§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD ASKWITH
My Lords, I rise to move the Second Reading of this Bill. On June 24 last year a Bill on the same subject was introduced by the late Lord Balfour of Burleigh. This Bill is a descendant of that. It was prepared at the time when Lord Balfour passed away, and in other circumstances would have been brought before your Lordships' House by him. I have taken up the principles which he so earnestly and consistently supported, in order to bring the matter again before this House. At the time the Bill was brought forward last year and accorded a Second Reading by your Lordships, it was intimated by the Government that certain conferences were advisable with the Home Office upon a matter that was contained in the Bill. There have been discussions with an official of the Home Office, with a view to meeting the objections taken to the last Bill in regard to administrative grounds, and those who have prepared this Bill hope that they have now devised a measure which will be simple and effective.
The principal change that has been made is that advertisements are not to be dealt with by means of by-laws, which prove to be very unsatisfactory and very variable in the case of different local authorities, but the local authorities themselves are to have power to take action in respect of glaring and unsightly advertisements. If they do so upon unreasonable grounds, there is an opportunity, under the Bill, for appeal. The Bill also gives power, which did not exist before, to rural district councils, parish councils and urban districts of less than 10,000 people to provide for the stopping, of unsightly advertisements.
The first clause deals with the character of the advertisements or hoarding, as defined by the, Act, for which it is intended to provide, "hoarding" meaning a hoarding or other structure, of whatever material, used or intended to be used solely or mainly for the purposes of advertisement. It points out the kind of amenities with which it is desired to prevent interference; it indicates the kind of notice that is to be given by the local authority, the kind of action they are to take, and, in the event of such action, the counter-action which 45 the occupier is required to take. It prevents advertisements within a shop or house or railway station being affected, and to gives an opportunity of appeal in the event of any person who is required to do anything by the local authority being aggrieved.
The second clause deals with hoardings or advertisements which may be outside the particular jurisdiction of one county council and yet may affect the inhabitants within that jurisdiction. It would deal, for instance, with such cases as an advertisement of a glaring and unsightly character being exhibited on the Surrey side of the Thames and affecting people on the Middlesex side, and vice versa, and enabling that to be corrected. Then there are adoptive provisions with regard to moving and flash-light advertisements, and a saving for advertisements that exist at the present time, so that they would not have to be removed too quickly. Clause 5 lays down what a person intending to erect a hoarding for the purposes of advertisement should do, so that the hoarding may be properly erected in good order, and who is to be responsible to be proceeded against if the advertisements are unsightly. Clause 9 saves such by-laws as, under certain Acts of Parliament, would at the present time be in existence. Finally, the Advertisement Act of 1907, which is the Act with which Lord Balfour had to deal, is repealed.
Any one who motors through the country, or goes through the London streets, cannot but be aware of the kind of advertisement which this Bill is designed to stop as unsightly and useless, as well as certain classes of moving flash-lights, and the vast competition that there is at the entrance to every village between advertisements of every kind of petrol and tyre and motor car, which even the people who sell these different articles have found to be a very severe tax upon their resources. I think that is shown by the fact that the Royal Automobile Association and other associations have been very active in trying to press the local authorities, in cases where it is now possible, to promote by-laws to stop so many of these advertisements being exhibited upon the countryside.
I would say, generally, that the eye has as good a right to protection as the ear. If the ear is assailed by shouts and intrusive and objectionable noises, the person 46 who is assailed can proceed against the person making the noises for committing a nuisance, but in eases where the eye has to suffer there is not, at the present time, sufficient protection. Our country is not the only one which is proceeding in this matter. France has passed three sets of very stringent laws upon it. Their principle has been to tax unsightly advertisements out of existence. They even go up to such a tax as £16 per sq. yard upon advertisements that are more than 20 yards in extent. Germany has followed suit. New Zealand acts through municipalities; somewhat in the same way as is suggested by this Bill, and in the United States of America the Supreme Court has decided that it is within the competence of a municipality, under the common law, to proceed to stop such things. I do not think I need detain your Lordships longer upon this matter. In asking you to give a Second Reading to the Bill, I am really asking you to endorse a principle which you have twice before approved, in the Act of 1907, and in the Bill which was adjourned some time ago.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Askwith.)
