendment; it may contain flaws and wrong policies, but there is this to be said for it, that it makes an attempt to state something concrete in a way of policy. Therefore, what we have to debate to-day is an attempt to lay down a policy versus a King's Speech which contains no kind of policy at all. It outlines no attempt in that direction whatever. It merely says the Government will carry on.
We ought to be candid as to the reasons why this Government was elected. As far as I can see, there are four reasons. First, I think there was a general fear on the part of large sections of the community that, if the Labour Government continued, their savings were in danger. The second reason is that a large section of the population thought that tariffs might give them a job that they had not had for years. They listened to the argument that foreigners were getting their work and that someone else was capturing their trade and they voted for tariffs, not that they were certain, not that they were convinced, but merely that it gave them hope while other policies had failed. The third reason was that the Labour party had failed to meet expectations. The Labour party had broken its word. Let there be no doubt about it, the Labour party started its career and its work as a class party to stand 437 for working-class interest at all times. The Labour party departed from that ideal, and, therefore, there was disappointment and disillusion; nay more, a complete lack of trust and faith in the leaders of the Labour party. Those are the three reasons, plus the reason that the Prime Minister was schooled in the Labour movement, and there was a feeling that he was different from other men and that given the job of Prime Minister he could do it better than any other person. Those are the four reasons. The National Government got their mandate. Protection, the Prime Minister, and the failure of the Labour party were all contributing factors. The House is being asked to adopt the King's Speech, as against the Amendment of the Labour party.
Already the Prime Minister has found that he is not dealing with the Labour party. The King's Speech would have suited the Labour party. Anything he did suited them, because he was not merely a man to them; he was a god, and a god can do no wrong. When he was their chief everything he said was accepted and unchallenged. Those who challenged were expelled. Therefore the King's Speech would have suited them, but the Prime Minister is now dealing with a new party who have not been brought up with him and who have not seen him grow. They have no affection for him. They think that they are as good as he is. Seldom did the Labour party think that they were as good as he was. His new followers think that they are as good as he is, and already the King's Speech shows signs of being scrapped. On Monday there is to be an announcement about dumping. The Prime Minister, speaking in the language of the Labour party conferences and of the party meetings, used to say, "Maxton; you are too quick. We build slowly, brick by brick, steadily and sure." For two and a half years who listened to him. That was his policy, brick by brick, steadily, steadily on! The Tories are right. He brought us to ruin and catastrophe. Brick by brick! What he meant was, not brick by brick, but committee by committee, inquiry by inquiry. He started off in that way. He thought he was dealing with us, but he has found that he is dealing with different folk.
438 I say to the Conservatives that already there is the same drifting as there was in the Labour Government. If you are going in for Protection, and if it must be carried out and it is the policy that men believe in, let the men that believe in it carry it out. What you may do by inquiry is to force men into it against their will. The right hon. Gentleman only wanted an inquiry. Now he is going to give you a form of tariffs against dumping. It will not succeed, and then the Conservatives will demand, and rightly so in their view, proper, well-thought out Protection. Then the right hon. Gentleman will be forced into it. What do the Conservatives say about it? I ask them to answer the question. They held that Protection would be the means of providing work for men; that it would remove the unemployed men from the queue. If that be their view, what right have they to allow any man to cause delay in getting jobs for these men? You are betraying your trust, and, as one who has been through the hell of party and its terrors, I ask: What right have you in your first weeks in Parliament to betray your trust? Why not do it now? What right have you to continue to starve men if your policy means providing even 20 or 100 men with jobs? Why should you allow a Government led by such a Prime Minister to go on putting aside, drifting, and so betray the promises that you gave. I think that it is criminal and cruel, after you have given your word to poverty-stricken people that you will put your Protection policy into force, to think more of the political future of the Prime Minister than you do of the well-being and care of the unemployed. You said at the election that Protection could be carried out now. You said that it had been thought out and that you could get to work. The plans were ready. You are putting the question aside for months because you think of the Prime Minister and not of the men who are unemployed.
I will turn to the official Opposition and ask them a few questions. I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has one quality which is greater than any other quality, namely, honesty. We have clever men in the Labour party, too many of them, and I wish we had more honest men. I wish to ask him a few questions about the Amendment. Are the Labour party pre- 439 pared, if they get into office, to abolish the means test in its entirety? That is a very fair, cogent question. I ask the question because the workers are entitled to know. There are those who say that a means test can be worked, and the late Minister of Health standing at that Box said there could be a means test, only of a different kind. The working class of this country are entitled to know what is the difference between the opinion of Members on the opposite side of the House and those on this side. Is it one of principle, or is it 2½ per cent. as against 3½ per cent.?
The ex-Solicitor-General, who moved the Amendment, started with a great career as a speaker. I am sorry that he fell from public estate in the speech that he made when he moved the Amendment. He made a plea for the amalgamation of firms. May I ask Members of the Labour party—I need not ask the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply—to try and think in terms of working-class people when they are making speeches? The ex-Solicitor-General pleaded for the amalgamation of capitalist firms. What does that mean to the worker? Poverty. Vet we had the ex-Solicitor-General talking as if it were the duty of the Labour party to say that part of their policy was to compel capitalist firms to amalgamate. I smile at the complaints that have been made about the conduct of the election. People might be led to think that when one goes into an election one can draw up rules and regulations how it is to be fought. All elections are, more or less, dirty. My elections are never very dirty, because they need not be. If I had to fight for a few hundred votes I might be as bad, but no worse, than others. I am placed in a position where I can afford to be condescending. The Secretary of State for Scotland is in the same position. Elections more or less, are of the character to which I have alluded.
I am rather surprised at the complaints of the Labour party as to the conduct of the election. The Labour party at the election did the most cowardly and the cruellest thing that I have ever known a party do. What happened to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood), who had 40 years' service in the Labour movement? On the 440 eve of the election, or within three weeks of the election, there was flung at him a document to be signed. He was asked to sign that he would agree to abide by the decisions of a secret meeting upstairs. Had he not been a man he might have signed it, as some have done, meaning to break it. But he did not sign it, and his union withdrew their money. Talk about the rich compelling the poor man to vote as they do! Never was there a more scandalous attempt to force a man, who represents 30,000 people, to sell his birthright and his soul. He did not do it. The leaders and other candidates signed it, but he would not. Nevertheless, he is a Member of this House. Then the Labour party talk about unfairness. I never knew of so shocking or so disgraceful a thing. The Prime Minister was one of the people who condemned the Trades Union Congress for compelling the Labour party to take certain action; yet the worst man for wanting us to sell our consciences to the Trades Union Congress was the Prime Minister when he sat in our party. The Prime Minister used to threaten us with every form of penalty, but when the Trades Union Congress ceases to be in his pocket he condemns it.
