§ 3.31 p.m.
§ Mr. C. R. Hobson (Keighley)
I beg to move, in page 19, line 18, at the end, to insert:and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the proportion of time so given shall not exceed five per cent. of the time taken by any one programme (including any advertisements at the beginning and end of that programme) or five per cent. of the time taken by any number of programmes reckoned together.The Schedule deals chiefly with the rules of conduct for advertisers. We are particularly concerned about paragraph 2, which states:The amount of time given to advertising in the programmes shall not be so great as to detract from the value of the programmes as a medium of entertainment, instruction and information.I think it is generally agreed that those words are vague. It would be practically impossible to define what amount of time given to advertising would detract from the value of a programme as a medium of instruction, entertainment or information.
We feel that it would be of mutual advantage if the amount of time could be defined. The Amendment seeks to define it as 5 per cent. of the time taken by any number of programmes reckoned together. We think that is reasonable. It means that where a programme lasted an hour the time for advertisements would be three minutes. That seems to be adequate for the purposes of an advertiser, although perhaps a little too long for people who have the advertisements inflicted upon them.
The Amendment is sufficiently wide, because it proposes 5 per cent. of the aggregate time of all the programmes. That would make it possible for those seeking to advertise goods to put the advertisement either at the beginning or at the end of a series of programmes. In other words, it would be possible through this Amendment to have programmes without advertisements at all. If leeway 239 in advertising had to be made up, it could be done by giving 5 per cent. of the aggregate time. The Amendment is to be preferred to the words in paragraph 2 of the Schedule.
Yesterday we had an interesting debate on the word "application," and it was impossible to define it. It was not until a layman got up, after several hon. and learned Gentlemen had spoken, that we knew what the word meant. This Amendment will entirely avoid that kind of thing, because it is clear and precise. There can be no dubiety as to its meaning.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
I beg to second the Amendment.
People viewing programmes want entertainment, information and instruction. The advertiser wants a maximum time to get over to the looking public the merits of the goods he is offering for sale. The Government recognise that there is a certain amount of danger, because in paragraph 2 of the Schedule they say that the amount of time given to advertisingshall not he so great as to detract from the value of the programmes.We seek to put a specific limit on the amount of advertisement time for each programme and for the whole of the programmes on commercial television. Three minutes per hour for advertising, or 5 per cent., is just about right. I do not know what the Assistant Postmaster-General feels about it, or whether he has any ideas on the subject. He will probably tell us that we should leave the matter to the Independent Television Authority, which will leave it to the programme contractors, who will leave it to the advertising agents. In the end the amount of time will be decided, not by this House, but by the advertisers.
We should be pretty firm on this thing. Three minutes per hour is quite enough for the kind of advertising we are likely to get, if the advertising in cinemas is any guide. I hope that the Home Secretary will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The next Amendment, in page 19, line 20, in the name of the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Reeves)—leave out "or in natural breaks therein"—might with advantage be discussed with this Amendment. If the House agrees to that course, and if it is 240 desired later to divide the House upon the second Amendment, it can be formally moved and seconded.
§ Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)
I hope that the Government will not accept the Amendment. We are already tying up the Authority very considerably in many ways. I do not take the view that ordinary British industry will be responsible for bad advertisements, and if we cut down the advertisement time to a very small limit we shall make it almost impossible for good advertisers to act proper time. Three minutes to the hour is a very short time.
Suppose we wanted to advertise the Co-operative movement, which covers a very wide field of production. The advertisement would be fully justified in taking three minutes or longer than the time allowed by the Amendment. Many other forms of British advertising, such as for the nationalised industries, might come in. I see no reason why they should not. I hope that the Government will not tie he hands of the Authority.
I am not personally interested in advertising in any way whatever, but we should not impose too strict a limit on the advertisement time. We should give the Authority freedom of advertising. It should use its power in whatever way it wishes. If it uses it badly and offends the public, it will be responsible. It is absolutely essential that the Co-operative movement, any other movement, and any firm should have the fullest power of advertising, within reason. If in fact there is too much advertisement, then that will kill, or tend to kill, television. If, on the other hand, we can get a proper balance, I see no reason why we should not use this medium for advertising British goods and trades of all sorts to the very great advantage of the country as a whole.
I hope that the Government will not be influenced by this rather pedantic idea that anyone who advertises is wrong and wicked, because, after all, it is done by a very large number of people, especially when we take a much wider view of things and include the possibility that the Co-operative movement, as well as groups of other industries, might wish to take advantage of this form of advertising. I trust that the Government will stand firm on this matter, especially as the attempt to cut down the advertising time 241 to the absurd figure proposed is apparently done with the idea of hamstringing the whole thing.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards (Caerphilly)
The new voice of the right hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) has not, I am afraid, added much to our knowledge of the Amendments or of the Clause to which they refer. I was very pleased, Mr. Speaker, that you suggested that we should take both the Amendments together, because in a sense they relate to the same point.
I think it will be seen that these Amendments have a direct relation to what the I.T.A. is going to charge the programme companies, but about that we have so far had no indication at all. We would also like to know what the programme companies are going to charge the advertising agents. It would be much more interesting if we knew what the advertising agents were going to charge the advertiser, because that is the background against which we have to consider the amount of advertisement that will be permitted under these rules. These are basic considerations.
On top of these basic considerations, there is, of course, the question of the best time during which to advertise, and in this matter we can be guided by the experience of the B.B.C. I am told that, roughly, 11 million to 12 million people in this country look at the television programme at some time during the evening hours. It is a very frightening thought that nearly a quarter of the population are looking at television every day.
As the right hon. Member for Torquay said, this is going to be a big industry, and I should imagine that it would be extremely attractive to the advertisers, and particularly to the advertising agents. I am told that roughly 6 million people look at television programmes at any given time, and that when a high spot, such as "What's my Line?", is being televised the viewing audience increases to 9 million. Here is an advertising market that offers a fat picking to some people.
Generally speaking, all other things being equal, the best viewing time is between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Up to 8 p.m. and from 10 p.m. the graph declines. I presume that the programme contractors will seek to cram in as many 242 advertisements as they can at the peak viewing time. The one thing from which we want to save ourselves is a rash of advertisements between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., thus leaving the smaller audience with a rather thin volume of advertisements.
One would have thought that there would have been a desire on both sides of the House to see that at the maximum viewing time we should not be completely outweighted with advertisements, and the purpose of the first of these two Amendments is to see that a limit is put to the number of advertisements that are crushed into the programme at any particular time.
Then there is the point with regard to the big occasion. That is the subject of a further Amendment, and it would be wrong for me to discuss it now. Into this picture we have also to bring the "natural breaks" Amendment, because it seems to me that this part of the rule makes complete nonsense of the second rule. If the programme company is entitled to insert advertisements in natural breaks, it makes nonsense of the limitation that advertisements can appear only at the end or at the beginning of a programme.
What the programme contractor will do, of course, is to try to contrive as many natural breaks as possible in his programme between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. As a consequence, we shall get a new type of playwright and a new type of programme producer who will, respectively, so organise the writing of plays and the producing of plays as to create as many breaks as possible in which to insert advertisements.
We would also like to know what really is the Government's view with regard to natural breaks. Do they consist of the intervals between the rounds in a boxing match? Are we to have advertisements between each round? Are we to have advertisements between each horse-racing film? Are we to have advertisements when players are changing ends at tennis—for instance at Wimbledon—or between the games? Will the time which elapses between the overs in cricket, during halftime at football or when the centre-forward receives an injury be regarded as a natural break? What are natural breaks in the terms of this provision?
243 I think it is fairly clear that the Government must express themselves with much' greater clarity on the matter than they have done hitherto, because otherwise we shall be getting programmes which are a disgrace to the country. I am not certain that they are going to be a very great credit to us anyhow, but if we are to have an unlimited amount of advertisement, as is permitted by these rules, and are going to encourage the programme contractors to put on more expensive programmes in competition with one another and with the B.B.C., then obviously they will have to get more and more revenue. The only way to do that is by creating more and more advertisements, and, consequently, more and more natural breaks These are problems about which we should have some assurance.
As regards the "natural breaks" Amendment, our position is quite clear. We think the words make nonsense of the other rule. Therefore, whilst we put down the first Amendment in order to get the Government's mind about this business, we shall, on the other Amendment, have to divide the House, because it seems to us that this provision regarding "natural breaks" will make complete nonsense of the rule, and will deliver the whole programme into the hands of the programme contractors in conjunction with the advertising agents. That is our view, and I share the views expressed in very good speeches made by my two hon. Friends.
§ Sir Leslie Plummer (Deptford)
I ask the Assistant Postmaster-General to give consideration to a further point which is of importance, perhaps, not so much to, the advertiser as to the listener. I think that it is fair to assume that the length of the programme will be about half an hour. I think it unlikely that we shall get programmes of an hour and a half to two hours on commercial television. All programmes now being offered for sale—and the overwhelming majority of the films made—for television run, allowing for the "plug" for just over half an hour. They will certainly be less than an hour.
Yesterday an American newspaper held a demonstration in this country of commercial television programmes from the United States. Critics who went to 244 that demonstration said that "plugs" of three minutes at a time were wearing and became really quite painful co listen to. There is no doubt that when advertisers here use this medium they will do a lot of experimenting, and it is really too bad if they are to experiment at the expense of the British public.
It is therefore quite reasonable to suggest that of the three minutes per half hour to be devoted to the "plug" there should be one and a half minutes at the beginning and at the end. We know in this House that a great many words can be spoken in one and a half minutes, and any good advertiser should be able to put over his message in that time. We shall have the jingle—the rhymed song—which so marks commercial programmes in America.
I beg the Assistant Postmaster-General to consider his responsibility. If the public has to sit listening to these ridiculous jingles for three or four minutes at a time we shall be turning the people of this country into a race of lunatics. Confining the "plug" to periods of one and a half minutes will be the best defence we can give to the public and the best notice we can give to the advertiser that he must use his wits to get his message over quickly.
I want to bring to the attention of the Assistant Postmaster-General, the attitude adopted by the United States. It is contained in a document called, I think, "The Public Services Responsibility of Broadcasting Licensees "—a most edifying document produced in the United States. I must make it clear that the language used is not mine. The authorities have this to say:A sponsor's advertising messages should be confined within the framework of the sponsor's program structure. A television broadcaster should seek to avoid the use of commercial announcements which are divorced from the program either by preceding the introduction of the program (as in the case of the so-called 'cowcatcher' announcements) or by following the apparent sign-off of the programme (as in the case of so-called trailer' announcements). To this end the program itself should be announced and clearly identified before the sponsor's advertising material is first used, and should be signed off after the sponsor's advertising material is last used.I quote those words because I want to make clear that in the United States certain restrictions are imposed upon the advertiser both in his own interests and 245 in the interests of the viewer. It seems to me to be perfectly reasonable that we should do the same. It is not enough to say, as the Second Schedule says, that:Advertisements shall not be inserted otherwise than at the beginning or the end of the programme or in natural breaks…without at the same time making it quite clear that there must be a limitation of the amount of time to be devoted to the "plug." That is necessary in the interests of the viewing public, and certainly necessary as a guide to the copywriter, the advertiser and the advertising agent.
§ The Assistant Postmaster-General (Mr. David Gammans)
Perhaps it would be convenient if I were to indicate the Government's view on both these Amendments at this stage. When the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) remarked on how much we could say in three minutes, I had hoped that he would give us a demonstration. However, I congratulate him on the fact that he did not take much more than that amount of time.
I do not know what relevance there is in the analogy between the United States television programmes and the sort of thing we are expecting here. As I have made quite clear from the beginning, the whole system which we envisage is to be based on entirely different principles.
I confess that the first Amendment appears to be somewhat drastic in the limits it would put on the time allowed for advertising. The hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson), who moved this Amendment, appeared to have had second thoughts. The original Amendment which he put down in Committee allowed for six minutes. I suppose he has since thought that that would be too much. I have always envisaged that, so far as the spot advertisement is concerned, 10 per cent.—that is, six minutes an hour—would probably, or possibly, represent about what the Authority would regard as reasonable. In addition to the spot advertisement, however, we have to think of entirely different types of programme, the documentaries, or the shoppers' guides which might last for half an hour or so.
§ Mr. Gammans
Of course, it cannot be all advertising. If it were all pure advertising it would fall by reason of the 246 fact that the programme itself has to be interesting. If the right hon. Gentleman would look at the Amendment which I moved in Committee, he would see that the prior condition of a documentary film is that the film itself must be intrinsically interesting.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
The hon. Gentleman is now saying that advertising cannot be interesting. That is a very interesting admission.
§ Mr. Gammans
The film itself must be of intrinsic interest, and therefore the point just raised does not come into it.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Who is to decide whether the film has an intrinsic interest, even if it is a running advertisement?
§ Mr. Gammans
There are two parties to decide that. The first is the Authority and the second is the public. If the public does not like it, it will not look at it. This is one of the things which I think is completely self-regulating. If a programme is put on that is not interesting, it will not be looked at.
§ Mr. Gammans
The Government feel that these programmes will be popular and that there will be a wide demand for these documentaries. There is a wide demand for them from the B.B.C. and one cannot see why they should not be equally popular with the I.T.A. Even if shoppers' guides and documentaries were excluded, the Government would still be opposed to fixing in advance, without the scheme having been put into operation, an arbitrary amount of time for advertising. The right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) should not look so indignant.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans
Then he must curb his impatience.
The amount of time devoted to advertising must not be such as would detract from the value of the programme as a medium of entertainment. Paragraph 2 of the Second Schedule gives a general direction to this effect, but the real 247 criterion—quite apart from the rules laid down in the Bill—is the reaction of the public. The truth is that the public will not put up with more than a given amount of advertising, and any attempt to go beyond that limit will mean that people will switch off. This is a matter which is absolutely self-regulating. The Government do not think that it is possible to lay down in advance an arbitrary maximum amount of time for advertising. Some flexibility must be allowed in this field. We cannot accept any Amendments which would have the effect of tying down advertisers to a certain time limit. The hon. Member for Keighley ought to agree with my vim, because he has halved his figure since he first thought about the matter a few weeks ago.
The second Amendment deals with advertising in natural breaks. The right hon. Member for Caerphilly asked me—I suspect with his tongue in his cheek—what a natural break was, and whether an interruption in a football match because someone had broken his leg would come within that definition. I should have thought that that would be an unnatural break, and I cannot think that any sensible person would regard it as a natural one.
I do not think that the implications of entirely excluding advertisements from natural breaks have been thoroughly thought out, but they appear to me to be very serious. If we say that there shall be no advertisements in natural breaks we shall be putting a premium upon the producers of short programmes. That would prevent the broadcasting of many programmes which the public would like to see. If we wished to put on a play lasting for two hours, the actors could not possibly go on for that time without a break. The idea of a natural break is quite well understood in the theatre and in many other forms of entertainment. If we said, "You have either to go on for the two hours without a break or you cannot broadcast the programme at all," we should either be putting an unnatural strain upon the actors, or that type of programme simply would not be produced.
I can give a further example. "Hamlet" lasts for four hours—
§ Mr. Gammans
I am glad to hear that the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) is such a close follower of what happens on Radio Luxembourg. The effect of the Amendment would be that an unnatural break would have to be introduced, by deliberately interrupting the play to put in an advertisement, and that is something to which the Authority could not possibly agree under the terms of the Bill.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Does not the Assistant Postmaster-General realise that the whole aim of a script writer for commercial television is so to write a play that the natural breaks occur when the advertisers want them? I had a play produced on commercial television in America, and breaks were created not to allow the actors to take a breath, but in order to sell cigarettes.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am shocked to hear that the hon. Member, who has taken such a strong line in this matter, allowed his play to be broadcast on commercial television.
§ Mr. Mayhew
If the hon. Member wishes to know the truth, it is that when I heard that this kind of broadcast was contemplated I withheld permission for the play to be broadcast. It was subsequently broadcast by these tycoons without my permission and contrary to my wish.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am sorry; but I must confess that I was a little shocked to hear what the hon. Member said. I cannot see any difficulty or danger in allowing advertisements to be broadcast in natural breaks. Paragraph 3 of the Second Schedule clearly states that:Advertisements shall not be inserted otherwise than at the beginning or the end…or in natural breaks…and there is the further safeguard that, in the finality, the Postmaster-General has to determine the intervals between the advertisements. If there is any tendency on the part of the programme contractors, or even on the part of the Authority, to manufacture breaks, the redress lies in the fact that the question of the intervals between advertisements has to be agreed by the Authority, and in default of such agreement, by the Postmaster-General.
249 It is impossible for us to accept the exclusion of natural breaks. It would have the effect of putting a premium upon the very type of programme which none of us wants to be excluded from commercial television. We want to see the better type of play broadcast, and that type does contain natural breaks. The Bill contains every conceivable safeguard, including the authority of the Postmaster-General, who is answerable to this House, to see that those safeguards are operated. I regret that I cannot accept the Amendments.
§ Mr. Joseph Reeves (Greenwich)
I am sorry that the Assistant Postmaster-General is not prepared to accept the Amendments. In the interests not only of the viewer and the programme contractor but of everybody the length of time devoted to advertisements should be severely restricted. When the advertiser considers the production of his advertisements, he must obviously think in terms of public acceptability. His advertisements will have to be so designed that they occupy as short a time as possible and tell the story in as illuminating and interesting a manner as possible. In my view, it is entirely appropriate that the time allotted to advertisements should be restricted to one and a half minutes at the beginning and one and a half minutes at the end of a programme.
The term "natural break" is almost impossible to interpret. We have heard today already that everything done on television, a play or a concert, for instance, is specially planned, specially written, and when plays not especially written for television are produced for television they are arranged to meet the requirements of television.
Some of my hon. Friends have referred to American programmes. We cannot help but refer to what is being done on the other side of the Atlantic, because that gives us an object lesson. Plays there are mutilated for the sake of compressing them into 40 minutes. In the United States the normal length of time of television plays is 40 minutes, and instead of having natural breaks they have a series of unnatural breaks. Plays not originally written for television are rewritten. The acts are put in a different order, so that the whole atmosphere of a play is lost. As for Shakespeare's plays, 250 they are entirely divorced from their original texts.
The Assistant Postmaster-General says that he imagines that there will be six minutes of advertising each hour. That would be an appalling amount of time given to advertising. If anything is to kill the scheme, that six minutes of advertising will do it. During the war I worked in the Films Division of the Ministry of Information. We started producing films to influence the public in certain directions, to support their morale, and so on. We produced films for distribution to cinemas—documentaries that ran about 20 minutes each. We soon found that the public did not want that kind of documentation. It was too much for them. So gradually we reduced the length of the film and the time they ran.
We reduced the time from 20 minutes to 10 minutes, but eventually, as we progressed, the films occupied less and less time, until they ran for only two minutes. Everything that bad to be said in one of those films had to be said in two minutes. It was a challenge to the technicians. I can assure the House that those two-minute films were much more effective than the tedious documentaries that had preceded them, and they entirely altered the form and the significance of this country's documentary films.
It will be to the advantage, I am sure, of this television service if we confine the advertising to much shorter periods of time than those suggested by the Assistant Postmaster-General. Having seen the sort of intrusions that advertising contractors make in the television programmes in America, I warn hon. Members against their method, If nothing else frustrates the scheme, that will.
§ Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
I sometimes think that hon. Members opposite never listen to broadcast programmes at all. Those who listen to the serials on the B.B.C. now know that they are deliberately worked out so they can be cut off. The breaks are deliberately worked out. At lunch time yesterday I was listening to the "Scarlet Pimpernel." Does anybody think that the B.B.C. sets out to recite the whole of the "Scarlet Pimpernel"? Not a bit of it. The story is cut off at a point 251 by which it is hoped the listener will be induced to switch on again at another time when the story is resumed
. 4.15 p.m.
The new medium will produce a great number of alterations in the presentation of both fiction and fact. The hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Reeves) interested us with his story about the documentary films; and how the tedious things that lasted 20 minutes were got down to two and a half minutes each. On the other hand, some documentaries succeed in holding their public for a much greater length of time. The writing of art is not necessarily done in a back-room. One of the greatest pieces of art ever produced in this country, the "Pick-wick Papers," was written as a follow-up to the cartoons of a popular artist, and it was deliberately designed to run on so as to attract and induce the reader to resume reading at a later time. The greatest genius we have ever had in this country was a purely commercial one, and that was Shakespeare. He wrote his plays for money and nothing else, and as soon as he got enough money he stopped writing. Despite the contempt of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite for the box office, the greatest art has been done with one eye on the box office.
§ Mr. Elliot
The idea that advertising and doing things for money is some kind of original sin and must be cut down to a minimum, which has been the argument of hon. Gentlemen opposite—[Interruption.] It is in the recollection of the House. That is the argument that has been specifically brought forward. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) does not listen to the speeches of his backbenchers, but carries on an entertaining conversation with his neighbour and admires his neighbour's socks. While he was doing that his hon. Friends were bringing forward that argument. He can see for himself in HANSARD. Does the right hon. Gentleman challenge it?
§ Mr. Elliot
Challenge the statement that his supporters have been arguing 252 that advertising must be kept down to an absolute minimum. That was the argument.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
What I said and what my hon. Friends said was that we want to know what are the limitations to be imposed upon the amount of advertising. That is what we have been concerned about. We have indicated to the House that we are dividing on the "natural breaks" Amendment, and we want to know what are the Government's intentions with regard to the amount of advertising.
§ Mr. Elliot
The right hon. Gentleman confirms the impression that we have that he did not hear the speeches on his side of the House. That was what he said in his own speech. We admit that he listens to his own speeches, but he did not listen to the speeches of his supporters, who said that advertising was a menial thing to be reduced to the absolute minimum. That will be found in HANSARD.
The new medium will work out its own techniques, which may be very different in our country from what they are in the United States.
§ Mr. Elliot
The hon. and learned Gentleman belongs to a profession which makes money by appealing to the public, and he cannot despise other professions that are willing to do so. Advertising technique in the United States differs very greatly from that in this country. I give one example, the interleaving of advertisements in magazines and other periodicals
§ Mr. Elliot
We are talking about techniques. It is difficult, I know, for hon. Members opposite to listen to an argument, but even if they disagree with it, they may at any rate let it be developed. I repeat that the technique in the United States is quite different in many ways from the technique in this country.
§ Mr. Elliot
That, like the flowers that bloom in the spring, has nothing to do 253 with the case. We are talking of two techniques. The technique of American periodicals is to interleave the reading matter with advertisements to an extent that is quite contrary to the ordinary technique of this country. In some cases it has its advantages. An hon. Member spoke of a programme of commercial television that was shown in this country recently. He will find that one commentator said that the advertising was a great deal better than the entertainment matter that was shown in between. I found in the United States some of the advertisements as entertaining as a great deal of the other stuff that was shown on commercial television, and in many cases much preferable.
§ Mr. F. Blackburn (Stalybridge and Hyde)
Would the right hon. Gentleman suggest putting the entertainment in the natural breaks of the advertisements?
§ Mr. Elliot
I certainly say that it would be quite as reasonable as some of the suggestions that have been made from the other side of the House. The two things will go together and form part of the whole. If the advertisement is rammed in the middle of the entertainment with the object of destroying the entertainment, which was apparently the argument of hon. Members opposite, it will destroy the completeness of the presentation. I cannot understand the right hon. Member for Caerphilly.
§ Mr. Elliot
That is a reflection upon both of us, since the purpose of presentation is to be understood. In so far as the programme destroys presentation it is no advantage to the advertiser, and the programme, the purpose of which is commercial, has a censor which is very much more effective than any censor that we have so far discussed. The knob is the final censor. When an alternative programme is provided there is no need to listen to it if one does not want to do so. [Interruption.] An alternative programme from two different sources is not the same thing as an alternative programme from the same source, any more than two men playing a game of chess against each other are the same as one man playing a game against himself.
254 The news and advertisements are parts of the presentation of an alternative programme. It is impossible, and it would be wrong, to lay down in too much detail the balance between these two. Indications have been given by the Government. I hope that they will keep their hands as free as possible within the Bill and therefore leave the hands of the I.T.A. as free as possible to deal with the problem that is set before it. The conception of hon. Members opposite that advertising is some kind of low and degraded activity of the human race, which is only to be allowed with the utmost possible limitation, does not bear examination when one considers the innumerable ways in which they, in publications for which they are responsible, use that medium.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the setting up of the I.T.A. presupposes that advertising is something which must be controlled, otherwise it would be dangerous.
§ Mr. Elliot
Surely the right hon. Gentleman knows that the purpose of the Bill is to deal with a new form with which we are experimenting, something which has to be presented as a whole. There may be dangers in it, but the dangers may just as easily come from the entertainment as from the advertisements. We are trying to experiment with a new medium and for that purpose we are setting up an Authority. I wish that that Authority should not be too meticulously interfered with, because matters will be settled finally by the only person who can settle them—the person who has his hand on the knob.
§ Mr. Shackleton
I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) made something of a mistake in taking the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) seriously. The right hon. Gentleman's real role would be with my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dodds) at mock auctions. As has been said before, the quickness of his tongue deceives the ear, and the only real dictum that we had from the right hon. Gentleman was that two men playing chess against each other were different from one man playing chess against himself.
I should like to get back to the Amendment, because the right hon. Gentleman's 255 light touches are enjoyed by all of us only as long as we do not let them go on too long. We want to know what are the Government's ideas about the length of advertisements and where in the programme they should appear. That is a responsibility which is laid upon the Government in the Bill. I want to correct the Assistant Postmaster-General on two points. First of all, he need not worry that "Hamlet" or operas will be presented on commercial television. That is not likely to happen. It is not done in America in this type of programme but in the sustained programme. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman knows what that is.
§ Mr. Gammansindicated assent.
§ Mr. Shackleton
If so, why does the hon. Gentleman say that there is nothing like these programmes in America? The kind of programme envisaged in the Bill is known in America as a "package programme."
