§ Mr. McGovern (Glasgow, Shettleston)
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add:But humbly regret that the Gracious Speech, while expressing the highest aspirations for the future peace and welfare of the peoples of the world, makes no concrete proposals for the realisation of these desirable objects and for removing the cause of war; and fails to promise legislation to remove the grave social inequalities of the present order, which in many cases have been intensified by the war, and offers no prospect of a new order for the common people here, in India and in the Colonies.I have listened for a considerable period now and read with interest the various contributions which have been made in connection with the Gracious Speech, and it appeared to me, as it appeared to my hon. Friends, that in putting down this Amendment there was a failure by any previous Amendment to face up to the real facts of the situation and deal with the fundamental issues which the war has thrown up. We have been alert enough in our minds to realise that to put down similar types of Amendment every year of the war, impressing the same facts, is wrong, and therefore we try to concentrate on the immediate problems of the war and what is to come out of the war, taking into account that the war is an accepted fact, and it appears that the prosecution of the war is going to be carried on with the utmost vigour and brutality in order to achieve military victory.
Therefore we say that, in the contributions which have been made, there has been from our angle a failure to accept the real, fundamental issues to this extent. Military victory as a means of an attempted new social order or of giving to the people security out of military victory has been the dominant theme. We would reverse that position and say that a change in the social order would be the prelude to the victory of the peoples of the world and give them the comfort and security which military victory has never been able to achieve. Mankind has chased after military victory and military decision throughout the ages, always believing that it was fighting for the good of the people and that some real and lasting good would come to mankind out of the brutality that was exerted in the war. If we were to go back to the last war, we should discover that the same old promises were made by the 1333 same old foxy politicians, with a few additions thrown in of men who have won their spurs by an appeal to the people on the lines that we appeal, showing that war does not come because of the conception of one or two individuals in desiring personal glory in the field, but rather in the defence of an existing order and the defence of what they consider the rights of an industrial and financial system and the building up of an Empire. Therefore, we see in this war, as the Prime Minister and General Smuts said, only a continuation of the last war. That is a damning statement to be made by the Prime Minister and General Smuts. Then they examine the arguments that we put forward against the war, and the theory is that Labour, in joining this Government, did so in order to prevent the reactionary diehards of the Tory party stopping the introduction of social legislation and giving the people certain guarantees of comfort and the necessities of life.
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Deputy Prime Minister, who, I assume, is to reply to the Debate, whether he agrees with that accepted theory and the statements that are being made that his job and the job of his colleagues in the Government were, although they entered with the idea of assisting in vigorously prosecuting the war, to see that social changes were made in order to give people security and comfort. If that is so, can the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House and the country what action of a drastic character has been taken by himself and other Labour Members in the Government to realise the claims that are made on platforms outside that they are the people who are preventing reactionary elements in the Government stopping social changes taking place? We ourselves suggest, as has been said from time to time, that the war with the external enemy should have an accompanying arm at home which should make the social changes which the country needs. While the external struggle is being carried on, there should be that accompanying arm which should never cease attempting to modify and change the present order and give the people the comforts and decencies that they demand. The internal bloodless civil war or revolution should be accomplished in time of war while we are 1334 carrying on the external struggle. If that does not take place the war will have been in vain.
Are the statements that are being made that there are to be social changes and a new order real, or are they only the 1914–18 type of red herring that was used by members of the Coalition Government then in order to get support for the defence of their interests, but when the war was over the mass of the people who had made the sacrifices were thrown to unemployment queues and on to the scrap heap and became the victims of the most reactionary elements? Is there to be a repetition of that? We are amazed at the attacks that are made by Labour Members on the capitalistic system and their statements that there will be war and poverty so long as capitalism remains. They induce the electorate to believe that they are out to destroy capitalism, but no sooner is capitalism in danger than they rush to its aid and say, "We must not allow it to collapse." That shows that there is arising a large vested interest in the continuation of the system, not only from Conservatives and Liberals, but from the trade unions and the Labour hierachy at Transport House, because it can throw benefits to a small, select class of men who become the time servers of various parliaments.
We want to know what is the intention of the Labour branch of the Government. Do they intend to carry on, not only through the war but after the war, in a combination called national unity in order to try and win back trade and certain little concessions that are promised if this Government is continued in office? We believe if the Labour party did its duty it would step out from the Government and resume its place as the official Opposition. It is apparent to all that there is an ever-growing section of the Labour party riding two horses. They are attempting to convince the people that they are in the Government and not of the Government. That is a performance that cannot be carried on to any great extent, for they are only a kind of protective insurance for the Government, the kettle, as it were, that is allowed to blow off steam and keep the Government safe. What is the intention of Labour Members inside the Government, and what do they intend to do later on? The country is entitled to know whether we are to have a permanent totalitarian com- 1335 bination or whether there will be a resumption of real Opposition and an honest endeavour to bring effective changes in the lives of the people.
We are always being told that there will be changes. I would like to know where is the evidence of those changes. We ask, "Just to show what is in your minds and the type of approach you have to these problems, give us instalments, give us large chunks to be going on with, so as to show the men and women who are risking their lives that they will not be betrayed at the end of the war as they were at the end of the last war." We say that the mind and intention are not there, because no Government will do big things if they are not even prepared to do small things. The British Empire, as it is run to-day, is one of the cruxes of the situation. Take the speech of the Prime Minister, in which he said:I am proud to be a member of the vast commonwealth and society of nations and communities gathered in and around the ancient British Monarchy, without which the good cause might well have perished from the face of the earth. I have not become the King's First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire (Loud cheers).I am not dissenting from those who believe in that—they are entitled to their point of view—but that conception of an Empire dominated from the centre of London is the cause to a large extent of war itself. There are vested interests to be found in Malaya, in Singapore, in all the distant corners of the earth where black and yellow and brown men are exploited, and have no right of democratic expression. I say that if our commonwealth or Empire is to be carried on without there being a complete throw-up of democracy in its fullest sense at the end of the war, the peoples in every part of the Empire being given the right to go step by step along the real road of complete freedom and independence, then the war will have been in vain.
The British people believe that along the way of war are to come security and comfort and the guarantee of an orderly life; but it is not only the British people who have that belief. The German people believe that the way they are travelling is the way to a certain measure of security. Much as I loathe the whole of the machinery behind the administration, if you can call it so, in Germany, with its Gestapo, its concentration camps, its beatings, 1336 its ruthless terror, I say the mass of the people in Germany have this conception: They see what one may call the older totalitarian States—because to them British rule over India and the Colonies is a totalitarian rule—and they say to themselves that if totalitarian rule has given Britain an Empire such as she has, but in which she practises a measure of democracy at the centre which does not radiate into the uttermost corners of the Empire, then they are entitled to follow along those lines in order to get a measure of security.
I say, and have always said, that I abhor all totalitarian and dictatorial methods, whether they come from Germany, Russia or the British Empire, towards native and Colonial peoples. The right hon. Gentleman the Deputy Prime Minister before he joined the present Government made a very challenging speech to the late Mr. Chamberlain in which he had a conception of the Empire as a source of exploitation and trouble and said the pooling of the resources of the world was essential. He said that then, and I simply come back to it, and say that any continuation of that system will intensify our troubles after the war and leave our problems completely unsolved. I saw a report of a speech made somewhere by a Minister in the present Government in which he said three things were necessary: Firstly, great armed strength in this country after this war; secondly, the mind and the will to prevent the Germans from ever repeating what he claimed they had attempted to carry out to-day; and, thirdly, some form of co-ordination among the nations who are going to hold down these other nations. In my view, that is a wrong conception—to win a military victory in order to hold down the people who are our present enemies and prevent them from expanding in some way while claiming for ourselves complete domination of all the financial and commercial opportunities of the world and the resources of the air.
We are in the reverse position to that in which Hitler is to-day. We are claiming to dominate the world, and that is what Hitler is trying. We ought to be sure that we are not engaged simply in a financial and commercial struggle with Hitler and the Nazis instead of attempting to end injustice. In ending that injustice we ourselves must make some contribution and sacrifice and pool the re- 1337 sources of the world. While there are Empires, while the resources of the world are held by a few people to the exclusion of the great mass of humanity, we cannot have any new order, we can only have the defence, or the re-establishment on a very shaky foundation, of the old order, wielding power and might and terror in a growing manner against those who are defeated in war. I dissent entirely from this conception that a British Empire should be allowed to continue, because whilst opposing this war root and branch as being the outcome of the rivalries of groups of capitalists and financiers in each nation who are seeking domination, I would say at the same time that there should be a complete liquidation of that old order during the time of war and the establishment on a sure and a decent foundation of an order in which all the resources that nature has given us should be held in common by the peoples of the whole earth, rationed out by experts, thus eliminating the causes of the brutal struggles which periodically overtake mankind.