Those of us who sit on this bench, the two or three of us, whose votes may not mean much in the Lobby, intend to support the Amendment. We think that the principles of the Amendment are sound in construction and sound in thought. We only hope that under the new leadership the Amendment represents sincere principles and that those who guide the Labour party will make a sincere effort to carry those principles into being. There is little use our asking anything from the Government. We know what the winter means, with its means test and other things. The working people will suffer from the legislation of this Government as well as of the last Government. What about the Anomalies Act? The ex-Solicitor-General is proud of that Act; yet within a month over 4,000 people have been refused benefit in one city. The Labour party condemned the cuts as cruel and indefensible. What did the Labour Government do with that legislation? They did not merely cut; they took away every penny. The cuts are cruel. This 441 winter, one of two things will happen. There will be either some form of unheaval or there will be despair. The workers have those two prospects before them. I do not know which will happen. It may be that the workers, in blind passion and rage, will demonstrate. If they do not do that, it means despair, death and pestilence; everything bad in human life. That is the alternative. It is a damnable alternative from this Government. By their past we know that they are capable of giving us nothing, and I ask nothing from them. I say to them: get on with your work. Do your task, and do it as quickly as you can. For God's sake do something. Do not say that you are Government, and do nothing.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I have a time limit in order to allow the Opposition to conclude their case and the Debate to end. I rise because I think it is due to the Opposition that all sections of the House should take their Amendment seriously and devote a few minutes to its discussion. The group to which I belong is one of the smaller ones in the House, but for all that it is entitled to be heard. I listened with great interest to the speech of the mover of the Amendment yesterday throughout the whole of the sixty minutes in which he developed with great skill the Socialist method of dealing with the present crisis. After about 50 minutes I felt that I really understood why the Opposition was returned to this House in such limited numbers. The fact is that the case they put before the country was not good enough. Their one point of substance, the need for international action, was the chief argument used in favour of a National Government. It is common ground that the best solution of our diffculties can only be obtained along the line of international action. We must obtain the maximum amount of international agreement on currency, trade, and disarmament if we are to get to the bottom of our difficulties, and it was precisely for that reason that we asserted that England must be represented before the world by a Government not only strong but capable of presenting a national case which would convince other countries that it meant what the nation itself meant. That was the case for the 442 National Government, and it really is idle after the election to produce an Amendment to the Address the chief complaint of which is that there is no specific mention of the method by which we are going to attack these international problems.
As regards the other questions dealt with in the Amendment, the nation, I think rightly, decided that however fundamental and important they may be they really are not relevant to the problems of the moment. It is useless in present circumstances to talk about nationalising the banks. Does anybody really suppose that the nationalisation of the Bank of England at this moment would in the least affect the problems with which we have to deal? It would make no difference at all, and this is also the case in regard to those other matters which the Opposition desire to pursue as their policy. But since the Opposition have put their policy into definite and precise language I want to ask one definite and precise question, because there is something in this Amendment which is entirely new in Labour policy. That is the assertion that they desire to submit agriculture to public ownership or control. That has never been part of the Labour policy. I possess a certain number of cattle and sheep and turkeys and hens, and I should like to know whether the public, the nation, are to own these animals or merely to control them. That is a part of their policy which will greatly interest the countryside.
Another reason for my rising is that the group to which I belong has rather a special obligation in reference to the presentation of the national case. Through no virtue of our own, through the necessity of our circumstances, we are more definitely national than any other group in this House. The millions of Conservatives who voted for Conservative candidates no doubt felt that they were performing a national function. My experience of Conservatives is that they never have any doubt that in voting for Conservative candidates they are voting for the National candidate. When the Conservative voter voted for the National Conservative candidate he was in no way straining his normal allegiance. But the Conservative voter who voted for us had to get over a very serious bunker; and no doubt in many cases it was 443 something of a shock to him to vote for someone who was not a Conservative. Clearly, in those cases the national idea triumphed over party feelings, and therefore, we are under special obligations to uphold the national point of view without any taint whatever of any party. In my own case the whole spirit of the election was dictated by the public spirited act on the part of Sir Edward Grigg, who retired in favour of the National Labour candidate, and it, therefore, places upon me a special responsibility of maintaining an attitude which shall be in all respects national.
This brings me to the one subject upon which I desire to make a few remarks, and that is the attitude which I shall adopt towards Protection. It was a problem which everyone in the election had to face in advance. The result of the election was not expected on the scale on which it has occurred, but in its general outline it was fairly obvious, and we knew that we should be faced with this problem after the election. My own record in regard to the issue of Protection stands. To me the problem of tariffs is a problem of what is better and what is worse. There are clear advantages and disadvantages, and I feel that tariffs, though rich in danger as a food, are, and can be used as an extremely valuable medicine; and at the present moment no doctor's mandate would be complete if it did not include a tariff. There has been a clear result of the election in regard to tariffs. No candid mind can deny that the result of the election is a very clear mandate to this House in favour of tariffs; if there is the need. That cannot be denied, and I accept it fully. In my own constituency I was supported by every range of thought in this matter. Free Traders voted for me as well as the most convinced Tariff Reformers, and I think I know the feeling of that constituency. The constituency would be surprised and alarmed if there were a sudden imposition of a high tariff which would dislocate the very intricate commercial and industrial life that inhabits a constituency like mine. On the other hand, they would certainly be disappointed if no action were taken with reasonable speed, and I think they look for a selective schedule of import duties definitely designed not to produce revenue but 444 in order to obstruct the entry of certain classes of goods. That I believe to be my mandate.
We have had references made to the quesion of dumping. I uphold the Prime Minister's objection to the use of that word. What we are up against at the moment is not the problem of dumping as known to the economists and as perfectly correctly described by the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill). It is not the problem of goods being introduced into this country for the purpose of being sold below the cost of production. That is already dealt with in the Act of 1921, which can be applied at a moment's notice. The problem we are up against is the problem of forestalling, as the Revenue term it, shipments in advance of large quantities of goods not designed to be sold too cheaply but stored over here to await the time when there will be a better market. That is an entirely different problem. As to that I say with the greatest confidence that my constituency would be extremely disappointed if the Government did not take power to deal with it. I do not say that the power would ever have to be exercised, and the fact that it was there would certainly make it far less necessary to put it into operation. But that power should reside in the Government, and I am sure that that is the desire of my constituents.
For my part, and for the group for which I speak, I say that we profoundly believe that this attempt at national government is capable of very great things, not only in the immediate crisis, but at later stages. We shall do all we can to encourage that spirit, and I should like what co-operation we can get from the Labour party. If the country sees this Parliament and this Government fail, if the experiment of a National Government docs not produce something substantial, there will be so great a disbelief in Parliamentary government in general and in the capacity of all of us, that it will be really serious for the Parliamentary traditions of this country.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
The hon. Gentleman and I have often discussed the question that he has discussed this afternoon. I can only say that his point of view seems to me to have been very materially changed, and that it is probably circumstances that have changed it. I should 445 have thought that every party and every man who went to the electors on any programme at any time went on the assumption that what he was advocating was for the good of the nation. I am a Socialist. I want definitely to transform capitalism into Socialism. I stand for that because I believe it is in the best interests of the people. I deny the right of hon. Members opposite to say that they are the only patriotic people because they advocate something entirely different. It is sheer unadulterated nonsense for them to say anything of the kind. But that is their assumption, that they are the people who are putting forward something which is the one and only thing that can benefit the nation. Hon. Members opposite may believe that, but we believe the contrary, and we have as much right to stand up and say that we have the interests of the nation at heart as has anyone else.