§ Mr. Shackleton
No, and for that information I refer the hon. Member to the Federal Communications Bureau.
The Government persist in saying that the provisions of the Bill bear no relation to anything that appears in America or other countries and that they have steered clear of the dangers that exist in America, but they might have taken notice of experience in America and other countries. The advertising in the "middle commercial," as it is known in America, is something to which American people have been objecting for a very long time. There have been any number of public opinion polls and statements by leading broadcasters and advertisers against the practice. A strict regulation exists in Canada with regard to the "middle commercial."
The Assistant Postmaster-General may say that the I.T.A. will look into all this, but why has not the Government thought about it? We put forward serious Amendments to try to find out, what are the Government's ideas. The Government will have to instruct the I.T.A. and they have simply not thought about this matter. Irrespective of whether the percentage of advertising time is 5 or 10. 256 the Government should look into the problem. It is not good enough to have our programmes tailored to provide natural breaks. We do not want any advertising on television, not because we are against advertising generally but because we do not want advertising mixed up with entertainment. As the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove said, we know that it is likely to debase the quality of the entertainment.
§ Mr. Elliot
I did not say that it was likely to debase the quality of programmes. Heaven knows, I have heard just as bad programmes on the B.B.C. as on commercial television.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Will the Government please consider this problem again and let us have their views on the proposals that we are putting forward? Our first Amendment is clearly a probing Amendment. The Government should let us know their attitude in the light of this debate.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
I have been fascinated by the minds of the Assistant Postmaster-General and the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) as disclosed in the speeches to which we have listened today.
Let us begin with natural breaks. I did not know what a natural break was, and I came here to try to find out. I have learned a little bit from listening to what was said. Let us take the Assistant Postmaster-General's own instance, but let us have "Julius Caesar," shall we say, instead of "Hamlet." The natural break, I gather, is when Mark Antony gets up to say that he hascome to bury Caesar not to praise him.and the well-known advertisement, "Why live and be miserable when you can be neatly buried for£2 10s." must wait until the end of the speech, and cannot be put in at the most appropriate point.
I thought that was all right, but then we had the speech of the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove, and he explained that these plays, together with the whole of the rest of Shakespeare's plays, were only written for the box office—they had no other purpose—and would not have occurred unless there had been some sort of natural communication between them and advertising. So we had a bit of 257 tailoring come into the picture. It is all perfectly simple. Mark Antony gets up and then in comes an advertisement and the rest of the speech is just omitted. I could suggest a few more advertisements to the Assistant Postmaster-General. What about a moth-proof array in "Hamlet"? What about the florist, who provided the wreath for Ophelia? What about having an aluminium ladder in "Romeo and Juliet"? Natural breaks indeed—perhaps they are in the Forest of Arden.
We are considering the impossibilities of what the Government are explaining to us today. Surely the fact of the matter is that this stuff about natural breaks is really rather nonsense, and it would be much better to take it out of the Bill altogether and to confine it—since someone seems to know what a programme is, although I have always had doubts as to what it did mean—to the beginning and the end of the programme.
There is another point. So far, I have been talking about natural breaks. What about the time-limit? I really find this very difficult to follow. We were told that this must be left to the great white toothless Authority of whom we have heard so much since we have been discussing this Bill. As an alternative, the Assistant Postmaster-General said "Leave it to the public." If we are to leave it to the public, why put in any rule at all? Once we put in a rule, we put an absolute duty—the only one in this Bill—on the Authority to get it enforced. The Authority can only get it enforced through the contracts with the programme contractors.
What exactly is it suggested that: the Authority should put into these contracts with the programme contractors? This rule, so far as I can see, has no bearing on the terms of the contract. On this question of 5 per cent. or 10 per cent., or whatever it is, so great is the reluctance of the Government to give the Authority any powers at all that they will not give them anything that could effectively be put into the contract. Therefore, the so-called rule, it seems to me, in practice, is going to be what is colloquially known as "eyewash" and nothing else.
There is one other thing. If it is to be a question of proportion and if it is to be a reasonable proportion or not to 258 interfere, or whatever the phrase may be, what, in fact, is going to happen? It is going to be the programme contractor who has to deal with this, and the programme contractor is a businessman. We have learned from hon. Members opposite what paragons of virtue they are, especially in connection with advertising. These businessmen will pay money for the rest of the programme and receive the money for the advertisements. Such is their faith in the absolute integrity of the businessman that the Government are content to rely on this vague provision to ensure that he will not give undue weight to that for which he receives money as against that for which he pays out money.
We can see perfectly well what is going to happen in practice. Gradually human nature will succumb. The noble spirit of the programme contractor will wilt, and, under the economic pressure of the advertising agents and advertisers, more and more space will be given to advertising and less and less to the rest of the programme. Possibly at the end the public may rise up and kick out the whole of this scheme and the Government together. Until that happens, I see no earthly prospect of anything but the advertisers getting more and more space for advertisements, programme contractors being well-content with their profits, and the Authority being unable to enforce any ideas that it may have on the subject.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I want to take up the interesting admission which the Assistant Postmaster-General made in his statement. He said that there must be natural breaks because otherwise the long programme would never be put on. He said, "Take a play like 'Hamlet'. How can you put on 'Hamlet' unless there are natural breaks in which the advertisements can appear?" He said that if it was not possible to advertise in the natural breaks in a long play, that play would not be broadcast. This is a very interesting admission.
Why would not the long programmes be broadcast? We are not only thinking of plays; we are thinking also of films. Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that no long film will be broadcast on commercial television because there are no natural breaks in a film, and no actors requiring to take breath, which was the 259 very naive reason which he gave for these natural breaks? Are we to assume that long films in which no one needs to take breath are banned from commercial television? Otherwise, I do not quite see how he expects that there can be long films or long programmes of any kind, or anything with a continuous argument running through it, in which there can be no natural breaks. None of these programmes, according to him, is going to appear on television. That is a very important admission.
I am sure that it is perfectly true, for the reason he gave—that the advertisers would not find it worth while. This is most important and strikes at the whole root of commercial television. One can see it working out in Radio Luxembourg, where all the programmes there last only a quarter of an hour. Is that only because viewers like very short programmes? Of course not. It has nothing to do with the viewers' wishes or what they want; it has nothing to do with what the Authority wants, and it has nothing to do with good television. It is simply what suits the advertisers from beginning to end. The advertisers will control these programmes from beginning to end.
It is not only a question of the length of the programme. If they can affect the length of the programme, they can affect its contents too. The whole thing is crystal-clear to anyone who looks at it with a fair mind. The people who are calling the tune are the advertisers, from beginning to end.
As for the reason for natural breaks being that the poor tired actors must take breath, has the Assistant Postmaster-General ever been to the United States and studied television there? Has he talked to television advertisers in the U.S.A.? They do not talk about poor tired actors having to take breath between acts. They work out the most elaborate statistical surveys of the precise moment within each programme which has the maximum audience.
One can see their advertising reports on each programme. They say that for
§ a thriller, a play, the point of maximum audience is just after the dénouement; that is the place to put the advertisements. They say that for a variety show, about half-way through the programme is the point of maximum audience, and that that is the place where the commercial part should be put in.
§ The reason for wanting commercials in the middle of programmes, the advertisers in America will say, is not for actors to take breath. It is simply because, as the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) pointed out, the public has a knob. This means that if there are no advertisements in the middle of a programme, when the end of the programme comes people use the knob and thus can get the programme without getting the advertisement. That is why commercial interests want the right to advertise in the middle of programmes. It is perfectly simple, perfect commonsense and perfectly straightforward, and has nothing to do with actors taking breath.
§ The Government and the I.T.A. will be driven to further concessions on this point, and one can hardly blame them. Advertisers cannot be compelled to cough up money if it is not thought worth their while to do so, and it will not be worth their while if advertisements are to be limited merely to the beginning or the end of the programme. Therefore, I ask the Government to look again at the Amendment. Without it the Schedule is simply in the interests of the advertiser and is contrary to the interests of the viewer and of good television.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 275; Noes, 252.265
|Division No. 167.]||AYES||[4.43 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Arbuthnot, John||Baldwin, A. E.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W)||Barlow, Sir John|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Astor, Hon. J. J.||Baxter Sir Beverley|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Heath, Edward||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Henderson, John (Catheart)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Osborne, C.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Page, R. G.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hirst, Geoffrey||Perkins, Sir Robert|
|Bishop, F. P.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Pete, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Black, C. W.||Hollis, M. C.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Holt, A. F.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Hope, Lord John||Pilkington, Capt. R. A|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Pitman, I. J.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Braine, B. R.||Horobin, I. M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hurd, A. R.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Redmayne, M.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Bulls, Wing Commander E. E||Iremonger, T. L.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Jennings, Sir Roland||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Johnson, Erie (Blackley)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S)|
|Channon, H.||Kaberry, D.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Kerr, H. W.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L||Lambert, Hon. G.||Russell, R. S.|
|Cole, Norman||Lambton, Viscount||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Cooper, Son. Ldr. Albert||Leather, E. H. C.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lindsay, Martin||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Shepherd, William|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Llewellyn, D. T.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lockwood, Lt-Col. J. C.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Longden, Gilbert||Soames, Capt. C|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S)||Spearman, A. C M.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Speir, R. M.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Drewe, Sir C.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||McAdden, S. J.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A, L.||McCallum, Major D.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Duthie, W. S.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||McKibbin, A. J.||Storey, S.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maclean, Fitzroy||Studholme, H. G|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Summers, G. S.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Fort, R.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N)|
|Fester, John||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Teeling, W.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir Reginald||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H||Marples, A. E.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W)|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
|Glover, D.||Maude, Angus||Tilney, John|
|Godber, J. B.||Maudling, R.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Turton, R. H.|
|Gower, H. R.||Mellor, Sir John||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Molson, A. H. E.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Grimond, J.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Neave, Airey||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Nicholls, Harmar||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Oakshott, H D.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Odey, G. W||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Hay, John||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N)||Webbe, Sir H (London & Westminster)|
|Heald. Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Ormsby-Gore, Hon W D||Wellwood, W|
|Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Williams, Gerald (Torbridge)||Wills, G.||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith and|
|Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Mr. Legh.|
|Williams Paul, (Sunderland, S.)||Wood, Hon. R|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Grey, C. F.||Moyle, A.|
|Albu, A. H.||Griffiths, David (Rather Valley)||Mulley, F. W|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Nally, W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R||Hale, Leslie||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Baird, J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Orbach, M.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A J||Hannan, W.||Oswald, T.|
|Bartley, P.||Hargreaves, A.||Padley, W. E.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Bence, C. R.||Hastings, S.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Benson, G.||Hayman, F. H.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Beswick, F.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Pannell Charles|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Herbison, Miss M.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Parkin, B. T|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hobson, C. R.||Paton, J.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Holman, P.||Pearson, A.|
|Boardman, H.||Holmes, Horace||Peart, T. F.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Houghton, Douglas||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hoy, J. H.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hubbard, T. F.||Porter, G.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hughes, Emyrs (S. Ayrshire)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Rankin, John|
|Burks, W. A.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Reeves, J.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Janner, B.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Canadian, L. J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rhodes, H.|
|Cattle, Mrs. B. A.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Roberts, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Collick, P. H.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Ross, William|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Royle, C.|
|Cove, W. G.||Keenan, W.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Kenyon, C.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Silverman, Julias (Erdington)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||King, Dr. H. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Daines, P.||Kinley, J.||Skeffingten, A. M.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lawson, G. M.||Slater, Mrs. H (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sodgfield)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Davies, Harold (Look)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Snow, J. W.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lewis, Arthur||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Deer, G.||Lindgren, G. S.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Logan, D. G.||Steele, T.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||MacColl, J. E.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McGhee, H. G.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Edelman, M.||McInnes, J.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Nets (Caerphilly)||McLeavy, F.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Fienburgh, W.||Manuel, A. C.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Finch, H. J.||Marquand, Rt. Hen. H. A.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Follick, M.||Mason, Roy||Thornton, E.|
|Foot, M. M.||Mayhew, C. P||Timmons, J.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Tomney, F.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Messer, Sir F.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mikardo, Ian||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mitchison, G. R.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Glanville, James||Moody, A. S.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Morley, R.||Wade, D. W.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D R||Mort, D L.||Watkins, T. E|
|Weitzman, D.||Wigg, George||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C A B||Wyatt, W L|
|West, William (Walsall)||Willey, F. T.||Yates, V. F.|
|West, D. G.||Williams Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Wheeldon, W. E.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Willis, E. G.||Mr. Wilkins and Mr. John Taylor.|
|Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
§ Mr. Gammans
I beg to move, in page 19, line 26, to leave out "such," and to insert:period given over to a broadcast of any religious service, or to any such other.In my remarks yesterday I dealt with the point covered by this Amendment. It is one of those to which I attach considerable importance, as it makes it here plain beyond any shadow of a doubt that there can be no advertisement in close juxtaposition to a religious service.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)
On a point of order. Do I understand that this Amendment also covers the point raised in the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross), in page 19, line 29, at the end, to insert:Provided that no advertisement shall be inserted at the beginning or the end of or in any programme which consists of or includes a broadcast of a religious service or other matter of a religious nature?Could you tell us, Sir Charles, whether that is to be moved separately, or whether both of these are to be discussed together?
§ The Chairman
Yes, the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock has not been selected, but the principle can be discussed on the Amendment which the Assistant Postmaster-General has just moved.
§ Mr. Gammans
I went over all the arguments yesterday and I do not think that the House would like me to repeat them today.
§ Mr. Ross
When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) was speaking he elevated advertising to an art, and its practitioners to the same plane as Shakespeare. I am very glad that the Assistant Postmaster-General has not endowed them with a halo, that he knows they are inclined, at times, to fall short of the highest canons of good taste, and that they would be even prepared to use religious services for advertising.
266 The Assistant Postmaster-General says he places great importance on this Amendment. So do we. We have been determined from the start that there shall be no advertising in close juxtaposition to a religious service. I only regret that the hon. Gentleman has not been as insistent as we have been that there should be no religious services at all on commercial T.V. One thing absolutely sure is that because television time will be very valuable, particularly on Sunday evenings, there will be little likelihood of religious services at all. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] For the obvious reason that every minute devoted to a religious service is a minute lost for profit for the advertisers.
The Assistant Postmaster-General did not elaborate the reasons why he thinks that this Amendment will fully cover the point at issue. Nevertheless, I want to question him a little about it. If he goes, through the Schedule he will see that this is dependent on rules that may be agreed, not will be or shall be agreed. In fact, all through paragraph 3 of the Schedule there is this permissive permission and, of course, there is no guarantee that such rules will be drawn up at all.
We are now left to trust the Postmaster-General, and, quite honestly, a Postmaster-General who is served in this House by an Assistant Postmaster-General, who, at that Box, insists that it is right and proper for manufacturers of whiskey and promoters of betting establishments to advertise on a Sunday, does not inspire us with confidence that he will—[Interruption.] Does the hon. Gentleman want to interrupt? If he does I will give way.
§ Mr. Charles Ian Orr-Ewing (Hendon, North)
I would draw the attention of the hon. Member to the fact that Martini was, in fact, advertised during a B.B.C. programme on Sunday evening.
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
I have always understood that when interpreting Acts of Parliament the word "may" really has a mandatory meaning, and, if so, when the Bill says that the Minister may issue regulations to this or that effect it is, in effect, mandatory. Is that not the case?
§ Mr. Ross
All I know, as a teacher of English, is that to me "may" means "may" and implies, "you may not." It is not mandatory, and if I am wrong on that I should like to be corrected by the Assistant Postmaster-General. I feel that the Bill should be so worded here that there is no loophole at all, because the whole question of advertising and relating it to religious services is offensive to our traditional ideas.
I hope that the Assistant Postmaster-General will have another look at this matter. He obviously recognises the danger, but I am not satisfied that he has entirely dealt with it and I should have preferred the straightforward words of our Amendment, which says:no advertisement shall be inserted at the beginning or the end of or in any programme which consists of or includes a broadcast of a religious service…I sincerely hope that the Home Secretary will address himself to this point and satisfy himself once again that there is no loophole left, and assure the House and the country that there will be no relation between advertising in any shape or form before, after or during a religious service.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr, J. Hudson
I am not at all satisfied with the Amendment moved by the Assistant Postmaster-General. It is not mandatory because it implies, as I read it, that there shall be an agreement between the Postmaster-General and the Authority as to what shall happen in the matter of advertisements, and in default of agreement the Postmaster-General may himself take action. That is my reading of the main part of paragraph 3 of the Schedule.
I am not prepared, certainly after the way in which the Assistant Postmaster-General behaved on an issue closely associated with religious services—an issue which often enters into religious 268 services when they are prepared by Churches—to risk the attitude which might be taken by the Postmaster-General. I say that after what happened yesterday when I raised the question of what should be done in the case of a decision, say, by the Temperance Council of Christian Churches. The Assistant Postmaster-General completely ignored the issue until I pressed him to say what he thought about the matter. The only thing I could gather he thought about it was that he was very glad to hand it on to others to think about, and what they would do as a result of their thinking was not at all clear.
I am not prepared to accept that attitude about religious services. The Government ought to say explicitly, beyond any shadow of doubt, that where religious services are involved no question of advertising will arise. If an Amendment cannot be devised by the Government to secure that clear end in the way we were hoping to do it by another Amendment which you, Sir Charles, in your wisdom, have not called, I do not think we should allow this issue to leave us now without a clearer definition of the matter.
There is some very interesting evidence on this point of religious services and the attitude of Churches in one of today's daily papers, a paper in which I certainly never expected to get very much support for the contentions which I put forward. But it is stated in a New York telegram despatched yesterday and published in the "Daily Express" that religious groups in the United States say that America has become so hounded by the voice of "liquordom" as almost to believe it wrong now to lead sober lives. The "liquordom" that is so powerful there as to evoke that point of view from the religious groups should be a warning to us as to what might happen here unless advertising is clearly ruled out where religion and religious observance is involved.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
The hon. Member is addressing himself to an Amendment connected with religion. Would he not agree that from all the information at our disposal it appears that the religious bodies in America play a far more important part in the life of America today than is, unfortunately, the case in this country?
§ Mr. Hudson
They play a part in the life of America, and one of the ways in which they do so is to express themselves frankly and firmly about the dangers involved in the way in which American life is being prostituted by the power of advertisers, particularly when exercised in the interests of what the statement I have quoted called "liquordom."
I observe that in the same quarter—I am again quoting from today's "Daily Express" thatMethodist Bishop Hammaker asserted that alcohol and advertising over radio and television has become an insolent intruder which barges into the homes of the land and blatently proclaims its untruth in the living-rooms of millions.'That is the view taken by the Church, and where religious services are involved and the expression of religious truth has to be considered we ought to keep it free, after the kind of concern expressed in America by religious leaders, from any risk of advertising being included before, after or during a religious service.
I am willing to admit that those who conduct religious services are themselves advertising an opinion, good news, a Gospel, but it is of such a serious character, and this country has in the past believed it to be of such a serious character, as to be kept separate from the pleas and cries of a more secular life that lies around the religious claim. I am sure that hon. Members opposite as well as on this side of the House would make a strong plea that at any rate in this field, whatever else is done in any other field, there should be no possibility of advertising being included.
The Government Amendment cannot guarantee that. If I am wrong I hope that the Home Secretary will say so. I was dissatisfied with the attitude taken by the Assistant Postmaster-General, and because I know that there are many people in the Churches who, both as regards services and in other ways, are fearful of the intrusion of the powerful interests that will be engaged in deluding youth and taking people away from their allegiance to higher things which religious services hope to help them to reach. I hope that the Home Secretary may be able to say something to us more consoling than has been said by the Assistant Postmaster-General.
§ Mr. C. Williams
I will not follow the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) along the lines of liquor, about which he has been speaking; quite frankly, I have little knowledge of that subject. I took part earlier in the debate, when I appealed to the Government to "keep advertisement wide," but there is a very distinct division between religion and what refers to ordinary everyday life. I draw a great and clear distinction between everyday life and anything to do with religious services. I am glad that the Government have put down their Amendment, which I welcome. I will not go into detail about the following Amendment, which is also being discussed, but I do not think it is the way to deal with the matter adequately or even reasonably.
However, with the word "may" where it is, although that word can be semi-mandatory, I am not convinced that the Clause is sufficiently clear to make it certain that advertising is kept right away from religious services. We want to make that very clear. It may be clear from a legal point of view—I am not able to judge that—but to me, having seen as much legislation as anyone in the House at the moment, it is not very clear.
We should make it absolutely certain that there may be no advertising at the beginning, the end or during a religious service. It is proposed to leave the matter now in such a position that, the House having expressed its view, it will be all right with a reasonable Postmaster-General such as we have now; but in the last ten years we have had Postmasters-General who were neither reasonable nor competent and we might have them again. We have these changes in our system of Government.
For that reason, I ask the Government to consider the matter between now and a later stage to see whether it might be better to strengthen the provision so that it is absolutely clear as a mandate from the House of Commons that there shall be nothing whatever of an advertising nature in or near a religious service. I trust the public and the advertisers, but when we come to religion there is another aspect and that is the personal feeling of many millions of people. I entirely agree that it is not good to have advertising connected with anything in the nature of a religious service. Whether or not the advertising is for profit is immaterial.
271 If the Government can make this secure then I suggest that we shall have a Bill which the most backward of bishops would support and certainly every person who is interested in the deepest way in religion would be able to say that everything was being done to protect what is the most vital feature of our country, and that is the religious life of our people.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
This matter is one which disturbs me greatly. As the right hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) has made clear, there is a tremendous amount of agreement on both sides of the House about the necessity to keep advertising out of religious services. We want to make certain that the Amendment would do what the Government indicate that they want to do.
It is entirely wrong, as everybody knows, to allow a distraction in a religious service because once it has happened the service is ended. People's attention wanders and, above all, concentration is required in a religious service with freedom from the troublesome little things that are around us. I hope that the Minister will be reasonable and say that if he is not absolutely sure that the Amendment will meet the point he will make a change in another place.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Sir David Maxwell Fyfe)
I do not think that there is any difference between us on this point. The purpose of the Amendment is to secure what everyone desires, which is that the Bill should adequately prevent religious services from being associated in any way with advertisements. My hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Mr. Nicholson) raised a question of substance. I hope that the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) will do me the honour of following the point as I see it.
Paragraph 3 says:Advertisements shall not be inserted otherwise than at the beginning or the end of the programme or in natural breaks therein, and such rules…I omit the next words and continue:…shall be observed as to…many matters. The substance of the provision is that the rules shall be observed. 272 The point that worried the hon. Member concerned the intervening words which are descriptive of the rules, namely:…as may be agreed…or as the Postmaster-General may in default of agreement determine…The hon. Gentleman read those words as permissive. My hon. Friend the Member for Farnham was quite right. There is a rule of law which says that, where a duty is clearly laid on somebody, permissive words in a description are read as mandatory. That is said in the case of Julius v. the Bishop of Oxford, which is well known to all practitioners in the law.
I do not want to be left in any doubt in the matter and I certainly undertake to the House that we will look into the point fully to make sure that there is no doubt about it. Our purpose is the same as that of hon. Gentlemen opposite which is to prevent religious services and advertisements from being mixed or brought together. I should have construed the provision in the circumstances as mandatory, but I do not want there to be any doubt and I undertake to have a look at the matter to be quite sure of the words.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I am most grateful to the Home Secretary for the half-assurance that he has given. The Amendment proposed by the Government is a move in our direction and, of course, we accept it. Our doubts have been expressed in two powerful speeches by my hon. Friends the Members for Ealing, North (Mr J. Hudson) and Kilmarnock (Mr Ross). On a matter of this sort there should not be any room left for doubts of any kind.
As I understand what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, it would not make any difference if we used the word "shall," because the word "may" may mean shall. Therefore, I should have thought that we could have used the word "shall." Certainly, that would not weaken the provision and it would remove some of our doubts.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I am not dodging the point in any way, but the right hon. Gentleman will see the difficulty in drafting because the words would then be "shall be agreed." I should like to consider whether the word "shall" ought to 273 be used with the word "determine." The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate the point which I have in mind.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I appreciate the point. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will also notice that the two "shalls" are divided by an "or." What the right hon. and learned Gentleman has done is to give us a guarantee that the present Postmaster-General would not allow this sort of thing. We want something more substantial than that. On so great a matter as this which concerns people's consciences, we want something which does not depend upon the personal word of a particular Postmaster-General.
In one of our previous discussions, on 20th May, the Assistant Postmaster-General said:The Bill would not, however, permit any advertisement in a natural break in a religious service. [An HON, MEMBER: 'Or at the beginning or at the end?"] Or at the beginning or at the end."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 2378.]In other words, he gave a personal assurance that the Bill would make this impossible. The Bill does not make it impossible unless an Amendment like ours—we do not insist on the exact wording—is put in. Hon. Members who feel deeply on this subject will not feel entirely satisfied unless words are inserted which put this matter completely beyond doubt.
I hope that when the Bill goes to another place the Government will not only consider the word "shall" instead of "may"—I see the technical point there—but will consider putting in an Amendment on the lines of our next Amendment to page 19, line 29, which is cast almost in exactly the same words used by the Assistant Postmaster-General at an earlier stage, and would put this matter entirely beyond doubt. This is a point on which I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants to meet us, and I hope he will seriously consider it.
§ Mr. Gower
I should like to add to what has already been said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), namely, that sincere feelings on this issue are by no means confined to one side of the House. I know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has given an assurance which has largely comforted me, that he will see that this matter is 274 re-examined before the Bill goes to another place, but I would emphasise that if it is a question of putting in a little bit of what my right hon. and learned Friend may regard as verbiage, this is one of the cases where some circumlocution could be permitted because there are many decent people who would be relieved if they knew that it was not only inconceivable but impossible that there should be an unsuitable advertisement near to a religious service.
