§ Sir Richard Acland (Barnstaple)
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add:But humbly regret that the Gracious Speech indicates that Your Majesty's Ministers do not realise that private ownership of all substantial resources must now be supplanted by common ownership if future wars and poverty are to be eliminated and human brotherhood more nearly approached.Members will appreciate that I feel a certain measure of responsibility on this occasion since it is the first occasion on which we have had an opportunity of presenting in the form of an Amendment really important issues on which a comparatively few of us in this House believe, rightly or wrongly, that we speak for relatively a considerably larger number of people outside; and that it will not be possible to present those issues in moving or seconding this Amendment in speeches of the order of five or ten minutes or so. Nevertheless, as I have said, we will do our best.
This Amendment is a Vote of Censure. It will be pressed to a Division in order to show the House that we want 994 a new Government and in order to show the country that we want a new House of Commons. It will be appreciated that the issue raised by this Amendment has nothing whatever to do with the issue publicly debated between the right hon. and gallant Member for Thanet (Captain Balfour) on one side and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary on the other. Today the alternatives before the House are the out-and-out ownership of all great productive resources on one side, and some attempt at public control over private ownership, which is the manifestly declared policy of the Coalition. We will find this issue now is, and in the coming years more and more will be, the supreme political issue in this country. Opposition to this Government in the next 12 months will consistently develop in and around this issue, nor can any bridge between the two sides be built when the Prime Minister suggests that certain unspecified industries and when the Home Secretary suggests that four specified industries shall be brought as a matter of mere technical convenience under some form of public utility corporation.
We on this side are dealing to-day with all industries outside a few specialised, fancy or experimental trades, and in each industry we are dealing with all undertakings down to but excluding what can properly be called the little man or the owner-worker. Excluding these, it is our view that all undertakings, all industries, shall be removed from private ownership to common ownership, and when we say that this shall be done now we mean it should be started now and concluded not later than, shall we say, 1960.
§ Sir R. Acland
It will be wholly impossible to co-operate in the time table you suggest, Mr. Speaker, if I go into side issues with one interruption and another. I regret this, but in view of the time table there is no alternative.
It will be in vain for Government speakers to suggest that on this issue the House and the country are united but that the Government wisely prefer the method of evolution. I too prefer the methods of evolution provided that the methods are properly understood.
995 This question is one of such importance that I will ask the House to bear with me for a moment if I deal with it briefly and therefore with less than immaculate scientific accuracy. None the less, in general, it is true that in all nature and in human society evolution develops in each kind from the less efficient to the more efficient, thence to the most efficient and the most supremely powerful of its kind. But this most supremely powerful is also completely inadaptable in terms of the new kind. It is simultaneously the climax and the dead-end. From such a dead-end evolution has shown us that nature must make a clean break, must cast back and find some other creature less powerful in terms of the old order but more adaptable in terms of the new. Thus from the amœba nature developed first the inefficient fish, then the efficient fish, and finally the shark or dead-end. From the shark no development was possible. Nature had to find the inefficient but adaptable creature which crawled on the bottom of the sea but which one day crawled out. By similar processes nature formed the amphibions, dinosaurs and reptiles, and similarly man. [Interruption.] I must point out that the outbursts of applause, though appreciated, are adding to the time table of the House. In human history we have seen that the feudal system ran to its dead end in the powerful but unadaptable feudal barons and emperors. From 1550 to 1790 the powerful inadaptability of these creatures led to—
§ Mr. Magnay (Gateshead)
On a point of Order. The hon. Member has left the fishy subject he was on, but is it in Order for a lecture on biology to be read to this House?
§ Sir R. Acland
I would appeal to hon. Members. This matter is important, and the historical forces which have led up to the present crisis are really relevant. I would like to give my view of those forces on which hon. Members can comment in the course of the Debate. I think it is not, in general, inaccurate to say that it was the powerful inadaptability of the dead end of the feudal system which led, all over Europe, to one crisis after 996 another, in and through which humanity discovered a new source of dynamic life for the next stage of our human journey.
I speak of the greatness of our own country, the massive contribution we have made to the material and spiritual development of mankind and the contribution which we may make in the future. For 400 years, as much as any other people and more than most, we have led humanity. No people can deny us that claim. But we led humanity in these last 400 years for the precise reason that, sooner than any other people, we followed the true law of evolution by breaking from the dead end of the feudal system, casting about and finding the merchant venturer—making and exchanging, trading and sailing, exploring and fighting all over the face of the known globe.
To-day the merchant venturer, under the laws of evolution, has evolved the I.C.I., Powell Duffryn, Standard Oil, the Iron & Steel Federation and United Malayan Tins & Rubbers, Incorporated. These creatures bear all the hall marks of a dead end. They are supremely powerful and efficient of their own kind. They were evolved to meet the needs of an age of inevitable scarcity. They have proved themselves completely inadaptable to the needs of an age of potential plenty. For 20 years between the wars, while five-sixths of this globe was dominated in its economic, political and social life by the activities of these creatures, we had anything from 20,000,000 to 50,000,000 human beings unemployed, money lying idle, factories and land lying idle, raw materials potentially or actually available and millions in want.
From those circumstances came world crisis. But because the improvement in transport and communications has reduced this world of ours to a single unity, because a greater number of more nearly educated people take part in all human developments and for many other reasons, crisis does not come this time scattered in space in different countries, or scattered in time over several centuries. The crisis comes this time in one decade, 1929 to 1939, and it comes to all humanity at once. What is a crisis? Professor Macmurray has said that an individual human being faces a crisis when he discovers and is brought hard up against the fact that his habits will no longer support his purpose. Humanity has a purpose. It 997 is our purpose to achieve the ultimate brotherhood of man, to which some will add and some will not add, "under the fatherhood of God." That is our purpose. We achieve it through struggle and through sufferings, through trial and error. It is, of course, natural that those born in the reign of Queen Victoria, including all those who occupy the Government Front Bench, naturally suppose that we can still persevere towards that purpose under the social, political and economic habits of their age. But this is not so. We do face a crisis, and as in the case of the individual who faces his crisis there are three alternatives. We can go mad, we can abandon our purpose, or we can change our habits. International war is a mixture between an outbreak of insanity and the growing pains—the labour pains—of a new order. Fascism is a mixture between insanity and abandonment of purpose. The policy of the Coalition Government is, at all costs, to avoid any possible upset, in other words to maintain our habits, which involves, automatically, the abandonment of our human purpose.
We thus have two alternatives. Either we are or we are not a degenerate people. It is not yet known whether we are fighting this war heroically and well on the credit balance of our past traditions. We may be, for they are proud traditions and worth fighting for. It is not yet proved whether we have a dynamic contribution to make to the future of the human family. We may have, but if we have not, then we will accept the Coalition policy, which will confirm our degeneracy. We will lose our purpose and, because it is not family allowances but a sense of communal creative purpose which gives birth to purposeful life, our birth trends will continue as they are at present, and it may be that babies born this year will live to see this island peopled by some 8,000,000 to 10,000,000 old gentlemen of both sexes and all ages. [Interruption.] No, I mean old gentlemen, because they are more deadly dull than old ladies.
On the other hand, there is the alternative that we are not a degenerate people, in which case we will find our democratic alternative. We will learn the true lesson of evolution, and break from our dead-end, and find our new sources of life. I can imagine that hon. Members on the other side will criticise what I am 998 saying on the ground that, in war, the creatures I am criticising have shown a certain measure of adaptability. But these creatures did not change their habits when 50,000,000 human beings stood rotting. They modified their habits when 500,000,000 human beings started shooting. That is my definition of inadaptability. We are told that we shall learn the lessons of this war and apply the lessons of war experience to post-war reconstruction. Let us look at what these lessons are. I will mention four. We have learned in war that public control of private ownership is exactly equivalent to private ownership of public control. We have learned in war, but only in war, that these private owners of our public control are willing to do their best to direct their industries according to their lights in the general direction of public policy. We have learned in war, but only in war, that the financial creatures of the present system will tolerate a situation in which public debt is increased at the rate of over £2,000,000,000 a year; and, supremely important, we have learned that in war, but only in war, our working population, from production manager to apprentice, will operate this system, not with great enthusiasm, but with fewer stoppages than at any other time. Every one of these lessons arises and endures only in war. Not one of them has the slightest relevance to any of the major problems which we face in peace. It is for this reason that the Government are unable to announce any proposal, any agreed, detailed plan, for dealing with any one of our post-war problems which will simultaneously satisfy the members of the Armed Forces and secure the assent of the creatures of whom I have spoken. The Government are endeavouring to preserve the unendurable and to bend the inflexible, and that is why the Minister without Portfolio emerges from time to time from his mountainous labours and brings forth nothing but windy promises. Nothing can be done within the framework of an absolute dead-end.
I say to the hon. Members of this House that now and in the next two years this country of ours will face a greater internal danger than at any period in its history, and nothing but unlimited courage in our leadership will see us through the problems which we have to face. This endless turning of every stone 999 and exploring of every avenue to produce yet another non-operative Royal Commission Report will lead to such frustration in our people as must produce the very direst consequences. I believe it is the duty of our people to take this situation seriously and to realise that from our present stage there is no safe and foolproof remedy; to realise that we must follow the laws of evolution, break from the dead-end and explore and cast around for the new source of dynamic life. Where shall we find it? We shall find it, first of all, in our workers and, particularly, in the kind of man who becomes automatically a fitter and rigger in the R.A.F., in the kind of man who becomes a shop steward on the production council of one of our war factories. We shall find it in the research chemist and engineer, in the production manager and the technician, and in the administrator who understands dynamic and positive administration when he is let off the long, long chain which runs back to the dead hand of one of Sir Horace Wilson's Whitehall nominees. We shall find it in the psychologists who have pushed their science beyond its teething troubles and can apply their certain knowledge, not only to a few cranks, but to pre-O.C.T.U. courses and to whole Army intakes. We shall also find it in those Christians who are impelled by their Christianity to take part in the daily life struggle of our people and, perhaps, we may find a little of it in those politicians who give up wishful thinking and understand that politics is a question of making an impartial, objective, scientific study of the situation as it actually is.