§ Mr. DENMAN
I never asserted that we were the whole of the nation at the time of the election. I deplore extremely the fact that the present Opposition was not helpful, and to that extent did prevent our being national.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
It is extremely difficult to get people, once they are partisans, to see the other point of view. I can understand the hon. Member's point of view. All hon. Members opposite think that what they did was in the best interests of the nation. All I ask of them is to concede to us the same right to say that what we advocate is for the best interests of the nation. I deny anyone's claim to a monopoly of patriotism. As to the doctor's mandate, which is that you are to inquire into everything, that you must sec whatever propositions come up and decide which are best, what I do not understand is that a set of Socialists should be in the Government and not be putting before the country the proposals which they themselves have claimed as best for dealing with the present economic situation. This situation is not something entirely new. I have now dealt with the definite questions put to me by the hon. Member. I pass to the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan). He must not expect me, at least on this occasion, to follow him in his charges against the Labour party. I do not think he was 446 there, but his friends had the opportunity of discussing this matter publicly at Scarborough, and I am leaving it just where it is. As to the means test, the hon. Member knows as well as I do what is our attitude on the subject. I am not prepared to give people money year after year without knowing what is their own personal position; that is to say that if a person has gone out of ordinary benefit and has means of his own to maintain himself, I am not prepared to pay him State money.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
That is not new. At any rate, whether it is new or old, I am stating it. The question put to me was whether we are in favour of a means test, and I was asked what means test the late Minister of Health referred to when he spoke at this Box. It had nothing to do with the. Anomalies Bill; it has to do with the transitional benefit of people going to the Public Assistance Committees. My right hon. Friend made it perfectly clear then that the only means test that he or any of us would support was that if a person on transitional benefit was found to be possessed of his own means of living we were not going to vote for the continuance of public assistance. [Interruption.] Other hon. Members may disagree.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
That is all right. If it is said that a person who may have a business or who may have invested money and has an income, is to be maintained for ever after he has run out of benefit for which he has paid, then I do not stand for it and never have stood for it, and I represent a division quite as poor as that of the hon. Member for Gorbals, a division in which I live, where I go morning and night, and where I have told the people exactly what I have told the House this afternoon. That is what I stand for. I wish also to refer to a remark which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) made about me. I make no complaint about it, because it was in my judgment rather complimentary. He said that I was all heart and no head. He will forgive me for saying that this head of mine, whatever capacity it possesses, has had to earn my living ever 447 since I was about 12 years of age, and I have had not only to bring up a large family of my own, but I have had to help also with my brothers and to help also with grandchildren. I do not think that a person who is simply all heart and no head could do that. I would say further to the right hon. Gentleman that in a world which everybody admits is cursed by materialism it would not be a bad thing if there was a little more heart in men and women and in our relationships with one another.
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) is not in his place. He and several other Members have gibed at and ridiculed my work in connection with the Office of Works. I got into a Government very late in life and was given a more or less subordinate office, and in that department I found that it was possible to improve and increase the opportunities for happiness of little children. If I am never remembered for anything else, I hope that that little memory will remain. I could never be like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping. He is a brilliant speaker and a brilliant writer, but he is one of those men whose tongue and whose pen are at the service of any party that gives him power. I do not charge him with any suggestion about money, but he does like power. I have watched him in this House for years. He has fluttered from one place to the other, but he has always landed there, on the Government Front Bench, and that is where he means to get this time. I do not object at all, but when he reproaches me with being a person, not of his calibre—thank God—I cannot help having the memory that, when it comes to action, he is one of the biggest failures that this country has produced. He failed in every Government office—that is on record—and in the sphere of absolute action the only thing that I can remember about him is that he startled the country one day by taking command of a company of Guards and conducting a great military campaign.
§ Sir BERTRAM FALLE
Is it not usual before attacking a right hon. or hon. Member to give notice to that right hon. or hon. Member of such attack?
§ Mr. LANSBURY
He commanded a company of His Majesty's Guards from the Tower in a great engagement in Sidney Street and then he allowed one of the men to get away. That is his only brilliant achievement. I should not have said these things except that I think it is time that people outside understood ……[HON. MEMBERS: "Say it again."] I see that the right hon. Gentleman is now in his place. There is not the time to repeat all that I have said. I simply said that the right hon. Gentleman was not a man of action and that he failed when he attempted to take action, and I added that the one thing which I remembered about the right hon. Gentleman was that he had commanded a company of His Majesty's Guards in the siege of Sidney Street, and that one of the men whom he wanted to capture on that occasion escaped.
I want to ask the Lord President of the Council, first, what the Government propose to do about the Post Office lie which was formulated recently. I ask him that question seriously in order that he may reassure all the people who put their money into the Post Office and invest in National Savings Certificates that their money is perfectly safe while this country lasts. If the currency went, and if we got to the position in which Germany was, then obviously everything would go down, but that is not what we are discussing here. The point here is that a Government may use this money for Government purposes without endangering it. Up to the present we have only had the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping on that, and, as he has been charged with being a spendthrift and a wastrel like myself, by the "Daily Mail," perhaps his statement will not give sufficient confidence. Therefore, I ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite to clear up that matter without any ambiguity at all, and to make it plain that this money was safe, whether it was used for the purposes of the Unemployment Insurance Fund or for the building of a big warship so long as the credit of the nation was behind it, and whether there was a Labour Government or any other kind of Government. Next I would ask him to state exactly what the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs meant by this statement: 449The real work that faces this nation and faces the world now is not work that can he conducted across the Floor of this House. Every Member of the Front Opposition Bench and every Member of the late Labour Government know perfectly well that what I have just said is true, because they all know that these problems are too difficult, and too delicate and intricate to be debated across the Floor of the House of Commons."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1931; col. 301, Vol. 259.]Am I to understand from that, that the Government have made up their minds that they are going to settle policy and administration and then come to the House and say that they have done it. If so, that is the most revolutionary proposal ever brought before this House. I can understand that in arriving at certain conclusions, in foreign or even internal affairs, it may be necessary to discuss them privately with various interests, but, having arrived at a decision, surely the House of Commons is to determine what the policy shall be and how it shall be carried out. At the risk of being charged with repetition, I wish to say once more on that point what I said the other night. This House consists of 615 people. If we are not to debate these questions, if it is to be said that those of us who are not in the Government are of so little importance that we are not to be allowed to discuss these matters, then the House of Commons had better be abolished. We had better have a new Cromwell to "take away that bauble," and finish us. I do not think the country went through the last Election and elected us, leaving out of account our salaries, if you like, and decided that all the paraphernalia of this institution should be kept going simply for nothing or merely for registering the decrees, issued secretly or publicly, by a committee of the Cabinet. That matter ought to be cleared up for good and for all, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to say something about it.
