§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Tinker
I beg to move,That, realising that the gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth are the result of the capitalist system, which cannot guarantee the necessary standard of life for vast numbers of the population, and realising also the waste of natural resources and productive power involved in a system the 1316 mainspring of which lies in the selfish pursuit of private profit, this House declares that legislative effort should be directed towards the substitution of an industrial and social order based upon public ownership and democratic control of the instruments of production and distribution.On the Motion I am moving, the Debate will follow on almost similar lines to the Debate which has just concluded. It is not a bad thing to take a Debate on the condition of the people and a Debate on malnutrition, because many times we have complained of too much time being given to other things and not enough time to matters directly appertaining to the people of this country. First, I want to remove the impression created during the 1317 last Debate, when the hon. Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson) pointed out that this country was in advance of any other country in regard to nutrition. We accept that. My Motion is not for the purpose of saying that any other country is better than our own. My intention is to emphasise the need for this country to make better use of the facilities it has, and to provide a better standard of life for our people, in keeping with the wealth that can be produced if opportunities are only utilised properly. That is the line that I intend to follow to-night.
The Motion covers many points. The condition of the people appertains to their ordinary life. The first thing I want to deal with is housing. Last week, I listened to the Scottish Debate on rural housing. I know that the Scottish Members are not particular whether an Englishman listens to their Debates or not, but I did listen, and I got some useful information. I know the conditions in England are bad, but it was a revelation to hear of the conditions in Scotland, and how difficult it was to get decent houses for the people. I have also a report from a Labour organisation in Lancashire, examining housing conditions there. This tells of the bad conditions that were found there. I have also another report. Hon. Members on that side often do not pay due regard to what we say on this subject, and so, to put my case as strongly as possible, I am going to quote what was said by a prominent Conservative, Sir Benjamin Dawson, on 25th April, 1936. The heading was, "Sir Benjamin Dawson ashamed of his party. 'Abominable' condition in Leeds slums." Talking about an advertisement which he had seen, appealing for contributions to a fund for providing coals for the poor, he said:I made an appointment with one of the staff of the society responsible for the advertisement, a society which is doing a wonderful work amongst the poor, and I spent half a day visiting numerous dwellings. When I had finished my tour, I felt thoroughly ashamed of my country, thoroughly ashamed of the National Government, and thoroughly ashamed of the Conservative party. The pigs on my farm are better housed and fed than some of the people I saw that day. How we in this year of our Lord, 1936, in this British civilisation, of which we are so proud and so boastful, can allow such abominable conditions to exist is incomprehensible. These conditions are to be seen in every large town in the country.1318 That is from a prominent Conservative, and it proves that when hon. Members on the other side take credit to themselves for doing a lot of good things, there is at least much leeway to be made up, to give anything like decent conditions to the majority of our people. I hope the housing question will be pressed forward with the utmost vigour.
The next point is with regard to wages. Last night, an hon. Member, speaking of miners' wages, pointed out that there had been an improvement probably in the last 12 months. I believe there has been, but it is not sufficient at the present time. The intensive speeding-up in the mines-now is almost intolerable, and to get that extra money the miners are urged forward until life is almost a misery. When Lord Baldwin recently talked about a new thing having sprung up among the people, a nervous disease, he wondered if it was due to speeding up. I can answer Yes. Dealing with the wages question further, because it is well to tell Conservative Members something of the conditions prevailing, I want to talk of wages of cotton operatives in Lancashire. A paper of yesterday stated that a demand had been made on behalf of over 100,000 weavers in the manufacturing section for a minimum wage of 8¾d. an hour, which, in a 48-hour week, would mean a wage of 35s. When we boast of good wages being paid, we should remember that we have a section of the cotton industry in Lancashire at present fighting for a minimum wage of 8¾d. per hour, and realise the condition they are in. That is not a fantastic statement, because the demand is being made now.
The unemployed at the present time are suffering from very bad conditions. The increased cost of living is putting them into a very difficult position because they are not getting what ought to be given to them, and consequently they are being brought down to a lower standard of life. More attention ought to be given to these people. It is not fair that they should have to occupy their present position, which is due to no fault of their own. The condition of the people covers a wide area, and we cannot leave out of calculation a body of men and women who are driven to such extremes as the unemployed. There is a very serious aspect of the unemployed question relating to those who are over 45 years of age. It is a tragedy 1319 that our system provides no chance of employment for those who are over this border-line. Anyone who has read the report of Sir George Gillett, which is in the newspapers to-day, will realise where we are getting in that regard. According to his figures, although there has been some slight improvement in the Special Areas, 41 per cent. of the unemployed are men over 45 years of age, and he is telling the Government that these people must be given an opportunity. What right has private enterprise to discharge these people in the manner they are doing? If private enterprise is to carry on as a fair thing for the country, it will have to deal with all people and not pick out the best all the time, and leave those who get beyond the best working age to be kept by the country.
This is one of the things which will have to be examined in the light of what is taking place at the moment, and no more striking case could be made out than that made out by Sir George Gillett. There are a vast number of old age pensioners who have to apply for relief. In England 214,901, or 10 per cent., have to apply for additional relief, and the Scottish figure is 37,000, or 14 per cent., so that Scotland at the present time seems to be faring rather worse than this country with regard to housing and old age pensions. I can well understand now—I did not understand it before—why there are Scottish Members who want a Government of their own, because if Scotland is in a worse condition than England under a Government in England, it is only common sense that they should want to create a separate government for themselves. I shall have much more sympathy with Scottish speakers when I hear them in future. Hitherto I had thought that they wanted everything from this country and did not wish to give anything in return, but now I understand their position. There are a number of distressed areas in this country where very little is being done for the people, and something will really have to be done in that direction.
The Motion deals with the question of the equalisation of wealth. I have here some figures to help my case and to show the unequal distribution of wealth at the present time. It is estimated that we have for distribution and spending among the members of the community 1320 £3,600,000,000 per year. That is the latest figure. There are the rich, about 100,000 in number, with incomes of more than£2,000 a year. They take from the national income£599.000,000, or 16 per cent. Among those 100,000 are 10,000 people who take£22,000 a year. Next come the middle class, who number 2,200,000, with incomes between£25o and£2,000. They take£950,000,000, or 25 per cent. Next come people within incomes between 125 and£950. The lower middle class number 5,000,000 and take£980,000,000 a year, or 26 per cent. Then we come to the rock-bottom people, who number 11,000,000, with less than£125 each per year, and they take£1,100,000,000 or 31 per cent. Their average income is about£100. Therefore, we can realise the number of poverty-stricken cases there must be among these 11,000,000 people. There are the unemployed, the old age pensioners, the lower paid wage-earners who come in the lowest strata, and we are trying to show to the House that at the present time they are not enjoying the share in the national wealth to which they are entitled.
An Amendment is to be moved from the benches opposite telling us that they do not want undue interference with private enterprise. I want to know what undue interference means, because it must mean interference of some kind of other. There is an admission from the other side that capitalism or private enterprise cannot be allowed to go on unrestricted, which is quite a change from what has been the case. I have in my hand the report of a Debate in this House in 1923 on the capitalist system, in which Sir Alfred Mond said:What keeps this wretched private capitalistic system going? I will tell you. If a private capitalistic business is badly managed, it goes into the bankruptcy court. What does that mean? It means you have a method by which inefficiency is automatically weeded out of your industrial system. You have a method by which efficiency is automatically rewarded. It may be a crude system. It may be an unscientific system. It may seem a harsh system, but it is the only system in the world which has been devised up to the present."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th March, 1923; col. 2498, Vol. 161.]Hon. Members opposite are altering that point of view by their Amendment, because they say in the Amendment that 1321the standard of living of the people has continuously and progressively ire proved,and they areunalterably opposed to any scheme of legislation which, by undue interference, would deprive the State of the benefits of private enterprise.I am glad to know that at least there is an admission on the part of the other side that there must be some interference from time to time. What is the extent of it? Is it too much to ask that there should be a greater distribution or a more equal distribution of the wealth that is produced in this country and a lifting up of the lower stratum of our people by the creation of better conditions? What surprises me is that the Mover of the Amendment comes from Lancashire arid represents the Division of Eccles, and I advise him to read the report that has been issued by the Labour party on their examination of conditions in Lancashire. He will find how harsh are the conditions of the people. He will also remember that, in defending this system, the cotton business of Lancashire has suffered terribly, and that the cotton people have applied to this House for help to reorganise the industry, which proves to me and to my friends that Lancashire is not satisfied to be left a victim of what is called the fair play of competition If they stood by them there would be no application here for protection, but they have been driven to the Houses of Parliament to obtain the Spindles Act and other protective things, and have appealed to us to protect them from their friends, the other people in the industry, by putting a ring round them as much as possible. Yet we have an hon. Member here supporting an Amendment against what we are trying to do, namely to obtain better conditions for the working people, who at the present time are not enjoying the best that the country can give.
I notice that the hon. Gentleman who is to second the Amendment is the lion. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Chapman). I hope that my Scottish Friends will be able to deal with him. I do not know the condition of Rutherglen, but I expect that it is another industrial centre which is suffering from what is taking place. Therefore, I hope that someone who knows the position in his constituency will tell him what he ought to have and what he deserves in supporting an 1322 Amendment of this character. We on these benches are not satisfied with what is taking place. We believe that things cannot materially be altered under the present system. On the last Motion my right hon. Friend the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) gave instances of the destruction of many products under the present system, and as long as we leave private enterprise in possession they will do that sort of thing. Last night we were dealing with the Coal Bill, which provides for the taking over of royalties. I cannot understand why we cannot take over the whole of the coal mines while we are taking over royalties. We want to give the miners a better deal.
We would put as an alternative that the State must control the means of production and of distribution. We must start out by taking over and owning the finances of this country. That is the key to what is happening. Until we get hold of that we can never materially alter things. Therefore, in our programme, we say that we shall take over the banks and control them, when we get the opportunity. We shall also take charge of the land. We cannot leave the land to the landowner to exploit it in the way he does. We shall take over the transport, and finally coal and power will come into our fold. By doing that we shall provide increased spending power for our people. I remember some 12 years ago, listening to the late John Wheatley, who always advocated, when putting up a case for our people, that we should give them greater spending power, and that if we did that we would have solved much of our difficulty, At that time I was not in Parliament, but I paid close attention to him, and as the years have gone by I have become an ardent advocate of what John Wheatley said. His view was that if you increase pensions, increase the spending power of the unemployed and pay higher wages to our people, every one of them will bring a greater spending power into the market and will take more of the goods which go to make for greater employment. Until we do that we shall never have solved our economic difficulty. I trust that we shall have prevailed on a number of Members on the other side to help us in what is after all a human effort to make life better for our people.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Cecil Wilson
I beg to second the Motion.
Some of the ground which the Mover has covered is somewhat similar to that with which I wanted to deal, but I want to put it rather differently. We find from the last report of the Inland Revenue Department that there are 109,000 people whose total income amounts to the figure of£599,000,000, to which my hon. Friend referred. That is equal to£104 a week. When we come to consider the people at the other end of the scale, the unemployed man getting his 17s. a week, it means that we have 109,000 individuals in this country each of whom is getting as much as 120 unemployed people. I venture to suggest that that is a condition of affairs which no one here can possibly say is in any sense just.