Now the point is that all these people are at their posts or ready to take up their posts in the new age. Our revolution will have little or nothing in common with the revolution that took place in Soviet Russia. First, because we have what they had not, the machinery to make it democratically; but, much more important, because we do not set out to create a new society. The new order is already there. The suggestion that we are going to destroy all the traditions that are fine in Britain's past is completely misconceived. The idea that we are going to call in loyal and painstaking Treasury officials and ask them to administer British industry is an Aunt Sally which exists only in the speakers' notes published by 1000 Palace Chambers and nowhere else at all. It is only necessary for us to sweep aside the present rights of big ownership in order to release the men of whom I have spoken, the very men who are running our industries today, so as to set them free of the cramping influence persistently maintained by this coalition. If every owner of £10,000 worth of property died intestate and without heirs to-night, the workers and technicians, the salaried officials if you like, of British industry would run the whole show to-morrow morning without pausing for a breath.
But these men of whom I have spoken all have one thing in common. Every one of them can do his dynamic, creative, co-operative work within the framework of common ownership. Every one is in one way or another distorted by the system which this Government seeks to preserve. Nobody on the other side, I imagine, would expect me to appeal to a brigadier-general, but I do appeal to Brigadier-General John Rees. I have never met him, and I have not his permission to make this appeal, but if he will appoint any panel of the psychologists who are now serving the Army and industry so well, they will give you the straight answer that it is the divided loyalty of management, torn between the claims of production on the one hand and private profit and private capital values on the other, which to-day effectually destroys the possibility of organising and running our factories as united, co-operative, creative teams serving the common good. Or I can appeal to Professor E. H. Carr, in his book "The Conditions of Peace," where he says, on page III:Our civilisation is in danger of perishing for lack of something with which we have dispensed for 200 years, but with which we can dispense no longer, a deliberate and avowed moral purpose involving the call for common sacrifice for a recognised common good.For the second time in the memory of every hon. and right hon. Gentleman here owners and workers, and the sons and daughters of owners and workers, have gone out and fought and died as brothers in a common cause. But of this country of ours, for which they are fighting, 85 to 86 per cent. is owned by 6 per cent. or 7 per cent. of the people who live in it; and, in spite of high taxation and Death Duties, this figure does not improve. Furthermore, the complete control 1001 through the biggest ownership of all steadily slips into an ever smaller and smaller group of hands. No high moral purpose is possible for our people, no call for common effort, for common sacrifice for a recognized common good, can be made until this country is ours, not in Ministerial speeches but in fact and in law. Without this, as E. H. Carr says, "the economic machine refuses to run," our contribution to civilisation will perish, we will become a purposeless people.
How will the Government reply to me? I forecast that they will reply in the name of freedom and of initiative. Let me speak briefly of those things. Freedom cannot be defined as giving to each man the right to do and have exactly what he likes so long as he does not hurt anybody else, for the very good reason that if you add up everything which every man would like to do and have, the whole world could not produce it; and if it did, we would not find that it was freedom. We are in a tough world, not an easy world, to-day. We have an almighty job on hand to win this war, to build this country as it ought to be, and to repay the debt which we owe to several millions of coloured people for over a century of sweated labour which they have done on our behalf and under our directions. This is a big task, and, facing that task, we will create freedom only if we realise that freedom consists in creating those conditions in which men and women will want to do the things that have to be done. It is a fact which hon. Members opposite can deplore but cannot change that all the best of our workers and technicians to-day will never want to do what has to be done within the framework of the present monopoly capitalism, even if it theoretically controls itself through various Government Departments.
As to individual initiative, I would say to hon. Members opposite, let them fear not. In 400 years feudalism created and taught us the value of law and order. The feudalists defended their system in the name of law and order. They lost their system, but law and order had been learned, and they emerged, it may be in altered forms, in the new dynamic order of capitalism. Four hundred years of capitalism have rendered us great services. Under capitalism we have carved out the great inventions which now offer us an age of plenty. We have learned the value 1002 of individual initiative. Monopoly capitalists defend this now frustrating system in the name of individual initiative. They will lose their system, but individual initiative will emerge, it may be in altered forms, into the new system, because we have learned it.
In a short speech—I trust reasonably short in the circumstances—I have dealt only with basic forces which impel us to make this change. I could not conceivably have entered into all the details, but if hon. Members opposite wish to trip me up on detailed points, they are in a better position than Job, who complained that his adversary had not written a book. I have written several. If it would not have displeased you, Sir, I would have been happy to recite from cover to cover two books, in which you will find "What it Will be Like" and "How it Can be Done." Those books of mine are, of course, subject to democratic correction, first by the organisation to which I belong, and then by the people. They will be accepted, rejected, corrected, in the test of experience and subject to the regular and proper British habit and practice of advancing in a pre-determined direction by the method of trial and error, and (as we have found in the past) of success. But, for what it is worth, I have stated my own detailed proposals more specifically than almost any other man in this House, and certainly far more definitely than the Government on whom I am moving a Vote of Censure.
I must, however, deal with one detailed point. That is the issue of compensation. Owners, as I see it, will not be able to claim in their own right any compensation based on the alleged present value of their property, nor will compensation ever be paid in the form of 3 per cent. Government Bonds. On the contrary, compensation will be related, on a steeply downward sliding scale, to present income, as disclosed in Income Tax returns. Regarding small savings as arising in most cases from genuine past personal sacrifices, I would suggest that the small saving, the first £100 worth of capital, whatever form it may take, would be compensated at the rate of 100 per cent. As the amount got larger, the rate would be 50 per cent., 10 per cent., 5 per cent., and ultimately nil. It is my view that there should be an absolute compensation ceiling of £1,000 a year, which would 1003 terminate on the death of the present owner, so that in one generation from now all sons shall start from scratch, which is justice in the name of God and man. I hope that these proposals will be understood. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is that £1,000 tax free?"] Yes, that £1,000 income will be tax free.
I must confess to hon. Members above the Gangway that, perhaps owing to the misfortunes of party or education, I did not speak for the Socialism of the British people in the years 1920–1939. Because of the failures of many people who are now my friends and colleagues, Socialism in those years could not win a majority of our people, and therefore it conducted its propaganda and its activity towards the winning of the maximum possible concessions within the present system. But I believe I am in some, way speaking to-day for the Socialism of the British people in 1943. This is a Socialism which knows that it can, and must, win out and out victory within the next few months, or years at most. This is a Socialism which is not tinkering with Capitalism. It means to reject all the principles, all the practices, all the moral and economic criteria of capitalism in order to put in their place the principles, the practices, the moral and economic criteria of Socialism. It is this Socialism which I plead with hon. Members above the Gangway they, can and they must lead to victory now—and they must begin before the end of 1944. Otherwise, greater forces than theirs even will take control of the situation, not because anybody wills it, but because inevitable forces cannot be deflected by any human decisions of mere man. If my hon. Friends opposite had not desired to witness the victory of the forces of which I am speaking, they would have been well advised to support the League of Nations and to frustrate Fascist aggression in 1932 and 1936, when it could have been stopped without this world-wide war. I will quote some words of Carlyle:It is wonderful how long the rotten will hold together, provided that it is not touched.I will quote some words of a contemporary of Carlyle's:Just as exposure to the atmosphere reduces all mummies to instant decomposition, so war passes stern judgment on all institutions which have outlived their vitality.1004 The institutions which this Government tries to preserve have outlived their vitality. The British people have not outlived their vitality, and the institutions and not the British people will give way.
§ Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
I beg to second the Amendment.
I want to congratulate my hon. and gallant Friend—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not 'gallant'"].—I beg your pardon; I should have remembered that hon. Members opposite do not allow the word "gallant" to be applied to privates or non-commissioned officers. All the gallantry is reserved for the commissioned ranks.
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby (Epsom)
My hon. Friend knows that that is not correct. Any person who wears His Majesty's uniform is entitled to be referred to as "gallant."
§ Mr. Maxton
I am sorry then that there should have been any complaint. My hon. and gallant Friend may congratulate himself on the fact that, although this Amendment has been allotted a very small portion of the time of the House devoted to the discussion of the Gracious Speech, it has commanded during the period in which the hon. Gentleman has been speaking the biggest House of any opening speech during the time that the King's Speech has been discussed. I only hope that I shall be able to retain in the Chamber some fraction of the House which my hon. Friend has had, against the very powerful counter-attraction which exists outside. I second the Amendment with very great satisfaction. My hon. Friends in this part of the House have been on this job somewhat longer and with considerable persistence, and, I am afraid, over a period of 21 years with a minimum of result. We have seen the House always taking the wiser course, always refusing to move along reckless courses such as are suggested in this Amendment. It is too big for them. Always British Conservatism, in the most plausible and persuasive way, has rejected the idea of attempting to get at the organisation of the industrial, economic and social forces of this country in a big way, and always with small adjustments, and always that small adjustment had scarcely been made when its complete 1005 inadequacy was fully demonstrated. I can remember a Conservative Prime Minister walking in here one day, and, in talking about the cure of unemployment, announced with great satisfaction, as evidence that we were going to solve the problem of unemployment, that our market gardeners had put broccoli on to the French market before the French market gardeners could do so. I can remember a Conservative Minister of Labour coming here one day to an unemployment Debate and telling us how Conservatism was wisely tackling this problem. It could not be done in any big way. The problem had to be split up and tackled in detail, and he said, "I have been successful"—I am not quoting his exact words—"in taking a Welsh miner"—a skilled man who was digging coal and producing an essential commodity—"and giving him a course of training in one of our training centres, and to-day we have been able to secure an appointment for him as a handyman on a gentleman's estate in the Highlands." [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may laugh. It was hailed as a great triumph—the broccoli and the handyman were solving unemployment.