I have said time and time again that if I were convinced that this war, much as I abhor brutality, was going to mark the end of the old order and the laying of the foundations of a new order Which would give every human being the rights which are denied to him to-day, I should have great difficulty in refraining, from supporting that war, but even though a few Labour Members are taken into the Government and given lucrative jobs, I can see no evidence of a desire for a fundamental change. When days were dark and friends were few, the Deputy Prime Minister came into this House, where Members were sitting in gloom, and told us in a hushed voice of the great powers which the Government were acquiring in order to take over land, to take over banks, to take over property and industries and transport; everything had to come into the net for the common good. And nobody was then prepared to raise a voice against it. The popular demand then was for an all-in struggle. But time has elapsed, and the workers, under that promise of taking over all these things, have been brought into the general net in every field of activity. Miners, railway-men, agricultural workers, workers in ship works and engineering, seamen and others 1338 have been held to their posts with a vicelike grip, and penalised, persecuted and imprisoned if they failed to make then contribution of sacrifice in what was regarded as the common cause.
How many banks have been taken over to become the common property of this country? What about the railways? How much land has been taken and placed in the custody of the State out of the hands of some of the noble families, about whom the Secretary of State for Scotland wrote so ably? What about the industries and what about transport? Has the right hon. Gentleman assisted in the playing of this distasteful game in order that reaction should retain power? He came to this House and tried to make the people believe that great changes were to take place. The worker's life is controlled and his comfort destroyed. Some were taken from well-paid and decent jobs, and they and their families have made great contributions to the war effort. The same old game is taking place to, entice people into the struggle as took place in regard to the war of 1914–18.
Let me give the House a picture of some of the conditions that existed in Scotland 25 years after the last war. There were 90,000 applicants on the waiting list for houses in Glasgow, in the year 1938, and the position has worsened since then. There are 14,835 cases of overcrowding reported by the medical officer. Of these, 4,300 have been dealt with, leaving 10,535 to be dealt with. Many of them are dangerously overcrowded. Tubercular cases numbering 2,526 were recommended by the Health Department. Of those, 1,566 have been dealt with, and there is left a total of nearly 1,000 cases, including children and adults who are breathing the tuberculous germs in their overcrowded dens, among members of their families, and there is no human decency of any kind for them.
As to overcrowding in 1938, there were 12,809 cases where 2½ to 3 persons lived in a one-apartment house, and 5,466 cases of 3½ to 5 persons in a single apartment house. When I talk of a single apartment house I mean a room 4 yards by 4½ yards at its largest, with a small cold water tap in one corner, and no lavatory accommodation in 96 per cent. of the cases. Then there were 707 cases with from 5½ to 7½ persons in one room. From 8 to 10 persons were in one room in 32 cases and in one or two cases more 1339 than 10 persons were living in a single apartment room. In regard to two-apartment houses, there were from 3½ to 5 persons in 32,272 cases, from 5½ to 7½ persons in 10,714 cases, from 8 to 10 persons in 1,169 cases and more than 10 in 23 cases. In other words, in 1938, there were 77,447 cases of overcrowding in the city of Glasgow. In 1935 there had been over 82,000, but an inroad of 5,000 cases was made from 1935 to 1938. That is the position of the Service men who are demanding houses to-day. As they marry they make the position very much worse.
I should like to read a letter which I have received from a woman constituent. I received it as I came on to this bench. She is Mrs. Scade, of 15, Chester Street, Shettleston, Glasgow, and she says:DEAR SIR,I am writing this letter wondering if you can do anything for me. My husband, three young children and I are living with my mother-in-law and there are six of them in one small room and kitchen, that is 11 of us altogether. My husband is a miner and, after doing a hard shift at the pit he has to come home and lie on the floor as there is no room in a bed for him. His bones are all sore for want of a proper rest.
§ Mr. McGovern
It goes on:Please oblige, Mr. McGovern, and try and do something for us as I have never had a house, and my name has been before the Corporation for five years.That may be an extreme case, but, as exposing the actual housing conditions, let me read a further letter which will show hon. Members what the conditions are:Almost four months ago a row of miners' houses, composing 10 houses in the small village of Eastfield, Caldercruix, by Airdrie caved in on the occupants owing to the goal being worked out underneath the houses. My father who lived in one of the houses went to live with my sister and husband who have three children in a single end house until the Council of Lanark could find him another house. Some other families with relatives went to live with them, but others less fortunate had no place to go so they had to accommodate themselves as best they could. An old married couple, 75 years old, had to live in an old hen house they kept some hens in, and are living there at present. Another young married couple with a boy about four years old and another child about four weeks old are living in an old wash-house at the back of the houses. The young woman went to the maternity home to have her baby and the washhouse was the home she and the baby had to return to. Then another 1340 old man over 60 had to live in his broken-down house where the ceiling has fallen down and you can look through any part of the roof and see the sky above. These conditions exist at present. The old couple of 75 have a son in the Army who spends any leave he gets living in the hen house. The other man aged over 60 has only one son and he spends his leave also in the old broken down house with his father; The Council were approached but with no results. Health inspectors and sanitary inspectors have visited the place but they cannot do anything about it meantime, they say. About a mile and a half down the road there are 10 council houses which have been almost completed months ago, but now the Council say they cannot get the material to complete them, and even if they were completed the Council could not guarantee to give these people the houses. I would be obliged if you could make an endeavour at your earliest convenience to see that these people are properly housed and not living like brute beasts.This individual went on to give names and addresses and she has asked me if anything can be done in that situation.
That is 25 years after the war, after the homes for heroes were to come into operation, and 25 years during which reaction has been in the saddle in this country. As a result, we have not overtaken the disasters which accompanied humanity after the last war. The same old reactionary elements are in this Government to-day and the same old possessing classes. The Prime Minister was one of the outstanding figures in that Government, and since then he has been almost bellicose in wanting to tight miners, railwaymen or land workers or anybody who was struggling and demanding better conditions. Nothing has been done, and his voice has never been raised in any decent social programme to try to better the conditions facing humanity. We ask what the intention of the Government is in relation to these problems. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to say, as the Paymaster-General said, that victory is the dominant consideration? Victory over what? Victory over all these problems that beset humanity throughout the world? The cause of war is the misuse of life and effort due to private enterprise and gangster rule throughout the world. Therefore, you must remove the causes of war. They are competition between the financial elements of the world and the industrial, commercial magnates and bondholders, whose clutching hand is to be seen right through all the ramifications of what is called civilisation throughout the world. We say that the removal of 1341 these causes would be helpful in this situation.
One newspaper said the other day that there is a danger of the collapse of Italy within the next six months. What is the reason given? Italy is in danger of collapse if peace terms are stated to her. We have always said, and say again here, that declarations of these peace terms would be useful—if we could say to the German people and to the peoples of the Continent, "We are determined on a complete new order, and whilst we are in this war we recognise that the cause of war has been this intensive struggle that has gone on amongst those who own and hold the means of life, and we are determined to face up to the complete breakdown of this old order, to liquidate it, to start afresh and to pool our entire resources, and we want to know exactly what is the answer to that." Are the Government prepared for a new order on that basis, or are they attempting to hoodwink the people of this country again in order to carry on the military struggle while evading the issues which the war has thrown up?
A victory over war is more important than a victory over your present enemies, because, to judge from the past you have fought almost every nation in the world. I heard somebody quoting the number of wars Germany had been engaged in. I wish he had continued and quoted the number in which Great Britain has been engaged. It would be illuminating because she is highest on the list of wars and they have all been for the purpose of defending the slave ring gathered round London, those who gathered round the Prime Minister at the Mansion House, the wolves who have been fattening on the proceeds of loot extracted from the blood, tears, toil and sweat of the brown and black natives of the world. The Prime Minister glories in Empire building, no attempt being made to face up to these difficulties I have mentioned. We do not expect the Prime Minister to face up to them. He glories in the fact that he is at the head of this great Empire but if he went down to rock bottom and examined it he would not glory in it.
We think, although we' have an idea that our words will not be listened to, that the best thing for human progress would be for the Labour party to decide to take its Ministers out of 1342 the Government. Let them support the war if they will, but let them drive ahead and compel the Government to face up to these immediate problems and demand from them a complete break with the past, and the carrying out of these fundamental charges which we demand in the statement I am making to-day—the ownership of the means of life, because the mind of the people is on the alert; it is on the move. The people will not be prepared to go back to the old conditions at the end of the war.