Then if we look at it slightly differently we find that that 109,000 represents something less than one-quarter per cent. of the population, whilst, as my hon. Friend said, they receive 16 per cent, of the national income. I hope those who take the opposite view and who are responsible for the Amendment will, when they come to reply, tell us quite straightly whether they think that condition of affairs is right and just and why they say it is right and just. If they say it is not right and not just, we should like to ask what their proposal is in order to set the matter right. That is not the only point of view that arises from the Inland Revenue returns, because we find, comparing the year 1900–1901 with the year 1935–1936 that for every Too persons whose estates came under the charge for estate value then, there are 251 now, and so far as the values are concerned, for every£100 then it is£228 now. That may be progress, but progress in a direction which ought never to occur. These figures represent the gross inequalities to which reference has been made and which are referred to in our Motion.
With regard to housing, Manchester and Salford Better Housing Council in 1931 made inquiries regarding the rents of 175 houses which had been vacated by the occupiers moving to housing estates. They found that in the case of 80 per cent. of that 175, the rents had been increased by from 5o to 90 per cent. We should like to ask whether that really is progress—whether that really is the way in which 1324 a contented people is to be made. Where the rent is increased by that amount and the wages remain the same something else has to suffer. We have had repeated references in this House to what is happening in that direction. There was also an inquiry at Newcastle-on-Tyne by a committee of the council, and they gave 76 cases of one-roomed tenements in which in 1914 the rent was 3s. 1d. and in which it had gone up on the average to 8s. There were other cases where the rent had gone up from 4s. 9d. to 10s. There were cases of two-, three- and four-roomed tenements where the same condition applied and where rents had been doubled. I do not think we can justify that from a single point of view, but it certainly very seriously affects the condition of the people, and we should like to ask, "What are you going to do about it?" I have in my own constituency rather more than 200 wooden huts, which were put up during the War for the use of munition workers. I have been into these huts and seen their condition. In the hot weather bugs come out by the hundred from behind the cardboard and so forth with which the walls—if you can call them walls—are covered. They have nothing in the way of a pantry in which they can keep their food.
§ Mr. Wilson
I will tell the House what the local authorities are doing. They have been told by the Government, "You have got to see about the slum clearance first, because a good deal of fresh air can get to these houses." There is no particular comfort in that for the people who have to live in them.
§ Mr. Wilson
There is no decent standard of life under conditions like that. The corporation is perfectly willing to go ahead when the Government permit them to go ahead. There has recently been published a book by Mr. Seebohm Rowntree on "The Human Needs of Labour." It is a second edition of what he published 20 years ago with regard to between 2,000 and 3,000 cases in York which had been very carefully examined 1325 then, and a rather larger number which have been examined since. It is quite true that this is one area, but it is easy to compare one area 20 years ago and one area to-day and to get very much the same kind of particulars. He comes to the conclusion quite definitely that for a man, wife, and three children, there ought to be an income of not less than 53s. per week if a decent standard of life is to be maintained.
Let us assume for a moment that Mr. Rowntree is wrong to the extent of 16s. per week, bringing his 53s. down to 37s. Unemployment relief for a man, wife and two children is 35s. still 2S. lower after you have taken 30 per cent. of. There can be no possible justification for a state of affairs such as that. There is no satisfactory standard of life under such circumstances as those. It is quite true that the Ministry of Labour is making certain inquiries on this particular matter, and some day I suppose we shall have a report. But we can none of us justify figures such as those I have just quoted when the investigation has been made by one who is as careful an investigator as you will find anywhere in this country.
Recently, so far as London is concerned, there has been published a little booklet called "London's Homeless." That is a report by 26 different organisations in London which are dealing with what they call the homeless folk. These homeless folk are referred to under a number of different heads, such as ex-professional business men who have been out of employment, men of good character who are handicapped in finding employment for lack of recent references, men who need assistance until they get a definite job, and a number of cases of that kind. These conditions which apply in London, apply, although to nothing like the same extent, in practically every part of this country, and it is a matter which never ought to be left to private effort, in spite of the fact that the men and women who are carrying on this work in these various organisations have devoted themselves in a very fine way and in a very fine spirit in an endeavour to make things better. A number of these people are spending nights in what they call "sitting-up shelters." This is a description which one of these men gives. He speaks in generous terms of the kindly 1326 welcome and generosity extended to him, and he goes on:The men are only able to sleep on newspaper on the floor. So many wish to come some bad nights that the men's feet are crammed into one another's waists, or banged into neighbouring noses. Some men sleep sitting on benches, their faces leant on arms folded on tables. After specially bad nights, especially if your head has been under a table, like a ball in a scrum, between an avenue of soaked, late-tramping feet, you wake with your eyes glued together, your nose stopped up and your mouth open, and a dizzy clawing feeling about your head as though your hair were stuck in syrup. You feel inclined to issue from your throat strange clanking sounds, and it is many, many minutes before you realise where you are, or that you are anything, or that you are on a firm place where workaday creatures move about.That is a terrible picture. It is a picture for which we are responsible.
§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Earl Winterton)
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to intervene? I think he cannot be aware that the London County Council has issued an explanatory statement to show that there is no need for any homeless person to be without a bed. There is sufficient provision either through the local authorities or voluntary organisations for every homeless wanderer.
§ Mr. Wilson
I am perfectly well aware of that, but there is a condition of things prevailing, and it is prevailing for some reason. This is a document published by the London County Council and it shows the existence of a state of affairs which in this land ought not to exist. It is true that there are only a few of these people, but if we believe in our religion we are our brothers' keepers and we have a responsibility for them in every part of the country.
The Amendment says that the standard of living of the people has continuously and progressively improved. Let me analyse that statement. What about the figures for lunacy and mental deficiency? In 1923 the number of patients was represented by, say, a figure of 100. By 1930 the figure was 111, and in the return for 1936 it was 120. There is not much continuous improvement there. It is continuous and progressive, but in the wrong direction. True, the population has increased, but when we deal with the matter from the population point of view 1327 the figures are much the same. We cannot regard it as progressive when we had 20 per cent. more mentally affected people in 1936 than we had 13 years ago. When we come to the insured workpeople who are unemployed, there are three periods of five years each. If we start with the figure of 100 for the first period, we find that in the second period the figure was 102, and in the last period, 1931–36, it was 144. There is no continuous and progressive improvement there, unless that is the sort of improvement that is meant in the Amendment. When we take the figures with respect to relief, and reckon that in the last year before the War the figure was 100, we find that it had increased in 1930 to 121, and in the five years ended 1934 the figure was 2:10. In all these cases instead of the standard of living having continuously and progressively improved it has continuously and progressively deteriorated.
My hon. Friend referred to the report on the Special Areas, in which the Commissioner says that in the case of men over 55 years of age rather more than 5,000 have secured employment. We are glad to hear that, but there is another side to the picture. There are still 37,000 of those men who have not secured employment. Those 37,000 men have spent 30 or 40 years serving the country in industry and have put the whole of their lives into it, and at the end of 30 or 40 years they are told that they are not wanted and that they may look forward to nothing in the way of a happy old age. No one can find any satisfaction from a prospect of that sort. We believe that there is enough for all and that life might be made happy for all if only it was tackled in the right way. I would ask hon. Members whether they agree that there is enough for all, that there ought to be enough for all and whether all are getting as much as they ought to have.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Cary
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:this House, recognising that under the economic system of this country the standard of living of the people has continuously and progressively improved, is unalterably opposed to any scheme of legislation which, by undue interference, would deprive the State of the benefits of private enterprise.1328 I can best begin my brief observations by saying that the hon. Member who moved the Motion criticised the text and draft of the Amendment. I should like to call the attention of the House to the drafting and text of the Motion, which I consider to be completely outworn and out of date. It represents the view of the Labour party prior to their two years of office before 1929. It refers to the gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth which is involved in a system, the mainspring of which lies in the selfish pursuit of profit, and it seeks to substitute another industrial and social order which is in no way related to capital or the capitalist system. The only other order of that kind in existence to-day is the social order which exists in Russia. In all other countries there is some relationship in a greater or lesser degree to a system of private profit and private enterprise and the accumulation and redistribution of the wealth of private individuals for the benefit of their fellow-men. A Motion was moved some months ago by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) which ended with these words:and calls upon His Majesty's Government, whether or not such measures are within the limit of the existing social and economic order, to take such measures as may be necessary to secure for the unemployed, the partly unemployed and the employed workers a standard of living commensurate with modern industrial potentialities.That is much more in the mood of the modern thought in the political movement of hon. Members opposite. My reply is that it is the intention of the Government progressively to improve the standard of living of our people and to that end they will continue their social policy, which includes the building of more and more houses. Since the hon. Member opposite touched upon the question of housing, I would point out that under private enterprise and the system of private profit, since the end of the Great War we have built 3,500,000 houses, and under the system which hon. Members opposite disapprove we have taken no fewer than 700,000 people out of slum conditions. If hon. Members opposite can say as much for any other system, the House would be only too delighted to hear of it. Can they make any such extravagant claim for the Russian State?
§ Mr. Cary
I challenge the hon. Member. The system which he represents, and of which, fortunately, he is the only representative in this House, which I quote from the "Statesman's Year Book," is based upon these principles:In every factory, and every collective farm, there is a Communist cell which watches the technical administration of the factory and which is in contact with the other organs of the Communist party. In this way the Members of the party distributed over the whole mechanism of the State system represent the controlling power which drives the State machine in the direction required by the General Secretary of the Communist party, along the so-called general party line. The purity of the party policy and strict discipline are maintained by means of a special party Code of Regulations and by systematic purges.Is that the alternative hon. Members wish as against the flexible and beneficial system which is in existence in this country? I have been reading some of the debates in this House on the capitalist system. The most famous took place in 1923 when the mover of the Motion was the late Lord Snowden and the mover of the Amendment, the late Lord Melchett. The Motion on the Order Paper to-day is snore suitable to those times. Great changes have taken place in the world since then. Russia is becoming an increasing subject for fair comparison; Germany has turned from Socialism to Nationalism.
§ Mr. Cary
For five years after the Great War Germany had a Socialist Government, but they did not put into practice a single Socialist theory. Free Trade has disappeared, and quotas, tariffs and a managed currency buttress what is called economic nationalism. When we have these economic barriers and the development of this economic nationalism is not the time for political experiments, but the time to develop and extend the present system which has proved so admirable for six years under the guidance of the National Government. In spite of what hon. Members opposite may say about the present system, taxation has remained unchanged and the revenue constant. The expenditure upon social services has been more than doubled. In 1925, under a Conservative administration, we were spending£100,000,000 on social services. In 1937, again under a Conservative administration, we are 1330 spending more than double that amount. At a time of intensive rearmament we are still finding it possible under a despised capitalist system to spend£217,000,000 on our social services. The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) read out a long list of people who were enjoying incomes in certain categories, but I would remind him that when income is distributed in that way it is a source of taxation which pays for the social services for the benefit of the more unfortunate of the population.
Let me say a word about the cotton trade. The hon. Member for Leigh complained of the inadequacy of the wages of some of the cotton operatives—about 35s. a week. I would remind him that, in spite of all the difficulties of the cotton trade in the last five years, we have managed to get back into employment no less than 20,000 operatives, and if we have our way, if we can persuade the capitalist system to be further guided by close co-operation with the Government, we hope in the not far distant future substantially to improve the wages of the Lancashire cotton operatives. I do not say that 35s. is an adequate wage, and I know that under certain forms of public assistance a man can almost draw as much, but we have been able even at this moderate wage to get 20,000 men back into work in what has been a distressed trade.
§ Mr. Cary
If the hon. Member desires to answer, I will give way. If he is, then he is asking for a return to the conditions of 1933, because that was the price at which fresh butter was being sold in the co-operative shops owing to the dumping of Russian butter. If wages 1331 are to be kept in line with the small increase in the cost of living, quite obviously at some time or another every industry will have to consider the relationship of wage scales to the cost of living.
