§ As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Speaker
The Amendment on the Order Paper in page 1, line 17, at the beginning, to insert:(1) The University shall have the style and title of the University of St. Andrews and Dundee,is not selected.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
On a point of order. Is it your intention, Mr. Speaker, to select the Amendment standing in the name of myself and other hon. Members?
§ Mr. Speaker
No. I have just said that it is not my intention to select it. I think the matter was adequately debated in Committee.
§ Mr. Thomson
Further to that point of order. May I respectfully submit to you that since the point was argued in Committee fresh developments of some importance have taken place. During the Committee stage the Secretary of State gave an undertaking that if there were new representations he would give them consideration. May I respectfully ask you how we are to have publicly declared to us the Secretary of State's view on those representations and to express our own opinion of them unless we are able to discuss the Amendment?
§ Mr. Speaker
If, having listened to the representations mentioned, the Secretary of State had been in favour of the course proposed in the Amendment, he would have added his own name to it, which would have settled the matter.
§ 7.26 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. James Stuart)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
I have it in command from Her Majesty to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the University of St. Andrews Bill, has been pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament the interests of the Crown so far as they are affected by the Bill.
Perhaps I may also add my thanks to the House and especially to hon. Members for Scottish constituencies for the manner in which they have dealt with the Bill. I think it is fair to say that on both sides of the House the Bill was debated on Second Reading and in Committee with a full sense of responsibility by all who took part. Our purpose has been, of course, to remove those constitutional defects which have led to unfortunate conflicts within the University in the past in order that this ancient foundation may put these troubles behind it.
The Bill reshapes the constitution of the University, and it is essential that these new arrangements should operate as soon as possible. Our hope is that the new organs of government in the University should begin to function this autumn. I hope that the University commissioners will be appointed by then and will start upon their difficult tasks. By then—that is to say, this autumn—the membership of the reconstituted University Court should also be determined, apart from the heads of the two colleges. We certainly aim to have the three assessors appointed to the Court by the Crown as soon as possible. The college councils in Dundee and St. Andrews should be substantially in being by the autumn; and, lastly, I sincerely hope that 1798 it will be possible to appoint the new principal soon, as this appointment is, of course, vital to the structure.
The success of the new regimé will depend largely on the work of the commissioners, of the new principal and the college heads, and of the Court and college councils, and upon their relationship with each other. I am sure that all in the House wish them well in the work ahead. I have no reason to suppose that, with good will and common-sense, success will not crown their efforts, but this Bill alone and the new constitutional organs set up under the Bill will not achieve the results we all desire without a harmonious relationship in and around the University.
There must be the desire and the will to make it work. I think that is all important, and great responsibility for achieving the desired results and success rest upon the shoulders of the leaders of local opinion. I urge and trust that in Dundee past grievances, however justified they were felt to be, will be forgotten, and that the energies of all will be devoted to ensuring that Dundee plays its vital part in the life of the reconstituted University.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson
On Second Reading I ventured the opinion that this might be regarded not so much as an act of legislation as a peace treaty in what has been a very long academic civil war. I ventured the hope that our deliberations in the House would be more successful in the conclusions reached than were the previous deliberations at the end of the last century, because some of the discord which has taken place during the present century was the result of a very bad Act of Parliament at that time.
We are all aware that the root of these discords lies in three things. First of all, there is the geographical difference between St. Andrews and Dundee. St. Andrews is one of our most beautiful and most ancient towns; Dundee is a typical example of modern industrialism in Scotland; and there is a very big gap in atmosphere between the two as well as a very serious geographical gap in the estuary of the Tay. I do not think that this Bill or anything else can do very much to bridge that until, perhaps, we get at long last our road bridge over the 1799 Tay, which may help to solve that particular problem which lies behind our present troubles.
The second reason why we have this peace treaty before us is undoubtedly the preoccupation the late very able principal of St. Andrews University had with St. Andrews to the exclusion of the interests of Dundee. I wholeheartedly agree with the Secretary of State in wishing well to the new principal. He will have a difficult task. I am sure we all hope he will have the necessary co-operation and good will to fulfil that task.
The third reason for the discord, and the reason which concerns this Bill, lies in the very faulty task of reorganisation that was undertaken at the end of the last century. We had some most unsuccessful machinery, of a type not unknown in some parts of the British Empire. We had in Dundee a council which had plenty of opportunity to discuss matters pertaining to the welfare of university education in Dundee, but did not have any power to carry out its recommendations. It found the power rested entirely at the St. Andrews end of the University. There is no doubt that reorganisation of university education was necessary in that respect to bring about the harmony we all desire.
I do think that it has not been sufficiently appreciated during our debates on this subject what sacrifices Dundee is making in regard to this reorganisation. It is very important to remember that a university, wherever it may be, depends for its success upon the devotion and work of many public-spirited men interested in education. Despite the very great difficulties which have existed between St. Andrews and Dundee, Dundee has enjoyed a great deal of devoted public service from men and women in the city.
If we reject, as the Royal Commission rejected, the idea of an independent university for Dundee, then a re-organisation was, of course, necessary. But let us remember that the existing institutional machinery in Dundee is being wiped out. Under this re-organisation the Board of Governors of Dundee University College disappear, and the Council of Dundee University College is radically reconstituted; the Dundee School of Economics 1800 is swallowed up completely in the reorganisation, and its name disappears. If we use the metaphor of a peace treaty we should say that this means that under this re-organisation the Dundee part of the University is being asked for an unconditional surrender of its present institutions.