There is a great deal of talk to-day of revolution in Italy and Germany. I do not know whether hon. Members face up to the position implied by a revolution in Germany and Italy. As Philip Snow-den once said in Glasgow at the time of the Russian Revolution, there could be only one revolution in Germany, if it took place, and that must be a deep economic revolution. He said, "I am against economic revolutions." The audience was astounded at this statement, but have the Government faced up to the possibility of an uprising on the Continent, of an economic revolution, of Germany and France and the other countries becoming completely infused with Communist thought and ideas and becoming a complete Continental Communist entity, because in that situation, if Germany has an uprising and goes along the Communist road, Russia will break with the United Nations, and throw in her lot with Germany in order to assist in this deep economic revolution in Germany?
That may spread, and rather than see that crude, bloody struggle that would happen, in which people in various countries could be subjected to a brutal Gestapo, we are thinking more in terms of a complete libertarian Socialism where that crude, bloody method of repression and antagonism would not be exercised but where libertarian thought and activity would be thrown up as the expression of that new order that would give to humanity what humanity requires for its needs. There is no doubt that the German people are just as likely as the British people to respond, and if the German and the Italian people could be assured that, if they would break with their present rulers they would be treated with decency, and that we were preparing not to conserve for ourselves the things essential in life and industry but were prepared 1343 to pool these resources, it would go a long way towards inducing not only Italy, but Germany, to end the struggle. I remember saying in this House when I came back from Italy that Mussolini would take Italy into the war but somebody else might take Italy out of the war, and I am convinced that can be true of both these countries. Therefore we want to know what is the intention of the Government, whether they intend to seek not only military victory over Nazi domination but whether they intend to free themselves from this totalitarian economic state in those nations throughout the world, and give to the people of the world the justice to which they are entitled.
(1) We ask for a basic living income for every citizen, including the men and women in the Forces and their dependants, workers of every grade and their families, widows of Service men and workers, and those incapacitated by accident, disease, age or infirmity; (2) communal ownership and democratic control of land, industry, transport and finance, in the interests of all the people; (3) the liberation of India and the Colonial peoples; and (4) the declaration of peace terms on the basis of social justice, national liberation and the pooling of the world's resources for the good of all peoples. This would be a decent instalment and would show to the people of this country that the Government's intentions were pure and honourable, that they were not using their blood and toil and tears and sweat for the purpose of defending ill-gotten gains, and that they would pool that which had all been created by the efforts of the common people of this country, namely, all the things that are held dear and necessary to life.
I discovered in this country that there are a large number of men who have served and given their lives and whose dependants are treated in the most shameful manner. I give three examples: First, Sergt. McGurk, 89, Burgher Street, Park-head, Glasgow, who on August 6th, 1940, was travelling on an Army truck which collided with an Army lorry. He was killed. His wife and two children are not getting a pension. The next case is that of Gunner P. G. McCarroll, 1237, Gallowgate, Glasgow, E.1, whose body was recovered from a quarry three and a half months after he had been drowned crossing a field to a camp during fog or black- 1344 out. He was not on duty. His wife and three children received no pension. Third, Francis Crawford, of the Royal Scots, of 26, Trinity Street, Belfast, was killed by a bus in the streets in Palestine. He was not on duty in the evening. There is no pension for his wife and five children under 14 years of age, and the Stormont Government, through Sir Dawson Bates, have even sent a letter to the lady saying that she is not entitled to Poor Law relief, because she is able-bodied. Does the country agree with shabby, scurvy treatment of that kind to those who have given their lives for it? This man would never have been in Palestine, the other would never have been crossing a field in which there was a quarry in order to get to a camp, if they had not been serving. They were in uniform; they were serving, whether they were on duty or not. Now their loved ones are left in poverty and suffering. I can hardly conceive that a Government will do big things when in the small things it treats widows and orphans in this shameful manner.
Here is one other outstanding example showing the desire that exists in this country for freedom. There were two men in this country from Vienna, both members of the Social Democratic party of Vienna. One of them took me around when I was in Vienna. After I left he was arrested and placed in Dachau concentration camp. I wrote to Sir Nevile Henderson. Sir Nevile Henderson interviewed Field-Marshal Goering, and got this young man released and sent to this country. He came to my house and showed me his body, black and blue from the treatment he had got at Dachau concentration camp. These two brothers were arrested in this country and taken to the Isle of Man. They were to have been sent to Canada on the "Andora Star," but, luckily, they were unable to get on the ship. They were sent to Australia, to the bush and the desert. They were robbed and beaten on the ship going out. They were released in Australia, after a struggle for 18 months with the Home Office and allowed to become members of the Pioneer Corps. I refuse to believe that minds capable of that devilish conduct to men who were anti-Hitler in the last degree, and even antagonistic to my own views, can be trusted to give us a new world. Here is the case of a member 1345 of the I.L.P., Victor Walker, 196, Ardgowan Road, Catford. He was 25 years of age, in good health, had led an active life, and had been an engineer in the G.P.O. since 1934. As a conscientious objector, he was turned down by the local appeal tribunal in October, 1940, and sentenced to 12 months' hard labour at London Sessions. He was in Wandsworth, Maidstone Gaol, and Wormwood Scrubbs, and became very ill. For five months his brother complained about his condition, and no regard was paid to the matter. At last he was released, a completely broken man, and taken to hospital, where he died on nth November, 1942—a fitting tribute to Armistice Day. He was murdered. Here is the case of a young Irishman who died in prison in the Isle of Wight, after his release had been refused. His body was brought back to Belfast, at a cost of £40 to £50, for burial.
I cannot understand how the people who are responsible for these brutalities could have the effrontery to go on the platforms of the Ministry of Information and into the pulpits and mouth about the brutalities of the Germans, and say that this is a war for human freedom. I am not prepared to believe that this war is being waged for other than the old selfish things. The Prime Minister and General Smuts said that it was a continuation of the last war, and not a new one. The last war was fought for the defence of the private interests of the ruling class. War comes every few years. In the last war the posters asked men to fight in order to prevent their sons going. But the fathers have died in France. They have been buried in various parts of the British Empire, under the soil. The sons tread the same ground that their fathers trod, to the same doom, under the same system, which leads to the destruction of the homes of the people. We used to hear it said that Socialism would destroy the home, that it would put people under a regimented system. It is the capitalists throughout the world who have put you under this regimented system. Women, girls, men, are being regimented; boys of 17½ are being appealed to to join the Home Guard. One sees this Churchill Youth system as the counterpart here to the Hitler Youth in Germany. Day by day the chain gangs become more complete. The workers are more completely 1346 bound up in an iron manner to this old industrial competitive system. Those who sit at the top glory in their power and in the loot they extract from the workers in every part of the world.
We say that this war, if fought to the bitter end, will have been in vain unless we supersede private ownership by a broad human system of public ownership, recognising that the old order is dead in theory if not in actual practice at this moment. If you were to bring that old system to an end and usher in a new order, making a general appeal to the workers of the world, you could end the war, and build up a new society. We of the I.L.P. have never supported the war, but we are not pushing into the faces of Members to-day our complete opposition to war; we are asking only that the country should take stock to see that the war is not fought in vain. If it is not to be fought in vain these fundamental changes, must take place now, not at the end of the war, because they are part of the process of the war to end war and to end poverty and want. We commend this Amendment, and ask Members to take their courage in their hands and go into the Lobby to vote for the ending of war and unemployment and poverty and the ushering in of a new order, based on a better conception of decent treatment for every human being throughout the world.
§ Mr. Stephen (Glasgow, Camlachie)
I beg to second the Amendment.
In doing so, I realise that the victories in North Africa and the successes in Russia, at Stalingrad and on the Central Front, have had their effect in this House and that many supporters of the Government have had their criticisms dispelled for the time being. I myself, in spite of this change in the military situation, am not convinced with regard to this Government. When it was formed I did not like it; I like it even less to-day. It is true that there are Labour Members in it, but always, it appears to me, the voice is the voice of the Tory Party, of pride, privilege and oppression. In the Gracious Speech there are aspirations, after peace, for the welfare of the peoples of the world, but there are no concrete proposals for the realisation of these desirable objects. There does not seem to be any real conception on the part of the Government of the cause of war. I want to put this ques- 1347 tion to the Deputy-Prime Minister, who is to reply. I am sorry he is not here at the moment, but perhaps the Postmaster-General will put this question to him. Has he changed the views that he used to hold along with his fellow Members of the Labour Party that the fundamental cause of war was economic, and that in a world of rival Imperialisms all that you could hope for would be periods between wars, and that permanent peace could only be established in the world by the overthrow of Imperialism. The Deputy-Prime Minister, I think, used to hold these views, and I wonder whether he still holds them and whether he thinks it impossible to persuade the Prime Minister and his fellow members of the Government of the truth of his previous contention.
