§ [FIFTH DAY.]
Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [5th December] to Question [28th November]:
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty as followeth:
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—[Captain Marsden.]
Which Amendment was, at the end of the Question, to add:
But regret the absence of any proposals for organising to the full our human and material resources in the national interest for the effective prosecution of the war, for the provision and maintenance of an adequate standard of life for all, and for the solution on the basis of social justice of the problems which will arise on the return to peace."—[Mr. Arthur Greenwood.]
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ Miss Wilkinson
I want to call attention to that part of the Amendment that calls fororganising to the full our human and material resources in the national interest.I am particularly concerned about organising and planning an intelligent food policy for this country. All of us who remember the last war and the ending of it realise the important part that was played by malnutrition in bringing the German Government to sue for peace. I had much closer experience of what widespread malnutrition in war-time meant when I was working at times in Spain. There is no doubt that the sudden collapse of Barcelona was largely due to the appalling amount of malnutrition. The speech of the First Lord to which we have just 707 listened makes it comfortingly clear that the people of this country are not likely to be brought to straits like that, and, so far as bulk food, if I may so call it, is concerned, the British Navy and Air Force are protecting our people. But it seems to me to be of importance that the Government should have an intelligent food policy, particularly for children and the underpaid and under-privileged section in our country.
In the last war we were only just beginning to have any knowledge of protective foods and vitamins. The very first paper on the subject by Professor Gowland Hopkins was published at the end of 1912. From —he examination that was made into the causes of that fearful epidemic of influenza at the end of the war the authorities gave it as their considered expert view that ťhe malnutrition in certain areas and the general lack of protective foods in the last years of the war had reduced considerably the resistances of the poorer parts of the populaťion, and once an epidemic like that gets going germs are no respecters of persons. Before we get anywhere near that position, the Government should, at a time when planning is sťill possible, give some attention to ensuring that the children, the low-paid workers and the unemployed shall get sufficient supplies of protective foods. I suggest that a long view is needed. It would be quiťe easy to reply to this by quoting the statistics that the Minister of Health gave to this House a few days ago, when he said that the recenť health figures were good. But more people are getting wages now with which to buy food. There is an extra pressure on the food available, apart from the demands of the Army, and what food is being sunk. We are faced with a raťioning scheme for the chief protective food, butter, but butťer is already effectively rationed, so far as the low-paid workers and unemployed are concerned, by considerations of price.
I had a good deal to do with ťhe Co-operative movement in the last war. I found that the Co-operative movement—which, after all deals with the besť-paid workers—had more butter than it needed because people had not the money to buy it. And not only can the betťer-paid people get butter more easily than the poorer people, but they can easily make up for the lack of protective elemenťs in 708 butter by other means. I have here a small box of synthetic vitamins, with the assistance of which it would be possible to live on almosť any kind of starchy food. I am not advertising these things—I am carefully keeping the name hidden; but anyone who took them with starchy foods would have a fully-balanced diet. But these cost 2s. 6d. for 25, and ťhey cannot be bought on a working man's wage, let alone the income of an unemployed person or a soldier's wife with a number of children. This question of vitamins and protective foods is not a crank or a fad. It is not a case of somebody geťting up and advocating vegetarianism or some other "ism"; it is a well tested theory.
It is possible to submit ordinary margarine to a process which produces ergosterol and to have vitaminised margarine. It will have practically the same vitamin content as summer-fed butter, and an even better vitamin content than winter fed butter. I do not know whether the Minister of Food is intentionally misleading people, or whether he is having one of his muddles. He is muddle-prone, just as some people are accident-prone. He constantly gets into muddles, and he seems to have got into a muddle now about margarine. It was perfectly clear, from his answer to my hon. Friend the Member for East Fulham (Mr. Wilmot) to-day, that he was under the impression that all margarine was vitaminised. It would have been possible for the Ministry of Food, when it first set up its scheme for pool margarine, to have said that all margarine should be subject to this process. Instead of which, the very fact that the higher priced margarine was processed in this way was used by the manufacturers to get margarine de-pooled—to use one of those horrible war words—and so to enable the better-off people to use margarine. I suggest to whatever Minister is to reply that it would not be very much trouble for the Minister to make illegal the sale of margarine that was not subject to this vitamin process, and so protect the lower-paid workers.
People say that devitaminised margarine is cheaper, but the margarine companies are making enormous profits, and as soon as rationing begins their profits will be even greater. If the Government desire it, they can make vitaminised margarine the only legal form of margarine, and fix 709 prices so that its cost will not be excessive. Ample profits are being made by the existing margarine firms, for that to be done without any increase in price, and they could quite well sacrifice patriotically a little of their profit. In any case it will not make much difference, because if it costs more to process the margarine, they will have to pay less in Excess Profits Tax. I suggest that the Minister should make a small order to bring about this quite simple thing that would mean some protection for the children of the soldier and the lower-paid worker.
I want to refer to the question of milk, which is the ace of protective foods. The League of Nations report on nutrition says that milk contains all the essentials for the growth and maintenance of life in a form that is readily assimilable by the body. We have had before the House, owing to the enthusiasm of the present Minister of Health, who gives a good deal of thought to this subject, the results of experiments on children who had milk, and those who had not. A good many of these children, unfortunately, are not getting that milk now. It is to be hoped that the country air will to some extent be helpful to them, though I doubt it in the course of a severe English winter when they may have to go to school in bad weather. In any case, the principal sufferers are the children of the towns where the schools are closed and the milk service is temporarily closed down.
There is a certain complacency in the Government on the assumption that, on the whole, we are doing rather better than anybody else. But on this question of milk, this ace of protective foods, we are doing really rather badly. I have the international report containing the latest pre-war figures with regard to the consumption of milk. I take three countries —a neutral country, an enemy country and our own country. The consumption per head in Sweden is 420 pints a year, and the price is, roughly, 1½d. a pint. In Germany it is 216 pints per head. This is in Germany which we are always told is starving or on the brink of starvation. The controlled price there is 2.6 pence, which roughly works out at 2½d. or 2¾d. per pint according to which part of the country it happens to be in. Great Britain does not reach the 216 pints per head annually of Germany, but only 150 pints per head at the pre-war price, when these 710 figures were taken, of 3¼d. per pint. This is the point I want to emphasise, because we cannot allow nutrition to be entirely settled by income level during the course of the war. The figures show, even on this low consumption of milk, that a good middle-class household consumes 3.8 pints per person per week, and the poor working-class home only 1.1 pint per person per week.
I took out some figures realting to the north-eastern area, with which I am mainly concerned, of a business centre, a lower middle-class centre and a depressed centre. Eight per cent. of the household are milkless in the business centre, and 17 per cent. in the lower middle-class centre, but in the distressed area 25 per cent. of the families have no milk whatever. The price of milk has already been increased by the Milk Marketing Board, which represents the producer and has no consuming interest upon it. That has been done irrespective of the fact that there is nearly a 1s. margin for distribution, even after all sorts of costs have been met. These figures are taken on the basis of the farm that produces milk with the least efficiency. If you take one in three as the margin where the unit of production is more efficient, the Minister of Health would say that it is due to the fact that there are so many distributors. Is it the intention of the Government to try and keep every little vested interest going irrespective of the effect upon the country? It is really more important that we should have a sane food policy, properly planned, in order to provide to the greatest extent that the under-privileged section of our community and the children should get their full share of this protective food. It is not enough to say that nobody need starve in Britain. That is not by any means accurate. Even so, it is not so much a question of actual starvation as always just filling your stomach with the stuff that is cheapest, if it means you do not get these protective foods to make it possible to face the winter and to go through it without having a lower vitality and a lower morale.
If we are to talk about morale, it is not sufficient for the Government to say that they are bringing in so much food. The First Lord of the Admiralty said that we are losing relatively very little, and actually we have got all the food in the 711 country that is necessary. That is all right and we are glad to hear it, but it is important that that food should be properly distributed. It is wrong to leave it to be distributed purely according to what people can afford to pay. It is really not sufficient for any conscientious Member of Parliament who to-day goes into his constituency and talks to the soldiers' wives, faced as they are with the high cost of rent, even when they have a grant made towards it—most of them are not getting that yet—faced with club payments to be kept going because the savings of years cannot be let go, and faced with keeping up some kind of hire purchase payments. The amount they have left to spend on food is dangerously low.
I would ask the Minister to bring that matter before the Cabinet, because the danger about the present situation is that it is the protective foods that are increasing most rapidly in price. I took up by chance quite recently, when in the Library, a book on economics, in which I read a startling beginning of a chapter. It said that the most important thing in which to create a monopoly was in articles of the most common use, because even a slight increase in price formed the largest amount of profit. A very small increase in the price of any of these protective foods brings enormous profits, but it does all the time mean a lowering in the standards of our people. We have to think of what is to come afterwards. We have to think of the children who will have to carry on. We all of us know the effect in Germany of those years of under-feeding and undernourishment, and we know the effect in our own country, where adults to-day are suffering from the bad feeding of those years. That was 21 years ago. We have surely learnt something, and I appeal to the Government that we should have in this country, while there is time and before we are too driven, a sane food policy that gives the protective foods and supplies of them to these vitally important sections of our population.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ Sir George Schuster
The hon. lady the Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) has carried us rather far from the warlike atmosphere in which we passed the earlier part of the afternoon, and I do not propose to follow her in detail over the 712 ground which she has trod. But I should like to say that nobody could agree more strongly with her on the importance of distributing proper supplies of protective foodstuffs to the country than I do. Perhaps as this subject of nutrition has been raised it is not quite inappropriate that we have the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs here to-day, because he must spend much of his time with my friend the High Commissioner for Australia, who has been the great protagonist of the theory of marrying nutrition and agriculture as one of the most fruitful sources for looking for an improvement in general world conditions. That is a subject which is, indeed, of very great importance.
This has been a remarkable Debate which has ranged for many days now upon the Address. I myself made a calculation which showed me that the length of the King's Speech was 170 words and that by the time the Debate on the Address concludes to-morrow evening something between 250,000 and 300,000 words will have been spoken in this House—covering a very wide range of subjects. I have no doubt a great percentage of them has been of great value. The only thing that I think is important is that this wide and varied discussion should not obscure the fine simplicity of the issue which brought us all in together to support this war. It is also very important that we should not forget that our paramount purpose to-day is to win the war. We are in cold reality fighting for our existence. There is no room for complacency or for diverting attention from the main effort. Nevertheless, I do not myself at all deny—in fact I feel very strongly—the importance of being clear as to the aims for which we are fighting. That is important not only to satisfy our own consciences and strengthen the people of this country to endure the trials of a long war, but it is also of great importance for securing sympathy from the neutral countries.
Therefore, I have greatly welcomed the progressive definition of our purposes which we have had in statements from the Prime Minister and from the Foreign Secretary. I even find myself in sympathy with the sentiment that lies behind the wording of this Amendment which I would interpret—putting the most favourable construction upon it— 713 as saying, "Let this fight for our existence be waged with the maximum efficiency and under the inspiration of the determination to use that existence for higher purposes." Where I do not agree with the Movers of the Amendment is in the implication that the King's Speech is to be criticised because the methods for achieving these things are not now specified in meticulous detail.
As to the problems that will face us after the war, the Prime Minister has very wisely reminded us that if we wish to see a new world it will not be for us alone to settle that; we shall have to settle it in co-operation with other nations. We must also remember that even if we confine our desires to seeing a new England—
§ Sir G. Schuster
—I apologise—to seeing a new Britain, we cannot achieve that without co-operation from other nations. We cannot obtain it independently of the conditions in the rest of the world. Therefore, if we are looking to our post-war aims we shall be wiser if, instead of trying to lay down purposes which we intend to fulfil for the whole world, we concentrate on considering how we shall be the most able to play our part in the discussions that will have to take place with other countries. If we concentrate on the matter in that spirit we shall not only be keeping our eyes on the future, but we shall be making ourselves more effective in the immediate effort.
