§ 2.31 p.m.
§ The Queen's Speech reported by the LORD CHANCELLOR.
§ 2.40 p.m.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as followeth:
"Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."
My Lords, I am deeply conscious of the great kindness which the noble Earl the Leader of the House has shown me in inviting me to move the humble Address to Her Majesty. It is indeed always a great honour for which one must be truly grateful, but on this occasion I feel in my own mind, although noble Lords may disagree with me, that the task carries with it a special responsibility, coming at the beginning of the first Session of a new Parliament—the forty-second Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—and at the beginning of a new Government with a reasonably assured life of five years ahead of it. Therefore it is with real humility, and in the fear that I may not measure up to the requirements of the occasion, that I set forth upon the allotted task.
I have not made up my mind whether the noble Earl in selecting me was looking for a non-controversial character to discuss a highly controversial subject, or a controversial character to discuss a non-controversial subject. I only hope that as I proceed he will not discover that the negative aspect of the equation has entirely disappeared and that he is left with an argumentative officer wallowing in the high seas of controversy upon which he should never have embarked. Of course, it may simply he that the noble Earl was content to redeploy, with slight modifications, the forces he so successfully used this time last year.
16 In expressing our thanks to Her Majesty for the most gracious Speech, it is my privilege and humble duty to convey on behalf of all of your Lordships our very sincere appreciation of the incomparable manner in which she bears the heavy burdens of State both in this country and in the Commonwealth, and our boundless admiration and gratitude for that sense of dedication with which she performs her many and varied tasks. On this occasion I am fortunate in having the opportunity to assure Her Majesty of two undeniable facts: first, of your Lordships' regret that this House was deprived of her radiant personality at the Opening of Parliament this morning; secondly, of your Lordships' heartfelt joy at the reason for Her Majesty's absence. We send to her and His Royal Highness Prince Philip our loyal congratulations and our fervent prayers for Her Majesty's well-being. The happy event which the Royal Family is expecting next year focuses attention upon yet another aspect of Her Majesty's unremitting services to her people. It is not only as their Queen but also as a devoted wife and mother, that she has won their sure affection. Her high example is of untold benefit to that family way of life upon which the whole social structure of our country has hitherto been so firmly based.
The gracious Speech refers to the Australian tour from which the Princess Alexandra has just returned. Your Lordships will have followed the reports of the Princess's first unaccompanied official tour with intense interest and admiration, and will have shared in the delight of the Australian people at the charming informality yet perfect dignity with which she carried through all her engagements. The Queen's prolonged tour of Canada with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke's own remarkable world tour struck the public imagination. Royal tours during the coming year, however, must necessarily be limited, but we are glad to learn that the Prince Philip will visit Ghana next month and that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother will open the great Kariba Dam in the Rhodesias next year.
My Lords, it seems to be the general opinion that the results of the General Election indicate that all three political Parties have a good deal of rethinking to 17 do about their basic policies and their basic attitudes. Be that as it may, and speaking only of the Party to which I belong, I think it is necessary that the Conservative Party should analyse its weaknesses and, in so doing, renew its vigour and bring fresh imagination to bear upon the problems which confront it. The world is at an exciting and critical stage of development. It is pre-eminently scientific and is, and will remain, essentially materialistic so long as the majority of the human population is living below the subsistence level. But that does not mean to say that the people—the people of the West, at least—are not hungry for a lead which will make an appeal to their better instincts, nor that science and material progress cannot be harnessed to an idealistic sense of purpose in life.
Peace is a worthy objective, but peace at any price, as we know to our cost, is neither idealistic nor practical. Surely, the purpose of peace is to enable not only our own countrymen but also the peoples of our Colonies, of the Soviet Union and all other undeveloped parts of the world to obtain a standard of living which will of itself ensure stability of government and which will, in due course, allow the pursuit of liberty and happiness to all men without fear of imprisonment. That such is the aim of this country should be proclaimed from the housetops, and we must do our best to give concrete evidence of it in our foreign and colonial policy. We must defend genuine liberty where we find it. We must grant genuine liberty where it lies in our power so to do. But we cannot force liberty upon those who are either unwilling to accept it or whose understanding of that word falls far short of our own.