§ Sir J. Haslam
I rise at this paint because I may not get a chance of speaking, and as the representative of a Lancashire constituency I do not want the impression to get abroad that 35s. a week is the average wage of a man in the cotton trade. I do not know the percentage of women employed, but I think that nine out of every ten who are getting 35s. a week are females. I do not want a wrong impression to go out. I am not quarrelling with the percentage, but I think hon. Members will agree with me that the majority of those who are getting this wage are females.
§ Mr. Cary
The hon. Member for Bolton (Sir J. Haslam) is much better informed about the cotton trade than I am, as he sits for one of the great cotton centres. However, I do not wish to turn this Debate into a Lancashire cotton Debate, and I will come back to the more general terms of the Debate, and point out that the key of modem industry is not capital but good management. If hon. Members opposite can show that by suppressing private enterprise and initiative they can maintain the standard of management which at present prevails, I am sure the House will welcome any new suggestion they may have to make.
The report on the Special Areas has been referred to already. It contains one bad and vicious problem, the unemployment of the older men, which was mentioned by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion. The "Manchester Guardian," in a most reasonable and sensible article to-day, writes as though it were impossible to do something for the 83,000 men, of an average age of from 45 to 65 years, who seem to be the hard core of unemployment. Recommendations are made in the present report and they were made in the last report, but the problem is one that requires not only the consideration of His Majesty's Government but any suggestions and recommendations that hon. Members opposite can make in order to help to solve it.
I defend the system under which we live at present, and I would not like to see it altered. I am in sympathy with 1332 the motives which prompted the hon. Member for Leigh to place this Motion on the Order Paper. Naturally, I am as distressed as anybody is that so many of our fellow men have to suffer from deplorable industrial conditions for which, in most cases, the last century was responsible. One has only to travel the length of England and to see the contrast between wealth and poverty, between happiness and misery—a contrast which, particularly in the case of the Special Areas, any man of decent feelings will see only through a mist of tears—to realise how much remains to be done in the way of social legislation and economic legislation, and done, if possible, at once. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are frequently accused of being sentimentalists. No one is more pleased than I am that they possess in a marked degree so recommendable a quality. It means that if in the future hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite are called upon to form a government, they will have won the hearts of the nation with good British sentiment and will not have tricked the minds of our people with bad Russian arithmetic.
§ Mr. Cary
The hon. Member may sneer, but if he visited as many Labour meetings as I do, he would find that the doctrines which he holds are being propounded from strictly Labour party platforms. Above all, I beg hon. Members opposite to avoid that indigestible brand of arithmetic most favoured by those whom George Orwell described in a recent book asthat dreary tribe of high-minded women, and sandal-wearers, and fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of progress like bluebottles to a dead cat.The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), speaking in the Debate upon the Financial Resolution which preceded the Special Areas Bill, expressed a profound sentiment when he said that the misfortune of this country and of other democratic countries was that since the end of the Great War, the Government had been in the hands of men who had spent their prime in dealing with pre-war conditions and had never quite picked up the new conditions created or revealed by the Great War. The obvious answer to that is that in spite of our many vices 1333 since the end of the Great War, the credit and prestige of Great Britain stands second to none in the world to-day. That is due to the National administration that has occupied the Government Front Bench for the last six years. I sincerely hope that in the interests of every one of us it will go on occupying it for the next six years.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Allan Chapman
I beg to second the Amendment so ably moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Cary). Before dealing with the main provisions of the Amendment, I would like to tackle one or two points that have been raised by hon. Members opposite, before they pass from my memory. The hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker) was good enough to ask how industrial conditions were getting on in the division which I have the honour to represent. I am very glad to say that under the National Government, and thanks particularly to their treatment of the steel industry, there has been a very marked improvement in employment. At the Blantyre end of the constituency where there are mainly mines—an end in which I take as much interest as I can despite a lack of technical knowledge—there is an improvement, although it is perhaps not as great as I would like to see. I trust that the hon. Member's own constituency will have as good an improvement in the future, if it has not got it now.
The hon. Member for Leigh alluded to a statement made by Sir Benjamin Dawson about housing, in Which Sir Benjamin Dawson said that he was ashamed of the National Government. I wonder how much more ashamed he would have been of the Socialist Government when they were in office had he gone round the slums in those days, for the simple reason that the National Government are doing a very great deal of slum clearance to-day. The hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. C. Wilson) made a most interesting speech, and his statistics flowed so rapidly and so concisely that I had to run very hard to keep up with them. He raised a point concerning unemployment benefit, and I gathered he implied that it is not sufficient. One wants to see it rise as much as possible, but I would point out to the hon. Member that there is now in the Unemployment Fund a surplus, the use of which I believe is being considered. I 1334 do not know how it will be used, but I do say that under the management of the National Government, and under the capitalist system, at least there is a very considerable sum and one which I hope will be used in due course to benefit the unemployed in one way or another.
I could not quite follow the hon. Member's argument about lunacy and efficiency. He quoted a whole string of figures showing how much worse things would become the longer a capitalist Government remained in power. But at the end of his speech, as far as I could gather, he withdrew his own statement, because when he dealt with the increase of population, the percentage which he gave showed that it represented a more or less stable percentage. Therefore, I do not think there was a very big point in that. I would like now to pass to the Amendment and the Motion which we are discussing. Up to now I had not believed that modesty was an outstanding feature of hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Chapman
Perhaps in the case of the hon. Member it is, and the hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), who sits next to him, has, since acquiring civic honours, become more modest than ever. However, I do not think it has been an outstanding feature of hon. Members opposite. I have always realised that the omissions were the most important part of the Socialist argument, and there were many omissions on the part of the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Motion. Indeed, they failed to discuss most of the Motion. There were one or two general references to it, but when it came to discussing the machinery which is to produce the wonderful new era which will sweep away Capitalism and make everybody more happy and glad, there was silence. In order to make their Motion good, I think the hon. Members have to prove certain points. In the first place, they have to prove that when their particular plan, which for want of a better name I will call Socialism, comes into operation, there will he no gross inequalities under it. They have to prove that their Socialist state will so increase the national wealth that it will be able to pay for all the vast social improvements which they propose and many of which I agree are desirable in themselves. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is easy!"] I am glad 1335 to hear the view of hon. Members that it is easy to increase the national wealth. It is a pity that the Mover and Seconder of the Motion did not spare a few minutes to show us how it is to be done, but for some reason they omitted to do so. They have also to prove that private enterprise is solely concerned with the selfish pursuit of private profit and that Capitalism has failed. Finally, they have to convince us that Socialism will work. I submit that they have proved none of these things.
As regards the Amendment, our first contention in support of it is that whether hon. Members opposite like it or not it is a fact of history that all progress since the dawn of modern civilisation has been due to private initiative and enterprise. Governments have conserved and encouraged, but I do not recall any case in history of a Government having initiated a great invention or a great new idea. Perhaps that miracle is being left to the Government of hon. Gentlemen opposite when they get into power—if ever that disaster should overtake the nation. Our second contention is that the pages of history also show that, under the system of private enterprise, there has been a marked improvement in the standard of life of the people. Our final contention is that the Socialist plan, if brought into operation, could only bring about economic chaos if not something worse.
The Mover and Seconder of the Motion made a powerful appeal to the emotions. I admire the sincerity of hon. Gentlemen opposite. I know that many of them speak either from their own experience or from the experiences of those who are near and dear to them. I am not surprised that their main appeal should be to the emotions, but I respectfully suggest to them that a plan which proposes to turn the present economic system upside down, requires not only an appeal to the emotions but a strong appeal to reason to recommend it. We must consider how the plan is to work, before we can afford to indulge our feelings—very proper feelings—of sentiment for those who are worse off than ourselves. I refer hon. Members opposite to a most interesting and very courageous book written recently by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, entitled "The Labour Party in Perspective." On page 32 of that book they will find these words: 1336It is not enough, to-day, to denounce capitalism and then leave Socialism to a few general principles.I wish that hon. Gentlemen opposite had taken the advice of their leader on that point, and given us this evening some facts and details. But even the general principles mentioned by them were remarkably few. To my mind, they did not prove that private enterprise has failed. On that point I would invite any hon. Gentleman opposite who follows me in this debate to explain away the following state of affairs. In 1928 there were 10,020,000 people at work. Since then we have had a series of crises and disasters. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will forgive me if I say that I regard as one of the major disasters of that period the fact that we had a Socialist Government in 1929–31. We also had the aftermath of the War, leaving conditions which are still affecting us. We have had the worst depression in modern history. We have had Europe in a state of political chaos with a war lurking round the corner.
§ Mr. Sexton
Were the Labour Government responsible for that? Perhaps the hon. Member will suggest next that they are responsible for the typhoid epidemic in Croydon.
§ Mr. Chapman
Apart from the question of responsibility, which is not the point, the fact remains as I have stated. We have also had restricted exchanges, currency difficulties, and the pursuit of a policy of national self-sufficiency by other nations. On top of all that, we have had a rapid advance on the technical side in industry reducing labour requirements. Finally, we have had an increased population. I suggest to hon. Gentlemen opposite that if the capitalist system were on the borders of collapse, any one of those influences which I have enumerated would have finished it altogether. Yet what is the fact? In 1937 there are 11,706,000 people at work. Those figures are not indicative of a system which is dying.
Then, if private enterprise has failed, why is it spreading downwards and why are there so many more small investors now than there used to be? Why, if it is a failure, is the system tolerated, as my hon. Friend the Mover of the Amendment pointed out, by Socialist Governments like those of France and Sweden, 1337 since private enterprise continues in those countries to-day. If the system is in a state of collapse, why did the people turn in 1931 to that party or group of parties who advocate capitalism? Why did they not welcome with joy the heralds of the new civilisation? If capitalism has failed, why has M. Stalin reverted to capitalist practices? I take it that Russia is the classic example of Socialism. Indeed, I find from the book to which I have already referred that while the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition rightly abhors terrorism and dislikes the methods by which Socialism is maintaining itself in Russia, he says of the children in this country brought up in orthodox Socialist homes:They see before their eyes the great experiment in Socialist Russia. They see a country putting into operation a Socialist economic system which their predecessors 20 years ago could only contemplate as a distant dream.We on this side of the House might prefer the word "nightmare" in that connection. If Russia is the Socialist State par excellence it is interesting to follow what has been happening there. M. Stalin, addressing the leaders of industry on 23rd June, 1931, said:We must get rid of the equalitarian spirit"—I hope the Mover of the Motion will note that there is to be no equality even in Russia—and break down the old wage scales. We must set up wage scales which will take into account the difference between skilled and unskilled labour, between heavy work and light work. It cannot be tolerated that the highly skilled worker in the steel mill should earn no more than the sweeper.I think to any unbiased person that sounds remarkably like the practice that is followed under capitalism. When hon. Members opposite rail at capitalism, one notes from their catalogue of details that they are really railing at the abuses of that system. He would be a bold man who would say that any system exists which has no faults. I think some little time ago the Trades Union Congress went to great lengths to deal with certain subversive organisations which were causing trouble in their ranks. Because there are subversive organisations, which cause unofficial strikes, and strife, and dislocation, we on this side do not argue that the system of collective bargaining has failed. I frankly admit that, as far 1338 as we are concerned, we have subversive influences at work in capitalism, and it is our desire that they should be cleared out, but when we are challenging the abuse of our system we do not mistake it for the failure of the system.