In these circumstances, I think it must be said that the title under which this new arrangement is to go forward is quite inadequate if we are to get the kind of harmony we require. The Secretary of State has said with a great deal of truth that the Bill itself will not be any good without good will between St. Andrews and Dundee, and I must express my serious misgivings that the Secretary of State has not seen fit to make his contribution towards that harmony by recognising the inadequacy of the present title of the University, and has refused to take steps to have a title which would recognise the new partnership which is being created.
He has had a very real and very easy opportunity to take such steps because since we last discussed this Bill in Comimttee two very important gestures of good will have been made from opposite sides of the Tay. All of us on both sides of the House have had representations from Dundee Corporation and from Dundee College Council recognising the inadequacy of the present title of the University and expressing the hope that harmony could be achieved if that inadequacy were put right, and, at the same time, on the other side of the Tay we have had the University Court indicate to the Secretary of State their view that they would not oppose that particular point of view if asked about it. Those were very important steps, and I do think that, since the whole purpose of the Bill is to make peace between the two sides of the University, it is a very great pity that that chance was lost.
One must remember that even while we were on the Committee stage of the Bill, Dundee Corporation and the Dundee College Council were refusing to retreat from their stand for an independent university and were refusing to make any compromises at all. Now we have had this very important concession, and I think it is a great pity indeed that it was rejected. I regret it was not possible to discuss that on the Report stage. Responsibility, of course, lies, and must be seen 1801 squarely to lie, on the Secretary of State, because as you yourself, Mr. Speaker, said, if he had seen his way to accept those very important gestures of conciliation that were made to him, we could at this stage of the Bill not only have given it our blessing—because we are all bound to do that, of course—but, what is more important, we could have done so with some real hope of its success.
§ Mr. Speaker
I have been very patient with the hon. Member because I understand his deep interest in this matter, but it is really out of order to discuss on Third Reading an Amendment which was not selected on Report.
§ Mr. Thomson
I appreciate your patience, Mr. Speaker. I was trying to discuss the inadequacy of the present title in relation to achieving the purpose of the Bill.
I should like to add that I think it is a great pity that hon. Members on the other side of the House have dealt with this matter in the way that they have. We on this side have throughout not treated it in any way as a party matter. The record of voting in Committee will show that. We have not had the same evidence from the other side. The Secretary of State, of course, took the point of view he was entitled to take, that he must stick to the recommendations of the Tedder Commission, but he completely destroyed his own case by accepting the view of the Committee that the status of the Rector as the students' representative should be safeguarded.
§ Mr. Thomson
That is exactly the point that I am about to make. Both sides of the Committee joined in defeating the Government on this particular position, but the Government gracefully accepted defeat on that.
What I am objecting to is this. It seems to me as though the Government had quietly said to their own supporters that they would accept defeat on the position of the Rectorship, but they must not attempt to exercise a free vote on any other matters that came before us in the Committee. I am reminded of the very interesting situation which occurred following a speech by the hon. Gentleman 1802 the Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling). I always listen to the hon. Gentleman with very great enjoyment, but on that occasion I had an added unexpected pleasure of listening with very great agreement, because the hon. Gentleman was supporting my point of view that the present title is quite inadequate. My astonishment at his support was quite overcome by my astonishment at finding him voting against it.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)
I expressed an opinion which was very extensively covered by that of my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. John Wheatley (Edinburgh, East)
Did the hon. Gentleman do the same thing in respect of the statute altering the law of rectorship?
§ Mr. Thomson
I was about to deal with the point which the hon. Gentleman made, because it interested me greatly. We all have on this side of the House a personal, although not a political respect, for the very different qualities of the Secretary of State for Scotland and his hon. Friend, but when the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South says that he prefers the rather prosaic arguments of his right hon. Friend to that of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South, he is straining our imagination a little too much.
I want to express disappointment from this side of the House that hon. Members on the other side did not see fit to press the Government on this very important issue more than they did. There has been a real opportunity missed during the last few weeks, and that means that we are going forward to the next and very important stage of putting into operation all the machinery that is contained in the Bill with less optimism than we had in the past.
Undoubtedly, we must all do our best to make this Bill work, because the purpose of the Bill, in the long run, is to meet the welfare of the young people of the east of Scotland and further afield in relation to university education. That will only be met if there is proper cooperation and proper harmony between the two sides of this University. Certainly, all of us on this side of the House 1803 will do all that we can to make it work, despite, as I say, the opportunity which the Secretary of State has just passed over.
It must be appreciated that this will be an uphill fight for the leaders of local opinion in Dundee to whom the Secretary of State referred. He has rejected a point of view expressed strongly from many sources, including the College Council of Dundee which was unanimous on this for the first time for 30 years, and such a rare unanimity should not have been thrust aside in such a cavalier fashion. The fact that he has turned this down does not mean that the situation reverts to what it was when we were on the Committee stage of this Bill. The Dundee Corporation and the Dundee College Council, who made this gesture of conciliation, laid themselves open, as peace-makers always do, to the charge of appeasement, and, therefore, now that they have been rebuffed by the Secretary of State they are bound to feel that there will be more bitterness rather than less bitterness and the situation is made more difficult for them rather than less difficult as a result of that action.