I am happy to say that recent trends of Government policy and a careful reading of the gracious Speech give clear indications that rigid attitudes in regard to foreign policy are breaking down on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The credit for this must go very largely to Her Majesty's Government, although I do not ignore the pressures which have been applied by the Labour Party and by public opinion. The fact remains that the Geneva Three-Power Conference on suspending nuclear tests was the brainchild of Her Majesty's Government and much progress has been made since its inception. The language of seventeen 18 Articles and the Preamble of a draft treaty have already been agreed. There are still serious obstacles to overcome, but there is real hope that final agreement may be reached or at any rate approached in the conference which is resuming at Geneva this very day.
A favourable outcome would induce a degree of mutual confidence which could have important results on the Ten-Power Committee on Disarmament which it is proposed should meet early next year. This Committee is also the result of Western initiative, and it is satisfactory to note that Mr. Khrushchev has agreed on a policy of general comprehensive disarmament and to the vital principle of inspection and control, although no doubt the details of any workable treaty will take many weary months, even years perhaps, and infinite patience to work out. The series of talks which Mr. Khrushchev has had with the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister and with President Eisenhower, and the visit of the latter to Europe, have opened the gates—it is reasonable to hope—which have barred so far the road to that widespread peace which we are seeking in the interests of the world as a whole. Those interests are so vital that we must strain every nerve in the next five years to achieve an end to the cold war between the Soviet Union and the N.A.T.O. Powers, while at the same time ensuring the security of them both, and to bring about co-operation in scientific fields for the benefit of the human race. Progress must also be made in the extension of aid to under-developed countries, and it is to be hoped that the new International Development Association will play a useful rôle.
My Lords, whereas all the above matters concern relations between East and West, there are also matters in the gracious Speech which affect relations between the Western Powers themselves. These are no less demanding of our attention if the long-term aims of peace, which I outlined earlier on, are to be achieved. There is the problem of the little free trade area of seven countries to which we are likely to belong, and its relations with the Common Market area. It carries with it far-reaching implications, not only economic but also of a political nature which time alone can solve. Until that time arrives, however, 19 surely it is in our interest to avoid splitting Western Europe irrevocably into two rival camps and yet not to hinder the closer growing together of France and Germany, whose enmity has brought such misery upon their peoples and upon the whole world in the last half century. At any rate, I hope we shall not remain literally at sixes and sevens, or indulge in a perpetual game of racing demon.
I am sure your Lordships will have read in the gracious Speech with particular gratification of the impending visit of the President of the French Republic and of Madame de Gaulle. The Entente Cordiale is for many of us not only a matter of practical necessity but one also of profound sentiment. Nobody but a Frenchman could sing with precisely the right intonation the words of the popular song of to-day,Thank Heaven for little girls,They grow up in the most delightful way,a sentiment with which any nineteen year old studying French in Paris, as I once had the opportunity of doing, will be in full agreement. I remember with gratitude my early cultural education and I am glad to say I am still delightfully susceptible to Gallic wit and Gallic charm. But, my Lords, we have to remember that Gallic pride is also a notable characteristic of the French people; and I hope that our Government will be able to satisfy that pride and that France may assume in her own eyes a satisfactory position in partnership with the United States of America and ourselves.
We should be sympathetic towards France also on account of the efforts being made by her President to find a solution to the intractable problem of Algeria, and because of our very real interest in the experiment of the French Community of Nations in Africa. Africa, my Lords, will, in my opinion, become the most challenging test to Her Majesty's Government during their term of office. Many hard words have been spoken in that context in recent months. Therefore, I think it would do no harm if we cast our minds back and consider for a few moments the development of our imperial policy since the loss of the American Colonies in 1776.