§ LORD SOUTHWARK
My Lords, I hope this House will not give a Second Reading to this Bill. I desire, without going into much detail, to give your Lordships the opinions of business men and advertisers in regard to it. I will give their views in a somewhat condensed form, but sufficiently to enable your Lordships to get an idea of how averse business men are from this sort of interference with commerce. This Bill is a serious menace to the commercial interests of the country. An enormous amount of capital is involved, and if the Bill is passed a huge sum will be lost, for totally inadequate reasons. Millions of pounds are invested in advertisement sites, and in the machinery and plant which are used for producing advertisements, and this sum would be immediately jeopardised, and ultimately lost, if this Bill passed.
I admit that sometimes there may be objectionable advertisements, but, on the other hand, many advertisements are really very artistic; indeed, artistic advertising has been encouraged to a great extent in this country. Because some advertisements may be a little unsightly, 47 surely you will not interfere with the trade and commerce and prosperity of the country. Many thousands of skilled and unskilled workers would be thrown out of employment if this Bill were made law. Not only those engaged in the preparation and printing of these advertisements would be affected, but also the many thousands engaged in the distribution and posting of outdoor advertisements. The livelihood of these people would be prejudicially affected, and unemployment would be considerably increased.
There is another point to which I would like to direct attention. Your Lordships would make a very great mistake if you looked upon this measure as one to which there is no objection. You will have the great business advertising firms in this country rising up in very serious and violent opposition to it. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will not, as a matter of course, give a Second Reading to a Bill of this sort. It would interfere with the advertising which has been the cause of bringing about great prosperity in this country. Your Lordships are already aware that many great business concerns have been built up within the last twenty years through advertising. There are many things in this world that we do not like. Many of us would like to see some disfigurements removed. I, like many of your Lordships, would have preferred not to see our embankment run over by tramway cars, but they were necessary in the interests and for the convenience of London. Similarly, these advertisements are absolutely necessary for the prosperity of the trade of our country. If you want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have good Income Tax returns you must give business firms facilities for making profits, and one of the ways in which they are enabled to do this is by advertising their goods and creating a demand for them.
I contend that there is no public demand whatever for any of the drastic powers asked for in this Bill. It is unjust and unreasonable that any business man should be faced with having his business placed at the mercy of local authorities who, in their discretion, would have absolute power to deprive him of facilities for advertising upon which the success of his business may entirely depend, and, having so damaged him, there would be no compensation whatever payable to him. I hope, therefore, that the Government will not support the 48 Reading of this Bill. Thousands of advertisements have been contracted for over varying periods, in some cases for several years, and to order the removal of advertisement sites within six months would mean the breaking of all these contracts which, I would point out, bring an enormous revenue to municipalities in the form of rates. To remove them, therefore, would mean to add a further burden to the already overburdened ratepayers.
Why should you deprive a householder or landlord of the power of making money from the display of advertisements, unless some really serious objection can be raised? No trivial objection ought to be allowed. It should not be enough, in order to condemn an advertisement, to say that it is a little unsightly. We must, with our immense trade and commerce, have a certain number of unsightly things. You must have a chimney here and a factory there. If you begin with one thing, why not proceed to attack all the rest, and say that everything which is unsightly must be done away with? I ask your Lordships to consider, if that were done, how serious would be the effect upon the trade and commerce of this country. This Bill is not a practicable one. It is fantastic, and I shall do my best to oppose its further passage. It would injuriously affect large and important businesses, which have been and are being built up by outdoor advertisements, and it is as unjustifiable as it would be injurious in its effect.
I have not pretended to give a complete and full answer to every paragraph in this Bill, but I have made a general statement expressing the views of business men as they were given at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in London yesterday. These views there met with unanimous approval, and I bring them forward in the hope, and, indeed, the confidence, that they will receive the favourable consideration of this House. This is really a useless Bill. It is uncalled for and harmful to business generally. It would cripple many tradesmen and interfere with the rights of property. I therefore ask your Lordships not to give it a Second Reading.
§ LORD STRACHIE
My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Earl who is to reply on behalf of the Government whether county councils at the present moment have not power to make by-laws in regard to matters of this kind. I believe that is 49 the case, because not long ago I was asked, as a member of a county council, to visit a particular district in order to see whether advertisements which had been placed there were objectionable or not. While I sympathise with a good deal that Lord Southwark has said I think, on the other hand, that some control is very necessary in order to prevent unsightly advertisements being erected to the destruction of the amenities of a district.