I want to put to the House an idea which I have been putting to myself as to what is the sort of England we want to see playing its part when the day comes that the problems of the future can be considered. In the first place, we want to see an England which is efficient. The war with all its evils is a great opportunity. The war urge can serve as a flux for smelting out valuable results from very refractory problems. It is of vital importance that this opportunity should not be wasted. It is not a question simply of removing inefficiency where inefficiency is found. Some of us have felt it to be our duty to call attention in recent Debates to parts of the Government business where we thought there was inefficiency, not because we exaggerated the importance of these particular instances, but because we felt it to be of such vital 714 importance that the Government should be working up its efficiency at every point. There is another side of efficiency—efficiency of organisation. It is again of vital importance that we should develop efficiently a co-ordinated economic effort in this war. We want to have not merely a Ministry of Economic Warfare, but some central direction of warfare economics. That is a point on which I may say something later, but I will leave it now.
My second point is that we want to see an England in which there is scope for individuality, not an England governed by a rigid, over-controlling, centralised bureaucracy. I want to emphasise this point to the Government—the importance of making every possible use of the voluntary agencies for cooperation which exist. I was very much impressed in yesterday's Debate by the speech of the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks), who dealt with the organisation of the Ministry of Supply and compared the way in which that very much centralised organisation was working in this war with the way in which central direction and co-ordinated purpose grew up in the last war.
We start this war with many advantages, but there is one point to remember, and that is that those controls which became necessary in the course of the last war were imposed gradually on a developing need, and as they came to be imposed they fitted fairly well to the figure which they had to clothe. In this war we have started in a sense with ready-made suits of control fashioned independently of the bodies which they must fit. They do not always fit very well. I am not suggesting for a moment that controls are unnecessary or that they can be removed. Some of the worst mistakes we could make would be to say that because certain controls have worked badly they should therefore all be abandoned. I see some danger of the Government taking that line in certain cases. What we have to do is to adapt the control to what is necessary and, above all, to make use of every possible sort of voluntary co-operation that we can evoke, and so not only avoid over-centralisation, but also—a point which is of very great importance for maintaining the morale of the country—bring in as many people as possible and make them feel that they are taking a part in the national effort.
715 The hon. Member for Broxtowe was dealing with the Ministry of Supply, and I should like by way of illustration to quote a point in my own experience, not because I regard it as of very great importance, but because I think it is an interesting illustration. What the hon. Member said was apposite to the organisation of the Ministry of Supply concerned with the production of munitions, but there is another great group of expenditure and that is expenditure for stores and equipment. I represent a constituency where there are a number of small miscellaneous industries, and I have been particularly interested to see how they were being fitted into the war effort. When you are dealing with these small miscellaneous industries which are not united together in any great trade organisation, it is difficult to get into contact with them as a whole, and it is here that local chambers of commerce can be extremely useful. I was fortunate in being able to see the Controller in the case of Votes 7 and 8 which cover Stores and Equipment—Lord Woolton. I found him extremely sympathetic to my point of view. With great courtesy he arranged to see the secretary of my local Chamber of Commerce and the secretary of another local Chamber of Commerce with whom we had decided that it was desirable that we should work together, and he also brought up his two progress officers from the districts concerned. Here I should like to pay a tribute to the progress officers of the Ministry of Supply, because whenever I have met them I have found them extremely able and keen men. We had a small meeting and arrived at certain points where it appeared to Lord Woolton that we could be of very great use to him in that he could farm out some of his problems to us. For instance, there might be difficulty in finding out whether some particular things—such as hobnails, toes and heels for boots, buttons, etc.—could be supplied. We might find the means of doing that. Or, again, on some other occasion when he wanted certain articles the raw materials for which were not readily available, local ingenuity could be called in to provide substitutes. That indicates possibilities of useful cooperation. But it is more than that. From that meeting there went back four people thoroughly pleased with their reception and feeling that they could do something 716 useful. And when you have even four people going out to different parts of the country filled with confidence and in good heart, and operating as local "cells" to spread that feeling, the results must be worth having. If such a process can be spread over the whole country I believe it will be of very great importance in carrying us through this war.
Turning to my third point, I should say that we want to see an England at the end of the war which is an England of social justice. I recognise the very great difficulties of making progress with social services at times like the present. The Chancellor of the Exchequer put the essence of the situation before us very clearly when he told us that what will be required from us is that one-half of our national production should be devoted to purposes of the war. That is the same thing as saying that half the national income is to go to the war. The remaining half is the limit that is available for the purposes of consumption by the ordinary civil population, except to the extent that you supplement receipts by realising foreign securities, or raising foreign loans—and the latter is a source that is hardly open to us now. That being so, if we have to live on half of our national production and if this is going to be a long war—and we have no right to assume that it is not—then there will have to be cutting down of standards of consumption in a great many directions.
The point I want to make is that even if that be the case, it is no alibi relieving the Government from responsibility for going ahead in securing a fairer distribution of the limited quantities that are available. I hope that the question of the improvement of old age pensions will be tackled on that basis. But we have to recognise that if we want to go ahead on these lines it means sacrifices, not only from the wealthier classes—the Chancellor of the Exchequer showed very clearly the limits of what can be raised in taxation of the wealthier classes—but from the classes of population which hon. Members opposite claim to represent. We have to face these facts. Not due justice has been given to the proposals of Mr. Keynes. I am not advocating his particular proposal for forced loans because that may be inappropriate at this stage, but he has given us a diagnosis of the situation which brings us 717 into touch with reality. But there must be equality of sacrifice, and a fair distribution of what is available for consumption. And that bring me to another point that I wish to make in this connection which is that I wonder very much whether the Government are starting soon enough to tackle the control of the available supplies of materials which will be necessary if we are to get successfully through a long war. It is very encouraging to have optimistic statements from the First Lord of the Admiralty, but he has frequently also warned us against undue complacency, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would feel that it is important we should be building up reserves against the possible days when things may not go quite so well with us. At present it seems to me that we are eating and consuming things as though there were no war and no need for restricting consumption ahead of us. I should like to see the Government start to face more definitely the problem of controlling consumption, and I believe that the country, if told the facts, would readily submit to any restrictions which are necessary. Let me give one example by way of illustration. Fats are most important to the life of any nation, and yet we are going on making soap with the full peace-time percentage of fat, although in Germany they have come down to a soap which contains practically no fats at all. People can do with a soap of slightly less good quality than they get in peace time. These questions should be tackled. It is only by tackling these things and securing equality of sacrifice that we shall be able to make the people feel that we are even in war time still trying to make England a country of greater social justice as the years go by.
The next thing which we want to see is a united England. I think we shall have that if we fulfil all the purposes upon which I have touched.
I turn to my fifth point—one of considerable importance. We want to see an England standing for international freedom, and by that I mean standing as a country which, while resisting aggression, is not seeking to retain for itself any benefits of what may be called past aggressions. That touches a very important question. We want to make it clear that we are continuing in our processes of making this Empire of ours a commonwealth of free nations. In the course of 718 the next months, or certainly during the course of the war, we shall have an important test case in connection with India. I agree with what has been said on the importance of that question by hon. Members opposite, but where I do not agree with them is in their distrust of the present Government's motives in dealing with that problem. I believe that the Government are making an honest attempt to deal with it, and all I would say now is—let them have great courage and go ahead under the guidance of high principles, because a proper solution of the Indian problem in the course of the war will have the most immense psychological effect.
Lastly, I want to see an England which believes in international trade on natural lines, and which has kept her place open for this. That goes deep into the problems we shall have to face during the war and after the war. We are fighting to protect the world from the aggression of "Power States" so that those States who believe in the development of welfare for individuals can work for that end without the perpetual menace of aggression. But, if we look back over the past years and ask ourselves why it is that we have not been able to progress more to our satisfaction in the development of welfare, we shall find, if we face the facts truly, that the impediments have not only been the threats from aggressor States, the constant overhanging menace of war, but also too narrow nationalistic economic policies throughout the world, and too little international economic co-operation. It may be said that this is a matter which cannot be dealt with in war-time, but I believe there are circumstances conected with this war that make it of vital importance that we should take heed of these realities. We are hearing now a great deal about the Ministry of Economic Warfare; a great deal is being written in the Press about it, some of it very wise and true. We have had recently a new phrase—the doctrine of "pre-emption," that we should go into the markets of Germany and buy up the goods which Germany used to buy and sell our exports there instead. That in itself is a very desirable thing, but we must remember that there are limits to what we can do. We cannot buy everywhere, and it is important that we should keep open our ordinary and natural channels of trade. One of the worst things 719 that could happen is that at the end of the war we should find all the natural connections atrophied and all the natural channels of trade silted up. There will be a strong urge for that sort of thing to happen, but it is of great importance that we should do everything possible to avoid it.
The essence of what we have to do is to fill the gap created by Germany dropping out of trade in those markets which she cannot reach. And there is another side to that. We have not only to do that but we ought to take the opportunity to offer to certain neutral countries an escape from that German trade domination which she has been gradually establishing over the last few years; because we must remember that Germany has been practising economic warfare for the last five years. The ideal would be that we and the neutral countries with whom we can trade should work out together the best means of filling the gap, created by Germany dropping out, without undue distortion of normal healthy channels of trade. The ideal would further be to hold that gap, so as to leave open the possibility of Germany coming back again, if we are hoping, as the Foreign Secretary suggested in his speech the other night, to live to see a world in which Germany will play her part as a peaceful collaborator in a new Europe. The point I want to put is that it is of vital importance that we should get into touch with neutral countries and discuss our economic plans on the lines I have sketched, and more particularly that we should get into touch with the United States on this matter. It is possible that if we say to the United States that if we buy from these countries we shall not be able to buy from them they may say, "Well, it will suit us better if you continue to buy from us and we will see if we can do something for those countries which you are trying to attract from German trade." The idea is, I recognise, full of difficulties, but I want to put the point that the time is ripe for staff discussions with the United States and other neutral countries on that matter, and if we can get round a table together and discuss the matter as countries seeking each other's mutual advantage, and striving for economic collaboration, that will be a more effective form of propaganda and a more effective way of making them sym- 720 pathetic with our purpose than any amount of words over the radio can possibly be.
I want to add one word on economic organisation. I think that the Government ought to take heed of the strong demand which is being expressed everywhere that there should be some clear, authoritative and co-ordinated direction of the economic policy of the Government. I know the difficulties there are in developing machinery which will not only look effective on paper but which will fit in with the working conditions of the departmental system. Nevertheless this is a point to which the Government should devote increasing attention, because it is one of the things which are vital to our success. Let me make one small suggestion in connection with that point. Private Members of Parliament, who are trying in their small way to render such service as they can in this emergency, find themselves in considerable difficulty in dealing with these economic questions. We do not want to make embarrassing criticisms, and there are many points which should be raised but which it is not desirable should be raised in public Debate. On the other hand many points are brought to our notice. We think there is something in them but it is extremely difficult to marshal all the evidence and see them in their proper proportions. It would be a good thing if there was some method by which those of us who are in touch with these matters could put before the Government the sort of things which are in our minds. Parliamentary Debate is not a suitable way of doing that—and as to that let me say how much I appreciate the difficulty of Ministers in these times, and what a terrible tax it upon them, to attend Parliamentary Debates when they have to be at work 12 and 14 hours a day in their own rooms. The suggestion I want to make is that it should be possible for certain Members selected from each party, who have special interests or connections with these economic matters, to be given an opportunity to meet from time to time some representative of the Government to whom they could put their points. A meeting periodically, once a fortnight, say with Lord Stamp by selected Members of the House might be extremely valuable. I recognise the limitations. I should not expect Lord Stamp to come down to such a 721 meeting and tell those who attended what was the policy of the Government on all matters, because it is not for him to settle such things; but he could listen to the points we want to make and see that they receive due consideration. On occasions he might be able to tell us that they are in fact being considered, on others he could point out that our points are part of a much wider issue and help us to see them in true perspective. I believe the genera1 result of such meetings would be not only an increase of confidence in the House but would also save Ministers a great deal of time and might lead to practical measures of advantage to the country.