Shortly after that event Warren Hastings, the saviour of India and one of 20 its greatest administrators, was stopped short in his career by the eloquence and idealism of Edmund Burke. Ever since that time, whether we look to India and remember the names of John and Henry Lawrence in the Punjab, and of Cornwallis, the instigator of an incorruptible Civil Service; whether we go further East and recall to mind Stamford Raffles and Rajah Brooke; whether we come back to the West, to Canada, and study the achievements of Lord Durham, the father of responsible rule in the Colonies, and of his son-in-law, Lord Elgin; whether we travel South and take note of the extraordinary activities of Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the stalwart prowess of George Grey in Australia and New Zealand; or whether we return finally to Africa and observe the colossal figures of Cecil Rhodes, of Lugard and of David Livingstone, with, looming in the background, the shadow of the great Wilberforce casting its influence over four Continents: wherever we look, my Lords, we shall discern two distinct streams of thought and action which have influenced and guided our imperial policy right down to the Statute of Westminster and beyond. The one stream, stemming from Warren Hastings, represented by the great soldiers and administrators, the maintainers of law and order and the supporters of economic development; the other stream, stemming from Burke and Wilberforce, represented by the idealists and missionaries, the champions of individual liberty and justice. These two streams have sometimes run parallel and sometimes they have merged; but invariably they have quarrelled. Yet their quarrels have formed the catalyst from which new and stronger alloys in the shape of policies of revision or outright reform have emerged. And thus it is in Africa to-day.
Nevertheless, the differences of to-day are not so marked as they were in the past. All sides agree upon the policies of material aid to, and economic development in, our Colonies, programmes to which our Government subscribe very substantially. All sides are agreed on policies designed, in the words of the gracious Speech, to… foster the spiritual values which form our common heritage.As a result of the Commonwealth Education Conference recently held there will be 1,000 scholarships available to the 21 Commonwealth, of which 500 will be provided by the United Kingdom at an additional cost of £6 million in the next five years. It is, then, only in the realm of pure politics where our fundamental differences have yet to be resolved; and even there, my Lords, all Parties are agreed on the ultimate objective—namely, self-government for the Colonies and their eventual independence.
We note in this connection that the Federation of Nigeria is almost certain to become a new independent member of the Commonwealth brotherhood next year. She will be assured of a great welcome but, even more important, more significant, to my mind, is the fact that owing to the wisdom of the Nigerian leaders themselves there will be embodied in their new Constitution provisions for the preservation of fundamental human rights. My Lords, the mere independence of a nation—need I remind the disciples of Burke and Wilberforce?—does not guarantee the liberty of the subject. I believe, however, that if we hold fast to the two main principles which have guided our imperial development, that is to say, the maintenance of law and order on the one hand, and the preservation of individual liberty under the Common Law on the other hand, then we shall be able to give genuine liberty—and I emphasise the word "genuine"—to our African Colonies, and yet at the same time discard some of the shibboleths of our own political democracy as known and practised in this country. However well suited they may be to our requirements, they are not so well suited to the peoples of Africa; and surely, my Lords, experience must have taught us that by now.
Therefore, I am going to suggest to your Lordships that our two main principles teach us that we must utterly reject the policies of extreme nationalism, whether of white or black variety—narrow policies for narrow minds. Instead, we must stand firm on the far more inspiring ideal of partnership in which race and racialism shall no longer count, and in so doing we must ensure that both our main principles are regarded, and not only one of them. Therefore, I hope and pray that the Labour and Liberal Parties will allow their members to play their full and necessary part in the Advisory Commission which will have as its Chairman the noble Viscount, Lord Monckton of 22 Brenchley. If that Commission will set out on its task with a clear vision of the future, based on a sure knowledge of the past, then I have faith we shall yet achieve a triumph in Central Africa—the victory of reason over emotion; the victory of humanity over itself. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as followeth:
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Lord Hastings.)
§ 3.2 p.m.
§ LORD ABERDARE
My Lords, it is a very great honour to have been invited to second this Motion for an humble Address of thanks to Her Majesty, so ably proposed by my noble friend Lord Hastings, and I should like to express my gratitude to my noble friend the Leader of the House for having done me the honour of inviting me to second this Motion. Like my noble friend Lord Hastings, I too considered why his choice should have lit upon so undistinguished a Member of your Lordships' House, when there are so many more distinguished Members—noble Lords and noble Ladies. I could only come to the conclusion, my Lords, that it had something to do with the fact of alphabetical precedence, as only "Aberconway" and "Abercorn" can precede "Aberdare" alphabetically.