We must face up to that and do our best to make the Bill work. I underline the appeal which I made to the Secretary of State at an earlier stage in this Bill, that in selecting the various people, those now within the patronage of the Crown Commissioners, to work the new machinery he will do his best to enrol the energies of those people in Dundee who, in the past, have devoted themselves to university education in that city, and that every effort will be made in the corporate life of the University to make sure that both St. Andrews and Dundee work together, are seen to work together, so that a new atmosphere of good will can still be created.
I look forward to that with less optimism than I did at the start of the Bill, but I think that we can make it work if we are given the proper approach in setting up the machinery. The way in which we start these things is often very important. I am heartened by the fact that the kind of work done at the Dundee end of the University is of sufficient importance, so that in the passage of time it may overcome the unfortunate suspicions of the past. There is much that is done in Dundee that cannot 1804 possibly be done at St. Andrews for obvious reasons—medical training and dental training, and, I hope, the new school of social science which we all trust will arise out of the incorporation of the school of economics. If these sort of things are developed properly there is no doubt that Dundee will be a very important part of the University.
While expressing my regret that the Secretary of State has not done more to give symbolic recognition to this new partnership, I express my hope that everything else will be done to make this Bill a reality in terms of university education.
§ 7.46 p.m.
§ Lieut-Colonel Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
As has been said, we are now approaching the end of this long examination in the affairs of the senior University of Scotland and, indeed, one of the oldest universities in the whole of Western Europe. That is not a job which has been undertaken lightly by the Scottish Members or by those who have addressed representations to the Scottish Members and to Parliament.
We have had I think as careful and as thorough and as non-party an examination of this Measure and the problems arising out of it as I have ever known in the case of any Measure that has ever been brought before the House of Commons.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
There is no Report stage because of the effect of the Ruling of the Chair, which it is not within the power of the right hon. and learned Gentleman or myself to dispute. I was going on to say that I am sure that the points made by the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) raised a great deal of sympathy on both sides of the Committee. I think that it is not at all the case that the matter has been examined along party lines in the Committee stage or in the case of the Amendment which was put down or indeed in the case of the Third Reading. I can only speak for myself, but certainly the Secretary of State for Scotland has made no attempt whatever to advance his views to me nor I think to most of my hon. Friends. Indeed I can say this—
§ Mr. James McInnes (Glasgow, Central)
Or the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's views to the Secretary of State.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I am representing my views to the House of Commons, which is a senior body even to the Secretary of State for Scotland.
§ Mr. Wheatley
If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman felt strongly on the point on which my hon. Friend sought to have an Amendment called on Report could not he have indicated quite clearly his views and those of his hon. Friends by putting his name to the Amendment?
§ Mr. Wheatley
That is not the point. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was expressing his sympathy with certain views expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson). I was merely suggesting that he could have expressed that sympathy in tangible form by putting his name to an Amendment which was on the Order Paper albeit it was not selected.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I do not think that discussion can be carried too far because that would involve the Amendment.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I do not intend to shirk that point. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will have a little patience, I shall develop the argument which I hope to lay before the House.
I am saying that this is a good Bill and that its title is a good title. I could of course have expressed my sympathy with the Amendment by putting my name to it, and if I had thought it a good Amendment I should have had no hesitation in doing so, even though it was against the views of the Secretary of State for Scotland—as indeed I proved in Committee when we were discussing this matter upstairs. My hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland would be the first to admit that was no slavish deference to his views in the discussions which the Scottish Grand Committee had on the Bill. That Committee examined each of these propositions entirely upon its merits.
1806 The hon. Member for Dundee, East was, I think, a little confused in his argument when he sought to show that it was a good thing that the Secretary of State should defer to the judgment of the Committee in retaining the position of the Lord Rector but that he should seek to reverse the decision of the Committee by putting down an Amendment against the decision of the Committee on Report. The hon. Member will say, of course, that new factors have emerged. New factors have emerged on both sides.
It was a little disingenuous of the hon. Member for Dundee, East not to mention the fact mentioned in the columns of the "Scotsman" today and dealt with in a leader which I also mentioned to him at an earlier stage, that the body—the student body—about whom the whole of this discussion is going on has taken the most definite line in favour of the present title, and has so represented to this House and to the Secretary of State for Scotland. The hon. Member said, quite rightly, that the purpose of the Bill is the enlargement and enhancement of the student body of the University whose affairs we are discussing—that is the object of the exercise. As I have said before—I am, perhaps, overstating the case a little—the students are the University, and the University is the students. At any rate, it is the student body which differentiates a university from a research organisation or from many other bodies of academic importance.
It is true that representations on behalf of a change in the title came from the Lord Provost and Council of Dundee and from the College Council of Dundee; and to their views we must attach great weight. It is also true, however, that the judgment of the Court was not given, as the hon. Member seemed to indicate, in favour of a neutral attitude, but as merely retaining the views which they had previously expressed—and the views which they had previously expressed were against the change of title. There have also been representations from two of the St. Andrews colleges against the suggestion of a change of title. I should not have hesitated to try to override their views, even in spite of my respect and, indeed, reverence for these old and honourable bodies, but when we get the views of those who are going to carry this title in the future, by whom it will be 1807 made famous or be brought into disrepute, I say that their views are paramount.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson
While I agree, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said, that the students' views are paramount, surely what matters is the views not only of the students who are there at the moment, but of the students who will be there in future years and generations. Surely, if we are to provide proper university education for them, we must take a decision here as to what is most likely to promote harmony in the future.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
Certainly we must do that, but if we are to prophesy about the views of future students, I am equally entitled to prophesy about the views even of the Dundee Council or of the College Council or of the "Dundee Courier." If it is a case of prophecy, my claim is as good as the hon. Member's and we can prophesy about one body as much as another. What we are mainly dealing with is the views expressed here and now, because that is all we can really bring into the argument.