Before I leave this question of economic policy, as the Secretary of State for the Dominions is present, I should like to say that I have always been a great admirer of the way in which Australia has tackled her economic problems. The way in which she tackled the last major economic crisis—and she was the first country to be hit by it—was an example to us all. To-day the Prime Minister of Australia has set up an economic cabinet which as he says:Will deal with the economics of the war effort—the effect of the war on the national economywith the aim of ensuringthe discharge of the Commonwealth's immense war-time tasks with maximum efficiency, and the fullest possible attempt to reconcile the normal needs of commercial life with the paramount need of winning the war.The Australians are a realistic people, I do not think they can be accused of being "theoretical economic planners." I submit that we may take a lesson from one of the younger members of the British Commonwealth in this matter.
In conclusion, if I might sum up what I have been trying to say, we want to see a Britain which is efficient; not muscle-bound with centralised bureaucracy; working for social welfare; united; a pioneer in the idea of converting Empire into a Commonwealth of free nations; a promoter of international economic co-operation. If we can find ourselves like that at the end of the war we shall be well fitted to play our part with other nations in shaping a new world. What part shall be play? It seems to me that there is some danger 722 when we are talking about war aims of the country becoming divided into so-called Utopian idealists and so-called hardheaded realists. It would be very unfortunate if that sort of division were to arise. I believe myself that we want to be idealistic realists, and that is really what is truly characteristic of the British nation. There has been some talk in this Debate of two recent broadcast addresses, one from the Prime Minister and the other from the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison). One hon. Member opposite quoted an old lady who derived inspiration from the latter, but not from the former. I do not mind confessing that I derived inspiration from them both, and it we look at the future policy of this country as being directed by a man who, bearing the full sense of responsibility which a Prime Minister must, spoke in the words that he did as to our future purposes, and influenced from the other side by one of the leaders of the Opposition who, speaking with none of the restrictions of responsibility, spoke as the right hon. Member for South Hackney did—if we combine those two expressions and regard England as a country which is to be guided by these twin influences, then I for one am very confident of the future of England and the way in which she will treat her post-war problems.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ Dr. Haden Guest
When the hon. Member for Walsall (Sir G. Schuster) began his speech, I thought the Opposition were in for a bad time, for the hon. Member began by being very critical of the terms of the Amendment; but I think that he went on to make an admirable speech of a kind which could have been made only on that Amendment, which deals with the numerous post-war difficulties that will have to be faced and deals with present circumstances in view of those future difficulties. I should like to follow the hon. Member's remarks, but if I did so, I should either detain the House too long or not be able to make the speech which I rose to make. There is only one thing I want to say with regard to the hon. Member's speech, and it has reference to his remarks about economy. Restriction is not the only method of economy, because besides that there is good organisation, and particularly sharing. I say that particularly with regard to food supplies. 723 For instance, one could make a very great economy in the feeding of children by distributing milk through the schools to all children and by having communal mid-day meals for all children as a matter of routine. This would effect a very considerable economy, and from the nutritional point of view, it would probably have a very great advantage, for the contents of such meals could be very much better controlled than they can be in ordinary homes.
There is one other remark I want to make to the hon. Member, because I think his word might carry weight with those who make soap. He suggested that it might be desirable to limit the amount of fat in soap so as to give soap of an inferior quality. How far that could be done technically without interfering with the cleansing nature of soap, I do not pretend to judge; but I beg the hon. Member not to advocate any step that would lead to a deterioration of any kind in soap, for there is no doubt that it was not only bad nutrition in the last war that led to diseases, but that the dirt and filth in large portions of Europe allowed the germs to grow and eventually to pounce from their lairs on to the general population. Cleanliness is one of the essentials of health, and it is essential that we should have good soap.
I want particularly to deal with that part of the Amendment which refers to human and material resources. Yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Privy Seal dealt with the question of man-power. He spoke of the 1,250,000 men who are under arms, the 1,750,000 men and women in the air-raid precautions services, and the 1,500,000 people who are unemployed. Last Monday night I listened to a broadcast speech of the Minister of Labour, in which he spoke of the calling up of classes of young men in groups of 250,000, and said that there would be more and more classes to come. I confess that I found the Minister of Labour's explanations as to why there were 1,500,000 men unemployed not very reassuring, but we on this side of the House are accustomed to not being reassured by the Minister of Labour. I believe that of all the problems that will confront us not only in the war but in 724 the post-war era, the problem of manpower is the chief one. After all, human material is the stuff out of which our civilisation is made. Are we using it in the right way? Are we using our human material in the Army and in other services, and in civilian life, as carefully, economically, and scientifically as we can at the present time? In his speech yesterday, the Lord Privy Seal referred to manpower in the last war. Those of us who served in the last war saw many misfits, but are there no misfits in this war? Already I have come across a case of a young man having scientific qualifications who was occupying his mind that was trained in abstract chemistry in cutting bread rations. That is not a very serious thing for a short time, but one hopes that that sort of misfit will not continue. No doubt there are very many other misfits.
There is, however, a still wider problem which I want the House to consider. Are we using our man-power and our womanpower—for women are in this war now and I venture to think they will be more and more in the war before it is over—with due regard to the human conditions and the conditions of family life that will arise after the war? To me, the worst feature of war, of this war and of other wars, is the using up of the young generation. I am sure that all those who served in the last war will agree with my point of view when they remember the tragedy of seeing so many young men marching away, never to come back to this country, or to come back seriously injured. When one thinks now, under our present system of conscription, of one group after another of a quarter of a million young men putting on uniforms and marching away, it is a very grim picture. Of course, this is partly inevitable, for it is the essence of war to destroy youth, but are we not using the young people too much? I know that men from 35 to 50 are being called up for various purposes, but could we not still further make use of the older men and spare the younger men to a larger extent than at present? In his broadcast speech the other night, the Minister of Labour suggested the calling up of men group by group, those of 21 years of age, those of 22, those of 23, simply going on from one year to the next. Why have the calling up in that way? Why not alternate it, and, if you must call up those of 22 years, why not 725 then go to a higher age limit? [Interruption.] An hon. Member behind me suggests those of 62 years.
My hon. Friend says that then he would be in it, and that I am sure would be a most popular move, by which I mean not that the hon. Member would leave us, but that we should go with him. Unfortunately, there are certain military objections to the employment of men of 62, at any rate in frontline service; but I seriously suggest that it stead of taking the young men one year after another, consideration should be given to the possibility of jumping a period of years and taking a class of older men. I am seriously concerned by the prospect of a whole large age group of, say, 10 years being subjected to war strain, a large number of them certainly being killed, a larger number certainly being wounded, and all of them being subjected to that war strain which produces in many people effects that are not obvious during the war, but which become obvious as time goes on.
When we are forced to do so, we pay considerable attention to medical and human science. Yesterday, the Lord Privy Seal said that the last war produced industrial welfare and the Ministry of Health, and he asked us to look at the present and see what lessons we can learn from the evacuation. It strikes me that this is a very expensive method of education, and I hope that we can do better than that. Could we not intelligently anticipate some of our future' experiences and build on the experience of past wars by a scientific review of the military and civilian use of man-power with a view to the human future? Hon. Members know that the Napoleonic wars injured the people of France physically for generations. The last war has left us not only with a great toll of death, but a greater toll of injured bodies and disoriented minds. How far can we avoid such things? Quite fankly, I do not know. It is a matter for scientific inquiry; but one very important thing that we have to remember is that the men whom we are sending into the war now are the men who should be the fathers, and their women mates the mothers, of the next generation. I want to see that we do not lose too great a proportion of the younger men, and that 726 we scientifically consider whether it is not possible, by all kinds of economies, to make use of the older men. Already, the Secretary of State for War, under a certain amount of pressure from this side of the House, has conceded something in this direction. He has agreed that certain classes of young soldiers shall not be sent overseas when they are under the age of 20. That is not quite the same thing as I am arguing for now, but it goes in the same direction; that principle might be extended.
In replying to the Debate yesterday, the Minister of Health made a fascinating survey of the great health progress of the past. He mentioned that in the near fuťure there would be a greater concentration of medical effort on the school children than ever before. That is an admirable thing. He mentioned also the gift of Lord Nuffield for the purpose of organising the proper relationship of the voluntary hospiťals to the municipal hospitals and the co-ordination of the hospital system as a whole. That is an admirable thing to do, but it would be a still more valuable work if we could, by careful thought and scienťific study, spread the burden of the actual fighting services of the war more evenly over the older as well as the younger generations. Let us remember that those who have to do ťhe work of rebuilding after the war will have one of the greatest tasks in world history. They should be people with straight bodies and well-balanced minds.
I think it would not be too much to say thať part of the tragedy, as I will call it, of the appalling political developments on the Continent of Europe and particularly in Germany in recent years has been due to the dreadful sufferings which that country, and especially iťs youth went through, so that their minds were twisted out of the normal shape. Let us be sure that those who have to do the work of reconstruction in this nation in the future, represent, as far as possible, all the age groups. I believe we suffered very much at the end of the last war by the loss of the younger men who ought to have come forward to do the active work. I hope, therefore, thať at the end of this war we shall have available a large proportion of all the groups, and an even representation of the population as a whole. I believe that we can arrive at an estimate of the means of doing this by a carefully- 727 planned scienťific inquiry, and if we have a representation of those of all ages who have not been subjected to the terrible strain of war, we shall be in a better condition to face the problem of rebuilding after the war than we were in the years which followed 1918.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ Sir Arthur Harbord
I should like to draw the attention of the House to the serious effect of the war upon towns on the East Coast, and, in particular, the borough of Great Yarmouth which I have the honour to represent. In considering this question it is necessary to point out that Great Yarmouth is almost entirely dependent for its livelihood upon summer visitors and the herring fishery. There are very few industrial undertakings in the town. The House will be aware of the regrettable decline in recent years of the herring fishery. This has had a very serious effect in the borough, as it has entirely deprived hundreds of seafaring families and shore workers of their only income and the town has become almost entirely dependent upon its summer trade. The loss of the income from the fishing industry has created an increasing financial burden in relief of distress and an abnormal amount of unemployment during the winter months. The effect upon the town has shown itself in increasing rates. These have now reached a limit beyond which it will be impossible for the majority of the ratepayers to meet their obligations in that respect.
When war came upon us in September the visiting season was at its height and the immediate effect was an exodus of visitors. Many people who had sent on their luggage in advance and had booked rooms, had to cancel their bookings. Practically all visitors had gone in a few days with the result that the proprietors of hotels, shops and boarding houses were faced with a financial crisis. I understand this situation because I was mayor of the borough for two years during the last war. Our experience during that war was that we had 2,000 shops and dwelling-houses closed, and that we lost 10,000 people by migration. The town then went through a period of distress comparable to that experienced in the distressed areas whose condition has so often engaged the serious and sympathetic attention of the House. It is because I know 728 that this House is never deaf to appeals on behalf of distress where the reality of that distress is proved, that I am now asking the Government to turn a sympathetic ear to this plea on behalf of Great Yarmouth and to give some financial consideration to this town as well as to other towns which are similarly affected. I ask that what has been done with such marked success in the distressed areas should be done in this case also, and that we should be favoured by having a commissioner who could come down there and by careful inquiry ascertain whether the case which I am now advancing is not justified by the facts, and whether in his opinion it is not up to the country to do something to meet this situation.
Further, I suggest that something should be done in towns like Great Yarmouth on the lines of what has been done in the distressed areas by the establishment of works or factories in order to provide employment. It should not be a hard task even now at such a crisis as that through which we are passing, to achieve something of that kind once the Government are satisfied that distress really exists in the marked degree which I am describing. I would also ask the Government to do what was done before and to enable the town to suspend sinking fund contributions during the period of the war and extend the period of the repayment of loans. The council has done its best to meet the difficulty, but even this will not be sufficient, and it is compelled to ask the Government for immediate financial assistance. I am aware that what I have said applies to other towns and I should like to support the appeal which was so eloquently made by my colleague who represents the adjoining constituency of Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus). I would remind the House that Great Yarmouth has supplied a number of those who man our drifters, minesweepers and mine-layers. A tribute has been paid to them this afternoon, and I consider that that constitutes a further claim on the attention of this House.