My Lords, my noble friend Lord Hastings has confined his remarks to foreign affairs and Commonwealth and Colonial affairs: I shall speak mainly on those issues of domestic policy which appear in Her Majesty's Speech. To those of us who are not professional economists the science of economics is often a mysterious one, surrounded by a mystique of complicated verbiage; but usually behind it all there lies some very simple truth. A simple truth that has embedded itself in my mind, and which I should like to draw to your Lordships' attention, is the fact that in this country, in general terms, we produce enough food to feed only half our population. Moreover, to pay for the food which we require to buy abroad we have to export; and our skill 23 lies in our manufacturing industries. This again complicates the matter, as we have to import the majority of our raw materials. The lesson that I wish to draw from these very simple facts is that this country must trade to live, and that international trade is our very lifeblood. It therefore seems to me that it is the duty of our Government to put first in their economic policy the maintenance of the strength of the pound sterling and the competitive efficiency of industry.
At the moment, my Lords, the situation on these two fronts is highly satisfactory. The pound sterling stands high on the international exchanges; our reserves have been rebuilt to a figure of some £1,173 million, which is very nearly as high as they have been at any time in the whole post-war period; and our balance of payments is satisfactory. Provisional figures for the second quarter of 1959 show a surplus of some £107 million. In industry, our production is up on last year by something like 8 per cent., and our exports are up by something like 6 per cent. But though this position may be satisfactory, we must not be complacent, and we must look to the future for the dangers that lie ahead.
My Lords, I would mention, too, a possible world recession in trade, or a loss of competitive efficiency in our own exporting industries. As to the first, a world recession, naturally it is not entirely in our power to do much about it. But we can encourage in every possible way—and I think Her Majesty's Government have done so—the freeing of international trade; and Her Majesty's Speech speaks of promoting economic co-operation between the nations. Significant steps have already been taken in freeing the pound sterling from restrictions; and, as my noble friend Lord Hastings mentioned, this country has been in the forefront of the effort to promote a Free Trade Area in Europe. It is significant, I think, that every statement made by the Seven Powers contains the wording that they wish to come to an accommodation with the Six in re-uniting European economy—and that is repeated in Her Majesty's Speech.
So far as the need for maintaining the competitive efficiency of industry is concerned, I feel that there are 24 two problems which need our urgent attention: the first, the question of unofficial strikes; the second, the introduction of more method in the settlement of wage claims. Both these problems have been given much thought in the past, and by none more successfully than by the Cohen Council, which has recently pointed to the important fact that, whereas most people think of only two parties being engaged in wage negotiations, employers and employed, there is a third—namely, all of us, as consumers, who may in the end suffer increases in prices. These problems, my Lords, I suggest, deserve very careful study, and I hope that new initiatives will be forthcoming, not only from the Government but more particularly from the trade unions and the employers.
Other action foreshadowed in Her Majesty's Speech will assist our industrial efficiency. The appointment of a Cabinet Minister to be in charge of scientific activity and research—especially, I suggest, so vigorous a Minister—will ensure that this country remains in the forefront of modern scientific development. The construction of new roads, the modernisation of the railways, and the improvement of our air services will all help to solve our transport problem. Further, the review of the Companies Act will, I hope, prevent unfortunate and undesirable take-over bids, while at the same time putting no obstacle in the way of genuine mergers of economic benefit.
But most important of all, my Lords, from an economic and social viewpoint, is to make the best available use of our manpower by maintaining full employment. In particular, there is a need for legislation to ensure that new industry is sited in those areas where unemployment is above the average; and in this connection I know that the new Distribution of Industry Bill will be warmly welcomed in parts of England, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland, and nowhere more than in my own homeland, Wales. Too long Wales has been a centre of too few industries—the heavy industries: coal, iron and steel. Now that coal is becoming slowly replaced by other forms of fuel, Wales can depend no longer, as she has in the past, for so much employment in the coal industry. There are serious pockets of unemployment in 25 North West and South West Wales. There is an urgent need to bring new industries to Wales—and modern industries: the chemical industry, the plastics industry and light engineering.