It seems to me that the right body to do this is a municipality, a borough council or a county council which deal with much larger areas. In the Bill it is proposed that if advertisements put up by a district council are said to be unpleasant by another district council there may be an appeal to the county council. On the face of it, that practically admits that the county council has to be brought in, and I think it would be very desirable to give the power not to small local authorities but to larger authorities like a county council. In a county council you have a body which will be more impartial and more authoritative, and if the Bill is read a second time to-day, I hope Lord Askwith will be prepared to accept Amendments to this effect.
THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH (THE EARL OF ONSLOW)
My Lords, in reply to the noble Lord who has just spoken the present law with regard to advertisements is governed by the Advertisements Regulation Act of 1907, by which a local authority has power to make by-laws for the regulation and control of hoardings when they exceed 12 feet in height; and has power to regulate, or restrict, and prevent the exhibition of advertisements which injuriously affect the amenities of a public park or pleasure promenade, or destroy the natural beauty of the landscape. I imagine the authority is the county council, although I am not quite sure on that point.
The noble Lord who moved the Second Reading has dealt with the previous history of this Bill and referred to the fact that last session Lord Balfour of Burleigh brought in a measure to deal with the question of advertisements. Replying at that time for the Home Office, I observed that there were objections to the Bill on administrative grounds, and I invited the promoters of the measure to consult with the Department. They did so; but I must make it quite 50 clear that this consultation by no means should be assumed to commit the Government to approve of this Bill. It was merely to meet the objections which were taken to the last Bill. The Home Office has not expressed an opinion on the present measure.
After the prolonged discussion we have had this afternoon your Lordships will readily understand that it is impossible to find time for the consideration of this Bill during the present session, and the Home Secretary is not in a position to give any promise as to the attitude of the Government in any future session. All I can say is that the Government is sympathetic towards the proposal of the promoters to prevent advertisements which are a public eyesore, and it is thought that a discussion on the present Bill may serve a useful purpose. The problem is to prevent disfigurement of the landscape by unpleasant advertisements and at the same time to reconcile this with preserving reasonable facilities for advertising. This is very difficult to do, because the interests conflict, but it is possible that a discussion on the present measure may disclose a way of reconciling these different points of view and devising a measure which will be acceptable to all parties. In those circumstances, I do not propose either to support or oppose the Bill, on behalf of the Government, but to invite such discussion as may take place with a view of seeing whether the two opposing views may be reconciled.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, in reply to the invitation of the noble Lord —he and I discussed this matter together—I should like to make one or two brief observations. Most unfortunately I have not had the advantage of hearing the whole of the speech of Lord Askwith, as I was called away for another purpose, but I am generally aware of the purposes proposed by the mover and his friends. We must all agree generally with the formula laid down by the noble Earl, speaking on behalf of the Government, that in these matters advertisements which are plainly objectionable, not on moral grounds but on æsthetic grounds, should not receive encouragement, here or elsewhere. But there is another side to the question which ought not to be completely ignored. The whole developments of the modern business world show that the practice of advertising plays au ever larger part in the immensely 51 complicated processes of business, and the shrewdest men, those who have conceived and founded the most gigantic enterprises, are themselves the very men who have employed most the practice and resources of advertising.
I could take a hundred illustrations, all of which are perhaps too well within your Lordships' recollection. Consider the system of advertising by which the advantages, the undoubted advantages, of the various products supplied by Lord Leverhulme to a consumptive world have been recommended in every capital of Europe, a fact with which I am personally familiar. Take another illustration; those tablets, the merits of which I confess are known only to me by hearsay, but which are popularly stated to be worth a guinea a box, and which I am told have realised an immense fortune to those who were fortunate enough to make that discovery in the first place. I do not remind your Lordships (lest it should be thought I am a shareholder in these various concerns) of the astonishing properties which are claimed for Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People. I take them all for one purpose, and one purpose only—namely, to show that many of the men who have undoubtedly developed British trade with foreign countries have been among the largest of our advertisers.
