§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ 7.49 P.m.
§ Mr. Morgan Jones
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day three months."
At each succeeding stage of the discussions upon this Bill those associated with me on this side of the House have availed themselves of the opportunity to state the point of view which this party entertain regarding the proposals of this Bill, and we are unwilling to allow it to pass its Third Reading without once more indicating our point of view. It will be appreciated that opportunities for the discussion of the Civil List are very unfrequent, because it is fixed at the beginning of the lifetime of the Monareh qua Monareh and is not again discussed while he reigns. Therefore, the provisions of the Bill should be examined with meticulous care. It has already been stated and reiterated by hon. Members on this side that our action in this matter does not arise from hostility to the King as a person nor to his office as Monarch. We are impelled to offer criticisms on other grounds. As to the personal side of the matter, I imagine that I carry everyone on this side with me when I say that we should desire that the King and his family should lead their lives in their own way, enjoying as much privacy as may be possible to them, and rejoicing in whatever friendships they may desire to cultivate. In other words, we should desire them to live normal and happy lives, free from the glare of publicity in so far as that may be consistent with their manifold public duties, but in the very nature of the case their lives cannot be lived entirely apart from the people over whom they rule. Indeed, I would say that the very conditions of the age in which we live must compel them to suffer in some degree intrusions upon their private lives.
It is in regard to the other aspect of the question, the more public aspect of it, that there still seems to be some failure to understand the position taken up by His Majesty's Opposition. It will be conceded, I think, that the very presence of this party in the House is symptomatic 934 of the change which has come over the minds of the people of this country in relation to public affairs. Time was when political power alternated between two great parties in the State, and I think it will not be controverted that they represented, broadly, the landowning and the commercial interests. They sometimes fought each other with great bitterness, but, whatever happened, they were always well represented in the social circle which surrounded the Throne. No barriers of wealth could exclude there, and socially they had unchallenged access to the Royal circle. But, in spite of that fact, it was the custom in those days when one Government succeeded another of a different political complexion that all the principal officers of the Royal Household changed too.
A very big change came over that position round about 1924, when a Labour Government first took office in this country. Only a few of those offices were actually filled directly by nomination by the Prime Minister. He agreed that several should be filled by the direct nomination of the occupant of the Throne. That produced a very big change. It might have been a right move, or it might have been a wrong one, but it meant that appointments to those posts which used to be nominated by an incoming Prime Minister passed finally, I think, to the nomination of the Monarch himself. Therefore, it reduced the number of directly-appointed representatives of the Government of the day in the Royal Household. That was an important consequence. It made no difference to the Conservative party or the Liberal party, because their supporters still had access to the Royal circle on social grounds. But the position is not so easy in connection with an Opposition such as ours, and therefore, the standard which may be erected as qualifying people to enter into the Royal circle, so to speak, is a standard which is of first-rate importance to Governments for the future.
I hope that I shall be forgiven if I say that hon. Gentlemen opposite overlook the merits of the claim which we make for simplification of the arrangements pertaining to Royalty. The more lavish, the more luxurious the standard imposed upon Royalty the farther does it become removed.from less affluent people, the greater is the gulf fixed between those who 935 represent poor people and who are themselves poor and those, on the other hand, who enjoy great affluence and wealth. So my first point is that the case for simplification is a case for making easier the access of the less affluent members of the community to the Monarch. That case rests upon simplification, and simplification to a very considerable degree. It cannot be doubted that as things are the Monarch of the day is enclosed, so to speak, by an almost impenetrable circle of wealthy individuals, and the more we adhere to the habit of insisting upon expensive Court costumes, expensive uniforms and costly entertainments the more impossible do we make it for poorer people to have access to the Royal person. I am not sure that that point is amply seized by people who have sought to repel the proposition which we have tried to lay down in the course of these discussions. If that be true, is it not obvious, as long as it remains true, that we are making it impossible for the Monarchy in modern times to discharge its function as most people would desire it to be discharged?
I do not know whether this observation will be resented, but I hope not, as I venture to submit it respectfully and in no sense as a reflection upon any occupant of the Throne either present or past. After all, the occupant of the Throne must, of necessity, be possessed of experiences which are limited in character, so far as the lives of the workers are concerned. I cordially admit that occupants of the Throne have done their best to make themselves acquainted with that life, but of necessity they cannot know it at first hand. Consequently they suffer under a very serious handicap in interpreting the impulses and the ideas which govern a movement such as ours. To put it frankly, I wonder, if I made an examination among all my Friends on this side of the House, how many of them have, in the course of their lives, had access to, or opportunity to discuss at any length any public problems with, a member of the Royal circle. I expect that the aggregate time would scarcely amount, among us all, to 24 hours, or to 48 hours at the most. That is an unfair handicap to impose upon the occupant of the Throne. In a speech outside this House, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) claimed that the 936 Conservative party represented the overwhelming majority of the electorate of this country. I do not know, but I rather question it. We can say that, in the period of our greatest political depression in recent years, 1931, we represented nearly 7,500,000 people. It is therefore important that the occupant of the Throne, at any given moment, should be acquainted with the ideas which dominate the minds of the working classes.