Here are the views of the student body as expressed by their representatives, the Students' Representative Council of the University of St. Andrews. Let it be remembered that the student body of the University takes in also the large number of students at Dundee. This is a resolution or representation not merely from the students of St. Andrews; this is from the student body of the University, which includes the students of Dundee as well. As I say, their views have to be taken very seriously into account.
This is what they say:The Students' Representative Council, having accepted the recommendations in the Report of the Royal Commission on University Education in Dundee except for that concerned with the status of the Rector"—it will be remembered that the matter was discussed and decided in the Scottish Grand Committee—are not in favour of the further proposed changes in the University of St. Andrews Bill. In particular they deplore the proposal to change the name of the university. They are convinced that this would be repugnant to a large majority of the student body.1808 That is signed by the president and the vice-president of the Students' Representative Council, and by the Secretary of the St. Andrews University Bill subcommittee.
When the hon. Member for Dundee, East says, as he is perfectly entitled to say, that representation has been made in favour of a change of name, we must also take into account the fact that powerful representations, of which I think this is the most powerful, though not the only one, have been made in favour of the retention of the title and of the Bill going forward as it at present stands. Therefore, the hon. Member is perhaps a little less than just when he speaks of the Secretary of State having rebuffed those proposals and suggestions—those advances, if that term is preferred—made by the Dundee authorities.
It is not the Secretary of State who has done that. It is the University which has done that. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Oh, yes, indeed; it is the University which has done this. In a question of the title of the University, the University authorities, and particularly the University student body, are fully entitled to have their views considered; and this House should give the greatest possible weight to them when considering its final verdict on the Bill.
It would be a pity if it went forward this afternoon that this decision was being taken in any way on party lines. I am sure that that is not so. An examination of the voting in the Scottish Grand Committee will show that there was no suggestion of a party division. I am sure that had a Division been taken this afternoon, again it would be found that the party line was not taken upon it. The decision which has been taken is a decision that those in favour of a change have not succeeded in impressing their views sufficiently strongly upon the persons most concerned. That being so, I submit that the preservation of the status quo is undoubtedly justified in every possible way.
I shall not start to open the case again for the original name of the ancient University, nor argue again this afternoon the arguments which were brought forward before two Royal Commissions and which were rejected by both of them. But I go all the way with the hon. Member for Dundee, East and with others that 1809 the City of Dundee, the activities of Dundee, and the atmosphere of Dundee are just as necessary to a great modern university as the atmosphere of St. Andrews itself.
§ Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
On a point of order. An Amendment was disallowed earlier, but since then it seems that all discussion on either side of the House has centred around that Amendment.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
That appears to me to be very nearly the case. The Amendment was an Amendment regarding the name of the University. That was not accepted. The discussion should not be carried too much along the lines of that Amendment.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I fully agree, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I had already passed from that line of argument, having answered as briefly as I could along the line which had already been ruled in order in the case of the hon. Member for Dundee. East.
I was next arguing in favour of the utmost incorporation of the spirit and atmosphere of the great industrial city of Dundee into the University which is now under discussion. That is not a question of a title, as we all know. That is a question, as the hon. Member for Dundee, East says, of the increased participation of Dundee in the governing of the University and in the conduct of the University itself. Great steps are made towards that in the Bill now under discussion. The representation on the University Court is shared between St. Andrews and Dundee although far more than half the students are St. Andrews students. Many of the schools which have been developed in St. Andrews are in future to be developed in Dundee—notably, the teaching of education, of the social sciences and, when practicable, the very flourishing school of pre-clinical medicine.
All these are developments which will go on and which will prove to those on both sides of the Tay the desire that there should be one University at Tayside and not two universities and in particular that it should be a university of a merely medieval flavour and antiquity but a university grappling with the enormous problems of our modern age. There I say quite frankly that in some ways the late principal, much as he did for university 1810 education and much as he did for the University of St. Andrews, was in some ways at fault. I do not think he fully appreciated the drive and the thrust that would come to the affairs of the University by a greater incorporation of the work of the industrial city so closely at its side.
Strong argument has been heard in favour of the residential system. I think that may be pushed too far. I am sure the hon. Member for Warrington (Dr. Morgan)—who I may describe as my hon. Friend—will not demur from that because he and I graduated at a university where the residential system was practically unknown. I think it holds a danger for Scots; they do not flourish well in captivity. Too thorough a residential system is not in keeping with our national character. The rough life of the town and the key of the streets is also a necessity for us—a view which Mr. Weller, senior, put forward very forcibly in his description of the education of his son, the more famous Sam. The key of the streets encourages the student to run about and learn for himself. That they can learn in Dundee, but not, I think, in St. Andrews.
The student body of St. Andrews is beginning to be drawn from sources far outside the Kingdom of Fife and neighbouring districts. It is drawing students not merely from its own doorstep but from England, from the whole of the Commonwealth and, indeed, from farther afield still. These are the people whose interests we have to study. These are the people whom we have to seek to inspire; these are the people to whom I think the new constitution will give the best possible chance.
It is a commonplace to say that on the university education of this country a great deal of its future depends. We can scarcely hear a debate on unemployment, on the Empire—or indeed, on finance, as shown this afternoon—without speaker after speaker stressing the need for a greater body of highly educated technical people, the captains and noncommissioned officers of industry, who will take up and carry forward the great discoveries of science. That cannot be done without a great enlarging of the university education of this country.