People have very short memories. I see the Government leading the nation today on the assumption that the only way to permanent peace is by victory in the field, and I recall that during the last war, the Labour Party, or at least very many Members of the Labour Party, definitely came out on the platform in the country in favour of a policy of peace by negotiation. The country did not respond to the appeal. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) carried the country with his fighting policy that the only way to real peace was by a victory in the field and that we must fight on to the bitter end. He convinced the country, and we did fight on to the bitter end, and never did a war end with a greater victory than was attained by the Allied countries in the last war. There they were, with the opportunity of showing the world, with this great victory, how to build permanent peace. What happened? Germany was completely defeated. There were armies of occupation, the German mercantile marine was taken, their rolling stock was taken and they were completely smashed. It was only in January, 1930, that the last soldier of occupation left Germany. For 12 years you had Germany held under by the military forces of France and Britain, and yet, to-day we are in a more terrible war than the war of 1914–1918.
I put this question to the Deputy Prime Minister. How does he expect that by pursuing the same policy on this occasion we shall achieve different results? In a recent speech the Foreign Secretary and 1348 Leader of the House has said that we must see to it that in the future we do not allow the forces of aggression ever to bring the world to the sad position in which it is to-day. Evidently he contemplates military forces composed of American, Russian and British troops being held—I suppose it will have to be for more than 12 years on this occasion—for a generation in Germany. I want again to recall to the House what happened after the end of the last war. The Armistice was hardly signed before the relationship between the Allies was anything but happy. There was a constant feeling of irritation between the British and the French Governments, and I wonder how on this occasion, when victory is obtained, those forces—Russian, American and British—in Germany, held there for 25 years, are going to maintain the peace, the one with the other. I am convinced that the policy which is being pursued by the Government—this policy of going on to victory in the field with the idea of Allied forces holding Germany in thraldom for a generation—is simply once more to lead the peoples of the world to put their faith in what is only a delusion.
§ Mr. Stephen
The hon. Member is a member of the Labour Party and should not need to ask me that question, but, in case he has forgotten, I will remind him. What I would do would be to change the economic system. It is only by the overthrow of Imperialism in this country and in Germany, and I think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, like myself, has said that on platforms on many occasions. There can be no permanent peace in the world without the ending of the Imperialist system. The Labour Members in the Government have professed it, just as I have professed it. They have said so on many occasions, and I wonder when we shall have some indication that they have brought their colleagues to a realisation that the only way to real world peace is by ending the system that makes for war—capitalism in its modern form of Imperialism.
I also want to join issue with the Government about the way in which they are neglecting to begin to lay the foundations of social justice. Millions of men and women have been dragged away from their homes. They are in the Armed 1349 Forces of the country or toiling in workshops day in and day out, working far beyond their strength. Yet Members of this House, of all parties, have had to press the Government again and again for small measures of better treatment for men in the Services and their dependants. It has been necessary, also, to get decent conditions for the people in the workshops. No attempt is being made by the Government to see that the workers are given a decent living wage or to give them the assurance of a living wage in days to come. I join issue; too, with the Government on their failure to begin to lay the foundations of a new social order in the establishment of which we here will be giving encouragement to other people in the world to believe in the reality of our slogans about democracy and freedom.
There is another aspect of Government policy upon which I would like to join issue, and that is the treatment of India and the Colonial Empire. I do not want to say very much to-day about the Indian situation. I put my views before the House comparatively recently, and despite the answer made by the Deputy Prime Minister on that occasion, I see no reason to change my position. I could see the Government, if they were wise, taking the opportunity to meet the Indian people in a way they are not doing now…Even the most moderate elements in India, in their approaches to the Government, have met with no response. The position of people in the Colonial Empire is such as to make all our talk about democracy a sham. If we are to have peace in the world, freedom must not be only freedom for those whose skins are white; it must be freedom for dark-skinned men and yellow men. When we look at the Colonial Empire and think of how millions of people are living in most horrible conditions, under the impression of the Colonial system we have imposed upon them, we realise that we are not facing up to the implications which are in the aspirations for a better and peaceful world.
The Vice-President of the United States of America made a notable speech, in which he said that the new era was to be an era of the common man. Well, this Government evidently does not agree with Mr. Wallace, nor does it appear to 1350 be taking any steps to put into operation a programme which will give the common man the opportunities and possibilities which should belong to him. This Government, a Coalition Government, is one Which steadily carries out a Conservative policy. The Minister of Labour and National Service announces that he intends to bring forward proposals in order to give a little comfort and security to workers in the catering industry and at once there is a tremendous outcry among members of the Conservative party. Tremendous pressure is applied. "We must have no controversial legislation during the war," it is said. The voice of the Government is always the Tory voice; their policy is the Tory policy, and it is not a policy which offers hope to the people of the world. In the last war 12,000,000 of the youth of the world were destroyed, and 25,000,000 were destroyed by pestilence and famine, most of them being peasants and workers. I wonder what the death-rate will be as a result of this war. The Prime Minister has told us that next year may be a year of grim struggle and terrible hardship and that there may be many hard years before us still. There may be a tremendous toll of human life, and I say that it is time men should seek to apply reason to this great struggle and try to find a way out of it which will save the lives of millions of the youth of the world.
I think we have had far too much of what I have called before the "Tomcat" foreign policy, in which the leaders of the various nations have gone to the microphone and have yelled abuse at one another like cats yowling on the tiles. It is a good thing that television was not sufficiently advanced before the war began otherwise millions of people would have seen their leaders making faces at one another while indulging in an orgy of abuse and vituperation. I know that Hitler and Mussolini have shown themselves postmasters in this method of carrying on government, but it does not help when the Prime Minister tells us that in their statements they are not very polite and then himself proceeds to indulge in the same silly form of abuse. It may be a relief to him, it may release some inhibition in him, but I do not think it goes very far towards trying to help a settlement of things in the world 1351 to refer contemptuously to Corporal Hitler. I do not mind the Prime Minister referring contemptuously to Hitler, but the fact that he was a corporal in the last war does not provide any argument that will be effective in influencing the minds of reasonable people in this country or in other countries.
I say that reason should be brought into the councils of the nations even at this late hour. We should have a Government that would bring social justice in our own country by taking over the land, industry, banking and all the other services of the country, seeing that human life has been conscripted, and that would adopt a policy of liberation for the people in the Colonies. In pursuing such a policy they would be in a strong position to appeal to the people in the Axis countries to overthrow their oppressors and join with us in bringing about a great Socialist federation of the world which would make possible, in the early future, a peace that would be real and permanent, never to be broken again.
§ Mr. Pickthorn (Cambridge University)
It requires even more vanity than I have to be quite sure that, at so late a stage of so long a Debate, and in a House so thinly though so richly attended, it is really worth while to state the truth that is in one. It is difficult to find the courage to say enough of it for it to mean anything; on the other hand, it is futile if one gets up and says just enough to mean nothing. I always think the worst of all ways of beginning a speech is to say, "I hope the hon. Gentleman who has just resumed his seat will forgive me if I do not follow him." I have often thought it would be a good thing that we should have a Standing Order that, upon hearing those words, Mr. Speaker should blow a small silver whistle and the person uttering them should be counted out for the next six months. On the other hand, I find it a little difficult, if I am to try to make any of my own speech, to traverse the remarks of the two hon. Members who preceded me. I have the misfortune, coming immediately after the moving of an Amendment, that there are two speakers who ought to be answered. I have the misfortune also that they are two speakers who, if it is not impertinent for me to say so, are always competent and impressive and not always very easy to answer. But I have also this diffi- 1352 culty that—I was going to say "my hon. Friends" but of course, we are in the paradoxical situation that the three gentlemen below the Gangway are the only gentlemen in the House who are not my hon. Friends—
§ Mr. Pickthorn
The hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway made the sort of speech which they very frequently make. It consists, first of all, of immense philosophic assertions, and secondly, of extreme individual instances. The individual instances harrow the hearts of every Member of the House who has a heart—and I count myself among them; but one cannot deal with individual instances. That is perfectly clear. The philosophical principles, or rather assumptions, are so immense that it is also pretty clear, I think, that really one cannot deal with them at any length. The fundamental assumption which the three hon. Gentlemen make, has been, in my humble judgment, the fundamental error of the whole of the last 50 years. The fundamental assumption they make is that all human activities and motives, if sufficiently analysed, always come down to be something economic, just as the fundamental assumption of physicists once was that everything if sufficiently analysed come down to atoms of hydrogen, or what not, or at different times, of other things. I believe that that fundamental assumption which the hon. Gentlemen make has been the besetting heresy, the pseudodoxia epidemica of our time.—[Interruption.] I think that in addressing the hon. Member for Camlachie (Mr. Stephen) the Member for a University ought to use such words. I think that fundamental assumption has done more harm in the last 40 years than any other single thing, and I think that, as single factors go, that is the greatest cause of this war. Then the hon. Gentlemen go on from this false assumption of theirs—paradoxically, because they, whatever may be the case of some other people here, they, I am sure, were in the old days sincere believers, with Mr. Kellogg, that war should not used as an instrument of national policy—they go on to say this war will be immoral and wasted unless it is used as an instrument to produce all the policies which they have always wanted. There could be nothing more intellectually dishonest, in my view. The old- 1353 fashionedness of the three hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite is a continual surprise to me.
