HC Deb 30 November 1943 vol 395 cc245-322

[Third Day.]

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question.—[24th November.] That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth: Most Gracious Sovereign, We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—[Commander Brabner.]

Question again proposed.

Sir John Wardlaw-Milne (Kidderminster)

In the Gracious Speech, reference is made to the much improved position in which we find ourselves in regard to the war after four years of struggle, and the Speech rightly pays a very well-deserved compliment to our Russian Allies, who have borne the greater part of the attack of the German Armies. The Lord President of the Council, when he dealt with the war situation on the first day of the Debate on the Address, also reviewed recent events in a very interesting way, but when he came to his eagerly-awaited statement regarding the losses of Cos and Leros, I do not think my right. hon. Friend did either himself or the House justice. He referred to the fact that had the Government not taken action to attack those islands, there would have been criticism. I think it is probably true that there would have been definite criticism if no attempt had been made to occupy them. But I would point out to my right hon. Friend and the Government that it is not in that form that criticism has been offered. Personally, I have heard no criticism of the Government's decision to make those attacks, but I have heard very definite criticism of the method which the Government adopted in starting the adventure. That criticism is mainly directed to the occupation of Cos and Leros without having first secured the main base of Rhodes—a decision which is really made more difficult to understand when we consider what my right hon. Friend said. He said that a small party was sent to Rhodes but that the Italians did not respond. We have been told that there were 9,000 Germans and 40,000 Italians on Rhodes. I do not know what may have happened between the Germans and the Italians, but I think we can make a shrewd guess that the Germans did not trust their Italian Allies very far, and it is more than probable that the Italians on that island were either fully or partially disarmed or, at any rate, in no situation to rise in our support against their German masters. I would not particularly blame the Germans if they did not trust the Italians, knowing the treatment the Italians have meted out to us on different occasions.

It seems to me, therefore, that it is extraordinary that we should have sent a small party to the Island of Rhodes and let it come away again merely because the Italians did not respond. The matter is made the more surprising when one realises what has been said in another place, because there the spokesman of the Government stated that the British party was refused permission to land. That, surely, is the height of absurdity. It gives one the impression that when the British got to Rhodes they said to the troops there, "We have come to make 9,000 of you prisoners," and as they did not accept that suggestion the British went away. I think the House is entitled to a fuller explanation than that given by the Government. I do not in the least criticise the decision of the Government to take action; I am not in any position to make such a criticism, nor have I ever heard any criticism of that kind, but surely here is a situation on which the House is entitled to more information than it has so far received. There is not only the question of the valuable lives lost, not only the question of the imprisoning of a large number of men who had fought at Cos and Leros with great valour against impossible odds, but there is the effect that the evacuation of these islands must have on the situation in the Near East. I hope that these events will be overshadowed by Allied successes elsewhere; I am sure they will, but that does not alter the fact that in Turkey and the Near East generally these losses from an expedition apparently so badly planned cannot have anything but a bad effect. I think we have to realise that, in the Near East particularly, strength is the one thing admired and respected. Any exhibition of weakness of this kind is much to be regretted. I realise, of course, that the main part of our troops are engaged in Italy, but surely it would have been possible to send sufficient men to Rhodes to make sure that we could deal with the Germans there. In that connection, one of the difficulties of the public is that they do not know, of course, where a great many of the British troops are stationed, and rightly do not know. I am not suggesting that we ought to know, because these things cannot be fully told in time of war. I do not know where the Ninth Army is, but it is almost impossible to believe that we have not enough troops to have put up a real show in the Ægean.

In various speeches by Ministers, especially in those by the Prime Minister, emphasis has been laid, quite rightly, on the danger of the country becoming too optimistic. I think that is a very wise attitude, and I think it is one adopted by most Members of Parliament, but I would suggest to the Government that it is not unnatural for the country to take an optimistic view of events when account is taken of the tremendous advance by the Russians—which is a subject of admiration to all of us—and of the evidence of the bombing attacks on German cities, when people are bound to think that it must be difficult, indeed, for the Germans to stand up to these continual attacks. In regard to the Italian campaign, I frankly find myself in some difficulty. I have the greatest admiration for what our troops are doing there against very great difficulties. One would like to feel that we have ample men and supplies—according to the papers this morning we have—to enable us to succeed against climatic difficulties and the forces that the Germans have been able to range against us. But, on the other hand, I see from neutral sources, particularly from the best known Swiss military commentator, that the real delay is not caused by the weather, but because we have not enough troops. I do not suggest that that is true; I do not know. I do not think the country is getting enough information—not nearly enough. I am not pressing the Government to publish anything that would do us the slightest harm in carrying on the war, but I do stress that if they wish the country to be less optimistic, then they must give it a little more information. At the moment there is nothing to show people the urgent necessity for extending our efforts. May I just say one more word on that subject? It is probable that one of the difficulties is that the figures which are supplied regarding the losses on the various fronts, if totalled up, bring to the statistician, at any rate, some very surprising results. I am told that students who have carefully noted the German losses in Russia alone have come to the conclusion that no German Army now exists at all—it has all been wiped out. It really means, of course, that new forces have been enlisted and trained.

Another example is that of the figures quoted in some of the papers about Japanese losses in the South-West Pacific. These figures show that the Japanese at the beginning of their war had 18 battleships, of which the Americans have sunk three and damaged ten; the Japanese had 18 aircraft carriers, and of this number the Americans have sunk six and damaged nine; the Japanese had 56 cruisers, and the Americans have sunk 34 and damaged 68, and four more have been probably sunk; the Japanese had 156 destroyers, of which 76 have been sunk, 82 damaged and 18 probably sunk. The reason I give these figures is that unless the public get more information as to what is happening they will obviously think the war is largely over, and that we have destroyed a great deal of the enemy's power to fight. I do not give these figures for the purpose of calling attention to inaccuracies; I do not think the figures are inaccurate, from the point of view of observers at the time, but what must be put against them is the very large force which the enemy can bring into the field by enlistment and training.

There is another point on this question of optimism. I do not criticise what is said in America, because I think, on the whole, the great American newspapers are extremely fair and do their best to put the progress of the war clearly before their people, but I think it is also true that students of American newspapers, as a whole, find that there is a tendency to give the American people the idea that nobody is really fighting in the war except themselves. I know the danger of saying anything that would upset our American Allies, but I do not think plain speaking will cause resentment. Some of them know the danger that there may be to the after-war position if their people get the impression that the whole war has been won by America.

A few days ago the Foreign Secretary, on his return from Moscow, gave the House an account of the proceedings there to the extent that he was able to make them public, and I think the House desires to congratulate him on his able handling of his share in that Conference. Of course, I do not know what happened there, but one thing is obvious, and that is that there has been a noticeable falling off, since that Conference, in the demand from the Russians for an immediate second front. I therefore presume that Marshal Stalin and his advisers were satisfied with what they heard. As I say, I do not know, but I hope that that is true. One thing that particularly interested me and, I think, the House generally is the fact that an agreement was come to regarding the treatment of Germany after the war. I do not think that any of us wish to be vindictive. Eventually Germany will have to take her place among the civilised nations to the extent that her population and scientific development entitles her but there must be a period—and possibly a long period—before that during which the Germans must learn once and for all the lesson that war does not pay, and that she has definitely lost this war—she did not appreciate her defeat in the last. It means, I think, a very severe measure of control by the Allies after the war, the disbandment of Germany's armed forces, the punishment of those who have been guilty of some of the atrocious crimes we read of almost every day, the control of her industries which might form part of a possible war potential for the future, and, above all, the destruction, if we can, of the Prussian spirit which has been responsible for three wars in 100 years.

This is not the time to go into these matters in detail, but there is one point, which is not specially mentioned in the publications about the Moscow Conference, which I desire to bring to the notice of the House. At the end of the last war Germany re-built her whole economic position by a system which was extremely ingenious and which we must guard against in the future. She divided her currency into two categories—internal and and external—with the result that she was able to deal with certain other nations by means of nothing less than a system of blackmail and robbery. She said bluntly, "We will have internal and external marks. We will buy anything from abroad and we will pay in these special marks, which will only be valid to purchase in Germany such goods as we wish to sell." This was possible as the Aski-Marks or other external currency had no value in the international market. The consequence of that was that she was able to hold up to ransom quite a number of countries that wanted to sell goods to her. I do not think there is any doubt that after this war we shall have to divide the future currency of Germany again into external and internal parts, but both will have to be under close control, particularly the external currency. What we have to guard against is this: The moment Germany admits defeat—and she knows now that she is defeated—there will be immediately a wild flight from the mark and tremendous inflation. The Allies must be ready then to bring in an organisation which will introduce strict rationing and prohibit the printing of paper money. It is most important that we should be ready then before Germany makes it possible to repeat the manoeuvres of 25 years ago.

The Gracious Speech tells us of the Government's intention to complete plans for the transition period between war and peace. That is a very important matter, and it is one which will probably attract most attention in the House during the coming weeks. We cannot too early get on with plans so that we are not caught napping if, by the grace of God, we get peace much more quickly than we are entitled to rely upon. In the past year most of the discussions of this subject have been on social security, the Beveridge plan and other schemes of that kind. There is much in these that all of us would like to see implemented. I would like to see a good deal done not only from the point of view of social security but from a very different point of view altogether, namely, that only on the basis of home purchasing power can we rebuild our economic system. I am, therefore, anxious to see strong purchasing power at home. Nevertheless, there is a danger in these schemes. It is the danger that certain people are beginning to believe that they can count on the State for everything, that they can get all they want and that work is a secondary matter. The important thing in the forthcoming years is that working men should be able to get well-paid and secure work. That is far more important than any scheme of social reform. If a working man gets his wages regularly and is secure, he has plenty of brains to look after himself and his future. I am not worried so much about these schemes if we can solve the unemployment problem.

In connection with this point, there is one argument which is constantly being used and which is highly dangerous. I heard it in my own division, and no doubt Members have heard it in theirs. It is: "If we can afford so and so in war, we can afford it in peace." That is the most fatal and most dangerous argument anybody could use. These people say that only war gives us full employment. But we have not any full employment at all in war. The country is not employed. I doubt whether 50 per cent. of the people are employed from a peace-time standpoint. The Army is not employed from a peace-time standpoint. Employment means the production of goods and the provision of services for human consumption and needs, not for destruction, and consequently you are in a position in which at the present moment more than half the population is being paid and fed out of borrowed money. It is a most erroneous idea to suggest that we have full employment in war; we have nothing of the kind, and anything that can be said in this House or elsewhere to counteract that idea can do nothing but good.

We have heard a lot about houses and food. They are both there if we work for them, but they are not there until we do. We have not earned houses and food for everybody; all we have earned is the right to work for them when victory comes, and that is a very different thing. It is not doing any good to spread the idea that everything at the end of the war will be very easy and that we shall get complete happiness, security and prosperity without a very great deal of hard work. An important matter was mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) in his speech the other day, namely, housing, about which I would like to say a few words. As the years of the war go on and the Government's demand for new and urgent war construction comes towards an end, I think the question of housing cannot be left until the end of hostilities. Housing conditions in this country are unspeakably bad. Although one realises the difficulties and that the necessities of the war must come first, that is one of the things the Government should devote their attention to, even before the end of the war. They should release such labour as is possible, and get on with new construction now.

But the main problem in our reconstruction considerations is that of our currency, exchange and economic system in the future. That is the one thing that we want to see the thinking minds in the country devoting themselves to without delay. On that depends the whole prosperity of our export trade, and we cannot too soon engage with other nations in the negotiations which will be required to bring about a stable system of exchange after the war and at the same time consider methods to secure for ourselves an internal system which will promote trade and enterprise and not lead to deflation. Empire development in the future may give us much greater prosperity if we devote ourselves to it. We have not, done much in the past in that direction, and we could do a great deal more. But the first basis of our prosperity is home-consuming power. We have to drop many of our preconceived ideas, whether political or economic, and start again with new views and new courage if we are going to meet the difficulties successfully which will face us after the war.

During the war the individual, both in private life and in industry, has of course been hampered, controlled and governed by the orders of the Government. That is inevitable, and everyone realises the necessity far it, but it would be very hard to exaggerate the resentment and the boredom of the people at these restrictions on their home life and on industry. They are very severe, and the people are terribly tired of them. I am glad that the President of the Board of Trade is going to make an announcement on the subject of the small trader. It is high time, for the small trader has practically been battered out of existence in the last few years, fn many cases without compensation and without any means of starting again. We must get these people back. If we asked them what they wanted more than anything else, they would say, I think, they want to be allowed as soon as possible to manage their own affairs free of restrictions and Government orders. We want to put an end as soon as we can to the dead hand of bureaucracy. I suggest that the Government should set up a Committee or Commission of some kind to decide in what way controls can be gradually removed. Some will have to be continued for a time, but there should not be any delay in getting a committee of that kind.

Viscount Hincitingbrooke (Dorset, Southern)

Is my hon. Friend still talking of the small trader?

Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne

No, I am talking of controls generally. I referred to the small trader in view of the statement of the Board of Trade. I do not want us to be caught if we get a sudden peace. I want the whole thing thought out beforehand. In the industrial controls it would be idle to pretend that there has been no criticism of the operations. There have been accusations both of favouritism and of the defence and extension of private interests. At the same time I want to pay the highest possible tribute to the numerous business men who have devoted themselves disinterestedly for years to managing these controls. It does not alter my admiration for them to say that there have been these criticisms, which it would be well worth the Government's while to note. In some cases I suppose it was inevitable that the Government should enlist the services of some of the great combines, but I am sure that the disinterested people in these controls will be the first to wish to return to their usual avocations.

There is another aspect of this matter of a more general kind. After the war there will be the danger of the cartel system. It exists in this country, and in my views cartels in the past have generally resulted in keeping inefficient producers in being and restricting production. They have had an adverse effect on the consumer. If any Member had the industry and the leisure, he might be well advised to read some of the evidence and conclusions of the United States Department of Justice Anti-trust Division, and there he would see exactly what has come to light regarding the activities of Germany. He would find it stated that German control has not only prevented supplies of aviation spirit being available for some American planes, but that some share of the cost of the petrol used in Great Britain in her attacks upon the enemy found its way into German hands. These are very serious statements. The President of the United States Chambers of Commerce, who was recently a visitor here said, on his return to America that he had been asked here, "Are you going to repeal your anti-trust laws?" Evidently inquirers here hoped that Great Britain would try to induce America to fall into line and allow what has been described as the cartel system, permitted and even sponsored by the British Government, to extend to America. I do not think the British people will stand for any monopolies after the war; I sincerely hope not.

My hon. and gallant Friend who moved the Address said that youth was anxious about the future, and he particularly wanted youth to have a share in the settlement of our problems. I very much hope they will have that share and will be able to avoid the mistakes of the past generation. I hope they will realise the absolute necessity, if we are going to secure peace, that we should have a sufficient armed force for the purpose. The Allies should have sufficient forces so that this time peace shall be secured—so that when the peace treaties come we shall have sufficient strength at sea, on land and in the air to implement them without any difficulty. We must never again be unprepared. Is youth prepared for that? As I see it, it means quite definitely a form of conscription. The great weakness of all democracies is that they always believe there are no aggressive, avaricious nations and that everyone is as peaceful as they are themselves. That is the danger, and we are going to be up against it, not the day after peace is declared, but in a few years. Those who will play a large part in the future settlement of these matters will make exactly the same mistake, if they are not careful, as was made before. If we want freedom we have to be prepared to fight for it. If we are prepared, it is extremely likely that we shall never have to do so. Democracy, however, generally hates conscription and talks of the loss of liberty. It is a small cost to pay for freedom. The time taken from industrial life falls equally on everyone and the training and working together on terms of complete equality is one of the highest expressions of democracy.