§ Mr. Maxton
You see how we have advanced, because the Minister of Labour, as distinct from his predecessor, is now going to get miners out of hats. From 1921 up to the outbreak of war the Conservative Party in this House was always going to tackle this problem by wise, moderate and serious adjustment rather than in the big, wholesale, revolutionary way. And always during that period the numbers of unemployed were counted in millions, and it was regarded as being a tremendous advance when this nation felt itself able to pay them an unemployment allowance of 17s. a week. In this wise, moderate adjustment of the existing system of private ownership, 10s. a week is still the sum that it is felt they can pay to an old age pensioner. That is all that 120 years of modern capitalism, largely directed by Conservative anti-social doctrine, feels itself able to guarantee for the old people who have reached the final years of their life. The whole trend of the Debate on the Gracious Speech has 1006 been again the idea of only dealing with a half or a quarter of the problem.
We come to the House with this Amendment and say, "Cannot we be big enough to face the changes of our time and to realise that humanity in this particular is well poised for going forward into new ways of working, new ways of living and new kinds of social relationships?" I shall listen with very great interest to the Postmaster-General, who I understand will reply to this Debate on behalf of the Government. It will be interesting to hear the head of this great publicly-owned Service explaining how impossible public ownership is and also explaining how it is impossible to get men of the highest capacities and qualities to take control of publicly-owned enterprise. That is one of the arguments with which we have been confronted on many occasions. The best people would not be prepared to give their services to the running of a publicly-owned enterprise as they do to a privately-owned enterprise. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman will explain just the difference, how it has come about that the Post Office has been exceptional in this matter and has been able to command the highest abilities that exist in this country for the control and production of that particular Department.
§ Mr. Maxton
I am talking now about the definite direction and control of an industry with a high central direction. The Minister himself will agree that, as far as the high central direction of the industry is concerned, we have been able to obtain a man of the highest qualifications for the job. I do not want to bring the discussion on to that level but to maintain it on the level that was laid down by my hon. Friend in moving the Amendment. I have watched for the period of time that I have been here Parliament after Parliament evading the logic of public ownership. I have seen Mines Act after Mines Act being put through this House on every occasion. It was a logical and intelligent thing for the nation to own this public enterprise which is of so much fundamental importance to our own national life. Always something less has been done, with the result that to-day we find ourselves at a very difficult period in national life, with an industry that does not meet the needs of the nation 1007 —a privately owned industry, in which the individuals concerned have been more determined and interested about the necessity of their ownership than any other. And yet to-day we find it failing in three important directions in which any industry should progress, (1) failing to give to its men who work in it adequate standards of life, (2) failing to provide the nation with the product that the nation requires, and, (3) failing to maintain the health and safety of the men who spend their lives in that occupation. It is all because years ago we were not prepared to face up to the fact that this industry requires to be certain of ownership and direction by the whole body of the people, acting through their properly organised central direction and not by isolated groups of individuals trying to make the maximum of profit out of one particular portion of the industry that they happen to own. Similarly with banking. The Deputy-Prime Minister gibed at me in one of the Debates that on the Floor of the House of Commons I wished to introduce a Bill for the nationalisation of the Bank of England and that it did not achieve the distinction of a First Reading. That is true. I took the trouble of drafting in detail a Bill for the nationalisation of the Bank of England. My hon. Friend beside me says he is not going to agree to pay compensation. Perhaps they will wish before they are finished that they had accepted my Bill of 20 odd years ago, because it did provide for compensation. It was ruled out on a technical objection by the Speaker of that day.
§ Mr. Maxton
I do not know what the Rules are about criticising past Speakers, but I thought that that was the lousiest Ruling that I had ever heard. It is just because that was not done and the nation does not own the banking system that we have all this ballyhoo about Savings Certificates, Spitfire weeks, and Dreadnought weeks. Everybody knows that really a nation owning its own banking system from top to bottom would arrange all these matters by proper directions to the ledger clerk. I note that the noble Lord the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), in a very striking speech in the course of the Debate yesterday, was satisfied that the Bank of England should remain in private 1008 ownership and that the relations are so close and so good that to all intents and purposes the Bank of England is a national institution. That has a fair measure of truth in it as long as it is the same kind of people who are owning the Bank of England as are owning the Government. But supposing it was the Trades Union Congress that owned the Bank of England, does the hon. Gentleman think that the relationship would be quite as good?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, Southern)
The Trades Union Congress have their representatives in the Government.
§ Mr. Maxton
But not representatives on the Bank of England, and that is where the shoe pinches. I can remember the so-called economic crisis of 1930–31 that brought the Labour Government, of pleasant memory, down and led to the formation of the first National Government. That to me was a very disastrous happening which has had a bad and continuous history ever since, getting this House into a frame of mind of large-scale compromise, not merely compromise in detail, but compromise on matters of principle, and resulting in a pettifogging unethical output of work from this House. At the time when the Labour Government was brought down the Tory Opposition was one of the most unscrupulous Oppositions that I have ever seen in my life; and, unfortunately, the poor folk who sat opposite, when they tried to meet them, were just toyed with, and, because they were afraid of their own Socialist principles, were rushed into an impossible position and took what I regarded as the disastrous way out of it. But the Conservative opposition in that day was indubitably aided in its smashing of the Labour Government by financial sabotage directly operated by the Bank of England in collaboration with the American banks on Wall Street.
§ Sir Granville Gibson (Pudsey and Otley)
The hon. Member is quite aware that what brought down the Government in 1931 was the fact that the American and French Governments, who controlled the gold of the world, refused to grant credits to this country of £40,000,000 each unless the Government of the day altered their spending policy.
§ Mr. Maxton
That is one description of what happened. It puts the evil geniuses of finance outside this country. It was here on this Bench that the agitation started to show that they would show the world that this country was running into financial bankruptcy because there was £100,000,000 debt on the Unemployment Insurance Fund. This nation going down because of £100,000,000 debt on the Unemployment Insurance Fund! [Interruption.] It is not funny, or perhaps my sense of humour is contorted. Now, when we are piling up debt at the rate of thousands of millions a year, hundreds of millions a month, we are financially solvent. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—with gold enough to stand between the U.S.S.R. anti the U.S.A. and say we are equal partners. In fact, if anything, we are something more than that.
§ Mr. Maxton
When the tumult and fighting have died down and the captains and kings have departed, and the unemployed queues begin to line up again, and you start scrambling for world markets, try to remind your two associates that you were the first to start. With financial control in the hands of private capitalist concerns this country was nearly brought to ruin in 1931, and, if the position now is as indicated by the laughter of hon. Members opposite, when we have a population working 100 per cent. when, as we were told no later than Friday, there is more being taken out of the soil of the country than ever before in the form of agricultural produce, when our shipyards are producing at a rate never previously achieved, when every branch of industry is going forward, we are financially insolvent, it only supports my hon. Friend's argument that your banking system should not be in the hands of people who cannot show a decent balance sheet for a prosperous business.
My hon. Friend has laid down various conceptions of how the change over can take place and how industry can be run. I have never had the faintest doubt or difficulty in my mind of how industry would be run if it were publicly owned and controlled. My only difficulty has been to see a desire on the part of the people to have it publicly owned and controlled and, if there had been any doubt 1010 about the possibility of a nation running on the basis of public ownership, surely Soviet Russia has demonstrated beyond the possibility of argument that, while there may be defects in their political methods, while there may be different ethical standards as between the Russian people and ourselves, there cannot be any possible argument that they have shown how under public ownership they can achieve miracles of production. And they started from the basis of a very largely illiterate people and a primitive peasant population. They had a limited knowledge of industry and practically no knowledge of political life or political organisation. They had to start from scratch. In this country we have had the longest experience of industry of any country in the world, and we have had the longest experience of responsible political government in the hands of the majority of the people. We have all possible advantages which come from a very highly educated and very intelligent population, because the population of this country is the most intelligent in the world. With all these advantages, this nation having taken ownership and control of the essentials of the industrial life of the nation, the land, the banks, the railways, the raw materials, control of external trade, into their hands and released a tremendous moral force among the people through the consciousness of their share in the responsibility for the general direction of the economic life of the nation, there is no reason why the real wealth turned out by an organised nation, with the hearty co-operation and sense of responsibility of its citizens, should not reach heights never previously attained and why that wealth cannot be fairly distributed amongst all those who are prepared to take part in the general life of the nation, abolishing your poverty and unemployment and making it easy to get the co-operation of peoples in other parts of the world.
§ Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)
I am sure the hon. Member would not wish to mislead the House. He quotes railways. State railways are all badly run, as he knows. In Canada there are the C.P.R. and the C.N.R. Is there a single Member of the House who can imagine for a moment that the Post Office is run in any way as it would be run under private enterprise?
§ Mr. Maxton
Take the points in order. The C.P.R. in Canada is not as successful as the Canadian National Railways. One is publicly owned and the other privately. I think what the hon. Member says is an exaggeration. If it were true, I think it would be because the control of the C.P.R. has been primarily under Scotland, but really it is not true that publicly-owned railways are badly run. In the West of Scotland they have the dirtiest, ugliest stations to be found anywhere. I have had to change at Grantham and Kettering in the middle of the night. The German railways were nationally owned before the Hitler régime. Does the hon. Member say that Cologne station was not a pleasure to be in as compared with Euston? I have not been in Canada, but I have travelled from one end of Cape Colony to the other on a State, national railway. Everything was planned for me in advance, including hotel bookings and conveyance from station to hotel, arranged in the most masterly fashion. I admit that it was a Dutchman who did it. But in any case that is not the argument. The hon. Member finishes up with a denunciation of the Post Office. I think the Post Office is a most wonderful institution, having regard to the various duties that we have piled on it in the last few years. It covers everything, from old age pensions to dog licences, motor licences and service men's allowances. I think it is a great example. There is nothing in private enterprise that can look at it, if the young ladies behind the counter would only be a little more human. That is the only change that I personally would ask for and I am hoping that under the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's régime that change will be taking place.