I submit next, that the hon. Members who moved and seconded the Motion failed to prove that private enterprise is solely concerned with "the selfish pursuit of private profit." I think my hon. Friend gave the figure of between£400,000,000 and£500,000,000 spent on social services. [HON. MEMBERS: "No.") Anyhow, hundreds of millions are being spent on social services under the capitalist system, and if hon. Members opposite will study the incidence of taxation, they will see that the people who pay it are not necessarily I hose who get the benefit from those social services. I personally and other hon. Members on this side are extremely glad that that should be so, and I believe that we who believe that private enterprise is the only system of producing these vast sums have a definite responsibility to see that the needs of the workers are met as generously as possible. That has always been my standpoint, which I have declared on many platforms, but when hon. Members opposite charge private enterprise with not doing its duty, will they permit me to give them one more quotation? It is rather interesting, and runs as follows:The last century has seen so marked and so constant an improvement in the position of the non-possessing classes that, with increasing command over nature and a profounder social conscience, we may hope for even greater improvement in the years to come. We curb monopolies at every turn in the interest of the general consumer. We prohibit the practice of sweating in industry. Legislation like the Factory Acts, Workmen's Compensation, the limitation of the hours of labour, the prohibition of noxious materials in industrial processes, all show a concern by the State to subordinate profit-making to the public welfare.That does not sound to me as if private enterprise was entirely selfish, and those words do not come from this side of the House. They come from a book written by a newly elected member of the Labour party Executive, Professor Harold Laski. The title of the book is "The State in Theory and Practice," and I have quoted from pages 169 and 170.
Let us keep a balanced point of view in these matters. The substance of the hon. Members' Motion is the new 1339 Socialist State. I presume that none of them will deny that. They believe that that State can work, and they believe it very sincerely. They believe that it can be brought in by constitutional means, but I hope that hon. Members opposite will take note of this, that when the Leader of the Opposition, in his book, was referring to Russia, he talked about the great "experiment" in Socialism there, or words to that effect. Why do hon. Members opposite not indicate to those who support them that they are advocating an even greater experiment? Apart from whatever one thinks of the way in which Socialism is working in Russia, at least it is in being, and we cannot say that the British Socialist State is in being. Therefore, I suggest most earnestly, and quite apart from the give and take of debate in this House, that in view of the effects their revolutionary plan would have on our economic system, they have a first and prominent duty to perform in letting the workers know that it is a great experiment that they are wanting to make. I hope they will not flinch from that.
I have gone through a considerable amount of the more popular propaganda publications of the party opposite, and while in one of them I found the word "plan," in no one of them could I find any indication of the fact that what is being handed to the people is an experiment. I have in my hands a magnificent piece of propaganda, which I am told is the finest pamphlet ever put out. It is beautifully got up. On the front are rows of beautiful houses, with shady trees, and inside are handsome looking people, bonnie children, and very fine babies, and here is an extraordinarily smartly-tailored gentleman. I do not know whether he is one of the downtrodden workers whom we hear so much about, but I should like the name of his tailor.
§ Mr. Chapman
I do not grudge a great movement like the co-operative society a small advertisement from the back row opposite, but to revert to what I was saying, all these photographs are of life under the Capitalist system, not Socialism.
Now notice the cover of this publication, which says, "What everybody wants." It then says: 1340Regular work at fair wages.A decent pension in old age.Plenty of food at fair prices.A decent home at a fair rent.At the bottom it says:Labour will see that everybody gets them.
§ Mr. Chapman
I am very glad to hear hon. Members opposite cheer that, because that is an emphatic statement. It is not an indication of a theory that is to be put into practice, of an experiment, but a definite statement that everybody will get these things. Hon. Members opposite have greater pluck than most people in this, that they come down to this House with a Motion such as this, which is one virtually to establish a Socialist State, and they tell us nothing about the working of it. I presume that the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) still has the plans locked up in his desk. They come down here with this Motion, but they go to the people and say, "We will do this, we will do that, and we will do the other," yet in no case, as far as I can gather, except in the more expensive books, of which I have several but which the ordinary working man is not likely to read, can I find any indication that this is a very dangerous experiment for the country. Neither can I find in these popular pamphlets, any indication of the machinery by which it will work.
I had intended to suggest reasons why I think the Socialist system cannot be brought in without great dislocation and unhappiness and a lowered standard of living, but I have already detained the House too long. In conclusion, I would say that Socialism or the Socialist plan is a Dark Horse, by Doctrinaire, out of Bad Economics. I do not think it is a horse that the British public will ever back, and I hope, for their own sakes, they will not. I do not question the sincerity of hon. Members opposite, and I hope they will believe me when I say that we also earnestly desire to raise the standard of life of our people. But I will conclude with the words that Mr. Disraeli used in the House in 1846, when he said:I find that a body of men have risen in this country eminent for their eloquence, distinguished for their energy, but more distinguished, in my humble opinion, for their energy and their eloquence than for their 1341 knowledge of human nature or for the extent of their political information.I therefore second the Amendment.
§ 9.7 p.m.
§ Major Owen
I feel sure the House has listened with a great deal of interest to the speeches which have been made on this subject this evening. I agree with the Seconder of the Amendment that very few references indeed were made by the Mover and the Seconder of the Motion to the way in which the Socialist State which is foreshadowed in it is going to operate, or how it would bring about the great changes, and the beneficial changes which were forecast. One thing which I have particularly noticed during discussions of this kind is the frequency with which the word "system" is introduced. One of the fundamental errors into which many of us are prone to fall is to talk about systems as though they really exist in the social and economic life of nations. We have heard mention of the Capitalist system, the Socialist system and the Communist system. I should like to say that Capitalism is not a system. It is a very unsystematic natural growth. It is a name for the varying relations and degrees of wealth that exist in a society where the individuals differ in ability, in acquisitive instincts, and in the tendency to save or to spend, and where they have a wide freedom to exercise their individual characters in competition.
Let me add, also, that Socialism is not a system which has ever got farther than the text books in which it is described. There may be, and in fact these is, a large measure of Socialism in this country to-day—in our free education, our national insurance, our old age pensions, the post, telegraphs, telephones, broadcasting, roads, production of electricity and a host of public services. But it is not a system. In no country is Socialism a stable working system. There has been in one great country a resolute attempt to establish Communism as a system.
§ Major Owen
The hon. Member who represents that particular type of politics in this House is generally listened to with respect by other Members, but he in, variably spends his time in interrupting others, and will never allow any other Member to express his opinion of what 1342 Communism is and of the working of it where it has been tried. The history of that attempt shows how incorrigibly unsystematic human nature is. We all know that the original system in Russia has been constantly modified and it is still altering. Already it is far from its original form, and the pure Marxian theorists in the Russian Republic who agitate for a return to consistent Communism are being ruthlessly eliminated—or is the word "liquidated"?—by the Government as seditious Trotskyists. The British people are a freedom-loving people. We do not want to be imprisoned within the cast-iron limits of any system. We believe in progress, in growth, in development, in evolution.
We on these benches—I should like to say that at once—feel a profound dissatisfaction with things as they are, a dissatisfaction just as earnest and as thorough as that of people who advocate revolutionary changes such as are foreshadowed in this Motion; but we do not deceive ourselves with the idea that the substitution of some fixed formula like "public control" or "the abolition of all private capitalists, manufacturers and traders" will bring in the millennium.
To "sack the lot" may be an excellent way of dealing with a Cabinet or some specific gang of reactionaries, but it would be a catastrophe, in my view, if applied to our economic life as a whole. It is true that we could find better men to replace a "dud" Cabinet, but we have no reason to suppose that Whitehall could supply an army of officials capable of running all our trade and industry more efficiently and more effectively than the private business men who now have it in charge. [Interruption.] But what does the Socialist State mean if it does not mean handing all the industry of the country over to officials? It is natural that people dissatisfied with things as they are should call for a revolution, but if the water tub is leaking you will not cure the leak by turning the tap upside down. We cannot get a new world, and we cannot get new humanity, either. The human race will continue, whatever form of Government is introduced.
In the Motion there are, on the other hand, several statements which must command general assent. I do riot think that any hon. or right hon. Member would approve the gross inequalities of 1343 wealth which exist among our people. Even when we have made full allowance for differences of capacity and differences of value to the community, I do not think there is any justification for one set of men possessing unlimited affluence while millions of capable, honest workers secure only a bare subsistence. The latest estimate of the value of our total national capital, made by Professor Daniels and Mr. Campion in a book "The Distribution of National Capital," which puts it at£20,000,000,000, presents a very alluring picture. The suggestion that the total capital wealth of this country has increased by about£2,000,000,000 also sounds very cheerful. But our satisfaction is very short-lived when we turn to consider the distribution of this immense wealth. If we take the Estate Duty figures of 1924–30, we find that just under 1 per cent. of the adult population had more than£10,000, or to be exact 57 . 7 per cent. of the nation's total capital. The richest section, 11,000 of them, that is to say, one adult in every 2,000, together own almost a quarter of the whole. At the other end of the scale, 93 . 6 per cent. of the population have less than£1,000, and together own only 14 . 3 per cent. of the total capital, or, say, one-seventh. I think hon. Members will agree that it is inequitable that it should be possible in present conditions for six-sevenths of the nation's wealth to be held by one-sixteenth of the population. That is not the fault of the conditions under which we live, but of the way in which people, by their acquisitive instincts, have gathered into a few hands the wealth that ought to be distributed more equally among us.
Another self-evident fact which is referred to in this Motion is that, in view of the natural resources and productive power at our disposal, it is outrageous that vast numbers of the population should be compelled to exist at a level below the standard necessary for sound health and reasonable amenities.
This matter has already been discussed on the Motion which was before the House this afternoon, and I shall not pursue it further except to say that productive capacity is growing to-day far more rapidly than the population and that that is a new thing in economic history. There should be no ground therefore for a large 1344 part of the nation being left in poverty. In spite of all this, our most reliable experts report that fully 50 per cent. of the population in this wealthy country is insufficiently nourished and that hundreds of thousands of people in the distressed areas are existing in utter, abject and hopeless poverty. Here we are in an age of plenty. I believe we owe our enormously developed mechanical productive capacity to the ingenuity of persons working in the main for private gain. In my opinion, the incentive to personal advantage is too valuable an asset for human progress for it to be recklessly discarded. Our aim must be to give it adequate scope for development while ensuring that the settled and permanent benefits it creates shall be given as wide an application as possible.
I would say to hon. Members above the Gangway that we need, in short, a combination of private enterprise and progressive socialisation. We are not afraid of socialisation; the National Government are constantly doing it. They were at it yesterday and the day before, so there is no need to be afraid of it. That is the method towards which we in this country have been groping our way for a long time. As regards private capital and private property, we already take steps, by taxation, to distribute a portion of them to the poorer sections of the community. In the public services, health, education, assistance, pensions and so on, the general line of progress that promises the best results is not the application of a formula such as the public ownership and democratic control of the instruments of production and distribution, but rather the steady extension of such control in those specific cases where it is evidently to the public advantage.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
The Motion which has been so ably moved from the opposite benches raises an issue of fundamental importance—that of Capitalism or Socialism. I do not agree that you can easily blend the two, although up to a point, and only up to a point, it is possible to do so. The Motion arraigns the Capitalist system on account of the fact that it does not give to the people of this country a decent standard of living. It demands that the Capitalist system—if you can call it a system—shall be substituted by a Socialist system. I hope the House will forgive me if I confine 1345 myself to that main issue and deal with it in its broad aspects.