There is matter in the King's Speech which will engage the attention of Parlia- ment for many weeks and months to come. Do not let us, I pray the Government, delay too long in coming to decisions. Above all, do not let us delay because we want to have perfect decisions. We shall never get a perfect decision at this stage. It is far better that we should make some mistakes, but be ready to act, than wait until the end of the war, till everyone has been consulted, in the hope that we shall get some perfect solution of all the difficulties. The final issue of the war is a moral and spiritual one. When victory is achieved we shall have to face a still greater task in the establishment of enduring peace and the restoration of liberty and freedom for the world.

Captain Poole (Lichfield)

I am sure the House has listened with a great deal of interest and sympathy to the speech we have just heard. With a great part of it I found myself in complete agreement, though I would like to take exception to some of the things the hon. Gentleman said. I could not help being interested in his reference to the presentation of views in the United States. The first thing that I did when I came back from that country last year was to impress on the Ministry of Information how sadly we were lacking. If America thinks that she is doing the lion's share in winning this war, we have no one else to blame for it but ourselves. We have totally failed to tell the story of the great epic of what we accomplished during the early days of the war. While we should all like to know more of what is happening in the various theatres of war, and while it may be true that in a multitude of counsellors there is wisdom, I do not think that in a multitude of information there is always truth. To take an illustration from the country of which I have just spoken, I can think of nothing that contributes more to lack of clarity and vision in the thinking of the average American than the colossal volume of news poured out to him in his daily paper, on the radio, and from the public platform, from a multitude of speakers who speak with many voices and diverse conceptions. If ever we were to be flooded in a comparable way with such information as is being supplied to that great nation, there would be much more confusion than there is to-day in the direction of the war.

I am not competent to cover the vast amount of ground that the hon. Gentle- man did, but the more I see of the war and what is necessary successfully to prosecute it the less I feel entitled to comment on its conduct. I think that in the main the strategy and tactics of this war have been excellent. There have been mistakes, but they have been very few and far between. It is not from that aspect of the hon. Member's speech that I want to speak, although my notes were prepared very much on the same lines as his. I want to direct myself to the urgency of the human problems that will confront this nation in the post-war period. I want to utter my condemnation—although that is perhaps a stronger word than I intended to use—of the vagueness of the Government's intentions for the post-war period. The time has arrived for the publication of positive plans for the post-war era. Government speakers are rightly asking for the continuation of a 100 per cent. war effort on the part of those engaged in industry. I am sure that they will only get that if they can inspire confidence in the postwar position of the people to whom they are addressing their appeal.

The days when the people of this Island fought grimly in order that they might survive have passed. Survival has become an accomplished thing. We are directing our attention to accomplishing the victory, and men and women are looking for an assurance that the Government will lead them to a much more abundant life than they knew before. I agree with the hon. Member that the post-war period will not be a period of ease and plenty. It will be a period in which we as a nation will have to face the need of working as hard as we have ever worked to accomplish the victory. The job of winning the peace will be as difficult as that of defeating Fascism. I believe that given a vision of the things which they are setting out to accomplish the people of this Island will be as willing to fight for the things that belong to the peace as they are to fight for the things that belong to the war. We have had new Ministerial appointments to the Government. Each week-end there descends upon us a shower of speeches both from hon. Members opposite, who do not always speak with quite the same voice, and from hon. Members on these benches—[An HON. MEMBER: "Who do not either."] I agree that they very seldom do. I am not sure it is not all to the good. It would be a dull world if we all spoke with the same voice. We arrive at the truth only by differing. Commissions have sat, and reports have been published. New Ministerial appointments do not necessarily fill the larder and speeches do not necessarily buy shoes for children's feet. Commissions and reports do not make jobs available for men who want to work.

I want to know where the Government's plans are for the post-war period. I believe that men and women are asking for three things. While I attach the greatest importance to the Beveridge Report, I do not believe that it comes first in the post-war needs. I do not think that social security is the first thing in that programme. The first thing wanted is not an assurance that there will be unemployment pay. Men are asking for the assurance that they will never need to draw it. They are asking for jobs of work to do. The second thing for which they are asking, and which they are entitled to ask, are homes in which to live. The third thing which they are entitled to ask for is security in illness and adversity. In that order I place our prime post-war needs. We have been told that demobilisation is to be controlled. That is all to the good. The controlling of it will prove a much bigger problem to the Minister of Labour than the mere making of the statement. But that is only a fraction of the problem. The production of shells, tanks, guns and aeroplanes ceases, not in some leisurely fashion, but very abruptly, and we should like to know what exactly are the Government's plans for the transition from the production of weapons of war to that of weapons of peace.

The post-war period ought to be an era of unprecedented prosperity. We alone of all the European nations have our internal economy intact. We alone have an industrial machine capable of turning over to peace production. It is, however, going to be an enormous problem, and we should like to know how far the Government have gone in their plans to accomplish it. Is everything being done to train the necessary personnel so that they might fit into that transition?—[Interruption.] I wish the noble lady the Member for the Sutton Division of Plymouth (Viscountess Astor) would wait until she is called before she makes her speech and not try to make it in between my sentences. It makes it difficult for one who does not speak very often. I apologise for having to say this.

Viscountess Astor (Plymouth, Sutton)

I apologise, too.

Captain Poole

I believe that here is a marvellous opportunity for tackling both these things—work and homes for the people. We are faced in the immediate post-war period with a shortage of probably 5,000,000 houses. I was astounded to hear the Government's proposal to meet that problem on a ten-year basis and to think that they should be so lacking in the appreciation of a common problem as to think that this was a problem that should last for so long a period. Probably no members of the Government have lived three families to a house; I have seen those who have and have seen families living in one room; and I would condemn all members af the Government to spend six months under these conditions. At the end of it they would realise that ten years is a fantastic period for dealing with this problem. Men who have fought in the Middle East will not be prepared to wait ten years for a house. These men have not slept in a bed for many years, and they will want something better than the promise of a house in ten years' time. Those people who have married in the enthusiasm of the moment will want a home in a shorter period than that, and it is in the interests of the nation that they should have it. I hope they will not be prepared to wait, and I am sure that they will not be.

I feel that 2,000,000 homes a year should be our immediate post-war target. How are we to get them? It is easy to say that we must mobilise all our resources. We have to sweep away many prejudices which we have held in the realm of housing. I hope I am not anticipating anything that may be said by hon. Members who have lately been making a survey of the manner in which housing has been tackled across the Atlantic when I ask: Why not have prefabrication in house building? I have no interest in the building industry, so that I can speak frankly about this. I have lived in pre-fabricated houses in temperatures 32 below zero and 110 above, and I know that we have false conceptions of the way in which these houses could fulfil the need. We have always thought that when we built a house that we were building something to last 100 years, that we could live in it through our lifetime and then hand it down to our children. Some day we shall have a Minister of Health with a progressive outlook who will realise that the life of an average house should be 25 years. If I were a Minister of Health, the first thing I would do would be to bring in legislation giving local authorities power to license house building for a maximum period of 25 years, at the end of which, unless a house fulfilled normal, decent standards, it would be abolished. In that way slums never could arise.

A house built to-day with present scientific development is hopelessly out of date at the end of 25 years. It is the out of date house that makes housework the drudgery it is and it is what brings slums upon us. We will pay £400 for a motor-car in which we will spend an hour a day and think it right and proper to exchange it at the end of the year because it has become obsolete, but our thinking is so muddled that when we spend twice that amount on a house we believe it should last 100 years. If it is good to change a motor-car, in which we spend an hour a day, at the end of a year, it would be a good policy to change a house, in which we spend 16 hours a day—at any rate the wife does—at the end of 25 years. I suggest, therefore, that many of the factories now engaged on war production should turn over to the manufacture of pre-fabricated housing units. We could easily get 2,000,000 houses a year. Skilled labour does not enter into the problem. If houses were prefabricated we could soon provide real homes for the people. I wish hon. Members could see those that have been provided for American workers in war industry. They are comfortable and have every modern convenience.

I would like to say a word on agriculture, as much of my Division is agricultural. I cannot but feel that the farmer and farm worker in spite of the agitation and speeches of succeeding Ministers of Agriculture, who seem to have passed through the House fairly frequently and freely, have still to get their straight deal from the Government. All that the agricultural industry has for the post-war period is, first, that all grassland will be ploughed up by the end of 1944, and, second, that current prices will prevail for one year after the end of hostilities. It seems beyond the conception of the Minister of Agriculture to realise that agriculture is an industry. If an industry is making pots and pans and the country ceases to want them, the manufacturer can cease to make them and can make something else. The farmer cannot do that. He cannot change over from one system to another. His must always be a long-term policy, and he must always be thinking many years ahead. This industry, probably the most important industry, ought to be removed out of the sphere of party politics at the earliest possible moment. Succeeding Governments have not been able to give long-term thinking to this industry simply because they knew they were in office for only four or four-and-a-half years, and they were looking, after the third year, for some sop to give the industry to insure its support in the succeeding election. We have now a Government of all the talents—at any rate, most of the talents. It is a Government of all the parties, and it provides a marvellous opportunity to draw up a ten-year plan. Why could it not be drawn up in agreement with the major parties in the House? Then in the post-war period, each Government, of whatever party it might be formed, would be tied to a policy to which they had submitted while they were a party in the Coalition Government. The farmer would then know how he stood and how he could plan his industry, and there would be some reasonable chance of giving the farm worker a better standard of life than he has ever enjoyed.

Another point to which I wish to turn is that of emigration. I have already urged upon the Government the need for an intelligent emigration policy. We have had staff talks with our Allied and Dominion Governments for the prosecution of the war. I am still waiting for staff talks with the Dominion Governments on the prosecution of the peace. We ought to have met the Dominion Governments long before now and agreed with them upon a sane and intelligent scheme, because many of our young men have been to the Dominions, have met and lived with the people there, have come to love them and will desire to go there when the war is over. I want to know whether the Government have any plan making it easy for them to go there and assuring to them some measure of security in the first year or two after they settle in the new country.

Thirdly, and finally, there is the question of security for our people in sickness and adversity. We have never treated our own people aright. I do not think the Beveridge Report treats our own people aright. I should have liked to have seen in the King's Speech some assurance that the Government were prepared to do justice to that section of the community. Will there be security for the sick, the wounded and the maimed? I see little earnest of a desire to play fair by our fighting men. I see very little desire again to give them justice. All through this war, again, they have been grossly underpaid, placed in an inferior financial position to almost every Allied soldier whom they have been fighting alongside. I hope that our soldiers, sailors and airmen, and merchant seamen, will stick together and will hound out of office any Government, of whatever party, which does not accord justice to them on their return. We cannot afford to repeat the experience we had following the last war. I think the Government know the feeling in industry about the treatment of disabled workers. That is a matter still calling for worthier treatment. These are but a few of the things which ordinary men want to know about; they want to know the mind of the Government, and above all to know it quickly. We have mobilised everything for the prosecution of the war, and I believe that any Government which fails to do likewise in order that men and women may enjoy the fruits of their labour and live their lives in confidence and hope will have been false in face of the great sacrifices of this very brave people.

Mr. Denman (Leeds, Central)

I hope the hon. and gallant Member for Lichfield (Captain Poole) will allow me to thank him for an admirable speech, which I should like to describe as a representative utterance. He has given expression to the widespread feelings of impatience at the slowness of our preparations for the post-war period; he has emphasised the need we all feel for a housing programme on a huge scale and its most immediate application at the end of the war; and also expressed the widespread determination that agriculture must be treated better than it was after the last war. The Government have really only themselves to blame for the fact that the King's Speech has been received with great doubts. They have not succeeded in getting on with the reconstruction job to the extent that all of us with a forward outlook had reasonably anticipated. It has long been a valid criticism of the Government that they have wasted the capacity of the present Parliament. Let them look at the achievements of the Parliament of 1917–18 that sat and acted in very similar circumstances. In those days we were allowed to get on with major reconstruction legislation, and produced some Acts of the highest importance. In this Parliament we have been starved of major legislation.

There are, roughly, three main functions of Parliament—to control the Executive, to be the grand forum of debate, and to pass legislation. The first two functions we have performed pretty fully. For the first two any ordinary Parliament, with party divisions, is probably more fitted than a united Parliament of the type we now enjoy, but the supreme job that a Parliament of the present kind can perform is passing large scale legislation such as would be almost impracticable in the days of ordinary party manoeuvres. Of that work we have been absolutely starved. The King's Speech does give some hopes, but we cannot make up for the lost time. I am afraid that owing to this lack of big constructive work the atmosphere of unity has been somewhat impaired and we are less efficient than we should have been a year ago. The arrears of work are now so great that it is unlikely that we shall be able to catch up with them during the war—at least I earnestly hope the war will not go on as long as would be required to enable us to overtake them.

The King's Speech is rich in matters that are to be laid before us for our consideration, but poor in legislation that we are invited to pass. I see that we are to have put before us and to discuss the results of the Government's consideration of such matters as the Barlow, the Uthwatt and the Beveridge Reports, but he is indeed an optimist who hopes for legislation this Session in respect of any of those. We are to have legislation upon matters certainly of importance but of minor significance, such as the training for employment of disabled people. We shall welcome a Measure to deal with that. We shall welcome also a Measure far the reinstatement of persons discharged from the Armed Forces. But the only large-scale subject that we are asked to deal with by legislation is the redevelopment of areas which by reason of enemy action, overcrowding or otherwise are to be replanned as a whole. Even education is a subject that is only to be laid before us. I hope that in that respect the King's Speech has not properly expressed Ministerial intentions. I believe the Government do intend that we shall pass an Education Bill, but they might at least have invited us to do so.

What, then, is the position? We have education as one big Bill, and another big Bill to confer special powers for the re-development of areas. Two Bills of that size are probably about as much as we shall get into one Session with our existing times of sittings. If we want to pass more important legislation we must clearly alter our hours and our methods—but, indeed, I am not optimistic enough to believe that the Government have these bigger measures ready for us. Unless Bills relating to social security, the location of industry and development rights in land are ready early in 1944, I think they have no chance of passing in this Session. May I, by the way, ask a question on the paragraph relating to social security? We are told there is to be a new scheme of workmen's compensation. Are we to understand that to mean that workmen's compensation is to be kept a separate subject outside the general scheme of social security? I hope not. The Beveridge plan definitely brought it within the total scheme. The Government, in accepting the scheme, expressed doubts as to what they would do in relation to workmen's compensation. But if the new workmen's compensation plan is simply a further building up of the present structure and not a transference into the major organisation of social security, I believe we shall be missing a great opportunity.

It is agreed, of course, that this reconstruction policy must be a secondary task in no way prejudicing the Government's conduct of their primary job. Here let me say that the attitude of this House can be a quite vital factor. If we enter upon the work of reconstruction, the passing of these Measures, with animosities and ill-temper, we may easily make the difficulties of the Government so enormous as to destroy the prospects of any worthwhile results. I always hoped that the very fact of putting major reconstructive opportunities before this House would induce the spirit of unity, would give us a pride in our job, which we should realise was of the first importance. I trust that we shall be able to pull together and encourage the Government to the utmost to get on with this task that means so much to our future.