I would again point out that at 1he end of August and the beginning of September many of our shops were closed, with the result that staffs had to be reduced or discharged. Shopkeepers were left with their goods unsold. They were not able to reap the normal season's profits and were faced with serious difficulties and liabilities. I know the conditions which 729 exist there, and I repeat that, while everything possible has been done locally, it is urgently necessary that something more should be done to alleviate the distress existing in this and other towns on the East and North-East Coasts. I am sure that this appeal will not be received unsympathetically by the Government. In the last war they helped the town to tide over a long and difficult period. We had help from the Canadian Fund, the Prince of Wales Fund and grants from the Treasury in aid of local rates. I hope that on this occasion no less financial assistance will be afforded to Great Yarmouth and other towns similarly situated to help them to tide over these years of war and enable them to maintain an existence which otherwise will be seriously threatened.
§ 6.10 p.m.
I am grateful for this opportunity of taking part in the Debate, and I suggest that the first thing to keep in mind is that this Amendment to the Address has been placed on the Order Paper by the party in this House which has been most consistent since its inception in defending the rights of the democratic peoples. I should have thought that an Amendment submitted by the official Opposition under war conditions, which call for a certain amount of understanding and co-operation between the Opposition and the Government, would have received greater consideration than this Amendment apparently has received from Members of the Government or the party opposite—represented at the moment mainly by empty spaces on those benches. As a Scottish Member I propose to deal particularly with Scotland. I have recently addressed a number of meetings in Scotland, both in my own and other constituencies. I have never, at any of those meetings, departed from the Labour party's stand on behalf of firmness against aggressor nations, but it should be realised by hon. Members opposite that in Scotland there is a deep-seated suspicion of this Government. A state of mind exists there that will have to be reassured by the Government, if they want to use the nation's capacity to the fullest extent.
When the people of the country enter into a war, led by the Government, on behalf of peoples in other countries; when the Government promise to stand by the 730 rights and liberties of certain nations; when they declare that those rights and liberties are essential, and when, at the same time, they turn down practically every demand made from this side about the conditions of our own people, there is bound to be deep-seated suspicion. It is being said by a great number of people in Scotland that the Prime Minister, who for so long objected to making a stand against aggression and who allowed nation after nation to be attacked by German Fascism is not and cannot be the man to lead the country in a war against Fascist aggression. That is being said with a measnure of support that would surprise many hon. Members. When a Prime Minister or any leading Cabinet Minister has embarked upon a certain policy and maintained that policy in the face of the severest criticism, and then within one week because of certain happenings has completely reversed his policy, it has always been the custom in the past, as far as I know, for that Minister to resign and make way for those who had accepted the policy desired by the nation. At the meetings which I have attended in Scotland—I am giving the House a fair account of what happened—there have been those who have supported the Government, but the majority of the people showed that they place no trust in the Prime Minister as the person to carry on a war against Fascist aggression. Because of his actions in the past, because of his continuous policy, they believe he is the wrong man to lead the nation at this time. They start off, therefore, with a deep-seated suspicion of the intentions of the present Prime Minister, and they have asked at many of these meetings that Scottish Members of the Labour party at least should make it clear that if the Prime Minister resigned, many of them would accept that as an indication that the Government were sincerely in earnest in opposing German Fascism.
I have little to say to-night—I may have a better opportunity in the future—with regard to the defences of Scotland. I recognise that that is a question that ought not to receive publicity such as would hurt the nation's interest, and I realise that it is a question that may he used by those who would attack our liberties, but there are one or two points to which I think I can address myself with complete freedom and with 731 the knowledge that in mentioning them they will not bring upon us any attack or any stronger effort from the other side. I can remember when the Chief Patronage Secretary stood up there and said, "We have made great progress with the defences of Scotland," when we had about two anti-aircraft units. Therefore, I demanded an adequate balloon barrage service for the second city of the Empire, a city that has the greatest seaports and the greatest docks in the country, a city that, placed in the centre of the nation, was bound to be important from the point of view of supplies, with its lines of communications running north and south, with its great shipbuilding industry, with its miles and miles of dockyards, with its heavy iron and steel industry within a comparatively small radius.
I want now to come to the question of air raid precautions in Scotland. I have placed many questions on the Order Paper with regard to the City of Glasgow in order to try and obtain information, because of the conflicting newspaper reports, reports which have conflicted completely with replies from the Home Secretary and the Lord Privy Seal, and I think it is time a stop was made to the people of that city being hoodwinked. We have a very difficult problem in Glasgow, and I fully realise that since questions have been put in this House, and since the Government's officers have been assisting the emergency committee in Glasgow, marked improvement has taken place, but I want to ask the Scottish Secretary to take every possible step to put a stop to these misleading, specious arguments that would indicate to the people of Glasgow that, so far as their air raid precautions are concerned, they have no need to worry and that they are now completely adequate, because, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, that is far from the truth. As marked improvement has been made since this matter was given publicity, I hope that in the early future we shall be able to say that in Glasgow this problem has been almost solved, but to carry on with the starting of so many schemes and having an inspection of one or two engineering works, and then to place paragraphs in the Press stating that the Home Office is thoroughly satisfied, but informing Members of the House by letter that they are thoroughly dissatisfied, is hoodwinking the people of 732 the country and is certainly not an asset in the defence of any city. Therefore, it ought to be made clear that the first thing to do is to let the people know what is required. If they know the real state of affairs, they can put their backs into the job instead of lying back and taking things easy because of a false sense of security.
I should also like to raise one or two questions with regard to Scottish contractors employed on Government work. I have had many approaches made to me by firms in Scotland who have had the workers' organisation and the plant to undertake many jobs on behalf of the Government. We have found very great difficulty in obtaining anything of the kind. I deprecate any attempt at separating the interests of the English people from those of the Scottish or the Welsh people, but if I do interrupt an hon. Member when he keeps on saying, "England this" and "England that," when he really means Britain, it is not from a false sense of Scottish nationalism, but merely from a sense of the rights of things, particularly when, as in this war, Scotland is receiving what I think is a very heavy share of the effects of the war. We do not ask for Scottish firms and businesses more than their share, but they do ask that the policy that many of the Departments have applied in the past, of selecting one or two big English firms, big London firms, and giving them, without asking for estimates in Scotland, contracts that could be efficiently done by men or businesses on the spot, that have proved themselves to the Government by past contracts to be capable, is a policy that ought to be departed from. Where possible—and I address myself on this question particularly to the Minister of Supply—the policy of handing over work in Scotland to huge English firms when it could be given to Scottish firms ought to be stopped immediately.
I can quote Abbotsinch, where some of the firms, the Minister of Labour may be interested to know, have a pay roll of £7,000, with a practically complete Scottish staff on the spot, firms that have done work for the Admiralty and for the War Office, and that have done quite a number of housing schemes in Scotland. Those firms desire to be allowed to participate in contracting for this type of work, but the representatives of a huge English concern, Mowlems, who did not send in a 733 tender, were handed a contract for Abbotsinch on a time-and-material basis, which means that, no matter what happened to the contractors, their profits were assured. Now, with regard to this contract, we know what has happened; we know that the ground is absolutely useless, that piles have been driven into the mud to try and make it a practicable scheme, and that money has been sunk completely and lost sight of, as the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) said, because of this failure and this handing over of a contract. If a Scottish contractor had been asked to tender and had been given a fair opportunity, being on the spot and knowing the conditions, he would have been able to advise and guide the Government with regard to such a contract.
I think the Scottish Secretary knows full well the truth of my statements with regard to that contract, and this has been happening all over Scotland. We have found, particularly with regard to the Bishopton ordnance factory, that Scottish business men have had to come down to London to plead with and even threaten some of the Government Departments in order to try and obtain work for the workers of Scotland. I know that to be the case, and I would ask the Government to note that in Scotland there are Scottish firms and businesses, the majority of whose employés pay rates there and stay in the locality, who ought to be given at least a fair opportunity of undertaking this work of national importance.
Finally, I want to ask the Government to take quicker steps or, I should say, longer steps towards settling the problem of children who have been returned from the evacuated areas in Scotland. I have had considerable contact with the Scottish Secretary on this question, and he knows my deep desire that mothers should realise that it is their duty to give their children the greatest protection that the Government offers. A large number of children have returned to Glasgow, where the evacuation scheme can be called a complete failure. Thousands of children are now running about the streets, some of them receiving only one hour's education a day in private houses and paying 3d. a month towards lighting and heating. Some of them are receiving education in churches. I ask that far more vigorous efforts should be made to establish the educational system again for these children and to take them off the streets.
734 I have raised these various points in the hope that the Government will view them seriously. I listened to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) appeal to the First Lord of the Admiralty, when he was referring to the heroism of the men who had undertaken the noble work of keeping the seas clear of magnetic mines, to remember these men in future. We have pleaded the question of old age pensioners, of soldiers' dependants and of the unemployed since the war began. We have raised the question of the evils of the social system as it is to-day. I say that unless the Government are prepared to make great concessions and to consider the pleadings of the Opposition, they will create a state of affairs in this country which they so fondly desire for Germany. We have been told that the German workers may revolt against their Government. I warn the Government of the feelings of distrust and suspicion against them which I have seen indicated at public meetings and at regular party meetings. If they do not undertake on the home front to give the people the decent things that they require, they will bring about a state of mind that will effectively keep them from carrying on the prosecution of the war in a successful manner. The Labour movement stands not only against aggression in foreign lands, but for the rights and privileges and the good conditions of the people of this country. The Government must do the same or they will fall. They will fall because they failed to realise that the people of this country and the British Empire deserve the conditions which they so idealistically advocate in their opposition to Fascist countries.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Dr. Little
I have admired the spirit in which this Debate has been conducted on both sides of the House. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Davidson) has struck such a bad patch. If he is not afraid of the submarines and will cross the Channel with me for a week-end, I will entertain him and take him through my constituency, the second largest, I understand, in the United Kingdom, where there are a great many people of Scottish extraction. Among those people there is deep-seated loyalty to the Government and the Prime Minister. They believe that the Prime Minister is the man whose hand should be on the 735 helm now, and they are prepared to follow him. There is no one there who will stand up to them and say otherwise. I am proud to say that in the House of Commons, and if the hon. Member will cross to Ulster I will show him loyalty as deep-seated as the disloyalty which he finds in Glasgow, especially among those of Scottish extraction.
This is not a time for factious criticism. It is a time for co-operation. I may not look at matters along the lines of some hon. Friends even on this side of the House, and I want to put my own viewpoint before the House. The patriarch Job was once snowed under with advice. The Government have been snowed under with advice during the past week. In Job's case Elihu intervened and said, "I have yet to speak on God's behalf." [Laughter.] It is not to be laughed at. We are helpless without God to-day. I want hon. Members on the other side and the Mover of the Amendment—whom I admire, and whose stand during these troublous days has been the admiration of all—to understand that on this side we are, just as much as they are, determined to use all our human and material resources to the full. More than that, we are just as determined to see that everyone, irrespective of class, receives an adequate share of the good things that God has provided. You do not find on the other side of the House alone those who are interested in the old age pensioners. We are just as much interested in them as any Member on the other side. Among old age pensioners I find many that are the very salt of God's earth and people who have spent themselves on behalf of God and their country. Many of them have worked for small wages, and I am convinced that they will not be left out and that the Government may even yet offer them a handsome Christmas box. Nothing will have my support more than that, for they deserve it.
It is in the interests of all that every effort should be put forth to win the war. There should be no pulling of some one way and of others another way. In this campaign the people of Northern Ireland under the Governor and the Prime Minister are heart and soul with the British Government. The ladies are no less heart and soul with them, led by the Duchess of 736 Abercorn and Viscountess Craigavon, and they are working for the comfort, wellbeing and happiness of the men who are standing between us and the enemy. There is no other part of the United Kingdom which would have given such a response without conscription to the call of King and country as Northern Ireland has done. We kicked against the Government refusing us conscription, but it has not in any way damped the ardour of our young men. They have rushed to the Colours and more are coming than can be taken in. I thank God for that. We are never wanting in the day of battle and never have been. The winning of the war will require the complete organisation of our resources, both human and material, by men of vision, wisdom and ability. We cannot afford to leave anything to chance, for that would mean the prolongation of the war and bitter disappointment to our people.