I contribute to the discussion this doubt whether the present is the most happily chosen moment for introducing still further restrictions, based upon considerations which do not purport to be other than æsthetic considerations, upon a course of business which the shrewdest of our merchants believe to be a primary contributive cause of their success. When we once admit, as I think all the friends of this measure must admit, that the objection to a process acknowledged to be beneficial is æsthetic, we are, of course, brought face to face with very difficult questions. The noble Lord who moved the Second Reading would not, I think, involve himself in the dilemma of contending that these advertisements do not pay, or, in other words, that they do not succeed in their object. What is their object? It is to make these commodities more widely known to the purchasing public, either in this country or abroad. If they do not succeed in that object, it may be supposed that the enterprising and very well-informed individuals who exhibit the advertisements, at very considerable personal expense, 52 would cease to do so. I am therefore entitled to base my argument on the premiss that these advertisements do pay, or, in other words, that they multiply and increase the process of the exchange and commercial circulation of particular commodities. That being conceded, ought we at this moment to lay a prohibitive hand upon this process when the objection is based upon entirely æsthetic considerations
I have always thought that æsthetic questions were among the most difficult of all upon which to reach, I will not say a general solution, but any solution at all. Who is to decide whether a given advertisement does or does not come into conflict with a true standard of æthetic beauty? The noble Lord, as I understand the Bill, deals with that point by a simple method. He says that the local authorities are to be judges upon these æsthetic questions. Another noble Lord thinks that the true æsthetic principles of the Greeks are more likely to be reproduced by the county councils. Upon this comparative method of examination, I do not incline to either view. I will only say that we have an opportunity of judging of the standard of æsthetic beauty which recommends itself to many of the local authorities, by visiting those portions of our public hoardings upon which the merits of competing watering-places are not inconspicuously set forth.
Your Lordships will recall the spectacle of a gentleman of a degree of obesity which, for the purpose of golf or any other athletic game, I should have considered inconvenient, who is depicted running at a very high rate of speed carrying a tennis racquet, a number of golf clubs, and the outward and visible signs of many athletic activities, in order to make it plain that the ozone of Clacton-on-Sea, or of some other place, is indisputably superior to that which can be offered by any of its rivals. I can only say that, although the longer one is condemned to London in the heat the more attractive it is to observe the highly-coloured pictures of the sea which are exhibited, the more I study them, the more hopeful I am that, whoever else is to be the judge of our advertisements, the task will not be committed to bodies which, if I may venture to say so, have hitherto wielded rather too lurid a brush for even my unexacting taste. The real truth is that, the moment you involve 53 yourself in matters of taste, you come to the sharpest division, and are bound to admit the old familiar saw, quot homines, tot sententiae.
Who can possibly tell of any advertisement whether a true standard of taste would be shown by approving it or by rejecting it? Is it one of those cases in which we should resort to the democratic panacea, and say that the conclusion is to be found in the counting of heads? If not, is the conclusion to be found in the decision of wise and gifted men, men who, in these matters, have spent their lives in evolving true criteria of the beautiful? If such men there be—and they are only very sparsely known to myself—I greatly doubt whether they are to be commonly doubt among the membership of our local authorities. If you take a journey by railway and examine, as many of us do, the pleasant pasture lands, through which the train proceeds, many subjects present themselves as to which opinions might reasonably differ. Occasionally, one sees an enormous bottle, which conveys to the world the advantage of some accompaniment of more familiar household joys. I will confess that I am so unæsthetic and so unexacting in these matters that I reach the conclusion that, if the bottle gives me the information how many miles we have passed since London was left, or, conversely, how many miles remain before London is reached, I withdraw all my æsthetic objections, because I consider that the bottle has played its part. The bottle very soon disappears. I have seen three enormous elephants beside the line. I forget what particular purpose they served, nor, even did I remember, would I advertise it further; but, after all, they were soon gone. This cannot really be represented as being a permanent or very serious cause of annoyance to a serene mind. The mind that will brood upon such a matter, in these days when great problems occupy our attention, must be pronounced, I think, to be constituted in a very unhappy way.
While nothing will induce me, if I can help it, to be publicly labelled a Philistine, or allow it to be thought that I am in any way irreconcilably opposed—I am not—to the object of the Bill, I do wish very seriously to suggest to the noble Lord that we ought most carefully to consider whether local authorities ought to be armed by a private proposal with these powers, when 54 the commercial community make two points. They say: "We are on the whole better judges than artists or local authorities as to the methods by which we can make known the product of British enterprise; and we should not commit ourselves to the expenditure involved by these advertisements if we did not satisfy ourselves that, both at home and abroad, we could increase the output and success of British trade." Speaking for myself, I am not prepared to give these powers at this moment, and without very much further argument than I have heard, in the method proposed by this Bill.