We put in the forefront of the Amendment our desire that the banking and financial machinery of the country, together with other industries, should come under public ownership or control. We put the banking and financial business first, because, as we understand it, that is what has brought the country to the position in which we now find ourselves. I had intended to read from the Midland Bank Monthly Review a state- 450 ment, which I suppose was written by Mr. Reginald McKenna, but I commend it to the notice of hon. and right hon. Members here who may be under the impression that the economic and financial crisis has been brought about because of two years of Labour Administration. I commend to them the article on the front page of the September-October Monthly Review of the Midland Bank, from which they will find that Mr. McKenna definitely takes the line that we took, namely, that the crisis arose, not because of difficulties connected with our own internal affairs—that is, as a nation—but, as I said on the last occasion on which I spoke on this subject in the last Parliament, because of the muddle and the mess that were made by those who conducted the finances of the country, but, if that is too strong, I think it must be admitted by all who read this document that it was due to lack of proper foresight on the part of those who had the investing of great sums, the borrowing of great sums, and the reinvesting of them.
That being the case, I maintain that this business should be under public control, so that the public, who in the end may be very seriously injured by lack of foresight or improper distribution of credit and of money, should know beforehand what is happening. If the Bank of England was a separate organisation entirely, if what happened to the Bank of England or to other banks in the country was of no importance to the nation, there would be something to be said for leaving it as a private corporation, but when what may happen to it has such serious consequences to the nation I think it is time that we took it in hand and had it reorganised and given some form of public control, especially in view of the very disquieting statements in the Macmillan report. I am aware that that report was a series of reports, but no one who reads it can get away from the fact that there is very much in the banking system of this country which, if private people in ordinary business carried out their business in the same way, would be looked upon as very bad indeed. Consequently, in spite of the fact that this was one of the chief reasons, probably, which led to our defeat, we are going on with our 451 campaign to get public control of this huge corporation, because we are quite certain that sooner or later—and the sooner the better—it must be brought under this sort of public supervision and control.
The other point in that connection that I wish to make—and the right hon. Member for West Birmingham will be interested, although the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself is not here—is that we believe that the credit of a nation belongs to the nation, and that the nation ought to have the full benefit of that credit without paying anybody for it, and in that we are backed up by the example of Birmingham. Birmingham has always been looked upon by many of us who are Socialists as the home of municipal Socialism. It is the place where the late Joseph Chamberlain first started the campaign for public ownership of great public utilities. Everyone, I think, in, the House agrees about that, but at the end of the War the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was then Lord Mayor of Birmingham, took a very-big hand in forming the Birmingham municipal bank, and, in a preface that he wrote to a book by Mr. J. C. Hilton, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said:No one reading the book can do so without coming to the conclusion that it is possessed of some unusual, inherent, vital principle not to be found in other comparable institutions, however well managed they may be.He went on to say:I believe this unique principle is to be found in the fact that it is a municipal bank, not a private bank.It is also, I think, true to say that that bank, according to this book, is one which has the confidence of the whole of the citizens, nearly a quarter of a (million of whom are depositors. On what does this confidence rest? It rests on exactly what the confidence in banking institutions in this country ought to rest, and that is the good will and the prosperity of the people, in this particular case of the city of Birmingham. He goes on to say:It rests on the fact that if democracy means the government of the people, by the people, for the people, then this municipal bank can claim to be democratic, for it is governed by the municipality and run for the benefit of the citizens.452 I could not say anything better than that about the Bank of England. Another reason for their confidence is the awakening of the public to the fact that by husbanding or placing their savings with their own municipality, they help themselves and their city at the same time:It is realised that in a municipal bank there are no dividends to pay to shareholders and no directors to remunerate.That is a statement in reference to a bank owned and managed by a public authority. I remember reading somewhere a speech—I think it was by one of the Ministers, but I will not trust my memory to say which—in which he spoke as if groups of people in this House or groups of trade union leaders would be sitting in the banks, handing out and taking in the money and generally making ducks and drakes with it. How is this municipal bank managed? How is it controlled? It is managed by the municipality placing in charge of it men who are capable of managing its affairs, and they run it in just the same manner as any company might run theirs, except that there is no profit for shareholders and no money for directors. That being the case, it seems to me that the argument that is always put up against getting a thing publicly owned or controlled falls to the ground.
Another point is that this bank, which has increased its turnover from about £600,000 a year to £7,000,000, proves conclusively that this business of banking is not such a difficult and devious business if only you want to do it. [Laughter.] Certainly. It is the will to do things that enables them to be done. If the National Government want the national credit and the national wealth to be used for national purposes, they have only to show that they have got the will, and it can be done just as easily as the Chancellor of the Exchequer established the municipal bank in Birmingham, and I call attention to that because I want emphatically to say that we believe that that is a condition precedent to any true, real reorganisation of industry.
That brings me to the point that the reorganisation of industry as at present carried on brings terrible suffering and misery in its train. When I sat on the bench opposite, and listened to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs when he was Lord Privy Seal saying how he was assisting 453 rationalisation and so on, I always felt what a terrible thing it was that we were not in the position and had not the power at that time to say that rationalisation, if it were to be carried on, must be carried on of such lines as would ensure that the workers in those industries shared to the full in the benefits that rationalisation brings. The present arrangement, as every business man knows, is that when a big industry is reorganised, that is to say, rationalised, you get a bigger output with a relatively fewer number of people employed, and one of the great things which this National Government has to solve is how, if you rationalise industry by the aid of machinery, better organisation and so on, cutting down costs in that way, you are going to deal with the surplus population you squeeze out, because under present conditions, under the competitive system, that is all that happens.
It is no use saying that this is something new. The right hon. Gentleman will, I think, remember a speech that he himself delivered from this Box when he pointed out that in the early era of machinery Great Britain had at her feet, as it were, the whole world. There were no United States as we understand it to-day, no Germany, no India competition, and consequently, we were able, to some extent, to deal with the tremendous surplus that we were producing, sending it out and getting in return raw material. All those conditions have changed, and to-day we are up against the fact that the whole world is competitive, is rationalising, and, as a result, within the capitalist system you are producing a tremendous abundance of goods with which, within that system, you do not know what to do. About that there is not any dispute. If the right hon. Gentleman opposite will dispute it, I shall be very glad to hear him, but I do not think he will.
Therefore, the problem in front of us is how to use the results of this rationalisation, and, in my judgment, the National Government will not settle this problem by tinkering with tariffs or by trying in any way to perpetuate the present methods. You have got, in some way, to bring this abundance into service for the whole of mankind. It is an amazing thing that while this abundance is in the world, while there is all 454 this power to produce, there should be poverty, penury and want anywhere, and especially in our own land. I feel very keenly about this. I cannot understand the business men and the statesmen of this country saying that we must tolerate millions of people unemployed here, and millions of people unemployed in the Dominions and elsewhere, because in this country itself there are millions and millions of pounds' worth of potential wealth waiting to be dealt with. In the Dominions there is the same, and to tell me that it passes the wit of man to be able to bring the idle labour into connection with this idle wealth that is lying untouched, really is beyond my comprehension.