In that also the University of St. Andrews has played a most honourable part. The work of its chemistry school, 1811 for instance, is famous all over the world. I do not say that that is enough in itself; it has still to go further. Among the modern universities the universities of Scotland stand very high indeed. They ought to stand still higher. Certainly the blend of the classical studies and schools of St. Andrews, with the practical industrial knowledge of Dundee, will give its students the very best possible chance. This is more than the future of a university that we are discussing, more than the future of Scotland—it is the future of the whole Commonwealth because, unless we can extend and intensify higher education, then our Commonwealth will wither away. It will not even keep its place. It will recede from the high position in which it stands. These things, we hope, will be helped by the Bill now under discussion.
I think that a good Bill has been framed, and good things are to be done under it. We are launching today a great enterprise. I am sure that all of us would wish to give it our heartiest support and to see that it slides down into deep water when it comes off the launching slips; and goes forward, a great ship, to carry the name not merely of Tayside, but of the whole of Scotland, through the oceans of the world.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)
I hoped that when we came to the Third Reading of this Bill we would have a Measure which would provide every possibilty of success for those desires that I think both sides of the House hold—the desire to ensure that this new set-up in university life in St. Andrews and Dundee should flourish in future and the desire that the old sores of more than 50 years' duration would disappear. I thought there was a possibility of that. I hope that the possibility has not quite disappeared, but I feel that the Secretary of State for Scotland had a very great opportunity which he has let slip.
I was astonished at some of the points made by the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot). The University is to be known as the University of St. Andrews. I relate my remarks to the present and to the future name of this University. There have been suggestions that it might be changed. The right hon. and gallant 1812 Member gave reasons why he agreed with the name as it is in the Bill. He seemed to push completely aside all representations that have come from any body, whether it was an important body like the City Council of Dundee or the university colleges. The only representation to which he attached any importance was the representation of the student body.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
The hon. Lady is not entitled to say that. If she will look at the report of my speech she will see that I mentioned the views of the colleges—which, by the way, were in favour of the view I was expressing—and also the view of Dundee, which was against the view I was expressing.
§ Miss Herbison
It seems to me that if an hon. Member uses the word "paramount" he is, in effect, pushing aside the other points of view that have been expressed. As far as I know "paramount" means overriding. Even if we had accepted that, this new set-up in university education on both sides of the Tay is of the greatest importance to the future of students in Scotland and the future of students who come from the Commonwealth or any part of the world.
If that education is to be of the best and of the highest it can only be so if we have the greatest harmony of working on both sides of the University, the part in Dundee and the part in St. Andrews. Even if we accept the point made by the right hon. and gallant Member that the interests of the students are paramount I feel, if we are to look to the future of students of this great University and if we are putting their interests in a paramount position, that we should not be satisfied with the present title of this Bill.
The Secretary of State himself, in his short Third Reading speech, said that the object of the Bill was to remove constitutional defects. I had hoped that the object of the Bill was not only to remove constitutional defects but to bring about harmony in the university colleges on both sides of the Tay. The right hon. Gentleman also added that we should not achieve the object of the Bill without harmonious relations.
I agree that the Lord Provost and the Council of Dundee might be accused of appeasement. What they will be accused of now I do not know. But these men certainly pocketed a great deal of their 1813 pride in trying to find a solution which would bring about the harmonious working we all have a right to expect. They pocketed their pride, which is a very difficult thing for Scotsmen to do; but they did it, and it has been of no avail. I wish that the Secretary of State had grasped and made good use of this wonderful opportunity to bring about what we all desire.
I was also astonished at another statement made by the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove. He spoke of the medieval traditions of this University, one of the oldest in Western Europe; of the need to get away from the purely academic and the chances of doing that on the Dundee side of the Tay. Would it not have been another example of the desire to do the very thing for which he is asking if this virile industrial part had been incorporated into the name of this Bill? I was surprised when the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said—I am paraphrasing him and he will correct me if I am wrong—that if the objects of the Bill were not realised there was a chance of the Commonwealth withering away. Frankly. I think that is a lot of nonsense.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
Well, really! If I may say so, this is more a psalm than a paraphrase. In so far as the ideals of this Bill and the other university education improvements of this country are not recognised, then the Commonwealth will wither away. I do not resile from that for one moment. Unless we develop to the fullest the intelligence of this country and the rest of the Empire then certainly our Commonwealth will wither away.
§ Miss Herbison
The right hon. and gallant Member may change it from paraphrasing to a psalm, but in the words he has added he has made it perfectly clear that my paraphrasing was very near what he thought.
I think of other people in this country who have helped to make our Commonwealth and a very great part of what we believe in. There are the engineers, who go from the Clyde and from other parts of Great Britain. There are other people, the ordinary manual workers, who go out and they all play a big part in the welding together of the people of our Commonwealth. I would be the last to suggest that we do not need the most highly educated engineers possible, and if we do 1814 then we need harmony in our universities. We may have a greater chance of achieving that harmony if we accede to the requests which have been made. No matter how the right hon. and gallant Gentleman argues he cannot prove in any way that the decision of himself and his hon. Friends is a correct one.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman also said, to my astonishment, that it was not the Secretary of State who had rebuffed the people who had made representations. That, again, is nonsense. This Bill concerns a matter which has to be decided by hon. Members of this House, with all the evidence before us. The Secretary of State had that evidence and he was the one who rebuffed these people. We cannot by any stretch of imagination say that the rebuffing was done either by the students of St. Andrews or any other body of professors or students.