Surely it was not necessary to set forth in the King's Speech that the Government meant to carry on the war with all the resources at their command, because they are doing it. Members on the opposite side forget that the King's Speech is a war-time speech. We are no less determined to see that social reforms and all the other necessary things should get their proper place, but the outstanding need to-day is that we must stand up to the enemy and win the war. I am a believer in putting first things first. Let us remember that the Prime Minister and the Members of the Government do not set themselves up to be infallible. I have no faith in infallible people, either here or elsewhere. Over a wide-range war such as this mistakes may have occurred. I make mistakes myself and I have learned a lesson from them. Mistakes have occurred and will occur, but w e hope that the Government will profit by them and will work along the lines of keeping open minds and understanding hearts, and will rise to the occasion with prudence, discretion and understanding. Was it not Lord Tennyson who said:That men may rise on stepping-stones Of their dead selves to higher things.Even the Opposition can profit by that. Beyond question this House must see that a proper standard of life is maintained for the purpose of attaining a speedy victory over the enemy. Both at home and on the battle front there must be a feeling that the best is being done 737 for the well-being and comfort of all, and that the nation is determined to see this war through with as little inconvenience as possible to combatant and non-combatant alike. We must keep steadily before us that above and beyond everything else we should bend all our energies to the bringing of the war to a successful termination at the earliest possible moment. I believe that it will end sooner than some people expect, but I will not press that on the House. Towards attaining that desirable result our nation must bend all its energies to the utilisation of all its resources. It seems to me that at toe moment no purpose is being served by Eying kites as to peace and reconstructon. No human being has the slightest idea of the conditions that will prevail at the end of the war. Every day that passes unfolds to us a more and more complex situation, and what the conditions will be at the end of the war God alone knows. No human being does.
Therefore, let us bravely and valiantly do the job that lies to our hand and trust God to make clear to us how to unravel the tangled skein when peace broods again over our distracted world. When a family man takes it into his mind to erect a house, the first thing he does is to seek a good foundation. The second thing he does is to provide for the erection of the building. While iť is being erected he gives practically no thought to the furnishing of it, because he knows that when all is completed he must consult his wife and other members of the family. He is a wise man to do that. That is a lesson which we should learn. Let us make sure that the work in which we are engaged will issue in a glorious peace. Then, not by ourselves, but in co-operation with our allies and other nations, we shall set ourselves to find a settlement that will prove beneficial to all, irrespective of creed, class or nationality, based on the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ regarding peace, brotherhood and good will.
It is because we have losť sight of that teaching that we are in the predicament in which we find ourselves to-day. We want to get back to that teaching. Then, and not ťill then, shall our social problems be solved along the lines laid down by our great Master, and the people inhabitating the Continent of Europe, and I hope the world, become one concordant family in Christian brotherhood and love one for 738 another. We have made a wonderful efforť in rearmament by providing the weapons of war, but I regret to say that religious and moral rearmament has not at all kept pace with this material rearmament. We are confronted to-day wiťh a state of affairs on the Continent before which we stand, as it were, dumbfounded. The wisest and best statesmen are well nigh at ťheir wits' end. In a word, we are as a nation thrust back upon God absolutely. I want this nation and the Allies to do what that people did of old when they came to their wits' end. It tells us in the good Book:They cried unto the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them out of their distresses.I say on the Floor of this House, because I am convinced of it, that Britain is unbeatable, not because of our Army, our Navy or our Air Force by themselves—they all have their places—but because, I am convinced, God has work for this nation in the days to come which no other people on the face of the earth can accomplish. About a couple of weeks ago I sat down in the dining-room of this House and a young Member in khaki entered. I was proud to see him; I am sorry that I am too old for khaki myself. We began to talk and I said that it was wonderful to see the patience of God with nations like Germany. His reply was that it was wonderful to see the patience of God with Britain. The patience of God with Britain is wonderful, and you may depend upon it that God's patience is not yet exhausted. Therefore, let us trust in God and be not afraid as to the issue. As I look out upon Germany and Russia practising their deception, cunning and villainy with, as the patriarch Jacob said, "the instruments of cruelty in their habitations," and when I look upon ourselves and our Allies standing, as we believe before God, for truth, righteousness, justice and brotherhood upon the earth, those words from God's Book come home to me with a deep and present meaning:Fear not … I will help thee saith the Lord. … Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them any, and the whirlwind shall scatter them, and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.Nothing would please me better, and nothing would please millions of people in this United Kingdom better, than to see the first hour of the opening meeting of this House in the New Year turned into a great prayer meeting with you, Sir, 739 in the chair and with your chaplain leading the House to God's mercy seat in earnest, believing prayer. I believe that from that moment we should count the hours to victory, and not only to victory but to a new world of brotherly love, sympathy and good-fellowship. The fruits of such a victory would be enduring peace and a blessing to all, in which we in this House should be sharers.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Dunn
I do not propose to attempt to follow the hon. Member for Down (Dr. Little), because, in the first place, I am afraid that I should not prove nearly so eloquent as he has been. I am certain that in his heart of hearts he believes in the contribution that he has rendered to the Debate in this House, and I profoundly respect the expressions to which he has given utterance. I come to this House very much in the same spirit as the hon. Member, and I do not for a moment under-estimate his earnestness nor would I say a single word derogatory of the religious convictions which he holds. My purpose in coming into this Debate is neither to follow the line laid down by the hon. Member nor the line laid down by quite a number of hon. Members who have taken part in it, but merely to restate, at the risk of being charged with repetition, the claim which we on this side of the House make. In the first place I ask the Government to consider one or two of the irritating things which are disturbing the British people, because it is profoundly important, if we are to achieve the maximum of our war effort, to maintain the best spirit possible among our people. I think every Member of the House will agree that since this war broke out he has received double the number of letters he did before, and in my own case the number of letters I have received has risen by 300 per cent. The letters one receives from the people represent a point of view which should be put. The purpose of this House is to see that the views of the people are stated, so that Ministers of the Crown may know what the country is thinking.
Analysing the letters which come to me I find that they are chiefly occupied with the difficulties of the men who have gone into the Army. The complaint is not that they have been recruited, because many 740 have voluntarily joined the Army, the Navy or the Air Force, but the complaints are largely with respect to food, with respect to clothing, and with respect to pay. I say to the Minister in charge that it is an irritating thing that lads who have spent the whole of their working life apprenticed to a trade and who have voluntarily joined the Army or the Air Force should be kept four or five weeks on end without receiving any pay. That is one of the most disturbing matters which I have come across. One lad who has never earned a penny in his life, because his parents put him to a trade, voluntarily went into the Air Force, and at the end of four weeks had to write home in order to get a penny of spending money. Such irritations ought to be cleared out of the way as quickly as possible.
It was my unfortunate experience a week ago to-night to have to write a letter from this House to the first widow in my own district whose son had been killed. He lost his life in an accident while with the British Expeditionary Force in France. There is a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with the pay and allowances granted to people whose husbands and sons are in the Army. This was the case of a widow whose husband was killed in a coal mining accident two years ago. This boy was 23 years of age and was the main support of a widowed mother. The dissatisfaction to which I have referred exists because people do not understand, first, what is the rate of pension they will receive, and, secondly, do not understand how to proceed in order to get it. The Government ought to state clearly what the rates of pension will be, and the allowances should be adequate to maintain dependants in a state of decency.
Further, one still receives letters from old age pensioners. I know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought he had answered this point a week ago when he said that early in the New Year it was hoped that the report of the inquiry on the subject would be received. I know that he made certain veiled suggestions, but I could not help thinking that from what he said in that speech the Chancellor might well be described as the "Artful Dodger," so far as pensions and allowances are concerned. I put it frankly and fearlessly and make no apologies for doing so. The old age pensioners are expecting that even while the war is going 741 on their rates of pension will be increased, and that it will be done as quickly as possible. Further, if we are going to keep the industrial masses of the people quiet, secure the maximum war effort and win through in this war, rates of compensation must be increased, and that as quickly as possible. It is vital in the interests of winning this war and in the interests of unity in the nation that the needs of the people on the home front should be considered along the lines which have been laid down from time to time in this House.
§ 6.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison
The Amendment which has been moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) deals with three aspects of the matter under debate. One is the desirability of organising to the full our human and material resources. The second is the provision and maintenance of an adequate standard of life for all. The third is the solution, on the basis of social justice, of the problems which will arise on the return to peace. These three considerations really hang together, and a mistake is made when they are separated the one from the other. As a matter of fact, the aspect of the provision of an adequate standard of life for all and the solution of the social problems which will arise on the conclusion of peace cannot be tackled unless the first aspect of the opposition Amendment is dealt with, namely:proposals for organising to the full our human and material resources.It is clear that unless there is proper organisation of the material and human resources of the nation, social reform, public expenditure upon maintaining the proper life of the people and social justice are impossible.
The Minister of Health, in making the concluding speech of the Debate yesterday, gave a recital, as he was entitled to do, of the very substantial improvements in the social condition of the British people and in their housing conditions since the last war. He gave the facts as cheerfully as he could, but I am not disposed to quarrel with the essential facts which he gave to the House. It is the case that the standards of life of the masses of the people of our country have materially improved during the last 50 years, and that such social provision as the feeding and medical inspection of 742 school-children, maternity and child welfare—one of the cheapest and possibly most effective social services that have been developed since the last war—housing and slum clearance, which have moved at considerable pace in recent years, has greatly improved.
The Labour party has no cause to dispute or deny that, for we believe, rightly or wrongly, that our activities and efforts in local government and elsewhere, and our educational propaganda, are probably the greatest single cause of those social improvements. We shall not dispute that improvements have been made, but, great and beneficial as they have been, we are halted by the indisputable fact that, at a time when the mastery of man over material things and his scientific genius, inventive skill and organising capacity, are greater than they ever were before, and when our mastery and control of nature are more intensive than before, it is wrong and indefensible that there should be, among the masses of the people of our own country and other countries, great poverty, great insecurity and great social unhappiness. It is not bad, if there is a necessary shortage, for us to suffer and to share it. It is right that that should be so; but it is annoying and irritating when it is the case that we are suffering not a natural shortage in normal times, but shortage and poverty precisely because there is bounteous production in this country and in other countries. It is indefensible that agricultural people in our own land and other lands should experience hunger precisely because too much food has been produced. Those are facts which cannot be disputed, and they are not a credit to us as a nation, or to other nations as nations. We are asking the Government and the House of Commons to look into those elementary facts and to consider their bearings upon the war, upon the social condition of our people and upon the social future of our country and of the world.
The Minister of Health said with pride that evacuation has been a great social experiment and that largely it had been a success because people, particularly those in the reception areas, had responded to the appeal that there should be a spirit of sharing. It was strange to hear those words from a Conservative Minister of the Crown, when we have heard from such quarters that the whole doctrine of 743 sharing was disastrous and would bring the world to an end. Still, Conservative Ministers know how to use Socialist words when they are useful to them. They exploit them sometimes for ulterior ends. The Minister of Health, Conservative now, though he was a Fabian once, has told us that the successful evacuation owes much to the spirit of sharing in the reception areas.
What is the basic fact, in relation to the war effort, of the years which have passed since 1931? As regards preparation for the possibility of war, our first point is that from 1931 onwards, there was a change in foreign policy. I am not going to argue whether the change was right or wrong, but there was a move away from the collective organisation of peace, from the League of Nations and from economic co-operation among nations. I do not argue whether those things were right or wrong, but it was the fact. By 1933, 1934 and 1935, as the policy of Herr Hitler developed, it was abundantly clear that we were moving towards a dangerous situation and that there was quite a possibility that war would eventuate.
Two foreign policies might have been pursued. One was the collective organisation of peace and the building up and the making of a tidy world, coupled with British co-operation in whatever military provision might have been required; and there was the policy of semi-isolation. I do not argue which policy was right or was wrong, but whatever military and economic preparation for the possibility of war would have been needed in a policy of collective organisation of peace, it was clear that the policy of His Majesty's Government in foreign affairs, one of semi-isolation, needed British military and economic preparation for war. The fact should have been faced. Our complaint about the Government is that they prepared neither for the organisation of peace nor for the preparation for the war which their own policy was helping to make inevitable. Neither of those things was done.