In my view, even the present practice of the B.B.C. is not above reproach. I find that occasionally one gets a religious service in immediate juxtaposition to something very trivial, and I think that that shows the danger that can arise. For those considerations alone, I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend, in his re-examination of this matter, will lean over backwards to relieve the apprehensions of those who are perhaps somewhat unreasonable on occasions.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Gammans
I beg to move, in page 19, line 30, to leave out "selecting the," and to insert "the acceptance of."
This is only a drafting Amendment in the sense that I think it more adequately and properly describes the intention of the paragraph. I do not think, on reflection, that the words "selecting the" are the right words. They might even be held to convey the idea of some sort of discrimination and that all advertisements which are not prohibited advertisements might not be on an equal footing. Therefore, I propose to use the words "the acceptance of."
§ Mr. Mayhew
I feel that a little further explanation is needed here. The paragraph says that there shall be discrimination between advertisements and it merely says that it shall not be unreasonable discrimination. It seems to me quite clear that if, as the Assistant Postmaster-General has been saying, rates are not to be flexible but there is to be a flat rate, we shall not have the number of advertisements related to the amount of advertising time. Plainly, if the rates are not flexible there will be more or less applications than are required from time to time, and that will place on the programme contractor the obligation to select as between one advertiser and another.
275 Perhaps this would not be so important if it were not that the programme contractor concerned is to be a monopolist. He is to hold a complete monopoly of advertising space in London and the London region. One could imagine that if a newspaper advertising agent had a complete monopoly of advertising in London and the London region, all the advertising community would be interested to know on what basis he would discriminate, as this paragraph invites him to discriminate, between one kind of advertising time and another. This House and the business world are entitled to know on what principles this monopolist will select advertisements.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir L. Plummer
I beg to move, in page 19, line 35, after "time," to insert:and approved by the Authority.My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) has raised a point that is particularly apt on this Amendment. If the Government are to see to it that the Independent Television Authority gives a monopoly to one man to control commercial television in this country, then this point does not arise. But if there is to be competition in the sense that there are to be a number of programme contractors not only throughout the country but on each station, then it is very important, in the interests of commercial probity, that an Amendment of this kind should be accepted.
One of the things that bedevil the advertising business in newspapers, magazines and periodicals is rate cutting which takes place at certain seasons of the year, either when people are away on holiday or when, because of the weather, people are inclined to be disinterested in what is written in the newspapers. There is then a rush of quite undesirable advertising in the columns of the newspapers, magazines and periodicals.
If we are to allow the programme companies to compete with each other by cutting rates at certain periods of the year, we shall invite on to the television screen the kind of advertising which the Assistant Postmaster-General has said he does not think desirable. That is to say, that because of the pressure of competition, advertising of a kind which appears in the newspapers at periods of the year 276 unseasonable for advertising will appear on the television.
What is clearly desirable is that the Authority shall have the power to approve the rates which are charged by the programme companies to the advertisers, and, clearly, no alteration in those rates should take place until the Authority has given its further permission. One thing that we do not want to happen in this new situation is the hawking around of advertising or programmes in the way that I have described. That must lead to a lowering of standards. Therefore, it is desirable that there should be a flat rate. Each station should have a clearly defined price for any hour of the day and for any time of the year, and that should be fixed and unalterable, and approved by the Authority.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Shackleton
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is an Amendment which can properly be accepted by the Government because it is consistent with the proposals in the Bill and seems to be essential if its purposes are to be carried out. I want to draw attention particularly to the provisions regarding programmes.
There is an obligation on the Authority to secure a proper balance of programmes. If that is to be secured, there must be some measure of control over the tariffs which the programme contractors put forward. This must relate to the time of day and also to certain types of programme. Under the Bill as drawn it is clear that there will be the possibility of preference for certain types of programmes and these must bear a charge that is reasonable to induce the advertiser to spend the money on his spot advertisement in order to achieve balance by putting on a certain type of programme, even if it is less popular.
How will it be possible to ensure that there is this balance unless the rates for a programme are graded according to popularity and desirability? This is a simple Amendment. It seems right to trust the Authority, as we are always being urged to do, and this is an occasion when we should trust the Authority to see that the job is done properly.
§ Mr. Gammans
The effect of this Amendment would be that the Authority 277 would have to approve the advertising tariffs fixed by the programme contractors. The Government take the view that the level of advertising charges is purely a business matter, to be fixed between the programme contractors, the advertising agents and the advertisers, and that there is no need to involve the Authority in that question. If the charges are too high, the programme contractors will find that they cannot sell their intervals; if they are too low, no one will suffer except the programme contractors.
The hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) seemed to fear some hole-and-corner business. Frankly, I cannot see how there can be any, because the details of tariffs have to be published in whatever way the Authority may decide. Since the rates to be charged must be published, I cannot see that there is anything to worry about.
§ Sir L. Plummer
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not want to misrepresent what I said. I was not suggesting that I feared any hole-and-corner business. The newspapers have a rate card on which they publish their advertising rates but, at certain seasons of the pear, they cut their rates. There is no hole-and-corner business about it; they are forced to do it. All I am asking is that if these cuts take place in the case of television, they will take place with the approval of the Authority.
§ Mr. Gammans
There is to be publication of the rates. I was not suggesting that there was a hole-and-corner business in any undesirable sense; my point was that there could be no secrecy about it. The Government are reluctant to involve the Authority in what they regard as a purely commercial transaction. For that reason I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Will the hon. Gentleman answer my question, which I asked twice to make sure he heard it? It was how the I.T.A. is to achieve this balance unless it has control over the charges for a certain type of programme?
§ Mr. Gammans
We are dealing with another Amendment later which is more appropriate to the discussion of this point, and if the hon. Gentleman will agree I would prefer to deal with it then.
§ Mr, Ernest Davies (Enfield, East)
I regret that the Assistant Postmaster-General has turned down this Amendment so lightly. It is a serious one, put forward to introduce a greater measure of control by the Authority over the programme contract companies. It is true that the tariffs will be published, but that does not give the control to the Authority which we think it should have. Only through having some such form of control will it be able to influence the types of programme put on at certain times of the day, and so assist to keep an overall balance.
I favour this Amendment for another reason. The more power which is given to the I.T.A. over the programme contractors, and, indirectly, over the advertisers themselves, the greater control shall we have in this House. The hon. Gentleman is responsible for appointing the I.T.A. If, therefore, it has to agree on tariffs, there will be greater opportunity for the House to find out the position.
The Assistant Postmaster-General has contradicted himself. He has spoken of these matters being automatically self-regulatory. In the Bill he is introducing a large number of safeguards to control the programme contractors through the I.T.A. and, at the same time, he says that there is no need to control them because, first, we trust the I.T.A. and, secondly, they are regulated automatically. In this case, however, they will not be regulated automatically. If the I.T.A. does not have the power to authorise what rates are to be charged, it will not be in a position to regulate the types of programme going out at certain times of the day. I therefore suggest to the hon. Gentleman that he should give further thought to the necessity for the Authority to approve the tariffs.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I should like to add my voice to the pleas of my hon. Friends. I was surprised that the Assistant Postmaster-General dismissed this Amendment so shortly, because I thought it was playing up his street. Repeatedly, we have been told that we ought to trust the Authority. Here is a matter upon which the future of the Authority rests completely because, unless it has some say in what is to be charged, either it may lose money or the tariffs may be unfair to some of the people who want to advertise.
279 The Government have provided that the Authority may determine how the tariffs are to be published and the form of the tariffs. I should have thought it logical to say that the Authority must also approve the tariffs. This does not mean that it would decide the tariffs. On the assumption that there are many programme contractors, it would seem desirable that the Authority should play a part in seeing to it that they play fair with the charges they make to the advertisers.
What astonished me was the view of the hon. Gentleman that the size of the charge was a matter to be settled between the programme contractor, the advertising agent and the advertiser. Throughout the Bill we have tried to keep the I.T.A. separate from the programme contractor, the programme contractor separate from the advertising agent and the advertising agent separate from the advertiser.
Apparently, there is now to be some collusion—or at least the possibility of some collusion—between the advertiser and the programme company in deciding the tariff. That. I am afraid, leads us dangerously close to the American system of sponsorship. I hoped it was a slip of the tongue when the hon. Member said that the programme contractor and the advertiser will be the two people to settle the question of tariff.
On the other hand, if the tariffs are to be published beforehand, are they to be the subject of discussion between the programme contractor and the advertising agent? Or will the programme contractor lay down the general tariff irrespective of the needs of the advertising agents?
This seems to bring us back to the old argument: are the Government providing by the back door for sponsorship in its most blatant form? The success of the I.T.A. will depend entirely upon the revenues which it can derive from the programme contractors. The success or failure of the programme contractors will depend on the tariffs. I should have thought that the I.T.A. had a special right to have a finger in the fixing of the tariffs and I cannot understand why the hon. Member says we must keep the I.T.A. out of it. The I.T.A.'s future existence depends upon there being an adequate to tariff.
280 My hon. Friend the Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) referred to rate cutting. I should have thought that there would not be collusion or a preferential rate charged if the tariff were published, and if the tariff is to be published well beforehand, I can see no reason at all why the nature of the tariff should not have the prior approval of the Independent Television Authority.
I wonder whether the hon. Member would be prepared to give further consideration to this point in the later stages in this House or in another place. It is a matter of some importance which ought not to be dismissed in the way in which he dismissed it. He wants to see the I.T.A. successful. If the£2 million capital which is to be loaned to it is to be paid back, it must have a finger on the finances; and the main element of the finances as far as the Authority is concerned is the tariffs charged by the programme companies out of which the programme contractors will pay the fees to the I.T.A.
I ask the hon. Member to reconsider his attitude and to indicate whether he is prepared to look at this matter again. I am sure the House would be only too glad to give him permission to speak again.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. W. G. Bennett (Glasgow, Woodside)
Hon. Members opposite are raising difficulties that cannot possibly exist and are worrying themselves unduly about the ability of the advertisers to protect themselves. How is it possible to have a standard tariff or a tariff which will be known beforehand, quoting the example of newspapers? There is all the difference in the world between a standard newspaper advertisement and the different commercial artistes who will appear on television. How is it possible for the advertiser to pay the same fee to someone who will draw to the screen perhaps 4 million people as he pays to someone else who draws perhaps 200,000?
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that rule 5, which is the Government's proposal, provides for the publication of tariffs beforehand? We are speaking not about the publication of the tariffs but whether or not changes within the tariff should have the approval of the Authority.
§ Mr. Bennett
Exactly, but it has been claimed that the, tariff ought to be agreed by the companies, by the advertisers and by the advertising agents. Surely those people know the value of the commodity they are selling and the commodity they intend to buy. The advertiser wants the largest possible public to watch the programme. He knows full well the value of the programme. It seems rather strange at this time of the day that all this concern should be shown for the people who will submit the programmes to the public.
The public are well able to determine whether they want the programmes or not. They will pay the advertisers what it is worth, and the advertisers will support a programme which will draw the largest possible public to the screen. There is no need for the House to worry unduly about the merits of one or another of these parties: they are well able to protect themselves and the public.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I beg to move, in page 19, line 40, at the end, to insert:Provided that, save in special circumstances, charges shall not be related to the contents of any programme.The purpose of the Amendment is to restrict the effect of the change made to paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule by the Government in Committee. It is a little complicated and it is necessary, in order to put it in perspective, to go into the historical context because this has been changed many times in the course of this controversy.
It is of vital importance, for it raises the whole question of sponsorship and the purpose of the Bill. In the old days the Government took the line that there should be no sponsorship. I admit that earlier they said there should be sponsorship, but they were persuaded by very good reasons to abandon that view. They realised that sponsorship meant the advertisers controlling the programmes and meant that the public would get not the programme which they wanted but the programme which the advertisers wanted, which was quite a different thing. For that reason the Government abandoned sponsorship and began attacking it as a wrongful and mischievous idea which they had no intention of introducing in this country.
282 When we reached that stage, we on this side of the House argued, "If you are not to have sponsorship, how will you prevent advertisers from deciding what programme goes on?" We said that the advertisers would provide the money and that they would provide more for the programmes they wanted and less for the programmes they did not want We asked how we were to make sure that the advertisers did not put on the programmes which they wanted.
The Government's answer was, "We will have a single tariff, a tariff fixed in advance." Let us say it was£250 a minute. I do not know what figure the Government had in mind. No matter what the programme, no matter how big the audience it drew, that was to be the fixed charge. The Government argued that it would not matter to the programme contractor what the advertiser wanted because he would get the same sum of money,£250 a minute, whatever the programme.
That is how Clause 5 came into the Bill and those are the grounds on which it was defended by the Government. That was in the period when the Government thought they could prevent advertisers from controlling the programme. But evidently they discovered the snag of having a tariff fixed in advance. The snag was that it meant the programme contractor would be out of pocket and a minority programme would not attract an advertiser sufficiently at the rate of£250 a minute. Equally, a really popular programme would only net£250 for the programme contractor when it could have netted£500 or more.
The Government realise that the idea of a fixed, prearranged tariff would, in effect, mean that it came out of the pocket of the programme contractor. It would be attacking the whole basis of Conservatism to offer something for£250 for which one could get£500. That is quite inconsistent with any kind of Conservative principle. Sponsorship may be a bad thing, advertisers' control of a programme may be a dreadful thing, but getting£250 for something for which one could get£500 was the worst of all.
So we got subsection (2) of Clause 5, which enables the programme contractor to boost up the price when the advertiser is prepared to pay more. That is called giving flexibility to the tariff. In fact, the 283 Government abandoned everything they were trying to do when they said that they did not want sponsorship. It strikes at the whole basis of giving a programme which the public want and opens the way to giving the programme which the advertiser wants.
Once more we see the economic argument that a flat rate of tariff will not pay and is not economical and, therefore, a safeguard has to be abandoned. We have seen already how that was used to prevent competition between programme contractors and especially on monopoly in each region. The same argument was used to reintroduce advertisers' control over the programmes. Overboard goes the public interests and all professions of freedom from advertisers' control which the Government have been making since the beginning of the control period.
Under this Schedule, which we are trying to amend, advertisers will control the programme. They would have done so anyway but it is a matter of extent and ease of control. We know that there is nothing to prevent a few big advertisers on the television screen from controlling the programme contractors. In any case, if the fixed tariff were kept there are many ways in which advertisers could control what programme goes on, quite irrespective of the flexible tariff now introduced by the Government. Nevertheless, this makes it easier.
Perhaps I might again read from the admirable brochure—admirable in the sense that it gives a clear picture on advertising by television, which is published by T.V. Commercials Limited, a company of the highest standing so far as television advertising in this country is concerned. They give precisely the truth about this when they say:Since the size and type of audience will be determined by the popularity of the programme which the advertising message precedes or follows, any long-term commitment will require either an assurance from the programme contractor that it shall be, if not in the particular programme at least in a programme appearing to a similar type of audience or, alternatively, the advertiser will have the right to cancel his contract at relatively short notice if on the programme the audience drops.That is to say, if the programme does not please the advertiser the advertiser must be able to break his contract. So even with this Amendment unquestionably 284 advertisers would control the programme. This makes it so much easier as it makes it open and respectable.
It is not only the interpretation of the word "special" which leaves a loophole for adjusting rates to suit the advertiser, but basically we agree with the Government that the idea of a fixed prearranged charge is impracticable. The hon. Member for Woodside (Mr. W. G. Bennett) was quite right when he said that it is impracticable to expect advertisers to pay a fixed charge not knowing the type of programme with which the advertisement will be shown. We have been saying that ever since the controversy began.
These programmes have to be adjusted to advertisers' needs for the money will not come in and the system will not work. Let us suppose that the advertising charges are not flexible, as I think the Assistant Postmaster-General will perhaps argue that it is only on special occasions that the tariffs will be changed. It may start like that, but that is the thin edge of the wedge. Let us assume that there is a kind of standard rate prearranged for advertisements. If that is so, on what basis do we select from the advertisements? If there is a fixed rate there will be far more advertisements than there is time for advertising. That cannot be adjusted by raising the price. How, then, does one select between one advertisement and the other? I think it obvious that the fixed charge will not work in any way.
The Government seem to be retreating in the direction of flexible tariffs and advertisers' control over programmes. This hits at the whole idea of the balance of the programmes because we shall now reach the stage where the fact of whether a programme comes on or not will be determined by whether the advertisers want it or not. We are getting closer and closer to that conception all the time and are getting to a situation in which the advertiser's favourite programmes will be used, as on Radio Luxembourg and in New York.
Recently, I saw a survey of all programmes in New York City giving the time devoted to classical drama. The Assistant Postmaster-General will be interested in this because he told us how we could get four hours of television of "Hamlet"—
§ Mr. Mayhew
If we add together all the time spent in New York television in the test week of January, 1953, on good music, literature and art, it comes to 1.4 per cent. of the total—one minute in the hour and 101 minutes for advertising.
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
If I worked it out correctly, the hon. Member said that about 1 per cent. of the time was taken for music, literature and art. Since the television stations in New York put out about 100 hours a week, apparently about 1 hour, 40 minutes was devoted to classical drama, music and literature. Was any put out by the B.B.C. last week?
§ Mr. Mayhew
If the hon. Member expects the B.B.C. to produce the same balance of programmes as in New York City—
§ Mr. Mayhew
Then the hon. Member will agree with me. I am talking of the balance. It is absolutely shameful to have 10½ minutes on advertisements and one minute on classical music and good literature.
The hon. Member for Woodside used the old argument that the programmes would be those which most people wanted. That argument has been exploded over and over again from this side of the House. The argument is that to have the maximum number of people looking at each programme is the ideal television system and that they should appeal to all the television viewers as units of a mass instead of giving programmes which appeal to individuals for individual taste and giving minority programmes as well. That is where we have arrived at this stage of the Bill. I ask the Government to try to prevent this trend towards the increase of advertiser control over programmes, and it is for that purpose that we move this Amendment.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
I beg to second the Amendment,
The purpose of this Amendment is clear and simple. It is to stop all possibility of sponsorship. We have heard from my hon. Friend the history of the attitude of the Government towards 286 sponsorship. But, from the attitude of the Government during the passage of the Bill, we are still not satisfied that there is no loophole through which sponsorship may enter. The Government have said that they are opposed to sponsorship, and that they believe that their original provisions will prevent it.
The Assistant Postmaster-General should look at this again and make sure that it does not need tightening up. If he will read the appropriate paragraph which we seek to amend he will see that it says:Any such tariffs may make provision for different circumstances and, in particular, may provide, in such detail as the Authority may determine, for the making, in special circumstances, of additional special charges.It is the last phrase which worries us. We consider that if we insert the words:''provided that, save in special circumstances, charges shall not be related to the contents of any programmewe shall close the door to sponsorship. as that term is understood.
Our concern is not only because of the great influence and power of the advertiser through the programmes of the I.T.A., but also because we are worried over the balance of the programmes of the I.T.A. and how that is to be preserved. The more I listen to Government spokesmen the more concerned I feel about how the power of the I.T.A. is to function, and how the Authority will be able to carry out all the requirements imposed upon it.
If the power rests, as it will, with the advertisers, it will be very difficult for the I.T.A. to function in accordance with the provisions of the Bill. But if we eliminate any possibility of sponsorship, and thereby minimise the power of the advertisers to influence programmes and to put on those programmes attracting the largest audience—and in our view, gradually to cause a deterioration in the programmes so that the attraction will be greater—it is necessary that this Amendment should be accepted.
If the advertisers are given such power as is provided under the Second Schedule, I do not see who is to be responsible for carrying out the functions which are supposed to be carried out by the I.T.A. How is the Authority to make sure that it can influence and control the content of programmes for which the programme contractors are responsible? I suggest 287 that the Assistant Postmaster-General, even at this late stage, should have a change of heart and accept one of our Amendments. He has not been very forthcoming about accepting the Amendments which we have proposed. I believe that two minor Amendments are all that we have to our credit. Here is an Amendment which he may accept with a clear conscience in view of the speeches which he made during the Committee stage.
§ Mr. Gammans
I cannot agree with all the dismal fears of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew). Whatever may be in the Bill, or whatever I may say, I am afraid that I shall fail to convince him that the I.T.A. is any more than an evil thing, and on that point of difference we must part.
I appreciate what the hon. Member has in mind in putting forward this Amendment. I hope that I shall be able to show that we accept what I might call the spirit of the Amendment as one of the basic principles of this Bill. But the words are so extremely general that I do not think that they would cover what the Government have in mind; nor would the Authority who would have to operate this Clause, were it so amended, have a very clear idea of what they were supposed to do. I hope that I shall be able to prove that this Amendment is unnecessary because of the provisions which we have made in other parts of the Bill.
The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) suggested that he was looking for hidden snags. He felt that there must be a catch somewhere, but I can assure him that there is no catch. The first thing which the hon. Gentleman seeks to prevent—and so do we—is sponsoring in the American sense. The hon. Member for Woolwich, East is convinced that whatever may be in the Bill, sponsoring will creep in. I cannot argue about that, otherwise words as I understand them would cease to have any meaning.
The Bill makes it quite clear in Clause 4 (6) that there shall be no sponsoring of any sort, and I do not think that anything could be clearer. This is strengthened by the disqualification of advertising agents from being programme contractors and by paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Second Schedule.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East has referred to the position in the United 288 States. What is the position there by way of contrast? In the United States it is the advertising agents or the advertisers who produce the programme. All that the programme contractors do is to send out the programmes over the air. I think that that is the essential difference between their system and ours, and if I cannot persuade the hon. Member for Woolwich, East that there is this difference, it is clear that nothing I say here, or anything we put into the Bill, will possibly satisfy him.
The idea we have in mind, which is made clear in paragraph 5 of the Schedule, is that charges shall be published in advance in whatever manner the Authority may decide. Of course, they will vary according to the time of day and on different days of the week. Naturally, the charges will vary as to when the peak viewing hour is likely to come along. I think that is reasonable and that the House has always understood that to be the way in which it will work. I think it possible that charges may be cheaper when the Authority first starts to operate and while it is building itself up, than later, when it has become more popular and more people are looking in.
Therefore, I hope it is clear beyond a shadow of doubt that the advertiser will have no power to control the programme. Still less will he himself be able to put the programme on. I must reiterate that that is the basic difference between this scheme and what we understand is the practice in the United States.
What I think the advertiser is entitled to know—I believe this deals with the point raised earlier by the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton)—is the type of programme which his advertisement will follow and precede. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because that must inevitably decide the size and type of the viewing audience. The type of programme—I say "the type," not "the particular programme"—might attract a type of viewer who would not be of any use to the advertiser.
§ Mr. Gammans
Well, then, that is it. If hon. Gentlemen opposite like to distort that by calling it sponsorship, I suggest that they simply have not understood the meaning of sponsorship.
289 I have talked about the type of programme. Surely the advertiser must know whether the type of programme will be a cabaret, a science review, a play or a sporting event. To take the illustration to its logical, and ridiculous conclusion, a maker of ladies' shoes would not want his advertisement to be shown before a boxing tournament or a football match.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am merely defining sponsorship in the usual way as being where an advertiser pays for a particular programme. The Government are now rapidly going in that direction. They are saying that the advertiser will pay for a particular type of programme at least and will pay more for the type he likes than the type he does not. On that very commonsense definition, that is a plain drift towards sponsorship.
§ Mr. Gammans
I am sorry if the hon. Member feels that. It has always been our understanding from the beginning, and it has always been made quite clear, that this is how we assumed that the system would work. We regard this as a commonsense method and the only possible way in which commercial television could be run. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may not like the whole idea, but I am sure that they would like the system to run properly. It is no good pretending that commercial television could run in any other way. If I were to accept the Amendment, even though it contained the words "in special circumstances," it might be interpreted by the Authority as preventing from happening something which is entirely reasonable and desirable.
I have given an assurance that the advertising tariffs will relate mainly to the time and day of the week and also to the length of the advertising interval. We should be putting an impossible burden on a programme contractor if we were in any way to imply that he should not indicate the general type of programme which was to be put on at a certain hour. There is no other way of doing it.
§ Mr. Gammans
It may be a sell-out in view of what the hon. Member has in his mind, but it is not a sell-out from the point of view of what has always been in the Government's mind ever since this business began.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Why is this the first time that any reference has been made by any Government spokesman to the fact that the advertiser will be able to buy his advertisements in relation to a type of programme? That was never in the Bill. It is contrary to every undertaking which the Government has given here or in another place.
§ Mr. Gammans
There is no other conceivable way in which advertisers could put on their advertisements.
§ Mr. Gammans
Why should it be put in the Bill to start with? There was no conceivable reason why we should put in the Bill how this point was to operate.
I resist the Amendment not because I believe that the theme underlying it is undesirable, but because I believe that acceptance of it would be unnecessary and that it would make the scheme largely unworkable. I hope that it is not the intention of hon. Members opposite to make the scheme unworkable. If I were to think that, it would simply mean that I thought that their Amendment was put down merely to occupy time. I do not suggest that for a moment. I think that they put down this Amendment to learn how the system would work, and I have tried to give them an adequate explanation. I regret that I cannot accept the Amendment.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
The Assistant Postmaster-General has given the whole game away. We have been told time after time that the advertiser is to have no control over the programmes. We have been told repeatedly, following the Lord Chancellor's first speech in another place, that this was not to be the American system of sponsorship.
What astonished me was that the hon. Gentleman, in the first place, accepted the spirit of these words and then went on to justify the opposite of the words. En reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew), he said that he accepted the basic spirit of the 291 Amendment. Then he went on to say that the Amendment was unnecessary because of other provisions. He referred to Clause 4 (6), which says:…except as an advertisement, nothing shall be included in any programme broadcast by the Authority which could reasonably be supposed to have been included therein in return for payment or other valuable consideration to the relevant programme contractor or the Authority …That may well be true with regard to the published tariff. I agree with the hon. Member that it is reasonable that there should be a basic tariff. I agree that the basic tariff should vary in accordance with the number of people viewing at different times of the day. But here we are discussing not the normal programmes broadcast but special or unusual circumstances. The hon. Gentleman has already said that the advertiser who is to buy time is entitled to know what the programme is with which his advertising time is being associated. So, if a special or unusual circumstance like the appearance of a famous artist, a spectacle, or a great sports event such as a boxing match, or the appearance of J. Fred Muggs can be secured by a programme contractor, the contractor might ascertain from the advertiser through the advertising agent whether or not the advertiser was prepared to pay a sum for the associated time which would pay the contractor for putting on the item. Is not that the position?