A certain set of business men asked me one day to meet them in order to discuss this, because I honestly cannot see, if it is a question of putting people to work, what is the difference now from what it was three-quarters of a century ago. Then you sent your goods abroad and millions of your people went abroad, too. They created markets for your manufactured goods while producing foodstuffs and other things which you needed. I was told by those business men—and this is the only reason why I mention it—that it was no use my advocating the development of the waste places in the Dominions, that it was no use my advocating the development of the natural resources here, because we had too much of everything. They said to me, "What will you put them to produce? We do not want coal. We do not want iron and steel, and we do not want wool or wheat. We do not want anything." I immediately turned to them, and I turn to this House, to say if that be the case, then there are only two things to be done. You have either to accept the Communist position and say that we must have to, great smash up and start all over again, or this House must, in a peaceful way, transform this competitive system which holds up abundance from the multitude, and bring that abundance to the service of mankind. If you fail in finding a means of solving that, you fail altogether.
I noticed that the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. D. Mason), who, I remember, in the days of 1010–11 was one of the most furious of the Free Traders in this House, as I have no doubt he is 455 to-day, and he stood for the whole policy of laissez faire, that is, do nothing and do it thoroughly, and that these things would right themselves. They are not righting themselves; they are wronging themselves. You may get all your tariffs and you may bring forward any proposal you please for dealing with this emergency, but, fundamentally, there is only one thing to be done. The problem of production is solved; the problem of producing more is solved. If any of you do not believe that, read the book of Mr. Ford, the great engineer, on the subject. That settled the question of production, but what is not settled is the question of distribution. We want public control of the reorganisation of industry in order that we may settle the problem of distribution by enabling those who carry on the productive work of the world to get the full share of that which they produce. If the workers of the world were paid sufficient wages to buy back the goods they produce, there would be no surplus and no unemployment. Hon. Gentlemen opposite laugh with a great deal of hilarity. I suggest that they do a little Sunday thinking on this subject.
I want to say a word on the question of the cuts. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping was good enough to say with his usual gibe that I was a person who believed in the dole, the whole dole, and nothing but the dole. He knows that I stood here and pleaded, as I did in almost the first speech I made, for the rescue of the young people from the horrors of the dole. No one can deny that. I am the one man in this House who has had any local government and Poor Law experience who can claim to have advocated, at the risk of a good deal of unpopularity, putting into practice the principle that when you give people anything they should give something in return. For the right hon. Gentleman to say that I am a person who thinks of nothing but doles is sheer arrant nonsense. No one knows it better than he does. Just as he, if he were an army officer and out of work, would get his half-pay to prevent him starving, just as we keep the soldiers, sailors and airmen in health and strength against the day we may want them, so I claim for the workers that when the system under which industry is organised fails 456 in the job which capitalism exists to do, that is, to provide work, then society must provide them with maintenance.
We are going to stand by that, but we would rather have work. I do not know a single man in my division who would not rather have work than the dole. The right hon. Gentleman does not know that when Charles Booth, the great statistician, made his famous inquiry long before Socialism had any sort of bearing on our life, he recorded the fact that in the Poplar area no less than 25 per cent. of the population never knew when they would get a job. Their wages at the docks were 6d. an hour for four hours' guaranteed employment. The problem of unemployment and of casual labour arose long before the dole came into being. Hon. Members talk as if unemployment payments and Poor Law relief created those conditions. Nothing of the kind, and no one ought to know it better than the right hon. Gentleman. I cannot believe that if hon. Members and right hon. Members, and especially the right hon. Gentleman, knew the terrible suffering and misery which this cut and the cuts that have been made in Poor Law relief to aged, infirm and sick people, and the terrible burden of suffering that is being imposed on men, women and children to-day, they would continue in this policy.
It may be a matter of mere hilarity to people to know of the sufferings that have been inflicted by the policy of this House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh !"] In my area we halved the death rate among little babies. I am very proud that our dole did that. We also provided that every child going to an elementary school should have boots. You can go to the East End of London now and see what happened before the War, but did not happen during the War and did not happen until this year; you will see children with scarcely boots on their feet and their clothes hanging about them. That is because of the manner in which the Poor Law is being administered to-day. It is being administered in that way because of the Tory reactionaries who are in control. If hon. Members can go to their meals and spend their Christmas knowing that sons and grandsons of men whose bodies lie buried over there are suffering while they have plenty, I do not understand their consciences.
§ The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL (Mr. Baldwin)
This Debate, which has now lasted for a day and a half, has not been without interest, although through so many of the speeches there has run that constant sense of grievance because of what has happened to all of us at one time and another— because the Opposition has been beaten at the election. I cannot understand why the Opposition now, as on every previous occasion after defeat, are cursing everybody for the result except themselves. I have been beaten. I have stood for Parliament many times. I have seen my party beaten, and I have seen it victorious. I have seen it beaten by Chinese labour, by the Taff Vale decision, and by other things. I have won, and I have been beaten, but after the battle was over I have never gone back to it and complained of my defeat. I have never attributed it to any other reason than the only reason why a party is ever defeated, and that is because the country is sick of them. After the hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) had got rid of his grouse at some length, he spoke some manly words with which I agree. He said, "We shall educate and fight." That is the proper democratic spirit. Let them educate as much as they like on the lines of the control of the banks, and we are ready to fight them.
What struck me with some pain was the undercurrent in speeches of hon. Members opposite of resentment towards old colleagues with whom they are not now in sympathy. I have often had differences inside my own party and been called all kinds of names, but I have always held on in the hope that when the time came for me to resign, they would look back and say, "He is not such a fool as we thought him. "In this case, after for years covering their Leader with adulation, and comparing us most unfavourably with him, the moment he took the stand that he did they discovered in him every kind of evil under the sun. I think that may be, perhaps, a reason why in speech after speech I have been -asked, as if I were the keeper of my brother's conscience, what my friend the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs meant when he made a certain statement. I am quite willing to make an attempt to answer. I notice that all the difficulty has occurred in the minds of 458 Englishmen opposite, who cannot understand the Celtic temperament. Some people cannot understand what the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) means, but I am always able to understand what my right hon. Friend means. I asked him. I said, "What is all this trouble? What did you mean when you made that statement which all your old colleagues have been inquiring about?" "Well, my boy," he said, "I will tell you. I am an orator, and you are not, and there is a well-known figure of speech called hyperbole." He said, "It is a slight exaggeration of a point when you wish to emphasise that point and fix it in people's memory."
The point he wished to emphasise was this—and it is a perfectly good one and a perfectly true one—that in all these matters connected with currency, in these matters of making arrangements with the Dominions, there must be a great deal of preliminary discussion with the people competent to discuss them, that is, the representatives of the Dominions, the representatives of foreign countries. But, when that has been done, then the House of Commons will, of course, have the fullest opportunity of discussing everything that has been discussed at these conferences. There was in his democratic mind no intention at all to derogate from the power of this House by one iota, and had there been he would have had to reckon with a solid Englishman in myself, for I would never allow the House of Commons to be ridden roughshod over in such a fashion. Hon. Members may dismiss that completely from their minds, and should try to remember, next time they read a speech or hear a speech spoken by a gifted Celt, that we do not always employ quite the same language to convey the same ideas.