I pass from criticism of the Government to refer briefly to administration, and to offer praise. I do most cordially agree with the sentiment expressed by the seconder of the Motion for the Humble Address when he spoke of the value of a little appreciation. That applies quite as much to Ministers as to miners, and I want to say a few words of appreciation of Ministers on the administrative side of their work. We all know its shortcomings; we have cases in our constituencies daily showing difficulties in details that have arisen, and irritations that we have to try to put right; but looking at the total national effort by and large I say that the administration of this country during the war has been a magnificent achievement creditable alike to Ministers who have had to control it and to the people, who have accepted difficulties and failures with understanding good-will. One point I would try to impress upon Ministers. They should do their best to reduce wastefulness in administration to a minimum. Much goes on that cannot be helped in war time—we all know it—but wastefulness always has an injurious effect not only upon organisation and output but upon public morale. It is difficult to encourage the private virtue of avoiding waste in the face of so much obvious Government vice in this direction.

In singling out one item of administration for special applause, I select the much debated 18B, not only because it is apposite to current controversy but because it represents the high watermark of Fascist practice in this country. That Regulation empowers Ministers to intern citizens, guilty of no offence, simply because in the opinion of the Minister the citizen is a public danger. There is one curious feature of 18B that is not generally recognised, which is that the detained per- son has no right of release when he has ceased to be a public peril. Once the Minister has got him, he is there until the Minister chooses to let him out. If he is put in under the first sub-section of 18B, it is as a person who has been recently concerned in acts prejudicial to the public safety or in the preparation or instigation of such acts. That is the condition of his going in, and clearly, if he has been there three or four years he can no longer have been recently concerned in such acts.

Such powers in the hands of a man who was a natural dictator or liked to play the part of a bully or had any Fascist leanings, could be an engine of the grossest tyranny, but so far as we know the facts we see no signs that 18B has been administered in that spirit. The whole process under the present Home Secretary has been one of steady and sensible release, and that is right. We cannot observe as a result that there has been any increase in the national peril.

Sir Robert Tasker (Holborn)

May I remind my hon. Friend that it is the method we have to bear in mind and not the man who administers it? The hon. Member is advocating this method.

Mr. Denman

That is my whole point. This is the maximum degree of Fascist practice to which we have attained in war-time, and it is only to be tolerated for the very special purposes of national defence. I would congratulate the Minister on the spirit in which he has let people out. I think he might have gone further. The danger of keeping some of these people in is so largely past that he could ask himself, "For what purpose am I detaining these people?" rather than the question, "Is it now time that they were released?" We shall talk about the Mosley case on the next Sitting Day, so I must not refer to it to-day in detail, but obviously the Home Secretary was bound to ask himself, "What and whom does this man imperil if I let him out?" That question ought always to be asked, and I put it to my constituents who are protesting, and I have not had any answer to show that any risk is run if he is out and subject to the restrictions that have been imposed. A man who is such a marked public character that he can take no action whatever that could be deemed to imperil the public safety without bringing upon his head a fresh internment is, I think, the safest possible man to let out.

Mr. E. P. Smith (Ashford)

Is my hon. Friend aware that between 1st September, 1938, and 1st September, 1939, the British Union of Fascists under Sir Oswald Mosley received a very large sum of money from Germany, from the Nazi Party?

Mr. Denman

That is irrelevant to the administration of 18B, which is what I am discussing at the moment. We must not intrude upon the subject which is to be discussed upon the next Sitting Day. What the Fascists did in 1938 or 1939 is irrelevant to the peril caused by individual Fascists in 1943. Regulation 18B has a further danger about it, that it is always, liable to encourage mass hysteria. We remember the hysteria there was about spies in the last war. There was a real spy mania, and people were locked up for no adequate reason. The existence of 18B encourages the taste for imprisonment without trial. We are liable at any moment to get this slight hysterical emotion in the public mind. I suppose we are among the steadiest folk in the world, yet—

Mr. E. P. Smith

I hope the hon. Member does not think that I am hysterical.

Mr. Denman

We get slight attacks of this disease.

Viscountess Astor


Mr. Denman

I believe that we are suffering at the moment from one of these slight attacks. That brings me to speak of one of the duties of this House in this matter of mass hysteria, which is always directed against the Government. We should be the buffer to protect the Government against worries of this kind. It is our function to discuss things and to hammer out realities and apply the medicine of common sense, so as to cure this ill-directed emotion. On the next Sitting Day we shall have the opportunity, which the critics of the Home Secretary have consistently avoided, of bringing their criticism to the test of a Division. Time after time I have wanted to show in the one practical form open to me that I have thought well of the administration of 18B by the Home Secretary, but every time, for different reasons, his attackers have declined to bring the matter to the vote, because they were aware not merely of the poverty of their arguments but of the poverty of support they had in this House. I hope that we shall have the opportunity of showing the Government that we do rally round them in support of the administration of this Regulation.

Mr. T. J. Brooks (Rothwell)

I shall not follow the last speaker in his references to 18B, but I want to speak on the theme "Hands off local government." There is a widespread feeling to-day against the Government taking over services from the local authorities. It tends to reduce the powers and duties of local authorities. The veterinary and fire services have gone to Whitehall, and there is the transfer of all functions relating to milk production to the Ministry of Agriculture. This process seems to be the declared policy of the Government. A few years ago the Government took over control of the trunk roads, and today there are feelers out for them to take over class 1 roads. The Ministry of Agriculture, his Parliamentary Secretary and their staff have done a marvellous job during the war in this basic industry, which is vital to the well-being of the country, but there is a very strong feeling among the farmers who are producing and retailing milk. I have received a letter from my division which brings out the points. It says that the matter was discussed at a meeting, and it was decided to ask the Member of Parliament for the district to use his power in the House of Commons against the proposals of the White Paper relating to the heat treatment of milk. The letter went on: Our objections are that the proposals would undo all the saving of man-power we have already saved on the zoning scheme of retail milk. Secondly, the heat treatment is no cure for dirty milk; and that we are of the opinion, if this is forced upon us, it will put the producer-retailer out of business for ever. That is a serious thing, and there is a good deal of feeling about it. The veterinary services were transferred from the local authorities with the object of compelling farmers to produce clean milk. If methods of producing milk were always like they are in my constituency, there would be no need for pasteurisation plants, which are mainly for cleaning dirty milk. If the veterinary services are to be used to clean farms so that we can have a very much cleaner industry, if machinery is used for milking the beasts and the milk is placed into bottles without touching human hands, and if herds are brought up for examination every six months, what is the use of cleaning the milk afterwards? If these improvements will make for a better service, I do not think we shall be hurt. It will be much better, but there is a very strong feeling that these services are coming over to the Government.

The small authorities in the country are becoming perturbed at the possible cost of police and other services. We shall very likely be told that the administration of the Weights and Measures Act can be remedied only by centralisation. Paragraph 117 of the White Paper on educational reconstruction proposes the abolition of Part III educational authorities without inquiry. There is no question whether they can afford this service, and very likely they are much more efficient as Part III authorities than those to whom they are being handed over. Our local government system is the pride of thousands of local administrators, and we should not disturb these services. I should say, give them a 100 per cent. grant, and let the work be done by the people on the spot with not too much interference by Government Departments. It was said in one City Council in the North not many weeks ago, when there was a debate on this matter, "After all, they are going to leave us at least the registration of births and deaths." What we require are services to be taken to the people, particularly in the rural districts. Excellent improvements were made by the 1929 Act, which reduced the number of local authorities and gave space for the large authorities to develop these services. I think that that would be admitted by anyone with experience in local government, in housing and various other services. I remember that in the 1929 Act we revolutionised the whole Poor Law system, removed the Poor Law Guardians and handed the service over to the county councils and the county boroughs. A great deal of credit has arisen from this and one is glad of that.

I hold the view that there are too many authorities to-day, too much overlapping and duplication of services. Thousands of officials and staff in this country could be dispensed with, in my view, if we had larger authorities and gave them the opportunity to develop, to expand and improve these essential services. I know that the old cry is often raised that if you do this, you will remove local interest and initiative. I do not agree at all. Shall we go on tolerating some of the shocking conditions in the rural areas to-day, the old cesspools on the doorstep and very bad sanitation, no water carriage system, the old paraffin light, very little transport, isolated in many ways and almost forgotten—that is a very serious statement to make, but it is definitely true—bad housing and no hope for years of getting better homes in which to live and rear their families? Will the present authorities give the people any better conditions? I doubt it. They are merely, in the urban and rural areas, collectors for the precepting authorities, and the same applies to the urban district council. Is there a county council in this country which has the gas, electricity or transport undertakings or water undertakings to supply these places? The only people in the country who are doing this are the county boroughs. They are supplying these services. To me these services are the embodiment of democracy. These commodities are supplied very cheaply to the homes and in turn help to pay the rates out of the income from them.

My view is that when you de-rated all land and 75 per cent. of all productive industry you did a great disservice to local government authorities. True, they were given a block grant of £5,000,000, which never gave anyone any satisfaction, and very few people understood it. The money saved from industry should have gone to develop industry and to find employment, because that is the reason why this de-rating was brought into being. The saving of three-quarters of the rates from productive industry was given for development. I think it will be found that it has gone to shareholders rather than to the development of industry. Most of us in industry never heard of any big developments because of the saving of that money. It might be said that doing what I suggest would be a controversial matter in connection with local government. Already a good deal of trouble is being created by the proposition to transfer Part III authorities to county councils or county boroughs. Surely a full local government inquiry should have been part of our post-war planning.

If all these wonderful things which are being talked about in our post-war planning are to take place, how can that be done unless we are to take on a greater measure of work in the Government Departments; or are you going to hand it on to the local authorities? I say that with a general view to giving better service to our people this should be done. Good wages and conditions in industry are essential and necessary to give our people a full life. We want in addition to that better social conditions, better homes and surroundings, more open spaces and parks for the children, better facilities for recreation. It is no use talking about and promising full citizenship without providing the opportunity. Can the present authorities as constituted give us the necessary improvements? I repeat that I doubt it. Are Government Departments going to do this by taking over those services which could be very well discharged, to my mind, by efficient local government authorities? There is a volume of opinion in this country that we should have a new authority known as the all-purpose authority and do away with some of our present authorities which have been functioning and in being for 50 years, and to my mind have served their day and generation. There is room for great improvement and co-ordination of our public services. I hope that in our post-war planning it will be a matter for full consideration.

I am very glad to know also that electoral reform is to be considered by a Conference with Mr. Speaker as Chairman. There is very nearly the same confusion on voting, so far as these local authorities are concerned, as there is with the Services. The urban districts vote in wards and so do rural districts, but in a county division four or five of these wards are put together and the Parliamentary area is wider still. People are confused, and I hope that this matter will be straightened out when this Conference does its work.

I am glad to know that the matter of workmen's compensation is in the Gracious Speech. I trust that the horny hands of toil will be more considered and the old Act tidied up. The workmen from every angle has not had a square deal in this country, although he produces the wealth. There never appears to be any question of a law to control profits except through taxation, which admittedly is severe to-day, owing to the prosecution of the war. I would like one more word. I remember the old age pension Petition coming here the other day, which I think impressed most of us. The millions of signatures proved beyond doubt the very excellent organisation behind them. These stalwarts of industry, many of them having spent more than 50 years in our industrial machine, are worthy of a better and more generous pension. I suggest for early consideration that we might at least extend the limit of £49 7s. 6d. per annum in the assessment of means owing to the increased cost of living, or at least if that could not be done there should be an increase in the basic rate of 10s. per week. I conclude by saying, Let us try to make a little more contentment for the workers and for those beyond work, having given their all for the well-being of the nation.

Sir Robert Rankin (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

We have listened, I am sure, to a very sincere and well-informed speech. My own remarks will be brief. The Gracious Speech declared it to be the primary aim of the Government to ensure that at the end of the war good progress will be made in securing for industry, mining and agriculture a smooth transition from war to peace. Of course we can all give the strongest support to that declaration. Industry, mining and agriculture are all vitally important, but I will confine my own remarks to industry, which, I presume, although the Gracious Speech does not say so, includes commerce. Members know how very strictly at the present time commerce is regulated. I would like to refer in particular to the great market associations, to the great cotton markets, corn markets, timber markets, metal markets, produce markets; also Associations like shipbrokers, forwarding agents and freight brokers. What do we see? We see that through present-day control by Government servants those who have in the past earned their living by doing business in these markets and associations are not able at the present time to earn their living. They are losing trade connections which have been built up over a long period of years. Even more serious than that their markets are losing valuable connections which have been built up all over the world.

I submit that we are entitled to claim that the Government should implement their promises and that as part of the transition from war to peace rapid progress should be made in freeing these markets and associations from Government control. In saying that I wish the House to understand that I am not thinking entirely of the elder persons who have been able to retain some connection with the industry, with the businesses to which they have devoted all their lives. I am really thinking more of the young men who are now in the Forces. They will have the right to demand that on their return to civil life they will be able to carry on the same business and make the same living as did their fathers. I am speaking of those young men who are the backbone of this country. Their numbers suffered grievously in the last war. They were "the first hundred thousand," and as members in all ranks of the new Armies and Territorials many thousands of them, the flower of this nation, died on the battlefields of the Somme and Passchendaele.

I submit that those who return after this war should not find their channels of occupation closed to them. They will be entitled to carry on the businesses of their fathers, to do business and trade in their markets and associations and to utilise their abilities, and their energies and enterprise in providing a living for themselves and their families, and for the benefit of the nation. It will be quite useless to endeavour to explain to them that schools of economics consider that their businesses could be carried on very much better by State control and civil servants. Nor do I consider that the country at large, which has an inherited and shrewd business instinct, as to what is best for itself, will disagree with them. I believe that the Government as a whole do not disagree. I consider that this vitally important matter will be safe as far as the Minister of Reconstruction is concerned. He said quite recently before he assumed his present office: We have in our merchant traders a national asset which those who are making plans for a new world would do well to study-and I hope preserve. I trust that those responsible for shaping conditions will remove as soon as circumstances permit those controls that damp and deaden the spirit of enterprise. That was said as one would have expected. None the less I hope before this Debate closes we shall have some reassurance from a Member of the Government on this most important matter.

Mr. Woodburn (Stirling and Clackmannan, Eastern)

I feel somewhat as I felt four years ago, in the position of having to make a maiden speech, as I am starting from a new place. I hope that the House will be as tolerant to me to-day as it was then. The Prime Minister recently stated in the House that he was not, and never had been, a Socialist. I have to state definitely that I am a Socialist. Therefore, there is considerable divergence between our points of view. The Prime Minister, in the public eye, typifies John Bull, and, if I understand agriculture aright, the worst thing to do with a bull is to hold a red flag before its face if you want to get the greatest measure of common agreement. Therefore I think the mere reiteration of whether we are Socialists or not is no contribution to the solution of the concrete problems which face us. Some of the speeches which have been made in the country recently, of a highly controversial character, about controls, have conveyed an impression that the Labour party is some organisation which prejudges everything, and does not deal with facts on their merits. The party for which I speak to-day does not approach the post-war problem with any bull-in-the-china-shop policy of nationalising everything from railways to toothbrushes. This attitude of certain Members towards my party is not making a wise contribution to the solution of post-war problems. There is a great danger to the community from these ill-informed and irresponsible types of propaganda. I suggest that in the debates on the King's Speech we should approach the problems in a practical and experimental manner, having due regard to the facts.

The problems of peace are likely to be upon us very soon, and the attitude of this party towards the programme outlined in the King's Speech is that it seems to convey a very pessimistic view by the Government that the war is not likely to be finished this year, because there is no indication of the legislation which would be absolutely vital if the immediate postwar problems were to be tackled energetically and soundly. My party feel that a lack of urgency is shown by the avoidance of any indication of definite legislation on many of these points. The question of controls has been raised in respect of the immediate post-war period. Much of the discussion has been purely subjective. I am willing to challenge the Conservative Party to go to the country and say they will abolish all controls after the war. I am satisfied that, instead of wanting the abolition of Government interference, the Conservative party will be among the first to ask for Government interference.