Despite all I have said I hope that this great University, irrespective of its name, will have a good future. I hope that on both sides of the Tay university education will flourish, and that, particularly on the Dundee side, there will be a great expansion of what I might term the highest technical education possible. More than at any time before, this nation of our needs the very best education it is possible to get. All hon. Members on this side hope that, in spite of the rebuffs, everything possible will be done by all the public-spirited people in Dundee and St. Andrews to make the provisions in this Bill work and to bring about the best and finest in university education in this part of Scotland.
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
I wish to add only a few words of general welcome to the Bill. I have never agreed with the many citizens of Dundee who wish for a separate university. I can understand that wish, which is a natural and, in a sense, a very proper wish for a great city such as Dundee, but as soon as I attempted to look into the problem it always seemed to me, on balance, that the case for one university rather than two in this part of North-East Scotland was an overwhelmingly strong one—though I must not forget Aberdeen University.
One first-rate university is far better than two second-rate universities, and, as is indicated in the Tedder Report, that 1815 would be a real danger if we attempted to create two universities. We should have two universities inferior to the one we are hoping to make now. In the sense in which the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) has put it, we are doing nothing less in this Bill than attempting to make a new university. We are attempting to reconstitute one of the most ancient universities in Europe on a new basis; and that is not only a very important but a very difficult and delicate thing to do.
We are trying to marry more fully than has been married before the Dundee side of university education to the St. Andrews side. It is fully acknowledged in all parts of the House that that marriage has been sadly imperfect up till now. That there is a need for it is fully admitted. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove admitted that wonderful, rich and mellow as are the traditions of St. Andrews, something has been lacking there. It has not been a perfect institution of higher learning of recent years. There has been a need for a fuller participation in the life of the university of the thought and activity such as can be provided alone by a thriving industrial city such as Dundee. That, again, is common ground.
We are trying to do something very necessary, very important, but also very difficult—to marry those very different traditions—the medieval tradition, in the best sense of that word, of St. Andrews and the highly industrial, highly modern, pushing tradition of what is certainly today the thriving industrial City of Dundee with its old industries and its new industries of many sorts which bring a highly technical flavour to its interest in higher learning. If that marriage is to be brought off—and it has been tried before, and it has not altogether succeeded—surely we ought to neglect no step, even though it may seem a small step, which can help really to make it succeed.
There can be no doubt of the need for the co-operation of Dundee and its leading citizens, not only in their private capacities but as members of the local authority. After all, a modern university is intimately connected with the local authority of the centre of population to which it is adjacent. Therefore, the views and the feeling of members of both 1816 political parties on that local authority are not something which ought merely to be taken into consideration: they should be one of the major considerations in the whole matter. That is ten times more so when we have this long and rather sad story of the past relationship of the City of Dundee and its local authority with the University of St. Andrews.
Yet we are faced at this stage in the progress of the Bill with the fact that, as we on this side of the House see it, there can be little doubt that, judging by the representations which we have all received, the possibility of the full or early success of this attempt to reconstitute one of the great seats of learning in Scotland is being jeopardised by the retention of what one of my hon. Friends called the inadequate title of the University. I put it to the House that it is not only an inadequate title; it is a downright inappropriate title for the University as it will be. I justify the word, "inappropriate," from the first lines of the Preamble. We are considering:An Act to make provision for the reorganisation of University education in St. Andrews and Dundee. …It seems to me that then to go on throughout the Bill to call what is in a sense the new university simply the University of St. Andrews is manifestly not only inadequate but inappropriate and inaccurate.
The representations of the citizens of Dundee which have been very strong on that point are only what could be expected. Why is it that the efforts made from this side of the House by my colleague the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) have been met with a flat refusal by the Government? Frankly, I do not know. I do not believe that the House or the Scottish Standing Committee were ever told the reason for the blank refusal. We were certainly not told in what I can only call the somewhat perfunctory speech with which the Secretary of State moved the Third Reading.
It is true that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling) told us just now that in Committee his vote was changed by the torrent of eloquence of the Secretary of State at the last moment. That is most interesting, but I do not know how it happened. I have never heard any real argument except 1817 the one put forward by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove, that the students would not like it if the name was changed. I agree with him that that is a point which ought to be considered, along with other recommendations, but are we seriously to be told, as he told us, that the wishes of the generation of students passing through the University at this moment ought to be the decisive consideration on the title against which no other consideration is allowed to have any weight at all?
That is a very strange doctrine, yet it seems to me that it is the only substantial reason which we have been given for this refusal. Otherwise, it seems to rest on an idea that, after all, it is a very old and honoured name as it is—the University of St. Andrews—and that it certainly ought not to be changed. I cannot feel, in view of the important considerations on the other side, that that can adequately weigh with the House.
The matter has, in fact, been decided on strict party lines. The right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove said that in the decisions of the Committee we could find no evidence that they went on party lines. The only trace we can find is that all the Conservative Members voted one way and all the Labour Members but one voted the other way. If that is not a vote on party lines I do not know what is. There is no doubt that this has been decided by the wish of the Government without due explanation that we can understand. I cannot help thinking that they are marring what we frankly admit to be a most valuable Measure. It is one which will do good, and is on the right lines. They are marring it, not in a major particular, but in a small matter, but which is still one of very great psychological importance.