Some 1,200 years ago, Offa's Dyke was built to keep the Welsh in Wales. That dyke has been breached fairly heavily over the centuries, but it now seems to be an obstacle to bringing English industrialists the other way into Wales. There is a feeling sometimes that the Welsh are quaint, querulous and quarrelsome. We do occasionally quarrel amongst ourselves—but unfortunately only in public. The men and women who are working in Welsh industry are intelligent and readily adaptable to modern needs. Our record in the field of industrial relations is as good as any in Britain, and industrialists who have already come to Wales are our best salesmen. I hope that many more will follow and that our motto will be Croeso I Gymru—Welcome to Wales.
I should make mention of agriculture, as it is such a very important subject, but I hope that your Lordships will excuse me, as my own practical experience is limited to the few feet of sooty soil at the back of my London house, if I leave agriculture to those of your Lordships who are such great experts on the subject. But I am sure that all the farming community will welcome the continuation of the guaranteed prices system and of the long-term guarantees of the 1957 Agriculture Act. I am sure, too, that horticultural growers will welcome the new grants.
There is provision in Her Majesty's gracious Speech for old and young. The needs of pensioners will be kept constantly under review and the earnings rule is to be further relaxed. For the young there will be improved facilities in schools and colleges and an improved Youth Service. The growth in the young population, which is often referred to as the "bulge"—although I think that this is an ugly word and more appropriate to the figures of the middle-aged than of the young—is a problem, whatever we call it, and we must keep pace with it. Expansion is necessary just to keep pace with increased numbers. I know that noble Lords on all sides of the House are equally concerned with the question of the Youth Service and we very much look forward 26 to improvements in the coming years. We look forward also to the Report of the Committee under Lady Albemarle on this subject.
Whether we are old or young, or in between, we are all affected by the present antiquated betting laws, and I think that we all welcome the fact that they are to be amended and modernised. As legislators, we make the laws, but it is the ordinary man or woman up and down the country who has to play the game.
The success or failure of this country will ultimately depend on the spirit of the people. The gracious Speech refers to the spiritual values which form our common heritage. I should like to pay my humble tribute to the magnificent example in fostering those spiritual values set to us all by Her Majesty The Queen and the other members of the Royal Family. In the discharge of her onerous public duties and in the privacy of her family life, the Queen sets an example of devotion and self-sacrifice that inspires the whole nation. More than any legislation, I am sure that her example, if followed, can lead to a fuller and better life for the people of Britain.
§ My Lords, I beg to second the Motion for a humble Address of Thanks to Her Majesty.
§ 3.17 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, on such occasions as this, it is usual for the Leader of the Opposition and for my noble friend who sits below the gangway on my right to offer some comments on the speeches which have been made by the Mover and Seconder of the loyal Address to Her Majesty. In the circumstances in which we meet, after the deliverance of the gracious Speech in your Lordships' House in Her Majesty's absence, I feel certain that noble Lords in every part of the Chamber will be grateful to the Mover and Seconder for the manner in which they have referred to Her Majesty to-day. With them, we, too, regret the absence of what I would call the winsomeness of her presence here, and we rejoice with her and her husband in the great and happy event which lies before them. We hope that she will be continually in health and that before long she will be able so to arrange her domestic life as to carry on with the 27 great task that she has set herself and which is an example to the people.
Last year we had a great time on the loyal Address. I think that the noble Earl the Leader of the House likes to puzzle us on this side about what we may expect. Last year we had a couple of Guardsmen—and I had a few comments to make about that; and in the previous year I had some comments to make about public schools. To-day, if I am rightly informed, the noble Lords who moved and seconded the humble Address went to Winchester. Again we have an example of the public school element. It is interesting to me, and I am sure that it must be to all my colleagues on these Benches, to see year after year the development in education, erudition and personality in the speeches which come from noble Lords educated at public schools. My only regret is that the public schools are not sufficiently open to the members of the community with whom I have been more associated, because I think that we could learn a great deal from some aspects of public-school life.