Take agriculture, for example. Is there any possibility of agriculture being thrown on to its own resources after the war? Would the Conservative party say that the Government should withdraw all interference with agriculture, all planning of agriculture? The idea is nonsensical. The first to resent it would be the agriculturists. Is the Ministry of Food to be abolished immediately the war is finished? How are the problems of Europe and the world in a starving era to be solved, without some planning of the production and distribution of food? The very suggestion of no controls is one of chaos. It is difficult to see how transport, mining, and forestry can be left to chance. The very fact that transport is a vital artery of communication means that there must be some organisation of it. Mining has failed completely to meet the situation under private enterprise and under this semiprivate enterprise. I am not going to say that the mere nationalisation of the mines will solve that problem. There may be very great complications before that problem is brought to a proper solution. Forestry must be planned.

Also, I suggest, very respectfully, that sooner or later we shall have to take into our consideration the control of finance in a much more definite way. I do not want to deal with this subject in detail to-day, but I am satisfied that if we go into the post-war era without some definite arrangement in regard to interest rates and what is to be paid to the banks for the services they render the nation, our financial machine is likely to crack, if not to break down. We are building up a huge indebtedness to the banks for the creation of credit. That is justified so long as it is for services rendered by the banks, but when the huge mass of Government spending comes to an end and private enterprise takes up the loans in the banks, we should see how far it is necessary to pay the banks this huge interest for what is really a temporary national service of creating the necessary power to run the war. When the war comes to an end railway wagons will go back to their normal use, and so will the use of this money machine. There is no reason why we should continue to pay interest on this huge debt so far when it becomes an artificial book-debt and is really no longer paying for a service. It would be got over simply if the Bank of England were a national concern. So far as the Bank is an issuing department the problem is solved. All the profits come to the Government. If some method could be found of nationalising the profits on credit creation on Government account the interest problem in that sphere would also disappear. But otherwise it will be a very serious problem financially.

The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) dealt with controls, and said that as soon as possible they would have to disappear. He had no sooner said that than he proceeded to deal with conscription. He pointed out that conscription—which is the control of people's lives—was a very important and salutary piece of legislation. I want merely to suggest that if it is good to control the population by conscription, it is certainly good that we should control the means of life in this country by planned effort. The war has shown the people in this country the great possibilities of co-operation. They expect the same urgency to be shown in dealing with post-war problem as has been shown in dealing with the war itself; and no doubt they will protest very vehemently if it is not. Some of the problems will arise immediately the war finishes. There is no indication in the Gracious Speech how these problems are to be tackled, and whether they are to be tackled with any urgency. Demobilisation is one which is evidently under planning. I do not see any solution to the problem which will satisfy everybody. The question of whether married men or single men, married women or single women, will be demobilised first; whether men with jobs or men without jobs will come out first; whether men with homes or men without homes will come out first; is so complicated that it baffles any prophecy. This is an administrative matter, which, I take it, is under consideration. The question of housing has been mentioned. Great disappointment is shown with the programme outlined in the Speech because there is no indication that the first part of this problem is to be solved—that is, the provision of land and powers for the local authorities to have that land ready, and, if necessary, prepared for the houses.

Perhaps the greatest problems that are going to face us after the war is that of full employment. That problem divides itself into two categories. There is first of all a great deal of confusion over the scramble for the distribution of industries which already exist. People all want light industries in their areas. They all want a diversion of industries to their areas. That simply means redistribution of existing industries. No one seems to pay attention to the other more fundamental question of whether there are enough industries to employ all the population and enough markets for all that the industries produce. Capitalism has probably taken the human race further in a shorter time than any other system which has ever existed. It has developed the productivity of industry to such an extent that it seems likely that there is no problem of production which we cannot overtake. Therefore, the problem of production, normally speaking, is not a serious one. This war has shown that once we organise ourselves there is nothing that can stop us, and nothing that we cannot produce. I think that production will not be a serious problem: the problem will be how to distribute what we produce. Distribution depends on the organisation of markets.

The hon. Member for Kidderminster referred to the problem of foreign markets. I may be wrong, but my view is that when this war finishes no Government in the world will allow commercial travellers to run up and down the trade avenues of the world doing as they like. It would appear from tendencies which came into being before the war that international trade will exist only by the consent and by the arrangements of Governments. Therefore, so far as our country is concerned, it would appear that it is very largely through the agency and the help of the Government that that international trade will develop. It is necessary for us to realise that international trade, if it is going to be of a competitive nature, may bring about some of the difficulties from which we suffer to-day. I would urge the Government, in the discussions which bring about the arrangements for peace, to see that the economic rearrangement of the world shall play an important part. My own view is that there ought to be international plans for the control of the main economic products over which disputes arise, such as coal, iron and steel, rubber, and those other commodities which are not distributed all over the world but which are required all over the world. They ought to be brought under some international organisation, so that they might be distributed under rules and regulations generally acceptable to all. If that is done, the market can be measured. At home a great deal of our own markets can be measured, and probably are being measured at the moment.

Once that measurement has been reached, approximately, there will be that reserve of labour which we call "the unemployed," which will not be absorbed, and which will be the real crux of the problem. So far, we have seen no proposals which are going to absorb the unemployed. There are various possibilities. There is the possibility of making industry, by regulation of hours, expand and contract, so that it can take up the slack, or expand if there is more work. It may be that public enterprise—and this is my view—will have to supply the deficiency that cannot be met by private enterprise in providing full employment. It is the business of the Government to act as the governor does on a steam engine in order to keep the industrial machine working steadily at its best and to prevent booms and slumps and crises occurring from time to time. It is not necessarily a conflict between two points of view. What we call Socialism, economically, has been proceeding for a generation, as one of our well-known friends has said, with the inevitability of gradualness. Full production must be developed by planned foresight and not left to chance.

The war has proved to people what can be accomplished by energy and by a Government with decision and an immediate desire to help these problems. My friends and I would like to see the Government ready to act with as much speed in dealing with immediate post-war problems as they do with regard to war problems. We are spending £14,000,000 per day on war—the hon. Member for Kidderminster referred to this—and people ask why we cannot spend that amount on peace. If we are willing to continue to do without all the things that we are doing without just now, there is not the slightest reason why we should not spend it on peace; but when the war comes to an end people will immediately want to spend a little more on themselves and less on other people and other purposes. It will be a contest between what is desired for public enterprise and what is desired for private consumption. The amount to be spent in peace will be slightly less than what we spend on war but the general public will desire to see that the maximum capacity of the country is used for the benefit of all the people, and they are entitled to ask that, as long as there are people without homes and goods to consume, there ought not to be people idle who can produce these things. That requires planning and organisation and we look to the Government to speed up the processes outlined in the King's Speech. We have no grumbles about the direction or about those who are driving the machine, but we have a feeling of impatience about the speed which is indicated, and we want the process to be geared-up so that it will move quickly towards the goal. We cannot leave peace to chance. The alternative is to organise the nation and, if possible, the world, for the alternatives before us are to plan or to perish

Mr. Shephard (Newark)

This is the first time that I have risen to address the House, and I hope that hon. Members will bear with me and show their indulgence, as is usual on these occasions. I want to refer to two matters only in the Gracious Speech—those dealing with the transition from war to peace, and employment. A year ago, during the Debate on the Address, the Minister without Portfolio, talking of demobilisation, said that our plans must be prepared well in advance. I would like to know whether those plans are now prepared and, if so, can we know what they are? There is widespread anxiety on the part of all who are serving in the Forces, and particularly on the part of those who are many thousands of miles away and feel that their claims might be lost sight of on that account. I appreciate that we do not know in what circumstances the war will end, but I hope that during the Debate we shall know the general principles on which our demobilisation plans will be based.

The problem of demobilisation is closely connected with the change-over of indus- try from war to peace. At the end of the war, industry will be faced with immediate difficulties. Raw materials of all descriptions will be in short supply. Industry has been concentrated, factories have been requisitioned for war purposes, and the ability of industry to absorb the men and women both in the Forces and on war work will be dependent to a large extent upon a proper appreciation of these facts. I hope that the Board of Trade will be fully alive to the need for supplying industry with the necessary releases of raw materials as they become available and that Government Departments concerned will release requisitioned premises at the earliest possible moment. May I give an example which is typical of many in this country? I happen to be connected with a firm which before the war employed approximately 1,500 people in the textile trade. During this war 1,000 of these people have gone into the Forces or are working on more urgent war work. Two-thirds of the premises of that firm have been requisitioned for essential war needs, and before these men and women can be re-absorbed these permises must be restored and adequate raw material must be made available. This problem calls for very careful co-ordination, because it is on these factors that orderly demobilisation and re-absorption into industry must depend.

I want to turn to the subject of employment. Most of us will agree that the economic system which prevailed in this country prior to the war failed to cure mass unemployment, and if we are to achieve full employment, we must know the causes of that failure and remove them. Industry itself is not in a position to produce an over-all plan, co-ordinating all the various factors that combine to give full employment. The Government alone can do that. If we accept that full employment is a Government responsibility, then the Government must produce the plan, leaving it to industry to work it out. Probably a great deal of our past trouble has been due to a lack of essential planning. I hope there is going to be far more Government control as far as this matter is concerned.

As to the position we shall face, after the fighting ceases the vast consumer-markets that have been unsatisfied for over four years will suddenly assert their needs. At home we have been living on an austerity standard. Capital goods have been wearing out and will need replacing. Four million new houses will have to be built. In fact, the whole range of men's requirements will need replenishing. Abroad, export markets, with their accumulated demands, will assert themselves, and trade in this country will be buoyant and active and, apart from transitional unemployment, there should be work for all. In the first few months after the war our problem is far more likely to be one of shortage of man-power than of abundance. Our Forces numbered less than 400,000 before the war in 1938, and, if we are to play our rightful part in keeping the peace and defending ourselves, it is far more likely that the figure will have to be nearer 1,000,000. When the school-leaving age is raised—as undoubtedly it is going to be—it will mean that 250,000 boys, approximately, and 100,000 girls will be permanently lost to industry. If you take these two factors together, it is likely that we shall be short of approximately 1,000,000 people as compared with pre-war days. That is our immediate outlook after the war, and I do not want to elaborate upon it. When the vacuum has been filled, this transitory stage will give way to more normal conditions, and our task will be to give full employment with a decent standard of living.

I am not proposing to cover all the factors that relate to this problem, but I want to say a few words on four of them—the location of industry, particularly with reference to the special areas, the export trade, the import trade and the home market. As to the first point, location of industry, we all know the great anxiety there is with regard to this on the part of those people who live in the special areas. It is a straightforward issue. Either we take new industries to these areas or the people must leave these areas and go to other parts. The social services already exist there, and to me it would seem to be almost inhuman to uproot people with established local customs, almost speaking a language of their own, whose associations must go back many generations.

May I make a suggestion to the Government in this connection? Will they not consider some form of licensing for newcomers into industry? It might work in this way. When a new firm wished to start in business, it would first have to obtain a licence from the Board of Trade, and having obtained, with the co-operation of the Ministry of Labour, an over-all picture, the Board as a condition of granting that licence, could direct the new firm to an area where new industries were required. In this way there would be proper co-ordination of industry and labour, and the special areas problem would gradually be solved.

On my second point, I believe that the need for increasing exports after the war is fully realised by all responsible people. It is the foundation on which our national economy is built, and, as we know, just prior to the war, we were failing to balance imports with exports, despite our huge investment income. A few weeks ago I put a Question down to ask how much of our investment income had been lost since the war, and I was told that it would not be in the national interest to disclose the figure. If we knew what that figure was, we would be able to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. I have seen statements of responsible people that we must increase the volume of our exports by 50 per cent. if we are to maintain our standard of living. I have no doubt we shall be able to do this in the abnormal years that will follow the war, but what are the long-term prospects? Many of our old staple industries—cotton, coal, iron and steel, and shipbuilding—were losing ground before the war. These basic industries are vital to our economic life, and I hope that this Debate will not end without some indication from the Government of the steps they propose to take to restore these industries to prosperity.

We are no longer able to compete with low-grade goods with which at one time we supplied the world. The Dominions will have become largely industrialised during the war and will manufacture many of the goods they formerly imported from us. Our hopes for an expanded export trade will rest largely on finding markets for high quality goods and on the further development of our Colonies and the backward countries. I should like to mention one of our industries, which probably has the greatest potential export market of any in this country, and that is the motor car industry. Owing to our existing system of horse-power tax, our manufacturers of motor cars have never been able to compete in the world's market, and this huge market is mainly in the hands of the United States, but, now that we are planning for our postwar policy, I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will consider if the time is not opportune for making or substituting an alternate form of tax and so giving this industry the chance of obtaining a fair share of this great market.

There is another point in connection with export trade which I think needs stressing. Manufacturers who produce for the home market are seldom enthusiastic about the export trade, although, in many cases, their products would find a ready market overseas. They are not export minded; they think that the export trade requires a great deal more detailed work than the home trade. Prices are often not as remunerative. Evidently overseas markets require different styles and designs which they are not prepared to study. Might I suggest that the Department of Overseas Trade, by some form of publicity, stimulates the interest of those manufacturers and encourages them to cultivate an export trade? A pamphlet, setting out in simple language the urgent case for exports and advising manufacturers on how to start an export department, would be of great help. The large firms, or course, require no advice, but there are many thousands of small firms in this country who have a contribution to make, who need help and guidance. I hope there is going to be much more Government assistance through the Consular Services. I want to see a commercial department attached to every embassy and consulate and staffed by men of practical business experience. I hope the Government will continue their export credit facilities, and I want them to disclose forthwith the help they propose to give to the export trade. I have heard the argument put forward that since our internal trade is 90 per cent. of our total industrial production, the export trade is only of secondary importance and cannot be a big factor in curing unemployment.

May I say that this argument is unsound? It ignores the fact that 90 per cent. of the home trade is dependent entirely on being able to import the necessary raw materials. Full employment must depend, in the first case, on the import trade, which, in turn, depends on the export trade. The export trade makes its contribution to employment in three ways: first, by direct employment of the people engaged in making the goods that are exported; secondly, by its contribution through the shipping trade, and, thirdly, by supplying the necessary means for our imports of raw materials, which, in turn, are converted into manufactured goods by our labours. On the question of imports, I do not propose to say more than a few words. We may have to adopt a more realistic attitude than we have done in the past. We must strike a balance between the advantages we should derive by way of helping employment through importing less foods and raw materials as against the cheaper price at which these foods and raw materials could be imported, and we may find that it will be in our interests to adopt or accept a modified form of economic nationalism.

My fourth and last point is about the home market. When we have secured the necessary imports to enable industry to function, our task is to provide an expanding home trade sufficient to enable the nation to consume what industry can produce other than that part of it which is exported. That is what we are doing now during the war. We are consuming all we produce, and, as a result, we have full employment. But the same considerations which govern war needs do not apply in peace-time economy, and we must find ways and means, on sound economic lines, whereby sufficient purchasing power is in the hands of the people to keep industry fully employed. We failed to do this in the past, and the result was that machinery has been idle and men and women have been out of work. As I have previously said, the home market absorbs approximately 90 per cent. of our industrial production. It is obvious, therefore, that if we can by some means secure better and fuller distribution of goods, we shall be well on the way to attaining full employment. That is our goal. To attain it, we may have to change our ideas considerably, and we may have to accept many modifications in our existing system. More intensive mass production methods and more economical methods of distribution appear to be inevitable, and, in this connection, may I suggest for the consideration of leaders of industry a new approach to this problem which, I think, affords a partial solution subject to their co-operation?