The hon. Gentleman has repeatedly said that the advertiser is to have no control, but in his last speech he has said that the advertiser gets control as to whether or not the programme goes on. I see the hon. Gentleman shaking his head, but if he will tomorrow read the speech which he has made he will see that what he has done is to justify adoption of the American method by the programme contractors here. He is giving to the advertiser control over what is to be transmitted, and, as the hon. Gentleman said, it is reasonable that the advertiser should know whether or not the programme to be put out is likely to help him to sell his goods, and whether it will create the right atmosphere for putting forward his claims.
If it is not the right atmosphere, the advertiser will not buy, and, if the advertiser does not buy, there can be no 292 special appearance; in that sense, the advertiser will be determining whether or not a particular item is transmitted. Does not the hon. Gentleman accept that? Is not that the logic of his own words? That will probably be the position in practice, and it means that the hon. Gentleman has, at last, come to the conclusion that commercial television in this country is to be sponsored television, at least, in special circumstances.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman, time and time again, has given us many assurances about it. I do not know whether he heard what his hon. Friend has said, but I hope he realises that what the Assistant Postmaster-General has said today appears to be in complete contradiction of all the assurances that have been given about the relations between advertisers and what is transmitted in the programmes.
In relation to these special circumstances, we say that the content of the programme ought to have nothing at all to do with the charges that are to be made, and, if hon. Gentlemen opposite turn that down, they will be admitting that, where charges are to be made, what the advertiser pays will determine what is in the programme, and that is American sponsorship. It is shocking that we have had to come to this very late stage in all these debates for the Government finally to disclose that they have completely sold out to the advertising racketeer. It is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East said, a complete sell-out.
I do not know how these words will be considered in another place. I do not know how these words from the Assistant Postmaster-General will be considered by all those bodies which have expressed apprehension about the introduction of commercial television. We have tried to erect sufficient safeguards to prevent the worst features of American television coming to this country, and it is very regrettable indeed that, on this the last day when we shall be dealing with this Bill in this House, the Assistant Postmaster-General should have given away the whole of the control, and, in special circumstances, provided for the American system operating in this country.
§ Squadron Leader A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)
Throughout the whole of the debates on this Bill, I have found it very 293 hard to give support to my hon. and right hon. Friends, although it is well known that certain of us on this side of the House have reservations about the merits of this Bill. I think it is within the recollection of the House that I have been very fair in the manner in which I have approached the various Clauses and Amendments, but I am bound to say that I was somewhat astonished at the speech which my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General made a few moments ago.
The whole burden of the reservations which some of us have made on this Bill has been on this precise question of advertiser control of the programmes, and, had it not been for the assurances which we have received over and over again and the safeguards, which we believe are adequate, which have been placed in the Bill, we would most certainly not have supported this Bill in its passage through this House.
I still do not believe that the safeguards in the Bill are inadequate in fact, I believe that they are sufficient to do what we want done, but I find it difficult to reconcile the words in various parts of the Bill with the speech which my hon. Friend has just made. I am bound to say that some of his hon. Friends will expect that, before this Amendment is put to the Vote, some further explanation of the particular point is given, either by him or by my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I am sure we have all listened with interest and appreciation to that weighty and honest criticism in which the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron-Leader Cooper) has indicated that he has come to bury the Assistant Postmaster-General and not to praise him. But the Assistant Postmaster-General provided his own epitaph, and perhaps the best epitaph for this Bill, in the course of his speech, in which he introduced one of those gems which we hear from time to time. "There is no conceivable reason," he told us, "why we should put in a Bill the way in which things will work." The hon. Gentleman is saying that there are practical considerations which will operate in practice, but which, perhaps, had better be kept out of the Bill. So, he said, there is obviously no particular 294 reason for putting into the Bill the way in which things will work.
Let us have a look in order to see what is to happen, and let us begin by having a look at the one basic principle that was put into the Government's White Paper:The Government has decided as a basic principle that there should be no sponsorship.So far, the Assistant Postmaster-General will say, "We are all right." Then, the White Paper continues:The responsibility for what goes out on the air shall rest on the operator of the station and not on the advertiser.The advertiser is going to pay, and he will say "What is it that you have in your programme today? I am entitled to know, because the Assistant Postmaster-General says that I am allowed to choose what will suit my advertisement. If, for instance, I am going to advertise a particular kind of insect remover, I should like to follow rapidly on that well known figure J. Fred Muggs; on the other hand, if I am interested as a mortician, then I must chip in at just the right point in the funeral speech in 'Julius Caesar'".
We have discussed this matter before. It is only a question of time before the advertiser would say, "If you are going to have that kind of programme, I am not going to put on any advertisements." The party opposite, believers as they are in the laws of supply and demand, will tell us that, in these circumstances, of course, the voice of the advertiser must be heard, because there is no alternative. It must be heard and must be obeyed, and if there is a type of programme that does not suit the advertisers at all, it will disappear. If there is a type of programme that suits advertisers more than some other type, the convenient type will gradually prevail, and that seems to me to be the perfectly obvious and inevitable consequence of what the Assistant Postmaster-General explained to us a little while ago. To say that in those circumstances the responsibility for what goes out on the air shall rest upon the operator of the station and not on the advertiser is to rely on form and to neglect the substance. and the obvious conclusions.
I cannot reconcile what has been said just now with what appears in the White Paper and with the principle that we 295 have heard repeatedly from the Government benches. Before producing his epitaph the Assistant Postmaster-General told us that he was in general sympathy with the object of the Amendment. I listened carefully to what his objections were, but the only objection was the one which I have just mentioned. It is not very strong.
The hon. Gentleman said that the point was not precise. I do not think we can be quite precise in matters of this sort, because of the special circumstances. There comes a stage in the excellence of performers when they are perhaps entitled to special treatment. That is the only ambiguity in the matter. Otherwise, what we are asking is that the charges should relate to the audience and not to the performance, that is to say, to the number of people who may be listening at the time. We have a fairly good idea what that number will be.
Apart from the Government's basic principle—and I have never met a basic principle which was so disregarded in practice and in the result—it is clear that unless we keep a complete distinction between the two things and charge for the number of people who hear the effectiveness of the advertising apart from the programmes, sooner or later there will to some extent be advertiser control.
Perhaps the best answer is that which the Government gave in their White Paper. They went on in the same paragraph to say:The Press accept advertisements but they remain responsible for their own news and editorial columns.Since when has the advertiser been allowed to say to the editor: "You must tell me what is going to be in the editorial. I am entitled to know whether it will or will not suit my advertisements. You must tell me what the news of the world is going to be and how it is to be presented. Otherwise I will not advertise."Since when have advertisers been told by the newspapers:" If we produce the right kind of editorial our charges will be rather different from what they would be if we produced the wrong ones"?
§ Mr. Ian Harvey (Harrow, East)
The position is not as the hon. and learned 296 Member has presented it. Any newspaper that consistently produced editorial matter of a nature which created a readership which was unacceptable to advertisers, or produced a publication which was below a reasonable standard, would lose advertising, and the hon. and learned Gentleman knows it.
§ Mr. Mitchison
That intervention shows a considerable confusion of thought. That is exactly what I am saying, which is that the rate for advertisements must depend upon the number of people who are to receive them. In the present case it must depend upon the number of viewers. That is an entirely different matter from saying that the advertiser is allowed to inquire what the programme is to be and that he has to be charged in accordance with the contents of the programme. The parallel is strict and exact. If the Assistant Postmaster-General is right, then, taking the Government's own parallel, some advertiser is entitled to say to the editor of the "Daily Telegraph": "You must produce more editorials about national cleanliness or you will not get my soap advertisements."
This illustrates the weakness of the Government in face of the advertising interests. The sensible, logical firm thing to do would have been to draw an absolute line, such as they intended to draw, and said in their White Paper they intended to draw. Whether the change has been brought about by the gentlemen in the shabby overcoats, or by the benches below the Gangway, or whatever it is, the Government has started once more down the slippery slope, a rather important one this time. The Government, the party opposite, and the Assistant Postmaster-General will not be able to prevent themselves from going down and down the slope into complete subservience to commercial interests unless they stop now and make the line clear and absolute, as they intended to do.
§ Mr. Gammans
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House perhaps I might be able to clear up this point. Let me first remind the House of what I did in fact say. The point at issue is whether an advertiser is entitled to know the type of programme which precedes and follows his advertisement. That is what we are really discussing. 297 If we accept that principle, are we opening the door to sponsoring and letting in undesirable advertisement, as hon. Gentlemen opposite have said?
§ Mr. Speaker
That is the question before the House. I do not think that the Assistant Postmaster-General who was addressing the House was in any way out of order.
§ Mr. Gammans
Is there anything wrong or harmful in the suggestion which I have made? I contend that that is the only way in which advertising can possibly work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not mind saying that. Is there anything in this which is likely to open the door to sponsoring? [HON. MEMBERS "Yes."] Well, I would refer the House to the words I quoted just now, from Clause 4 (6). which make it clear thatNothing shall be included in any programmes broadcast by the Authority, whether in an advertisement or not, which states, suggests or implies, or could reasonably be taken to state, suggest or imply, that any part of any programme broadcast by the Authority which is not an advertisement has been supplied or suggested by any advertiser.That absolutely prevents an advertiser from determining what programme comes on. I suggest that the advertiser is as much entitled to know what type of programme is to come on as a man advertising in a newspaper is to know that his. advertisement for a boxing match does not appear on a page which reviews books.
How will this work out in practice? We shall place on the programme contractors the obligation and necessity to make known a good time in advance what type of programme they are to produce. It is only in that way that it is possible to carry out the suggestion I have made that the advertiser is entitled to know what type of programme is coming on after and will precede his particular advertisement. I see nothing wrong in the least about that. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may feel that it is undesirable, but if they think the matter out they will find that there is no other way in 298 which the thing will work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] What is wrong about it? [HON. MEMBERS: "Sponsoring."] "Sponsoring" is something of an incantation on the opposition benches. There is no sponsoring whatever in this. It is just an ordinary method by which advertising in this medium can work.
§ Mr. Shackleton
When this Amendment was introduced on Committee stage we had a very little time to discuss it. I had the opportunity to say merely that I did not think that the honour of the Home Secretary was personally involved in the Amendment. I would now like to ask how he regards the Amendment, in the light of the statement he made in the debate on 15th December, when he said:The Government's plan is that the operating companies would have a 'spot announcement' between programmes without being concerned with the programme's contents."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 15th December, 1953; Vol 522, c. 337.]It is clear that our case is now fully borne out. It was that advertisements would inevitably lead to an undesirable influence over programmes. We are not concerned with the specific programme, the balance, the type of programme, and whether, in fact, it should be unlimited as regards soap operas or classical concerts. It is quite clear that the Government have given this away, and I should like to know how the right hon. and learned Gentleman reconciles the statements of the Government in the White Paper and in another place with the fact that advertisers are entitled to know and to choose their programmes according to the advertisements.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
As the hon. Gentleman has put the point to me. I accept the challenge at once and, first of all, I would remind the House of the two parts of Clause 4 (6). There is the part to which my hon. Friend referred which states:Nothing shall be included in any programmes broadcast by the Authority, whether in an advertisement or not, which states, suggests, or implies, or could reasonably be taken to state, suggest or imply, that any part of any programme broadcast by the Authority which is not an advertisement has been supplied or suggested any advertiser…As far as that part is concerned, it could not be more flatly or more clearly anti-sponsoring, and I do not think that 299 there is any question on that point. The subsection goes on:and, except as an advertisement, nothing shall be included in any programme broadcast by the Authority which could reasonably be supposed to have been included therein in return for payment or other valuable consideration to the relevant programme contractor or the Authority.There, again, it takes the other side of it, thatnothing shall be included in any programme broadcast by the Authority which could reasonably be supposed to have been included therein for payment or other valuable consideration to the relevant programme contractor or the Authority.Then there is the mischief to which the whole battery of the Opposition has been directed, that there would come into the programme somethingwhich could reasonably be supposed to have been included therein in return for payment or other valuable consideration to the relevant programme contractor or the Authority.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
No, I must develop the point. We have reached a serious stage. I am not normally unreasonable in giving way, but I think I must go on.
That is the first point, and, as I say, that deals with the primary mischief to which attention has been directed, namely, the inclusion of matters in the programmewhich could reasonably be supposed to have been included therein in return for payment or other valuable consideration…
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
That is the first point, and we have made that quite clear. The second point that is being urged against us is that the content of the programme should have no effect on the advertisement price. The criticism—and this is not the first time that it has been suggested in the debates—is that we have said that there should be provision for additional special charges to be levied in special circumstances on an exceptional programme being available. That provision is contained in the second part of subsection (5) which was moved as an Amendment in Committee, and which, as 300 I understand it, has been recognised as reasonable.
I have listened to practically every word that has been said on this matter, and I cannot remember any objection being raised to it. It covers the question of the special programme—the right hon. Gentleman opposite called it a "prima donna," or something of that kind. Speaking from memory, I think it was put in this way. When that sort of programme is coming on—it may come some time ahead or only a short time ahead—then one is entitled to make special charges for it, and, if necessary. to make re-arrangements.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
May I put this to the right hon. and learned Gentleman? If some outstanding international celebrity were coming to this country and was prepared to appear in a television programme, that celebrity would fix a very high fee. Obviously, the programme contractor could not know in advance whether he could afford to put on that celebrity unless he got an advertising agent or an advertiser to pay the very high fee for the associated advertising time. In these circumstances, would the programme contractor be entitled to go to the advertising agent or to the advertiser and put that proposition before either of them?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
That is how I understood the matter was to work out, and I think that we discussed it in Committee. I really did not think that there was any difference between us on this point. I am sorry if my recollection is wrong, but I do not see anything wrong in the point of view that if an international celebrity is engaged to appear in a special programme, and if the only terms on which the celebrity can be got is by increasing the ordinary charges, then arrangements can be made for the ordinary advertiser who may not want to pay the increased charges to have the same period of time in a successive week, or an arrangement of another kind of which I am sure the Authority would approve.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has really not got my point, and it is important that we should understand each other about this. The point which I put to him quite specifically was whether the programme contractor who gets an international celebrity 301 at a fee of, say,£500 can go to the advertiser or advertising agent and say, "I can get so and so. My fee will be£600." Is he entitled to disclose to the advertiser the name of the celebrity before the advertiser makes up his mind whether he is going to advertise?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
It would not come about in that way. I am really not trying to stall the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope that he will follow my argument, because I am trying to meet his point. It would happen in this way. The advertiser would, in normal circumstances, have a contract with the programme contractor, and as I would draw up the contract, were I asked to advise the programme contractor, I would put in a clause that the programme contractor has the right on a special programme of national interest arising, or in which an international celebrity appears, to offer to the advertiser either higher rates for these special circumstances, coupled with, as I suggest, the offer of an alternative programme after which his advertisement would appear instead.
I see no harm in that. That is not sponsoring; that is the opposite to sponsoring. That is simply the programme contractor ensuring that he will get the best possible programme which the public would enjoy. It has nothing to do with the advertiser at all.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
I am awfully sorry to intervene again. I am sure that there is nothing in this to lose our tempers about, but may I put this again to the right hon. and learned Gentleman? Will the programme company, in the special circumstances, be allowed to disclose to the potential advertiser or advertising agent the name of the celebrity who is on offer?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
That would be covered by the contract for the special circumstances. But the point that I am making—and right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite must face this, because this is the whole falsity of their position—is that it does not depend on the advertiser at all.
§ Sir D Maxwell Fyfe
No, it depends on the programme contractor desiring to put 302 that to him. If he wants to do that it is up to him—he can put the appropriate clause in the contract. If be does not put that in then the programme contractor is bound by the advertiser. But why he should not put that in I cannot see.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
It is covered by the contract. Clearly, if the advertiser says "I will not make a contract giving you this escape clause," the programme contractor cannot do it. It depends entirely on whether or not it is put in. What we are deciding at the moment is whether there should be the power to do it. That is all we are doing. I say it is reasonable to give the power.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are apt to forget that a contract is not a unilateral matter imposed by one all-powerful party, but is a bilateral matter in which minds must meet. All that we are deciding at the moment is whether there should be power to do that. If that power is given it is a matter for the programme contractor and not a matter which the advertiser dictates.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I do not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has understood the point. The point is not what should or should not be in the contract, it is not the nature of contracts or anything of that sort, but simply this. Suppose a celebrity is contemplated and the advertiser says, "If that celebrity comes I shall not advertise," is not the advertiser exercising a power of choice over even that item in the programme?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
Of course the hon. and learned Gentleman has now suggested a state of things so fantastic as to be completely removed from any reality. What the hon. and learned Gentleman presupposes is that neither party has considered putting that in the contract. If neither party has considered putting that in the contract, the position is governed by the contract. Of course, if right hon. and hon. Members opposite approach this on the basis that there would not be reasonable commercial contracts drawn up between parties they are moving into a world of fantasy quite removed from any reality, and indeed are raising Aunt Sallys which are hardly worth troubling to knock down.
303 The other point—and I want to face it before we conclude this part of the debate—was what seemed to me to be the simple one made by my hon. Friend that the programmes which are contemplated by the programme contractors—which would, of course, be approved by the Authority—will in the nature of things fall into certain categories. I need not go through those because we have discussed them so often. All that my hon. Friend said was that it would be made known to the advertiser, and there would be no objection to the advertiser asking what type of programme would be on at the time.
Let us take the actuality as opposed, again, to imaginary fears. Take the case which my hon. Friend mentioned of a Saturday afternoon in winter. We all know that the odds are very large that there would be some form of football, whether Association or Rugby one could not say, being shown in the programme in the afternoon. That would be an absolutely clear conclusion. On the other hand, take Saturday nights. Ever since I can remember there has been a variety programme on the B.B.C. on Saturday night. Except in special circumstances I cannot imagine that there would not be some variety on Saturday night. These things would be understood and they are the commonsense basis on which things are worked.
That is all that my hon. Friend has put. I do say, Mr. Speaker, that really the distortion which has taken place in this debate can only be put on the old basis. [Interruption.] I am not saying a deliberate distortion, but anyway we can argue that again.
What hon. Members opposite have done is to perform the oldest rhetorical trick in the world. One starts from false premises—from premises which are completely inaccurate. One then applies to those premises a mental process hitherto unknown to the mind of man and by that means one reaches conclusions which would be unjustifiable even if one's premises were accurate. That is what has been done here, and I do ask my hon. Friends, and others who may have been worried by some of the things that have been said, to consider the reality of the matter before they are misled by the conclusions that have been stated.
§ Mr. Ross
If the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) was worried when he heard the speech of the Assistant Postmaster-General, he must be a great deal more worried after the performance of the Home Secretary. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has made it absolutely clear that what we have revealed in these last few minutes of this Guillotine debate is a gross and monstrous betrayal of all the pledges given that the Government were not to permit sponsoring in any shape or form.
The Home Secretary dodged. He spoke about contracts and everything else when all we were trying to do was to tie him down to this one simple fact. If there is coming to this country some celebrity whom the programme contractor thinks should be put on, the programme contractor must offer that performance to the advertiser with whom he has a contract. Surely even in the nightmare of illogic he has got into in his conduct of this Bill, it is obvious to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the person who decides whether that celebrity will go on the television programme is the advertiser. If that is not sponsoring I would like to know what is.
From the words both of the Home Secretary and of the Assistant Postmaster-General it is absolutely clear that here we have naked and aggressive sponsorship. It is the advertisers who in the end will determine what is in the programme. According to the Assistant Postmaster-General the advertisers must know the hour, the day, the type and content of a programme. The hon. Gentleman said that he thought that our Amendment was right in its approach. If we are so right, and if he is so anxious to allay the fears of his hon. Friend and of other people all over the country as to what would happen if we got sponsorship, he should have accepted our Amendment. Only by this categorical denial of charges being related to contents would he have steered clear of the dangers and difficulties inherent in sponsorship.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes. 263 Noes, 292.309
|Division No. 168.]||AYES||[7.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||O'Brien, T.|
|Adams, Richard||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oldfield, W. H|
|Albu, A. H.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hale, Leslie||Orbach, M.|
|Allen, Scholefield, (Crewe)||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oswald, T.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C R.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Padley, W. E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hamilton, W. W.||Paget, R. T.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hannan, W.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley.)|
|Baird, J.||Hargreaves, A.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Balfour, A.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Hastings, S.||Pannell, Charles|
|Bartley, P.||Hayman, F. H.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Parker, J.|
|Bence, C. R.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Benson, G.||Herbison, Miss M.||Paton, J.|
|Beswick, F.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Pearson, A.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hobson, C. R.||Peart, T. F.|
|Bins, G. H. C.||Holman, P||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Blackburn, F.||Holmes, Horace||Popplewell, E.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Houghton, Douglas||Porter, G.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hoy, J. H.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Boardman, H.||Hubbard, T. F.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pursey, Cmdr. H|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Rankin, John|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Reeves, J.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Brown, Thomas (Nice)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Rhodes, H.|
|Burke, W. A.||Janner, B.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Callaghan, L, J.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Ross, William|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S).||Royle, C.|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Coldrick, W.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Collick, P. H.||Keenan, W.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kenyon, C.||Short, E. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||King, Dr. H. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Kinley, J.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lawson, G. M.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Daines, P.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lewis, Arthur||Snow, J. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lindgren, G. S.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Logan, D. G.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Deer, G.||MacColl, J. E.||Steele, T.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McGhee, H. G.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Dodds, N. N.||McGovern, J.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||McInnes, J,||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||McLeavy, F.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Edelman, M.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Manuel, A. C.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Marquand, Rt Hon. H. A||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Mason, Roy||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mayhew, C. P.||Thornton, E.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Messer, Sir F.||Timmons, J.|
|Finch, H. J.||Mikardo, Ian||Tomney, F.|
|Follick, M.||Mitchison, G. R||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Foot, M. M.||Monslow, W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Forman, J. C.||Moody, A. S.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Viant, S. P.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Morley, R.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, s.)||Weitzman, D.|
|Glanville, James||Mort, D. L.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Moyle, A.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C||Mulley, F. W.||West, D. G.|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Nally, W.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Grey, C. F.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E)|
|Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||William, W R. (Droylsden)||Yates, V. F.|
|Wigg, George||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B||Willis, E. G.|
|Wilkins, W. A.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Wiley, F. T.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.||Mr. Wallace and|
|Williams, Rev. Llwelyn (Abertillery)||Wyatt, W. L.||Mr. James Johnson.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Low, A. R. W.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Fort, R.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Foster, John||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Mexwell||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D, (Pollok)||McAdden, S. J.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||McCallum, Major D.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Gammans, L. D.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Glover, D.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Barber, Anthony||Godber, J. B.||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Gough, C. F. H.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Gower, H. R.||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Graham, Sir Fergus||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Ian (Enfield, W.)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Grimond, J.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harden, J. R. E.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Birch, Nigel||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Black, C. W.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marples, A. E.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C,||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maude, Angus|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Maudling, R.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hay, John||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Braine, B. R.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mellor, Sir John|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Heath, Edward||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G T||Hirst, Geoffrey||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Neave, Airey|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hollies, M. C.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Holt, A. F.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hope, Lord John||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Gary, Sir Robert||Horobin, I. M.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Channon, H.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Odey, G. W.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Cole, Norman||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hurd, A. R.||Osborne, C.|
|Cooper, Sqm. Ldr. Albert||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Page, R. G.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Perkins, Sir Robert|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Iremonger, T. L.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Jennings, Sir Roland||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pilkington, Capt R. A|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Kaberry, D.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kerby, Capt. H. B||Pries, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Kerr, H. W.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Lambton, Viscount||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Doughty, C. J. A||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Leather, E. H. C.||Redmayne, M.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L-||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rees-Davies, W R|
|Duthie, W. S.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T||Renton, D. L. M|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Ridsdale, J, E.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R F||Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C||Longden, Gilbert||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Storey, S.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Russell, R. S.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Studholme, H. G.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Summers, G, S.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Scott, R. Donald||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Shepherd, William||Teeling, W.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||Wellwood, W.|
|Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Snadden, W. McN.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Soames, Capt. C.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Spearman, A. C. M.||Tilney, John||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Speir, R. M.||Touche, Sir Gordon||Wills, G.|
|Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Turner, H. F. L.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)||Turton, R. H.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Stevens, Geoffrey||Vane, W. M. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Sir Cedric Drewe and|
|Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Vosper, D. F.||Mr. Richard Thompson.|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wade, D. W.|
§ 7.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Gammans
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
Before we finish with the Bill in this House it is, I think, appropriate that we should consider once more the main principles upon which it has been based. I find that if we add together all the words we have spoken here on the various White Papers connected with the Bill, on Second Reading of the Bill, and in Committee and on Report of the Bill, the number exceeds the number of words in the Old Testament.
§ Mr. Gammans
How many are my words? As many as in Joshua.
I should like to thank all hon. Members in all parts of the House for the interest they have taken in the Bill and for the way they have done their very best to improve it. I am sorry that we have not been able to accept most of the Amendments moved from the other side of the House, but I am sure that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree that we have tried to meet them in many important ways, and the final version of the Bill, I think, is testimony to the help they have given us.
On one major matter we are all agreed, and that is that there ought to be a second television programme. What we have not been able to agree upon is the way in which that second programme shall be organised and how it should be paid for. The Opposition, I gather, hold 310 the view that the second programme should be provided by the B.B.C. only. The Government have not been able to accept that view, because it would mean that the B.B.C. monopoly would not be ended, and it is the ending of the B.B.C.'s monopoly that is the whole purpose of the Bill. Alternatively, they hold the view that another corporation similar to the B.B.C. should be set up and financed in exactly the same way.