What opportunity can there be, if this elaborate ceremonial is insisted upon and this excessive ritual is retained, for the ideas which dominate our minds to be interpreted fairly and properly to the occupant of the Throne? Let me, by way of example and not in order to raise a controversy, take the year 1931, when, as all hon. Members know, this party occupied the position of political authority in the country. There was a crisis in August. Those who led our party differed from us—three of them at least. I wonder what opportunity was available to enable the occupant of the Throne in those days to know the reasons which guided those of our Friends who refused to he associated with those who went with the Conservative party and the Liberal party in those days. It is important that the King, at any moment, should be enabled to know, not the mind of one side or one social circle, but the mind of all social circles, whatsoever political allegiances they may entertain. Therefore, this matter is closely related to the question of the simplification of the arrangements that appertain to our Monarchy. The more elaborate they are and the more expensive and ritualistic, the more remote they are from the ordinary man and woman in the street.
For good or for ill, this party is the alternative government of the country. Who knows when it may be called upon to accept office? I believe, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping said the other day, that while we are in office we have, properly preserved to us, our due opportunity to present our political case to the occupant of the Throne, but, outside this political advice or access, there remains also a social circle, which is exclusive in character, and is bound to be so by reason of the standards of arrogant luxury to which they must rise in order to become part 937 and parcel of that circle. I hope hon. Members will forgive me for putting it bluntly, but I do not do it with any acrimony whatever. It is important, if we are to retain the Monarchy in a democratic age like this, that it shall not be a remote thing, but something that can interpret as accurately as possible the mind, heart, will and aspirations of all sections of the community.
We thus reiterate our claim, on this the last opportunity afforded to us before this Civil List Bill is finally endorsed by this House, for the simplification of the arrangements referred to in the Civil List. Whether our plea is accepted or not—I doubt not that it will not be accepted on this occasion—I am persuaded that the statement embodied on behalf of us all by our representatives on the Civil List Committee, though rejected to-day, will remain a document of great political significance in the future, as indicating, in language of studied moderation, the view of this party in relation to the Monarchy and the arrangements that appertain to it. I hope that I have stated in unexaggerated language the point of view which we entertain. I wish hon. Gentlemen opposite would make a more strenuous effort to understand it than they seem to have made, but whether they understand it or not, we have laid down formally, but I hope courteously, the point of view that we retain. Having stated it briefly once more, I move the Amendment.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen
Before the House passes the Third Reading of this Bill I desire to say a few words in support of the Amendment. On the Bill which was before us just now, the Government made a concession to the Opposition, but I do not think we can be very hopeful of any concession on this Bill from the Government Front Bench. It is only right to say, as representing hon. Members on this bench, our agreement with the line that has been taken by hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, when the Financial Resolution was before the Committee and when we did not move several Amendments which we had upon the Paper. The speech made by the Leader of the Opposition and the Motion moved by him on that occasion appeared to provide us with an opportunity for stating our view upon the Civil List.
938 I do not propose to discuss those Amendments now, but one question was raised as to whether they would carry out our purpose. What we had in view was that far too much is being spent upon the maintenance of the Monarchy. We had an opportunity previously in this House of presenting a Motion which would have had the effect of replacing the monarchical system altogether, but that question is not before us now. If the Monarchy is to be retained, the expenditure is far too great, and is out of proportion to what it ought to be.
I would also draw attention to that part of the Bill which deals with the provision for people who have deserved well of the State, or for their dependants, or for men and women who are eminent in art and science and literature but who, in spite of their eminence, are in needy circumstances, or for the dependants of such people. I would contrast the pitiful figure of £2,500 for the maintenance of all the people who may become entitled to a Civil List pension with the vast sum that is provided for the maintenance of the members of the Royal House—for one little girl £6,000 at present, and an additional £9,000 when she becomes 21 years of age, while all these other people who have contributed great services to the community are put off with the miserable allowances that can be got out of £2,500 a year. I cannot see anything at all reasonable in the disparity between those two figures.
There are other things in connection with the Civil List that interest me. There is, for example, the provision that is made for the widow of the Monarch should the Monarch die, namely, £70,000—a greater provision for the widow than is made for her when she is Queen along with her Consort. Evidently the principle is that the widow in that case should get an increase, but in the ordinary pension scheme in the country the widow gets a much smaller income when she loses her husband. There seem to be ever so many inconsistencies in connection with the provisions that are made.