The other alternative suggestion would not greatly change matters, but it would have given that measure of concession and of recognition to the Dundee interest which would have made all the difference in encouraging them to drop their own prejudices and give the scheme a good start. Therefore, we regret very much indeed that we are being met by this blank refusal.
Having said all that, it only remains for me to say—and, of course, I know that I speak for my, hon. Friend—that, in so far as we can influence our friends in 1818 Dundee, very disappointed though they are in this matter, we shall influence them to our maximum extent to give their fullest co-operation in the working of the reconstituted University. I am sure that, however much they may regret the decision of the Government, it will be possible to sink old bitternesses and make this new University the ornament of Scottish higher education which it is intended to be.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
As the person who started the long chain of circumstances which has finished with the Bill now about to pass to the Statute Book, I should like to wish it God-speed and to hope that it succeeds in its aim. I am rather sorry, however, that the last debate on the subject has been marred a little by what seems to have been a failure of courtesy, unusual in the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland, in not explaining to the House his reasons for deciding to maintain the title as it was originally drafted in the Bill.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
That Amendment was ruled out of order, and so I took it that the subject was not discussable.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I am surprised that, with his experience of this House, the right hon. Gentleman could not have exercised some ingenuity and have been able to give the reasons for the title as it is.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I think there has been a good deal of ingenuity. Of course, it is in order to discuss the title of the Bill, because it is in the Bill, but what would not be in order would be to discuss the Amendment which would substitute another title.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I recognise that perfectly, and all I would say is that a good deal of the disappointment which has been expressed by many hon. Members could have been avoided had the right hon. Gentleman given his reasons for deciding, after hearing all the representations, to put the Bill forward in its present form, and not to add his name to the Amendment which, as Mr. Deputy-Speaker has said, would have put it in order immediately.
There were very important bodies, such as the town council of Dundee and other 1819 bodies, interested in the matter, and it does seem a pity that it was left to the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) to try to invent reasons, because, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman himself said, the Secretary of State did not give him any reasons. Therefore, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman imagines reasons in order to justify what the Secretary of State has done, and puts them forward as if he had made the decision, which, in fact, he did not make.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I put forward evidence, and I was speaking only for myself, but that there was evidence and that it was clear nobody can deny.
§ Mr. Woodburn
In any case, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman succeeded in putting forward some kind of case, however deficient it might have been as compared with the other one.
We hope that the Bill will succeed. One of the great failures, and it has been the case from the beginning, is that St. Andrews never seemed to make any gesture of friendship to Dundee. They never held out the hand of friendship, but have always looked down their noses at Dundee. There was an opportunity to get rid of that attitude, and I regret very much that it has not been taken.
Enough has been said about this Bill, and we all wish it to go forward to the Statute Book in the hope that, in spite of that, all these sores will be healed, and that a new principal will be appointed who will be able to bring these two bodies together, and who will also be the principal of a joint University and not be the lop-sided principal of one-half. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the principal was to be appointed soon, and I gathered from that that it would be before the autumn. I hope that the principal will be appointed long before the autumn, so that he will have the chance of gathering the threads together in order to see that the University starts with its proper pattern when beginning its new life.
I am sorry that there has been so much dwelling on the past; I should have liked to have heard something about the future as well as the past. The University starts 1820 its new life with the great advantage of having, as its basic subjects, chemistry and science, subjects in which it has an honoured reputation throughout the world. It has that tradition, and if it carries on that good work it can yet build itself into one of our finest universities and be second to none in Scotland.
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)
I have noticed that without exception every hon. Member who has spoken in this debate has ended by saying that he thinks this is a good and proper Measure, that he wishes it God speed and hopes that the two sides of the University will, in future, work together in the utmost harmony. I am sure that that represents the considered view of all parts of the House, and it is in that spirit of harmony that I venture to take up one or two of the main points which have arisen in the discussion.
I will take, first, the title of the University as it now is. I hope that I shall not be regarded as wishing to raise the temper of the debate, but I think that my right hon. Friend has been treated a little unkindly about the matter of the title. The reason why the title has been maintained is because my right hon. Friend found that the evidence and the weight of opinion in favour of its retention was overwhelming. I venture to say that I do not think that anybody else who was in the position of my right hon. Friend could have come to any other decision.
It is quite true that the Dundee Corporation and the recently reconstituted Council of the University College of Dundee made representations proposing a change in the name. But, since then, my right hon. Friend has received the strongest representations, not only from the students, as the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) seemed to think, but from the students through their Representative Council, from the teachers of the University through the United College and St. Mary's College, and, in addition, from the President of the Senatus who has said that the official Senate view must be taken as being that there should be no change, and from the graduates through the General Council and the Old Red Gown Club.
1821 As the House knows very well, the decision of the University Court has never altered on this matter. The Court decided a good time ago that it accepted the Commission's Report, and the recent meeting of the Court to which the hon. Member referred passed a minute which I see was reported in the "Dundee Courier" on 7th July. The opening words of that minute were:While divided as to the merits of the proposed change …Therefore, I think it would be wrong to suppose that the University Court is doing other than standing by its first decision.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson
Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether it is or is not a fact that the University Court, in the minute from which he quotes, said that if asked for representations they would state that they had no representations to make?
§ Mr. Stewart
That is perfectly true, but it does not alter the facts which I am describing. Therefore, my right hon. Friend had all these bodies of the utmost importance within the University calling upon him to stand by the title. In addition to that, he had the Tedder Commission's Report and the Cooper Committee's Report both unanimously recommending the retention of the present title. What could my right hon. Friend do in the face of that overwhelming evidence but stand by the title?