I would make it clear, because the question has been raised in our debates, that nothing in the Bill in any way will hold up the development of the B.B.C.'s services. No Government have done more than the present, either to extend the B.B.C.'s services or to provide the B.B.C. with the money to carry out the charge this House has laid upon it. When the present programme of development is finished the B.B.C. wilt have a coverage of about 90 per cent. of the country, the highest in any country in the world, and the increased television licence fees will provide the B.B.C. with a further£4½ million this year and£7½million in the year after next.
I ought to make it quite clear, also, that there is nothing in the Bill that precludes the B.B.C. from producing a second television programme. It has itself made it clear in its 10-year plan that it could not start a second programme before 1957. The I.T.A., on the other hand, will I hope be on the air next year, as I said during our debates in. Committee.
Our discussions on Clause 1 (1) revealed the differences that exist between the two sides of the House regarding the 311 place of monopoly in our public life. We on this side of the House respect the B.B.C. as a great British institution. To hon. Members opposite the B.B.C. has become an almost sacred body. As their Amendments moved in Committee showed, many hon. Members regard the B.B.C.'s programmes as the ultimate standard of taste, to which every other programme must be subordinate. Apparently, they cannot conceive that programmes put out by the B.B.C. can be bettered in any way, and they certainly think they should not be criticised—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and that no one should be allowed to compete with the B.B.C. I think that is a fair summary of the attitude taken by hon. Members opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is the attitude of mind that illustrates the inherent danger of all such monopolies. They create for themselves a privileged position in the community, and their friends would isolate them from all the dangers of competition.
§ Mr. Gammans
We must be careful that monopolies do not become the golden calves of this age to which we give uncritical worship.
§ Mr. Gammans
I must make this point clear because it is the ending of the B.B.C.'s monopoly that is the basic principle on which the Bill rests. To quote the words of Clause 1 (1), the aim is to provide…television broadcasting services, additional to those of the British Broadcasting Corporation…We on this side of the House believe that monopoly in a new and developing industry like television is a bad thing. It is certainly bad for artistes and musicians to be restricted to one employer. It is bad, in my opinion, for our chances of building our export trade. I am convinced it is bad for viewers, and it may even be bad for the B.B.C. itself.
It is this factor of competition that we have embodied also in Clause 5 (2) by laying on the new Authority not merely the responsibility of competing with the, B.B.C. but the duty to secure adequate competition between the programme contractors who serve it.
312 I come to the way in which the new Authority is to be financed. We have made it quite clear from the beginning that the main revenue will come from advertisements. This is set out in Clause 2 (2) and amplified in Clause 4 and the Second Schedule. This is the way, by advertisements, by which many other countries, either wholly or in part, finance their radio, and, I suppose, in due course will finance their television. It is so in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and also in the colony of Jamaica. In framing this scheme we have called upon the experience that those countries have.
We take the view—and this is where, I am afraid, we differ from hon. Members opposite—that provided there are adequate safeguards—and I shall come to the safeguards in a minute—there is nothing wrong or unsound in this method of financing television. We could not possibly accept the idea that has been argued at various stages of our debates on the Bill that advertisements are bad in themselves and must inevitably and always have an adverse effect on the prices of the goods that are advertised.
If we took that view, if we believed that the cost of advertising must always be loaded on to the price of the goods, then we should logically find ourselves possessed of a State shop, which would do away with the need for advertisements because there would be no question of choice and certainly no competition. We also take the view, upon which so much of the Bill rests, that, obviously, it is not right that advertisements for goods can be acceptable on hoardings, in buses, tubes, and in newspapers, but become bad or even dangerous if they appear on a television screen.
I can well understand owners of newspapers, who fear competition, taking that point of view, but I have found it difficult as our debates have progressed to comprehend the arguments of hon. Members opposite on that aspect of the matter, especially having regard to the safeguards in Clause 4 and the safeguards in the Second Schedule. I do not need, after our debate yesterday, to discuss any further the question of standards of advertising. We have laid down that there must be committees to deal with it, and we had a very full discussion of the matter yesterday.
313 I feel that as a result of our prolonged discussions we have been able to improve the Bill in many ways. In Clause 1 we start with the Authority itself. It is a public corporation with members appointed by the Government, just as they are appointed by the Government in the case of the B.B.C. I am not in a position tonight to announce the names of the new Authority, but I hope it will be possible for my noble Friend to do so before long. The Government assume that the Authority will be a responsible body, a public-spirited body, but if the House thinks otherwise—and I feel that some hon. Members have indicated that the Authority is not to be trusted—it should say so.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
Are we to understand from the hon. Gentleman that his noble Friend will announce the composition of the Independent Television Authority before the Bill becomes law?
I think he hopes to do so, but I should not like to be definite about the date. All I can say is that I cannot do so tonight, but I hope that before too long it will be possible to announce the names of the Authority.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) asked me one question the other day and again today if we have such faith in the good sense of the programme contractors to put on good programmes and of the advertising agents to maintain a high standard of conduct, why do we need an Authority at all and why is it necessary to endow the Authority with these powers?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
We do not have one for the Press, and the analogy is always between the Press and television.
That is a fair question and I will give the right hon. Gentleman an answer.
I doubt whether the Authority will ever be called upon to exercise what I might call its punitive powers in Clause 5 and the Third Schedule. I am convinced that the programme contractors, who will have the vast majority of the money at risk, are not likely to imperil their capital or good name by putting on anything objectionable. The reason why there is lo be an Authority was given by one of my hon. Friends this afternoon who said that we are entering an entirely new field and 314 that it is the Government's desire to proceed empirically, stage by stage. It is very desirable that public opinion should be adequately reassured on this question during that period. I suggest to hon. Members who doubt—and apparently there are many who doubt whether the Authority is likely to exercise the appropriate powers invested in it—that they should wait to see to what extent the Authority ever does exercise those powers.
The basis of the scheme is that the Authority runs the transmitting stations under Clause 2 (1) and has a final say in what goes out over the air. That is not the only safeguard. In the Financial Resolution connected with the Bill, we decided that the Authority should have an income of up to£750,000 a year of its own which it can use to maintain a proper balance of programmes or to put on programmes which, for various reasons, we do not want to be associated with advertising.
I detected a certain confusion in some hon. Members' minds about this. The Opposition voted against the grant of the money when we dealt with the Financial Resolution. They thought it unnecessary. So, I think, did some of my hon. Friends; certainly some of my hon. Friends said it was unnecessary, since no potential programme contractor had ever asked for it, which is quite true. I think the Opposition attacked it because they said it was too much. Such phrases as "picking the public's pocket" were bandied about.
That was one attitude. On the other hand, we were faced with a series of Amendments throughout the Committee stage the effect of which would have been to make necessary the spending of more money because the Opposition wished this type of programme, that type of programme and the other type of programme to be divorced altogether from advertisements and to be done not by the programme contractors but by the Independent Television Authority. It is quite clear that these two viewpoints—first, that the amount of money is too large and, secondly, that it is not large enough—are difficult to reconcile.
§ Mr. Shackleton
We have told the hon. Gentleman this about five times: his account of what transpired in Committee on the Money Resolution is a complete misrepresentation of the facts. 315 The Amendments were tabled in that form in order to conform with the rules of procedure. He knows that quite well.
§ Mr. Gammans
I accept that from the hon. Gentleman, but I find it difficult to accept it when we have had phrases like "picking the public's pocket." I do not think the hon. Member can have it both ways. Either the money is not enough or it is too much.
I am glad to say that in some important respects we have been able to satisfy the misgivings of people who were very worried about the Bill in the first instance. For example, there is to be no advertising in close juxtaposition to Her Majesty the Queen. That is an Amendment which I should have liked to discuss this evening but we have had no time for it. It is a pledge which I gave to the House, and I am glad to say that my noble Friend regards it as of vital importance.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Would the Minister state that quite clearly? Does he mean that programmes in which Her Majesty appear should be on the same basis as the religious programmes, for which special provision has been made?
§ Mr. Gammans
Roughly, yes, but I should like to give a more general pledge than that: there will be no advertising whatsoever in programmes where the Queen appears. I want to make that perfectly clear. My noble Friend attaches the utmost importance to it.
§ Mr. Gammans
The right hon. Gentleman will see that my noble Friend, who is responsible for this, has adequate power in the Bill as it stands.
§ Mr. Gammans
If the right hon. Member suggests that Ministers of the Crown will not act in the public interest in connection with the Royal Family, I am sorry, but we disagree on that.
§ Mr. Gammans
We thought religious broadcasting might have to be excluded altogether, but we have made arrangements, which we discussed in detail yesterday, which I am glad are acceptable to the British Council of Churches and representatives of Churches in Scotland. No religious body can buy time. No religious service can be associated with advertisements. We hope that the same committee which advises the B.B.C. will also advise the Authority.
There will be no sponsoring of programmes as the term is understood in the United States. The rules which we have laid down make it clear that the advertiser on television programmes will no more sponsor those programmes than advertisers sponsor the editorial columns of a daily newspaper.
There are some matters in which the Postmaster-General has the final say, and I will run over them briefly. The most important is the power to appoint and dismiss members of the Authority, to make regulations in regard to broadcasting, and to give directions on the strength of the stations and the erection of new stations. I suggest that those powers bring the methods of the Independent Television Authority under a much closer scrutiny by this House than occurs in the case of the B.B.C.
There is one point which I want to clear up. In Committee, I fell into error about the rights of people on Epsom Downs. We were discussing sporting rights, and I then suggested that I had some doubt as to how far the promoters of the races on Epsom Downs had television rights to sell in connection with the Derby. The Derby is run on Epsom Downs, part of which I thought was enclosed by the authority concerned and subject to admission charges, and the other part of which was freely open to the public.
On this basis, I suggested that anyone could set up a television camera on the free part, as I called it, and there would be no trouble about it. I find that on looking into the matter more closely, there is legislation on the subject. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for 317 South Shields (Mr. Ede) is not here, because I know this is a matter to which he paid particular attention in the past. There are the Epsom and Walton Downs (Regulation) Act, 1936, and certain bye-laws which have a bearing on this point. Therefore, my categorical statement that there was, as it were, an enclosed part and a free part is modified to that extent. I should like to make that clear now, because I should not like a false statement to go out from this House.
The Authority has considerable reserve powers—I say "reserve" because I do not believe that the occasion will arise when they will ever be used. They have, first, the ordinary remedies of 'the common law and the arrangements under Clause 5 (5), whereby the contractor may be fined up to£500, if necessary, for breaches of his contract, and after three such breaches his contract may be suspended or cancelled. Finally, I would refer to the provisions in the Third Schedule which can only come into operation if the Authority has reason to believe that a breach is likely to be committed.
Are these powers too extreme and are they likely to impede the reasonable development of this type of television? Are they likely to frighten off the good type of contractor which we all hope to get? I emphatically say, "no." No programme contractor whose aim it is to put on a good programme will be deterred by these powers. They are definitely reserve powers which can only be used against a contractor who wilfully sets out to lower tastes or to vitiate the spirit of the Bill.
I cannot yet give the House any details about who will be the programme contractors, or in what way the new television service will be organised. I can say this, however, that, although we only envisage three stations in the first instance, I hope that it will not be long before it will be possible for the Authority to extend its operations, especially to Scotland and to Wales, more particularly as we have had such strong demands from hon. Members opposite that we should do so. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am very glad to know that hon. Members opposite are as keen on having commercial television in Scotland and in Wales as we are to see it go there.
There is one final point. We on this side of the House believe that at this 318 stage of development in television it is very desirable to bring private enterprise into the business. Practically all other forms of entertainment are in the hands of private enterprise—the theatre, cinema, horse-racing and outdoor sport of all kinds. It would be extremely foolish of us, in my opinion, to take the view that because at some particular stage of television development we thought it right to entrust the task to a monopoly, that monopoly must always remain.
I know that hon. Members opposite do not share our views on the virtues of private enterprise in anything at all. To hon. Members opposite private enterprise is, at the very best, unreliable, and, at the worst, venal, but we do not take such a jaundiced view of a system which has always represented the best genius of our race, and which is largely responsible for providing us with our daily bread. We are convinced that by opening the door to new men and to new ideas, we shall be benefiting viewers in this country, and also, I hope—and I am sure that hon. Members opposite share this hope with me—that we shall be laying the foundations of a large export trade in films and in "canned" programmes which will make known the British way of life throughout the world. I am sure that they will agree with me on that, and that one of the by-products of this Bill will be that, as a result of it, this great export trade will be built up.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The hon. Gentleman's hopes would carry more conviction if it was not common knowledge that the Government have, in fact, sabotaged—I think that is not too strong a word—the B.B.C.'s plans for exporting television programmes.
§ Mr. Gammans
It would be improper for me to deal with that now, but I can assure the hon. Member that there has been no sabotage of any sort. We hope that private enterprise, without any Government subsidy at all, will be able to build up this export trade. This Bill provides an opportunity for private enterprise, and through the medium of the public Authority and under such safeguards as are necessary gives Parliament the final word in matters of importance.
We believe that in this way we can give the country a second programme at minimum cost to the viewer. It is a great 319 experiment, designed to enable private enterprise to provide a public service in a field which hitherto has been limited to a monopoly. I am confident that the experiment will be successful, and that the whole country, including viewers, artistes, producers, industry and trade, will benefit greatly from it.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Shackleton
The Assistant Postmaster-General's impassioned defence of private enterprise has nothing to do with the subject of this Bill. This is not the main issue at all. The fact that we are getting our daily bread by private enterprise does not enable us to get our post by private enterprise, and it has very little to do with the main controversy which divides us on this matter, and which, I say quite frankly, divides the country and divides the party opposite, at least in so far as many of its members in the country and in another place are concerned.
I should like to deal very briefly with our main objections to the Bill. First, I am sure that my hon. Friend's will agree with me when I say that all our fears with regard to this Measure, far from being allayed, as the Assistant Postmaster-General suggested the people's fears might be allayed when they heard the full details of the Government's programme, are in fact very seriously increased, and nothing he has said has in any way reduced our anxieties.
One of our difficulties is in finding out what the Government's plans really are, and I think it would be fitting to express appreciation of the fact that it is the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) who has given us a great deal more information about the Government's plans and has quite clearly understood them a great deal better than has the Assistant Postmaster-General. Indeed, we can see his masterly hand in making an otherwise unworkable scheme workable by ensuring that an element of sponsorship should come into it. We have seen the pressure which has grown from the back benches opposite and the Popular Television Association for some linking of programmes with advertisements in order to ensure that this scheme should be workable. I hope to say a few more words on that subject, but I think we must acknowledge that the hon. Member has made a great contribution in 320 erecting this appalling edifice in the shape of the commercial television network.
A frequent statement by the Assistant Postmaster-General, when we have put objections to a particular issue, is that the House cannot have it both ways. During the whole time that I have been in the House—eight years—I have never known a Minister to have it both ways quite so often as he has done on this Bill. He has had two types of main argument and played these arguments repeatedly throughout the course of the Bill. It was either trust the I.T.A., or, alternatively, trust me, or trust the British people, or trust the programme contractor. He switches between those different arguments to a really inconsistent degree. I should like to give him some examples.
First, the hon. Gentleman does not trust the Authority to set up certain committees, and, therefore, he has put them in the Bill. On the other hand, he trusts it to produce a code of advertising, despite the fact that he has given personal undertakings that he is responsible and that, therefore, his personal honour is at stake: but still he trusts the Authority to look after his personal honour. He is not prepared to trust the I.T.A. to carry out the provisions of the contracts which it will freely enter into with the programme contractors. He is not prepared to trust it not to apply the penal measures nor to use the provisions of the Bill without hurting his precious friends the programme contractors. On the other hand, he is still prepared to allow the I.T.A. to have the full responsibility for drawing up the whole of the contracts, despite the fact that it will be an extremely difficult job in view of the various loose undertakings that have been given by the Government and which have not been given statutory form.
I suggest that the ambivalent and evasive attitude of the Government is based upon two things. They have never really understood what this was all about and, therefore, they have always taken refuge by saying, "Leave it to the I.T.A. They will work it out." The second reason is that the Government have been pressed all along by certain interests. I am not using the word with a hiss, but am merely saying that certain interests have had a big hand in shaping the form that the Bill would take and that this latter consideration is one of the reasons why 321 the Bill has deteriorated and become worse throughout all its stages.
The Assistant Postmaster-General trotted out the old argument about the Opposition following opposite lines of argument when we moved in Committee on the Money Resolution to reduce the amount of money available to the I.T.A. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that that is the time honoured device by which an Opposition draws attention to something objectionable in the financial provisions. Our complaint is that it was not enough to do the job. We furthermore find that the Government's attitude—that the purpose of this money is to make the I.T.A. more independent—is matched by a consequential arrangement introduced into the Bill after Second Reading: namely, that the I.T.A. should not itself derive any money from advertisements on programmes which it may introduce in order to achieve a proper balance. There, again, the Assistant Postmaster-General said, "But I thought this was agreed by us all. The intention was to keep advertisements away from certain programmes."
I quite agree with that. There are certain programmes with which we do not want to see advertisements linked, but we do want some sort of balanced programme and we do not see how we are to get it unless there are network operations. I should like the Home Secretary when he replies to say how he hopes to introduce the network operation, which will be essential if the scheme is to work.
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman contemplate a system of sustaining time, such as obtains in the U.S.A.? This, I am convinced, is the only way in which the scheme can possibly be made workable. It is unfortunate that he has weakened one of the main instruments for introducing sustaining time by denying to the I.T.A. the right to derive funds from advertisements on programmes which are introduced to get a proper balance.
There are a number of other ways in which the Assistant Postmaster-General has weakened the I.T.A. He has reduced its opportunities for owning studio facilities. How in an emergency, as is provided for in the Bill—to quote the famous words,temporary lack of suitable—322 programme contractorsable and willing tofulfil their duties—can the I.T.A. possibly hope to put on programmes unless it has studios available? The Home Secretary may say that the I.T.A. can hire them, but what is it to do if, for instance, programme contractors as a whole get together and say, "You shall not have our studios"? In this respect also, the Authority has been seriously weakened.
As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has repeatedly said, the teeth that have been given to the I.T.A. are not only false, but the Government have prevented the I.T.A. closing its mouth. I do not believe that the Authority will be able to bite any of the programme contractors following the extraordinary alterations that have been made to the Bill. There is, for example, the extraordinary provision, introduced in Committee and debated yesterday on Report, that the I.T.A. was not to exercise any of its powers under the Third Schedule unless there was the apprehended possibility of a breach of the rules.
I should like to know whether the Home Secretary has had an opportunity to read last night's debate. The Solicitor-General made a speech which confused us more than somewhat. We would like to know how the powers under the Third Schedule are to be operated, particularly paragraphs 3 and 4, if there is a provision that they are only to be used if a breach is apprehended. I should like to know how the new Clause relating to committees is to be operated in the light of this proviso.
Has the Home Secretary any views—the Postmaster-General will bear some responsibility for this—on the type of advertisements which will be forbidden? We have several times raised the question of gambling and alcohol. Is it in these cases that the Postmaster-General is likely to give advice to the I.T.A. that they are not suitable subjects for advertising, as is the case in the United States, where there are no gambling advertisements and no advertisements for hard liquor? Are we to be What is known in the Government sense as progressive, and allow these advertisements?
There is not time to go in detail through the number of other items in the Bill, 323 but I must remind the Assistant Postmaster-General again that every time he says, "This is something quite different to what has happened in the United States," he shows that he simply has not investigated the situation. The type of programme that he will introduce is known in the United States as a package programme. In the light of recent statements, it is more clearly related to a sponsored programme and is halfway between a package programme and a sponsored programme. But even with the purely package programme, of which the advertiser is not expected to know the contents, unlike the provisions here, the Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly said that this type of programme is unsuitable for controversy, and particularly unsuitable for political controversy. The Commission has expressed the view that these types of programmes should be put on where there is no commercial interest in the programme—in fact, on the sustaining programme.
I should like to know whether the Government think that the I.T.A. should follow the lines which the F.C.C. have advocated in America or whether we should allow controversy to be mixed up with advertising.
The Government have repeatedly stated that there are adequate safeguards in the Bill, and I would only point out, looking again to the American experience, that the safeguards are very similar to those in the legislation passed in America setting up the F.C.C. and its responsibility in relation to the radio. It has the same power to suspend licences, but it has never exercised that power because it has been too drastic and the pressure has been too great. It has power to ensure a balanced programme and proper presentation of controversy. When it has tried to exercise those powers it has found itself tied up in the courts.
I would suggest to the Home Secretary that, due to the Amendment laying down that action can only be taken under the Third Schedule for a breach when it is apprehended, it will be open to the programme contractors, if the I.T.A. tries to exercise its powers or refuses permission, to broadcast something to bring an injunction against it under the terms of the Bill. That is precisely the position that has led the United States down the 324 path to the type of appalling sponsorship which I am sure the Assistant Postmaster-General along with us does not want to see in this country.
The most appalling thing that the Government have done is to open the way to sponsorship, and I would again ask the Home Secretary how he reconciles the statements made by the Government in another place, in the White Paper and by himself with that just made by the Assistant Postmaster-General. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Government's plan was that the operating companies would have a spot somewhere in programmes without the companies being concerned with the programme content.
We had the right hon. and learned Gentleman rather on the spot about half an hour ago when he tried to explain the position, and he has never answered the point. He has never said how the Government's solemn undertaking that there would be no linking of programmes and advertisers matches with the statement which the Assistant Postmaster-General made in the last hour of the Report stage that the type of programme, whether it was soap opera, news or sports, would be revealed to the potential advertiser and would obviously be a factor in the advertisers' decision as to whether he would or would not buy advertising time on that particular programme.
This reveals what we have always maintained, that the system would only work and could only work if there was a relationship between advertising and the programme. This revelation by the hon. Gentleman destroys completely the Government's case which the Assistant Postmaster-General himself has repeatedly said has now largely disarmed criticism. I think the criticism will grow stronger than before, and I hope and expect both in the country and in another place that there will be real appreciation of the fact that the Government have, in fact, sold a pup, and a pup of commercial and sponsored parentage.
§ Mr. Ian Harvey
Is the hon. Gentleman going to sustain the argument that, if a fashion advertiser insists on his advertisement appearing in a newspaper on the fashion page, he is dictating to the 325 newspaper as to its fashion content? That is what he is suggesting will come about here, and it is nonsense.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Quite obviously the appearance of a fashion newspaper would to a large extent depend on the existence of fashion advertisers.
§ Mr. Harvey
I am not talking about fashion newspapers, but about the fashion page of a national newspaper.
§ Mr. Shackleton
I am perfectly prepared to concede that they probably do not have much affect, but the point is that there are certain types of programmes, whether they are soap opera, news or sports, on which the majority of advertisers will be keen because they cater for a mass marker. The hon. Gentleman knows better than anyone in this House the type of people who are likely to advertise, and they will be essentially the people who will go after the mass market. They are essentially the people who will go mainly for certain types of programme, just as happens in the United States.
I would say that they would be failing in their commercial responsibilities and so would the hon. Gentleman—and I make no reflection on him personally in saying this—with his experience of advertising work if they did not go for the type of programme calculated to bring the best returns to their clients. I am not saying that they would be in a position, except in special circumstances, to influence the content of an individual programme, but they would influence the type of programme, and they would, in fact, determine whether the general pattern of broadcasting on the commercial system would lead to that debasement which it has always been our contention will spring from this system.
Our objections are not because this is private enterprise. I would ask the Assistant Postmaster-General to believe that. It is not an issue of public enterprise versus private enterprise, nor is it an issue of monopoly versus competition. The arguments in favour of the monopoly system were largely technical and to me were overwhelming, but we would have been prepared to concede an independent alternative programme. The Government know perfectly well that the Opposition would have conceded such a programme, if they had been willing to 326 talk with us without insisting on the prior condition that we accept advertising.
We accept that private enterprise—and again I stress this, forms the major part of our economy, whether we like it or not, or whether we prefer the Socialist system or the capitalist system. But we do not consider that private enterprise as applied in commerce and industry could be carried through in the field of entertainment and art, and furthermore that the economic system should be so distorted so that our entertainment is sold to us and is provided for us purely as a lure for the sale of goods.
I should like to find where the classical economists—and I admit most of them existed before radio—could find an analogy that puts this logically into the private enterprise picture. The truth of the matter is that the influence of commerce on art and entertainment has not been wholly good. The commercial yahoos have in many cases been destructive of creative art. I should like to say that what the artist wants is not freedom in the commercial sense but freedom to create and very often the creative artist has created and the executive artist performed most happily and successfully under direct patronage either private or of the State.
This argument that entertainment in this country is largely by private enterprise is complete nonsense. We all know large sections of the entertainment world which are part of the State. But I do not want to go too far into this argument of the relationship between the artist and his employer. I would say, however, that it is complete distortion of the facts to suggest that the artist or entertainer automatically wants commercial freedom.
This Bill is likely either to lead to conflict between the I.T.A. and the programme contractors, or it will lead to the I.T.A. weakly giving in. That I suggest it will have to do under its limited powers, and it will lead to everything we feared when the Government's proposals were first put forward. This is a defeat for enlightenment in this field. It is not an issue of private enterprise versus public enterprise. It is a question of integrity and of something which is good and of tremendous importance.
Nobody on either side of the House will deny the consequences and 327 importance of this medium to the future life of this country, and I would say it is an appalling thing that it should be developed in the way it is going to be under this system and not conscientiously developed in the way that it has been up to now to achieve that knowledge of man about man and that knowledge of God that comes from a great art. I can only say that the Government have done a very bad day's work in introducing this Bill.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Captain L. P. S. Orr (Down, South)
The House will be relieved to know that I have come to the conclusion that the Bill should be read the Third time. I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) for the kindly words he said about me personally. He attempted to father the Bill upon me.