I also want to say again that I do not think it is at all in accordance with democracy to maintain all those great palaces as the home of the Sovereign of the country. In one of our Amendments we proposed that these palaces should be transformed into convalescent homes, 939 that the necessary moneys should be provided for that purpose, and that the Monarch should get a much smaller allowance and be allowed to live in a way that would bring him into much closer association with his fellow human beings in the country. The House so far has refused to make any concession to the point of view of the Opposition here, but I believe that the opposition to the present Civil List is the beginning of a movement which will ultimately meet with victory in this country. I welcome it as such. I am very glad indeed that hon. Members above the Gangway have pressed before the House the unfair position which the Labour Opposition occupies in this respect, and I also welcome the way in which they have claimed that we should have a Monarchy in connection with which the extravagances and the great expenditure should be wiped out, and that the maintenance of the Monarchy should be put upon a scale that will make it reasonable for the days in which we live. I, certainly, with my colleagues, shall have very great pleasure in going into the Lobby in support of the Opposition Amendment, and I believe that the present opposition will be the beginning of great changes in this country in the days to come.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Markham
We have just listened to two speeches made with great restraint from the opposite side of the House, and I am sure that many Members in all parts of the House will agree with some of what has been said; but I think that the case is a little unfairly put when the point is raised about the Monarchy costing £410,000 a year, and it is assumed that, if the Monarchy were abolished, that sum would be saved. [HON. MEMBERS: "No! "] It was implicit in the speech of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) that a great deal of the cost of the Monarchy would be saved if the Monarchy were abolished, and, although "Noes" may have come from other parts of the House, hon. Members here are nodding assent, and we must allow those hon. Members to interpret their own words. It is assumed that, if this country were converted into a republic, money would be saved by doing so, but that is not the case. No republic can be quoted anywhere in the world that is more 940 economically run as regards the formal part than the British Monarchy. Let me say here that I speak with a somewhat detailed knowledge of the subject, because it was my privilege to assist the late Sir Sidney Lee in two of his official biographies of the Monarchs of this country, and that point comes out very strongly in some papers yet to be published. But, of the Civil List of £410,000 a year, as it is now, approximately one-half goes in wages, that would have to be paid under any form of government that could be devised. It is necessary to have the ordinary formalities of courtesy, whether you have a republic or a monarchy. Far more money is spent in Nazi Germany and Republican France—
§ Mr. Buchanan
On a point of Order. I am wondering whether it is in order to discuss the issue of republicanism now. I hope it is, because it happens to suit me.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Dennis Herbert)
Certainly it would not be in order, but I do not think that at present what the hon. Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Markham) has said has gone so far as discussing that issue. As long as he confines himself to a mere comparison of figures, I cannot very well stop him.
§ Mr. Buchanan
The hon. Member was saying that he believes that a republic is more expensive now than a monarchy, and I would suggest that: it would be as well if you would make clear the exact limitations of the discussion.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I had better make them clear by stopping any hon. Members when I think they have gone too far.
§ Mr. Markham
I think that perhaps, in order to be on the safe side, I had better address my remaining remarks to the question of simplification, which was raised by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones). I do riot think it is sufficiently realised how large an amount of simplification has gone on during the last half-century at the British Court. Those who are older than I am may, perhaps, remember the tremendous formality and very great seclusion of Queen Victoria. That passed, I hope for ever, under the late King George.
941 One could, perhaps, give definite examples of the way in which simplification is growing. There is the question, for example, of Court dress. In Queen Victoria's day there were the most stringent regulations as to dress at Royal garden parties and so on. Now-a-days it is possible to go, as I have gone, to a Royal garden party in an ordinary lounge suit. When I go to a garden party in a lounge suit, the people in top hats are hon. Members opposite. [Interruption.] That is perfectly true. When it comes to a Court Ball, there has been a considerable relaxation of the dress regulations, and it is now possible to go in what is called alternative dress, which is the ordinary evening upper part and something else down below. I do not think anyone would be turned away who went in ordinary evening dress. The most spectacular uniform seen at a recent Court Ball was one worn by one of the most outspoken of hon. Members opposite. There has been this very great simplification in the last half centry. The old frock coat has gone for ever and one sees a much more democratic style of dress at many Court functions. But I agree with the hon. Member for Caerphilly that still more simplification—more easiness is desirable, I am not connected in any way with the theatrical profession—perhaps I missed my vocation in some respects—but I had occasion to make inquiries of some firms of theatrical costumiers and I understand that they did far more business at the Coronation than they have done for years in letting out suits and uniforms of all sorts, shapes and sizes to those who attended the Coronation function. That, to me, is something almost verging on dishonesty. If a man is good enough to be invited to the Coronation, surely he is good enough to go in the clothes that he habitually wears.