I believe there are only two alternative methods of conducting economic life in the world to-day. One is a real Socialist system and the other is what we call the Capitalist system, but which, I agree, is rather characterised by lack of system. By Socialism I think is meant the control of production, distribution and exchange by the State. That is the objective. I do not think that half-hearted methods are possible. In modern conditions private property and individual initiative must be completely suppressed. Otherwise I do not see how any Socialist plan can fail to be thrown into confusion. It would be like a commander-in-chief of an army, planning a campaign with half the men under his orders and the other half under their own orders, running about and doing what they liked. I do not think that would be a very successful campaign. I do not think a Socialist Government could ever create the confidence which is really necessary for the functioning of the Capitalist system, and that is why I think the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is fundamentally right. I think, that, sooner or later, t he Opposition will have to make up their minds as to which way they are going. If they are going Socialist, they will have to do it good and proper, quickly and completely; and if not, they had better on the whole follow in the trail of the National Government which is doing a little bit of Socialism here and there quietly, unostentatiously and to the general acceptance of the community. If the Labour party obtained power in this country, and really decided to go in for Socialism good and proper, I do not think it would necessarily create a revolutionary system, although I think that possible, but I think it would be bound to create a financial crisis of the first order; and that is why I think the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol is one of the few absolutely sincere Members of this House, because he has the guts to say what the advent of a Socialist Government would necessarily involve.
The alternative system, if you can call it a system, is Capitalism, under which initiative in the economc field and the right to private property are left to the individual, and production, 1346 distribution and exchange are governed by the free choice of the consumer as reflected by prices in the market. But I would like to make this caveat, that this system is subject to four modifications. First there is the State control of the monetary and financial policy of the country, which exists to-day and involves the management of money and the control of the supply of credit. Secondly, there is control, in greater or less degree, of public services, utilities, and monopolies. Third comes the development of a system of social services; and, last but not least, is the redistribution of wealth by taxation. Those are the four controlling factors operating upon the Capitalist system.
So far as Socialism is concerned, I do not feel bitter or passionate upon the subject, but I think it has certain disadvantages which are fatal. The main disadvantage, in my opinion at any rate, is that, if fully applied, it would deprive the individual of personal freedom. Admittedly the ultimate goal is freedom, justice and equality for the individual. Marx actually believed that after the revolution and a comparatively brief period of what he described as a dictatorship of the proletariat, the State would gradually fade out of the picture, and ultimately everybody would be independent, prosperous, happy, and loving ever after. But 20 years experience of the only complete Socialist system that the world has yet seen does not completely bear out this view. With all due deference to the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) I do not see much freedom or equality in the Union of Soviet Republics as yet. No doubt that is the aim, but it has not been achieved. That State is sustained by terrorism, amounting at times to wholesale murder on a gigantic scale; and, however desirable the collectivisation of the farms may be, it does not seem to be worth while at the cost of the lives of 5,000,000 of the peasants of Russia. It is sustained by espionage, military conscription, which I do not think hon. Members opposite particularly desire, censorship, intensive propaganda and personal idolatry of the same kind as we find in Italy and Germany; and all this is in the interests of a powerful oligarchy which is none the better for being bureaucratic rather than aristocratic. It remains an oligarchy and an autocracy. No freedom of expression is permitted.
1347 Tyranny is bad in any form, and in my opinion the main menace of Socialism is the threat to the freedom of the individual, and I believe that in that opinion I have behind me the support of the vast majority of the people of this country. The experience of Russia during the last 20 years suggests that the goal of freedom and justice cannot be reached by the road of planned dictation. You cannot proceed by a method like that of "Alice Through the Looking Glass" to attain freedom, by going backwards to it via dictatorship, even if it be the dictatorship of the proletariat. If you want freedom and justice go for it straight, and you may get it, but not otherwise. Lastly I would like to say that Socialism would reduce the standard of living to a uniform level of drabness, if applied in its entirety; and I want to ask the Opposition what Government do they think could really plan the infinite variety of human requirements? The supreme merit of the Capitalist system is that the consumer decides for himself what he wants and what is to be produced, and the price at which it is produced is settled by the market.
I would say also that I do not think that Socialism is a means towards the attainment of peace. I was reading the other day an interesting book of essays by Aldous Huxley, and I came across this sentence which seemed suggestive:The comprehensive planning by individual nations results in international chaos, and the degree of international chaos is in exact proportion to the number, completeness and efficiency of the separate national plans.I think there is a great deal of truth in that statement, and I think it is quite untrue to say that Capitalism is working towards war. Whatever it may be Capitalism is essentially international and hates war. It hated it in 1914. No greater pressure was brought to bear upon the Government in 1914 not to intervene in any circumstances than that by the bankers of the City of London. Hon. Members opposite know very well that Capitalism thrives in conditions of peace, and that capitalists with all their faults are anxious to do business in any corner of the world where there is a chance of making a profit. Socialism, on the other hand, does promote class war inside the State, inevitably, and produces Fascist and Nazi States outside, and the two 1348 together divide the world into a series of closed political units which have no economic basis or justification and intensify the menace of international war.
In the present circumstances I believe that the creation of more Socialist States, each with its own planned economy, could only increase the aggregate poverty of the world and the dangers of war. Every purchase and sale of goods, down to that of a tin of sardines, under those circumstances is liable to become a diplomatic incident. I would say with regard to the Capitalist system itself that, whatever hon. Members opposite may say, and despite gross mismanagement, it has produced a steadily rising standard of life for the workers of this country—steadily rising over the last 100 years—and more men are earning higher wages in this country to-day than ever before in our history. By competition it does tend to greater efficiency, higher production and lower prices. The method of production in this country tends to reduce the profit even in an industry in which monopoly exists, by the inflow of new capital. Lastly the great strength and flexibility of the Capitalist system does undoubtedly lie in the power of the profit motive which is inside all of us. I like to think that, if an hon. Member opposite has a bright idea, if it is a really good one, he can make some cash out of it, and so do most hon. Members opposite. You will not eradicate that profit motive from the hearts of human beings for a very long time.
Before I sit down I want to say a word, not by way of concession to hon. Gentlemen opposite, but perhaps by way of warning. We are discussing now the merits of the Capitalist and Socialist systems, and whether Capitalism can survive. I think it can survive, but only in certain conditions. I think that, if it gets much more of the treatment it has been receiving during the last few months, it is very doubtful whether it will survive. Then we shall all be compelled to try to make some kind of Socialist system work. But, with all its advantages, there are certain dangers inherent in it which have to be guarded against, and the chief of these is instability, due to fluctuations in the price level.
The main causes of instability are, first of all, lack of confidence, and secondly, 1349 lack of effective economic co-operation between the democratic and capitalistic countries of the world. I do not need to remind hon. Members in any part of the House of the failure to achieve international monetary co-operation until both this country and France had returned to the Gold Standard, and both had been driven off it. Nor, I think, is it necessary to remind hon. Members in any part of the House of the unhappy, and largely unnecessary, events which have taken place in the economic sphere during the past six months. We ourselves are not entirely free from blame. I submit that the quite unnecessary gold scare, which caused such damage during the summer months could have been checked by resolute action on the part of the Bank of England. But there is no doubt that for the recent recession, which does give ground for serious anxiety, the responsibility rests primarily with the Government of the United States of America.
The power of governments in the economic field to-day is enormous already, without their being granted the additional powers which are now demanded by hon. Members opposite. The main levers of this power—this terrific power—are taxation, legislative restrictions, the management of money and the control of credit. These powers have been wielded of late in the United States of America with an apparent lack of responsibility which gives cause for the very gravest anxiety. Prosperity under Capitalism depends upon the maintenance of confidence; upon a comparatively stable commodity price level, high enough to ensure the economic wellbeing of primary producers all over the world, upon whom everything ultimately depends; upon a steady flow of investment into capital industries, under the stimulus, I admit, of anticipated profits; and, lastly, upon the freedom, or comparative freedom, of the markets which settle prices under what is known as the capitalist system.
In the Spring of this year the President of the United States suddenly announced that in his opinion commodity prices were too high, although they were actually lower than the level of 1926, which hitherto had been his declared objective. He followed this by doing everything in his power to restrict the free- 1350 dom of markets and to discourage investment in the capital industries of the United States. Confidence, which is so much easier to undermine than to restore, was absolutely shattered; and this has led inevitably to an acute deflation—that deflation which I have been fighting in this House for years, because I know that in the long run, if allowed to continue, it means ruination and poverty for the working classes of this and every other country—an acute deflation which has involved a catastrophic fall, not only in the stock markets but in commodity prices and in industrial output. The result is that, at a very critical moment in the world's history, the underlying strength of the democratic countries has been greatly diminished, and the danger of war sensibly increased.
In these circumstances I think the time has come, quite apart from the rather academic arguments which we are having across the Floor of the House to-night, for someone to indulge in some plain speaking on this side of the Atlantic, and to endeavour to express the unspoken thoughts of many people in this country at the present moment. Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that His Majesty's Government were willing to cooperate in every possible way with the Government of the United States in order to restore a measure of economic prosperity and stability to the world. No one has been a more fervent advocate and supporter of economic co-operation and a trade agreement between this country and the United States than I have. I believe, with many other people on both sides of the House, that in such an agreement lies the greatest hope for the world to-day. But what is the use of making a trade agreement, or attempting to co-operate, with a government which seems determined to sabotage the economic system under which we live at present, without any alternative system to put in its place? They have produced no alternative system during the last nine months. The index figure of commodity prices has gyrated madly between 150 and 200, and back again to 150. No economic system, socialist or capitalist, can possibly withstand fluctuations of such magnitude over so short a period, accompanied, as they have been, by the writing down of wealth by several thousand million pounds, with a corresponding reduction of purchasing power all over the world.
1351 Whether we like it or not, the economic fortunes of this country are bound up with those of the United States of America. If President Roosevelt continues to pursue a policy which, by discouraging investment in the capital goods industries, restricting the freedom of markets, and deflating prices, violates every sound economic principle, it is bound to have an adverse effect, and I say frankly to the Opposition that it is bound to have an adverse effect upon the economic well-being of the masses of the people of this country. For my part I think that, before we continue our efforts to achieve economic co-operation with the United States, His Majesty's Government should ask the President to state frankly and precisely what his intentions are, and whether he is or is not prepared to co-operate with us in a genuine effort to restore confidence, stability and prosperity to the peoples of the world. If the Federal Government continues its present policy, the slump in prices will create its own justification, and there will be no trade to agree upon in a trade agreement.
In conclusion, I would point out to hon. Members opposite that this time the recession—for let us face the fact that it is a serious recession—is not the fault of the wicked capitalists. It is the fault of the treasuries, of the civil services, and of the officers of the central banks; it is the fault of the men to whom the Opposition are now demanding that fresh powers, and larger powers, shall be granted. The chief of the Metal Trades Section of the American Federation of Labour summed up the situation, I thought, very well two days ago when he said:I think we are suffering from the well-intended programmes of a number of brilliant economists whose knowledge in the various fields of economics is in inverse ratio to their knowledge of practical affairs and of the fact that legislation affects human beings.That comes, not from a capitalist, but from one of the leaders of Labour in the United States at the present time. I would only say that, if the capitalist system succumbs, it will not be due to its own defects, which can be remedied, but to the fantastic, one might almost say wilful, blunders of those who at present control the economic machinery of at any rate one great capitalist country. I venture to suggest to hon. Members opposite that we should be well advised to 1352 learn how to run the very delicate mechanism of our present economic system before we attempt to change it for one which, whatever arguments may be adduced in favour of or against it, is bound to be more difficult and more complicated.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Edwards
We began by discussing the condition of the people. The last speaker seems to have got on to a discussion of the condition of racketeers. I cannot see how a speech of that kind was necessary in a Debate such as this. This is a day on which the Opposition have an opportunity to discuss something that really matters, and the back benchers have a chance to express their views. I wish we had a little more time for the hack benchers, and less for the back numbers.