§ Captain Orr
Well, almost. I find that difficult to reconcile with his usual politeness and with his general contention that, in fact, the Bill had its origin in a group of hon. Members who had some financial interest. As he well knows, I have no financial interest in the matter. He cannot have it both ways. At any rate, he has fought his way through the Committee and Report stages and he has never lost his temper or been impolite, unlike his right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), who, perhaps, strayed away from these paths of rectitude and good conduct.
The origin of the Bill lies in the fact that most hon. Members on this side have for a long time felt that the B.B.C. monopoly should come to an end. That undoubtedly is the view of hon. Members on this side of the House. Any suggestion that the Bill was fostered by commercial interests is a complete figment of the imagination of the party opposite. I know of no warranty for it. During our debates I have never heard one word of evidence or justification. It has merely been part of an unscrupulous campaign conducted against the whole idea of freedom and of a competitive system of television. It has been conducted by the National Television Council of which the hon. Member for Woolwich. East (Mr. Mayhew), the hon. Member for Preston, South and Lady Violet Bonham Carter and others 328 who have had connections with the B.B.C. have served.
No doubt we shall see more of the pressure campaign when the Measure goes to another place. I have no doubt that the hon. Member for Woolwich, East is already laying his plans to continue the campaign against—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)
Order. It seems to me that the hon. Member is now making a Second Reading rather than a Third Reading speech.
§ Captain Orr
In view of your observation, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I will now come to the Bill itself.
The Bill breaks the B.B.C. monopoly, which is what we set out to do. It is highly desirable that in broadcasting, and especially in television, the monopoly should not continue. We have seen one example of the sort of restrictive use that a monopoly can make of its power, which gives point to the necessity for the Bill. I refer to the contract which the B.B.C. has just made with the N.B.C. in America. That contract is highly restrictive.
§ Captain Orr
No doubt it has been made with a private enterprise company, but, nevertheless, it is a restrictive contract.
The hon. Member for Preston, South spoke of the freedom of the artist to create. He said that was all the artist wanted. What the artist really wants is freedom to sell his creations and to submit them to people who are competing with each other. The monopoly in television denies him that right, because if the man is a creative artist in the television field the existence of the monopoly means that there is only one body of persons to which he can sell the results of his labours. It is the only outlet he has.
If he is an efficient and imaginative producer of television programmes, he has only the monopoly to which he can sell his labour whereas, under the competition which the Bill will allow, the producer, the creative artist in the television field, will have more than one person to whom he can submit his work.
§ Mr. Shackleton
Without conceding all the implications of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's argument, I should like to say that I have already made it clear, as have many of my hon. Friends, that we should have been prepared to accept a second employer in this field, but we did not consider it necessary to introduce all these commercial influences.
§ Captain Orr
I accept that from the hon. Gentleman, but it is not the point of view of all hon. Members opposite. If I recollect aright, the very campaign about which I was talking when I was called to order was directed to maintaining the B.B.C. monopoly.
§ Captain Orr
At any rate, my views are known. If anything, I thought that we probably did not need the Bill at all. I have always felt that under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts the Postmaster-General had authority in any case to license a television transmitter anywhere he wanted. I have always thought that what ought to have been done was to use that power. However, we have got a Bill There are certain provisions which I have not liked from the beginning. I have not liked the financial provisions. I have always taken the view that we did not need to expend public money and that the Authority did not need to have the power to erect or to own transmitters.
I have always thought that programme contractors could be found who would be willing to build their own transmitters and to undertake the capital expenditure involved. I always thought that the provision covering that matter was unnecessary, and also that it was unnecessary to take the£750,000 out of the licence fees. I do not see any reason why the Authority itself should ever have to put on commercial programmes.
We have had an assurance that this is not necessarily a continuing state of affairs and that, once the Authority is doing well, and is getting its revenue from the leasing of its transmitters to the programme contractors, it should be in a position not only to undertake the repayment of the capital involved in the erection of the transmitters, but eventually—within a very short time—it should be able to do without the£750,000. It should be no charge whatever upon the licence revenue.
330 I should like to see a greater amount of that revenue going to the B.B.C. I have always thought that we ought not to damage the B.B.C. We want the B.B.C. to continue as it is. I should like the B.B.C. to get an increasing share of the licence revenue and I should like the new Authority to stand on its own feet. After a year or two we ought to see that development. I am certain that after a few years, if the Authority is given a fair chance, that will happen.
We have succeeded in putting right one feature, and the Bill is better for it. We have changed certain provisions to make it clear that the Authority is not to become another B.B.C. We had great fears about the Bill at first, and I personally had a lot of reservations on Second Reading. We feared that it would allow the Authority, by an improper exercise of its power, to own studios, to build a whole empire for itself, and, in effect, in the end to reduce the programme contractor to the position which a B.B.C. producer holds, which the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) knows very well. We have succeeded in getting that position right, and it is now quite clear that if the Authority is ever to set up studios it will be done only in the case of emergency.
One remarkable feature of the passage of the Bill through Committee has been the way in which certain divergent views have been reconciled. I think we have done a very good job of work in the Committee in that respect. I shall not disguise the fact that certain of my hon. Friends and myself had differing views. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader Cooper) and I had very divergent views, and as the Committee proceeded certain things happened which have satisfied him and me, and the result has been that the divergency has been narrowed to the point of extinction. My hon. Friend has another important engagement, but he promised me that if he can get back he will make the same point on Third Reading. He asked me, if he did not get here, that I should make the point for him.
Broadly speaking, the things which have satisfied people who have held the opposite view from mine are, first, the setting up of the advisory committee on which we decided in Committee—not only the advisory committee to deal with 331 religious broadcasts but the other advisory committee—and the fact that the Authority, subject to its other obligations, has to accept the recommendations of that advisory committee. That has gone a long way towards satisfying some people who had fears about the standards. Another fact which has helped to satisfy people is that the Ministry of Health is probably to be represented on that committee, which will include people who are concerned with medical matters.
The assurances which were given during the Committee stage about religious broadcasting—the fact that the Council of Churches has approved the arrangements made by the religious advisory committee, and the fact that there shall be no advertisement in close proximity to religious services—have also gone a long way to meet objections. I think there are still probably divergent views on the question whether or not a religious body should be empowered to buy time on the air, but no doubt we may hear something of that in another place.
The provisions concerning Royal events have satisfied many people who had fears in this connection. The fact that no advertisement will appear in close proximity to the Queen—
§ Captain Orr
Yes, in the same programme; that is also very satisfactory.
As for people who held my view, we are very happy that the I.T.A. is not, in the normal run of events, to build itself into a B.B.C. and is not to own studios, outside broadcasting units and the like. We are also pleased that certain of the restrictions on advertising have been qualified to allow the documentary film and things of that sort to be shown on the air. I think that is very important, because, otherwise, the Bill would have been unworkable. That is a very important amendment to have made in Committee, and it helps considerably to make the Bill really work.
My view is that as the Bill stands, it is workable. During the Second Reading I had certain doubts on this score, but I think that we now have a workable scheme. I think we have provided that the right choice of persons is to be made to serve on the I.T.A. I hope that the 'Government, when choosing the members 332 of the Independent Television Authority, will remember that they ought to be, in the first place, people who believe in private enterprise. That is a very important qualification. They should believe that this competitive system of television is the best one.
§ Mr. W. T. Proctor (Eccles)
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggests that those who are to serve on the Authority should be believers in private enterprise, would he also suggest that those on nationalised bodies should be Socialists?
§ Captain Orr
Oh, no. I do not want to be drawn into a discussion on nationalised bodies, because we might get on to the question of who should be appointed as governors of the B.B.C., which I always regard as a nationalised body.
Here we have a new service venturing into a new field. Obviously, it ought to be captained and guided by people who believe that it is going to be a success. There is no use in starting out on a venture if one is continually looking over one's shoulder, looking for hazards and wondering who is to be pleased and who is to be offended. We must have robust people with some experience of free enterprise and competition, energetic people who can make this venture a success.
§ Captain Orr
That brings me to my next point, which is that if we get the right people they will interpret the Bill aright. The interpretation of the Bill is very important because, as everyone knows, it is always possible to interpret an Act of Parliament in a highly restrictive way. In fact, if one construed an Act of Parliament in a highly detailed manner, one might possibly never do anything because one might be too afraid of infringing this or that section or having to make a regulation about this or that.
§ Mr. Douglas Houghton (Sowerby)
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggesting that we should look for an Authority strong enough to ignore the law?
§ Captain Orr
No. I was suggesting that there should be set up an Authority which would interpret the law in the proper way. I will not say what the proper way is because, being an Irishman, I have the greatest respect for the law, as is well known. We want to get people who are believers in the medium, if possible people who know something about television and who set out with the object of making the thing a success from the beginning.
Now that we have got the Bill so far, and now that we have a good Bill, we want the greatest possible speed. We hope that when the Bill is in another place there will not be many Amendments. The only point upon which there can possibly be an Amendment in the other place is on the subject of sporting events, which has not been properly cleared up. I hope that the greatest possible speed will be urged in giving the Bill the Royal Assent and putting it into effect.
In the campaign against commercial television there has been much public misrepresentation about what will happen. It has been portrayed as a sort of bogy which will lower standards and all the rest of it. What we want now is to have the new programmes under the Authority on the air at the earliest possible moment. When appointing the Independent Television Authority the Government should impress upon the members of the Authority the need for getting ahead as soon as possible. There should not be delay about the provision of transmitters. I am advised that there is no reason why there should be any delay in getting 100 kilowatt transmitters.
When moving the Third Reading, the Assistant Postmaster-General said that he hoped to see the programmes on the air by next year. Provided we get the right people on the Authority, and that speed is urged upon them, I see no reason why by September, 1955, we should not be able to see—[An HON. MEMBER: "A Labour Government."] God forbid, I am talking about joyful news—I do not see why we should not have the joyful news of these new programmes coming out in competition with the B.B.C.
I am sure that once they are on the air and given a fair start—they would be so popular that the party opposite would 334 not dare to undo this Measure. Under the Bill—a very much better Bill than when we began—I believe support will be forthcoming. When the Authority gets going the programmes will be popular in the extreme. All the clamour we have had during the Committee stage will completely die away and we shall hear nothing about it again. I hope that the Bill will be read the Third time.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr), in his usual moderate and pleasant style, has given us his usual immoderate and unpleasant opinions on this subject. He is certainly very hard to please. He began by explaining how, in this way and that, the Bill had been amended to satisfy him and that now at long last he was satisfied with the Bill. But, to make everything doubly sure, he went on to say that it would still be necessary to pack the I.T.A. with the right type of people so as to interpret the Bill in the way the hon. and gallant Member preferred. I thought he was carrying it a little too far. If the Bill is good enough we should have it properly interpreted by a fairly selected I.T.A.
The hon. and gallant Member talked about the excellent programmes we are to have. I think those programmes will have to be good if this organisation is to live down the very sordid reputation it has already got by the way in which the campaign has been launched on the country. When he challenged us to say that the origin of the campaign was not on the issue of the monopoly, he had only to consult the records to see that the campaign waged, for example, by the American-controlled advertising agency of J. Walter Thompson—a long time before we had the subject in this House and a long time before the question of B.B.C. monopoly was raised—was in fact the first impulse given to this campaign. I think the whole system will have a lot to live down when it begins operating.
I thought the hon. and gallant Member was struggling a little with the problem we all have of saying something fresh about the subject after the prolonged controversy we have had on it. We are helped a little by the fact that the Government view has changed a little as the debate proceeded. The controversy began with great speeches in favour of 335 sponsored television. The Government were outspoken about it. They went so far as to say that we should have sponsored sound broadcasting, as well as sponsored television.
In the discussion I think we made some impact and the campaign against sponsored television made some impression on the more independently-minded Members of the Government As a result sponsorship was abandoned. We were told that sponsorship was wrong, and the worst possible thing would be for the advertiser to decide what programmes should come on and what programmes should stay off. So it remained until almost the last day of the Bill, but now we find that in fact admissions have been made by the Government which reinstate the whole power of the advertiser over the programme.
This is not the last we shall hear on his point, I am glad to say. This Bill will be going to another place. Whether there is a case for a revising Chamber at all I am never quite sure, and I think my hon. Friends and I would find ourselves in disagreement on that point. But if ever there were a case for a revising second Chamber, surely it would be to amend or reject a Bill of this nature on an important subject, a semi-constitutional subject, a Bill introduced under the pressure of vested interests—make no mistake about that.
It is a Bill which has no support from public opinion. It has never been put to the electors at any Election but has been steam-rollered through this House after rejecting all-party talks, with the use of three-line Whips and the Guillotine. It has been most strongly and steadfastly supported by hon. Members who have declared a financial interest in this affair. If ever there were a case for a revising second Chamber I should have thought it was in relation to this Bill.
§ Mr. Ian Harvey
Would the hon. Member agree that it has been strongly opposed by hon. Members who have had close association with the B.B.C. and vested interests in it?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I think the opposition has been amazingly widespread, in both political parties, in the Press and by large sections of public opinion. Those connected with the B.B.C. also have good means of knowing the failings of commercialism as against public ownership.
336 Nevertheless, we have to agree that this abominable system may be brought into operation. Most people hope that it will fail ignominiously and be replaced by something less sordid and more British. Nevertheless, we have to face facts that it may begin to operate.
If it does work, what are we to look forward to? I thought it was put very well by the Assistant Postmaster-General himself, when he said that he saw no reason why this country should not become the Hollywood of the television world. That is the bait dangling before our eyes. If this works, and if it does not collapse in ignomy, that is what we have to look forward to. What are the characteristics of Hollywood? They are excessively mercenary and overwhelmingly American, and those are two of the characteristics of the Government's Television Bill, because it is American, and we all still underestimate the menace of the impact of Americanism which will come through this Bill.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I should not object at all, but I was coming to that, and I shall show that it will not.
I say that this Bill is, in fact, overwhelmingly American. The idea of broadcasting advertisements is American in origin and exploitation. The very style of the White Paper introducing this Bill is American in several sentences. American interests helped to fashion this idea in this country, particularly the American-controlled advertising agency of J. Walter Thompson. American advertising men have been over her to train British advertising men in the techniques of television advertising; and many of our advertising men have travelled to the United States to learn there, from American commercialism, all the techniques which sell goods on television.
We have had a long debate which has revealed the enormous number of American recorded television programmes which will be imported into this country. On Committee stage the Government refused to accept an Amendment by 337 which we tried to cut down the flood of cheap American-imported recorded programmes. Under commercialism there will undoubtedly be a large number of these, but there is another point which was not brought out during our discussions on Committee stage. We were not talking about recorded programmes of foreign origin which will be the staple fare under the Bill. They will be films and recorded programmes which are American in every respect except that they are actually manufactured in this country.
There are a number of producers of television programmes in this country who are turning out film programmes for broadcasting. The best known of them is Douglas Fairbanks himself, who operates in this country with American capital, producing films for the American market, and also for the British commercial circuit when it comes. Technically, these films are not American. They are all of British origin. They do not even come under the Clauses which we discussed in Committee. This will be the staple fare of commercial television in this country.
The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) suggested that if we become, so to speak, the British Hollywood, would not that make us a dominant factor in the film world, the world of selling commercial television programmes to the American home market. The reason why Hollywood arose as it did was because it was based on an immense American home market. That was what enabled it to flood the world with its exports. In the television market exactly the same will be true. If there is a commercial motivation behind the production of television films it will insist that those films can be sold in America; and the producers will be interested from the commercial angle in what they can get for them at home. Although the films may be produced in Britain, they will be angled, tailored, slanted and edited so as 10 be saleable in the United States, and in this way the influence of the United States on British television will be immense.
We see some of the influence of Hollywood films on our way of life today, though it is not very serious. Compared with television the impact of films is minute and almost negligible in importance. But evening after evening, in 338 millions of British homes, all this imported American stuff, produced in Britain but really angled for the United States market, and produced under American methods by British advertisers trained in America, will have a devastating effect on British culture and the British way of life. In any case, I think it important that the British nation should adjust themselves against the overwhelming impact of American culture, and British commercial television will give us a hard push in the wrong direction.
§ Mr. Beresford Craddock (Spelthorne)
Is not it a fact that already American films are being shown in this country on the B.B.C. television system?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am not a nationalist, I am not a Chauvinist. I welcome an exchange of programmes. I only ask that the proportion should be kept in balance and that the motivation be right. The B.B.C. motivation is to try to give the viewer what he wants. That of commercial television programme producers will be to try to make money. They will make money far better by producing programmes which will sell in America, than by making programmes to sell in Britain. Even the programmes produced for the home market will be angled, slanted and tailored to the American viewpoint.
-We all agree about the desirability of an export market in television programmes. If the Bill laid down the basis upon which we could gain much needed dollars by the export of television programmes, that would he a point in its favour. What have the Government been doing about the export of television programmes? I ought perhaps to declare a slight personal interest here because I have been mixed up in it. The fact that I have been mixed up in it means that I can speak from personal experience.
In May, 1952, the B.B.C. put to the Government a scheme requiring a£250,000 loan annually for three years which would enable it to export filmed programmes which had been produced here. It is a good idea. It is comparatively simple and cheap to film programmes given in this country—one must not do it disproportionately and one must also bear in mind that the home viewer should come first—edit them and then export them. That brings in a lot of money, and, in addition, it spreads the idea of the 339 British way of life and British culture throughout the world in the way the B.B.C. has done with its Overseas Service. It is a money-maker, and it provides first-class propaganda for Britain.
The Government have sabotaged the whole scheme. They have made no reply in three years to the B.B.C.'s plan. We have heard about establishing ourselves as a Hollywood, but the Americans have been given a three-year start in the world market as the result of the deliberate sabotage of the B.B.C.'s plan by the Government. It is sheer hypocrisy for the Government to come to the House and say that dollars can be earned by means of our television exports.
We could earn dollars in this way in Canada. The Canadians, even in Quebec, are desperately keen to keep their British way of life and British culture intact against the overwhelming pressure of the American culture across their frontier. The Canadians are worried about the situation, and commission after commission has reported on the point. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been on bended knees for recorded B.B.C. television programmes. Unlike the B.B.C.'s Overseas Service, the B.B.C. Television Service is not allowed to borrow a penny The result is that it cannot get the few hundreds or thousands of pounds or the studios which are needed to set up the scheme. If it could, it could satisfy the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and other markets in the Commonwealth and the United States which are interested in the scheme.
The leader of the opposition in the Government is, unbelievably, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations. I hope there will be an opportunity to discuss this matter. I must not go wide of the Bill now. It will no doubt be appropriate to discuss when the Drogheda Report is discussed. We shall then be able to refer to the censure which it rightly places on the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations for complacency in the matter of relations in the Commonwealth.
The Bill will Americanise British television. It provides no evidence that the Government are sincere in saying that they want to develop an export in British television programmes.
340 Another outstanding feature of Hollywood is that it has been excessively commercialised. British television will be excessively commercialised. Just as in Hollywood commercialisation has perverted film making, so will television be perverted in this country. The Bill will put television into the hands of the wrong people, people who are acting under the wrong motive. The motive will be not that of giving good programmes but that of selling soap, tobacco and other commodities.
People will regard television as an advertising medium, as a means to an end. They will look on the programme as a mere bridge in order to keep their attention between one advertisement and another, and people will come to look at television as simply an instrument of acquiring wealth and power for themselves. That is the wrong kind of attitude, and it is the kind of attitude which will pervert television from its true function. It will result in the creative people going under, and being displaced by the financial people, just as was the case in Hollywood.
It will not make for the kind of programme that we need, because the creative people will surrender their integrity, conform and thereby get rich, or else they will starve. That is what will happen in television here, as it has done in the United States. Any actor, writer, producer or film man who puts the integrity of the programmes in front of its popularity will be on the street overnight. The advertiser will not touch them at all, and the advertisers are quite right, from their own point of view, to judge the thing simply by the number of viewers who see the commercialised programmes.
This is the whole difference between a fine television system and an ignoble one. I am not sure that it may not even be all the difference between a noble country and a second-class or medium country. Today, there are a mere 3,500,000 viewers. The service has not even started, and I am waiting for the day when television will be the greatest force in the country. I say that, if our television is then corrupt, it can have an effect right throughout our national life.
Why this craze for commercialism? We have heard in the debate, and it is sometimes suggested, that it is something new, but, of course, this commercial 341 broadcasting is quite a fly-blown idea. It had its heyday in the '20s and '30s, and it was our pride that we turned our backs on it and instead developed a broadcasting service which has earned a great reputation throughout the world. That was a unique and characteristic British decision when we turned our backs, in the '20s and '30s, on this commercial broadcasting.
The Government now want us to change direction and take up again this old idea, which many people in the United States are now turning against, because it is becoming technically obsolete with the invention of television slot machines. The Government want us to turn round and start anew, following on those old pioneers of the 20's and 30's. Who were the pioneers? They were Luxembourg, Portugal, Andorra, Monaco, Greece and Chicago. These are the pioneers whom the Government are now inviting us to follow, and for whom we are to abandon the great British tradition of broadcasting, which has made a unique contribution in this great sphere. We are to follow the lead of those pioneers—the same people who have been running Radio Luxembourg and are now muscling in on the new system.
Why must we turn our backs on the great tradition of British broadcasting like this? We can break the existing monopoly without doing this, as the Home Secretary himself well knows. I have been disappointed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman. When we saw that he was to have the handling of this Bill, we thought we had at least a powerful man at work upon it, but I am bound to say that the position is just the same as if it had been handled by a much smaller man than the Home Secretary, and that is a great disappointment to us.
§ Mr. Gower
The hon. Gentleman is making a very fair speech in many ways, but may I ask him why he speaks all the time as if the B.B.C. is to come to an end? We hope that the B.B.C. will go on from strength to strength, and that, in competition with the new Authority, may achieve more than it has ever achieved in the past.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I hold the view that the B.B.C. will be severely handicapped by the Bill, and that the competition will be extremely unfair. B.B.C. funds will be 342 limited, while those of the commercial service will not be limited, and, in many ways, the B.B.C. will be handicapped from the start. Even so, I am not standing for a B.B.C. monopoly, and the Home Secretary well knows that there was the opportunity of an all-party agreement on this question, which was perfectly practicable, and would have been supported by the overwhelming mass of public opinion, which could have secured a breaking of the monopoly without the introduction of this American advertising. It was rejected by the Government, which was most unstatesmanlike of them, and they will live to repent it. If we adopt this system, we shall be a worse and a poorer country. I wish that the Government had the wisdom and statesmanship to hold out the olive branch, such as was offered to them, and to stick to the British tradition of broadcasting and jettison the Bill.
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ Sir Robert Grimston (Westbury)
As usual, an agreeably delivered speech has just come from the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew). We have had from him all the propaganda and all the old bogeys which have been trotted out in this controversy for many months. One phrase which he used struck me, and with it I agree. He said that he looked forward to the day when television would be by far the greatest social force that there had even been. I believe that that is a correct repetition of what he said.
Imagine that we should consider leaving such a force in the hands of a single State monopoly. That is what the Opposition are asking us to do. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is what they are asking us to do, and there is no practical alternative. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I cannot go far on this point because it is not in the Bill, but if hon. Gentlemen opposite say that a practical alternative is to have a number of State-run broadcasting establishments, I suggest that these would all join together and become one organisation again, and then we should be no further on than we were before. I cannot now develop that argument.
The important thing that emerges is that on the day when the Bill receives the Royal Assent there will no longer be a single State monopoly in this country 343 of the greatest social force which has developed in this century. That is a matter of very great importance, considering that we are doing many other things to see that we do not fall into totalitarian ideas.
I go so far as to say that the advent of T.V. in the 20th century is to be compared with the advent of the printing press some 400 or 500 years ago. Would anybody now suggest that if our forefathers had put the printing press into the hands of a State monopoly we should be the free people that we are, or that we would ever have left it there, or that if we had we could enjoy the freedom that we have today? We are being true to the whole conception of our political development and our way of life in breaking this monopoly while it can still be done.
One of the things that has forcibly struck me in this controversy is the extent to which the idea of the B.B.C. monopoly has taken hold and the terrific, and often most unscrupulous, opposition which has been employed to try to prevent the B.B.C. monopoly being broken. Indeed, as the campaign has gone on, I have become more and more fortified in my determination to see that the Bill went through and that the monopoly should be broken.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Why has not the hon. Baronet urged upon the Government to do the same thing for sound broadcasting as for commercial television? Is it because there is no money in sound broadcasting?
§ Sir R. Grimston
I will tell the right hon. Gentleman why. I think he is to wind up the debate for the Opposition. As I have watched the right hon. Gentleman I have hoped that, as he is a Privy Councillor and has held office, he would be able to listen more quietly in future to what other people say than he has done throughout the debates on the Bill. He has been continually interrupting. Now I will give him the answer about sound broadcasting.
With the advent of T.V., sound broadcasting is of secondary importance. I should like to see that monopoly broken too, and I make no secret about it. It is of secondary importance, and to get the T.V. monopoly broken is the main 344 thing. This country can be reached by sound broadcasting from everywhere, including Moscow. At present, we can only receive the television programmes in this country, although I hope that in the future that will be altered.
I come back to the point that television is the more important of the two. I would like to include them both, but I regard the breaking of the monopoly in regard to television as the most important. After seeing the campaign that has gone on, I have become more and more convinced of the necessity of breaking the monopoly. This Bill does not do away with the B.B.C., though it was even suggested in the original propaganda against this Bill that it did, so far did it go in trying to mislead people in this matter.
I now come to the controversy about the method of breaking of the monopoly. As everybody knows the method adopted by the Bill is to allow private enterprise television, financed practically entirely by advertising and controlled by the I.T.A. I want, first, to say something on the question of advertising on television. In the course of our discussions in Committee, the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) made what I thought was a very good remark in this connection. He said that advertising was the handmaiden of commerce. I took special note of that phrase at the time because I thought that it was a wise observation.