I agree with the hon. Member for Caerphilly in another respect. One would like to see far less of the pseudo-military pomp which attends some of these Court ceremonials, and get down a little more to the Sunday attire of most of the people of these Islands. For a good many of the activities of Their Majesties they are accompanied by rather large bodies of troops. The reason for that is that in the old days monarchs were in danger and had to be adequately guarded but, since that no longer applies, I think we 942 might see a little less of the pomp and circumstance of regiments, and so on, surrounding the King and Queen, and a little more faith and trust put in the people as a whole. I have mentioned the way in which Court ceremonial has been greatly relaxed over the last half century, and I am sure that tendency will continue, but, if you entirely relaxed what might be called the discipline of public processions, you might get the mob losing their heads and hysteria resulting in the Royal party being surrounded. For that reason it is, perhaps, necessary to keep a strong guard upon Their Majesties wherever they go. The hon. Member also made a forcible point about advice being given to Their Majesties by members of parties not forming part of the Government. That is a point of such importance that already it has caused two elections. I need not remind the hon. Member of the story of the ladies of the Bedchamber, when Lord Melbourne was very much to the forefront, and there have been other occasions. I should very much hesitate to put any check on Their Majesties as to the friendships that they might form, but, as far as the political side of it goes, they must be advised by the Government of the day. They may choose their friends from any set they like but, as far as political matters go, let them take the advice given by the Government of the day.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ Sir Archibald Sinclair
I have listened with great pleasure to the speech just delivered, with which I very largely agree, but in this, as in previous Debates, I have been struck with the astonishing air of unreality which has pervaded the discussion. It seemed to me that the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) introduced an atmosphere of reality into the discussion. He has a real position which I understand. He is a Republican, and he also believes in hospitals. I think it is a mistake to mix up hospitals with the Civil List, just as I should think it a mistake to move a reduction, we will say in the Navy Estimates, to strike out a destroyer and insert a school. The two things do not work together. Nevertheless, I quite understand the hon. Member's position. It is a very real point of view, though one with which I disagree. But, when I come to the position of hon. Members 943 above the Gangway, their attitude is one of unreality and illusion. There is not the slightest substance in the arguments which they address to the House. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) referred again to the 1931 episode. That was described at greater length by the Leader of the Opposition, who said that there was a constant stream of influences which suggested that the country was being ruined by masses of people getting unemployment benefit when they did not deserve it and did not need it. If King George was informed to that effect, obviously he was informed by his own Ministers, who introduced the Anomalies Act, which was designed to deal exactly with that position. It was the Measure of the Labour Government, for which they were responsible, and obviously they had to give such advice as was described almost in the terms which the Leader of the Opposition used, that people were getting unemployment benefit when they did not deserve it, and did not need it. That was the case for the Anomalies Bill.
§ Mr. Morgan Jones
The right hon. Baronet has completely missed the point that I made. My point was that the political representatives of the Labour party had transferred their allegiance to the other side and there was, therefore, no politician who could explain to the King what our point of view was.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
Let me deal with these points in succession. I am dealing first with the Leader of the Opposition, who made a very similar point on a previous occasion, and made it first. Now the hon. Member says that "the King was surrounded by certain constitutional advisers and they unfortunately broke with the party to which I belong, and, therefore, I could not submit my views to the King." That is a matter which I leave him and his party to decide among themselves. There were certain constitutional advisers responsible to His Majesty the King for advising him, and who gave him advice of which the hon. Member disapproved, but we really cannot blame His Majesty the King or the present arrangement for maintaining contact between the executive Government of this country and the King. His second point was the assertion that the King is surrounded by an exclusive social circle.
944 He said that the times which people on this side of the House had spent with the Royal Family in the aggregate would not amount to more than 24 hours, and also, what a handicap to impose upon the Royal Family. The first thought which occurs to me is that the Royal Family seem to have surmounted the ordeal triumphantly and never was the Crown more broadly based on the affections of the people than it is at the present time.