Not only does public ownership offer possibilities of increasing wealth to its maximum, but it also provides opportunities of intelligent and decent distribution of wealth so that the old age pensioner will not have to live on 10s. while I receive £600 and some one else has £600,000 a year. It is unjustifiable. No intelligent person who measures peoples' qualities with reference to the incomes that they are drawing will say that 10s. a week is what the old man of 65 or 70 is worth whereas so-and-so gets £100,000 because his capacity is so many hundreds of thousands of times greater. I hope we 1012 have all got beyond that. Public ownership can secure a decent distribution and an equalitarian sense so far as economics are concerned. I am not saying, however, that you ought to be brought down to one dull dead level of uniformity in mind or outlook or attitude or activity. I am not asking for that. As a matter of fact, we assume that there will be a greater development of personality under this system than there is at the present time, because the system to-day cribs, cabins and confines personal development. Above all, the system we advocate gives opportunities of decent economic relations between nation and nation. If we are going back to private capitalism, we go back to competition and scramble. If hon. Members opposite say that we are going to enter into trade, commercial and economic agreements between America, Great Britain and Russia—and that is indicated by the latest views that we have had flashed across to us—and if we are going to enter into long-term alliances of an economic and social kind, we cannot deliver our part of the bargain if we are privately owned and trying to work the competitive system. We can only do it if we are an organised nation. We cannot do it if we stick to the shibboleths of private enterprise inside the nation.
So far as outward relations are concerned, if we examine shipbuilding, which is the key industry of a part of the country I represent in this House, we will find that the shipbuilding capacity of the world is such to-day that it can build in one year as much tonnage as sailed the seas in the whole Mercantile Marine of the world in pre-war days. That tonnage was only half used. The big proportion of it was lying idle. To-day in one year the world can build all the tonnage of a new Mercantile Marine as large as that which sailed the seas before the war. When it is built a ship has a lifetime of at least 25 years. Therefore, a year's building will supply the world with all the ships it wants for 25 years. I want to know what is to happen to the shipbuilders for the other 24 years. What do they do? They start scrambling for the small amount of shipbuilding that is put down each year afterwards. Under the system of capitalist private enterprise they scamble for the repair work and what small amount of new tonnage is required. That is competition, and when competition starts you come up to the Clyde and 1013 say, "Look here, we are not getting the orders in the world's markets. That is because you riveters, platers and shipwrights are getting too big wages and too short hours and your output is not good enough. You will have to get on a lower level so that we can compete on ecomonic terms with other nations." That is what you hold out. If you insist on the maintenance of private ownership and competition, you insist on our going back to the old scramble for property and to the hardest working people leading the most damnable lives. Up to this moment, as the King's Speech shows, the Government have not looked at the future economic organisation of this nation on the big scale that is urgently necessary, having regard to the age in which we live and the problems to be confronted and overcome. I ask the House to indicate to the Government their desire for bigger ways, bigger actions and bigger scope in statesmanship, as indicated in the Amendment, by supporting the Amendment in the Division Lobby.
§ Mr. Lionel Berry (Buckingham)
It is with no less than the normal amount of reluctance that I rise to speak for the first time, but I am fortified by the knowledge that you, Sir, and hon. Members are renowned for the great kindness and indulgence that they give to Members on such occasions as this. I have listened with great interest to the two speeches which have been made in moving and seconding the Amendment. While some of us were a little puzzled by some of the arguments that the Mover put forward—some of his scientific and biological arguments were not quite as clear as they might have been—we are agreed that in moving and seconding this Amendment the two hon. Members have done it with absolute sincerity and that they believe in what they preach. I hope that they will do me the honour of believing that, while venturing to disagree with them, I put forward my views with equal sincerity. The Gracious Speech refers to post-war reconstruction on broad lines and we are not yet in a position to know the full extent of the Government's plans. Measures to tide over the difficult problems of the transition from war to peace are promised. We all know the real anxiety that exists among men and women at sea, in the air, on land and on the home front as to what their position 1014 will be when they return to normal peace-time conditions.
What do these men and women really want? I believe, from my own Army experience and contact with my constituents, that they have a pretty shrewd idea of the kind of world they expect to come back to. I do not believe that they are looking for a modern Utopia or even for what was picturesquely described as "a land fit for heroes to live in." What they desire and what they have a right to demand are conditions in which they are well housed, well fed and given ample opportunities to earn a living. I do not think that they want to come back to the type of existence which is promised them by hon. Members supporting the Amendment. They want, above all, a chance to justify themselves and a country which will give them every opportunity, encouraging their efforts and enabling them to play their part as conscientious citizens. To suggest that common ownership is the only solution to our problems and that by its application wars and poverty are to be eliminated is to put forward an argument that belittles the dignity of man. Man has a natural right to own property, and to seek to reduce his status to one common level is to create an evil even worse than that which hon. Members opposite are trying to remedy.
In this war Parliament of its own free will gave the Executive complete control over all persons and property, to use them as they thought fit in the national emergency. People submitted to the hardships and difficulties which this meant, and they were prepared to endure them because of the obvious danger which faced the country. There is no intention in their minds, however, that it should be a permanent state of affairs. The very exercise of these powers at the present moment will complicate the transition from war to peace conditions. Obviously some of the powers must be retained for a short time after the end of hostilities if we are to avoid a state of chaos at home, but they should be removed at the first possible moment. Hon. Gentlemen opposite do not share that view. They think that these powers should be continued for all time and that to have a regimented people is to approach nearer to human brotherhood. The ideal of human brotherhood is a noble one, but I do not think the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment would seriously challenge 1015 the desire, for example, of the Catholic Church to attain that ideal. The principle that guides the Catholic Church in this context is that famous Encyclical of Leo XIII:Every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own. It is impossible to reduce human society to one level.It may well be retorted that there exists no wish to deprive the ordinary man or woman of property but that the State, which is after all another name for common ownership, should own "all substantial resources." That is a vague definition, and I do not think the Mover made it quite clear. Although he talked about excluding the small trader, he did not make it clear where the line was to be drawn. What guarantee is there that common ownership would eliminate the possibility of wars in the future? Is there any evidence that if Britain had had a socialised economy before this war the war could have been averted? Would the Germans have held their hands or could they have been forced to hold their hands just by the mere fact that common ownership had displaced private ownership in this country? The trouble surely is that a Socialist economy would be much more likely to land the country in war than to keep it out of war, because if any sort of trade dispute arose it would at once involve the State. We must look to a different means to eliminate warfare as an instrument of national policy. One such means is to show all mankind the absolute futility of war from the universal point of view, and the second is to raise, if it can be done, the moral altitude of all peoples until they come to regard war as a crime against God and their fellow men.
Taking the third point, would poverty be eliminated by common ownership in a highly industrialised community such as ours, which depends, after all, so largely on foreign trade to maintain its standard of living? Supposing we had common ownership and in many or all of the countries to which we had to sell our goods there were tariff barriers and quotas raised against us, how could we prevent poverty affecting us? It seems to me that to say that common ownership would eliminate poverty is merely a generalisation founded on a pious hope, whereas private enterprise can point to concrete achievements of no insignificant order in that direction.
1016 I should like, for a moment, to take the question of agriculture. In the last war this, our greatest industry, saved the country from famine. But what happened immediately afterwards? The sudden repeal of the Corn Production Acts and the subsequent collapse of the industry merely led to its being neglected by Government after Government until a state of poverty and distress existed throughout the country. The three partners in that industry, the landowner, the farmer and the agricultural worker—to my mind probably the most highly skilled man in the country—all suffered. Would common ownership have done anything to avoid that state of affairs? I doubt it. Now take the position to-day. Once more that great partnership came to the rescue of this country, and if we owed them a debt at the end of the last war, how much greater is our indebtedness to them to-day. But what do they want, what do they expect? I do not think they are looking for some would-be panacea as proposed by hon. Members opposite. I think what they want is definite assurances about the future. Security of tenure is absolutely essential. This alone can ensure the stability of the landowner, fair prices for the farmer and an equitable wage for the agricultural worker. By this means the landowner can fulfil his obligations to the farmers and tenants, obligations not enforced by law, but inescapable from true ownership; obligations which are very often conveniently forgotten by their critics but conscientiously honoured by all who possess and love the land. Now is surely the time for the Government to give them a definite promise about the future. Now is the time to bring forward proposals to create a prosperous and well-balanced agriculture, which is vital for the well-being of the country. The farming community has had its experience of control and restrictions during this war, and I think, as all these people are anxious to prove, that once given their place in the national economy they can by their own unhampered efforts prove their ever-present and ever-increasing value to the community.
I have given that illustration of one industry to show how impracticable, in my view, the proposal that is before us to-day proves to be. But surely the answer can be applied to all other industries. I do not think that anyone would 1017 deny that the two countries which have reached the highest standard of well-being in the world are Great Britain and the United States of America. They are essentially private enterprise countries, in which State interference is much less in its scope and incidence than anywhere else. If this phenomenon is merely a coincidence it is a very remarkable coincidence. This country was built up in the past by the endeavours of individuals. There were the craftsmen who, by their ideas and by their hard work, founded the great industries of to-day; there were the mariners in their little ships who mapped out the trade routes all over the world and helped to found the British Empire; and a host of other little men, some honoured and some forgotten, who contributed in no small measure to the well-being of the country. I was not quite clear when the Mover of this Motion talked about the venturesome mariner—I think that was the phrase he used—how he would apply it to his argument. It seemed to me it supported the idea of private enterprise. However, may be I misunderstood him.