§ LORD CHARNWOOD
My Lords, I am perfectly incompetent to follow the extremely pleasant speech to which we have just listened, but I would venture to suggest two questions with regard to the two main arguments used against this Bill. The noble and learned Viscount pictured the terrible difficulty that is likely to arise as to whether or not a particular advertisement is in good taste. Is it a very real difficulty that he is raising? We exercise taste in regard to sound and smell, two senses which are to be protected against very gross annoyances. I have known people who liked the smell of tallow. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt—it is not a delicate æsthetic question—that the smell of tallow is a nuisance to the neighbourhood in which it is emitted.
I suggest that in practice the kind of question that might arise, if this Bill became law, is not much more subtle than the example of a disagreeable smell which I have taken. It is unlikely that local authorities are going to be roused to action by minute violations of æsthetic taste. In particular, there can be no question that a very large number of big placards, images of cows, and so on, advertisements of various lung tonics and aperient medicines, which one frequently sees, do, in the mass, distract from the amenity of the landscape, even though, if you took any one of them and treated it as a separate picture, the noble and learned Viscount might find much to praise and to commend in its design.
The only cases which are grave enough to call for the action of the local authorities are those where the question is whether or not there is a nuisance to the public eye. That is going to be a very simple question and can be dealt with on very broad grounds.
55 The only other important argument is that these advertisements pay in the sense of adding to the wealth of the country. Do they? That is the point on which I feel the greatest doubt. Of course, they pay the particular advertisers who advertise largely and skilfully enough, and in a sufficiently arresting manner. They pay them in the sense that they lead someone to buy their commodities in preference to others. For instance, they may induce the public to take my friend Mr. Worthington's ales in preference to those of somebody else. But does this advertising add anything whatever to the wealth of the country? I should have thought that on the whole this advertising business was, in the public interest, totally useless.
§ LORD RIDDELL
My Lords, there is a very strong objection to this Bill on the part of the commercial classes. Resolutions against it have been passed by the London Chamber of Commerce and other commercial bodies—
§ LORD RIDDELL
I will tell the noble Earl later. The reason for this opposition is obvious. The Bill not only deals with advertisements to be erected, but with those already erected. If the Bill passes, it will be within the power of the local authorities to compel commercial people to spend millions of money in removing advertisements, pulling down hoardings, and so forth. I do not follow the Lord Chancellor in what he said with regard to certain firms, but I notice that the big firms to which he adverted carry on business in the Liverpool district, which may perhaps explain the reference that he made to them. So far as we can ascertain, there is no demand for this measure.
The local authorities, to whose judgment it is proposed to submit this matter, have already very extensive powers. Have they exercised them? Not at all. The other day I had occasion to visit the town hall and the magnificent park of one of the greatest towns in the country. To my surprise I saw, overlooking the park, what I regarded as a hideous advertisement, I said to my friends who were on the local authority:"How is it you allow this advertisement to dominate your park? "The answer was: "It brings in a certain sum in rates, and we do not think it obiec- 56 tionable." If you have incidents of this kind, and the local authorities, who have powers, do not see fit to exercise them, why should we cumber the Statute Book with another Act of Parliament? I notice that there is a tendency to pass new Acts of Parliament whenever any grievance is brought to light. There seems to be no disposition to examine the existing law and enforce it. It seems to be thought that matters of this kind are settled as soon as a fresh Bill passes through Parliament. The truth is that the removal of these evils depends not upon passing Bills through Parliament, but on the manner in which the law is administered by the local authorities, or by those whose duty it is to administer it.
Personally, I am somewhat interested in this matter as representing one of the associations to which I have alluded, and I notice, in going through the country, how very few local authorities have availed themselves of the facilities placed in their hands by Parliament. I have always regarded Lord Askwith as a person with a serene mind. The Lord Chancellor said that he thought a person with a serene mind would not be disturbed by these advertisements, and I agree with the Lord Chancellor. I cannot understand what there is to disturb any reasonable member of the community in the existing state of affairs. It would be interesting to ascertain by whom this Bill is being promoted—what interests are concerned in promoting it. Has it received the approval of the local authorities? Is it being promoted by a section of artists? We should like to know who the promoters are. So far as the business aspect of the question is concerned, we know the feeling of the business community, and although many of us are interested in æthetic questions, we must remember that we are living in times when we cannot disregard the views of the men who are carrying on the trade and commerce of the country.