The Mover of the humble Address, the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, has become well known to your Lordships in the last few years from his participation in our debates. We have always listened to him with care and with respect, though we do not always agree with him. This afternoon, in spite of what he said in the beginning of his speech, he has been particularly careful not to say anything which would be unduly controversial—although there may be one or two points to which one might refer for elucidation to-morrow when we come to the wider debate. It is always of overwhelming interest to find, both here and in another place, debates which are largely dependent upon the breadth of experience and width of knowledge of matters of government and administration which have to come before Parliament; and perhaps no one could be better qualified by experience and wide knowledge of subjects concerning Africa and overseas than the noble Lord who spoke to us in moving the loyal Address this afternoon. We shall listen to him with great respect, right through the Parliament, with regard to the task which he feels is going 28 to be perhaps the most challenging one to the Government.
I am sure that as we listened to the wonderful mastery of speech-making we had from him this afternoon, those of us who had the privilege from time to time of listening to his greatly respected father—unfortunately it did not happen to me often, because I am a fairly late entry into this House—will have linked up in our minds something of the love that we had for listening to his father, quite apart from the views he expressed, for the oratory, quietly but most impressively imparted to the House. I feel sure that if he had been alive today he would have had considerable pride in his son's performance on such a great occasion as this.
I turn to the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare. He again reminds me very much of a greatly respected father who was a Member of this House. One thing about Lord Aberdare's father was, I think, his popularity with almost everybody. I do not remember his attending on a great number of occasions to make long speeches, but there was one thing that always impressed me about him, and that was his work for youth, his devotion to true social reform, especially on behalf of youth, and his support of real efforts to make a life of sport, to which he was so devoted—and he was a very good athlete—available to wider ranges of the community. As the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, was speaking to the loyal Address this afternoon, I felt that he had inherited a great many of his father's qualities in this respect. He, too, has not been dull in the House since he succeeded to the title. We have listened to him often. We respect his qualities, we respect his intellect, and we think that with even longer experience than he has already had in the House he will certainly make a notable contribution to our debates and that his wisdom will expand all the time and be of service to the nation as well.
I do not propose to address your Lordships at any greater length this afternoon, because it would be out of order, if I am going to speak on the gracious Speech to-morrow. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will take it from me that all my colleagues here are grateful to the Mover and Seconder of the Address for the extremely delightful and able manner in which they have carried out their 29 onerous duty. I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Viscount Alexander of Hillsborough.)
§ 3.25 p.m.
My Lords, I rise to support this Motion, and I think it is quite unnecessary for me to say that my colleagues and I in this quarter of your Lordships' House fully support with all our heart the expressions of devotion and admiration, and, I might say, affection, for the Queen and the Royal Family, who spend their whole lives in the service of this country. Your Lordships may have noticed that in this historic building in many odd corners of the woodwork there are carved the words,Domine salvam fec Reginam."This, in popular translation, is said and sung sincerely all over the country as, "God Save the Queen". I wonder whether one could perhaps at this particular moment put a little more intimate translation on it and say that we feel that it might be translated as:O Lord, take care of our Queen.The tradition that the two speeches proposing and seconding the humble Address of thanks shall be neither controversial nor platitudinous, neither long nor short, neither passionate nor soporific, has been most gracefully and admirably upheld by the two noble Lords, Lord Hastings and Lord Aberdare. Only the element of surprise on this occasion has been denied to us, in the sense that your Lordships' House has had the pleasure on previous occasions of being addressed by both noble Lords: so that the excellence of their speeches to-day is, in a sense, a simple confirmation of their own established high standard and has fulfilled our most friendly expectations.
Despite the impropriety of raising specific matters which are mentioned in the gracious Speech, I should like, with your Lordships' permission, to say a word on horticulture. The oratorical flower gardens of the political Parties, in this House as elsewhere, vary both in size and in the range of beauty and attraction of their content: an orchid here; a prickly pear there; a profusion of daisies—and even the odd deadly nightshade. It might be that the noble Earl the Leader of the House, with such 30 a wealth of choice, might by some mischance occasionally pluck for us from his very well-stocked garden some bloom whose petals could no longer bear too close an inspection or one which some unkind mildew was already nipping in the bud. But once again he has culled and presented to us two blossoms of perfection, if I may so put it, such as combine for our pleasure all the senses: those of hearing, smell, sight, taste and touch. I feel that we are indebted to the noble Earl. If I might be allowed to compliment the two noble Lords by an attempt to include these five physical senses in one comprehensive phrase, I would just say that our ears have been charmed by pungent words uttered, for all to see, in a most delightful admixture of most excellent taste and sincere feeling.