If we fail commercially, then, to use the vernacular, I think we shall have "had it," because if we fail we shall never be able to support 50 million people on these islands. In television we have an extraordinary invention, and the possibilities of its commercial development are immense. There are those who argue, in defiance of what the hon. Member for Deptford said, that advertising should not be used on television. For the life of me, I cannot understand why this handmaiden, who is essential to commerce in every other direction, should not be allowed to function on television, except, of course, as I say, for purely prejudiced motives.
Why advertising, which is accepted in every other direction, becomes so terribly wicked on television, really passes my comprehension. We had this sort of thing happening on Report, when the hon. 345 Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) was almost crying over the possibilities of television advertising on Sundays, and making what appeared to be a most impressive speech until we found out, through an interjection of my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General, that he is connected with cinemas which have been advertising on Sundays for ages. Hypocrisy of that sort is utterly nauseating.
Let it always be remembered that if one does not wish to look at advertising at any time, under the Government's proposal one has the power of the knob, and can switch over to the B.B.C. I cannot help thinking that much of this campaign against television advertising springs from the same mentality as that of those who in bygone days opposed bear-baiting, not because they were terribly upset about the pain which it gave the bear, but because they hated the pleasure which it gave the spectators. From some of the things said by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), I believe that he is terrified of the public liking commercial television. The right hon. Gentleman gives one the impression—perhaps he will contradict it when he speaks later—that he hates the idea of the public liking commercial television.
I turn now to the commercial aspect. Is this Bill so hedged about with restrictions that no commercial firm will look at it? If it is, then this method of breaking the B.B.C. monopoly will obviously fail. Quite frankly, I believe that as the Bill was introduced there was that danger, but that it has been removed in Committee. In particular, we have made it clear that the I.T.A. cannot set itself up as another B.B.C. In the main, it will have to commission the programmes, and only in the last resort produce programmes itself.
In addition, documentaries will now be possible under the Bill. In those directions I think that the Bill is very much improved, and that with a sensible Authority—which I am sure we shall get—and with programme contractors of good standing a success will be made of this Bill and that under it private enterprise can develop this medium to our very great advantage.
The party opposite dislike private enterprise. They suffer it, They made 346 it quite clear that if they could have had their way we should have no private enterprise in television. That has been made abundantly clear. I think it will be very fair to the public to give them the chance to see it, because all this controversy and the bogies and propaganda will never be disposed of until we have seen commercial television, In the same way, the warmongering bogy was not disposed of until we had peace under a Conservative Government. In view of the violent controversy it will be a very good thing to have this resolved by experience. Moreover, it will be a very good arrangement if the public can see commercial television before the next General Election.
I would urge the Government, when this Bill has received the Royal Assent, to make the necessary arrangements for the introduction of the alternative programme without delay. If no time is lost we believe that the programmes can be on the air by the autumn of next year.
§ Sir R. Grimston
Not at all. I think that the party opposite is frightened and does not want it before the next General Election.
I come back to my main theme. The Bill breaks a State monopoly in a realm where no free society could allow it to continue—the realm of the mind. I believe that that is the important thing, and the paramount justification of the Bill, and despite what the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) said that was the mainspring of its inception. I welcome the Bill, but I would repeat that I hope that the Government will get it into operation as soon as possible.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Mr. G. Darling
The hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) said that we on this side were all in favour of the B.B.C. monopoly. That is untrue. Many of us have been campaigning against that monopoly, in public at any rate, for a far longer period than have hon. Members opposite. Some of us suggested an alternative scheme to the Beveridge Committee, and I think that anyone who looks at the evidence of a group of the Fabian Society—
§ Sir R. Grimston
Did the hon. Gentleman support the minority recommendations of my right hon. and learned Friend the present Minister of State?
§ Mr. G. Darling
No, because they were silly views to hold.
The best scheme put forward then was that put forward by a group of the Fabian Society—and although we were supposed to be anonymous I can say that I was one of the group. Although I say it myself, it was an excellent scheme and was the most reasonable attack on the B.B.C. monopoly ever published anywhere. I want to make it perfectly clear that not only were many of us against the monopoly, but knew how to put it out of the way sensibly and reasonably.
Although I have different views from those of some of my hon. Friends on some aspects of broadcasting—as is quite obvious from the remarks I have just made—I agree wholeheartedly with them that this is a bad Bill. The more we have discussed it the nearer the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) and myself have come towards agreement. I agree that from the point of view of himself and those who believe in private enterprise there was no need to introduce a Bill. The Postmaster-General already had the right to license people to enter the field of broadcasting, both in sound and television.
The Bill started off with the object of providing what was called competitive television, and the potential entrepreneurs in this field were allowed to believe that they would be free to bring their energies, enterprise and initiative into it without being trammelled in any way with bureaucratic rules and regulations. But public opinion has forced the Government to put chains, shackles and limitations upon competition. In doing so, the Government have ipso facto accepted the view that private enterprise cannot be trusted in this field.
The Assistant Postmaster-General has chided us because we do not trust the new Independent Television Authority. We cannot trust the Authority until we know who will be its members. If, as the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South has suggested, they are to be chosen from those who believe in unrestricted free enterprise, we shall have good grounds for not trusting the 348 Authority. The hon. Member for Down, South wants the I.T.A. to be neutral, provided—as is the Irish way—it is neutral on his side. Just as we feel that we cannot trust the I.T.A. until we know the character of its membership, so have the Government shown that they do not trust private enterprise in this matter. The Bill is an insult to the commercial interests who have been backing the idea of commercial television, because they will not be allowed to enter the business in the way they expected, and as they might have been allowed to enter it.
The Bill gives us the worst of both worlds—the worst form of free enterprise and the worst form of public control over free enterprise. When the Government introduced the Bill they promised that there would be free competition, but, instead, we shall get two monopolies. The B.B.C. will have a monopoly of public service broadcasting, and one company, with perhaps a few associates under its control, will have a monopoly of commercial television.
If I were to follow the line of some of my hon. Friends I should bring in the name of Norman Collins. I have never mentioned his name in these debates until this moment, but, as an old colleague of his, I want to make it clear that I regard him as a man of great integrity and ability. He has a good outlook and attitude towards public service, and he has certainly been far more honest in his approach to the matter than have the Government. Many of my hon. Friends have reported hearing discussions in which he has taken part in which it has been said that his company will have a monopoly of the London station. Indeed, I have taken part in debates with him in which much the same thing has been said.
There is nothing wrong with that. As the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South has said, this is likely technically to happen, that one contractor will have a monopoly of the London station, at least at the beginning. On Report today, the Home Secretary himself admitted that that might happen, and so did the Assistant Postmaster-General. Norman Collins, who knows far more about the technicalities of this business than anybody else, has been saying that all along. He has been honest about it, and it is 349 the Government who have not been up to his standard of behaviour in this matter.
§ Captain Orr
In fairness to Mr. Norman Collins it ought to be said that the statement that the hon. Member has repeated, which was originated, I think, by the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Hobson), that Mr. Collins had said he was likely to get a monopoly of the London region, has never been substantiated, and has been denied by Mr. Collins himself. Unfortunately, I have not got it here, but I have a written denial from him. I wrote to him about it, and I have a denial from him in terms, saying that he never said any such thing. He pointed out that he could not do so because the I.T.A. had not been set up, and, under the Bill, it is entirely a matter for the I.T.A.
§ Mr. Darling
Let us get this straight. I make no reflection on Mr. Collins, for whom I have a great regard, but he said that technically one contractor would be the best body to run the London station.
§ Mr. Darling
No, I did not, or, if I did, it was not my intention to do so. I think I have made the point quite clear, that what he has been saying all along is that, technically, it is much better to have one programme contractor serving one station. That gives him a monopoly of the one station.
§ Mr. Darling
It gives the contractor a monopoly of that one station. It is wise for the Government to foreshadow the situation in the manner in which they have, by getting such an amiable Member as the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South to fly a few kites about the matter and then to have the Home Secretary follow up at the last minute by saying that this is the situation that may arise, and that one contractor will have the monopoly of one station; because that is, technically, the way that it will work out.
One can appreciate the reason why this has happened. I can imagine a Cabinet meeting at which the matter was being 350 discussed, and I can imagine the Home Secretary and the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, as a couple of smooth operators, working together, with the latter advising the Home Secretary to make sure that he has this competition caper properly covered by the Bill. Because the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation has made a mess of the competition business in road haulage, his advice, I am sure, has been properly taken.
I should like to develop the point, and I hope that an occasion will arise when I can. I am sure the Home Secretary has taken the advice of the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation on this matter. In the light of his experience of the mess he has made in trying to revive competition in road transport the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation has advised the Home Secretary to be careful how he provides for competition in television, so the Bill says that there must be competition, and that programme contractors will compete with each other, but in practice there will not be competition. I am afraid I am going outside the rules of order.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)
The hon. Gentleman has already ruled himself out of order.
§ Mr. Darling
I think my point has been taken. There was no provision for the setting up of monopolies in the Transport Act. In this Bill there is provision for competition, but it is to be sidetracked, and I am sure the Home Secretary has taken the right advice on that matter. He dropped yesterday, for the first time, the high moral tone he has been using throughout our debates on the Bill about the virtues of competition.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman evaded a very pertinent question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) yesterday. My hon. Friend asked:Will he explain what are the grounds of public interest for having only one person using one transmitter instead of two or three?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st June, 1954; Vol. 529, c. 120.]The Home Secretary completely evaded that question. He made no attempt to say why it should not be laid down in the Bill that there must be competition within the commercial television system. From that moment all the high moral 351 talking about the virtues of private enterprise and competition completely disappeared.
We have had a further admission today. Having dropped competition, we have had the further admission that advertisers shall have the right to pick and choose their own programmes, which is more than half-way to the sponsorship which the Government have been attacking during the last few months.
§ Mr. Darling
I thought we had disposed of that argument long ago. In any case, I was talking about competition within the commercial system.
From the beginning of the discussions on the Bill it has never been suggested by hon. Members opposite that there should be one firm with a monopoly of the commercial system—if I may use the word monopoly in this way—against the B.B.C. monopoly of public service. It was never suggested until yesterday when, to cover the possibility that only one programme contractor will go into one station, the Home Secretary departed from the highfalutin talk about competition.
The Government's trouble in all this is that they tried to follow their doctrinaire ideas about competition until they found that these ideas did not fit in with the technical resources and conditions of broadcasting. The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South was one of the first hon. Members opposite to bring that point out. He is not opposed to competition among the programme contractors because he is opposed to competition in principle but because the technical resources will not allow competition. If the Government had looked at the technical problems before they prepared the Bill, and if they had prepared the Bill to fit what was technically possible, it would have been an entirely different Bill.
§ Captain Orr
The hon. Member misrepresents what I said. I said that a national network monopoly was certainly not desirable, but that in the initial stages the only way to create more than one transmitter in an area was a regional monopoly.
§ Mr. Darling
I do not think that that disposes of the argument, because there will be one contractor in each area and they will work together in the national network—perhaps for 10 years. It is these technical considerations which have determined the course of events. Only in the last stages of the Bill have we been told how commercial television is likely to work. Some of us considered it before, but only in the last stages have we had any admissions from the Government Front Bench about how the technical side is likely to work. In these last stages we have the admission that there will be an element of sponsorship, and that advertisers will be able to pick and choose their own programmes. The Assistant Postmaster-General almost said that. He admitted that they would be able to pick and choose their type of programmes.
That is the beginning of sponsorship. Imagine the situation. We have a programme contractor offering a somewhat unpopular programme—unpopular because it is, say, something like a science magazine—but a necessary programme to carry out the terms and conditions of the Bill, which says that programmes shall be balanced—it shall not be all variety and the programmes sent out must provide a balanced whole. If there are no takers among the advertisers for that programme, will the programme contractor reduce its price? Even if he reduces the price of the programme and there are no takers, what happens then?
Surely, at that stage, the contractor will ask the advertisers what type of programmes they want, and the admission which the Assistant Postmaster-General gave us, clearly shows that at that stage we get full sponsorship, because the advertisers will, in that event, select not only the type of programme but the actual programme which they want. The admissions which we have had from the benches opposite will, I hope, give an opportunity for this Bill to be amended and strengthened on the side of the public interest, as it ought to be strengthened and amended, in another place.
§ 9.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Harvey
I have not interrupted the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) primarily because I enjoyed his speech. I should like to congratulate him on being one of the signatories of the Fabian Report. The only comment which I should like to make on the Fabian Report, produced by the brains trust of the Socialist Party, is that it was never adopted by that party. It never became part of their election proposals and was never accepted by any responsible leader—if I can use that phrase—or any irresponsible member of that party at any time.
The hon. Member produced the rather well-worn argument that because there was written into the Bill a number of restrictions or safeguards as regards advertising and private enterprise, the Government do not trust either. That is a very misleading line to take because, after all, in every walk of life, and particularly in the most professional walks, there are a number of terms of procedure which are observed in the general interest of the community and of those who operate in those particular walks. Therefore, I think that the fact that there are restrictions in the Bill which are accepted—although we do not entirely agree with some of them, and that has been gone over pretty thoroughly during the past week—does not mean in any way that the Government do not trust either the system or those who operate it.
I should like in passing to observe, as have observed before—and repetition, as the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) knows, is one of the most effective methods of advertising—that the ethical code which has been written into this Bill was produced by the advertising community.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough said one or two things which to me were perhaps in some sense uncomfortably near the truth. He said that a great many insults had been levied at the business community by the Government in the method of their proposals in this Bill. A great many insults have been levied at the business community and at advertising by hon. Members opposite. Observations have been made which are quite unworthy both of the people who have made them and of the targets to which they have been directed. Business 354 men and the business community play a great part in the success and health and wealth of the country, and the suggestion that has continuously occurred throughout the debate, that they are prepared to drop all moral and ethical standards in the making of that wealth, is utterly unfounded and untrue.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East produced the new and, as I thought, rather delightful idea that when he spoke about the B.B.C., because of his great interest in it, it was therefore personal experience. But when we on this side who have some interest in advertising speak about it, it is personal advancement. This is a delightful thesis but one to which I do not subscribe.
The hon. Member once again brought out the old, old story about the vast wave of public opinion that is sweeping the country as a result of reading his pamphlet "Dear Viewer," a pamphlet slightly longer than the speech which he delivered this evening. As has often been said in the debate, there cannot be informed public opinion about something about which the public does not know. One cannot know about a thing unless one has personal experience of it, and the British public has no personal experience of commercial television.
§ Mr. Harvey
Those are interesting speculations, but in this debate Mr. Deputy-Speaker would forbid me arguing them at length.
As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) rightly said—and he said a large number of things that were right—we have to let the public make its decision in this matter, That is a very reasonable proposition. It is one by which we are prepared to abide. One of our main objections, as my hon. and gallant Friend said, was the extraordinary timidity which hon. Members opposite have about allowing the public to make a decision for itself.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East spoke about the B.B.C., of which he has personal knowledge, and said that one of its great aims was to produce what the people want. One of the great attacks 355 which the hon. Member has been making on myself and hon. Members on this side connected with advertising is that we are liable to produce only those programmes which the maximum people want. There seems to be some contradiction on his views on that subject. Our objection is that the B.B.C. tends to produce, not what the people want, but what the B.B.C. thinks the people want, which is quite different.
A perfectly good case has been extremely well made by many hon. Members opposite with regard to the importance of having a service which will produce programmes which do not have a great popularity value—programmes that are pre-eminently educational. We admit that and have never denied it. We propose that that service should continue to be rendered to the community by the B.B.C. As my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General said earlier today, no Government, not even the Government with which the hon. Member for Woolwich, East was associated, has done so much to enhance the B.B.C.'s coverage in this country.
It is a very odd argument which the hon. Member for Woolwich, East produced, that under a commercial system the creative people will be enslaved. The creative people on the B.B.C. have reached their most effective point only when they, in fact, were in programmes of American commercial origin, excluding, of course, the series of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East. The B.B.C.'s greatest successes have been in the field of the presentation of live events for which it personally is not responsible. We need not proceed with that argument any further because we have had it before, but on this side of the House it is our contention that the creative people will, in fact, be liberated—I think that is the word—if any other alternative system is provided which gives them greater scope.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough spoke about an alternative programme which was rejected. Other alternatives have been put forward by other people, mostly from the other side of the House, and this involves an increased demand on the taxpayers. An absurd argument has been advanced that there will be this increased demand through advertising 356 because advertising is a demand indirectly upon the taxpayer in that it increases the cost to the consumer.
Anybody who has any practical knowledge of this particular subject knows that advertising succeeds in its object by increasing demand and production and thereby in the overall picture reduces costs. Otherwise there would be no eeonomic justification for it. One of the ways in which advertising would, in fact, be a charge upon the consumer would be if it were forced under a foolish system to sustain programmes over the air which would not justify the expense.
I am glad that the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) has come back again, and may I come to the point which he mentioned and which has occurred lately in nearly all the speeches, namely this question of sponsorship. I absolutely deny that either my right hon. and learned Friend or the Assistant Postmaster-General have in any way gone back upon their declared statements on this matter. I deny that the proposals which are now made are in any way linked with direct sponsorship. If there were to be direct sponsorship, then the whole of this Bill would be in very different form. I would say to the hon. Member for Preston, South and to the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer) that people do not read newspapers for the advertising. Nobody, however enthusiastic about advertising, has ever suggested that. They read the newspapers for what they are and how they are presented by the journalists.
The advertiser uses the newspaper because it is read and, therefore, he uses certain types of newspapers for certain types of copy. I think it is perfectly reasonable and sensible that if an advertiser is to be asked to spend very considerable sums of money on this particular form of advertising or to use a medium for conveying advertising, he should know what is going to be the nature of the medium. He is asked to take a considerable risk, and as I pointed out in an interjection earlier on, when an advertiser takes space in periodicals and newspapers for particular types of advertising he asks for those advertisements to be on pages relevant to that type of copy.
I do not want at this particular juncture to enter into a discussion upon the use of advertising, because I should be 357 ruled out of order. But I should say that the continuous harping upon the subject of total viewership and total readership is open—I will put it no higher than this—to question because here is a new method with a specific line of approach which will have to be studied as a new medium. I particularly ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, when he sums up, to answer the charge that has been made by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East in regard to advertising demand in this context. The hon. Member stated that this demand for commercial television, or sponsored television if one likes, originated in the ranks of advertising. From my practical, personal knowledge I deny that that is a fact. The hon. Member stated that an American firm of considerable distinction initiated this demand. I should like to know exactly how that was done. Even if an American firm expressed the view that commercial television could be or should be introduced into this country, it does not mean that the whole force of British advertising followed suit or endorsed that demand.
I can say with certainty of my facts that advertising never asked for this move. In fact organised advertising—to use a phrase which may appeal to hon. Members opposite—realises that this is a medium full of considerable risks and dangers, a questionable advertising medium and one with which it would be quite able to do without and continue quite happily.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I hope that this is a natural break in the speech of the hon. Member. He stated that an American advertising agency was demanding commercial television earlier. Will the hon. Member state when and which firm?
§ Mr. Harvey
I did not; I said that the hon. Member for Woolwich, East had stated in his speech that the demand for commercial television had originated in an American-controlled agency, J. Walter Thompson. He asserted that.
§ Mr. Mayhew
The statement I heard was, I think, made in 1944 by that office stating that it intended to press for sponsored broadcasting in this country.
§ Mr. Harvey
I am very grateful. I think the fact should be brought out because, having been present—there is no secret about that—in the many debates 358 and discussions within this party on this subject, I can say that the prime demand has been expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) for the breaking of the B.B.C. monopoly. When this matter was discussed and it was agreed in principle that the B.B.C. monopoly should be dealt with, the question arose as to how it could be done. It was then clearly realised by all those of practical knowledge that it could only be done effectively by calling in commercial assistance.
That is the origin of the whole operation. When that commercial assistance was called in. I can assure the hon. Member for Woolwich, East there were many people—and there are still many—in the advertising fraternity who had very great doubts and reservations. Some of those doubts and reservations have not been improved—I say this with the greatest respect—by the way in which the Bill has been handled and the very gross assertions about the integrity of the advertising profession. [An HON. MEMBER: "Profession?"] Profession indeed, and a much more honourable one than some I could mention, but will not.
I believe the Government are right in backing this Measure because anyone who studies the introduction of great new ideas and methods sees, as the hon. Member for Woolwich, East said, that television is a great force. Anyone who realises the scientific implications must understand that this is a discussion within a very limited transitional period. A great prospect is unfolding and one which cannot be confined by the limitations imposed by the prevalence of the B.B.C. monopoly. We do not all agree with the measures contemplated, but I agree entirely with what was said by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South. Let this thing be introduced. Let us see whether the imperfections that some people fear will in fact exist. They can be corrected. If in fact it is the failure which the hon. Member for Woolwich, East and his hon. Friends predict that it will be, it can be wiped out—
§ Mr. Harvey
The right hon. Gentleman is a member of a party which has no cause to accuse us of waste of money. I wish to support my right hon. and 359 learned Friend and to ask that a Third Reading be given to this Bill in order that we may escape from the confines at present imposed upon us and break new ground.
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
Whatever we may disagree upon we are all agreed that this is an important subject, that television is a very important new medium. We are equally agreed that what we require is an alternative programme, but from there we on this side of the House part company with the Government.
I regret that at this stage and on such an important subject the Government should decide to go back altogether on all that has gone before. It is all very well to talk about breaking the B.B.C. monopoly, but it has been there to break for 30 years. Committee after committee discussed this matter. There was the Sykes Committee in 1924, the Crawford Committee in 1925, the Ullswater Committee in 1935 and the Beveridge Committee after the war. And what has happened? At all times Conservative Governments have insisted that the B.B.C. monopoly in sound radio should remain. And not only in sound. I think that the Ullswater Committee tentatively suggested a break in television, but the Conservative Government refused to accept that advice. They held by the principle that they should preservethe intellectual and ethical integrity that the broadcasting system in this country has attained.Advertising by radio was eschewed because it was unsuitable to this country. I should like a little consistency, even from the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr). I can remember him referring from these benches to the Battersea Funfair and telling us not to bring in anything continental and alien but to stick to the British tradition. Surely the British tradition in broadcasting is this very monopoly which has been so much discussed by hon. Gentlemen who, in the past, have had a certain amount of financial connection or Governmental connection with it, and who realised that it was the best thing.
We all recognise its imperfections, but the B.B.C. has proved itself sensitive to the criticism of the country, and to say 360 now that we propose to introduce commercial television to break the B.B.C. monopoly is a little disingenuous. In Biblical days, when someone was sent to kill the giant—[HON. MEMBERS: "It was David."]—yes, it was David—the mistake the Government have made is in sending out a couple of Davids. They have set out to kill the B.B.C. giant monopoly.
§ Mr. Ross
They have set out to destroy the monopoly. What they have done, as admitted by the Assistant Postmaster-General, is to create a new monopoly. We shall have either regional monopolies of programme contractors or a national monopoly under the new commercial set-up.
Meanwhile, what happens to the monopoly of the B.B.C.? That monopoly continues in sound. If hon. Gentlemen opposite believe what they say about the defects of the B.B.C. monopoly, why have they not tackled that monopoly? It does not end there. At no time will the new commercial organisation ever get 90 per cent. coverage of these islands. It will certainly not do so within the next 10 years. Thus, for a certain number of people in these islands the B.B.C. television monopoly will still remain.
The Government should not be very proud of what they have done. The Home Secretary knows quite well that many of the things that he has said and done in this connection have got under my skin a little. After all, he is a Scot and I am a Scot. He may be the Minister for Welsh Affairs, but he was born a Scot. I reckon that there has been a great deal of Scottish influence in the building up of the B.B.C., for it was a Scotsman, Sir John Reith, now Lord Reith, who, more than anyone else, moulded the B.B.C. into the fine institution that it was.
I am sure that the Home Secretary, when he looks back, will not be proud of the fact that he was the architect of this chaos of the air, this new commercial television organisation, which undermines all the principles upon which Lord Reith built up the B.B.C. I can say only one good thing for the right hon. and learned Gentleman. When he was ploughing his way through some of the gibberish in the briefs which he was 361 forced to read to us a note of sincerity never entered his voice.
The Authority is being given an impossible task. It has to give us balanced programmes and ensure that nothing offends against good taste and decency. From the financial point of view, it is thrown into the hands of programme contractors and advertisers so that, in the end, it will be not the Authority but the advertisers who will determine the balance of programmes and the quality of programmes.
In the last discussion that we had before we were guillotined the Assistant Postmaster-General told us—it was underlined by the Home Secretary—that we are getting, no matter what words are used to disguise and clothe the fact, a form of sponsorship. The balance of programmes which we were told from the benches opposite that we should get did not really seem to provide any hope for any balance of programmes at all. The hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey), as an advertising man, knows better than anyone else that we shall not get, through this powerful new medium, a balance of programmes or programmes of the quality that we ought to get.
When I think of the attitude taken up by the Government on the question of advertising on Sundays and the kind of programmes that we shall get on Sundays—because Sunday will be a very big day for the commercial man under this new set-up—[An HON. MEMBER: "Popular."] The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South says that this will be popular in the extreme. It may well be, but has the virtue of the thing to be judged by its popularity? Is the best Sunday newspaper the "News of the World," which, evidently, is the most popular? This is the sort of thing that we shall get in the homes of millions of people.
It is a sorry day for the Conservative Party that this project should come into being in their reign, because there will be a lowering of tone and of the ethical content of our broadcasting, and I can only ascribe it to a lowering of standards in the Conservative Party itself. The little money-grabbers are now in the ascendancy, and their voices are loud and their votes precious. I deeply regret that the 362 Home Secretary has lent himself to the forcing of this Bill through the House. I have no doubt that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will get his reward. [HON. MEMBERS: "In Heaven?"] No, not in Heaven; probably in another place.