It is frequently pointed out that during the war Britain has done marvellously in the way of production despite all the controls and restrictions imposed upon her, and that therefore she should do equally well in peace-time under similar restrictions and controls. But it seems to me that that argument does not hold water. Our enormous and complicated business, commercial and industrial, was the creation of private enterprise, and the same applies equally to America which, with us, is both in proportion and in the aggregate the largest producer in the world. If I thought that common ownership would abolish war and poverty and would bring nearer peace and prosperity, I would be unreservedly in favour of it, and so would everybody else in this House, but before we take such a leap in the dark I feel we should need some sort of demonstration based upon facts and not only upon aspirations, that we should, in fact, land on terra firma and not fall, beyond all possibility of redeeming our error, if we have perpetrated one, into the intervening abyss. Has such demonstration been forthcoming in the past, and has such demonstration been given to us to-day? I am sure the House, if it considers the arguments valid, will support this Amendment, but I for my part remain unconvinced 1018 and unconverted by the arguments put forward. I prefer to support a system which, in spite of its admitted inequalities and anomalies, does, in my view, give to the people of this country, who must always be our first concern, real hope and encouragement for the future.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (Oxford)
When one rises to congratulate an hon. friend on his first speech in this House the task is all the more difficult when he really is in an intimate sense an hon. friend. Compliments such as are generously given on these occasions come with more effect from the opposite benches, but I can assure my hon. Friend that his speech has been greatly appreciated by the House. My hon. friend is a person of considerable eminence in the world, and I am sure the House appreciated deeply the care which he had taken to prepare his arguments and his manifest sincerity and friendliness in addressing his fellow Members, and I am sure they will also join with me in wishing him well for the future and in the warm welcome which this House always accords.
I rise to oppose this Amendment on grounds somewhat different from those which were put forward by my hon. friend. I can assure the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir R. Acland), or I could assure him if he were here, that I am in no mood to try to trip him up, as he put it, on matters of detail. I can assure my hon friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) that although I do not follow his exposition of economics, which seemed to me to overlook the indebtedness of this country in matters of Lend-Lease and its import requirements from other lands, it is not because—
§ Mr. Maxton
In the matter of Lend-Lease I was taking as substantially true the statements made by the hon. Member's leaders showing that reverse Lend-Lease is squaring that.
§ Mr. Hogg
I am not disputing those facts at all, but it occurred to me that the argument he was pressing was ill-conceived. We are dependent for our food in war and peace upon imports from abroad. We do not produce in our own country either all our raw materials or all our food. That seems to be one of the cardinal facts of British economics and one to which my hon. Friend paid too little attention. If I do not follow him 1019 in that argument, it is because I have something rather different to say to him and to the hon. Baronet. I think I should have said the same about this Amendment if it had been framed in somewhat different terms and from these benches rather than theirs. I could conceive an Amendment which said, "But humbly regret that His Majesty's Government do not appear to realise that only untramelled private enterprise, free from all Government restrictions, would solve the problems of the country." If such an Amendment had been proposed, I think I should have had exactly the same criticism to make of it as I propose to make of the hon. Baronet's Amendment.
The real issue before the House is not common ownership. The real issue is the severely practical issue, which faces us all, of our conduct in the coming Session. The real issue is: Here we are to-day with different views about different subjects, and what is the maximum amount of good we can do in this House, during this Session, with our common efforts? That is the issue which is before the House in this Amendment, and the question is whether, with our differing viewpoints, which we all hold sincerely, we are to pursue the line of national unity, the line of practical approach to definite and concrete problems, the line of a concrete programme to deal with concrete difficulties and of the full utilisation of our national resources; or whether we are to relax into recriminations with no common ground, whether we are to take the doctrinaire approach instead of the practical approach, and whether we are to fall into the error, which Field Marshal Smuts warned us of when he referred to slogans, catch-penny phrases, cheap and easy simplifications, rather than getting down to the essence of a problem and trying to deal with it without fixed preconceptions.
I have been greatly impressed by some of the things which the hon. Baronet has said. I agree with him that we live in times when new systems of society are coming to birth. I believe that it is an exciting thing to be an Englishman to-day; but I believe that that is the common heritage of young men of most persuasions. The hon. Baronet and the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) are fond of analysing the difficulties and failures of the years between the wars. It always seems to me that they miss the 1020 real point of the difficulties of that period; which present nothing but variation on a single theme—that a nation which is not united can neither be strong, nor happy, nor great. The remedy for such lack of union does not consist in recrimination but in trying to examine our own minds in order to see how much we are prepared to sacrifice of our dearest shibboleths to meet the viewpoint of the other man. If the hon. Baronet had presented a case to show that there was no basis of unity in this House of Commons I should have been impressed with what he said when he suggested that we ought to get rid of the present Government and Parliament, but if this Debate has demonstrated one thing more clearly than another; it is that there is a basis of unity upon which we can helpfully proceed.
§ Mr. Hogg
If so, the hon. Baronet is in a distinguished minority; but I do not view the speeches we have heard from hon. Members in this Debate as speeches of Gadarene swine. We have heard the constructive speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham (Mr. Hamilton Kerr) and the Noble Lord the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) as well as the striking and interesting speeches of the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) and the right hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) and the speech on financial affairs from the hon. Member for Walsall (Sir G. Schuster). I have seen the Amendments on the Order Paper on food and full employment, that in the name of an hon. Friend, the Amendment on domestic issues standing in the name of the Labour Party and that standing in the name of the Hon. Member for St. Pancras about the Empire and other matters which have a direct bearing upon our current problems. It does not seem to me that those are at all fairly dealt with by the hon. Member in his simile calling us all Gadarene swine going in the wrong direction. I am glad that he makes at least this concession to my point of view that he agrees that those various Amendments and speeches are not inconsistent with one another and that they do add up to a national policy. It is a view which I put humbly before this House. It is not inconsistent with the idea of social justice 1021 contained in the Labour Party's Amendment that we should try to develop backward areas of the Empire. On the contrary, one is a necessary corollary of the other and nobody saw that more clearly in his speech than the hon. Member for Seaham.
If there is this common basis, let us consider what are its practical implications. First of all we must admit that it seems useless to try to avoid controversy, but we must also frankly admit what sort of controversy we want and to what object it ought to be directed. The business of government is to govern, and to provide leadership in difficult and dangerous times, but government cannot be carried on without controversy, and leadership in doubtful and difficult problems cannot be given without arousing opposition. Government must always be by majority but let it not be by party controversy and by party majority. In this country at the present time there seems to be coming into being a central body of opinion which is very well and adequately represented on all sides of this House and it is to that central body of opinion that I should like the Government to appeal in a bolder and more forward stepping policy such as that which was indicated in the speech of my Noble Friend yesterday. It does not seem at all impossible. The argument which was addressed by the hon. Baronet and the hon. Member for Bridgeton seemed to be attacking a social system which has already largely passed away. What they were really attacking was very largely the theory of laisser faire.
§ Mr. Hogg
I hope to be able to present arguments to show the hon. Baronet that he is mistaken about that point. At the moment we are emerging from a period when that doctrine formed the economic orthodoxy of the time. It was held that, whereas the Government could rightly intervene in diplomatic and military affairs and rightly anticipate events in those spheres, in social matters and economics such an attempt was doomed to failure and all that the Government could achieve there was to restrict the total volume of trade and therefore to reduce the total amount of prosperity. Surely, we all know better now. In his speech yesterday my Noble Friend referred 1022 to the speech of the Prime Minister on the coal Debate; I should like to refer to another speech which he made on the rebuilding of the House of Commons. In that, he recalled that some people said we should wait till after the war, but he said that was impossible, and that we must now get a plan, in order to know what to build. That remark seemed to me to be sound doctrine, both for the hon. Baronet and for hon. Members on this side of the House as well. We must get a plan: planning is of course a theory—
§ Sir R. Acland
I am wondering whether the hon. Member is going to elaborate his argument to prove that I was attacking something which I was not attacking. I may be wrong and my hon. Friends may be wrong, but the hon. Member must not misrepresent us by saying that we were attacking laisser faire when what we were very deliberately attacking was the impossibility of imposing public planning over private ownership. We may be wrong, but perhaps the hon. Member will just tell us.
§ Mr. Hogg
I was just about to come to the hon. Baronet's argument in precisely the way he indicates. I was going to say that the theory of planning is unpopular with certain Members on this side of the House. They think that society is a living body and that planning is something which proceeds upon the false analogy of a machine or a building, to stretch or torture the living body of society by pulling it out where it is a little too short and pressing it in where it tends uncomfortably to bulge; but that is not what is meant by my hon. Friends and myself by planning. We mean that social and economic policy is as much a matter for intelligent anticipation and the conscious direction of government as diplomatic and military affairs. We believe that that is the true doctrine for the future. It may very well be that it will take us in some directions along the lines of public ownership and in other directions it will not. We must see how far it takes us, but we cannot wait to have a plan until the hon. Baronet gets a majority in this House of Commons. We have to have one now. We have got to do the best we can in the existing state of public opinion and the existing composition of the House of Commons. I believe it can be done and it can very easily be found—
§ Mr. Maxton
The hon. Member twits the hon. baronet with being some way away from having a majority in this House, but I would point out to the hon. Member that his party has had a majority here, practically a steady majority, even when Labour Governments were in office, and that never during the whole of that time have they had a plan. Where is the plan coming from now?
§ Mr. Hogg
I was about to try to help the hon. Member in that respect because I have something to say, even though he does not agree with me. The first thing to understand is that it is no good waiting for a plan until you get your ideal Parliamentary majority. When the war comes to an end we are not going to be given a breathing space to turn round and to wonder what we have to do next. Decisions which are being taken now are those which will influence our policy in two or three years' time. The plan which we have got to work out between ourselves now, with the best will in the world and with all our differences, is that which is going to be put into effect in two or three years' time. That is going to happen. Experience has taught us in this war that major decisions of policy take anything between six months and two years to put into effect. It follows with absolute certainty that what we are going to do or are not going to do in the coming session, with all our frailties and differences of opinion, is going to make all the difference whether we have an orderly transition from war to peace and whether we have a prosperous peace afterwards.