At the conclusion of the war we shall have in this country vast centres of production built for supplying our war needs. These centres should be turned over to the production of a whole range of household goods of a utility type. Each centre of production should be allocated to the manufacture of a particular article which is in general demand. As an example, one centre might be wholly engaged on the production of utility furniture, another on a refrigerator, another on a sewing machine or some other labour-saving device for the home, and so on, and by this method of manufacture we should be assured of the lowest possible production price. The next step would be to ensure the least possible distributive price charge. Each centre of production would act as the distributive centre of the article it manufactured, and in each town of 5,000 inhabitants or more there would be a show-room, or more than one showroom according to the population, and in this show-room would be the whole range of these utility necessities of life. The orders would be booked at the show-room, and payment would be made at the show-room, but the delivery would be direct from the centre to the customer. That is the scheme in broad outline. I know it may conflict with a good many interests, but I am concerned with trying to balance consumption with production. We failed to do that in the past, and I think we should examine every possible means whereby this can be done in the future. I think this scheme offers a contribution not only to full employment, but also to raising the standard of living of the people.

The nation is expecting the Government to find a permanent solution to unemployment. It will be very difficult to convince the people that we can have full employment in war and that we cannot maintain it in peace. What a tragedy it would be if our young men fighting now for Great Britain came back to a recurrence of that evil and, instead of being able to look forward to the piping days of peace, looked back to the piping days of war. Theodore Roosevelt said some years ago, If a man is good enough to fight for his country, he is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that nobody can expect; less than that no man shall have. So, in our plans for full employment, let us not forget the debt we owe to the men in the Forces, and let us see that this time that debt is paid in full.

Mr. Shinwell (Seaham)

It is my good fortune to follow the admirable speech of the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard). He deserves, and will receive, our cordial congratulations. Both in delivery and in substance it was a highly commendable effort, and hon. Members will wish to hear more of such speeches in the future. It will be the desire of many hon. Members, including myself, to read that speech carefully and analytically. It contains many proposals, some of which may be acceptable; others it may be found necessary to reject.

The proposals outlined in the Government's programme have met with a mixed reception. On the one hand, they have been welcomed; on the other, criticism has emerged on the ground that the proposals are inadequate for our purpose, but nowhere has there appeared any remarkable enthusiasm. At the same time nobody doubts the beneficial intentions of the Government in the sphere of social reform. All Governments have good intentions, but it is in the application of those intentions that Governments frequently fail. But, as regards the present Government, how could we do other than praise their intentions in the sphere of social legislation? The Government have been reconstructed. Lord Woolton has appeared as the high priest of our reconstruction effort. We welcome his advent and we wish him well. In the Food Ministry and in all matters appertaining to food distribution during his term of office, assisted materially by an able staff and stimulated to some extent by the Pressure of public and Parliamentary opinion—

Viscountess Astor

Not much.

Mr. Shinwell

—he has rendered great service. But if he should by chance falter in the task of reconstruction, he will, we can presume, be constantly stimulated, if not inspired, by the Minister without Portfolio. The Minister without Portfolio is a member of the Labour party. There can be no higher recommendation.

Mr. MacLaren (Burslem)

At the moment.

Mr. Shinwell

Furthermore, we are heartened and encouraged by the appearance of the newly-appointed Minister of Health, who deserves our congratulations on that appointment. I recall that in February of this year, in the Debate on the Beveridge proposals, the right hon. and learned Gentleman urged speed upon the Government both as regards the application of the Beveridge proposals and, in particular, in relation to housing needs. Therefore, we may expect much from the advent of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Our criticism of the Government's proposals do not relate to the appointment of the noble Lord, even if he is unable to participate in our deliberations. So long as the other place is part of the British political system we must accept that. Nor do we concern ourselves about the changes in the Government. The criticism of the Government's proposals, as outlined in the Gracious Speech, rely upon the fact that there is little in the Speech about actual reconstruction.

Apart from modified proposals in the sphere of social legislation and an attempt to nibble at the problem of land reform, there is no reference to reconstruction. There are no specific proposals for the solution of the coal problem; not a word as to how we are to effect the requisite and effective reorganisation of a major industry which, obviously, is the basis of our industrial system. There is not a word about the steel industry, nor is there any reference made to those industries with which the steel industry is in active competition and, in the future, will be in more active competition. There are no indications of a plan to deal with agriculture and to what extent we intend to develop food production or the nature of food production in the future—a matter of substantial importance. There is not one reference, I would remind hon. Members, to the need for expanding our exports. The question of what is to happen to our redundant war factories is conveniently overlooked. Nor is anything said about transport or the future of the British Mercantile Marine or civil aviation. The important subject of economic relations within the British Commonwealth is not explored. Nor is there any reference to the development of new and synthetic industries, the use of our productive resources or scientific research, or plans for full employment. It has apparently been forgotten that the basis upon which our social legislation must rest is a vast expansion of our national income. It is no use talking about effective reconstruction until these vital issues are settled. Nor is it any use talking about how much we intend to spend on this, that or the other, however desirable it may be, until we are assured that there will be sufficient to spend.

Social reforms like pensions, unemployment benefit and workmen's compensation are not reconstruction. If they are to be stable and beneficial in character—and that is our desire—they are the fruits of reconstruction. They depend on the national resources, the national income, and indeed it may well be—and we had better face the fact realistically, without pretence or illusions—that many social reforms like the raising of the school leaving age, which is the desire of all of us without exception, or shorter hours of labour and other reforms, may, in fact, lead to a fall in our productive effort and thus to a diminution in our national income. Therefore, the fundamental problem that confronts the nation as regards the post-war situation is how far is it possible either in this way or in that to develop our resources to the maximum and increase our national income in order to sustain the highest possible standard of life for every person in the country. That is our problem.

Let us examine the position. Let us consider what assessment can be made of our economic situation at the end of hostilities. This subject should be discussed objectively, if I may say so, not in any partisan spirit. My reason for offering that observation, strange as it may seem, is that every hon. Member is interested in the development of our resources and maintaining a high standard of life, whatever party he may belong to. No hon. Member, wherever he may sit in this Assembly, dare say otherwise. That is the common object of all of us. We cannot resolve the problems that will face us on the basis of Parliamentary controversy or even on the basis of public controversy. You may discuss it and deliberate upon it; you may become heated, passionate and vehement; you may discuss it objectively and rhetorically, but that does not resolve the problem. We must understand where we are. Moreover, it is not a question of public or private ownership. Public ownership as postulated by my hon. Friends and myself, with or without limitations—because there are some who are inhibited in expressing themselves on this subject; it is not quite clear whether they want it or not—is no longer an academic issue, the pet nostrum of Socialists. It is something that in the course of years has been dovetailed into our national and industrial social effort. The Prime Minister, in the course of a reply to a Supplementary Question the other day, declared that he was a lifelong opponent of Socialism. It was, for the Prime Minister, a foolish observation, because no one in modern times can be a full-fledged opponent of Socialism.

Viscountess Astor

What is Socialism?

Earl Winterton (Horsham and Worthing)

Let us hear a serious speech.

Mr. Shinwell

Nothing has proved more beneficial to the war effort than the adoption of the principles of co-operation and collectivism. You cannot employ those principles for the purpose of gaining victory over your enemies and then discard them in the hope of rendering assistance to your friends. It is quite a mistake. The Minister of Production delivered a speech the other day—[Interruption]—I am not quite certain whether that applause is intended to convey relief that the right hon. Gentleman delivered a speech or is due to the nature of his observations—a speech which contained many excellent ideas, but in seeking to uphold the virtues or alleged virtues of private ownership he declared that it was private ownership which imparted colour to our lives. No doubt private ownership imparts colour to the lives of some of us, but there are millions of people, the victims of private ownership, who have no colour in their lives at all—they live drab, colourless lives. It frequently depends on the point of view. The right hon. Gentleman has one point of view, we have another. But these ex parte statements are of no value. To seek to uphold private ownership not because of any other virtues that it may possess but because it imparts colour to the proceedings is absurd. I could make out a better case for private ownership myself. [An HON. MEMBER: "Come over here."] There is no reason why I should change my geographical position. Hon. Members are gradually by their utterances making ready to change theirs.

Mrs. Tate (Frome)

They would have to make better speeches than the hon. Member is making now.

Mr. Shinwell

I am a novice in these matters compared with the hon. Lady, whose appearances with the Brains Trust denote remarkable intelligence. We must make the best of our own intellectual resources, such as they are.

Viscountess Astor

There is something more important than intellect—character.

Mr. Shinwell

It was once said by an employer to an employee who was about to be dismissed and who asked for a character that he would be better without one. I am not suggesting that that applies to the Noble Lady. Let us consider what will be the nature and the amount of our resources in future years. Consider the debit side of the ledger. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last referred to the reluctance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to inform the House of the various assets available to us now and his estimate of the amount that would be available at the end of the war. The Chancellor declared that it would not be in the public interest. I hazard a guess. It is doubtful whether foreign assets at the conclusion of the war will amount in all to more than about £400,000,000—a very small sum indeed. What of our internal resources? We must no longer consider our internal resources in isolation. We have to consider them in relation to the vast resources of other nations, with whom, in spite of all the idealistic utterances about international co-operation, we may be in competition. It is not what we desire in this world but what we get that matters.

Moreover, let us not forget that like other nations we shall be denuded of a large number of our young persons. That is an unfortunate fact which we all deplore. It is true that other nations will be in a like situation, but with this difference, that the United States has a population of 130,000,000 and Russia has a population which is estimated of 190,000,000, and because of the high birth-rate it is estimated that in future years the percentage of young persons available for employment—the kind of employment which would play a very large part in industrial reconstruction—is far higher than anything that we possess. It is in that setting that we must consider our internal resources. Moreover, we have to consider our resources in the framework of the kind of organisation that we possess. Changes in industrial organisation may display themselves in the course of years, but on the assumption that there is to be no change in our industrial methods and in the basis of our industrial life our resources are adversely affected. That is the debit side of the ledger except that we shall be deprived of a very large part of our Mercantile Marine. That is no light matter. We may be under an obligation to the United States. In effect, grateful as we are to the United States for rendering assistance in that regard, it is to be placed on the debit side of the ledger. When you are under an obligation you cannot regard it as an asset. It may prove to be a very serious liability.

On the other hand, we have very large assets. We have great skill and technical ability. We have good will. We have a people who, in spite of obvious social defects which we all deplore, have perhaps been accustomed to a better standard of life than the peoples of other countries, with a few exceptions, and that is all to our advantage. But the greatest advantage of all lies in the possibility—I do not put it higher than that, for it is not a fact as yet—that if we could by some means provide full employment that would enormously increase our national income. I shall not weary the House with statistics; I think they are familiar to many hon. Members who have studied this subject. It may be that our national income as a result of full employment may be increased by many hundreds of millions. That is worth considering. It is out of those resources that we shall have to pay for our social legislation. It is idle to pretend that you can get social benefits without national income. The greater the national income, if wisely used and if effectively distributed, the more likely we are to benefit from social legislation. Let me return, for I believe it to be a matter of substantial importance, to the comparative resources of the United States, Soviet Russia and Great Britain.

Viscountess Astor

What about the Empire?

Mr. Shinwell

I shall come to that. It is a matter upon which I am very anxious to address the House, as, indeed, I have done before. Russia has adopted a system of state ownership brought about, not as a result of some political change, but brought about as a result of revolution. State ownership has enabled Russia to organise their industrial life effectively. I will not go so far as to say altogether efficiently, but effectively certainly for the purposes of the war. What they have done in war will enable them in the days of peace to produce still more effectively, and with a great population at their disposal they will be in a very strong economic position. On the other hand, the United States of America has a system of extreme individualism, but she has vast resources.

The problem for Great Britain, as I see it, is this. In the days of peace that we hope will shortly come we have to consider what is the role of Great Britain in the world. In the past the role of Great Britain to a very large extent has been—I hope hon. Members will not pounce on me because of this—the role of mediator between nations. The fact that Great Britain was strong economically and had a great Navy at her disposal gave her a preponderating influence among the nations. The Navy has rendered remarkable service to the nation and to the United Nations, but in the future the strength of the Navy will not be so formidable in relation to peace as it was in the past. Air power has made a difference. I pay the highest respect to the Navy, but we have to face facts. As regards the economic position of Great Britain in the future, we were in the past a great market capable of absorbing the products of many countries throughout the world. It is not certain that we shall be in the position to absorb those products and we may not be the greatest market. The ball may pass to the feet of others, perhaps Russia, perhaps the United States of America; it depends on the internal policy they adopt. In so far as our internal market diminishes we may not in our foreign relationships be a formidable power to enable us to continue in the strong role we played before the war.

That is the position of Great Britain in the future as I see it. What must we do? We can do one of three things. We can either attach ourselves to the United States of America in an economic sense, in which case we shall be dangled at the end of an economic string because it depends on the policy adopted by the United States. If she adopts an internal economic policy of public works, using her vast resources for the benefit of the people of the United States, using her gold resources for full employment and the like, she will not be to that extent a formidable competitor with ourselves. If, on the other hand, she adopts an investment policy throughout the world it may prove a very serious matter for us. In any event, there are dangers in attaching ourselves too closely to the United States. With regard to Soviet Russia, there are perhaps ideological advantages in attaching ourselves to Soviet philosophy, but that would immediately create such a controversy in this country and throughout the British Commonwealth as to render nugatory all our efforts. We much approach the matter realistically, because it is not a question of what you want; it is a question of what you can get.

Therefore, we have to consider our position. In my judgment independence in the sense that we are not tied to any other country is essential. Not that we should renounce all possibility of some form of co-operation with other countries. That is also essential. But independence is, in my judgment, the integral element in our survival as a great nation. How is that to be brought about? In my view—and I am not speaking as a first class Imperialist; I have come to this conclusion as a result, if the House will permit me to say so, of an objective study of the problem—the strength of Great Britain in the future vis-à-vis Soviet Russia and vis-à-vis the United States, in order to enable us to play our full part and perhaps enter into co-operative relationships with these great nations, lies in an even better economic understanding with the countries of the British Commonwealth. That is not all. Let us not forget that there are Labour Governments in New Zealand and in Australia. There are Governments which seek to raise the standard of life of the people. There are Governments which believe in full fledged social legislation. There are Governments which have raised pensions to a much higher scale than in this country. There are Governments which are more accommodating as regards workmen's compensa- tion than we are. There are Governments which have large and expansive views and have imagination. That is all to the good.

Be it noted that even in Canada, hitherto regarded as reactionary in a political sense, Labour and democratic forces, speaking politically, are emerging in strength. It is not a question of political alignment but a question of understanding and appreciating the modern world that confronts us. In addition it appears to me that the proper alignment—and I touch upon this matter briefly with a certain measure of reserve—the proper alignment so far as Great Britain is concerned is to effect some kind of co-operation with the Western European nations—Norway, Denmark, Belgium and France—if we play our cards well, not a hostile France. It is very desirable that we should not antagonise the people of France.