§ Mr. Boothby
Does the hon. Member think that the things which I have been discussing do not affect the prosperity of the British people?
§ Mr. Edwards
Not quite so intimately as the things we have been discussing on this Motion. As we have some alternative proposals to put forward, we want to consider some of the faults of the present system. We have to consider whether the present system is working or not, We gather that it is not working very well. Even hon. Members opposite have been reading Socialist literature. I wish the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment would get away from propaganda pamphlets and pictures. They are all right for some people, but not for a serious Debate such as this. I might tell him of a similar leaflet which I had distributed in my constituency at the last General Election, in which his own head office put pictures of not only beautiful people and beautiful trees, but of a beautiful bridge, and they said this was built in Middlesbrough of Middlesbrough steel. But the electors had to wait for me to explain that the National Government had loaned the Government of Denmark£2,000,000 to buy that bridge, and they had refused to loan the people of London the money to build Waterloo Bridge.
The Noble Lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess 1353 Astor) accused this Government of making it a criminal offence to sell cheap milk to children. That is not much to boast about. It is often said that half of the world does not know how the other half lives; but it goes further than that. One half does not care how the other half lives. That is the burden of our attack on the other side. The hon. Member who seconded the Amendment also referred to prosperity in his constituency, where I understand they make steel. In my constituency they manufacture hardly anything else but steel. The industry is working under perfect conditions, ideal to test capitalism, with record orders, production and profits, working seven days and nights a week, absorbing every possible man that can be absorbed into industry. The hon. Member boasted that machinery was reducing labour.
§ Mr. Chapman
I referred to the way in which machinery was displacing labour, but I pointed out that, despite that fact, the number of people employed to-day was greater than in 1928.
§ Mr. Edwards
Something more important is involved. Who is to get the extra profit? The people on that side never offer any part of that saving to the workers. They must fight for every penny they get.
§ Mr. Edwards
No, it is not rubbish. With all that saving, output is 50 per cent. per man greater since 1926. They are still breaking more records again this year, and still, under these perfect ideal conditions for the Capitalist system, 16 per cent. of the registered male population in Middlesbrough is out of work. Nearly 8,000 men do not know that they are out of the last depression yet, and they are being told that they are going into a new one. Is that anything to boast about? I have sometimes tried to make a calculation of the amount of money which is spent in this country on teaching Christianity. It we spent a small part of it practising Christianity, what an improvement we should make.
The Minister at that Box confessed today that there is only sufficient just to keep people alive, sufficient to maintain them in existence. He repeated it lest it should be thought to be exaggerated. He claimed no more than that. Here is the wealthiest country in the world, 1354 wealthier than ever before, making record profits, which are still increasing, and the racketeers are buying and selling in the open market, making the very poor people lose the little they have got. Some of us could very well sit on those benches opposite. Some of us enjoy the prosperity of this system. Only one thing we would lose by going over to that side, and that is our self-respect. [Interruption.] What is the use of making your beautiful speeches about a quarter of a pint of milk per day. I should be ashamed to get up and make speeches about it. Did we have a Royal Commission about spending millions of pounds a year for armaments?
§ Mr. Edwards
That is beside the point. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." You have the power. I thought it was the boast of that side that they still had some Socialists, a little leaven of Socialists. Do they now apologise for them or is there no longer any difference? A coloured pastor having to explain the presence of a white man in his pulpit, where none but a black man had ever before appeared, said, "Brethren, I assure you that although our brother's skin is white, his heart is as black as ours." Even very many poor people to-day are being tempted by this iniquitous system of getting something for nothing. I want to call the attention of the House to a system in my own constituency, where a working woman, living in a council house, has introduced a system of snowball trading, whereby a person depositing£5 gets at the end of six months£30. This is almost as good as some of the companies in this country, paying 40, 50 or 60 per cent. This person has shown how to get 600 per cent. "Put£5 into my fund and in six months you can draw£30. Put in£4 to-day and in six months get a 16 guinea wireless set. Pay£25 today and in six months get a£125 motor car." There are thousands of motor cars running around Middlesbrough to-day bought on that system.
It is a most iniquitous system, but no more iniquitous than the capitalist system. It is an off-shoot of this very system. I tell the House what this woman living in a council house and starting on this capitalist system has done to-day. If 1355 only one person per day were enlisted into this investment scheme, this wretched, scandalous, fraudulent method which is learnt from the capitalist system—[Interruption.] It is all done on credit. Tell me of a Member on the opposite side of the House whose business is not being run on credit. If only one person had come into this scheme per day there would be a deficiency at the end of six months of£3,900, with not the slightest hope of these people who put their money into it getting it out again. It is rather like investing in certain companies. Not one but thousands to-day enlist in the scheme. The other week there were five or six motor cars outside that woman's house, and I inquired who the owners were, and they said, "These are the agents of the woman, going round getting new clients." The best tradesmen in the town have refused to do trade of that kind. One or two are still standing out. I know of one store taking£300 a week in this form of trading.
Within six months, if the people are not told to stop this mad investment and effort to get something for nothing, there will be a deficiency of half a million pounds. The House will realise that it is a variation of the old chain system. It is illustrated by the boy who offered to work for a halfpenny a day provided his employer would double his wages every day and the wage which had to be paid on the last day of the month was£1,000,000. The woman who is carrying on this system, I say deliberately, has learned it from the Capitalist system. She is leading people to invest and holding out at the end of six months the offer of 30 for every£5 put in. How can it be done? Of course it cannot. There is no other way of warning people that this is the worst form of Capitalism carried to its extreme. It is an iniquitous scheme of people trying to get something for nothing.
§ Mr. Edwards
There was a famous statesman once who said in this House:Where ignorance predominates it persistently asserts itself.Someone is trying to say that Capitalism can avoid war. Capitalism is war. They are synonymous terms. You can no more keep from war under Capitalism than you can keep away from profit. I thought 1356 that the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) was going to make a worth-while ending when he was talking about profit. It was rather a mixture of Socialist sentiment and Capitalist free will. He should have ended by saying, "Thus profit doth make cowards of us all."
§ 9.59 p.m.
§ Earl Winterton
No doubt the anxiety of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has allowed a certain tone of bitterness, not to say irrelevancy, to come into his speech when he solemnly assures the House that neither he nor any of his hon. Friends would sit upon this side of the House and hold the views that we do without loss of self-respect. I would remind him that all of us on all sides of the House can retain our self-respect, provided we believe in the policies that we put forward. I think that it was rather an unfortunate remark for the hon. Member to make and that he was very irrelevant in his description of his remarkable constituent. As my hon. Friend behind me truly said, the constituent in question seemed to have adopted almost completely the electioneering method of some Socialist agent. He did less than justice to my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) when he said that my hon. Friend's most interesting point had nothing to do with the main object of this Debate. On the contrary, it had everything to do with it.
It would be very wrong for me, standing at this Box and representing His Majesty's Government, either to controvert or to agree with the reference which he made to the Government of the United States, but all, on either side of the House, can accept the pre-position which he laid down that international trade is difficult, if not impossible, if you have in different countries the fluctuating conditions which we have recently experienced. Therefore, from that point of view, surely it is as much a matter of concern to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite as it directly affects the livelihood of the working classes. My hon. Friend said that, whether you have a Capitalist State or a Socialist State, it would be difficult for that State to do international trade under the world conditions which have prevailed recently, and everybody agrees with that point. Why does the hon. Gentleman say that it was wholly irrelevant?
§ Earl Winterton
It is almost a work of supererogation for anyone to rise from this Bench and say he cannot accept the Motion. But it is by no means superfluous for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) to rise and give the House his reasons for agreeing with the terms of the Motion. And if we really got from him an exposé of the Socialist party policy no doubt all of us sitting on this side of the House would be grateful to the Mover and the Seconder of the Motion. Anyone who has been about the world and has seen its many phases of activity cannot possibly be complacent about the evils associated with human existence in this or any other country. What seems in all these debates to vitiate some of the arguments used is to assume that all these evils proceed from the economic system. Though I do not want to introduce the horrible and sinister in this Debate, let me as a hospital chairman of 25 years standing remind the House of the worst of all the evils that threaten the human race, the lurking enemy behind all of us of 40 and over, which probably causes more pain and suffering, directly or indirectly, than any other factor, strikes alike at rich and poor. There is my recollection of a Prime Minister who died of that particular disease in Downing Street and there are many homeless people who die of it. It is absurd to suggest that all the evils with which we are faced to-day are due to the economic system.
§ Earl Winterton
It is not in the least irrelevant. It is most relevant to a discussion of these things because the general impression in this Debate from speakers opposite, as much as from any on the Front Bench is that everything has proceeded from the economic system. I should like to quote to the House a very true observation made by an hon. Gentleman whom I think most of us admire for the independence of his opinions although those on the Opposition side do not necessarily agree with him. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Mossley made these remarks in a rather celebrated De- 1358 bate some four years ago on this very subject. He said:I, who have been convinced for many years that it is utterly useless to attempt to get progress by changing institutions, maintain that the whole history of mankind shows most conclusively and manifestly that progress is only to be obtained by changing individual men and women.Would any one challenge the truth of that statement? Applying that test? I would say with emphasis, and I do not think Members of the Front Opposition Bench will disagree with me, that there is far less of a clash between the classes and far less tolerance of injustice, oppression and conditions that injure body and soul to-day than there has been at any time. Public opinion has tended to become more broad and centrally minded in this House and outside it. Doctrines of extreme Socialism or Leftism are not accepted. There is a much greater community sense abroad about all these economic questions. In the immense fluidity of world economic conditions public opinion favours empirical conclusions and not text book theories whether they proceed from Karl Marx or Adam Smith. Hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentleman opposite know that and so-do some of the hon. Gentleman on the benches behind me who represent the extreme right of our party. There is no need to apologise for the economic policy pursued by the present Government. I do not in the least reject the rather sly reference of the hon. Gentleman behind me to that policy because we have tried to meet the changed situation of the times.
I do not want to trouble the House with a lot of facts and figures, but in view of the statements that have been made in the course of the Debate, there are some that I must introduce. If it is indeed true that the capitalist system has failed, why do we see the remarkable figures already quoted as to the drop in the standardised death rate from all causes per thousand living from 18.7 in 1885 to 9.2 in 1936? That is an enormous drop, and the drop in infant mortality is even more remarkable. [Interruption.] Does the hon. Gentleman who interrupts know of any country in the world comparable to this country where there has been a similar drop in the death rate for the last half century? I know of none. The death rate in Russia is infinitely greater 1359 than in this country and the reduction in the death rate since the change of system in that country has been practically negligible.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
Will the right hon. Gentleman give the infant mortality rate in other countries as well as this?
§ Earl Winterton
I know what the right hon. Gentleman wants. He is going to tell us that the infant mortality death rate in Russia has dropped enormously.
§ Earl Winterton
If the right hon. Gentleman is not going to do that I can only say it is a pleasant return to statistical accuracy on the part of the Front Bench opposite. In regard to the condition that used to be called in the old debates "the condition of the people," let us turn to the figures for 1913 taken from the official statistics of investments in friendly societies, industrial insurance and co-operative societies, building societies, trade unions and miscellaneous organisations of that description. In 1913 the total was£254,000,000. In the year 1935 that figure had gone up to£1,442,000,000, an increase of five times the previous figure. Nobody is going to tell me that the population has increased five times or that the depreciation in the value of money is anything like that percentage.