§ Mr. Morgan Jones
That is a monstrous distortion. I did not imply that it was a handicap to the King not to have had more than 24 hours' conversation with us. What I meant was that it was an injustice that because of that limited intercourse with us he was not enabled to understand the point of view of the people whom we represent.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The relations between the King and the masses of the people at the present time seem to indicate clearly that the Royal Family understand the people and that they are very well understood by the people. The hon. Member did say that it was a handicap to impose upon the King, and I say that it is a handicap that he has surmounted. It is a mistake to think that the King is surrounded, as the hon. Member said, with an exclusive social circle with standards of extravagance and luxury. I know people who are comparatively poor and without any such standards and who live in a very simple way who, are honoured by the friendship of the King and the Royal Family. It is unreal to make these assertions that the King has no friends except those whose standards are extravagance and luxury. It is not in accordance with the facts. The Leader of the Opposition referred the other day to the fulsome adulation with which the King was addressed and the refined servility of the newspapers and the B.B.C. Whatever we may think of the events of last December, the then Monarch certainly suffered neither from fulsome adulation nor refined servility from the newspapers. That, again, is an assertion which bears no relation to the facts as they are in the knowledge of every hon. Member of this House and of most of the people outside. While that is so, we would all agree—I think we all have agreed in every part of the House on previous occasions and I am sure we still agree—that there is a constant move 945 towards greater simplicity at the Court. It is a movement which we all desire to encourage.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Nottingham (Mr. Markham) referred to the fact that ordinary clothes are now worn at many State functions, and I have no doubt that that will be increasingly so. I am not sure that I agree that people should go only in ordinary clothes. I think that there are occasions of pageantry in which people take great interest, and there is, on these occasions, everything to be said for people wearing clothes suitable to the occasion. There was one gentleman of whom, I am aware who came from a great Dominion to this country and who was challenged before he came, "Will you wear Court uniform if you go to Buckingham Palace?" His answer was, "When I was a policeman I wore the uniform of a policeman, when I served in the War I wore the uniform of a soldier, and when I go to Court I shall wear the uniform of the Court." That is a very sensible point of view, which commends itself to the masses of the people and to this House.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
If a great many people cannot afford to buy expensive uniforms, I do not think that it is wrong to hire them. It is not immoral or wrong for anybody who cannot afford to buy a uniform which is very expensive to hire it; it is a very reasonable thing to do. However that may be, there are occasions when pageantry and uniforms are useful and good and please and are in accordance with the wishes of the people, but there are a great many other occasions on which they are unnecessary, and I am sure, as the hon. Member himself said, there are more and more occasions being provided when people can approach the Throne and come in contact with the Royal Family wearing their ordinary clothes. I am sure that that is the wish of all in this House, and of the present King and the Royal Family.
§ Mr. Stephen
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that it is suitable that the uniform should be worn at Court one night and at an amateur theatrical party the next night?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
They are not allowed to furnish for theatrical purposes uniforms 946 which are official uniforms. They have to make a change in the uniforms before they can be supplied. But that does not, in fact, happen, and, personally, I do not think it ought to be made difficult for people of poor means to wear the official dress of the rank or appointment which they happen to hold when they go to Court. Therefore, I strongly support the Civil List, which seems to be a reasonable one, in the hope and belief that progress will be made in the direction which the whole House, irrespective of party, desires, of greater simplicity and of easier access to the Throne.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not desire to detain the House for more than a very few moments, but in view of the last two speeches it is perhaps not undesirable that the matter should be put in the light more in accordance with what is desired by those who have moved certain Amendments from this side during the various stages of the Bill. I am all for reality in these discussions. I understand that the whole purpose for which these Amendments were being moved and divided upon was that there should be introduced into all these matters a greater degree of reality than has so far obtained. I do not think, if I may say it with respect to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair), that the cause of reality is very efficiently served by commencing a speech with an attack on the lack of realism on the part of those pleading for greater simplicity, and then concluding it by himself supporting it and saying that everybody else in the House desires it.
§ Mr. Silverman
If everybody in the House desires it, then we are entitled to be supported and not to have ridicule poured on the attempt that is being made from these benches to bring about something that everybody desires.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
I did not in the least attack the desire for simplicity. I have consistently expressed strong sympathy with it. What I said was unreal was the idea that there were vast and powerful influences keeping the Throne away from the masses of the people and interfering with the exercise of their constitutional functions. That was what I described as an atmosphere of unreality.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am delighted to hear that the right hon. Gentleman was not making an attack on us, and hon. Members will believe me when I say that I accept his assurance, but I understood from what he said that there was something unreal in the position of those who speak from these benches, as distinct from the attitude of the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen). The right hon. Gentleman said that it was an understandable and intelligible position to say that you are a Republican and that you object to all these things, but that it is unreal to say that you support a constitutional Monarchy and yet attack this sort of thing.
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The hon. Member continues to misrepresent me. The talk is that there is encircling the Throne some great force which is keeping the Monarchy from contact with the masses of the people and from exercising its functions.