By last year—by the year before last—it was becoming clear that unless Europe pulled together we were going, not to march into war, but to drift into one. At that point, the Government ought actively to have been preparing. The 744 Prime Minister ought already to have been choosing his Ministers on a basis of suitability for office in relation to this situation, but he was doing nothing of the kind. On the contrary, he was letting go some of his people, and he was putting in others who were certainly not better. I do not want to harrow the feelings of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Eden) but some were going out and others were coming in. If I were asked to say whether the choosing of the personnel of the Government in those years was based upon efficiency for peace-time work and the preparation for the possibility of war, I am bound to state that I cannot say so. How was it, for example, that Lord Stanhope was left as First Lord of the Admiralty right into the days of the war? I do not like to talk about persons because it is distasteful, but it must be done, and it is part of our duty. He has been in other offices. He may have his good points—I do not know—but if anybody on the other side of the House were to put his hand on his heart and ask himself, "Was Lord Stanhope a good man to make First Lord of the Admiralty?" the answer must be "No," and I say it was a public danger to put him into that office.
The war came. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) was brought in as First Lord of the Admiralty rather in consideration of force majeure and not from choice on the part of the Prime Minister. If it was right that the right hon. Gentleman should be First Lord when the war broke out, surely he should have been First Lord before. My opinion is that the disaster at Scapa Flow would not have happened if Lord Stanhope had been removed earlier than he was. I only wish to say that in my judgment the Prime Minister, although I do not say he is the first one who has done so, has made profound mistakes in choosing his Ministers in the critical years.
In the course of the preparation there was no adequate consultation with great industrial leaders and organisers and trade union leaders for the purpose of considering a skeleton scheme for the wartime organisation of industry. It ought to have been done. There are brains to be found in the capitalist world; there are not as many as I would like, but they are there and the Government should have obtained them, used them and exploited them for the economic good of the country 745 in war as well as in peace. In the ranks of the trade union leaders there is considerable economic knowledge, because the trade union leader of to-day has a much more complex and ticklish job than he had 20 years ago. He has to be familiar with the economics of industry, otherwise he is of no use.
When the war came there had to be quite a row on this side of the House before real efforts were made to see that trade union leaders were not treated on a long-distance basis but were brought in on the ground floor. There was some vague scheme of registration of professional and technical people at the Ministry of Labour, but it ought to have been done properly. It is not enough to put them on a register. They should have been seen and the State should have been ready to give the suitable ones war work when the war came. So was it with the organisation of labour, although I admit that a schedule of reserved occupations was prepared some weeks before the outbreak of war. The financial, economic and industrial preparation for the possibility of war should have been brought to an advanced stage so that it was ready to move with speed and precision if and when the calamity came. The trouble of the Government was—and I am a little apprehensive that it remains—that it was instinctively averse to proper economic and industrial preparation, and the whole idea of planning the economics and industry of a nation for the good of the people was foreign to the Conservative mind. As long as that is so you really cannot be efficient in the duties of government either in times of peace or of war.
I will now come to the mobilisation of our human resources. I agree there have been big changes and efforts and considerable things have been done, but nobody with experience and nobody who meets people outside who are concerned with these things will say that we have a proper degree of organisation of these things at the present time. The Prime Minister is still making funny choices for his Ministers. Let me say this in all friendship and respect, because I have a warm regard for the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Shipping. I had official relations with him when he was Home Secretary and never could he have been more courteous. There is not a Member of this House more 746 fully respected as a man than the right hon. Gentleman, but if you are choosing a Minister of Shipping with ships being attacked by submarines and blown up, and with the whole tricky business of the mobilisation of the Mercantile Marine, it is just elementary idiocy to make a choice of that kind. It is not only the mistake with which I am concerned but the state of mind of the Prime Minister who was capable of making that mistake. He has his qualities, but such mistakes are dangerous to the nation in time of war.
The same mistake was made with another admirable man—quite suitable I should think as a Lord Chancellor—the Minister of Information. He is fair-minded, judicial and public-spirited. The entry of the Lord Privy Seal at this moment reminds me of another mistake. The right hon. Gentleman the present Lord Privy Seal created the structure and made the machine. Both he and the Minister of Information have fine qualities. I am not going to engage in a slanging match with the right hon. Gentleman, the Lord Privy Seal, or with his Noble Friend in another place. They have qualities but they are not the qualities for the organisation of propaganda and information. The actual organisation of that Ministry and the misuse of man-power was simply shocking. Nobody could have looked at the list which was published in the "Times" without coming to the conclusion that some of those appointments were wrong. I am not sure that some of those appointments were not worse than wrong. I hope journalists will forgive me for saying this, but on balance advertising and publicity men as such are even more entitled to consideration than journalists because the modern advertising man has to create an idea or a doctrine and "get it over." The journalist has his job to do, too, and both are vital. The advertising men were hardly used and the journalists were not adequately used.
I would say again with regard to industrial leaders and trade union leaders that inadequate use has been made of them also, and the same applies to technicians. All sorts of people who are not: fitted for jobs want them, and we should beware of them, I agree, but there are people with technical, administrative and industrial ability who want to serve the State and who are being kept hanging about and nobody can fit them in. It is 747 even the case with able men who are suited for specialist service in the service departments of the armed Forces of the Crown, some of whom have given up their jobs because they expected to be called up shortly and are being kept hanging about. This is not the sort of war that you can fight as if it were the Crimean War or the Boer War. It is a modern war. It is a large-scale war, and it is essential that our Government shall maintain its efficiency at a high point in the prosecution of that war.
Nor is it to our credit, in fact it is a reflection on our preparations, that 1,400,000 unemployed exist. The Minister of Labour broadcast the other night. I gather that there is great competition among Ministers for broadcasting facilities, but I think the right hon. Gentleman has had his share—I should be surprised if he had not, for I know that the National Liberals can look after themselves. I do not dispute the defence which the right hon. Gentleman made, so far as it goes. I quite agree that in connection with these figures there are rapid transitions from one job to another to be considered. That is a fair point. I remember that Mr. J. H. Thomas drew attention to that when he was Lord Privy Seal and was responsible for dealing with unemployment, in the Labour Government; and, if I remember rightly, the present Minister of Labour would not believe a word of it. But, after three months of war, there are 1,400,000 registered unemployed with nothing to do—and that is not all the unemployed; there are some others. The Lord Privy Seal said yesterday that it did not surprise him a bit that the figures went up by 200,000 in the first months of the war. That is all very fine, but both the Minister of Labour and the Lord Privy Seal ignore the fact that there is this figure of 1,400,000 unemployed after 1,250,000 men have been mobilised for military service and another 1,250,000 have been mobilised for Civil Defence—2,500,000 mobilised for military and Civil Defence, and there are still 1,400,000 unemployed left. It is not creditable.
Probably the British people have the greatest aptitude of any people of a Great Power for public administration. It is not that we cannot organise, it is not that we cannot administer; we can. But, after 2,500,000 748 people have been mobilised for national service, it is a reflection on our capacity that there should be 1,400,000 still without work, especially when it is known that in some branches of production for military purposes production is not adequate, not what it should be. The Lord Privy Seal said that he quite agreed that his right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour would have to get on training people so that ťhey would be fit for the various jobs for which they were needed in connection with Supply. If we are going to do it now, after three months of war, why could it not have been done before the war? Why did we not set about being ready for the possibilities? Even if the war had not come—and we should all have been delighted if it had not—it would have been a good thing for the unemployed to be trained for certain things; and I am sure it could have been settled with the trade unions, notwithstanding the apprehension that they might legitimately have had. The Lord Privy Seal said that in the new year jobs will be looking for men. I hope that that is true. I just want to place it on record that he said that; I would ask the Minister of Labour to remember it, and I would ask my hon. Friends ťo put down questions about February in order to find out whether that has happened.
After human resources I come to material resources. Before the war we were not planning our material resources. If we had been, our people could have been better off economically; they could have been having a better standard of life, and we could have been infinitely more ready for the possibilities of a war than we are. I am not going to deny that things are better in this respect than they were in 1914; they are considerably better; but that comparison with 1914 is not good enough. To prove that since ťhe war began there has been a steady improvement in production is not good enough. When I listened yesterday to the figures that the Lord Privy Seal gave, in order to show a sťeady improvement and that things were better than in 1914, I began to wonder what would have happened if the blitzkrieg had really come at the beginning of the war—because that is what we needed to be ready for. As it happened, because of the martyrdom of Poland, combined with the politics of Herr Hitler, which may have affected his military judgment—if he has any—our 749 time has not yet come. But it might have happened that Germany would have given us the blitzkrieg at the time that they were attacking Poland, and I cannot see, after the confessions of the Lord Privy Seal yesterday, that our country would have been ready for the large-scale trouble that would have befallen us. Obviously, military and economic preparations ought to have been made during the last three to five years on the basis that danger might have come upon us, swift and sweeping, out of the dark. Yet at the outbreak of the war we had unused factories—many of them—unused labour—hundreds of thousands—and we have plenty still.
We have heard the defence of the Lord Privy Seal. He compares January, 1939, with January, 1940. That is not a legitimate comparison. It shows a wrong state of mind to make this comparison between the first month of a year of European peace and the first month of a year which will open with us at war. He says that the Ministry of Supply have placed, orders for £195,000,000, but the question is how soon the deliveries of that £195,000,000's worth of supply are to be made. He started then to speak—but stopped—about aircraft production. I am not going to press him to give figures that he ought not to give; possibly we can have them next week. He said that aircraft production will end in being double the September output, though we do not know when that doubling will come about—the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps rightly, did not tell us. But is the House going to be content with doubling at some unknown date in the future our output of the beginning of the war? This is a war in which the Navy is playing a great and worthy part, suffering a great strain, and in which the Army, so far, has not suffered the heavy strain that it did in the early days of the last war. It may be that that will change, but if there is one thing more certain than anything else, it is that the one element in which, for the sake of our security, we cannot afford to run any risks is the air. It can almost be said that we cannot have too much aircraft. We may need it very badly before we are through, for defensive purposes at home and in the field, and perhaps for offensive purposes as well. I do not like the frame of mind which leads to our being told that at some 750 time—we do not know when—we shall double the September output of aircraft.
I come to the aspect of economic coordination. There are many State departments concerned with economic affairs. I suppose that they may have been round about doubled since the war began. We sometimes have a habit of multiplying State departments, thinking that we shall solve things by merely setting up a State department or a Government Department under another name, but I will not argue about that. It is the case that many departments are concerned with economic affairs. I have no doubt that there is a reasonable liaison between them so that they do not overlap and fall over each other more than can be avoided, but we cannot say that the Government have an economic collective mind. We cannot say that all these economic and financial considerations are being pieced together, and I do not believe in a mere Cabinet Committee under the chairmanship of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—another wrong man in the wrong place. This sort of thing is not in his line. He, again, has qualities—I will not describe them—but he is not the right type of man for the really vast and absorbing task of formulating a comprehensive British economic policy in the pursuit of the war. Lord Stamp assists him, but the House has already discussed the many counter-attractions for the activities of Lord Stamp.
I am inclined to think—I speak for myself—that we need a new Board of Trade and one divested of all its specific functions of industrial trade regulation. That Department ought not to be concerned with the control of individual industries or the regulation of individual trades. It ought to be a Board of Trade, a real economic thinking and planning Department of the Government, adequately and properly staffed for that purpose. Do not let the House have any illusion; the Board of Trade has never been an economic planning and thinking Department. It has been a Department which has lived from day to day according to the administrative problems that have come before it. Many of the things that ought to be settled now ought to have been settled before the war began, or ought to have been thought about at any rate, or have reached a definite stage towards settlement, such as, for example, the rates of interest on loans, the method of rais- 751 ing loans, and whether it might be necessary or expedient to apply compulsion at some stage if necessary in the raising of loans. We have not had that.