The hon. Member for Camlachie told us that he saw no reason to change his position, and I feel quite sure that he never will see any reason to change it. They made their assumptions, I do not know exactly when, but no doubt about 40 years ago; I do not know whether they had read Karl Marx or whether they had not when they made the assumptions, but they made those assumptions, and upon those assumptions they will stand, and nothing anybody says or does can move them.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I should be perfectly willing, but I do not think that it would be fair in this Debate to go into more of the reasons why I think those fundamental assumptions false. But by their fruits you can know them. For instance, it lands them in a falsity when they start talking about Colonial territories. If I may compare myself with one so incomparable—with the Prime Minister—I do not propose to apologise for the British Empire or for anything about it. I think that the men who have governed the British Empire in the course of the last 200 years have frequently made mistakes and have sometimes committed crimes, and for those mistakes and crimes we should all be sorry and should hope that we are better men than our predecessors. I have heard hon. Members on the opposite benches talking contemptuously about our Colonial service in Malaya. I will undertake to say that on the whole our Colonial servants in Malaya are more devoted to the interests of the people they serve, more industrious, more courageous and less selfish than 70 or 80 per cent. of trade union officials or of Members of this House. When I hear the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) telling us about vested interests in Malaya, it reminds me of that very disgraceful despatch which "The Times" printed just after the loss of Singapore. I never quite understand what all this talk is about vested interests. What is a State for if it is not to defend vested interests? Improper interests are those which are not properly vested, where a man has no 1354 genuine interest, no legal right in a thing, yet somehow can succeed in wresting the machinery of the State, or a trade union or an employers' federation or a party or what not, to get it though he has not a vested interest in it. That is what is intolerable in human society. The proper function of a State is to defend vested interests until it is persuaded that they are improper, and then, with a minimum of human unhappiness, to change them.
We hear a lot about vested interests in Malaya. Who was it who took the stuff to Malaya that anyone now wants? We did not take the tin and oil. Geologically speaking, they were there, but only geologically speaking. Economically and socially speaking, no one knew precisely that they were there or knew effectively how to get them out if they were there. Rubber we did actually take. [Interruption.] The eminent biologist opposite whose risible faculties are excessively disturbed will not deny that. The values that are there, the values that have been talked about, are things that went there because of us. But we have a greater thing to apologise for about Malaya than anything else in the history of our country, and about that we should apologise. Empire, after all, is only a short word for something which has jurisdiction over all the things within it and has the duty of defending all the persons and things in it. The only thing for which we need ever find it difficult in the long run to apologise is when we fail to defend. About that we should apologise. There are none of us who should not be ashamed of it, that our polices and our strategies were inadequate to our duties.
I want now to say a word about one or two concrete suggestions which I think have not yet been made in the Debate, long as it has been. I was a little surprised by the contrast between the way a question about catering was answered two or three days ago and the way in which a question about civil aviation was answered. I am not suggesting whether catering ought to be syndicalised or regulated or what. The Minister of Labour was asked about catering. Then there was an answer, and supplementaries, and so on, and he was asked:Does the Minister now recognise that this proposal has nothing to do with the war?1355MR. BEVIN: I recognise that when you are in a war you have to prepare for peace."—[OFFICILA REPORT, 26th November, 1942; col. 845, Vol. 385.]That is all right. When it is a matter of labour conditions it is apparently recognised that when you are at war you have to prepare for conditions of peace. A day or two before a Question was asked about post-war civil aviation. Listen to the reply:I am satisfied that the immense efforts which have been, and continue to be, devoted to the design and development of aero engines for war purposes will enable us to provide post-war British civil aviation with engines which will compare favourably with any in the world.MR. PERKINS: Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether any steps have yet been taken to further civil aviation, or are the Department waiting until hostilities cease?MR. SMITH: Current aero engine development and design for essential military purposes automatically embrace conditions appropriate for civil use, such as high speed take-off and high cruising power, with a minimum of fuel consumption consonant with the maximum re liability and minimum cost of maintenance."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1942; col. 702, Vol. 385.]If there is one thing certain about reconstruction after the war, either for recovering and increasing prosperity in the immediate post-war period or for making the post-war period as long as possible—that is postponing the next war—I will tell the House how it can be put off for 50 years. War once in a lifetime is just tolerable but twice in a lifetime is at least once too many. If this thing is going to be avoided, one of the most certain steps towards that end is the improvement of means of communication and if we have any belief in the right and duty and the capacity of our people to take a large share in the world's affairs those communications should be largely in British management and direction. I have heard not a word in this Debate about aviation after the war. We had a terrific long list of plans from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Paymaster-General. Somebody said that he leapt from anti-climax to anti-climax. It reminded one of a film of a chamois being pushed backwards through the reel. This is a comparatively small thing about which something might really be thought out now, and it would not cost a great deal of money. It does not need many able men in that building the other side of Victoria Station to get some plans together, or many Foreign Office-hours to talk to the Americans, who 1356 no doubt want to be fair, and see that the effect of this war is not that we are completely edged out of civil aviation.
What is more amazing still we have had in a good many speeches—I was going to say lip service, but I hope it is more than that—to agriculture, as the fundamental industry of this country. There are two fundamental industries in this country. My father used to tell me that there are only two honest men in the world, the fisherman and the farmer, and that the rest of us are parasites living on our wits. We are dependent on the men who pull something out of the ground or out of the sea or carry something across the sea, but we have heard not a word about the Mercantile Marine or the fishing trade. These are things which can be dealt with now. You cannot make blue prints for most of the stuff we have heard about, but you can make plans about these industries. The conditions are foreseeable and the equipment is very largely such as can be prepared or at least designed beforehand.
We had mention of great educational reforms involving legislation from the Paymaster-General. I see before me what, if he does not dislike the word as much as I do, I may describe as one of our great educationists, and I am glad that he is here. We were told by the Paymaster-General that there was to be legislation on this matter. Legislation always means ex hypothesi compulsion. We pass a Bill in order to compel somebody to do something that otherwise was not going to be done; and almost all legislation means spending more money—in the case of education having more buildings and more teachers. I am as ready as anyone to worship the goddess of the shrine that pays me, and I would be the last to say there should not be more teachers, that they should not have more pay and better rooms to live and to work in. We were told yesterday, however, that after the war there would be enough necessary building to keep twice the pre-war building force of the country employed for 20 years. Such things are obviously guesses, but no one would dare to say that that is very much of an exaggeration. It must be clear, therefore, that for years after the war there cannot be a great building of new schools. By parity of reasoning it is clear that for a good many years after 1357 the war there cannot be many more and better teachers than there were before the war. There will have been five or six or seven years during which the older teachers are getting past their best and new teachers are not coming on. What is from the point of view of production more important, the people who ought to be producing the new teachers—the likes of me, for instance—are not coming on either. Therefore, all the plans you make for improved education by having more and better teachers and more and better buildings are bound to meet with great disappointments and great delay. I beg those responsible for the Board of Education, hon. Members in general, and the teaching profession to try and think what changes in the educational system they can cure without spending money or employing an additional man, because there is a great deal of work of that sort to be done. It is a pity that we do not try and approach the problem in that direction.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
Would my hon. Friend say that classes of 40 and 50 in elementary schools are among the things we ought to cure as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I am consciously ignorant of elementary schools. I agree in principle that too large classes are a mistake, but you do not, having said that, solve the problem, because you are still left with two problems. Even if you could get the most intelligent and gifted people to go into the scholastic profession, and were sure that you wanted to, could you find the buildings and the rooms to put them in? Two classes of 20 in one room are not much better than one class of 40. Though let not hon. Members forget this: Many great men have been educated in schools where four or five classes went on in one room at the same time, which was the normal habit 100 years ago. So do not let us exaggerate too much the brick and mortar side of the thing.