That means that the plan must be determined to some extent by the sincere convictions of hon. Gentlemen on all sides of the House. We cannot have one side forcing its will on the other. Nobody would be quicker to complain than hon. Members opposite if we tried to take that course. I am suggesting that the Debate has really shown a plan which will work and which can be put into effect. If we abandon the doctrine of laisser faire, as I think we are all prepared to do, the first thing we have to consider is whether we have a government machine capable of carrying out any plan at all. Our success in war during the past three years has been largely due on the political plane to changes which we have made in the 1024 governmental machine. I do not enter now into the question of the multiplication of Ministries as that would be a too debatable ground. The main difference between our governmental machine now and that which we had in peace-time, is that in peace-time there was a committee of Departmental Ministers at the head of affairs with Departments underneath them, to discuss general policy, a committee of 25 at the Departmental level being the highest level to which we had reached. In wartime we have a War Cabinet of four, five or six members, with a permanent staff responsible not to the Department from which they were originally drawn but planning at the level of the War Cabinet on matters of general policy. We require a similar staff and a similar political organisation if this House is to play its full part in time of peace. That is the first thing we can probably all do, or at any rate a sufficient number of us can do from all sides of the House to make quite sure it really happens. We can declare that to be our policy.
The second thing we can look at is the Budget. The Budget has developed from the days of laisser faire when it was considered that a high Budget was a great mark of national misfortune to the present time when the Budget has become a great engine of social policy. I was reading the other day a pamphlet by Mr. Norman Crump, the City Editor of a well-known Conservative newspaper, not, as a matter of fact, particularly well marked for its progressive leanings. He said he viewed without any apprehension a normal postwar Budget of from £1,500,000,000 to £2,000,000,000. My own view is that is a somewhat modest estimate. I should have thought we could probably have agreed on at least £2,000,000,000 as a normal peace-time Budget and one which would rise if we succeeded in maintaining the birth rate and in maintaining the national income. If that is so, and if we are committed on all sides of the House to a Budget of that size, the problem of planning really presents no difficulty. All the arguments which were presented by the hon. Member for Bridgeton really related to a time when to its great disaster and misfortune and to the great misfortune of the country elderly Members on both sides of the House accepted the presuppositions of laisser faire and the low national Budget that that implied. 1025 Now that we are committed to a totally different policy there is no reason for a long time why we should part company and disagree.
The Budget is of course cardinal, but the second point on which agreement may be reached relates to consumption. Economists, not Socialist economists but orthodox economists have been for quite a long period of time preaching that in order to iron out the differences between boom and slump, slump and boom a regular and expanding level of planned consumption is one of the essential preliminaries. With a Budget of £2,000,000,000 that can be done. It can be done by Government expenditure on education, by, as my Noble Friend suggested, a policy of minimum wages, by social security payments, by other devices which on the former theory of budgetting were quite inadmissible. There is really no reason why this House of Commons should differ on the general lines of such a policy. I believe that from all sides of the House in this Debate on the Address there has been a desire not to criticise the Government for timidity but to assure the Government of a greater and wider measure of support if they show themselves a little more bold.
Consumption would be useless unless it were coupled with a policy of the re-equipment of industry. Where did that suggestion come from first? It came from the striking speech of the hon. Member for Seaham. I can believe that no one but the most doctrinaire Socialist would now abject to tax relief for money which was genuinely ploughed back into industry to re-equip industry and to improve our productivity. I can believe that no one but the most died-in-the-wool individualist would object to schemes for Government spending in the same direction were that proved the most practicable means.
We are faced with the problem posed by the hon. Member for Bridgeton. He spoke of the shipyards, but of course the shipyards are only a special example of the problem which faces our industry as a whole. All over the world there have been vast new centres of industrial production. After the war we will be faced with the possibility of competition when the first drive for consumption goods has been exhausted. The great industrial centres of the world will compete again, and what possible solution can be found to that problem 1026 by common ownership? The fact that the State rather than some individuals owns shipyards here does not make them compete any less with the shipyards of America. The problem is essentially the same whether the Socialist or the Capitalist system is assumed. The problem is to create new markets so that all the resources of the world can be usefully harnessed to something which will do good instead of harm to mankind.
There is no reason at all why at this stage of the Debate we should part company. On the contrary, we can go forward together. When I think of the problems we are really likely to be faced with in the next two or three years I feel that very strongly. Europe is devastated. As the Germans go back they break everything which is capable of being broken—roads, bridges, railways, public buildings, water supply, and they loot or steal the food. The cattle population of Europe will not be at its normal level for another 15 years. Fields have been unfertilised, people dissipated and murdered. If we deal only with material destruction, we deal only with the smallest part of what has been done. Who can measure what time it will take to restore the human damage this war has brought about? In the face of that, who can try to divide the one really united people in Western Europe, the one people who provide some bridge between the extreme capitalism of the United States and the extreme collectivism of Soviet Russia. To do such a thing would be to sabotage the whole rehabilitation and re-construction of Europe.
We shall have our own problems, demobilisation, houses, and education among them. Are we to quarrel over these or achieve something together? Can we hope to succeed if we are a divided people approaching these problems with slogans and half truths like private enterprise and common ownership upon our lips instead of facing in a united and practical way a great problem which will be serious enough without these childish school boy Debates, can we hope to succeed in an atmosphere of recrimination, not unity? We are faced with the problem of grave changes, and we must go forward together or be faced with disaster and disaster of the worst possible kind. I cannot see that any party issues are raised by these things. The hon. Member for Seaham said that we must—[Interruption.]—I have been trying to explain. I 1027 was hoping that the hon. Baronet would not disagree with social security, with education, the development of backward countries, the re-equipment of our industry, with the restoration of order and prosperity and happiness in devastated Europe. If he does disagree with these, he must form part of the extremist minority about which I spoke at the beginning of my speech.
§ Sir R. Acland
Does the hon. Member mean that we must disagree with these things if we disagree with his way of trying to get them? If so, does he propose we should be denied the right of expressing our disagreement from him?
§ Mr. Hogg
The hon. Baronet has done so for about three quarters of an hour. He can do so again. I am only telling him that he is wrong.
There is only one other thing I want to say. I do so in deep humility and with a real consciousness of my own shortcomings. Our problems are very hard ones, but there are no problems with which the great qualities of the human spirit cannot deal, the human qualities which we have learned on the battlefields of this war—idealism, confidence and comradeship. These are the things which saved us in our most difficult hour. We shall need every bit of idealism, confidence and comradeship in the years following the war. We shall not get them unless we are prepared to make concessions to the opinions of others. I hesitate in this place to call these qualities by the names by which they should be known. I said idealism, I said confidence and I said comradeship would lead us through. I meant faith, I meant hope, I meant charity, and I say this in great humility to some hon. Gentlemen opposite whose idealism and whose confidence and whose sincerity I do not dispute:the greatest of these is charity"—and—Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels … though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned"—as so many of our most beloved friends have done—.… and have not charity it profiteth me nothing.… Charity … endureth all things and is kind is not easily provoked, is not puffed up.This is the real answer to the riddle of statesmanship which was posed by my 1028 hon. Friend, and it is the only answer. If we can learn it we can go forward with hope. If we do not learn it it seems to me that I see in the future nothing but misery, desolation, chaos, cruelty and despair, for with the death of charity die hope and faith without which life… is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.
§ Mr. Pethick-Lawrence (Edinburgh, East)
I am quite sure that the House has listened with great attention and deep feeling to the speech we have just listened to from the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg). If I do not follow him it will be because I have not really risen to make a speech to-day on this great subject. I have not done so because whereas in ordinary times, when we were working to a time-table, not only someone from this bench, but numbers of my hon. Friends behind me would have wished to take part in this Debate, and would have endeavoured to do justice to the magnitude of the subject and the obviously very sincere speech which was made by the hon. Baronet the Member for Barnstaple (Sir R. Acland), who moved this Amendment. We have not done that because we do not wish to take up any substantial part of the very limited time which the promoters of this Amendment have at their disposal in order to represent their views.
I rise at the request of those for whom I speak not to make a speech but to make a very short statement as to our position with regard to this Amendment. I am only repeating a commonplace in saying that we are a Socialist Party, and our views on the principles of Socialism are well known. We have had many opportunities of speaking with regard to them on previous occasions. We shall no doubt have many future occasions, and we shall not only advocate theoretical views, but we shall hope to give reasons for their being put into definite immediate practice in a very large number of instances. Though I would not commit myself to all that the hon. Baronet said—I think that anyone who did that would perhaps be asking for trouble—I will say that with a great deal of what he said we find ourselves in agreement. We recognise that the system of private enterprise, much as it may have done for the country in the past, has largely given place to monopoly, and that private monopoly 1029 cannot be allowed to take control in so far as it conflicts with the public weal I say that because we had a very interesting maiden speech just now from the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. L. Berry), which we listened to with great attention, as we always do to a maiden speech, and in the hope that we may hear the Member speak again at some future time. He said that Members of this House, or some of them, were in favour of a regimented society. I must say that is not my view. The vote that will be taken at the end of the speech of the Postmaster-General, who, I understand, is to reply, is not on the merits of Socialism. That is made perfectly clear by the hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment. He said specifically and definitely that this Amendment is intended as a Vote of Censure on the Government. That being so, I and my hon. Friends for whom I speak cannot go into the Lobby in support of that Amendment.
My party entered the Coalition for a definite purpose. We recognised that if this war was going to be prosecuted with the full vigour and determination which the people of this country as a whole demanded, it must be by a united Government and the major parties in this House. We recognise that the Coalition holds together in matters other than the war by compromise, and we deplore, in so far as it exists, the attitude of any section of this House which seeks to put a veto on proposals for prosecuting the war and carrying the war to a successful conclusion and to laying the foundations for a really stable society in the future. We have never expected that this Government would commit themselves whole-heartedly to a Socialist policy, and we certainly do not propose to break them up because they have not expressed these views. The hon. Baronet will recognise that the Vote of Censure if carried would involve the break-up of the Coalition, and because, from the start, we have desired that this Coalition should remain in order to carry the war to a successful conclusion, we cannot give our support to his Amendment.