§ Mr. Silverman
When the right hon. Gentleman reads his speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT he will see that I am not in the least misrepresenting what he said. Of course, if what he said misrepresented what he meant to say and what he now says, I can assure him that I accept what he says, but other hon. Members I feel sure understood him to be drawing a distinction between the complete intelligibility of saying you are a Republican and therefore you do not want all this parade and show, and saying you are a supporter of a constitutional Monarchy and yet you desire it to be simplified in various respects, one of which has been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman. On the Republican point of view it has been ruled that we should be out of order in attempting on this occasion to discuss the relative merits of Republicanism and Monarchy. We are not being asked to discuss any such thing. Our point is that, seeing that we have a constitutional Monarchy, it should be presented to the people in a more simple way. If the right hon. Gentleman supports us in that endeavour, then I hope he will be in the Division Lobby with us in order that a further attempt shall be made, if possible, to inquire into the process of making the thing more simple, and how that simplicity might be expedited.
Let me say to the hon. Member opposite that, as a new Member of this House, I am not in a position to judge of the accuracy or otherwise of some of his 948 reminiscences, but I suggest to him that they do not matter in the least. This question does not depend on whether some hon. Members on this side or on the other side who accept invitations to certain places can go in ordinary dress, or whether they prefer to hire a costume more in accordance with what is usually worn there. We should get greater simplicity in Court life by making what is an occasional concession to the poor relation the accepted rule. The concession is somewhat on these lines: "Since you are in Parliament and have been elected by the people to represent a section of society, and since you cannot afford or do not choose to wear the uniform of the Court, you may come in some other kind of dress." I am not suggesting that that is not a concession of value and that it does not, as far as it goes, make for greater simplicity, but that is not the point that we are pressing. We are asking that this exception which has been made by way of concession shall cease to be an exception or a concession, but shall become the rule. Whether we are right or wrong in that view is a matter on which there may be two opinions, but do not let us confuse the issue by misunderstanding or misrepresenting it.
It is idle to say that the Court circles, at other than exceptional times, are not drawn from one social circle. Nobody ever said, as far as I know, that the King never had friends outside that social circle or never had a friend who was a poor man. What has been said with incontrovertible accuracy is that the habitual mode of life and the habitual social atmosphere and attitude which a Civil List of this kind fosters is such that the Monarch for the time being a handicap conditions of ordinary living by ordinary men and women. It puts upon the Monarchy for the time being a handicap in understanding what are the social reactions of the ordinary civilian on any grave financial, economic or social question. It is not and never has been denied that the Monarch has made heroic attempts to overcome that obstacle and to bridge that gulf, with varying degrees of success, but the obstacle and the gulf remain and ought to be abolished, and the way to do it is to simplify the whole procedure so that it shall cease to be representative of one class of society, and become more representative of the general ideal and mode of life.
949 I am not entering into a discussion on the relative merits of Republicanism or a constitutional Monarchy, but I do say that the great strength of a constitutional Monarchy is when it seeks to attune itself to the common life of the common people. In so far as they do that, they are strong, and, in so far as they fail to do that, they are weak. We say that in a Civil List of this magnitude you cannot hope to bridge the gulf which everybody knows does exist. If you want the constitutional Monarchy to remain strong the proper way to achieve that is to make the mode of Court life and the whole of the social atmosphere in which the Monarch moves, not less dignified but much more simplified. It was claimed that the ideal of all of us is to have a classless society, and that we are all working towards that end with a varying degree of speed. The mode of life of the Court and its entourage should be less redolent of class consciousness and of the social influence of a particular type than it is, and a great step in that direction would be the sort of inquiry that we have asked for, in order to see in what manner and by what means that greater simplicity can be attained.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Lieut.-Colonel Colville)
Hon. Members who have listened to the Debate must be quite clear as to the reason why the Amendment to reject the Bill has been moved. It was not that hon. Members opposite really wish to negative the Civil List as a whole, and I think they would be very surprised if their Amendment were accepted. They wish to put forward the point of view so moderately expressed by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) in his opening speech; that there should be a simplification of the style and state of the Court. That point of view was put forward by the Labour Members on the Select Committee, was discussed and negatived. The hon. Member for Caerphilly opened his speech by emphasising that he and his friends did not wish to show any disrespect to the Monarchy or to the Throne, but to ensure that in a democratic country the Monarch should not be remote from the people. That is a sentiment with which everyone will agree, and I give the hon. Member and his friends credit for hold- 950 ing that view. I hope he will give us credit for holding our view equally sincerely, that it would not strengthen the hold which the Monarchy has on the hearts of the people of this country to cut down the necessary measure of pomp and circumstance which surround it.