Almost every previous speaker has uttered the warning that we must not be let down this time as we were last time. Some of the people who talk in that way do not seem to me to have been let down last time. Some of us who felt we were let down last time did not feel we were let down for the reasons generally alleged. I cannot speak for the soldiers in this war 1358 nor for the soldiers of the last war, but I knew intimately many hundreds of the soldiers of the last war. So far as I could observe they were not very different from the soldiers who fought at Crécy: I did not know them, either, but I hope I know a little about them. I do not suppose that the soldiers of this war are infinitely different from the men with whom I have shared tents and bivouacs. I do not find many of the young men saying when, on leave, they come to see me, "We must have a new world after the war." If you make the war go on long enough, and so long that by the end of the war there is nobody who has heard anything about previous history except the stuff that has been recited by "Picture Post," the "Tribune" and the hon. Gentlemen opposite; if we have the continual winnings about our past and nothing but winnings for sufficiently long, you will get a generation which will naturally come back expecting something much better than what they imagined of the conditions in 1938. On that hypothesis, if you could give them something as good as there was in 1638, they would be delighted, because by comparison with the false picture you painted of 1938 it would be heaven.
I do not think that that was the major cause of the disappointment at the end of the last war. I think that the major cause of the disappointment was the excessive and false spiritualising and moralising of the last war, what I would call a form of simony, in a sense I could explain if there were time, and which I am sure that the hon. Member for Camlachie sees without explanation; fundamentally, the sin of simony is the sin of thinking that you can use your account in the courts of heaven in order to level up any deficit there may be in your bank book at Lloyds, or vice versa; whichever way you do it, it is wicked, it is heresy, it is one of those heresies that have at the same time the misfortune of being a heresy and a mortal sin at one and the same time, and, what is more, it is tactically mistaken. All through the last war, while those who were fighting the war and those who were working behind the lines were so engaged, there were people continually shouting, as they had begun to do the moment the war began, about the war to end war, and the spiritual and moral ends of war and all that. I am sorry that the hon. Member 1359 for Shettleston has gone out, because I should have liked to tell him a historical anecdote. As a matter of fact, the phrase "The war to end war" was invented before the war began. It was originally, I think, invented towards the end of July, 1914, when an attempt was made to collect the signatures of university professors against joining in any eventual war. Very soon after that war began, in spite of those efforts, people started saying that the war would not be a holy war unless various things happened: one unless was unless the Liberal party approved. I can give hon. Members the quotation. There was a continual attempt to make out that now we had got into the war the war ought to be used to get for the people moral and spiritual benefit, and that if you did not use it in that way, and if you did not, incidentally, use it to hang the Kaiser and the Crown Prince and so on, then the war would have been wasted and we should all have been cheated. There was an impression at the time of the 1919 Election that that sort of stuff about "Hanging the Kaiser" and "Making Germany pay" was invented by hard-faced business men, who burnt the "Daily Mail" because it was not sufficiently right for them, on the floor of the Stock Exchange, and then invented these wicked slogans. That is untrue. These slogans were all the inventions of the Left. You can find them all in the "Nation," the "Daily News," and papers of that sort. What was the effect? War does not produce these results. War does not produce immense spiritual and moral improvement all over the world. It very often produces great moral and spiritual degeneration in many people. There can hardly be one of us who examines himself at two o'clock in the morning to find out what effect it has had on himself who can be quite sure that it has not happened to him. And then be sure of this, that if you pretend that you must use war to produce all the political objects you want, and then to produce great spiritual benefits, you necessarily produce disappointment and necessarily produce another war, because if the chaps you have beaten who can perhaps bear being beaten, have, on top of being defeated, to hear all this stuff about your moral and spiritual superiority, it is more than they can stand. Believe me, it has been 1360 far more often from questions of prestige and questions of irritation at other people's superiority that wars have arisen than from any attempt to control the rubber production of Malaya.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, who addressed us yesterday, said one or two things which I thought were true. He said that reconstruction, from the point of view of foreign affairs, at the end of this war was going to be more difficult than after the last war. I think that was true, and I am glad he discovered it. He said also something perhaps slightly more surprising, and I am glad that he should say it and say it in such appropriate words. He said:Our foreign policy is to a large extent dictated by our geographical position."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd December, 1942; col. 1254, Vol. 385.]That is true. I beg the House to believe that our foreign policy is largely dictated by our geographical position, and I beg the House to join with me in trying to hold up the Foreign Secretary's hands when he said, as he did yesterday, that he saw a tendency to suggest that foreign policy is in abeyance in war-time. The Foreign Secretary regretted that tendency, and I think the House should regret it. I hope the House will make clear to the Leader of the House and to His Majesty's Government in general that we are well aware that foreign policy is not in abeyance during war-time and that we would wish to be more instructed about it than we are.
We were told yesterday that it will be more difficult at the end of the war, when there will be a natural tendency to ease up, to let up. That is going to be one great difficulty at the end of this war. Never again, we were told, shall we turn our backs upon Europe. I hope that is true, although it does make it a little difficult for the Foreign Secretary if he is never going to turn his back on Europe and never going to turn his back on America. I am not sure how he was meaning to face both ways without tergiversating. Then we came yesterday the nearest which we have ever come to a definition of the sort of foreign policy upon which we might hope to reconstruct Europe. I am sorry to say some words which may seem slightly critical of Mr. Sumner Welles, but it is not I who introduced Mr. Sumner Welles into this dis- 1361 cussion. The Foreign Secretary quoted him as saying he wanted the nations of the world to be jointly willing to exercise the political powers necessary to prevent such threats—that is, threats of aggression, and thatAnother essential is agreement between the United Nations before the Armistice is signed upon this international adjustment.The Foreign Secretary told us that that seemed to him to be the epitome of good sense. I do not wish to criticise those words, but I do wish to say that it is going to be very much more difficult to do this business if it is to be done wholly upon the old League of Nations Union basis of all joining in all wars. If it is to be done upon that old basis, at any rate let that be after full discussion in this House and the country, to let us know where we are. The old League of Nations, said the Leader of the House, failed not because its machinery was faulty but because there was not the force or the drive. I do not know what he means. The metaphor of machinery in that connection is not a very useful one, because what is the good of a machine which is a perfectly good machine but has not force or drive, it is extremely difficult to say.
He then went on to explain exactly what would be necessary in the new organisation. I ask the House to bear with me and listen to exactly what he did say, because it does seem to want a great deal of clarification. He said that the new organisation must be fully representative of the Powers that mean to keep the peace. How do you know which Powers mean to keep the peace? Does that mean that the Powers which in the past have not kept the peace are to be excluded? Is it to be a permanent league of the victors to-day? He said the matter was simple as long as we had three conditions. That was the first. The second condition was that the Powers—he did not explain whether "the Powers" meant all the Powers or the Powers which won—must have the unity and the determination to arrive at agreed and positive decisions. What an invention. There are a great many people who disagree on a great many objects, and it is suspected that some of them may be willing to raise forces to maintain their side of the case, and we are told it would be easy to prevent that happening if only we could have 1362 an organisation in which those people themselves had "unity and the determination to arrive at agreed and positive decisions." Of course it is perfectly true that if you got a collection of Powers positively determined that they would agree there would be quite a chance that in fact the result would not be war.The third condition, and perhaps the most important of all, is that they shall have the force behind them to give effect to, their decisions.My last paragraph is about their having the force behind them to give effect to their decisions. It may be true, as the Foreign Secretary rather indicated yesterday, that it would be necessary to say that wherever there was a war it is our war, that peace is indivisible and that we are to go into every war. It may be that is the right way, though I am not yet persuaded; but even suppose that is the right way, and still more so if what I believe is the right way, the force and the strategy necessary for your policy must be thought out first, and must be the first charge upon our Income Tax. It must come before the Beveridge proposals as a charge upon our Income Tax—inevitably it must come first, otherwise make no mistake, next time the interval may not' be 20 years but 10 years, when some foreigner will come and try to take away the whole of what you have—Income Tax and Beveridge and all.
It must be the first charge. Therefore I was very sorry indeed when the Foreign Secretary followed up his discovery by making deprecatory remarks, and I thought excessively contemptuous remarks, about Italy. I have nothing to say for the Government of Italy or the population of Italy. I am talking merely of that chunk of land which happens to stretch very nearly across the Mediterranean. I cannot understand anybody now, at this stage, still thinking that Italy is to be dismissed with a light and easy jest when one is talking about the reconstruction of foreign policy after the war. I remember being laughed at very much a few years before this war began for saying that I was more afraid of Italy than I was of Germany. I was, and I meant it. We have never fought a war in modern times without being able to count upon the Mediterranean, and, please God, we shall never come as near defeat as we have once or twice in this war be- 1363 cause we have not command of the Mediterranean. It seems essential that this House must insist, if we are talking about reconstitution of foreign policy and of Europe after the war, that some way has to be found, in friendship with Italy let us hope, to hold the Mediterranean route in the next war, if it comes within the next 50 years. Beyond that I do not care. I will leave that to hon. Gentlemen opposite.