The one thing that has struck me during this Debate, able as may have been the speeches, and carefully as the Socialist party have expounded their programme, is that not a single speaker on the Opposition benches, not even the right hon. Gentleman the sole survivor of the Cabinet of the last Government, seems to realise for one moment what is the real situation in which we meet to-day. This National Government has been formed because there is a national crisis, and that national crisis exists still 459 and will exist for some time. That is the reason why there is in the King's Speech no promise of legislation, but only an undertaking, in the terms of the mandate, to examine all things that may be necessary to bring this crisis to an end, and, the moment the examination results in a conclusion, to bring that conclusion before the House of Commons and ask for sanction to do this or that to apply this or that remedy as it may be required. It would be perfectly unreasonable to expect that within a week of the formation of the Government a cut-and-dried programme to deal with subjects such as these could be produced. This is no ordinary time. It is impossible to go on with an ordinary political programme at this moment, as if there were not a crisis.
Our immediate task is to safeguard the balance of the Budget, which we have already secured, and to secure a balance of trade, a much more difficult and a much more lengthy task, and more important than anything else, especially for the poorer members of the community, to prevent internal inflation, of which there is still, and must be for some time, a risk. These are practical objects to a large extent within the control of the Government of the day, and we cannot let them be obscured by any theoretical discussions. We cannot be led away by the hope that our difficulties are going to be solved by the action of other people. In these matters we have to rely upon ourselves—our Government, the House of Commons and the people of this country. And, indeed, the situation to-day, so far as the pound is concerned, depends upon and rests upon the good faith of this country, in the faith of the world in the determination of the Government to go on in the path on which they have started, and not to rest until they have restored the balance of trade, secured balanced Budgets and brought the country into a position where its currency can be safely and securely stabilised.
A good deal was said from the benches opposite on the question of international conferences with regard to gold and currency and so forth. We are asked to take the initiative in various forms of conferenceso as to enable the people of this country and the world to enjoy steady employment,460 and so on. If that were all that were required to produce that object, life would indeed be a simple proposition, but I have not that faith either in international conferences to achieve that end swiftly or in our initiative in calling together such conferences to achieve that end. I am, however, in entire agreement with the Opposition that such conferences will have to come, and I will say a word or two about them at this point. As regards currency questions, there is undoubtedly considerable scope for international co-operation. We will willingly support it, we will do all we can, but OUT first duty is to our own currency. I cannot say more on that subject than the Prime Minister has already said elsewhere, that it is our intention to take the steps which will most surely tend to stabilise the pound on a definite basis as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, and once more to emphasise the fact that the necessary preliminaries, the necessary conditions to be fulfilled before we can have a securely stabilised currency, are balanced budgets—not just one, but balanced budgets—and a balance of trade on the right side, which, as I said before, is a work which cannot be? achieved in a very short space of time. But we must be certain that when we do come to a position in which we can stabilise the currency we shall be able to hold the position that we have taken.
Now as to war debts and reparations. There I do rot think, really, that there is any difference between us. It is indeed a most difficult question. It is obvious to the whole world to-day that the existing arrangements have broken down. Thanks to President Hoover's move last year—a rare act of courage and statesmanship—the world has had a breathing space for a year. I doubt if that is sufficient. It has not been a period of sufficient length to restore confidence; the future is left unsettled, and I might remind the House that the Government's representative at the London Conference last July announced thatIn order to secure the maintenance of the financial stability of Germany, which is essential in the interests of the whole world, they were ready to co-operate, as far as lies within their power, to restore confidence.After having passed that resolution they did no more except recommend the appointment of a bankers' committee. 461 The bankers' committee met, and recommended the Governmentto lose no time in taking the necessary measures for bringing about such conditions as will allow financial operations to bring to Germany, and thereby to the world, sorely-needed assistance.Since then the situation has gone from bad to worse, and it has gone from bad to worse largely because no action has followed on that recommendation. The only action that could be taken was action by the Governments. The Prime Minister has announced, I think in his election address—the same thing is mentioned in the Gracious Speech—that the situation is one that needs dealing with and dealing with quickly, but is this the moment for the initiative to come from this country? Some kind of agreement between France and Germany is one of the most important preliminaries in the whole question, and we hope, very much now—I am glad to say these Governments are in close contact—that their discussions will lead to an agreement. We believe there is a good chance of that happening, and what we are interested in is to see that the international negotiations which are necessary shall be opened up and proceeded with without any loss of time.
No agreement can be arrived at without the consent of this country, and, when the time comes to express our views, we must be ready to do it, but we must recognise that other countries, which have an important voice in these matters, have their own interests, and we want to find a means of harmonising the various interests of the countries concerned so that an agreement may be reached which will restore both prosperity and confidence. This cannot be done by us alone. Our initiative at the moment may not be welcome, odd as that may seem, to all nations, but by preparing our proposals with care, and convincing other nations that such proposals will be to their interest as well as to our own, in that way at the moment we can make our most useful contribution.
I would like on this subject to add one other point which is pertinent at this time. London has been largely instrumental in financing Germany during the past 10 years, thereby enabling her to carry on her international trade and to pay her reparations. These financial ad- 462 vances were not speculative, but represented the best type of security known to the market, and it is clear that the security for these obligations must not be endangered by political debts. If that were to take place it would destroy Germany's commercial credit, and, once Germany's commercial credit were destroyed, there would be no future prospect at all for reparations. I trust, therefore, that on this point it will be easy to reach agreement, but the whole question is most complicated. It involves political prejudices and political preoccupations in other great countries besides our own, and I trust the House will have confidence in the Government, and leave it to choose the moment when this country can intervene with the greatest effect.
I should like to make a few observations on another part of the Amendment which deals with the nationalisation of industry. I will not delay the House long with this matter, but I have thought a good deal on these subjects, and there are one or two points which I want to put to the benches opposite in case they may have overlooked them. I have spoken on this subject more times than I like to remember both in the country and in this House, and I have always maintained that the whole of our industry to-day is in a state of rather rapid evolution. It is passing out of one phase into another, and no man can say where it is going. One of the great mistakes of Socialists is that they try to make too large a generalisation, but I do not believe that you can generalise on British industry. It is far too complex, and generalisations that might suit one group of trade cannot be applicable to British industry as a whole.
There is always a fashion in these things, and in recent years everyone has used the word "amalgamation" as though that were going to be the salvation of industry. But let us remember that you can ride a hobby to death. Amalgamations properly carried out—and I exclude a whole lot of company-promoting amalgamations—amalgamations properly carried out by men who understand their amalgamation business may be a good thing. I will not put it higher than that. In some industries they may certainly be a good thing, but you must remember the 463 weaknesses of amalgamations. They tend to discourage initiative and flexibility, and they tend to discourage high quality of goods. That has been found to be the experience, not only of this country but of other countries, and it is a very odd thing—I expect many hon. Members, possibly some hon. Members on the opposite side of the House, can corroborate from their own experience what I am saying—that during these lean years, when so many industries have been brought to grief, and some hardly able to struggle along, you will often find that the industry that pulls through best is a comparatively small industry run by a really competent individual who has sufficient initiative and flexibility to adapt himself to rapid changes of the markets, and is unhampered by a vast amount of fixed capital behind him, which is always the position of an amalgamated or a big business.