Apart from the finding of the majority of the Select Committee, we believe that we are interpreting the view of the majority of the people also. The hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) put his point of view, but did not elaborate it by going into detail and, therefore, I do not think he would wish me to answer his point in detail. But I would say this, that it is not without significance that the great city of Glasgow in which his constituency is situated was one of the most beflagged cities on a recent occasion. That was hardly due to a love of colour and pageantry. It is a fact of deep significance, which I hope will not be lost upon the hon. Member. As regards the actual amount of the Civil List, it shows a decrease of £37,000 on the Civil List as fixed in 1910, despite the altered values of money, increased wages and salaries and establishment charges. I should like to emphasise this point. It should not be forgotten that while we are spending much larger sums of money now on social services, the necessary requirements of the State in relation to the former Civil List show a decrease. I feel that the point of view which hon. Members have expressed is out of touch with the feelings of the majority of the people of this country, who do not desire a curtailment of the present standards which surround Royalty in this country. It was the view expressed very well in the words of the Resolution adopted by the Select Committee:Whereas the liberties of the people and the integrity of the Empire are deeply rooted in the Constitutional Monarchy, and whereas the ancient usages, ceremonies and traditions centering upon the Crown have become, even more than in former times, a bulwark against dictatorship, and the symbol of the union of all members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, we hereby affirm that we do not desire any changes in the style and establishment of the Sovereign and his Family other than those which His Majesty may himself see fit to make from time to time.That was the view of the majority of the Select Committee. It is the view of the majority of this House, and I think of the majority of the country.
§ 9.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
We have heard much about reality and unreality. In a previous discussion the right hon. Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) said that we were all working for a classless society. The most unreal, the most absurd of unrealities is to use such a phrase and have the conception of Monarchy associated with it. We cannot discuss a classless society in such a loose way as that. We are discussing the simplification of the Court. I am all for simplification. I want to see it carried to such a stage that the whole business will be simplified out of existence. That is the logical outcome of simplification. The right hon. Member for Caithness said that all this pomp and circumstance made an appeal to the masses of the people, that they liked to see it. Why do they like to see it? Why do we get the streets littered with bunting and colour? It is because the lives of the masses of the people are so barren and devoid of beauty that when they have a chance to get some colour in the streets they take advantage of it. How can the right hon. Gentleman possibly talk about realities and then say that the people like to see him dressed up in some fancy uniform? If they do like to see the right hon. Gentleman dressed up in some fancy uniform it means that there is something wrong, that they are not getting the opportunities they should.
The Financial Secretary has referred to the love of the people for the Monarch, for the occupants of the Throne. We have been getting a surfeit of that. He told the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) to take a note of what had happened in his constituency. Let him take note of what he himself said—that we shall not strengthen the position of the Monarchy amongst the people if we take away the pomp and show. What is it he is saying? He is really saying that it is not the King and Queen, not persons, but the pomp and show which the people are concerned with. The Financial Secretary is telling the truth maybe for the first time. Is any hon. Member going to tell us that it is right to keep the people of this country in a state where they are attracted by unreality? Do hon. Members want people to be in the condition that they are so barren of beauty, life and culture that they must have somebody who goes to a costumier, gets a fancy dress and comes 952 out and makes a parade? One hon. Member talked about an hon. Member on this side who had borrowed plumes.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I did not know the hon. Member was present. I am not very ready to accept these stories because I am myself the victim of a feeble-minded journalist who seems to have borrowed plumes and tried to plant them on me. The point I wanted to raise was that in an earlier discussion on the Civil List Bill the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) said that my opinions and language were abhorrent to hon. Members. I wonder what he imagines his opinions and those of his colleagues are to me. I wonder whether he ever thinks of what I have to suffer sitting here.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I must remind the hon. Member that we are now on the Third Reading of the Bill and that all he can discuss is what is in the Bill. I am not aware that either his language or that of the hon. Member for South Kensington is in it.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I will bow to your Ruling, although I would have liked to make a few more remarks on that particular matter. The question that is before the House is the simplification of the monarchy. Let us face realities. The reality is that we have a monarchical institution that is hedged around with pomp and circumstance and that money is being provided to maintain a monarchical institution which represents all the power and influence of the great wealthy and reactionary families in this country. Never mind all the nonsense about the Royal Family going around and seeing people and that sort of thing. Built around this institution are all these evil reactionary forces. The Labour party proposes—and I have certain sympathy with it—that all these aristocratic and reactionary evil influences should be done away with and that the monarchy should become a nice, respectable petit bourgeois monarchy.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The other night I made a proposal that it should become a proletarian monarchy, but nobody seemed 953 to be very ready to support that proposal. The question before hon. Members is whether they are to continue spending enormous sums of money in the vain hope—for it is a vain hope—that they can get that secluded circle to continue everlastingly. It will not be done. The Labour party is providing a very easy, sensible and efficient method of putting an end to what sooner or later will become not only a serious anomaly but a serious menace to the public life of this country. It would be very advisable not from my point of view but from the point of view of right hon. and hon. Members opposite, to accept that proposal, to take the intelligent method of modifying gradually this incubus—I am not referring to the Royal Family alone but to the system that is built all round it—and of bringing the Royal Family more and more into the ordinary life of the masses of the people, and gradually of seeing it disappear. That would be the easy way of solving this problem.