There was an astonishing omission from the speech, I thought, in talking of the reconstruction of Europe after the war. It is true that the Foreign Secretary did not go round Europe, starting with Andorra and working up to Russia, but he did talk about the reconstruction of the world and of Europe, and he told us how necessary it was and was going to be that we should collaborate with the United States, Russia, and China. He said it would be easy for us to collaborate with Russia, because he had never been able to see any clash of interests between us. I agree with the second part, the reason, but he is falling into the error which the hon. Member for Camlachie has repeated so often in this House, that even Foreign Secretaries are positively beginning to do the same. It is the error of thinking that material interests in the long run always move men and States. It is not true. I have always believed myself the most pro-Russian man in this House and in this country. We were challenged from below the Gangway to say when wars were going to stop and when wars against Germany were going to stop. Wars went on against France until, on the other side of France there was an organised Power which was greater than France. Wars against Germany will go on, until, on the other side of Germany there is an organised Power greater than Germany. Russia has never yet fully been that, but at this moment we may be seeing it come into being. All the news we have had from Russia for the last 18 months or more has been propaganda, and what we think we know about Russia now is not worth twopence halfpenny. If it is true that the Russians are now mounting a great counter-offensive, it is one of the great new facts in Europe such as happens only once in 500 years. Russia has not been that kind of organised Power before.
We heard not a word about France. I hope I may be forgiven for speaking with some emotion about France. I should 1364 have thought a defeat of my country—I hope hon. Gentlemen opposite will pardon me for being so extremely nationalist—the greatest calamity that could have happened for me, and also for the world. I felt the fall of France to be a calamity only just less than that. There may be hon. Gentlemen who do not like the French and who do like the Germans, but that has nothing to do with the question. If we are going to try to wind up this war and put off the next war on the basis of personal likes and dislikes or of spiritual and moral superiorities and of using force in order to make foreigners better; if we are to start over again trying to do that kind of thing then the whole wheel is going round, and probably faster this time than the last, and it will be back again before I have had the luck to die of old age. If we are not going to be fools enough to try and conduct foreign policy in that way, France must be the key to our policy. I do not think it can be too early said or emphasised by too many speakers that it will not matter what party is in charge of policy. We know the secular divisions and party divisions in France and that for over 150 years they have gone far deeper than anything we here have experienced or can easily imagine. We know what a source of weakness it has been for France and how it has poisoned the life of France for 150 years, and, if it were not impertinent to say so, we would wish to help that that may not be so in the future. Still, we have somehow to help make France as great a Power as we can and to be on the side of France, because otherwise we shall not get even that first 10 months without which in this war who dare say where we should now be?
§ Mr. Burden (Sheffield, Park)
I feel sure that you, Mr. Speaker, and the House will extend to me the kindness and consideration always shown to new Members when first they venture to address the House. Until recently I have been employed in the railway service. In that capacity I had some opportunity of ascertaining the views of quite a number of different people. Those views have been strengthened and reinforced by the contacts which I have since been privileged to make in the great industrial city of Sheffield. Briefly, those views are: a determination, come what may, to see this war through to a successful conclusion; that justice and fair play shall be given 1365 to those serving in the Armed Forces; that the urgent needs of old aged and widowed pensioners should receive immediate consideration; and, fourthly, but by no means least, that steps should be taken, now, as far as possible to implement the pledges of the Atlantic Charter.
In the course of this Debate many eloquent tributes have been paid to the Navy and the Armed Forces and to the leadership of the Prime Minister. It would be impertinent of me to do more than humbly to ask to be associated with those tributes, but if the country is prepared to go to any sacrifice under the leadership of the Prime Minister to bring this war to a successful conclusion, surely it is not asking too much that the men and women serving with the Forces should receive justice and fair play. I have been distressed, as I feel sure other hon. Members have been distressed, at cases coming under my notice of men passed into the Forces as fit who have been invalided out, refused a pension and are now obliged to go to the Poor Law—I know it is now called public assistance, but it is the same—for outdoor relief. I hope that at some later date, and not too far in the future, that injustice may be remedied. I welcome the reference in the Gracious Speech to the needs of widowed and old age pensioners, and I hope that an opportunity will be taken to deal with the many anomalies existing in the present legislation which deprives men and women of old age pensions to which they feel they are justly entitled.
Passing now to the question of education, I am profoundly disappointed with the meagre reference in the Gracious Speech to education. It indicates that conversations are proceeding. I am well aware of the difficulties. It is also clear that certain interests, I was going to say vested interests, are already preparing themselves to defend their privileged positions. The main lines of advance towards a democratic system of education are well known and accepted by all who believe in education. Quite briefly, I submit that we need a system of education with a single purpose, and that is to educate its citizens for a life in a modern community. That means that we should have one educational system, one educational code, but with an infinite variety of schools and establishments, freedom, elasticity, and 1366 flexibility to provide for the varied needs of the community, and above all that no child should suffer from lack of opportunity either through the poverty of his parents or through the poverty of the area in which he happens to live. To quote some well known words:What a wise and understanding parent will provide for his children, that a wise and understanding community will provide for all its children.To-day we have not one single educational system, we have three: the so-called public schools, secondary education and elementary education. Our educational system is riddled, saturated, with class prejudices, class bias and snobbishness. A few bright young boys and girls may pass from the elementary to secondary education, but to-day 80 out of every 100 boys and girls leave school at the age of 14. I humbly submit to this House that that is a disgrace to the country; 14 is an age when a wise and understanding parent would just begin to think about the education of the children in a real way. Are we prepared to provide equality of opportunity? I am well aware of the difficulties, but if the House would allow me, I should like to quote a few words from "The Times Education Supplement" which impressed me very much indeed. It puts the matter very clearly. It says:There are many solid reasons why equality of opportunity will not, almost cannot, be desired by many people. One is the fact that the educational system we have built up has been the most efficient safeguard of the social stratification to which we all in our hearts bow down and worship. This will hit many of us hard. AH the reasons against giving equality of opportunity will be fought for openly, subtly, or most dangerous of all, unconsciously. That is why it is supremely important that each one of us makes absolutely certain that he or she realises fully and precisely the implications of this most revolutionary proposal.I hope this House will be prepared to face these implications, and for that reason I am both disappointed and alarmed at the reference in the Gracious Speech to conversations. It is an open secret that the proposals of the Board of Education have been prepared and submitted either in whole or part to interested parties. I believe these proposals are contained in what is known as the Green Book. This book, I understand, has not been submitted to Members of this House, and while I agree that it is desirable that as far as possible opposition should be 1367 met, I submit with respect that it will be wrong for agreements to be arrived at behind closed doors and this House be confronted with a series of proposals dealing with education and agreements arrived at in that way. This House should take its part in shaping the educational policy of to-day and to-morrow, and should not be confronted with agreements placating this or that interest.
In the course of this Debate there have been many references to what are termed, with a beautiful economy of words, the Four Freedoms. These are aspirations, these are ideals. I do not want to go into past history, but we all remember the large-scale promises which were made during the last war and how many of those promises were cynically broken. Is that to happen again? I submit, as one who believes profoundly in democratic methods and in democratic government, that democracy will not survive if our people are again deceived and disillusioned, as they were after the last war. We should be careful in what we promise, but we should be equally careful to carry out in the letter and the spirit everything we have promised to do. We have now the opportunity to begin to lay the foundations of a new social order, to clothe the Four Freedoms in concrete reality. We all agree that we should stand unitedly to bring this war to a successful conclusion; cannot we all be united in our efforts to winA chance for the children; a rest for the old;And glad men and women, more precious than gold.
§ Mr. Loftus (Lowestoft)
It is my pleasant duty to congratulate the hon. Member for the Park Division (Mr. Burden) on his first, and most admirable, contribution to the Debates of this House. I feel that I echo the wish of everyone when I say that I hope we shall hear many more contributions from him. He touched on a subject in which I am largely interested, as I have been a member for 22 years of the East Suffolk Education Committee, and I think our committee has a record as fine as that of any in the country. I envy the hon. Member, and I am sure many other Members envy him, both his extraordinary self-possession and the admirable clarity of his diction. We have had a most interesting Debate. The hon. 1368 Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) gave us a remarkable speech, which will certainly arouse controversy, but which put forward an original point of view. I think his remarks about the future foreign policy of this country and how necessary it is for us to be friends with Italy in future were important. I read in some papers this morning remarks about the possibility of bombing Florence and such cities. I sincerely hope that, with a view to the future, our relations with Italy and of our reputation in the world, that will not happen. It may be necessary to bomb certain cities, Milan, Genoa, Turin and Naples, and so on, but others which enshrine the great monuments of humanity should be preserved for the future of humanity.