The Lord Privy Seal last night got into a terrible state on the Government's economic policy about two things. He said that at the beginning the doctrine was to spend wisely and save rigidly, but that now it had been altered to "Spend rigidly and save wisely." There was a conflict of advice between that given by him and that given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and both sets of advice came from the Treasury. That means that there was no clear thinking even in the early days of the war, let alone before the war broke out. I do not know now whether we ought to consume only four ounces of butter or more. We shall know in the New Year, but ought we now to be using four ounces or not? I do not know. Nobody has told us. The Government go hither and thither according to the latest dictates from Fleet Street. They are terribly afraid. They ought not to be. If they took the right action they could defy all the newspapers, but they go all over the place according to the pressure that somebody is bringing against them at the moment. There is a tendency in economic policy for them to preserve the profits of all the middlemen. If a man made x profit before the war, they have to see that he goes on making his profit. It may be that war organisation means that he ought to be wiped out altogether and that he has no real economic function in war at all. Give him something else to do; do not waste him. But the Government—and I speak from experience—seem to preserve all the profit-makers of the past on the ground of, once a profit-maker, always a profit-maker. The Conservative party cannot eliminate him and so make more simple the economic problems of the war.
The export trade problem is also a matter of some anxiety, and on that I am not sure that the Government are clear as to where they want to go. May I make one reference to our relations with France. There has been a decision of the Supreme Council, which the Prime Minister attended, as to the economic relationship between us and France. I suggest to the Government in all seriousness that they might consider whether the economic co-operation with the 752 Government of France could not be made closer in the use of credits, in gold reserves and so on. There is one bigger thing that I would like the Prime Minister to consider. France and we are working very closely together in this war. Our economic relationship is close and our military arrangements are close. Is it not worth while to consider whether Customs and protective duties between these countries could be abolished for the period of the war. Is it not worth considering whether a Customs union could not be made with France? It might be the beginning of bigger and wider things for the benefit of the world. That possibility ought to be considered by His Majesty's Government and the Government of France.
I would like the Dominions Secretary to tell us whether His Majesty's Government have definitely decided whether social reform must be postponed during the progress of the war? I am conscious of the difficulties of finance, and that has to be considered, but I would like to know whether the Government take the view that it is impossible to think about social improvement and social change; whether, for example, housing must be definitely postponed for the whole period of the war, or whether they have an open mind as to the possibility of beginning housing, if it becomes economic from the point of view of labour? Is there any hope for the old age pensioners to get an improvement in their pension? The Government ought not to turn a blank mind to all these things. With regard to certain matters for the future which are connected with the present, the Minister of Health or the Lord Privy Seal said yesterday that we cannot bother much about the future; we have our hands full for the present. I appreciate that fact. We would be unreasonable if we did not, but I beg of the Government to appreciate that the future is bound up with the present. It may be that, if their arrangements and organisation at present take account of the future, all this war organisation can be turned into a blessing at the end of the war.
We are asking that the Government, in their current activities, will think of the future, and will try to shape their war activities in such a way that in the future we can readily transform ourselves into a condition of peace, just as we ought readily to have been able to transform 753 ourselves into a condition of war. What is going to happen to the war factories now being created? Are they going to be destroyed or sold after the war, as they were at the end of the last war? Are the Government considering the question of the economic organisation of the nation after the war, or will they do so as near as they can? Are they considering education, town and country planning, the distribution of industry, the organisation of local government, employment, trade and industry, and the general mastery of the nation over material things by which we can provide a good time for our people if we wisely organise these material things? It may well be the case of a choice between ordered and constructive change or violent revolution. As far as we are concerned, in the interests of our people and of the good name of the country, we prefer ordered change to violent revolution. If violent revolution is to be avoided then it is vitally important that that ordered change should be provided for and planned.
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs to give us some concrete answers to the points that have been raised during the Debate by hon. Members on this side and in other parts of the House. I beg of him not to think that these things can be solved by pleasant and high-sounding phrases. I heard the right hon. Gentleman on the wireless early in the war, and some of the sentiments he expressed were admirable. I heard the Lord Privy Seal last night. He urged that there should be co-operation in all sorts of directions, co-operation between town and village, between class and class and the promotion of a spirit of community of interests. Those are fine words, but words are useless without action. We have to re-order things if these words are to become true.
Another phrase that we hear much about is that of a new world. Certainly, we want a new world, and we want to know from the Government what they have clone and what they are going to do to make and to build the new world. How are they going to act? What is the prospect if we get through this war successfully, as we all believe we shall. Do not let anything that I have said or that any of my hon. Friends have said give the impression that we have any lack of confidence in the triumph of the cause 754 of our country and of righteousness at the end of this war. We have no lack of faith in that. But let us face the fact that when the war is over there can be no permanent peace for the world unless there is prosperity for the world. Poverty, bad trade, and the insecurity of nations have been the biggest single causes of war. Let us face the fact also that this is a much smaller world than it was before. Therefore we can do things more quickly with other nations. The possibilities of international co-operation are greater. I have had the privilege to-day of broadcasting to the British Empire. Other hon. Members have done the same. Communications are better, distances are shorter. The technique of administration is vastly improved.
The Government was in a position when the so-called peace offer came from Hitler, to get at once into touch with the feeling of His Majesty's Dominions scattered all over the world. That means that the old world of separate 100 per cent. independent sovereign States does not correspond to the realities of modern communities and to the modern technique of administration, and we must be willing to give up some of these sovereignties in order to make the world better. The truth is that we have been living in an age of world revolution. It started in the West, with all these inventions of the motor car, the aeroplane, the radio, electricity in its various forms, modern transport, and so on. It has been a technical revolution in the knowledge of man, and it is steadily increasing the grasp of the mind of man over material things.
The world revolution that people have talked about has been a fact throughout the century in which we are now living. The revolution, as I have said, started in the West. It got to the East, but things have gone wrong there. The East, however, has done much for collectivism and the better control of economic things. Russia, for example, has shown the possibilities of collectivism even in its backward state. The tragedy of the world revolution that got to the East was that when it went there it was accompanied by a denial of the rights of man. Is it not the purpose of all this material change that the individual should be elevated in the pro- 755 cess? We want the world revolution to come back to the West. We want again to be the pioneers of human progress, human development and human emancipation. I believe that our country can play an enormous part in the creation of a rational world, of a sensible world, in which we are no longer the victims of plenty but in which the mind, the wisdom, the good sense of man has made it possible for all humanity to live in security and decency.
§ 7.46 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Eden)
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) has given us a characteristic speech, and an extremely fluent one. I do not think that hon. Members on this side of the House will complain greatly of the manner in which his criticism was presented. Once or twice as I listened to him it seemed to me that he contradicted himself a little. He admitted that there has been an improvement in world conditions, and in particular in the social conditions of this country, since the late war. With becoming modesty, he took credit for that state of affairs upon himself and his colleagues in the Socialist party, for he said they had managed to drive reluctant Governments to good deeds which, but for the inspiration of the Opposition, they never would have thought of. It is just conceivable—but the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I say it is highly improbable—that the historian of the future will endorse that diagnosis. If that be accurate, it was hardly fair that in the same breath he charged us with paying attention to criticisms in our actual conduct of the war. It was apparently only right to listen to suggestions or to give heed to criticisms when they came from the benches opposite. As I listened to the right hon. Gentleman, I felt sure that he thought there was one easy remedy for all these ills, and that was to substitute himself and his hon. Friends on the benches opposite for those who occupy these benches. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear hear."] I am not in the least surprised that that sentiment should be so heartily endorsed by hon. Members opposite, and they will perhaps not complain that the majority of the House for the moment do not take that view. Therefore, in consequence, our discussion 756 of that aspect of the matter is a somewhat barren one.
Before I ask the House to come to the terms of the Amendment, there is one other comment that I must make. The right hon. Member devoted some of his speech to dealing with personalities and said he found it very embarrassing. I am bound to say that I never found anybody enjoy embarrassment more, but I can assure him that it would be embarrassing to me, and, therefore, I do not propose to follow him in that course. I should like to answer one further comment which the right hon. Gentleman made. He complained that the Minister of Health, speaking of the success of the evacuation scheme, said that it was an example of the spirit of sharing. I think my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health chose a very good phrase to describe the success of that scheme, and I think we must all of us appreciate the fact that if we are to win through successfully in the struggle in which we are engaged, that same spirit of sharing must be shown in every other aspect of our war effort. I do not suggest for a minute, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not contend, that that phrase applies to any one particular party.
The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), when moving the Amendment yesterday, told us that the war would shake many strongly-held views. I fear that this war will do very much more than that. The war will bring about changes which may be fundamental and revolutionary in the economic and social life of this country. On that we are all agreed. In fact, every war has done so, and since the rise of industry in the modern sense of the term the upheaval has been all the greater. We saw this after the Crimea, a minor war for this nation as compared with the one that we are fighting now. It brought about a complete reform of the War Office, but, fortunately, we can do that now without a war. It brought about other changes. It brought about the beginning of our medical system and the beginning of the nursing system in this country. Again, the Boer War disclosed the poor standard of health of the recruits; it brought home to all concerned the standard of health at that time. The physical standard which was then disclosed resulted in the begin- 757 ning of the school medical service. So it was in the last war.
The reason why we quote the last war is not to draw comparisons in the sense of saying that because the position is better than it was in the last war it is good enough. That is not the point. The point is to remind hon. Members of the many changes brought about in the course of war and, as a result of war, in the actual operation of government. In the course of the last war the Council of Industry was set up; there was no Ministry of Health and no Ministry of Labour. It is hard to believe that the Minister of Labour, whose genial presence is rarely absent from this bench, was then engaged on an even more contentious occupation. Nor had we a Trades Union Congress. [Interruption.] Perhaps hon. Members opposite will not dispute that the last war brought about changes in the organisation of industry. Not a single industry before the war was organised as an industry to act as a unit. The war brought that about. I am mentioning these examples to show that changes are inevitable and that in this war, as it proceeds, changes will be brought about in our economic, national, and social structure. When we are asked to forecast exactly what these changes will be, no Government is able to do that.
The truth is that war presents an audit of the nation; it exposes weaknesses ruthlessly and brutally, and this war is going to do that too. These weaknesses will call for changes. But there is one contrast which I think hon. Members will already have noticed, in which we can take comfort, and that is the improvement in our social services, of which the right hon. Gentleman rightly spoke. Anybody who knew the average battalion of the new armies in the last war, say K.1 and K.2, and compares the physique of the men then with the physique of the average Territorial battalion of to-day, cannot help being impressed by the change that has taken place. I have had it from an officer whom I respect very greatly, and who has had exceptional opportunities for judging, that in his view the German Army of to-day is physically, as well as in other respects, below the standard of the German Army of 1914. That may be true, but the opposite is true of our own, and I think it is an example which we can take to show that under our Parliamentary Government we 758 can achieve results which are better than those achieved by the dragooning methods of Germany. It is said that it is never wise to under-rate your enemy's strength. There is an old Turkish proverb which says, "If your enemy be an ant, imagine that he is an elephant." For the purposes of war, that is not a bad proverb, but at the same time we can occasionally take note of encouraging contrasts, such as this.
The Amendment urges us to organise to the full our human and material resources. If we are to do that, there are three factors which we must call into play. We have to use the most advanced technical knowledge. For that, we are not ill-placed. We have the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Medical Research Council, but despite their help we can be quite sure that the war will set us many new technical problems and that further research and co-ordination will be necessary. The second factor is the machinery of government. However much we know, an efficient use of that knowledge is vital. There, too, will anybody doubt that the war is going to bring changes? It will make reforms necessary. We have a Civil Service which is unsurpassed and unrivalled in the world, but some of the methods which are in use to-day date from the time when the tasks of government were almost exclusively tasks of regulation and when there was little need for the flexibility and initiative that are called for to-day. There again as this war proceeds there will be a call for a new technique and new methods, as there was during the last war, and I ask the House to believe that the Government are not by any means blind to these considerations.