Therefore, I suggest to the Government that they ought to give the most serious consideration to this proposal. Because there has been a great deal of bunting, because people have taken advantage of
§ an opportunity of a free day or a free night or some extra excitement in their dull and sordid lives, it is all wrong for the Government to think that this is something which will remain constant and that there will always be toleration for this luxury on the part of parasitic drones. When discussion starts in the country about the way in which the Cabinet have run away from the tax on profits and when that is discussed alongside the enormous expenditure which is being made in order to keep up this pomp and circumstance, it will be seen that the masses of the people will begin to make a very quick turn. I ask the Government to accept the proposal put forward by the Labour party to introduce complete simplification in the sense of removing entirely from the life of this country all these aristocratic, wealthy influences which have been built up and which, through various methods, seek not only to control the Throne, but to control and determine the Government of this country.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 199; Noes, 123.955
|Division No. 200.]||AYES.||[9.14 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Cross, R. H.||Hepworth, J.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Crowder, J. F. E.||Higgs, W. F.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Cruddas, Col. B.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)|
|Apsley, Lord||Davison, Sir W. H.||Holmes, J. S.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Dodd, J. S.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Dugdale, Captain T. L.||Hopkinson, A.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Duggan, H. J.||Horsbrugh, Florence|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Duncan, J. A. L.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Eastwood, J. F.||Hulbert, N. J.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Eckersley, P. T.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Hunter, T.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Aylesbury)||Ellis, Sir G.||Hurd, Sir P. A.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Emery, J. F.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Erskine-Hill, A. G.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Fildes, Sir H.||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Findlay, Sir E.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Furness, S. N.||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.|
|Bull, B. B.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Burgin, Rt. Hon. Dr. E. L.||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Latham, Sir P.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Leckie, J. A.|
|Cary, R. A.||Goodman, Col. A. W.||Lees-Jones, J.|
|Cayzer, Sir H. R. (Portsmouth, S.)||Gower, Sir R. V.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Grant-Ferris, R.||Levy, T.|
|Channon, H.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Lewis, O.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Liddall, W. S.|
|Christie, J. A.||Grimston, R. V.||Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Guy, J. C. M.||Lyons, A. M.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Hanbury, Sir C.||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Hannah, I. C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Scot. U.)|
|Cox, H. B. T.||Harbord, A.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Harris, Sir P. A.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)|
|Crooke, J. S.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Maclay, Hon. J. P.||Ramsbotham, H.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ramsden, Sir E.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Magnay, T.||Rankin, Sir R.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Maitland, A.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Mander, G. le M.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Markham, S. F.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Ropner, Colonel L.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Turton, R. H.|
|Morgan, R. H.||Rowlands, G.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Samuel, M. R. A.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Seely, Sir H. M.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Selley, H. R.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Munro, P.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Wells, S. R.|
|O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Owen, Major G.||Smith, Sir R. W, (Aberdeen)||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Palmer, G. E. H.||Somerset, T.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Peake, O.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wragg, H.|
|Peat, C. U.||Spens, W. P.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Storey, S.|
|Petherick, M.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)||Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward|
|Radford, E. A.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)||and Major Sir George Davies.|
|Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Potts, J.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Groves, T. E.||Price, M. P.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon, A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Ridley, G.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hollins, A.||Ritson, J.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hopkin, D.||Rowson, G.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey)|
|Batey, J.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Shinwell, E.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Short, A.|
|Bromfield, W.||Kelly, W. T.||Silkin, L.|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Kirby, B. V.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Buchanan, G.||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Burke, W. A.||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Cape, T.||Leach, W.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees (K'ly)|
|Cassells, T.||Lee, F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Leonard, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Leslie, J. R.||Stephen, C.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Logan, D. G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Cooks, F. S.||Lunn, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Cove, W. G.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Thorne, W.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||McEntee, V. La T.||Thurtle, E.|
|Daggar, G.||McGhee, H. G.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Dalton, H.||MacLaren, A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Maclean, N.||Walker, J.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Marshall, F.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Dobbie, W.||Maxton, J.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Messer, F.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Milner, Major J.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Montague, F.||Westwood, J.|
|Frankel, D.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Gallacher, W.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Muff, G.||Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)|
|Gibbins, J.||Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Oliver, G. H.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Paling, W.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Parkinson, J. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
Question, "That this House do now adjourn," put, and agreed to.