Reference was made to the question of housing. I claim that no country in the world has made such progress in housing as has been made in this country by both public and private enterprise since the War. Let me quote from Sir Walter Citrine who in a famous book on the subject of his visit to Russia makes a comparison between different housing policies. He writes:The houses we have seen represent the latest Soviet ideas. What are they? They are large tenements badly built, sometimes five storeys high, mostly without any lifts. They have no baths as a general rule and usually only cold water. The nearest public bath may be a considerable distance away ….Compare this with Great Britain. I know how badly we need more houses and cheaper accommodation for our crowded people. A considerable part of my time and energy has been spent in trying to secure this. But it is unchallengeable that the modern house accommodation in England provides at least 1360 separate bedrooms, separate bathrooms, and usually a separate w.c. as well. I never saw a separate w.c., for a single family only, in any of these Russian houses."
Another country which is constantly being put forward by speakers from the party opposite and which is quoted as showing the value of the Socialist experiment is Sweden. I do not know whether hon. Gentlemen opposite have noticed that there has been very serious criticism recently both in the Swedish Press and by English writers who have visited the country about the housing position in Sweden. I mention this only for the purpose of comparison. I do not wish to criticise the Governments in those countries, but it is absurd to deny the truth of all these facts which are brought to their notice. I do not say that hon. Gentlemen opposite have done nothing. All Governments and all local authorities have a record of social service which is unparalleled in the history of the world.
The Seconder of the Motion referred to the subject of housing and dealt with a comparatively small point which is, however, very important from the point of view of Sheffield and the Ministry of Health. He gave us a harrowing account of the state of some huts in Sheffield. He said they were wooden huts, dating from the time of the War, that they were verminous and ought to be pulled down. One of my hon. Friends asked why the local authority had not acted, and the hon. Member made a reply which surprised me and on which I would ask him to pursue the matter further with the Ministry of Health. He said that the Ministry of Health had prevented the local authority from pulling these houses down on the ground that there was slum clearance which was more urgent. I cannot think that that was so.
§ Mr. C. Wilson
What has happened is this: They desired to pull them down, but what I have been told, as I understand it from the town clerk, is that the Ministry of Health stated that the loans were for slum clearance and not for the demolition of these buildings.
§ Earl Winterton
It is obvious that the hon. Member ought to make further inquiries. I think he is misinformed. The Ministry of Health has no power to do anything of the sort. If the local authority consider that these houses ought to be pulled down, it is their duty 1361 to pull them down, and it is the duty of the hon. Member to call the attention of the local authority to the state of the houses. I hope that he will supply the Ministry of Health with full details. These matters are important because they occasionally arise in Debate and if they are not answered a wrong impression may be given. In another part of his speech the hon. Member scarcely did justice to another local authority, the London County Council. He suggested that there were dozens, I think he said hundreds, of homeless people wandering about London, and that the only place where they could obtain a bed was by sitting on the floor in some building, with newspapers round them. In the most emphatic manner the London County Council have issued a statement, which I know to be correct from my own knowledge, saying that by public enterprise and by private means there is a sufficiency of beds in London for all homeless wanderers.
§ Mr. Lawson
It is hardly fair to pillory my hon. Friend for the facts of this case. As a matter of fact, in different parts of the country, it is known to Members of this House, there are blocks of huts that were left over from the War period, and a very great financial responsibility has fallen upon the people. In my own Division an impossible position was created and a very great struggle has been required to get rid of these huts.
§ Earl Winterton
All that I am asking is that full particulars of this serious matter should be supplied by the hon. Member to the Ministry of Health, because I think it will be found that he is mistaken. I could quote a good many other figures as evidence of the relative prosperity of this country compared with any other country. Here are figures which have not been quoted in any Debate. I find that the United Kingdom percentage of world trade in the year 1929 was 13.62, and in the year 1936 14.50. What are the comparable figures for other countries in that period? In the United States there has been a decrease, minus 20.6, in Italy minus 11.9, in France minus 9.7, and in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, minus 9.2. These are very important figures. There is not another country which shows an increase of industrial production as important as ours. I could 1362 give further figures showing the production in particular trades.
When it comes to employment, here again I would ask, where is there any country where the conditions are better than they are here? Throughout the speeches this afternoon and this evening we have been given to understand that conditions somewhere else are better. Where? They are not to be found in any statistics. I find that employment, taking 1929 as 100, has gone up in Great Britain from 92.3 in 1931 to 111.3 in 1937. The closest approach to that is Italy, which has gone up from 88.8 to 100.7. If you take unemployment and employment I do not think the figures of any country compare with the figures of this country. Since August, 1931, employment has increased by 2,220,000, an increase of 23.7 per cent. and unemployment has fallen from 2,762,000 to 1,400,000 a decrease of 51 per cent. These are hard and difficult figures for hon. Members opposite, and I challenge any hon. Member to take the figures of any of the dictator countries of the Right or Left, or any of the democratic countries like France and the United States, in regard to housing, nutrition, employment, and industrial production and deny the assertion that in this country we are relatively much better off.
§ Earl Winterton
I did not say that I was happy, or that the Government were complacent. What I am pointing out is the blindness of hon. Members opposite who fail to see the comparative prosperity of their own country and put forward Measures and advocate a policy which would destroy that prosperity in return for some theoretical system the real meaning of which they themselves do not understand.
Is the Noble Lord aware that only last week the Minister of Labour said that in Scotland from 1929–37 there has been a definite increase in unemployment of 51,000?
§ Earl Winterton
I am taking the United Kingdom as a whole. I think I have established my contention that this country with all its imperfections and all its faults remains the most prosperous today, and in the moral sense there is 1363 infinitely less class and religious and sectarian ill-feeling than there is in any other country. If you want to know real bitterness between the Left and Right hon. Members should go to France and the United States or to any other country except the totalitarian countries where no bitterness by the minorities is allowed. I say that on moral grounds we can take credit to ourselves for the condition of affairs in this country and that we should continue to work upwards towards increasing the spread of prosperity. I want to ask one or two questions of the right hon. Gentleman who is to follow me. Is it intended under the Socialist scheme put forward in the Motion to obtain for the State all houses, all land and all property? I think we ought to have an answer to that question. I have in my constituency thousands of small house owners, and they will be greatly interested in the answer of the right hon. Gentleman. Are they going to be the owners of their own houses or under a Socialist system are they to be the tenants of the State.
There are other questions I want to ask which have never yet been answered by the Socialist party. There is the question of production and distribution. I see that under the plan these are to be in the hands of the State. Who is going to manage this production and distribution? Are the Government to manage it, is Parliament to manage it, or is it to be an uncontrolled bureaucracy? [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite seem to think that is a rather frivolous and humorous question; they seem to think that it is quite unimportant, and that it does not matter who manages it. Let me assure them that the electors will have a great deal to say on this question before they are ever returned to power on a full Socialist policy. Let them not forget that when they did obtain a sufficient number of hon. Members to form a Government, they did not obtain them on a full Socialist policy such as they are now putting forward. At that time they agreed with the views of one of their distinguished Party Members on the inevitability of gradualness; but that was before the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) joined the Executive. It will not be possible for them to play that game again. It will be a question of undiluted Socialism.
§ Earl Winterton
I fully appreciate the sincerity of the hon. and learned Gentleman's "Hear, hear"; and my only regret is that he is not going to reply to this Debate. These questions have never yet been answered by the high priests of the complete religion, those who, like the Wahabis of the desert or the Puritans of the time of Queen Elizabeth, go the whole hog, as does the hon. and learned Gentleman in the pure gospel of Socialism. What is to happen about salaries and wages? Are they to be higher or lower than under private enterprise? Are they to be graded? Are the lower-paid workers, as in a certain country, the name of which I will not mention, where this policy has been adopted, to have barely enough to live on, and the artisans be primed by various methods of coercion to work as hard as they can in order to get a full meal?
§ Earl Winterton
Who is going to pay the losses of industry under a Socialist State? Is the industry itself going to pay? Is the taxpayer going to pay? How do hon. Members propose to compete with other countries if the cost of production of a particular article, for example, steel, is very much lower in another country than here? It will be impossible to carry out the competition except by lowering wages, but obviously they will be precluded from doing that, because one must remember that they will get into office on the basis of promises that everybody is going to be better off when they are in office. Naturally they will have to carry out their promise.
§ Mr. Gallacher
On a point of Order. Is it possible to move the Adjournment so that we may have more time in which to deal with these childish frivolities? Is there no possibility of getting an Adjournment?
§ Earl Winterton
I have only one other question to ask. With the utmost good nature, may I say to the hon. Member who interrupted that possibly he could obtain, by communication with his friends in a certain country, the answer to some of the questions that I have 1365 asked? I wish now to ask the most important and most serious question of all. It is a question that has never yet been answered, and it is fantastic and absurd to suppose that any party can ever obtain office in this country without answering it. By what process are the means of production and distribution in this country to be taken over? By compensation or by confiscation? Do hon. Members propose to pay the full value of these most valuable services, for they are the most valuable services that any country could have? I think we are entitled to an answer to all those questions. May I say in conclusion, that while I am well aware that the right hon. Gentleman who is about to reply will probably employed a better dialectical weapon than I can command, it will, on this occasion, be loaded with such rusty ammunition that I shall be very much surprised if he is able to give an effective answer to the questions which I have addressed to him.
§ 10.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I hope the Chancellor of the Duchy will wait with some patience until I get to that part of my speech which would naturally come within the scope of the questions put by him. Until he spoke, a great many of the speakers on the benches opposite complained that my hon. Friends in speaking on this Motion, had omitted arguments with regard to one item or another, or had given insufficient facts. Therefore, I propose to attempt to cover shortly all the points in our Motion, and I shall come at the end particularly to those questions of Socialist policy and its implications, which seemed exclusively to interest the Noble Lord. This Debate has followed rather fortunately upon 'a Debate on malnutrition. The two Debates have very conveniently run together, and this has enabled us to inquire, what are the underlying causes of the malnutrition which undoubtedly exists. I, therefore, begin by laying down certain central facts which, I think, are now established as a result of recent discussions on the standard of living. These facts have been definitely established and are now the background of any Motions of this kind which may be put before the House.
It is definitely established that, taking the British Medical Association standard of the minimum nutrition needed for 1366 health and vitality, at least one-third of the population have not the income to buy sufficient food of the proper kind to reach that standard. That, as I say is the minimum standard. That standard has been criticised but if we take the very well-known standard of Sir John Orr—what he calls his optimum standard—then it is also clearly established that about half the people of the country have not the income necessary to obtain sufficient food of the kind required to meet that standard. Beginning with that fact we come to some of the consequences to one of which the Noble Lord referred in putting his questions. One of the consequences is to be found in the effects on the health of the nation and in the figures of infant mortality. I think at the present time the infant mortality rate per thousand in this country is 57. The Noble Lord challenged me to point out any other country which had either a death rate or an infant mortality rate as low as ours.
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I will deal with both questions, but I am not a Minister, and I do not carry all the vital statistics of the country in my pocket. It does happen however that I have here an authoritative reference to the infant mortality figures. The Noble Lord asked me a number of questions, and I doubt whether I have time to answer them all, but, at any rate, I will answer that one. The Noble Lord's question is answered by Sir John On. This is what he says:If we take infant mortality as an indication … we find that other nations have been improving faster than we have. Thus, for example, the infant mortality rates for Norway, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland and the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand are lower than the rate for England. The rates for these countries are between 30 and 50 per 1,000. This is not because the people of these countries are naturally more healtly and vigorous than we are, but because the rate of improvement in these countries has been faster than in England and Scotland.That is a reply to the right hon. Gentleman. He spoke with great pride of this figure of 57 per 1,000, but what he did not point out was that this is an average and that it is reached because the wealthier section of the community have a figure of only 30 per 1,000, whereas, if you come to the very poorest slum dwellers, it is 150 1367 per 1,000, but among the ordinary poorer sections of wage-earners it is 100 per 1,000. These figures by themselves show that, as a matter of fact, if you take the poorer sections of the wage-earners, out of every 1,000 children 70 die in infancy as a result of causes which, if they were in the same position as the more fortunate children, we could prevent.