Let us bear that in mind. I do not dogmatise, and I draw no inference from it, but merely point it out. When we are thinking of adopting the Socialist remedy, or whatever remedy we are thinking of adopting, let us think carefully before we dogmatise on what is the best thing at a given moment to be done for industry as a whole. Take an industry like the coal industry, or even, possibly, steel. There you have great industries which may well be brought into great amalgamations, which may possibly even be controlled all under one hand, as it were. Take public supply services like electricity or gas. In those cases it is certainly possible. When hon. Members opposite are speaking of the nationalisation of industries, and when they instance our Electricity Bill and the Coal Mines Act, I agree with them that those two Acts were in the direction that they would like to see, and I have no objection in those two cases; but, after all, in neither of them have we yet had proof that they are going to be successful. They are still experimental—experiments quite worth making—but do not let us put it higher than that.
What may be possible for coal, what may be possible for steel, is in my view impossible where you leave the question of goods which are primarily what I may call goods of utility, and come to goods which require taste in their fabrication. 464 When you come to the whole range of textiles, I do not believe that any public management could give the extraordinary flexibility which that business must have if it is to survive. In that industry they seek their customers from all over the world, and they get their trade solely by being able to anticipate or to meet the changing tastes of 100,000,000 people in a score, 50 or 100 different countries. No public control can ever do that; for that you must come down, in my view, to the individual, and it is in those businesses, too, primarily, that you see to the greatest advantage what is our greatest asset, and that is the skill of our own workpeople. One thing always a little depresses me in speeches from trade union representatives. They always speak slightingly of British management. There are bad British managers and there are bad British workmen, but, taking them all together, I would back British management and British workmen against those of any country in the world. Given an equal and a fair chance in the markets, we can beat them all and restore our trade balance.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I will tell you what did follow in the past, but, of course, the hon. Member and myself are as the poles asunder. It is perfectly legitimate to take a Socialist view and build any arguments that you can on a system which has not hitherto been tried, but we are living at present, for good or for evil, under a capitalist system, and under a capitalist system what stands out clearly is that, if you look back at the statistics, you will find that, when trade is good and profits are good, wages, are good, while in the lean years like the last 10 years, when profits have shrunk to nothing and when capital reserves have gone, you have a time of unemployment and low wages; and, so long as you have a capitalist system, it ought to be the object of the Government, of employers, of the men, of Parliament, and of everyone in the country, to try and see that there is a profit that will attract what is wanted in business, and that is capital —capital that can earn a reasonable 465 profit; and with reasonable profits you may get more reasonable wages than you have to-day. When we have another system, I shall probably not have much to say, as I shall not be here.
There is only one other point on this subject that I will mention. Something has been said from the benches opposite about the City and the control of banks. I know so little of what is proposed that I do not intend to discuss that subject, but will only point out to my right hon. Friend who is leading the Opposition that the business of the Bank of England is very different from that of the Birmingham Municipal Savings Bank. The only thing that comforts me in the thought of a nationally controlled banking system is that I assume there would be a Minister in this House who would be responsible for it, and I can imagine hon. Members putting questions every day and wanting to know why they had not got their overdraft from the Government. If I were not allowed an overdraft, I should bring an action against the Government for libel against my credit, and no doubt the Solicitor-General in the late Government would oppose me and I should be beaten. Obviously, I am not going to discuss that question, because this is not the time to do so, and the argument has not been put from the other side, but I should like to say that I do think there is a need for closer co-operation between what is called the City and the industries of this country.
I say that now because the whole situation has changed since the days before the War. Some little time before the War, this is the kind of thing that used to happen—and here again many hon. Members will know of that about which I speak I suppose that the majority of businesses in this country are still businesses of moderate size, which are not large enough to float themselves in the public market when they want money, and which very often, if they wanted money, would find it difficult to put down what a bank to-day would require as security. Such businesses were often helped in the past by people living in their own locality who had saved, perhaps, £2,000, £5,000 or £10,000, and who were always ready to lend a sum of that kind in the hope that they were 466 putting it into a good business and developing the trade of their native town. The class of person who would make loans like that has now gone. Taxation has killed a great deal of that kind of saving, and such industrialists as I have described would find it extraordinarily difficult to get the capital they require by the lodging of any securities which would be acceptable to any big bank controlled from London. The Governor of the Bank and one or two other far-sighted friends of his took a preliminary step in the meeting of that difficulty by the formation of a bank to aid industry some two or three years ago, but little has been done owing to the prolonged depression in the industries of this country. Something more of that kind may well have to be done, and I hope that, the moment any fresh start can be made in the industrial life of this country, that is one feature which will be borne in mind and for which something may be done.