We are not looking forward to a European situation where Soviet Russia, in spite of its great advantages, in spite of its ideology, which many of us accept, is the dominant force; that may be disastrous, because it may antagonise the United States of America and produce another war. We have got to be careful. Further, let us seek the proper political alignment of Great Britain with the Western European Federation and the nations of the British Commonwealth. We must consider the resources of the British Commonwealth of Nations, consider the resources of Australia in territory, in capacity to absorb those who in this country cannot be absorbed in industry. Consider the mineral resources of Australia. Consider the resources of India. If we could by some means raise the standard of life of the people of India by fully utilising the resources of that great country we could create an export market for ourselves over a period of years that would assist materially in preventing unemployment in this country.

Finally, I put before the House this consideration and I put it before hon. Members opposite. They support the system known as capitalism but have they considered whether it is possible for even a vestige of capitalism to survive unless it adopts new methods?

Mr. Hannah (Bilston)

What is capitalism?

Mr. Shinwell

I am surprised that a professor should ask me such a question. What is the whole trend in our industrial life? It is in the direction of monopolies. It is all very well for hon. Members and even Ministers of the Crown to go upon public platforms and concern themselves about the small man. We are all concerned about the small man, but the small man is being swallowed up, and you cannot enable the small man to survive by a system of licences, by making speeches on public platforms or by Government declarations. The monopolies are soaking up the small man, and we have to consider whether it is desirable to allow those monopolies to remain in private hands. That way disaster lies. There is no social advantage in monopoly. Monopolies usually adopt the policy of restriction, and if there is one thing we must guard against in the future—and I address myself to the Minister of Production, for it is his concern to a large extent—it is a policy of scarcity. Great monopolies, taking them by and large, are unconcerned about consumers' interests. If you are to have a monopoly, if that is the general trend of industrial development, it is far better that it should be governed by State policy.

I am pleading for this—first of all, the maximisation of all our resources if we are to provide full employment, raising the standard of life of the people in whatever way we can, providing social legislation of a permanent character. I want this country to enter into effective economic relations with other countries, but always to remember that we must not be under too severe obligations to those countries. I believe the solution lies in a measure of State ownership so far as the key industries are concerned, and in a large measure of State direction. Unless we are prepared to adopt these devices there will be much peril for this country in the future. I believe, and I am speaking sincerely to hon. Members, that as regards the post-war situation this country is economically in danger. I am seeking to avoid that. Whatever our political opinions may be, we want this country to remain great, not merely great in its capacity to export or in the military or naval sense, or in the air, but great in the sense that it has a great people, a people who are permitted to enjoy all the facilities that our resources can afford. That is the purpose of every one of us, without exception. The only question is as to the means we must employ in order to reach that worthy objective. It may be necessary to have co- operation even in this country in order to achieve our object, but let us not be under any illusion. If hon. Members want to retain the whole of their precious capitalist system they are going to have no co-operation. It is only on the basis of capitalism accepting modifications in its structure, modifications that are in the national interest, that it is possible for this country to survive and its people to maintain a high standard of living.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones (Denbigh)

It is not often that this House listens to two Front Bench speakers from the Labour Party with only one speech sandwiched in between—in this instance a maiden speech by a Member who has addressed the House in so clear and charming a fashion. I am not sure which section of the Labour Party those two hon. Members were speaking for, but they certainly presented two different points of view. My hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) has very effectively presented the point of view which he and some of his hon. Friends believe. I would only add that at least one good thing has come out of this terrible conflict even though it has taken a war of colossal dimensions to bring it about—to get a Member of the Front Bench of the Labour Opposition to speak in favour of the economic development of the British Commonwealth of nations. However, it is not too late to see this sign of change. My hon. Friend the Member for Seaham also took the opportunity of making some remarks with his usual ability about the speech made at Oxford the other day by the Minister of Production. I thought it was a very refreshing speech and a speech that wanted making. In this country at the present time we do not want party controversy and party divisions, but when points of view are put forward from one quarter of the House it is only fair to the people of this country that the point of view of another quarter should be put forward. The Minister of Producton seems to have a similar cliché and the same felicity of expression as the right hon. Gentleman, the Home Secretary, who speaks for the Labour side, and I take it that one will balance the other and in that way national unity will be preserved.

I am glad that the Minister of Labour intends to submit to the House definite proposals for legislation straight away, to reinstate men in their pre-war employment and to give work to the disabled. Whatever views we may have on the subject of the Beveridge Report, here at all events is a practical contribution which will please men serving abroad as well as in our Forces at home. It may not be a very great and substantial contribution to the three great things which the Government have promised in the Gracious Speech, namely, food, homes and work for the people, but it is a practical contribution in that direction and I am glad that the Government have brought it forward. I am also glad that the Gracious Speech makes reference—and here I differ from the hon. Member who spoke last—to proposals which will come before the House for discussion in regard to the immense question of a State medical service. I doubt whether any Government in time of peace could possibly introduce legislation of such an immense character without securing a mandate from the country beforehand.

Mr. Kirkwood (Dumbarton Burghs)

Did the Government get a mandate for conscription?

Sir H. Morris-Jones

There was no mandate from the country in regard to a State medical service at all. Whatever shape or form it might take such a scheme would mean great evolutionary and revolutionary changes in this country, not only affecting a great and long-standing profession, but affecting every man, woman and child in the country. It is only right that before submitting legislation to the House the Government should wish to hear the feelings, wishes and desires of the House and the country in regard to such a very great reform.

There is an omission from the Gracious Speech closely concerning the great Principality of Wales. There was no mention of any measure of devolution. After the war the Parliament of this country will be faced with immense problems in home affairs at the same time as it will have to deal with the rapid development of our great Commonwealth. Under our present system of Government that will be difficult. I am sorry therefore that no mention was made of any proposal for devolution for Scotland and Wales. What Wales wants as a preliminary measure is a Minister to speak for Wales in this House and inside the Cabinet, a Secretary of State for Wales, just as we have a Secretary of State for Scotland. That is a demand of Wales in a unanimous resolution at an all-party meeting of Members of Parliament from Wales and supported by a large conference of all the local authorities in Wales. It has been advocated for something like 40 years. Wales has very special problems in education, agriculture, trade and industry, as well as in questions of nationality and language and the administration of justice in the courts. I appeal to the House and the Minister of Reconstruction and to his able deputy, the Minister Without Portfolio, and ask them for their co-operation in this matter.

Reference has already been made to the Minister Without Portfolio, for whom we have considerable sympathy. He never had much power, and although he called himself the Minister of Stimulation we had no means of finding out whether there was any result from the stimulation. We hear a great deal about planning. The hon. Member who spoke from the Labour Bench tried to minimise it, but if he advocates Socialism in toto it means complete planning by the State and the abolition of liberty.

Mr. Kirkwood

The hon. Member means the abolition of poverty.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

It is impossible to have a completely socialised State without the abolition of liberty. I have been a critic of the Government on more than one occasion, but although I always think, in the words of Gordon in his Khartum papers, "that this great people have never had the Government they are worthy of," nevertheless, on the whole we can say that this Government in time of war have brought us through great crises, tribulations and difficulties with a degree of competency that no other Government in the world could beat, and from that point of view the Government are to be congratulated. I hope that when the war is over some system of National Government will be continued in the State, because great efforts will be required from this little country, standing by itself in Europe, perhaps with the exception of Russia, facing immense problems at home and abroad, and it will require a great degree of confidence. I do not say that a party Government would not be capable of governing this country from either side of the House, but I am sure that Labour Ministers inside this Administration feel that the problems will be of such a character that a party Government would find it impossible to solve them.

Some measure of planning will be required. I have been brought up in the tradition of individual enterprise and initiative such as has built this great country and Empire, and I hope that nothing will be advocated or carried out which will mean too much regimentation, documentation and discipline. Those are not the conditions in which our people best thrive, and the imposition of them could only lead to results which would be a disappointment to our friends everywhere after the supreme efforts we have made in this war.

Commander King-Hall (Ormskirk)

I should like to say, first, that I thoroughly agree with the observations made by the hon. Member for Denbigh (Sir H. Morris-Jones) on the necessity of having a National Government at any rate immediately after this war. The same thought occurred to me as I listened to the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell). I thought his intelligence overcame his ideology and that he faced up to the situation in a realistic manner. The nature of the post-war problems will be such that people will find it absolutely impossible to go back to party politics. If I do not dwell in detail on what was said by either of the two previous speakers, it is because I wish to detain the House on a subject which so far as my researches have gone has not been debated in this House since 1778.

The most Gracious Speech from the Throne I think might be compared in time of war to an operation order which has been prepared by the political general staff of the Government. From the speeches which one has heard it has been evident that opinion has differed as to the real meaning and significance of that operation order. The optimists, among whom I think I shall include the members of the Government, tell us that it foreshadows a heavy legislative programme during which it must be assumed, I think, from that point of view that the semi-mechanised brigade who support the Government will go forward and seize various areas uncertain in extent marked on the political map, with the names of Beveridge, Barlow, Scott, Uthwatt and so forth, and certainly we have been promised in military language that the Butler salient will be reduced. It has been jutting into our lines for many months. On the other hand, there are cynics who say that the Government will refuse serious battle and go into a kind of permanent consultative huddle with the troops. There are other Members who think the operation order will be greatly improved by amendment. For myself I remain in an attitude of restrained expectancy. Whatever Members think as to whether the Gracious Speech, when we look back on it in a year's time will have produced a mouse, a mountain or merely gentle undulations, I think everyone agrees that this is a very important Parliamentary talking occasion, perhaps the most important occasion during the year, a period during which there is a sort of Grand Inquest, a general inquiry, into the affairs of the nation. On that I think all Members are in agreement. I hope that when I sit down it will also be agreed by Members that I have put before them other considerations which are non-controversial but at the same time of great importance to the House and that this is the proper occasion in our Parliamentary year to raise this question.

One of the most significant developments in the constitutional evolution of this House in the last 300 years has been that whereas in the past Members spoke solely to each other they now not only speak through you, Mr. Speaker, to each other, but what they say can be read by the whole world. If we were willing to admit the microphone to our proceedings, we could be overheard by the whole world.

Viscountess Astor

That would be dreadful.

Commander King-Hall

I entirely agree, if the Noble Lady will allow me to say so in my own way. Speaking as one who has had a good deal more experience of broadcasting than of speaking in this House, I am perfectly certain that any attempt to broadcast the proceedings of this House would irretrievably destroy the character of our Debates. Nevertheless, the fact that what we say in this House can be read by someone in a London club or a newspaper office in Washington before the Member who is speaking has resumed his seat has introduced a new problem into Parliamentary life. This broadening of the base of democracy, the transfer of political power from the few to the many, has brought into existence the problem of the public relations between Parliament and the nation. It is not a simple problem, and it is complicated, because it involves two considerations which are actually opposed to each other. On the one hand, there is the consideration that I believe that all Members feel, that it is of the greatest importance to keep our Debates informal, flexible and real Debates in the strict sense of the word. That is the feeling which probably inspired the leader of the Tory Party to say on 13th April, 1778: We know very well, Mr. Speaker, that no man can be so guarded in his expression that he would wish to see anything he says in this House in print. Without trespassing on the bounds of Order, I think we all agree that on the occasions when we spy Strangers here there is a noticeable difference in the character of the freedom of the Debate. On the other hand, we have the consideration that we wish our proceedings to become known to the public. That being so, it is not only a question of a report but a report which has an adequate circulation. Therefore, the problem in front of us is how are we to harmonise the requirements of the intimacy of debate with the requirements of publicity. That is the problem of the public relations of Parliament.

Before I submit one or two suggestions as to how that problem may be solved, or the lines on which it may be solved, I would like to detain the House for a few minutes with one or two thoughts about the historical background of this problem, because it has a very clear bearing on our problem to-day and explains the apparently, to me at any rate, rather mysterious fact that on the whole there is a certain reluctance, to put it no stronger, on the part of the House to take very much interest as to what happens to the reports of its proceedings and the various ways in which these proceedings become known to the public. This indifference is not noticeable in the relations between a Member and his constituents. Most Members are interested in what I might describe as the public relations between themselves and their constituents, but between Parliament as a whole and the nation it is different. Members will find an explanation of this if they will search the Minutes of the proceedings of the House, because an examination of those Minutes will show that for many years, centuries indeed, it was the object of the House to prevent the public from discovering what was taking place in the House of Commons.

It was not until the Press came into existence that the public found a weapon in its hands with which it was able to bring pressure to bear on Parliament. The real battle began as far back as 1694, when this great organisation which we know to-day as the Press began to take shape in the form of newsletters. In that year a certain Mr. Dyer, a newsletter writer, had the presumption to take notice of the proceedings in this House in his news-letter, and was summoned by one of your predecessors, Mr. Speaker, to the Bar of the House, and there on his knees was reprimanded for his presumption in taking this action. This was the first instance in a very long struggle between the ancestors of those who sit on these benches and the ancestors of those who are up there in the Gallery reporting our Debates.

I must not detain the House with details of that long and fascinating struggle. It reached a climax in 1771, when the Lord Mayor took the side of the Press and the people. A Member of the House, he was carried in by three Members to the Bar of the House, with his legs and thighs swathed in flannel because he was suffering so badly from gout, and after a very stormy Debate he was committed to the Tower by 202 votes to 39. There were stormy scenes in Westminster that day. The Prime Minister sat on that bench in tears. He had been dragged out of his carriage by the mob. His hat had been torn from his head and then distributed in pieces among the crowd. The Speaker rose to his feet when informed that it was doubtful whether the military could keep the mob under control. He said: I shall not be the last man to be attacked. Nevertheless, the Lord Mayor was committed to the Tower. When it was suggested to him that he might prefer to throw himself on the more tender mercies of being confined in the Serjeant at Arms's house here, he cried out, "I ask no mercies of the Treasury Bench." Nevertheless, Parliament had lost the battle. From that moment it turned a blind eye to the fact that its proceedings were being reported. During the next century its Debates were printed privately by the famous family of Hansard, often at a financial loss. Select Committees reported from time to time on whether it was desirable for this House to have an OFFICIAL REPORT of its proceedings. One of the Select Committees, that of 1878, turned down the idea for the interesting reason that if an OFFICIAL REPORT was published Ministers would find themselves making authoritative statements, which would be quoted against them, to their very great inconvenience. For this reason, it suggested that the House should not have its own OFFICIAL REPORT. In 1909, when there was a further Committee appointed, Mr. Balfour gave evidence before that Committee. He made a remark which I will venture to read to the House, because it bears on the subject: I feel myself that the House of Commons is losing by the fact that the reporting is less good of its proceedings in the papers, and I do not believe that these sketch accounts of what goes on within our walls, even if they are impartial (which they rarely or never are) are in any sense a substitute for reasoned argument. I am aware that it is rather the fashion to attack the House of Commons, but I still think that there is no place where different questions are better threshed out than on the floor of the House, and that you will never get the same closeness of argument in any newspaper article. It is therefore a real loss to the public that they should be deprived of a very full statement of the arguments on either side, for they have in my opinion no other way of getting them. As a consequence, possibly, of that evidence, the House decided that it would have an OFFICIAL REPORT. It began in 1909. We were the last of all the Parliaments of the world to have an OFFICIAL REPORT of our proceedings. That Report, commonly called Hansard, is, Sir, your special care and charge, and it is looked after by the Select Committee on Reports and Debates. But neither the Select Committee nor, as far as I can judge, yourself, if I may respectfully say so, are concerned with what happens to the copies of the Report, and whether they are adequately circulated.