But it does not end with the children who die. The effect is left on the lowered resistance of the children who live, and what are the figures about that? There have been some very striking figures. I think I have quoted them in these debates, but I have looked them up again. They are figures given by Sir John Orr about the heights of children. I remember when I was at the Board of Education what was called the Tuxford formula, by which the Board of Education measured the health of children by a formula largely dependent on the heights at different ages. It is now found that if you take a boy of 13 at a great public school like Winchester, Westminster, or Rugby, the average height is 5 ft. 2 inches; if you take a boy at Christ's Hospital, which is a school not so wealthy, the average height is 4 ft. 11 inches; whereas if you take a boy at the average elementary school, it is 4 ft. 8 inches, so that, by the age of 13, they have lost six inches of their potential height, with all that that means in lowered power and vitality and the lessening of the length of life.
That is the background to this discussion, and the question that this Motion begins by asking is, Are these results inevitable? I have here figures of the average income of the country, but I take Sir John Orr's figure, which is ratified by later investigations. The average income of the country is 30s. per head, but the standard of nutrition—not the lower standard of the British Medical Association, but the optimum standard—obtains in those families who have 20s. per head per week. That shows that it is within our power to-day to provide for the whole population a standard of life which would give them power and strength and length of days. Why do we not do it? Our Motion begins by calling attention to the reason why we do not do it. It is not a matter of the individual, but the system does have the result that it ends with a fairly small group or section of the population at the top who have 1368 not only the money to meet those primary needs—we have enough for the primary needs and half the income of the country for secondary needs—and secondary needs but have 10, 20 and 5o times enough for both. That leads to the inevitable result of stunted lives, stunted bodies, and foreshortened lives at the other end of the scale.
The Motion was put down to call attention to that fact, and I am going to try to prove that that is a fact. I should like to add one or two statements as to the causes of a low standard of life. I have carefully taken advice, and I have selected authorities whom I do not want to be in dispute, but will be recognised and accepted just as much on the other side of the House as on this side. First, I have statistics of the distribution of capital. As the hon. and gallant Member for Carnarvon (Major Owen) pointed out, we have to distinguish between distribution of capital and of income. There was an article in the "Times" discussing this subject—it was not quite up-to-date, but it has been brought up-to-date by some economists mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Carnarvon—by Professor Henry Clay, who is now the economic adviser to the Bank of England. It was published just before he took his present position and when he was a professor and a statistician. He points out with regard to the distribution of capital that the country is divided into two groups, a group with 2 per cent. of the population on one side and a group with 98 per cent. of the population on the other, and that the group of 2 per cent. take two-thirds of the capital of the country and leave the remaining third among the remaining 98 per cent. When we have these complacent statements comparing this country with others I am bound to point out, what Professor Henry Clay points out, that in this country capital is much more concentrated than in any other country. That being so, it is not surprising that among that 98 per cent. 75 per cent. of them die practically propertyless, leaving less than£100 behind. That is the verification of our arguments about the distribution of capital.
Now I come to the figures of income. As the result of one remark about the figures of income, I would say that inequality of the distribution of capital 1369 does not only mean that there is increased dividend on capital, but that there is inequality of earning power. One hon. Member both last year and this year told us that he earned every penny that he made, and that therefore he had no obligations at all to capital. He was quite wrong. As a matter of fact, the ownership of capital and belonging to a family of capital enabled him to have that extended education without which many of the most lucrative earning opportunities would never have been afforded. Moreover, nobody denies that if you belong to a family with capital, you live in that kind of charmed circle of directors where there is influence and where there is a pull. Your chance of getting a good opening in life is much better than that of the outsider. As a matter of fact, you take it for granted as a duty that the openings shall be given to sons, relatives and friends. If this accepted system of private enterprise were adopted in the public service, it would lead to a demand in this House for an inquiry into the nepotism that prevailed. The hon. Member who moved the Amendment and said that good management was the key to efficiency, would surely realise the enormous difference in management between private enterprise and the public service which enters when the key positions are filled by either of those two alternative methods.
Now I come to the actual figures of distribution of income. When I first began to take an interest in these subjects, there was a well-known figure which I have always remembered and which is always used. It was found out and announced by Mr. Leo Chiozza Money, who was a great statistician in those (lays, and it was that one-ninth of the people of this country obtained one-half of its income. I am sure that my hon. Friends have used that argument a great many times on political platforms in this country. Listening to the Debate, I was interested to find out how the proportion stood to-day, and I asked an authority whether it had been worked out for the present day. He replied that it had been worked out by Sir Josiah Stamp. So I turned to Sir Josiah Stamp's book upon the taxation of capital. His calculation is that one-half of the gross total income is received by approximately one-ninth or one-tenth of 1370 the people. You therefore get the result, which is alluded to in our Motion, that the system under which we live, whatever happened before the War or after the War, still grinds out in about the same proportion that same gross inequality of income to which it refers.
I come to the last part of our Motion, and I come to the Amendment which condemns our Motion, because it is argued that without private enterprise and competition there can be no industrial efficiency. I notice a very great contrast in the Debates in this House. I notice that when we are discussing a general and rather academic proposal such as we are to-night, hon. Gentlemen on the opposite benches are full of praise of private enterprise, competition and individualism. and then for the rest of the Session we are occupied day after day and week after week in passing Bill after Bill to enable industry after industry to free itself from private enterprise and competition. Yesterday it was the Coal Bill, and there was to be no competition in the settlement of prices. If there is competition among the coal mines, they can be compulsorily amalgamated. There is no private enterprise there. Last week it was the sea fisheries. There was a White Fish Bill to prevent undue competition there. Last April there was a Shipping Bill by which a subsidy was given to shipping on the condition, distinctly laid down in the subsidy, that the industry should not waste it by competition. I notice the cotton industry is coming to the Government Departments asking to be allowed to free itself from competition and private enterprise, and just as the House was about to rise, I read a report by the Import Duties Advisory Committee on the iron and steel trade, which is almost taken as the test industry by which we actually measure the advantages of the present system of control.
Fortunately, the result of that position in the industry is such that we know a good deal about it. May I take it as an example of what is now meant by private enterprise and competition? I find here that the Iron and Steel Trade Federation Central Committee has been consulted over the prices and over the iron and steel trade's chart. It has now been consulted about the output of the different firms, consulted as to the amount of imports to come into the country, and consulted as to the amount of exports to 1371 go out. It is to be consulted before any firm can increase its plant, and now it is to be consulted before any new man can come into the industry at all. The fact is that here in the industry which is more discussed than any other, you have reached the position where the industry has completely insulated itself, as other industries are trying to do, from that competitive and private enterprise which hon. Members opposite at other moments say is industry's very lifeblood. What does this mean? It means that all the great staple industries of the country, one after another, are now accepting the Socialistic doctrine that organisation produces such a result in competition with private enterprise.
But, although that is the case, there is a profound difference between the Amendment and the Motion. The question on which the two really differ is whether this organisation is to be under national control or under the control of self-interested groups of producers. It is evident, taking the iron and steel trades, and the position which other trades are trying to take, that they will not be able to hold the present position. While there is easy money going it may be possible, but the best of these people come on to a falling market sometimes, and the nation will never consent to give great industries, whose policy determines the cost structure of other industries, a private monopoly in the name of private enterprise. There have been a good many references in the Debate to the Debate on this subject in, I think,
§ 1923, when Sir Alfred Mond made a very famous speech. Nobody has repeated, nobody could repeat, that speech to-day, and a speech such as the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) made, saying that he believes in private enterprise and then laying down a programme which was practically Labour's five-years programme, would have been impossible from the Tory benches when that great Debate took place. It is now generally admitted that, although competition may be keen, co-ordination has to be achieved nevertheless, and it will equally be admitted that that co-ordination can best be carried on when it is controlled by national and not by semi-private sectional interests.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Heneage
Is not the right hon. Gentleman, before he sits down, going to answer the questions which my Noble Friend asked him?
§ Mr. Lees-Smith
I have in the course of my speech answered a great many of the Noble Lord's questions, but I do not think he seriously expected that I was going to take up time in giving a detailed reply, because, in point of fact, his questions were rhetorical questions, and obviously constituted the last peroration which he gave to the Dames of the Primrose League.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 117; Noes, 153.1373
|Division No. 22.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Day, H.||Jagger, J.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Dobbie, W.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||John, W.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Ede, J. C.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.)||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Kelly, W. T.|
|Bonfield, J. W.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Kirby, B. V.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Frankel, D.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Barr, J.||Gallacher, W.||Lathan, G.|
|Batey, J.||Gardner, B. W.||Lawson, J. J.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Garro Jones, G. M.||Leach, W.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Leonard, W.|
|Benson, G.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Leslie, J. R.|
|Bevan, A.||Grenfell, D. R.||Logan, D. G.|
|Broad, F. A.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Lunn, W.|
|Bromfield, W.||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Groves, T. E.||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Burke, W. A.||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Cape, T.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hardie, Agnes||MacNeill, Weir, L.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hayday, A.||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Marklew, E.|
|Daggar, G.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Marshall, F.|
|Dalton, H.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Mathers, G.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Maxton, J.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hollins, A.||Messer, F.|
|Montague, F.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)||Thurtle, E.|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||Viant, S. P.|
|Muff, G.||Sexton, T. M.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Naylor, T. E.||Silkin, L.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Noel-Baker, P. J.||Silverman, S. S.||Westwood, J.|
|Paling, W.||Simpson, F. B.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Parker, J.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Price, P.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Quibell, D. J. K.||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Sorensen, R. W.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Ridley, G.||Stephen, C.|
|Riley, B.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ritson, J.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Mr. Tinker and Mr. Cecil Wilson.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Fleming, E. L.||Munro, P.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Foot, D. M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Owen, Major G.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Furness, S. N.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Pilkington, R.|
|Asks, Sir R. W.||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gluckstein, L. H.||Radford, E. A.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||Rankin, Sir R.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Grimston, R. V.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Royds, Admiral P. M. R.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Harbord, A.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Bull, B. B.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)||Scott, Lord William|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Seely, Sir H.|
|Channon, H.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Christie, J. A.||Higgs, W. F.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Holdsworth, H.||Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's U. B'lf'st)|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Holmes, J. S.||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Hunter, T.||Spens. W. P.|
|Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Hutchinson, G. C.||Storey, S.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Keeling, E. H.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Kimball, L.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Strickland, Captain W. F|
|Crooke, J. S.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M F.|
|Cross, R. H.||Lees-Jones, J.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Culverwen, C. T.||Loftus, P. C.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Dugdale, Captain T. L.||McKie, J. H.||Waterhouse. Captain C.|
|Duggan, H. J.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||White, H. Graham|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Wickham, Lt: Col. E. T. R.|
|Eckersley, P. T.||Markham, S. F.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Marsden, Commander A.||Windsor-Clive, Lleug-Colonel G.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Winterton, Rt. Han. Earl|
|Elliston, Capt. G. S.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Emery, J. F.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)|
|Everard, W. L.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Findlay, Sir E.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Mr. Gary and Mr. Allan|
§ Question put, "That the proposed words be there added."
§ It being after Eleven of the Clock, the Debate stood adjourned.1374
§ The Orders of the Day were read, and postponed.