The third factor which I thought the right hon. Gentleman should have stressed a little more is the rights of the individual, and here I think we need to keep on our guard. It will be true to say that by more vigorous and more ruthless methods, by entirely disregarding individual rights, you could organise the State more successfully and more rapidly and thoroughly than by our own methods, in which we try to take some account of individual rights and responsibilities. You have to choose whether it is better to dragoon or to seek co-operation. We believe in the latter. Let me give an example to the House—the way in which this country has now 759 accepted compulsory national service, the way in which it has accepted the heavy burdens put upon it financially, and yet at the same time has maintained, through the Opposition and through other means, an active and indeed a healthy criticism. That combination is exactly an example of how order and freedom can be reconciled. It seems to me that the problem which any self-governing people has to solve in war is how to achieve the maximum efficiency from collective service without endangering the essential rights of the individual.
The Amendment refers to the standard of life, and the right hon. Member for South Hackney also referred to that. The Government entirely agree that to cut down standards does not make for greater efficiency, and it is neither the desire nor the intention of the Government to cut down standards. As regards social reforms, about which the right hon. Gentleman asked, there is no closed mind on these benches to that issue. But it is fair and reasonable to say that we shall have to judge, as matters develop and as hostilities develop, on the basis of the conditions in which we find ourselves.
The hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) made a remarkable speech earlier in the evening, and I want to answer one of her questions. She asked, quite rightly, whether the Government were considering how to handle the question of nutrition, especially for the children, during the war period; our warships, she said, kept the seas clear, but were we making the best use of the products brought to us? I can tell the hon. Lady that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland are already in communication with leading authorities—Sir John Orr and others—on the subject of nutrition, for the precise purpose of trying to see how best we can ensure good results in respect of nutrition during the war period. I can tell the hon. Lady that the Government recognise the immense importance of this subject. In all those respects we are in agreement, but where I have to part company with the hon. Lady, and with many hon. Members opposite, is in this: We cannot at a time like this—and I do not think hon. Members opposite would ask us— attempt to justify an increase of any non-essential nature, when we have to use all our 760 resources for victory; at a time, I would ask the House to remember, when our French Ally is undergoing very severe restrictions as a result of the war.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield, in the Debate yesterday, said that the Prime Minister's view, according to his own submission only a week ago, was that we must wait until the war is over before we can even begin to think about the future. As a matter of fact, my right hon. Friend did not say anything of the sort. I think he would be justified in saying, like a character in one of George Eliot's books, "Don't you go a-swallering my words and bringing them up again as if they were none the worse for the process." The words were very much the worse for the process. What my right hon. Friend said was that he was not prepared at this moment to put forward detailed plans. He did not say that the Government were not thinking about the subject; he did not say that because, in fact, they are. That is the very opposite of what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield said was true. We do not say at this time that the moment may not come in the course of the war itself when we may think it right to put forward detailed plans of economic reconstruction. That may happen. What we cannot do at the outset of the war is to bind ourselves to detailed plans now and promise to lay them in the immediate future. I think the whole House will appreciate the reasonableness of that attitude. We welcome the fact that there should be discussion now of these probelms of post-war reconstruction.
My hon. Friend the Member for Walsall (Sir G. Schuster), in a speech which deserved an infinitely larger House to listen to it, put forward some very important ideas on the subject of world economic co-operation. He made one suggestion. He said that it would be very helpful to some hon. Members if they could put some of their ideas to the Government's economic advisers and to Lord Stamp, in particular. My hon. Friend said that he did not wish to argue with Lord Stamp or to ask him to state his point of view, but that if Members could so express themselves to Lord Stamp, it would be helpful. I can tell my hon. Friend that the Government will gladly consider whether something of that kind can be worked out. Therefore, in the economic sphere there is not much 761 division between us. We have, for instance, in the Anglo-French Economic Agreement, which the right hon. Gentleman opposite rightly quoted, an example which may lead to very important results in the future. No one can tell yet—the thing is only at a beginning—but it is one example of those developments in war time which may have important results.
May I now say a word or two about another aspect of our present war effort? Much as I agree with the suggestions which have been made in the Debate about how we are to make our post-war effort, it seems to me to be essential that we should remember that, before we can do any of these things or hope to do them, we have to win the victory, and that the task is going to be a formidable one. Hitler himself is not a phenomenon; he is a symptom; he is the Prussian spirit of military domination come up again. National-Socialism was originally conceived in militarism, and it believes only in force. From the beginning, it has organised its people for war. It is the most barren creed that was ever put before mankind. Therefore, if it is allowed to triumph, there will be no future for civilisation, no future for our debates, no future for our suggestions, and no future for the suggestions that have been made by hon. Members opposite. It is that realisation, I believe, which has brought unity to our own people, and, what is even more remarkable, has brought complete unity of effort to all the peoples of the British Commonwealth.
In the five minutes before I close my speech, I would like to say a word or two about that effort, for even now it is not perhaps altogether understood here. You may take one of the smallest of the lands that form part of the British Empire, Newfoundland, and you will find that from there already some hundreds of men are on their way to join the Royal Navy here and to play their part as in the last war. Take another country, small in white population, Southern Rhodesia, a self-governing Colony, has already sent numbers of trained white men for military service outside the Colony, and has hundreds of others ready or in training. In addition, Southern Rhodesia has also offered us three squadrons for the Air Force, and 762 one of them is now in service in another part of Africa. Go from there to the greater Dominions. The Union of South Africa is making ready. We are assured of her full co-operation within the limits laid down by General Smuts, her Prime Minister. Her air patrols are helping us now on the seas round the South African coasts, and recently they were successful in intercepting a German ship.
Turn to the naval sphere generally. Each one of the Dominions has made the whole of its naval resources available to work in co-operation with the Admiralty. For some, it has meant leaving their own home waters and being several thousands of miles away from their own countries. I know that my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty would be the first to pay a tribute to what that cooperation has meant. On land, we shall see very soon soldiers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand in those fields of war in which they won imperishable fame some 25 years ago. If we turn to the air, hon. Members of this House who are in the Air Force will know that a large part of our Air Force to-day consists of personnel from the Dominions. Over and above that, the new Dominions air training scheme is going to bring to our help not hundreds but thousands of Dominion pilots and air crews as the scheme develops.
All those examples mean something which we should try to understand. What is the cause of this movement? It is not merely loyalty and sentiment. It is not even only the desire to overthrow Hitler, laudable as that is. It is based, as I believe, on a positive faith, and that positive faith is in Parliamentary government by a free community. In that spirit, which, I assure the House, I find daily in the work that I have to do now, lies our certainty of ultimately winning this conflict. In the future, it may be, the machinery of Parliament will change; it is certain that the personalities will change. But that spirit is what must live on, and it is that spirit which will ensure a better and braver world for the generations to come.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 125; Noes, 303.765
|Division No. 2.]||AYES.||[8.15 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir R. T. D.||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Noel-Baker, P. J.|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Hardie, Agnes||Paling, W.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Harris, Sir P. A.||Parker, J.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Hayday, A.||Pearson, A.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Ammon, C. G.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Price, M. P.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hicks, E. G.||Pritt, D. N.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Hollins, A.||Ridley, G.|
|Beaumont, H. (Batley)||Horabin, T. L.||Riley, B.|
|Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Isaacs, G. A.||Ritson, J.|
|Benton, G.||Jackson, W. F.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Bevan, A.||Jagger, J.||Sexton. T. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Shinwell, E.|
|Cape, T.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Silkin, L.|
|Chater, D.||John, W.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Cooke, F. S.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Collindridge, F.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Daggar, G.||Kirkwood, D.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Dalton, H.||Lathan, G.||Thurtle, E|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Lawson, J. J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Leach, W.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Dobbie, W.||Lee, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Leonard, W.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Ede, J. C.||Leslie, J. R.||Walker, J.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Logan, D. G.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Lunn, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Westwood, J.|
|Frankel, D.||McEntee, V. La T.||White, H. Graham|
|Gardner, B. W.||Maclean, N.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Gibbins, J.||Mander, G. le M.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Marshall, F.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Mathers, G.||Wilmot, John|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Milner, Major J.||Windsor. W. (Hull, C.)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Montague, F.||Woodburn, A.|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster)||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Griffiths. J. (Llanelly)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Muff, G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Naylor, T. E.||Mr. Charleton and Mr. R. J.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Brown, Brig.-Gen H. C. (Newbury)||Davies, C. (Montgomery)|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)|
|Alexander, Brig.-Gen. Sir W.||Bull, B. B.||De Chair, S. S.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Burghley, Lord||De la Bère, R.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Burton, Col. H. W.||Denville, Alfred|
|Andereon, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Se'h Univ's)||Butcher, H. W.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.||Dodd, J. S.|
|Assheton, R.||Campbell, Sir E. T.||Doland, G. F.|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Carver, Maior W H.||Donner, P. W.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb'l'n)||Dower, Lieut.-Col. A. V. G.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Channon, H.||Drewe, C.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Dugdale, Captain T. L.|
|Balniel, Lord||Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Duggan, H. J.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Clarry, Sir Reginald||Duncan, J. A. L.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Colfox, Major Sir W. P.||Eastwood, J. F.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Colman, N. C. D.||Eckersley, P. T.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Colville, Rt. Hon. John||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Edmondson. Major Sir J.|
|Bernays, R. H||Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Ellis, Sir G.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Emery, J. F.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Emmott, C. E. G. C|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cox, H. B. Trevor||Entwistle, Sir C F.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Cranborne, Viscount||Evans, Colonel A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Everard, Sir William Lindsay|
|Boyee, H. Leslie||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Bracken, B.||Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Fox, Sir G. W. G.|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)||Crooks hank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Capt. R. G.||Crowder, J. F. E.||Fyfe, D. P. M.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Cruddas, Col. B.||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.)||Culverwell, C. T.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.|
|Gledhill, G.||Lyons, A. M.||Scott, Lord William|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||Mabana, W. (Huddersfield)||Selley, H. R.|
|Gower, Sir R. V.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||M'Connell, Sir J.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Grant-Ferris, Flight-Lieutenant R.||MeCorquodale, M. S.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||MacDanald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Gridley, Sir A. B.||Macdonald, Capt. T. (Isle of Wight)||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Grimston, R. V.||McKie, J. H.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Macquisten, F. A.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.||Magnay, T.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Hambro, A. V.||Maitland, Sir Adam||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald|
|Hannah. I. C.||Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest||Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)|
|Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Harbord, Sir A.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Han. H. D. R.||Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Markham, S. F.||Spens, W. P.|
|Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)|
|Hely-Hutohinson, M. R.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Medlicott, Captain F.||Storey, S.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Bushan-||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Higgs, W. F.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Mitchell, Col. H. (Brentf'd & Chisw'k)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Holdsworth, H.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Holmes. J. S.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge)||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Thomas, J. P. L.|
|Hulbert, Squadron-Leader N. J.||Munro, P.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Titchfield, Marquess of|
|Hunter, T.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Touche, G. C.|
|Hurd, Sir P. A.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||Train, Sir J.|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Jennings, R.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Joel, D. J. B.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Peake, O.||Turton, R. H.|
|Junes, L. (Swansea W.)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Keeling, E. H.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Kellett, Major E. O.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Procter, Major H. A.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Kerr, Sir John Graham (Sco'sh Univs.)||Purbrick, R,||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Pym, L. R.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Kimball, L.||Radford, E. A.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H.||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. Harvie|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Rankin, Sir R.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Rathbona, J. R. (Bodmin)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Lancaster, Lieut.-Colonel C. G.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Wells, Sir Sydney|
|Leech, Sir J. W.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Weston, W. G.|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||White, Sir R. D. (Fareham)|
|Leigh, Sir J.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Rowlands, G.||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Levy, T.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Lewis, O.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Llddall, W. S.||Russell, Sir Alexander||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Little, Sir E. Graham-||Salmon, Sir I.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Salt. E. W||Wragg, H.|
|Llewellin, Colonel J. J.||Salter, Sir J. Arthur (Oxford U.)||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Lloyd. G. W.||Samuel, M. R. A.||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Loftus. P. C.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Lucas, Major Sir J. M.||Schuster, Sir G. E.||Mr. James Stuart and Lieut.-|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"put, and agreed to.—[Mr. Buchan-Hepburn.]
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.