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
The Assistant Postmaster-General, in his speech at the opening of this debate, said that the Bill, in its final version, was a credit to us all. I must say that I wholly disagree with that. I think that the Bill is meaningless, and is now in a much woollier form than when it first reached us. It started out as a commercial television Bill and ended as a sponsorship Bill.
The hon. Member for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) bore me out when he said that the Bill was greatly improved, because it can only be improved from his point of view by moving along the way towards sponsorship. The long road which this whole project has travelled, since the first White Paper until now, is a road paved with steadily less good intentions. We have had a whole range of milestones along that road which has been marked by breaches of Government pledges.
We have had two White Papers, and. in effect, two Bills, because the first Bill was very different from that which is now before us, which has been greatly altered in the Committee stage. Each of these four stages—two White Papers and two Bills—has been worse than the others. Some of the Government pledges which have been broken have really been forgotten. In the first White Paper, there was a categorical undertaking that commercial programmes would have nothing to do with religion or politics; that was a categorical and unqualified undertaking.
Then, there was the undertaking that the Independent Television Authority should have the power to control and use studios and to have independent programmes. That was in the second White Paper and in the first version of the Bill, hut, of course, it disappeared in the second version of the Bill, with which we are now dealing, because it had been taken out by words introduced during the Committee stage.
Then, all through the debates on the Committee stage, we were told how the I.T.A. was to be a great public authority 363 with great powers in order to ensure that there will be no dangers in this new undertaking. In this Bill, as it now appears, the I.T.A. has been stripped of its powers—powers that were in the Bill as it was first brought to us, but which, on Government third thoughts, have been taken out. There has been pressure brought to bear on the Government even during the Committee stage, quite apart from the pressure which was brought to bear even before the Bill saw the light of day.
Perhaps the greatest stripping of the powers of the I.T.A. is seen in the Amendment to Clause 5, which relates to the Third Schedule, because it destroys what little power the I.T.A. had to check and control abuses. In the first and second White Papers and the first version of the Bill it was regarded as most important that the I.T.A. should have these powers to check and control. It was even in the version of the Bill before the Committee stage was reached. All that has now gone. The Third Schedule was to set out provisions that the I.T.A. could incorporate into contracts with the programme contractors, and the powers originally provided in that connection were unrestricted. That was true of the first White Paper and the first version of the Bill.
The Government, having had fourth thoughts on the matter, have suddenly taken the view that those powers should be used only in cases of apprehended breaches of contract. The effect of that decision is to make the provisions of the Bill unenforceable. Everything rests upon the contracts, and, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) has so often said, the Government have produced a Bill which lays great duties upon the I.T.A. but gives it no power to carry them out.
But the greatest retreat of all appeared in its full nakedness only this afternoon. Goodness knows why it was kept secret for so long; it must have been in the Government's minds from the beginning. They could not have changed their minds at the last moment on a matter of such great importance. I refer to the readmission of sponsoring. The Home Secretary, who seemed to be appalled at the frankness of the Assistant Postmaster-General but did not succeed in extricating himself 364 from the position in which his hon. Friend had put him, laid great weight upon Clause 4 (6), saying that that was an absolute guarantee that there would be no sponsorship.
That subsection provides that a programme must in no way disclose that it has been supplied or suggested by the advertiser. But sponsorship is not removed by that limitation. The Home Secretary is deceiving himself and the House if he suggests that it is. The essence of sponsorship is that the advertiser controls the programme. It may pay an advertiser to obtain the programme he wants for his particular advertisement, even if he cannot say that he has produced the programme. He might like to be in a position to say that he has produced it, and that is certainly prohibited to him, but there is nothing in the Bill to stop him controlling the programme.
An Amendment was put down during the Committee stage and has now been incorporated in the Bill as an addition to paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule. This is what I call the sponsorship Amendment. It concerns the question of the tariffs which may be charged by programme contractors. The Home Secretary has made very great play with the fact—which he calls a safeguard against sponsorship—that there will be equal tariffs for all. There might be variations according to particular days, times and seasons of the year, but the tariffs would be published with those variations and they would be available to everybody.
In the earlier stages of the debate the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to that as one of the great bastions against sponsorship. He said that anyone who wanted to advertise would know what it would cost him at a particular time of day or season of the year, but we now have this radically new sponsorship Amendment which says that in special circumstances additional charges may be made.
Special charges for special programmes—I hope that the Home Secretary will follow this, because I am leading up to a question—which are now made possible by this Amendment, and which were not in the Bill to start with, open the door wide to sponsorship. It was that which, in a moment of appalling 365 frankness, the Assistant Postmaster-General made clear at the end of the Committee stage of the Bill. The Home Secretary struggled to extricate himself from it, and he gave a very clear indication that he was doing so, because he resorted to that synthetic indignation which he uses only when he has got into a bit of a muddle, or when one of his colleagues has let the cat out of the bag a little too openly and obviously.
The argument of the right hon. and learned Gentleman at that stage was that a special programme with special charges has nothing to do with the advertiser. I think they are almost the words he used. Of course, it has something to do with the advertiser, because who but the advertisers pay these special charges? With this Amendment in the Bill, the advertiser can go to a programme contractor—indeed, he has to do so if this Amendment is to work—and says, "If you put on a special programme, J. Fred Muggs, Bing Crosby, or a great opera singer, which suits the particular commodity which I want to advertise at the beginning and the end of the programme—I will, of course, not say that I suggested this—I will pay an additional charge."
It is necessary for him to do that sort of thing. On the other hand, he can say to the contractor, "If you put on a programme which I do not like, I will not advertise in it at all." If, therefore, there are to be special charges for special programmes, we are really giving the advertiser a direct influence over the contents of the programme.
§ Mr. Ian Harveyrose—
§ Mr. Harvey
That is not the point at all. The right hon. Gentleman keeps on saying "the advertiser," as if there were only one. Of course, if one advertiser refuses, another can take it up. There is no limitation.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
That would perhaps apply if the advertiser refuses to advertise, but what happens in this case? An advertiser goes to a contractor and says, "If you will put on a special programme for my commodity, I will pay you more than what others will pay." That is what "special charges in special circumstances" mean. He can outbid 366 everybody, and thereby get the programme he wants. I quite concede the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point that one cannot say so, but an advertiser can do it. It is not sufficient for the Home Secretary to quote the Clause. He has to show what is to stop the advertiser doing it.
There has been a real conflict between the Assistant Postmaster-General and the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The Assistant Postmaster-General said this afternoon that the advertiser must know the contents of the programme; that that was the only way in which this thing was going to work. He resisted an Amendment from this side of the House which said that the advertiser must not know the contents of the programme. I asked the Home Secretary to note that his hon. Friend said that this was the only way to make commercial television work.
§ Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing
My hon. Friend said that the advertiser must know the type of programme, not its contents.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
We on this side put forward an Amendment which was rejected by the Assistant Postmaster-General, and, in rejecting it, he argued that the advertiser must know the contents of the programme.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Why, then, did not the hon. Gentleman accept our Amendment about not knowing the content of the programme unless he knew that the advertiser must know the content? Of course he did, because, otherwise, he would have accepted our Amendment. What the difference between "type" and "content" is I do not understand.
On 15th December last the Home Secretary said:The Government's plan is that the operating companies would have a 'spot announcement' between programmes without being concerned with the programme's contents…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th December, 1953; Vol. 522, c. 337.]That is the exact opposite of what the Assistant Postmaster-General is now saying. They cannot both be right. I do not think that even the Home Secretary with his great ingenuity can argue that both propositions can be right. He must tell us 367 which is right. I very much hope that it will be the one he himself said and that he will not be found to have retreated to the position to which the Assistant Postmaster-General has adopted.
The only way to close this door to sponsorship is to have a fixed tariff, as the Home Secretary used to say—a tariff not varying with each particular programme—and that there should be no knowledge of content on the part of the advertiser. In the form in which the Bill now is that door has been opened and the only way to shut it again is for this Amendment to paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule to be taken out when the Bill gets to another place. The taking out of that Amendment, I may say, would only restore the Bill to its form when the Government originally brought it down to us. It must have been quite attractive to the Government in that shape, because it was in that shape that they first brought it down to us.
We have spent a fair time, although nothing like enough owing to the monstrous Guillotine, on the detailed discussion of this Bill, and it is time now to look at the simple reality of it. The simple reality is that it sets up an Independent Television Authority with practically no power—this watchdog with false teeth—and charges it with the duty of checking and controlling aggressive programme contractors.
The I.T.A. will not, in fact, be able to carry out the duties laid upon it in this Bill. It has not been given the powers necessary. It is a sort of façade. The Government point to the duties as if, because duties are put in the Bill they must be carried out, but they can only be carried out if there is sufficient power in the Bill.
I have no doubt that the programme contractors will start very carefully. They will not give the game away too soon. But before long they will put to the Authority a devastating argument and one with which the I.T.A. will not be able to cope. They will say, "Look here, these programmes have to pay. There is not only our money involved, but considerable public money. This business will have to pay, and will not he able to unless the restrictions in this Bill "—not very great restriction, it is true—" have been taken away."
368 What is the I.T.A. to do? It can allow these two bites at the cherry and fine the contractors£500 twice, when they may be doing something worth more than that to them. It is then faced with the prospect of stopping the programme—in other words of depriving people in that region of the second programme. This is a power which really cannot be used in the circumstances, because the Government have deprived the I.T.A. of its original powers to run alternative programmes. It was to have had its own studios, and so on, which it is not now to have. So that if the Authority stops a programme contractor in this way, the programme will come to an end and the public will be deprived of it.
The Authority, therefore, will have to wink at evasions and take refuge in the lack of powers in this Bill. The Assistant Postmaster-General said that the I.T.A. will not use its punitive powers. I quite agree. Of course it will not. If the Government has not been able to hold out against these vested interests how can the I.T.A., with no powers at all, hold out against these programme contractors? This is what happened in the United States. When the United States started sponsorship they started with all the hopes the Government now parade—the same powers of stopping programmes and all the rest of it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) explained that. It happened in the United States before and unless proper powers are put back into the Bill when it gets to another place it will happen here—and particularly the powers which it originally contained which would enable the I.T.A. to run alternative programmes where necessary to keep a proper balance or to cam out its other penal or disciplinary powers under the Bill. I say again that if such changes were made in another place it would merely restore the Bill to the form in which the Government brought it down to us. Therefore, it would not be an anti-Government Measure.
My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) said that the Government cannot be proud of what they have done. I think that is a very modest understatement. Means have been used to get this Bill through which are an abuse of power and I am very sorry 369 that the Home Secretary, whom we all respect, has been made a party to it. Here is a Government which represents a minority in the country forcing through a Bill which, it is common knowledge, would have been defeated had there been a free vote of the House.
§ Mr, John Hay (Henley)
Seeing the right hon. Gentleman is talking about free votes, would he confirm that it has been necessary on the Opposition side of the House to put on a three-line Whip both yesterday and today and, also, whether it is true that hon. Members opposite were warned that if they did not turn up a notice would be sent to their constituency parties?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
We made a fair offer at several stages of this Bill that there should be a free vote with the Whips off, but the Government have refused it and because they refused a free vote that decided the pattern for the whole of the debate. The Government, on religious matters and on the Bill as a whole, refused a free vote because they knew they could not hold their supporters if that had been the case.
What has happened is that a small bunch of back benchers have forced the Government's hand, in defiance of the better feelings of their own party. The Government have used the Guillotine to force the Bill through in order to bring television into public controversy so that people can make money out of the wanton destruction of a great and established British tradition. I would point out to hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is a tradition which they have built up. They have the great distinction of having built alone in the world this system of public service broadcasting which had the great merit, among others, of keeping the whole problem of broadcasting out of public and party controversy. What the Government have now done is to bring this great subject into the middle of public controversy. They have done that at the behest of a small number of back benchers pressing upon them.
Broadcasting has been out of public controversy for 25 years, almost from its birth, and now it has been brought back. I warn hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that the controversy will not end with this Bill. This will not be a rich and easy gold mine for the programme 370 contractors. I want to state again what my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. Morrison) said because this is the moment when it should be repeated and pondered on by those programme contractors who are soon going to go into action. This is what my right hon. Friend:We shall certainly not scrap the safeguards, but must reserve the right to modify or, indeed, abandon the entire scheme, and this may well include the complete elimination of the proposals for advertising. In any circumstances the Government's plans provide a most insecure and unpromising field for investment on the part of the programme contractors, and, in view of what I have said, they may well find in due course that they are put out of business."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th March, 1954; Vol. 525, c. 1475.]This is a fair warning and I hope it will be heeded. I hope that the interests behind this will pause and count the cost before they rush in upon the prey that they are now expecting, because their harvest from this Bill may fall very short of that for which are now hoping.
§ 10.10 p.m.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) finished, as, no doubt, his instructions were, on a minatory note. I would say just this, that there are many grounds on which we can disagree, and on which we can discuss, but if anyone thinks that we can be frightened electorally by that sort of suggestion he really ought to think again. I say, as I said earlier, and I do so without any irritation, indeed with insouciance, that there is nothing we should welcome so much as a General Election with, instead of the slogan, "Whose finger on the trigger?" the slogan, "Whose finger is on the knob?"
§ Mr. H. Morrison
If it is such a good electoral proposition, why did not the Government put it in their programme at the last General Election?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The right hon. Gentleman will find whether I am right—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]—if he comes to the point. I very much doubt if he will.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
I am dealing with the Bill at the moment. Besides. I did not interrupt the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick. and I have only 20 minutes.
371 The interesting point is that we commenced the Bill with three stated objectives, all of which appear in the Bill in its final form. The first was to set up an organisation to compete with the B.B.C. in broadcasting television programmes; the second was to provide those competitive programmes by private enterprise under adequate but not crippling control; and the third, was to finance the programmes mainly by revenue from advertisements. The interesting peculiarity of the debate which is now concluding is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have been very anxious to divest themselves of two parts of the opposition to those objectives.
They say first—and this should be made clear and be seen to be common ground—that they do not stand for the preservation of the monopoly of the B.B.C. That has been said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton) and, I think, by the first four speakers on his side. Secondly, they were equally keen to assert—and the Bill helps them—that there should be a second programme. So it is now common ground that there should be a second programme and that that second programme should not be provided by the B.B.C. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is what hon. Gentlemen said in the debate, and they will find it in HANSARD if they read it tomorrow.
Therefore, what we have to consider is whether our substitute deals with that situation effectively or not. There have been conflicting arguments put up against it. On the one side it has been said that this is an Authority without teeth. Against that argument has been advanced the argument that the existence of the Authority at all is an insult to the programme contractors and private enterprise. In the imperfect world in which politicians live and have their being, it is usually a fairly good sign of being near the target if one is attacked from both sides in that way.
I want to make a few observations on the suggestion that this is an Authority without teeth. I do not think right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have appreciated the importance of the Amendment incorporated yesterday, because there 372 were questions about the absence of common law powers and access to the courts. The existence of these was made perfectly clear by the insertion of subsection (7). The Authority is able, should it desire, to determine the contract if the breach so justifies or to get an injunction and to have the matter determined by the court, if it so desires. But it has an additional power which I believe gives flexibility and practical character to its existence and purpose: it has the power, where it has sustained no damage for which an action could be brought, to exact a penalty, and the exaction of the penalty and its extent are matters for arbitration. The penalty can be up to£500 if there is any breach of contract by which no damage has been caused.
The fact is that there is a practical method of drawing it to the attention of the programme contractors at once if they go wrong and, secondly, if they continue in that wrong-doing, there is a method of terminating the contract. I cannot see on any fair view of the position of a contracting party that we can say that a contracting party in such a favourable position as the Authority is without teeth or without the ability to enforce its point of view.
The other great distinction which the Authority has under the Bill from the American examples which have been quoted in tonight's debate is that the Authority is the owner of the transmission stations, and in the position of a landlord with his lessee. It therefore has the right to terminate the position should it become necessary without making the other party incur the enormous losses which have prevented the termination of a licence.
I will now deal with the argument which hon. Members are perfectly entitled to advance—I make no complaint that they have done so—that the existence of this control is an insult to private enterprise and to the programme contractors. That has been answered. Very little reflection shows the answer. As my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey) put it, there is no organisation, no professional organisation or trade organisation on the employers' side and no trade union, which has not its disciplinary machinery. The existence of that disciplinary machinery is not an insult to its members; it is a fact that we find original sin to some extent even among the poorest of us, just as we may find it 373 among the richest. We therefore recognise that it is necessary to have machinery for maintaining the standard which is necessary.
There is one point which I am very glad my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) mentioned, because it is of importance. It is the position of the artistes who may be employed. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) told us—and I am sure it is a matter of great interest—that he was one of the participators in the Fabian Society Report. I need not remind him, for it has been mentioned in the House, how much importance that Report attached to the existence of a competitor from the artistes' point of view. There was a most impressive passage on that subject. Fortunately the House may be calm on this occasion, because I cannot talk out my own Motion.
I want to deal with one point which was raised by the hon. Member for Preston, South and emphasised by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) in a most interesting part of his speech. That was the position with regard to television films and the making of these films in this country. At first I thought—and may I say at once that I was mistaken—that the hon. Gentleman was under-estimating the importance of that aspect of the matter. He made clear, as he developed his point, that he thought that it was a matter of great importance. I agree.
I should like to put it to him quite seriously—I have a great interest in films and in those who make them—that I believe that we can, through films, exert the greatest influence and give the greatest manifestation of a national way of life. I should like to take one example which is outside the present controversy altogether. The hon. Gentleman may be too young to remember, but I am sure he will have heard of the German films produced by the Ufa Films Corporation in the days before Hitler's rise to power. At that time, before the clouds came in Europe—and it was a most remarkable thing—there was a gleam of light. and one of the influences in Paris and other parts of Europe, which gave a new indication of that pre-Nazi Germany, was provided by the films of great artistic merit.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am very glad the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciates the importance of the export of films and of film television programmes. Is he aware that the great majority of commercial television film programmes produced in this country are being produced by American capital under Mr. Douglas Fairbanks: and, secondly, is he aware that the great plans which the B.B.C. had for exporting television films were in fact sabotaged by the Government, two years ago, turning down their plans?
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
With regard to sabotage, the hon. Gentleman has raised that matter for the first time in his speech, and I am not informed about it. On the other point he mentioned, I happen to know Mr. Fairbanks, as, no doubt. the hon. Gentleman does, and I do not want to go into any personal matter. But I do not believe that, although we have American capital and although we have those who have been trained in America, with the wealth of talent which we have here and the ability which exists in this country there is anything to prevent the expression of the British way of life. Do not let us be defeatists on this. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree that this is something by which we can make a mark in the world and. therefore, let us welcome the way in which this can be done.
I want to deal with two main points which the hon. Gentleman made. The first is the question of competition between the programme contractors. Again, I am not going to read to the House what I have already read in earlier stages of our discussions, but I would point out that Clause 5 (2) lays on the Authority the responsibility of securing competition. It is also for the Authority to decide the method in which the programme contractors will work.
The I.T.A. can decide between what the right hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Ness Edwards) has called conveniently the vertical and the horizontal methods. I do not retract a word of what I said on that point yesterday. Whether what the right hon. Gentleman calls the vertical method is adopted and there is one company per station is for the I.T.A. to decide. Then. I agree that for a preliminary period there will be one company operating in each of the three districts.
375 We have argued a great deal in the course of our discussions whether that is a monopoly or a duopoly or a four-powered "opoly." I am not going into that not very helpful argument again except to say that even if it were only two, it is a lot better than one in a matter of this importance; and if there are four, with gradually increasing powers, it is again greatly improved.
The other matter is the question of sponsoring. The right hon. Gentleman has accused us of coming back to sponsoring. I entirely deny that accusation. Clause 4 (6) deals not only with the person who has paid, but with the person who appears to have paid for securing the programme.
§ Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe
The right hon. Gentleman falls right into the trap; he says that the person need not even appear to have paid. If it does not appear, what advantage to him could there possibly be? What situation can the right hon. Gentleman envisage in which the person does not appear to have paid but yet will secure some advantage? It goes far beyond that because, as I pointed out, it is
§ the programme contractor who will choose the programme.
§ What I said this afternoon is that the programme contractor must make his contracts. If he puts in a clause in his contracts which relates to special occasions, that on special occasions he reserves the right to ask for a higher fee, the essence of the matter is that it is still the programme contractor who controls the programme and asks for the amount of money and specifies it in advance. That is poles apart from, and utterly unconnected with, any conception of sponsoring about which we have heard.
§ The right hon. Gentleman has repeated the hoary chestnuts about pressure. I have made a great many speeches on this matter. I started over two years ago, and I stated to the House as clearly as I could the reasons why I thought that the monopoly should be broken. They have been confirmed by everything that has been said tonight. The one thing on which we agree 100 per cent. is the power over the spirit that this new medium will have. I say that the Bill, which means that that new medium will not have this power as a monopoly, is a great step forward in the history of this country.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes. 291, Noes, 265.379
|Division No. 169.]||AYES||[10.30 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T||Bullus, Wing Commander, E. E.||Erroll, F. J.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Burden, F. F. A.||Finlay, Graeme|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fisher, Nigel|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W.J.||Campbell, Sir David||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Cary, Sir Robert||Ford, Mrs. Patricia|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Channon, H.||Fort, R.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Foster, John|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Clarke, Brig Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Barber, Anthony||Cole, Norman||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Cooper, Sqdn. Ldr. Albert||Gammans, L. D|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Glover, D.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Godber, J. B|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Crouch, R. F.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Gower, H. R.|
|Birch, Nigel||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Bishop, F. P.||Davidson, Viscountess||Grimond, J.|
|Black, C. W.||De la Bére, Sir Rupert||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Boothby, Sir R. J. G.||Deedes, W. F.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Digby, S. Wingfield||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W)||Drayson, G. B.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Harvey Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Duthie, W. S.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Hay, John|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Eden, J. B. (Bournmouth, West)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Bullard, D. G.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Heath, Edward|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Harncastle)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn.Sir Reginald||Shepherd, William|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Marples, A. E.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Halt, A. F.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Hope, Lard John||Maude, Angus||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Maudling, R.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Horobin, I. M.||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Speir, R. M.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Mellor, Sir John||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Molson, A. H. E.||Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)||Nabarra, G. D. N.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Neave, Airey||Storey, S.|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Nicholls, Harmar||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Jennings, Sir Roland||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Summers, G. S.|
|Johnson, Eric (Brackley)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Oakshott, H. D.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Janes, A. (Hall Green)||Odey, G. W.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Kaberry, D.||O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Teeling, W.|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Thomas, Rt. Han. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Kerr, H. W.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Osborne, C.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Page, R. G.||Thompson, Lt.-Odr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Thorneycraft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Tilney, John|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Legh, Han. Peter (Petersfield)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Pitman, I. J.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Powell, J. Enoch||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K,|
|Lloyd, Rt. Han. G. (King's Norton)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Han. Selwyn (Wirral)||Profumo, J. D.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebene)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Ramsden, J. E.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Law, A. R. W.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Ward, Hon. Georg (Worcestershire)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Redmayne, M.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Remnant, Hon. P.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Renton, D. L. M.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Ridsdale, J. E.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|McCallum, Major D.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Robertson, Sir David||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Robson-Brown, W.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wills, G.|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Roper, Sir Harold||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Russell, R. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Wacleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Mr. Buchan-Hepburn and|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Sir Cedric Drewe.|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Blackburn, F.||Champion, A. J.|
|Adams, Richard||Blenkinsop, A.||Chetwynd, G. R.|
|Albu, A. H.||Blyton, W. R||Clunie, J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Boardman, H.||Coldrick, W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G-||Collick, P. H.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Bowen, E. R.||Carbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Awbery, S. S.||Bowles, F. G.||Cave, W. G.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)|
|Baird, J.||Brockway, A. F.||Crosland, C. A. R.|
|Balfour, A.||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Cullen, Mrs. A.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Braughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Daines, P.|
|Bartley, P.||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)|
|Bence, C. R.||Burke, W. A.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)|
|Benson, G.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)|
|Betwick, F.||Callaghan, L. J.||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Carmichael J.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey|
|Deer, G.||Keenan, W.||Rhodes, H.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kenyon, C.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||King, Dr. H. M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Kinley, J||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Lawson, G. M.||Ross, William|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Royle, C.|
|Edelman, M.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Lewis, Arthur||Short, E. W.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Logan, D. G.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacColl. J. E,||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Fienburgh, W.||McGovern, J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Finch, H. J.||McInnes, J.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgfield)|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Follick, M.||McLeavy, F.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Foot, M. M.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Snow, J. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Steele, T.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Manuel, A. C.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Glanville, James||Mason, Roy||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Gooch, E. G||Mayhew, C. P-||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mikardo, Ian||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R-||Mitchison, G. R.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Grey, C. F.||Monslow, W.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moody, A. S.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Morley, R.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Hale, Leslie||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvile (Colne Valley)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S)||Thornton, E.|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Mort, D. L||Timmons, J.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Moyle, A.||Tomney, F.|
|Hannan, W.||Mulley, F. W.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hargreaves, A.||Nally, W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Hastings, S.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hayman, F. H.||O'Brien, T.||Wade, D. W.|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Oliver, G. H.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Orbach, M.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Oswald, T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Padley, W. E.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Holman, P.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||West, O. G|
|Holmes, Horace||Paling, Wilt T. (Dewsbury)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Palmer, A. M. F-||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Pannell, Charles||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Pargiter, G. A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Parker, J.||Wigg, George|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayreshire)||Parkin, B T||Wilcock, Group Cast. C. A. B.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paton, J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pearson, A.||Willey, F. T.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Peart, T. F.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (DonV'll'y)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Janner, B.||Porter, G.||Williams, W. T (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Willis, F. C.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Proctor, W. T.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Pryde, D. J.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Yates, V. F.|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Rankin, John||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Reeves, J.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jones. T. W. (Merioneth)||Raid, William (Camlachie)||Mr. Bowden and Mr. George Rogers|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.