§ The Postmaster - General (Captain Crookshank)
Time is getting on under the arrangement under which we are working, and I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the statement 1030 which he has just made explaining the position of those for whom he speaks and bringing the House back once again to what is involved in this Amendment. During the Debate on the Address, as we very well know, there are two kinds of Amendment. There is the Amendment which is designed very often by the supporters of the Government to elicit some statement about something which is implicit in the King's Speech, but has not been particularly referred to in other speeches, and we have had during the Debate on the Address a number of such Amendments discussed. For example, no one thought that there were no links of communication between ourselves and the Commonwealth and the Dominions, but a day's Debate was usefully spent in clearing that topic up. An important Debate took place on the world food position, and herring in this country. No one supposed that that matter was not thought of by anyone in Government circles, but the King's Speech cannot contain every subject under the sun. That is one kind of Amendment on which we have spent considerable time during the Debate since the Speech was made. There is the other kind of Amendment, and it is that Amendment with which we are concerned today, the Amendment which in normal times is put down on the Order Paper by the official Opposition to the Government, the Amendment where the Opposition of the day exposes the wares that it has in its shop on offer and, indeed, an Amendment which is couched in such terms that if the original Speech had contained them the Opposition's job would be at an end, because it would have meant that the Government had swallowed all the policies of those to whom they are opposed.
This Amendment, coming from the Coalition of the hon. Baronet's group and the Independent Labour Party, has had, judging from the Order Paper, quite a career, because, first of all, two Amendments appeared. The hon. Baronet devoted himself in the first version to calling attention to the great productive resources of this country held in a few hands and the Independent Labour Party had, as usual, a very much longer Amendment, because they are always good enough to expose what they have in mind in great detail. They referred to the great financial power which is privately owned, and they wish that and all the natural resources to be taken over. 1031 Productive resources from the Baronet, natural resources and financial power from the Independent Labour Party. I do not know whether there is any appreciable difference in all those things, but the proposition with which we are faced, if you are going to discuss the Amendment at all—which no one has done up to now—is for the consideration of every hon. Member wherever he sits in the House and he has got to answer for himself. He has got to decide, first of all, whether the Amendment is absolutely sound. Is it one that he can entirely accept for what it says? Secondly, he has got to decide, even if it is sound, shall he vote for it at all costs regardless of the consequences to the nation if it is accepted? That is the point.
As part of the background in considering that problem on the first issue, the right hon. Gentleman, of course, is quite right, as he reminds us, that the Labour Party in this country does believe in common ownership. Many of those who sit on these benches are Socialists. I do not propose to explain what the word means, because it is not for me to say, but if they had been here, I would have had on my right the Prime Minister, who is a life-long opponent of Socialism, and I would have had on my left the Deputy Prime Minister, who is a life-long supporter of it. They have come together, and their parties have come together and been supported by the Liberal Parties in this House in order to do what is possible to win the war, and the Debate, therefore, at this late stage, is not one in which I am going to argue between Socialism and private enterprise at all. I am merely going to ask the House to make up its mind about this Amendment. I could debate this issue, but at the moment I think it would be a little untimely and certainly, for this purpose, unnecessary. We have had a very interesting Debate. I must congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. L. Berry) on his maiden speech. He came through the ordeal very well. Unfortunately, not many hon. Members were here at the time, but he came through with flying colours, and we look forward to hearing him on future occasions. Hon. Members for agricultural constituencies will be glad to know that he made some reference to that problem.
1032 Regarding this Amendment, may I ask hon. Members to consider for one minute what the proposition in it is? The proposition is that we, the Government, the great bulk of the Members of this House who support the Government, do not realise that private ownership of all substantial resources must now, right now—presumably this eighth day of December, 1943, onwards—be supplanted by common ownership. What for? If future wars and poverty are to be eliminated and human brotherhood more nearly approached then we must have common ownership. That may be all right as far as it goes about future wars, but, unfortunately, we are engaged in a war now, and it is this war we have got to deal with. The hon. Members of the Independent Labour Party care for none of these things. It is well known that they are opposed to this war in every way. They may be, but the nation, as represented by the great majority in this House, finding itself in the war, is trying to do its best to win the war and finds it very hard to accept the thesis of the hon. Baronet in his opening sentence that what this Amendment means is that we want a new Government and a new House of Commons. There is very little evidence that the nation as a whole thinks that to do that to-day would help the war effort.
Hon. Members have opened up most interesting fields, not the least of which was the political Darwinism of the hon. Baronet and the description of the dead-end fish. His speech, I am sure, will be read with great interest, as one gathers more from reading than one can from hearing, but I must admit that some parts of it were very confusing, at any rate to my poor intelligence. It is proposed that we should turn out the Government and have a new Parliament and put ourselves to all the colossal change that would be involved rather than continue with the present administration, which has not done too badly on the road which it has been forced to take. The proposition that common ownership would eliminate future wars is one which, judging by the experience of the immediate past, is none too easy to accept, because, after all, in recent times the only great country in Europe that went all out for common ownership was our Russian Ally, and the fact that they did so has certainly not prevented the German beast when he ran amok going for the Russian throat just as much as he 1033 went for the democratic throats of Norway, Holland and every other country among the United Nations he has ravaged.
The mere fact that you had common ownership did not prevent this war, and it is, therefore, perhaps a little speculative to assert very positively that it will avoid future wars. I suggest to hon. Gentlemen of the Labour Party who believe in common ownership as such and who might feel inclined to support this Amendment that it is not a proposition which is completely watertight as it stands and that it would be, perhaps, just as well for them not to accept it. But they may say, "Yes, we believe so much in this common ownership"—
§ Mr. Tinker (Leigh)
I hope the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will not taunt us with that—that we believe in common ownership.
§ Captain Crookshank
I do not wish to taunt anyone about common ownership; I am trying to help the hon. Members. I have not said anything derogatory at all. I put it to them that this Amendment as it stands is not necessarily one which they would whole-heartedly support; but there is the greater issue involved of demanding a vote of confidence in the Government. That is the greater issue. I do not think that when it comes to that issue hon. Members who believe in the common ownership principle need have any fears about looking behind the actual text of this Amendment at its authors. Members of the Independent Labour Party make absolutely clear their attitude about the war. It would be absolutely quixotic for us to entrust them with the conduct of it; certainly any such change would disturb the unity of the nation. It would certainly encourage our enemies, and it would certainly jeopardise the victory which we think we see approaching nearer every day. That is the simple issue.
I hope that all Members who were not in the House at the time will give themselves the pleasure of reading the speech of the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg). He has made to-day one of the most striking orations ever made in this long Parliament, dating back now over so many years. He put so clearly the grounds upon which those of different parties in this House could come together. He summed up so well so much of what 1034 has already been spoken in the Debate that I would not attempt to cover the ground again, although it had been my intention to do so. While I am not necessarily accepting every word he said, it was a speech which commands attention. We have not argued the private enterprise and Socialism issue. We have had it from time to time in the past, and no doubt we shall have it again, but we have not discussed it at all to-day. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said that his friends reserved the right on future occasions, quite rightly, to raise and argue that issue. I, too, reserve the right to do so. The majority in this House, at present, as it happens, take the contrary view on that issue, and on the appropriate occasion it can be discussed. Now we have to concentrate on the question of what we shall do about this Amendment.
The Government, as is clearly known to everyone, came together to try to devise every possible plan and scheme to defeat the enemy. What is quite clear is that success in war depends upon various things. It depends upon the gallantry of all ranks in the Services, it depends on the hard, continuous labour of workers in the various fields of production, and it depends on the morale of all the people. That gallantry, that labour and that morale require commanders, administrators and leaders. The whole direction of the war is what is in issue on this Amendment, because, if the hon. Gentleman and his friend succeed in turning out the Government, the present Prime Minister presumably yields place to the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) or the hon. Baronet, whichever it may be. Whether that will encourage the alliance, whether it will end the war quickly, I beg leave to doubt. But, if the fundamental reason for opposing the Government were that we had conducted things so badly during the last 12 months, I would ask the House to remember the North African campaign, the clearing of the Mediterranean, the landings in Sicily and Italy, the collapse of Mussolini's régime, the growing success of the anti-U-boat campaign, the increasing attacks on the enemy's war production, Quebec, Teheran and the increasingly closer ties which have been forged between ourselves, Russia, the United States and all the United Nations. I claim that looking at the picture as a whole there is no reason why this House should 1035 fail to show its confidence in the present Administration. Ignore the Amendment. It is not so much the Amendment which is at issue as what lies behind it. It has already been stated that this Division, if it takes place, is to be one of confidence in the Government. It is upon the record of the Government in the 12 months since His Majesty last addressed Parliament that I ask with the utmost confidence for support for this Government.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)
I understood that Mr. Speaker expressed the hope that the whole House would co-operate, so that this Amendment could, if desired, be divided upon by the time which he mentioned.
§ Mr. Stephen (Glasgow, Camlachie)
I do not intend to keep the House very long, but I think that those of us who support the Amendment are entitled to say a word. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman taunted us with the fact that there had been two Amendments on the Paper, and that we had come together and put down a single Amendment. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment and the I.L.P. are not responsible for that. We had to have a joint Amendment in order to get an opportunity of challenging confidence in the Government. It is in accordance with the traditional practice of this House that Members who have no confidence in the Government should have an opportunity on the King's Speech of putting down an Amendment, and having it debated and divided upon. It is because we had so much difficulty that we have reached the present agreement.