§ Miss Herbison
It seems to me that all the representations made to keep the name as it is came from the St. Andrews side. That was to be expected. Can the hon. Gentleman give us the name of any body at all from Dundee?
§ Mr. Stewart
I am sure that the hon. Lady is not correct, because the students represent Dundee as well as St. Andrews. The Senatus represents the Dundee as well as the St. Andrews staff. I said earlier on that the recently reconstituted Council of the University College of Dundee represented that the name should be changed, but that nearly every other body—students, teachers, colleges—in the University have urged my right hon. Friend to stand by the Recommendations of the two bodies which examined this matter before. I therefore ask hon. Members, with the greatest earnestness, 1822 to believe that in those circumstances no Secretary of State could have done other than my right hon. Friend has done in order to maintain the harmony which was gained—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] May I repeat—the harmony which was gained when the Report of the Tedder Commission was accepted all round at the beginning. I think that hon. Gentlemen opposite—
§ Mr. Wheatley
Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that it would have been more courteous to hon. Members if they had had this explanation in the opening speech of the Secretary of State, and before hon. Members had made their contributions, because they are now precluded from commenting upon the remarks of the hon. Gentleman?
§ Mr. Stewart
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is entitled to what view he likes in the matter. My right hon. Friend has explained perfectly clearly to the House that, at the beginning, and before the Third Reading took place, this matter was not in order. My right hon. Friend thought that a discussion of the title, as to whether it should be another title, was equally out of order. It was plain to the House, surely, that he was here and I was here as his Under-Secretary ready to answer the needs of the House and to provide any material that the House desired. That is the simple position.
It is in order to maintain harmony. Hon. Members who know this University will realise that the Report of the Tedder Commission was not a thing easily to be accepted by the University Court, which represented of course Dundee as well as St. Andrews. They accepted it, although many of them felt a little uneasy about this or that point; but they took the view that, by and large, the Tedder scheme produced a balance. I think that everyone, as I believe the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) said in the earlier debate, agreed that it produced a balance. I feel, and I hope that the House will in its wisdom feel, that the balance is worth maintaining. It is in order not to upset that balance that my right hon. Friend came to this decision.
The other point which was raised by the hon. Member for Dundee, East was one with which one ought to deal. He 1823 put it perfectly plainly, and I am sure with great sincerity and fairness. He suggested that Dundee was getting rather a raw deal out of all this. We recognise that certain charges are to be imposed upon Dundee, and that certain institutions—honourable institutions to which, as he said, splendid men have devoted their lives—are to end; but so it is with St. Andrews. Some institutions there are losing their status.
Let me remind hon. Gentlemen—I do not want to over-emphasise anything, but I will recite them—one or two of the alterations effected. The principalship of the University is now to be separated from the United College. I am sure that Dundee will think that that is a good thing. The reconstituted Court is given a stronger numerical representation from Dundee. A new Dundee college is established, including not only the University College and the School of Economics but also the Adyanced Medical and Dental Schools. A new Dundee College Council is set up, with only one member drawn from outside Dundeee, charged with all those powers of the Court and Senatus which properly admit of local exercise.
I think, that Dundee will agree that these are not insubstantial benefits, and I hope that Dundee will take the fullest advantage of these beneficial changes and will play a full and unfettered part in the University.
§ Mr. Thomson
I appreciate the point which the hon. Gentleman is making, but will he appreciate that the Dundee representation on these new bodies tends very often to be an academic representation and therefore to be under the influence of the Senatus? Will he, therefore, do all he can to make the lay representation from Dundee the strongest that he possibly can?
§ Mr. Stewart
Yes, I understand that. As I pointed out in Committee, the Council of the College in Dundee will havesix other persons, not being teachers in the University, appointed in such manner as may be prescribed by ordinances made by the Commissioners appointed under this Act.This will afford to Dundee and to the outside non-academic organisations of 1824 Dundee the opportunity of electing six really competent, strong, eager men.
The hon. Member pleaded, as he did eloquently on an earlier stage, that in this newly constituted University, Dundee should really be given the opportunity to play its part and that whatever ceremonials could take place in Dundee should take place there. He said that he hoped that the services of the men and women in Dundee who have given devoted service in the past would be employed now, and that in every way Dundee would be encouraged and indeed urged to play a greater and nobler part. That is precisely the sentiment of my right hon. Friend.
I have lived with St. Andrews University on both sides of the Tay longer and more closely, if I may say so, than any other hon. Member of this House. The University of St. Andrews is in my constituency, and Dundee is not far from my old home. This is, therefore, a moving moment for me—to see the Third Reading of this Bill. In my capacity as the local Member of Parliament and in my capacity as the assistant of my right hon. Friend, I hope and pray that what we do tonight may end in the creation of a greater, a better and more harmonious University from which both sides of the Tay may benefit.
§ Mr. Wheatley
Will the hon. Gentleman say something about the appointment of the principal and when that will take place?
§ Mr. J. Stuart
If I may reply, we must wait until the Bill receives the Royal Assent before we can act.
§ Mr. Wheatley
The hon. Gentleman said in his speech that it would take place soon and he referred to other appointments that would be made near October. Can we hear from him whether the appointment of principal will be made before October or when he proposes to make the appointments once the Bill has received the Royal Assent?
§ Mr. Stuart
As soon as possible, but, of course, I cannot make the necessary approaches until the Bill has received the Royal Assent.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.