I should like, before I finish, to allude to something that has been said about us from the benches opposite and to offer an observation or two of my own. The hon. Member for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) seemed to derive some satisfaction from the fact that there were a number of ex-Ministers sitting in different parts of the House, and I think he hoped, from what may have been his own experience in his own party—I do not know where else he could have got it from—that each was going to be a little centre of disgruntle-ment that was going to rock this Government. I can tell the House that my friends and colleagues in my party are not made of that metal. The answer came long before I could anticipate it in that generous speech from my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain), whose letter to me, in this large-hearted renunciation of office in favour of his younger colleagues, will be fresh in the minds of all. My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) was good enough to allude to conversations that we have had on the subject of Coalitions. I would not withdraw one word of what I said to him, but the fact that I am once more in a Coalition is but an instance of the irony of history. That irony, as I have seen it working, will prevent me ever making another political prophecy, but, if I am affected in that Way, what of him? Those 467 very hands that banged, barred, and bolted that historic door a quarter of a century ago are now helping, with this great army around him, in opening those doors wide as the sun, and I welcome him even at the eleventh hour into this vineyard to perform that great act at no too distant time. That would explain to me once and for all the words of that hymnIn the morn those angel faces smile,Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.An hon. Member spoke about all the crosscurrents that make this Government. It is true that we are recruited from all parties. It may be that we do not see alike on all subjects, but they are not cross-currents. They are tributary currents running into a main stream. We are all of us to the best of our ability trying to serve the nation as a National Government. I myself have had the honour of being Prime Minister, yet,
§ during the years that I held that office, I have never held an office more difficult or more responsible than I hold to-day. Every power I have will be put at the service of the Government. I will hold together, as far as I am able, the party and the House of Commons to perform that great function to which the country called us. Nothing in this election has moved me more than the way in which in all those districts of the country where unemployment has been worst we won our greatest victories. This faith that has been placed in us is a faith which we shall try to justify even if we are broken in the cause. To have such faith reposed in one makes one humble, but, on the other hand, makes one determined to do all one can to justify that confidence and to pull the country through.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 38; Noes, 422.471
|Division No. 2.]||AYES.||[3.10 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Maxton, James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Hicks, Ernest George||price, Gabriel|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Hirst, George Henry||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Buchanan, George||Jenkins, Sir William||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Cove, William G.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)|
|Daggar, George||Leonard, William||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Duncan, Charles (Derby, Claycross)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.|
|Grentell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.||W. John.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut,-Colonel||Bernays, Robert||Burnett, John George|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Betterton, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry B.||Burton, Colonel Henry Walter|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Birchall, Major Sir John Denman||Butler, Richard Austen|
|Aitchison, Rt. Hon. Cralgle M.||Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton)||Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward|
|Albery, Irving James||Bird Sir Robert B. (Wolverh'pton W.)||Caine, G. R. Hall|
|Alexander, Sir William||Blaker, Sir Reginald||Campbell, Ernest Taswell (Bromley)|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Blindell, James||Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)|
|Allen, Maj. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd, W)||Boothby, Robert John Graham||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Borodale, Viscount.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir William (Armagh)||Bossom, A. C.||Carver, Major William H.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Boulton, W. W.||Cassels, James Dale|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Castlestewart, Earl|
|Apsley, Lord||Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E W.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Boyce, H. Leslie||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Bracken, Brendan||Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsbarough)||Chalmers, John Rutherford|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Brass, Captain Sir William||Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm.,W.)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Briant, Frank||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Balniel, Lord||Briscoe, Richard George||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric|
|Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Chotzner, Alfred James|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Christie, James Archibald|
|Barton, Capt. Basll Kelsey||Brown, Ernest (Lelth)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer|
|Bateman, A. L.||Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Clarke, Frank|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Browne, Captain A. C.||Clarry, Reginald George|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Buchan, John||Clayton, Dr. George C.|
|Beaumont, R. E. B. (Portsm'th, Centr'l)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Cobb, sir Cyril|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Colfox, Major William Philip|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Burghley, Lord||Collins, Sir Godfrey|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Colman, N. C. D.|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Harris, Percy A.||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Hartington, Marquess of||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Cooke, James D.||Hartland, George A.||Mander, Geoffrey le M|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Harvey, George (Lambeth,Kenningt'n)||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Copeland, Ida||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Marjoribanks, Edward|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Heligers, Captain F. F. A.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Craven-Ellis, William||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John M.|
|Meller, Richard James|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.||Millar, James Duncan|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hepworth, Joseph||Mills, Sir Frederick|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||Herbert, George (Rotherham)||Milne, Charles|
|Crossley, A. C.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Milne, John Sydney Wardlaw-|
|Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Curry, A. C.||Holdsworth, Herbert||Mitcheson, G. G.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Hope, Capt. Arthur O. J. (Aston)||Molson, A. Harold Eisdale|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Hope, Sydney (Chester, stalybridge)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Hornby, Frank||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Horobin, Ian M.||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Denville, Alfred||Hortbrugh, Florence||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Dickie, John p.||Howard. Tom Forrest||Morris, Rhys Hopkin (Cardigan)|
|Dixon, Rt. Hon. Herbert||Howltt, Dr. Alfred B.||Moss, Captain H. J.|
|Donner, P. W.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)||Muirhead, Major A. J.|
|Doran, Edward||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Munro, Patrick|
|Dower, Captain A. V. G.||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Nail-Cain, Arthur Ronald N.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Nathan, Major H. L.|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Duggan, Hubert John||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Newton, Sir Douglas George C.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Hurd, Percy A.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Hutchison, Maj.-Gen.Slr,R.(Montr'se)||Nicholson, O. W. (Westminster)|
|Eales, John Frederick||Hutchison, William D.(Essex, Romf'd)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petere'fid)|
|Eastwood, John Francls||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Normand, Wilfrid Gulld|
|Eden, Robert Anthony||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||North, Captain Edward T.|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Jamlesan, Douglas||Nunn, William|
|Ellis, Robert Geoffrey||Janner, Barnett||O'Connor, Terence James|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Jennings, Roland||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|Elmley, Viscount||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Ker, J. Campbell||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Entwistle, Major Cyril Fullard||Klmball, Lawrence||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare)||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Peake, Captain Osbert|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.||Pearson, William G.|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Knebworth, Viscount||Peat, Charles U.|
|Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Penny, Sir George|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul||Perkins, Walter R. D.|
|Ferguson, Sir John||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)||Peters, Dr. Sidney John|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Petherick, M.|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Lees-Jones, John||Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)|
|Ford, Sir Patrick J.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n,Bllston)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E||Lewis, Oswald||Pike, Cecil F.|
|Fuller, Captain A. E. G.||Llddall, Walter S.||Potter, John|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Powell, Lieut-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Power, Sir John Cecil|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Llewellin, Major John J.||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Gllmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Locker-Lampson, Rt. Hn. G.(Wd. Gr'n)||Purbrick, R.|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O.(Handsw'th)||Pybus, Percy John|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Raikes, Hector Victor Alpin|
|Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)|
|Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Gower, Sir Robert||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Ramsbotham, Herswald|
|Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)||Mabane, William||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Granville, Edgar||MacAndrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick)||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Reed, Arthur c (Exeter)|
|Graves, Marjorle||McCorquodale, M. S.||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Greaves-Lord, Sir Walter||MacDonald, Rt. Hn. J. R. (Seaham)||Reld, William Allan (Derby)|
|Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Renter, John R.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Grltten, W. G. Howard||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||McKeag, William||Robinson, John Roland|
|Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||McKie, John Hamilton||Rodd, Rt. Hon. Sir James Rennell|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||McLean, Major Alan||Rosbotham, D. S. T.|
|Hales, Harold K.||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Corn'll N.)||Ross, Ronald D.|
|Hall, Lieut.Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Hall, Capt. W. D'Arcy (Brecon)||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Runge, Norah Cecil|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Hanley, Dennis A.||Magnay, Thomas||Russell,Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tslde)|
|Harbord, Arthur||Maitland, Adam||Salmon, Major Isidore|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Stanley, Hon. O. F. C. (Westmorland)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Stevenson, James||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Savery, Samuel Servington||Stewart, William J.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Scone, Lord||Stones, James||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Selley, Harry R.||Storey, Samuel||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Stourton, John J.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Both well)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)||Wedderburn,Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Simmondt, Oliver Edwin||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Sinclair, Col. T.(Queen's Unv., Belfast)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Summersby, Charles H.||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Sutcllffe, Harold||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Tate, Mavis Constance||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Smithers, Waldron||Templeton, William P.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Somerset, Thomas||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Somervell, Donald Bradley||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)||Womersley, Walter James|
|Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)||Thompson, Luke||Wood, Major M McKenzie (Banff)|
|Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Soper, Richard||Thorp, Linton Theodore||Wragg, Herbert|
|Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.||Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Spears, Brigadier-General- Edward L.||Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—.|
|Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Touche, Gordon Cosmo||Captain Margesson and Mr. Russell Rea.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put, and agreed to.—Captain Margesson.]
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.