That is a brief outline of the history of how we have come to our OFFICIAL REPORT of the present time. Before I deal with the situation to-day, I must declare that I assume we want the people to be interested in the proceedings of Parliament and easily able to get accounts of what goes on in this House. I would go further, and say that I think it our bounden duty to take all measures necessary for the proper publicising of the proceedings of Parliament, provided, of course, that nothing is done which destroys the dignity of Parliament. How does the public find out what is happening in Parliament? There are four ways—the Press, the B.B.C., Hansard, and attendance in the galleries of Parliament. I do not wish to say much about the Press. They suffer from shortage of newsprint, and they do their best within the limitations that they have, but even in the largest and most serious papers the degree of compression of our debates is something in the region of 10 to one, and in the others it is about 200 to one—that is to say, every word that is printed has to give the meaning of 200 words spoken in this House.

Viscountess Astor

This is a serious question. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has just spoken of the little space which the Press has got. Can anyone explain why the average newspaper gives so much space to things which really do not matter when they have so little space, and why they do not give more to serious questions?

Commander King-Hall

I think the answer that the Press would give is that they wish to sell their papers to the hon. Lady. The second method by which the public know of our proceedings is the B.B.C. Again, I think it must be admitted that the B.B.C., in its news and talks does a very good job within the limits of the time it has at its disposal. It will be agreed that the admirable summaries of the proceedings in Parliament, such as those we listen to from my hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Miss Lloyd George) and others are good and quite impartial. But they are summaries, and can be no more.

Lastly, I come to the question of Hansard, which, from our point of view, is the Gospel, and the full and fruity account of what goes on in this House. In 1909 there were 162 copies of Hansard sold, and the figure to-day is a little over 3,000. That is a deplorably low figure when one considers that it covers the selling of our OFFICIAL REPORTS, not only in this country, but over the whole world. Is it so low because people are not interested in Hansard, because politically-minded people do not wish to know what is going on in Parliament? That is certainly not the reason. People do not know that Hansard can be purchased; even booksellers do not. I have been told by one who has been 20 years in this House that one could not subscribe to Hansard. Up to June this year nothing had been done to dispel this widespread ignorance about Hansard. One asks whether the Government Departments have done anything to dispel this ignorance. One would think that in Embassies and Legations there would be at least one copy of Hansard for reference. It might be too much to hope that in the vast and heterogeneous pile of miscellaneous literature which always lies in the rooms of our Consulates there should be a copy of Hansard, but surely, one would think, Ambassadors and their staffs would have a copy to which to refer. The official reply of the Foreign Office is that with very few exceptions it is not supplied. I should add that they say that extracts likely to interest Ambassadors and their staffs are sent; but I submit that that is not enough. Up to a few months ago, the British Council, which spends a considerable sum in spreading abroad the British idea, had no copies of Hansard in its overseas libraries. At the beginning of this war I had the honour to make a maiden speech in this House, and I choose Hansard as my subject. As a result of suggestions I made I was asked to give evidence before the Select Committee. A Ministry of Information official, presumably on instructions, came to the Committee and said that it was not advisable that the proceedings of Parliament should be read outside this country. I thought that that was a scandalous thing to say to a Committee of Members of this House. I have every reason to believe that the present Minister of Information holds quite different views on the subject. I hope that he does, and I warn him that greatly different things are expected of him.

As for the Services, they have a thoroughly bad record in this respect. As an ex-naval officer, I should like to say something good about the Admiralty in this matter, but the best I can say of them is that they are apathetic. The Admiralty have information centres at various bases full of maps, periodicals, memoranda and so forth. There is no copy of Hansard. One must remember that 90 per cent. possibly, or some very high percentage, of the men of the Services were civilians a few years ago, and they use these places; they are politically minded. Never will you in any of these places find a copy of Hansard. The Air Force, again, is quite apathetic about this matter. All over the world large congregations of men are assembled in base aerodromes and so forth, longing for something to read. They are immensely interested in any serious literature of any sort which is put before them. Again, you never find a copy of Hansard in any of these Air Force messes or bases.

When one comes to the Army one comes right down to bed rock in this matter. I really sometimes think that the War Office is a sort of hedgehog tenanted by the enemies of Hansard. It is really quite hostile, so it seems. Only to-day, in answer to a Question, I was informed by the Secretary of State for War that out of 1,190 libraries looked after by the War Office—some are very large ones indeed—not one receives a copy of the proceedings of this House. The neglect of the Army in this matter is even more extraordinary, because as the House will agree the Army educational system is an excellent one. This admirable Army system has produced a very good pamphlet on the general work of Parliament, with biographical details and literature, in which men are recommended to read about Parliament, but there is not a word in that pamphlet from beginning to end which shows that Parliament has its own Report. Hansard is not mentioned. The oasis in this desert of indifference about Hansard is the Colonial Office. The Colonial Secretary is a good friend of Hansard and sends a copy to the Governors. It may be said that the Services do not want to read Hansard. I do not want to detain the House by giving it the information that I have which is to the contrary, but I can assure Members that the Services are only too interested to follow the proceedings of this House. I have tested it at air stations in Labrador, Iceland, in troopships and at information centres belonging to the Navy, and never have I found anything but the greatest interest in the proceedings of this House Hon. Members may ask where the evidence comes from that there is this interest in Hansard. That evidence has accumulated in the files of a non-profit making association known as "The Friends of Hansard" which has recently been formed and which has for its object the increase of the circulation and knowledge of Hansard in order that a larger number of persons in Britain, in the Empire overseas and in the United States of America can be acquainted with, and become interested in, the proceedings of Parliament. It is supported by about 100 Members of this House as well as by Members of another place and members of the outside public as well. It may interest the House to learn that a very well-known personality in American public life has become a friend of Hansard. And here is a significant fact. Yesterday I received a cable from Washington giving names and addresses of Congressmen and asking that arrangements should be made in order that they should receive Hansard. There is nothing more calculated to get the facts across there than that they should read a document which no one can possibly say is propagandist. In the Dominion of Canada a similar association is being formed, and I look forward to the day when, all over the Empire, such associations are formed to assist in popularising interest in the proceedings of our Parliaments.

The "Friends of Hansard" are aiming that Hansard should at least be in every public library in this country. There are towns with over 100,000 inhabitants without a copy of Hansard in the public library for reference. We want to see it made better use of in schools. Some schools are using Hansard in an enlightened and constructive way, but most schools do not know that it can be purchased. Another development is that centres known as "Hansard Centres" are growing up. The son of a Member of this House became interested and with four or five persons in his factory subscribed to Hansard. They met to discuss it once a week. Now in that factory there has been a conspicuous growth of the movement, and there are four groups taking in Hansard and discussing it. Another Member tells me that he has 15 such centres in his division. I hope hon. Members will take the opportunity, when a suitable moment occurs in their constituencies, to let the people know that Hansard can be obtained and will do what they can to get it distributed among the thoughtful members of constituencies.

In addition to the whole question of Hansard, which perhaps the House is beginning to think is a bee in my bonnet, there are several other aspects in which we must consider the public relations aspect of this House. In the new Chamber the galleries must be more spacious. I trust that it will be possible to give evidence before the Committee considering the matter. It is of real importance that the galleries should be more spacious and adequate, and particularly that every opportunity should be given to young people, possibly through youth colleges, to come down and see the House at work. Documentary films should be made. I am not suggesting for a moment that any film company should be allowed to come in and film us during our Debates, although I would not rule out the consideration on some very special occasion, such as, for instance, when the Prime Minister is able to announce the unconditional surrender of Hitler. I would not rule out the fact that that might be an occasion on which such a thing should occur. A documentary film should be made of the story of Parliamentary Questions. It is extraordinary how ignorant the public is on Parliamentary Questions and of the immense trouble taken by Government Departments to get out the answers. "The Birth and Death of a Parliamentary Bill," "How Candidates are Chosen." All these subjects would be of interest to the public. Good documentary films about Parliament would also be of interest in schools.

Finally, I urge that the terms of reference of the Select Committee on the Publication of Debates and Reports, the Committee with which you, Mr. Speaker, are so closely associated, should be drawn so that all these matters come within its scope. May I remind the House that in December, 1918, Field-Marshal Smuts, to whose words of wisdom we listened last week, made a pronouncement and a prophecy: Mankind is once more on the move. The very foundations have been shaken and loosened and things are again fluid. The tents have been struck and the great Caravan of Humanity is once more on the march. These were prophetic words. The great Caravan of Humanity, which has been marching hither and thither during the past 25 years in search of a secure camping place, has seen ideological sign posts; some point to the right and some to the left and some up to Heaven and others down to hell. The caravan is still marching. The House of Commons has lost its home during this period in which the foundations have been shaken and loosened. The benches on which we sat have gone, and the Chair from which your predecessor and his predecessors presided over their deliberations has gone too. Many other things which we cherish went up in flames. Amid all that turmoil and confusion—and I fear there is more to come—one thing has remained unshaken, and that is the spirit of Parliament. That has remained unshaken through all this turmoil, and its vigour it undiminished. Parliament to-day and in the future must necessarily derive its strength and determination from the people. I do not agree with those who say that Parliament has lost its prestige or the respect of the people, but we cannot take these things for granted. If the people began to hold Parliament cheaply, Parliament might linger on, but as a kind of ancient political monument. But if Parliament is to remain vital it must mean much to the electorate; they must feel that it is essential to the free way of life; they must stimulate Parliament and by Parliament be stimulated and aroused to the duties of citizenship in a democratic State. For this to happen, Parliament, whilst preserving all its ancient dignity and traditions so that it remains an institution infinitely greater than the greatest of those who compose it, must not hide its light under a bushel. It must be seen by all men to be shining brightly. I would have it to be the searchlight which illuminates not only for our own people but for all the world the path of the free way of life.

The Minister of Production (Mr. Lyttelton)

I have had the advantage of listening to the greater part of this Debate, and I have, of course, studied with great attention the speeches of hon. Members which I have had to miss through my other duties. I was particularly struck, if I may say so, by a phrase which was used by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Totnes (Colonel Rayner). He was speaking about academic gentlemen, very often of foreign extraction, who make plans for this country. He used these words: Thus, the unwarlike plan for the warlike, the cloistered for the man of action, the un-British for the British; and we do not like it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1943; col. 108, Vol. 395.] I agree with him. In the course of this Debate we have listened to four maiden speeches, three by new Members of the House and the fourth by my hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell). The three maiden speeches by new Members, by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Portsmouth (Sir W. James), the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Eccles) and the Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard) were full of ideas, and were very felicitous in language. I must make some reference to the other maiden speech in a bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party by my hon. Friend now sitting on the Front Bench opposite. Let me say quite clearly and unequivocally that I agree with a great deal of what he said. He stressed the need for an increase in the national productivity, and it is on that, of course, that our future as a nation depends. It is often supposed that an increase, for example, in the school-leaving age, or an increase in the number of men who are enlisted in the Armed Forces make a contribution to the unemployment problem. They do nothing of the kind. All they do is to reduce the number of those at certain ages who offer themselves for employment. With all that part of my hon. Friend's speech I agree profoundly, and it is upon this that we shall have to concentrate all our efforts in the post-war period—on an increase in the national productivity.

Then we listened to a very interesting and human speech from the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull East (Mr. Muff) and another from the Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee). He spoke with great knowledge about certain aspects of the housing problem. I think "constructive" is the right word to use about a speech on housing, and it certainly was a constructive speech. I am going to take up later on two or three of the points which he made. Lastly, the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) took up his rifle and, with the precision born of long Parliamentary skill, smashed a few electric light bulbs in the roof of the Chamber and, having done so, then proceeded to hunt rather bigger game. I think the point he made is one with which we should be impressed, about the need for building smaller houses for the older people. This matter of the increasing proportion of the older people in our population, which the statistics demonstrate, is also an important part of some of the problems of social security with which we are faced.

The Debate has ranged over a very wide field, but I think it would be true to say that in the main hon. Members have concentrated on the second part of the Gracious Speech, that is to say, that part which dealt with post-war problems and with problems of reconstruction. I think this is significant. I think that this fact will bring little satisfaction or comfort to the enemy, but I think it is also important that the public should know that this trend of our discussion, this emphasis on post-war problems, does not mean that we shall be content with anything less than the greatest possible impact upon the enemy in the coming months. All that it means is that the British are in confident humour and that this House regards victory as certain and, indeed, imminent, but it would, at the same time, be idle, and indeed, unseemly, to prophesy, to say what we mean by imminent. When is it coming? That we do not know. One or two years in the life of a nation are a small thing, but in the life of an individual they may be very grievous. We do not know. All that we do know is that the Nazi structure is being shaken to its foundations. We can see the cracks in that great, crazy edifice, and it will surely come down in ruins and in ashes before long. But when? That, we cannot tell.

Our preoccupation with post-war problems means just this—that we know that victory is certain, and we think it is imminent, but we are not expressing an opinion in point of time. I have said that hon. Members have addressed themselves largely to the second part of the Gracious Speech, but my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) referred particularly to the operations in Cos and Leros. Although in the time at my disposal I must be very short, I would like to say one or two things about these operations. First of all, there are two different groups of islands, one West of Italy and the other East of Italy, which have great strategical importance. To the West, Sardinia and Corsica represent an entry, if I may use that word, to the French Riviera, and even to the Rhone Valley, while to the East the Dodecanese are a pathway to the Balkans and affect very much the offensive and defensive position of Turkey. Upon which side, if upon any side, was it likely that the enemy would react? We did not know how violently he could react in any direction. In what the Prime Minister called the "pick-up" we got Sardinia and Corsica with very little loss. We did not get a position in the Dodecanese. The hon. Member asked questions about the Ninth Army, but it was not the amount of troops that was the limiting factor in these operations; it was our ability to mount, if you like to call it so, three amphibious operations at the same time. Do not forget the moment when the Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East was making these expeditions into Cos and Leros. He was doing it at almost the same moment as when the Salerno landings were taking place and we were acquiring Sardinia and Corsica. I think the House of Commons in these matters is in a rather difficult position. None of us wish that any form of criticism should be levelled at people who take risks. We do not like to think that when a general is poring over his map a hand should be laid upon his shoulder or that some voice from this place should whisper in his ears, "If you take a risk and it does not come off, you will be criticised." But we must at the same time maintain to the full our right to criticise operations which are based upon rash and not fully thought out risks. This was not one of them. Let me remind my hon. Friend, if I may, of a quotation by Sir Francis Drake—and I apologise for not having identified the quotation as I have only just remembered it. He said, on returning from an unsuccessful expedition to seize an island: Madam, the wings of victory are fledged with the arrows of death, That is what we have to remember.

On the subject of post-war reconstruction matters I think I had better address myself to three subjects, and I hope and believe that these are the ones in which the House is most interested. They are, first, housing and town and country planning; second, social security; and, third, war production in reverse, the process by which our production of munitions of war is to be turned into production for peaceful purposes. I think that of all these things housing would be accorded by everybody first place as the most practical problem and one which can be most easily segregated, examined and the cure determined. Here is a field in which no international agreements are necessary. This is a matter within our own capabilities of organisation. But before I go into this subject I hope the House will forgive me if I stray for a moment into the subject of post-war economics. This subject has been more than touched on by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard). As soon as the war is over, I think we may be quite certain that we shall be faced by three insistent demands. First, there will be a demand for consumer goods, in particular for textiles, for clothing, boots and shoes and for household textiles, carpets and household linen. Never, I suppose, in the history of business have stocks been so depleted as they are in this field all over Europe. There is no stock of any of these things from one end of Europe to another; every garment and carpet made goes straight from the factory to-day into consumption. There is an enormous lag to be made up. The next demand will be for one of the forms of capital goods, namely, houses.