Like other hon. Members, I shall welcome future interventions by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. L. Berry). I am not without hopes of him. I think he came to-day with his mind very much made up from what he had heard and read, but possibly experience in this House will teach him that a lot of things which he said to-day are not really worthy of consideration, and before he is much older he may come to the conclusion that only under the communal system of the means of life shall we be able to have a popu- 1036 lation which is not regimented and which has a full opportunity for the development of personality. The hon. Member said a lot of interesting things, but, if I may say so without being offensive, he was very platitudinous. He talked about the condition of Europe after the war, but there is one thing which is pressing upon this country at the present time. That is the condition of the old people. That will be the test of how much his eloquent sentences mean. What is he going to do in the present Session to see that the old people are properly treated? I agree with him in his quotation from the Psalm of Love. Yes, Love is the greatest of all things. But I would remind him of something else. There was a young man who had lived a very virtuous life, who had kept all the Commandments, who was very anxious to win eternal life. But there was one thing he lacked. He was not prepared for the great test, to sell all he had and follow the Master. So he went away sorrowful. [Interruption.] The hon. Member may disagree with my exegesis; possibly the young man also disagreed with the words that the Master said to him.
I want to say a word about the answer which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman gave. He said that the issue is one of confidence in the Government. I agree. Then he asked, But what would be the position if the House declared its lack of confidence in the present Government? Would that mean that we would have to leave it to the Independent Labour party? Some Members seem to have a certain amount of misgiving on that point. I do not think that this Government is going to win the war, because winning the war, to my mind, involves also winning the peace. Let me say to hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, if you are going to win the war, you have to make the world safe for democracy. I wonder whether the Government have any intention of making the world safe for democracy. I do not see any such intention in the way they have been acting over Italy. I do not see it in the way they have treated Victor Emmanuel and Badoglio, and in their general attitude. They are not making the world safe for democracy; they are carrying on the war on the principle of the restoration of monarchy in Europe. If the Independent Labour party were entrusted with power in this 1037 country, we would carry on the Government in such a way as to make the country safe for the working-class people. The present Government have no principle but one in the way they have conducted the affairs of the country. They have tried to run the country on the basis of, What is the least that the working people will take to maintain social unity? They say that they are to be trusted as the Government which will win the war for you. Yet to-day there is need for the production of coal in very much greater amount; the factories are threatened with rationing, with going short of coal; and the Government will not take the necessary steps about the coal industry. I believe that their attitude in that respect is symbolic of the whole conduct of the Government and I am confident that by the overthrowing of the Government the political atmosphere of this country would be cleansed and purified and a Government would take their place that would carry on free from all contradictions and lack of principle of the present Administration. The country has no hope of justice for the working classes in the years to come from the people who are responsible for carrying on the Government to-day.
§ Mr. Silverman
I apologise for not co-operating in the suggestion that was made by you, Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the Debate, though I hope not to delay the programme for more than a minute or two. I rise because I intend to vote for the Amendment, and I do not think, having regard to the way in which the matter has been put from the Government Front Bench, that I ought to give a silent vote. If I thought the result of carrying this Amendment would be to put the members of the Independent Labour Party on to the Government Front Bench, I would not vote far it. I have not, since the beginning of the war, voted for any Amendment moved by the Independent Labour Party, not because I have disagreed on their Socialist outlook on strictly domestic issues, but because I believe they have been completely unrealistic and have not faced the facts in their attitude to the war. I believe the Government could not have done other than they did on 3rd September, 1939, and unless we pursue the war to a victorious conclusion there will 1038 be no hope of having a Socialist world. I have been unable to agree with the actions they have taken in this House, but what we are dealing with to-day is the kind of world that we are to make when victory has been won.
I do not believe that anyone wants to see a world war again. We shall not be able to avoid world war again unless we abolish poverty, and we shall not be able to abolish poverty unless we secure the common ownership of the matters referred to in the Amendment. The Prime Minister and the King's Gracious Speech are right in postulating that the minimum requirements in the new world will be food, employment and homes, but I would add, we shall not be able to get them except by a fundamental reconstruction of society along the lines indicated by the hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment. I believe in the continued alliance after war not merely with the United States of America but with Soviet Russia. I do not think that we shall be able to maintain common understanding on the basis of the economics of plenty in one country and the economics of scarcity in the rest of the world. Therefore, unless we are to betray our people at the end of this war, as we undoubtedly betrayed them at the end of the last war, then, it is the business of all of us to accept our responsibilities and to see to it that our plans are made now for a radical and fundamental reconstruction of our economic, social and political ways of living.
When I am told that this party is in the Government and that although we agree on these things, agree with the Amendment, and with the speech that the hon. Baronet made, still we must not vote for it because that would be a vote of censure on the Government, I appeal to hon. Friends on these benches to draw a distinction. Certainly we went into the Government and, if we go on these terms, will remain in it in order to prosecute the war to a successful conclusion and to victory but we must retain, unless we are to give the lie to our deepest beliefs, our responsibilities for all time and our freedom of action on these domestic issues and on these social and economic problems. I have no confidence at all, any more than has my right hon. Friend in front of me, that this Government with its present vision, with its refusal to deal with any question of reconstruction which involves differences of principle, can estab- 1039 lish now the lines upon which a new and a happier world can be built. Therefore, I shall vote for the Amendment not because I want to censure the Government in their prosecution of the war, but because I have no confidence whatever that they have the capacity or the will to build the
|Division No. 2.||AYES.|
|Bevan, A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hardle, Agnes||Stephen, C.|
|Buchanan, G.||McGhee, H. G.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Salter, Dr. A. (Bermondsey, W.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Silverman, S. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|Sir R. Acland and Mr. Maxton.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (kens'gt'n, N.)||James, Wing-Com. A. (Well'borough)|
|Adamson, W. M. (Cannock)||Dunn, E.||James, Admiral Sir W. (Perts'th, N.)|
|Agnew, Comdr. P. G.||Eccles, D. M.||Jeffreys, Gen. Sir G. D.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Ede, J. C.||Jewson, P. W.|
|Apsley, Lady||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||John, W.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E.||Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.|
|Balfour, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. H.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hon. L. W.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Keeling, E. H.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P.||Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Keir, Mrs. Cazalet|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Etherton, Ralph||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)|
|Beaumont, Hubert (Batley)||Evans, Colonel A. (Cardiff, S.)||Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's)|
|Beaumont, Major Hn. R. E. B. (P't'sh)||Fermoy, Lord||Kimball Maj. L.|
|Beech, F. W.||Fildes, Sir H.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Fox, Flight-Lieut. Sir G. W. G.||Leach, W.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Frankel, D.||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||Furness, Major S. N.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.|
|Benson, G.||Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Levy, T.|
|Berry, Hon. G. L. (Buckingham)||Gammans, Capt. L. D.||Lewis, D.|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)||Garro Jones, G. M.||Lindsay, K. M.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.||Gates, Major E. E.||Linstead, H. N.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'b'ke)||Lipson, D. L.|
|Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Gibson, Sir C. G.||Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)||Gledhill, G.||Loftus, P. C.|
|Brass, Capt. Sir W.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Lucas, Major Sir J. M.|
|Brisoee, Capt. R. G.||Grant-Ferris, Wing-Commander R.||Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard|
|Broad, F. A.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Mabane, W.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham)||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Greenwell, Colonel T. G.||McCorquodale, Malcolm S.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Gretton, J. F.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Gridley, Sir A. B.||McKie, J. H.|
|Bull, B. B.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Magnay, T.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Grimston, Hon. J. (St. Albans)||Maitland, Sir A.|
|Burden, T. W.||Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)||Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Groves, T. E.||Mander, G. le M.|
|Cadegan, Major Sir E.||Gunston, Major Sir D. W.||Manningham-Buller, Major R. E.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley)||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A.|
|Campbell, Dermot (Antrim)||Hambro, Capt. A. V.||Mathers, G.|
|Carver, Colonel W. H.||Hannah, I. C.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.|
|Cary, R. A.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.|
|Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Mitchell, Colonel H. P.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C.||Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N. E.)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Montague, F.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Hepburn, Major P. G. T. Buchan||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry|
|Critchley, A.||Hicks, E. G.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Universities)|
|Crooke, Sir J. Smedley||Higgs, W. F.||Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Naylor, T. E.|
|Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||Hogg, Hon. Q. McG.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||Holdsworth, H.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Holmes, J. S.||Nield, Lt.-Col. B. E.|
|Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||Hopkinson, A.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovll)||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Paling, W.|
|Do Chair, Capt. S. S.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|De la Bère. R.||Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Denville, Alfred||Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Peto, Major B. A. J.|
|Doland, G. F.||Hulbert, Wing Commander N. J.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Donner, Squadron-Leader P. W.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Douglas, F. C. R.||Hunter, T.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Drewe, C.||Hurd, Sir P. A.||Price, M. P.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Hutchinson, G. C. (Ilford)||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Dugdale, Major T. L. (Richmond)||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. G. I. C. (E'burgh)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
§ kind of world that we on these benches want and that would prevent war and poverty in the future.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 10; Noes, 246.
|Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)||Turton, R. H.|
|Rankin, Sir R.||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Walker, J.|
|Rathbone, Eleanor||Snadden, W. McN.||Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Spearman, A. C. M.||Waterhouse, Capt. C.|
|Robertson, D. (Streatham)||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Ross Taylor, W.||Strickland, Capt. W. F.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Rothschild, J. A. de||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton (Northwich)||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. H. (Richmond)|
|Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)||Studholme, Captain H. C.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Salt, E. W.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Suirdale, Viscount||White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)|
|Sandys, E. D.||Summers, G. S.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)|
|Savory, Professor D. L.||Sykes, Maj.-Gen. Rt. Hon. Sir F. H.||Willink, H. U.|
|Schuster, Sir G. E.||Tate, Mavis C.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)||Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)||Woodburn, A.|
|Selley, H. R.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.||Wright, Mrs. Beatrice F. (Bodmin)|
|Shaw, Capt. W. T. (Forfar)||Thornton-Kemsley, Lt.-Col. C. N.||York, Major C.|
|Shephard, S.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Shepperson, Sir E. W.||Tomlinson, G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Silkin, L.||Touche, G. C.||Mr. Boulton and Mr. Pym.|
|Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W. D.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.|
§ Main Question again proposed.