If you find a strong feeling on this subject among the commercial classes, von are bound to pay due attention to that feeling. When trade is flourishing and money is in the country you can then give rein to your æthetic views, but when the country finds itself in a very precarious condition, and it is essential to economise and to foster trade in every possible way, if I may say so, I think it is a very inopportune time to bring forward a Bill of this 57 kind, which tends to discourage the commercial classes. Take, for instance, the great firms to which the Lord Chancellor alluded. If this Bill passes, and the local authorities throughout the country give effect to it, those firms will be faced with enormous expenditure. They will have to remove thousands of signs and make good thousands of premises, thousands of people will be deprived of rent, and the local authorities will lose rates. So far as I am aware, and so far as I can ascertain, there is at the present time no demand for this measure. I listened with attention to Lord Charnwood, and I notice that he made a reflection which seemed to shim that he is of opinion that the business classes do not know how to conduct their affairs. The noble Lord said he did not think that advertising was any good. He said that the same quantity of goods would be sold whether you advertised or not.
§ LORD RIDDELL
That is exactly what I said. The noble Lord said that as large a quantity of a commodity would be sold without advertising as with it. That is not the opinion and the experience of the commercial classes. If you want to stimulate the sale of a commodity you must advertise it. I do not say that because I am in the advertising business. So far as the newspapers are concerned they would have everything to gain by suppressing these mural advertisements. But, so far as advertising generally is concerned, it needs a very bold man to say that you can sell the same quantity of commodities without advertising as with advertising. The commercial classes have their own views. They have passed their own resolutions and, while the noble Lord may have information which is not present to their minds, I am always in favour of believing that people know their own business best; and when a great commercial body like the London Chamber of Commerce passes a resolution such as they have passed, in a time like this, I am certainly not prepared to disregard it, or to take the noble Lord's advice in preference to that of the men who are engaged in carrying on the business and commerce of the country, upon which we all rely for our daily bread.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
My Lords, I cannot help thinking that probably there 58 is essentially more agreement in the House I in this matter than has been altogether apparent in the speeches to which we have listened. There would be, I think, a general agreement that in this matter of advertisement, and the possible disfigurement of natural beauties of landscape or beauties of buildings, you have to draw the line somewhere. We should all agree that to see Westminster Abbey covered with advertisements of sausages, or sonic other commodity, would be approaching an outrage. We should all, I suppose, also agree that, as regards certain scenes of natural beauty, such as (to take them at random) Stratford-on-Avon, the Cumberland lakes, and the river Wye, some means ought to be taken in the public interest to protect them from a large crop of hoardings or advertising signs which, in the opinion of everybody, would disfigure their beauty, So far, we may take it that there is general agreement.
But it is also, I think, true that, in a thickly populated and crowded country like this, it is impossible to indulge your æsthetic emotions everywhere, and I suspect that we shall come nearer and nearer to a system of preserving certain areas, certain places, certain collections of buildings, quite deliberately and specifically for the enjoyment of those who are able to go to see them, and not attempt to establish everywhere—for instance, in the great suburbs of London, or the outskirts of our great towns—an æsthetic standard which, if we indulge it too freely, may interfere, as several noble Lords have pointed out, with the legitimate purposes of trade.
For that reason it seems to me that this Bill, in its terms, is too indiscriminate. I greatly question whether it is wise to leave to a district council—bearing in view either the probable composition of that body or the smallness of the area over which it presides—the power of exercising authority with regard to these signs and advertisements. I agree with my noble friend behind me that of the two a larger body, such as a city council or county council, is more likely to include people who would look at the thing from a larger standpoint, and would be able to hold the balance fairly between questions of taste and questions of the public interest.
To pursue what I was saying earlier, however, I am not sure that the time will not come when a still larger and more authoritative body may have to be placed 59 in charge of such questions. I should be very glad myself to see the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, placed in charge of these matters; but that, of course, is a dream. As matters stand, I confess I shall find it difficult to support this Bill in the terms in which it is drawn, although, as I happen to be one of the members of the Council of the National Trust, I naturally take a keen interest in the preservation both of natural beauties and of old and interesting buildings.
§ On Question, Motion that the Bill be read 2a negatived.