This is a demand which cannot be resisted and must be met at once and as quickly as we can do it. It is unthinkable that we should condemn the demobilised soldier to celibacy because we cannot find a place for him to live in. To these two demands, I think, we must add a third, namely, arrears of essential maintenance. We are living to some extent upon our capital and building up, day by day, arrears of maintenance which have to be met. I think it is also rather a sobering fact that if we are to meet these three demands for consumer goods, housing and essential maintenance, the national savings, as far as we can calculate them, may not support any further substantial programme of capital reconstruction immediately after the war. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] The reason is that if you spend substantially more than the national savings then you are getting into an inflationary position which will be as disastrous for one side of industry as it will be for the other.

Mr. Stokes (Ipswich)

That is old fashioned.

Mr. Lyttelton

It may be necessary to hold back the demands for capital reconstruction somewhat while we meet these three insistent demands. While we are meeting these demands we must be careful to perfect and work out very closely exactly those schemes of capital reconstruction which we are to bring to bear as soon as the demand for consumer goods begins to flag. No one in any part of the House would deny for a moment that there is a great field for capital expenditure in improving and reconstituting the capital assets of the country. "Public works" is a phrase that has a very unfortunate tinge. It means to the common man making a hole and then filling it in again. But it really means nothing of the kind. I mean that whether by private capital or through the State itself we have in this country an immense field for improving our capital equipment in three directions—transportation, power and the further utilisation by scientific means of our greatest and almost our only national raw material, coal.

I must return to housing. The Government have felt that a new definition of responsibility and simplification was called for and this has been reached. The Ministry of Works will be the Government authority to which the Ministry of Health and the Scottish Office will look on all matters concerning—and I will read them out carefully: Plans, designs, specifications, materials and the technique of construction and costs of houses. The local authorities will, on the other side, have to look solely to the Ministry of Health and the Scottish Office. [An HON. MEMBER: "For what?"] For all matters concerning housing. I am now meeting the point that there are too many Government Departments concerned with this subject. This is our attempt to simplify the business. I think it is important that the Ministry of Works will really be the technical Department to which housing authorities will look as regards the list I have mentioned.

I must discuss housing in two parts. First of all there is to be a long-term programme. The White Paper on the building industry envisages the employment of a labour force with a ceiling of 1,250,000 for 12 years. Two factors in reaching this labour force of 1,250,000 have been carefully balanced. They are the demand for building, not only for houses but also buildings which will become necessary for example under the Education Act. That is one thing that has to be balanced up against this force of 1,250,000. The other is the amount of the national savings which can be devoted in the national field to this problem, and that bears on the general remarks that I have made about the volume of national savings. No further steps with regard to the long-term building programme are now practicable until the necessary finality has been given to our demobilisation schemes, and they are under discussion and are not yet in the final state. There are two matters connected with building to which I must refer. First of all, all the brickworks which have been shut down as the result of the war have been kept on a care and maintenance basis. I am prepared to say that there will be no lack of cement or of any building material. I am anxious about the timber position, and I am doing my best, with the help of my Noble Friend the Minister of Works in his capacity as Chairman of the Materials Committee, to increase our imports of timber during 1944. We are certainly short of that essential requisite of building. In all these matters we must open our minds to every new idea and make use of all the knowledge and resource that we are able to display. We have nothing to be ashamed of in what we have done in war production in the matter of ingenuity and invention, and we must apply it to houses. The Minister of Works is now constructing eight or nine demonstration houses. They will be completed in three or four months. They will show a number of new ideas in construction, both in form and also in the materials used, and of course we hope that hon. Members will inspect them and judge of their suitability. We are going to do our best to have new ideas in houses and to put them on experimental sites so that their advantages can be seen.

That is long-term. Whatever the housing programme of the Government is, it cannot suffice for our immediate short-term needs. We have also been considering schemes of an emergency, temporary character, designed to relieve the immediate pressure which will come upon us when there is any substantial demobilisation, whether industrial or military. Many experiments have been conducted in this field, and within three months the House will be able to inspect some of these dwellings made by the Ministry of Works, and we should very much welcome the criticisms of hon. Members upon them.

Sir Granville Gibson (Pudsey and Otley)

Are these houses to be erected in this vicinity?

Mr. Lyttelton

They are within easy reach of the House. Before I leave the subject of housing there are certain measures which can be taken during the war itself to which I must refer. Recently the first call on immobile labour subject to urgent war priorities has been given for house repair, conversion and completion of unfinished houses. This subject was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson), and I would assure him that as soon as war necessities permit and there is some substantial diminution in the Government building programme, which is largely concerned with aerodromes and so forth, we intend to make more materials available for house building and to try and use immobile labour which could not otherwise be employed for increasing the immediate supply of houses. We are immediately governed by the stringencies of the Government building programme and of certain materials. Lastly, we are now examining, and hope to be able to implement it, a scheme for assisting local authorities to clear the sites for housing schemes. Again I must make the very natural reservation that these things are governed by war priority. I only want the House to know that as soon as these war necessities begin to diminish here is one of the first places in which we intend to employ any surplus. We are fully aware that at the present moment the civil population, especially in this matter, is living under the greatest strain. We are fully aware of that fact and we are imposing it deliberately. It cannot be imposed beyond a certain point, and I ask the House to believe that it is being done with only one object, the object of increasing the impact during the months immediately in front of us, that is, impact in point of place, or shortening the war if you like to express it in point of time.

Mr. A. Edwards (Middlesbrough, East)

It probably would not be fair to ask the right hon. Gentleman what he means by temporary measures, but will the Government keep in mind that under a similar scheme after the last war, temporary dwellings were erected and people are still living in them?

Mr. Lyttelton

I am aware of the pitfalls that may beset us in this, but we definitely must provide for some temporary scheme.

Earl Winterton

May I ask a question which I think is of some importance and which I thank my right hon. Friend will answer favourably; that is, in view of the great importance of the announcement, which many of us have heard with the greatest delight, will my right hon. Friend be prepared to issue a White Paper on the subject so that Members may be able to study it in detail?

Mr. Lyttelton

Perhaps my Noble Friend will forgive me for not answering that. There is one matter of which my Noble Friend's intervention has reminded me. It is that in these matters when we have the labour and materials available, we are prepared to consider the matter of the £250 limit. That limit is not imposed for financial reasons.

Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)

In their short-term policy are the Government proposing to build any pre-fabricated houses, because houses must be built very quickly?

Mr. Lyttelton

I have said that in the eight or nine demonstration houses which the Minister of Works will put up there will be several new ideas in construction, and such things as pre-fabrication and houses with the roof put on first are included. I am not suggesting that the roof will be suspended in space.

Mr. Kirkwood (Dumbarton Burghs)

Are you not going to make any prefabricated or temporary houses for those who are in desperate need of houses until the war is over?

Mr. Lyttelton

I think my hon. Friend has missed the purport of my remarks, which were under three headings: First, the long-term scheme; secondly, emergency and temporary accommodation to relieve the pressure immediately after the war; and, thirdly, what we can do while the war is on.

Mr. Kirkwood

But while the war is on we are waiting in desperation for temporary housing.

Mr. Lyttelton

I have made it clear that in that matter we are governed by war priorities, but subject to that we will do what we can.

In the short time at my disposal I want to turn to town and country planning. The Government have given a pledge—I would remind the House of it—that they will introduce a Bill this Session to deal with the reconstruction areas. Those areas are ones which require replanning and reconstruction from two aspects, and I do not think the second aspect has yet received nearly the attention which it deserves. The two aspects are: Damage by bombing and, in the official jargon, obsolescence. My hon. Friend the Member for Oxford University and myself were, I think, the first to call them areas which are out of date, but nevertheless we have to accept "obsolescence." That is a very significant thing. The extent to which the Government accept the Uthwatt Report on this particular matter will be clear from the Bill which we are going to introduce. I think we may divide the Uthwatt Report into two parts. The first relates to the procedure by which a public authority is facilitated in acquiring land for these purposes. It proposes, as everyone knows, a number of easements in the procedure designed to make the purchase by local authorities of areas for reconstruction more speedy than it is to-day. As I say, in the main the Government accept the Uthwatt Report upon this procedure. The second part is concerned with the acquisition of development rights and the periodic levy on increases in site value. On this matter the Government have not made up their mind—and they are not in the least ashamed to say so.

Viscountess Astor

They ought to be.

Mr. Lyttelton

The hon. Lady will perhaps be unaware that there are very great administrative problems involved. We do not accept or reject at the moment the Uthwatt Report upon this matter. Alternatives are now being examined.

Mr. Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

If the Government are now in process of examining alternatives to the plan, may we take it that the plan itself is rejected?

Mr. Lyttelton

If that is the way the hon. Member's mind works I am very sorry for him. If he really thinks that the examination of an alternative involves ipso facto the rejection of the primary scheme I cannot understand it.

Mr. Silverman

The right hon. Gentleman is simply putting words into my mouth. I drew no inferences and made no comment, but I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that was the inference which he desired the House to draw, and I take it that his answer is "No."

Mr. Lyttelton

I apologise to the hon. Member if that was the meaning of his interjection. I wish to make it clear that the Government have not accepted or rejected the Uthwatt Report on this particular aspect. It feels that the whole field is such a very important one that it must examine the whole problem; and that is where we stand to-day.

Mr. A. Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

That statement is very important. An announcement has been made in another place about land values. Is the right hon. Gentleman laying it down that the Government will not accept any more than the 1939 land values?

Mr. Lyttelton

I cannot in the time I have at my disposal go into the details of the scheme, and I must deal with the matter in broad outline. I have said with great frankness that the two pledges which the Government gave stand, and secondly, that we have not made up our minds on the second part of the Uthwatt Report.

I must deal next with the Scott Report. The Minister of Town and Country Planning has issued a written reply to a Question which was addressed to him to-day and which will be available to hon. Members in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I must cut my remarks very short on this subject, and the most succinct way of dealing with it will be to say that the planning aspects of the Scott Report are in the main accepted by the Government. There are 108 recommendations, some of which are confined to stating objectives rather than the means of reaching them. Some of those points involve many other Ministers besides the Minister of Town and Country Planning and we shall have to ask hon. Members to obtain further information by addressing Questions to the Ministers concerned.

A further matter I wish to touch upon is the social security scheme. I quite understand that the House may be impatient on the subject, and I confess I should have been so myself if I had not been a member of a Ministerial Committee which has to deal with this question. The complexity of it has to be seen to be believed. Take any part of it, say workmen's compensation or the comprehensive medical service, and you become involved in administrative problems of the very greatest difficulty, requiring not only an encyclopaedic knowledge of the background but very great administrative experience in solving present problems. Again I must be short. The bulk of the problem has been tackled. The White Paper is now being drafted. I am giving no promise when it will be laid because when the draft is completed it must come again before Ministers.

Mr. MacLaren

The supply of white paper will run out before long.

Mr. Lyttelton

I think I should say the White Paper will show that the Government have very definite proposals over a large part of the field, but I will be equally candid and say that there are some subjects upon which we are undecided and upon which we wish to take the opinion of hon. Members and to make soundings. I see nothing reprehensible in that. I think the Chinese have a proverb in which they say that to be uncertain is to be uncomfortable but to be certain is to be ridiculous. On one or two of these subjects I prefer to be uncomfortable at this Box rather than to place myself in the other posture. [An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. Gentleman is a bit uncomfortable."] When the hon. Member sees the work that has been put into this matter, any discomfort I feel now in being candid—which I think nobody should be ashamed of—will be more than removed when he sees the monument of industry in front of him. Take a matter like the comprehensive medical service. What is there unusual in saying that we have had a great deal of work to do upon it? Does anybody realise that it involves altering the numbers of those entitled to a comprehensive medical service from 18,000,000, the present insured population, to the whole population of 44,250,000? And to those who do not realise that there is a very large, one of the very largest administrative problems involved in that, I would say that this facile business of saying "Why are the Government so slow, the period of gestation so long?" is useless. The fact remains that the child that is to be produced is one that will affect the lives and future of the whole population.

In the short time that remains to me I want to address myself to the third subject, which is the change-over from war production to peace production. First of all, let me say that I do not think the problem poses itself in such a simple way. It is idle to guess, but I think the probabilities are that the war with Germany will finish before the war with Japan, and that therefore we shall have a period when war production will still absorb an important part of our productive capacity. I may say that my Ministry has been for three or four months making a very careful survey of what is required for the war with Japan. It depends first of all on our ability to deploy forces, because whatever we can deploy we are going to deploy in full. That is a very difficult step, and, unfortunately, when you have determined the deployment against Japan you have only dealt with part of the problem. We have to determine what is the size and what is the equipment required for armies of occupation, and even when these two are determined there is a third question which has to be resolved: What equipment can we rely on from the United States? These are really the three things the Government have to decide: the size of our equipment for warlike purposes when Germany is beaten, and the question of our deployment against Japan, which includes the manufacture of special weapons, particularly those transported by air; the extent of help from America; and the size of our armies of occupation.

We think that this will be a definite transitional period and that we will get probably a partial demobilisation. I have had some discussions recently with my Noble Friend the Minister of Reconstruction. We were discussing over a glass of pasteurised milk together at the Ministry—

Viscountess Astor


Mr. Lyttelton

I thought the Noble Lady would approve. The Minister of Labour was there also, and as it was his birthday he had a glass of unpasteurised milk. We were discussing how this matter is to be handled. The Minister of Labour and I have a considerable experience of demobilisation of capacity and labour, for large numbers of men have been taken out of the Ministry of Supply and the production of ground weapons during the last 12 months and put on to the production of aircraft and naval vessels, so that on a small scale we have a considerable experience and we have worked so closely together that it may perhaps be described as collusion in many parts of the field. That transfer of many tens of thousands of men has on the whole been done very smoothly, so that the problem which will face us if Germany is beaten first is, on a larger scale, very much the same as that which we have been tackling for the last 12 months. We intend to approach it on a strictly practical basis. The time to talk about the re-location of industry is when the men who are now fighting have been brought back and as far as possible put to work in the industries in which they are trained and skilled. We must begin by approaching the thing industry by industry. It is my duty, for example, to release industrial capacity, so as to meet the wishes of the Minister of Reconstruction and, above all, of the President of the Board of Trade. I wish to release industrial capacity for him so that he may turn it over, first of all to goods for civilian consumption in this country and, secondly, to goods for export, and, thirdly, in order to make what contribution we can towards the problem of relief in the liberated territories. In all this very careful co-ordination is necessary. Let me say again that I agree very much that during the first year or two our problems will not be essentially those of employment but of transfer and of fitting in our labour supply and the supply of capacity to meet a very insistent demand.

I have had to cover a very wide field rather hurriedly. I would like to say that the Government are entirely confident about their ability to handle this period. That confidence is not only in themselves as a Government, but it springs from a much more important source, from our unbounded confidence in the people of this country. The record which they have written during the last four years is imperishable. Our confidence springs from a profound belief—and I think it was a very moving thing to hear the hon. Member for Seaham expressing the same point of view—that we are going to emerge successful out of these peace-time prob- lems. Our plans for all these matters are well advanced. The decision itself does not take time. What takes time is the collection of the information, its analysis, the fitting of it into this intricate mosaic, and, finally, seeing that no part of it sets up a stress which breaks the others.

I would like, in the last moment available, to refer to the position of the Servicemen who are fighting for us now. The poet said, It is a sweet and seemly thing to die for your country. But, believe me, if you have fought and survived there is nothing more bitter or more unseemly than that you should have to live in poverty and unemployment. There is the task. We are addressing ourselves to it with zest, and those who can make a contribution can be sure that they have not lived through these days in vain.

It being the hour appointed for the interruption of Business, the Debate stood adjourned.

Ordered, "That the Debate be resumed upon the next Sitting Day."—[Major Sir James Edmondson.]