§ 3.28 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I should like to associate myself with the very sincere and happy and horticultural words of the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, and the noble Lord, Lord Rea. They have, I think, expressed the feelings of your Lordships as you have listened to the most distinguished speeches which were made by the Mover and Seconder of the Address in reply to the gracious Speech. There has been a long and honourable roll of noble Lords who have moved and seconded the Speech from the Throne but I am sure we all feel that the speeches today would stand comparison with any.
I should like to join in sending the good wishes which the House would wish to send to the Queen for good health and happiness, and of gratitude, too, for the part which the Royal Family has played and, as Commonwealth Secretary perhaps I might add, in particular in cementing the relations between the Commonwealth countries in the happiest and most personal of ways.
There is in Lord Hastings's family a long tradition of oratory. I think that if your Lordships were to pursue the records it would take you right back as far as "1066 and all that" and even beyond. But, like the noble Viscount opposite, I am going to be content now to recall that there was more than an echo in my noble friend's speech today of the clarity and the authority and classic style of English with which his 31 noble father used to delight and, indeed, enthral your Lordships. My noble friend would wish no higher praise than that, I know.
Nevertheless, as we have listened to him in this House in the last few years we know that he makes most effective speeches in his own right. With an unerring finger today he picked out the great themes which run through the gracious Speech of this Session and the challenges which face Parliament and the nation: how we must attempt to break the vicious grip of the cold war; how, while keeping a balance of strength, we must turn, if possible, the expenditure on armaments into peaceful purposes; and how the foundation of peace in the world probably lies in bringing the standard of living of the under-developed nations nearer to that of the industrial nations who have had a long start.
In particular, of course, the noble Lord talks to us with his own authority on the subject of Africa, and there is no doubt that much of the history of the world in the next 100 years is going to be written in that Continent. It will require from all of us who hold the peculiar responsibility in Parliament—particularly in Central and in East Africa for the future of our colonial territories there—all the vision and humanity and the sense of justice and wisdom which we can mobilise in the coming Parliamentary Session, because Parliament must get the answer right to this problem of creating a non-racial or a multi-racial community in Africa. Therefore, as a seleoter I had no doubt that the noble Lord would fulfil all my expectations, and I very happily join in the congratulations, which he has most richly deserved, on his speech to-day.
Lord Aberdare, too, speaks English, but in his versatility he speaks another language, which he tells us is Welsh. Well, I must take his word for it, but the Principality of Wales will no doubt be delighted to find on the Benches of this House a patriot and a champion who will stand up for Wales and all things Welsh, and who will see that Wales, as part of the United Kingdom, gets her fair share—no greater share 32 than Scotland, I hope, but nevertheless a fair share—of what is going. He chose in some ways perhaps the most difficult part of the Speech, and devoted himself to the economic and domestic questions. The noble Viscount opposite recalled Lord Aberdare's father and how we all loved him in this House. I remember, too, that one of the great features of his athletic life was the way he always, with effortless ease, hit the ball with the middle of the bat or racquet, or whatever instrument he was using, and very often, in fact usually, scored a century.
The noble Lord to-day talked modestly, and did not, for instance, reveal to us much personal application he has given to the problems of the young, which is one of the questions that feature in the gracious Speech and to which your Lordships must give considerable thought over the next Session. Yet when he was speaking of the problems of industrial relations, or the problems of full employment, or, indeed, the problems of assisting the young to meet the challenges and difficulties of this turbulent twentieth century in which they live, one felt that he talked of all these things with knowledge, sincerity and humanity.
So, from the speeches of the Mover and Seconder, I think we may say that this new Session and this new Parliament have been given a splendid start. And I am sure that all your Lordships in all parts of the House, would wish me to add to the congratulations offered to both noble Lords on the way they have taken advantage of a great Parliamentary occasion.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly until to-morrow.