I turn to the speech of the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern). I listened to it with grievous disappointment. I heard denunciation of capitalism, I heard fervant advocacy of a new order, but I could not find in it any sense of reality. Do let hon. Members in all parts of the House realise that to-day we in this country, and humanity at large, are facing the most difficult problem we have ever faced. Take our own country. We talk of social services, of education, of the Beveridge Report, of vast sums of money. Let us get down to the fact that we can have these social services and we can have wealth to distribute, only if we produce wealth in abundance. There is so much cake produced: if it is a small and shrinking cake, as it may well be, there will not be much there to divide. We, as a great trading nation, must accumulate wealth for our people. Never mind how you distribute it. When you look to the future immediately after the war, think of the problems, about our export and import trade for instance, that will face us. Every hon. Member should be thinking of those problems and should be prepared to co-operate with anyone in working out a solution, and should give up bandying accusations across the Floor about events of the past. The hon. Member for Shettleston appealed to the Labour party to leave the Government, either now or at the conclusion of this war. Let us realise what the state of Europe will be at the end of the war. Let us have a little imagination. This great European civilisation of ours, which I think is the finest thing humanity has 1369 ever produced, incorporating as it does the best thought of Greece and the law of Rome, welded together by Christianity, may be threatened with final death, with a complete crash. In every country in Europe there will be millions of people suffering from famine and disease. There will be men and women and children dying everywhere from starvation. There will be appalling difficulties in getting food into Europe, with diminished shipping, and these suffering people, in their agony, will look to Britain for immediate help to save them from complete collapse. When they look here are they to discover us engaged in party warfare, immersed in our own feuds, when we should be concentrating all our thoughts on saving the people of Europe, who will be suffering so bitterly? I pray God, whether we have an election or not after this war, that we may remain a united people for a few years and as united people stand together to save and restore European civilisation.
As I have said, we should be thinking out these problems and the practical steps of what to do after the war. I shall put forward two or three practical suggestions. First, two or three hon. Members have suggested that we require a new system of international trade based upon the idea that goods should be exchanged for goods, and that goods should not be exchanged for debts. We do need a new system. Can we see anywhere the basis of such a system? I think we can. The Lend-Lease proposals contain certain ideas which offer a foundation for a new and better system of international trade after the war. First, Lend-Lease fixes, in a purely arbitrary manner, the rate of exchange between Governments. Secondly, it gives complete control to each Government of dealings in foreign currencies, and, thirdly, it postulates that the export of goods can only be paid for by the import of goods. The idea of Lend-Lease is that the United States and ourselves keep book entries of the exchange of goods. If there is a surplus, as there will be, in the United States of exports to us, the idea is that we pay by sending them goods and if they do not receive those goods they cancel the debt. Cannot we use that machine in the future, in the postwar period, for a new system of international trading? I think we can.
1370 It would be an admirable system. I have not time to work out the details now, but it would mean, for instance, that an English importer of American goods would make payment by paying in pounds to the exchange control the money for the American goods. The American exporter of these goods would receive payment in dollars through his exchange control in New York. Then you would have simply a balance of book entries. You would have to have an international clearing house. The idea behind the system would obviously be, first, to balance trade, abolishing thereby the struggle for a favourable balance, to go in for a balanced trade between nations. The second idea would be that, if a nation exported far more than it imported and accumulated balances in the international exchange, after a certain period of years, those balances would be cancelled. It would mean that a nation struggling for an enormous surplus of exports would in reality have given the goods away for nothing unless it took payment within a certain number of years for the goods exported. I think that some such system can be worked out, and indeed, it has been worked out in an admirable pamphlet called "The Twentieth Century Economic System," which I would recommend for consideration of all hon. Members.
I have said that there would be an international clearing house, not an international bank. I notice that there is propaganda abroad, especially in the United States, for the establishment of an international bank. I do not think that the nations of the world are fighting the evil tyranny of Hitler in order to establish the iron domination of finance over their affairs and especially as those nations which are primary producers recognise that it was the financial policy adopted by the creditor-nations after the last war—a policy of deflation—which forced down the prices of the primary product by 50 and 60 per cent., thereby destroying the purchasing power of the world. It was the bitter deflation of 1922 which, for instance, destroyed the purchasing power of the Indian peasant. Remember that the primary producer accounts for 60 per cent. at least—probably two-thirds—of the population of the world. He works on borrowed money. He has, after paying interest on his debt, only a certain margin which he can utilise for the pur- 1371 chase of manufactured goods. When the prices, by our policy after the last war, were forced down toy 50 or 60 per cent. the primary producer had no balance of income left with which to purchase our manufactured goods. The Indian peasant could not buy the cotton goods of Lancashire because the financial policy of New York and London had destroyed his purchasing power. That was so throughout the world.
I would like to refer to something which the hon. Member for Cambridge University said. He stated that fishermen and agriculturists were sweated. I go further and say that the financial interests, the money-lending interests and the industrial interests have sweated the primary producers in every country in the world. The primary producer is the essential man, the man who produces food. He has been underpaid and sweated everywhere. You will never get a healthy international order as long as the men who do the essential work of the world, who provide us with food, take our food across the ocean, and who provide us with coal and iron are adequately paid instead of being sweated by all people who dwell in cities, where financiers—
§ Sir Patrick Hannon (Birmingham, Moseley)
That is a very serious charge to make against the industrialist of this country. In what respect does he exploit the primary producer? My hon. Friend should not make such a statement in the House of Commons unless he is prepared to substantiate it.
§ Mr. Loftus
I said that throughout the world in every country the primary producer is underpaid. He is the essential man. I said also that it was the financial policy of the manufacturing countries, by their policy of deflation after the last war, that bankrupted the primary producer everywhere. I will give an instance. In a few years the price of primary products throughout the world dropped on an average by 60 per cent., while the price of manufactured goods dropped by only 20 per cent.
§ Sir P. Hannon
I apologise for interrupting my hon. Friend again, and I am obliged for his explanation, but does he seriously suggest that the industrialists of this country were responsible for the de- 1372 flation policy that was carried out after the last war?
§ Mr. Loftus
I suggest that it was the financial policy of the manufacturing countries. I know that the policy of deflation hit the industrialists of this country very hard, but this policy also destroyed the purchasing power of the Indian peasant and, therefore, the manufacturing export of cottons from Lancashire. I was about to say, however, that agriculturists, fishermen and coalminers have been terribly underpaid compared with the city men and the man standing in front of cinemas in uniform, for instance. We shall never get a healthy Britain until that balance is readjusted.
We cannot get healthy international trade until we get more or less a stable price level for primary products throughout the world. We can guard against our own internal price level, but we must get the great world markets freed from these violent fluctuations. In 1927, between March and November, the price of wheat fell by one-half in eight months, and the price of cotton fell by one-half in the same period. It is quite impossible to have a healthy economic world when that kind of thing is happening. It is an enormous problem to know how to tackle and prevent it. All I suggest is that you cannot possibly have a great international board planning how many acres of wheat ought to be sown, how many copper mines ought to be opened and so on. You can, perhaps, have an international body giving forward prices, say three or four years ahead.
If there was any indication of over-production in one commodity, such as wheat, they could lower the forward price two or three years ahead, thereby discouraging increased production, and where there was under-production they could raise the forward price two or three years ahead, thereby encouraging increased production. There is one thing we must not do in international trade, and that is to attempt to go back to the old system of perpetual struggle for a large favourable balance. That was poisoning international trade. It has made it a bitter struggle for power instead of what it should be—a mutually advantageous exchange of goods.
If I may turn to our position immediately after the war, Europe will require to import on a colossal scale for several 1373 years. She will be unable to pay for these imports by exports. To a lesser degree the same may apply to us, which may, at first sight, seem to be a black outlook. But, on the other hand, the United States of America will be faced with the position of having to switch over her war industries to peace production, and she will have to find markets for her surplus. To keep her people employed she will have to export, and, therefore, I think there will be some continuance of the Lend-Lease arrangements. I think the United States, Canada and South America will be prepared to export to Europe on the principles of the Lend-Lease agreement.
As regards our own position, we can, to a larger extent than we have been, be a self-contained nation, but we must always be an exporting and importing nation. We are a great manufacturing people; to keep up our standard of living we must import and export. Apprehensions have been expressed in this Debate as to how we should pay for these goods. I myself feel that the outlook is-not so black as it was after last war. In the first place, the Paymaster-General made a statement in his speech the day before yesterday which was of enormous importance. He said that after this war it will be the endeavour of the Government to fix and maintain a stable price level and not to indulge in deflation, as after the last war. At that time the Bank Rate was raised, month by month; after this the figures of unemployment went up and up, but now we have the pledge from the Front Bench that that factor, at any rate, will not operate this time. We are the greatest market in the world, and in future we can use the buying power of our own market in order to sell our goods in exchange. In future we must not, as in the past, separate exports and imports. Hitherto, we were all concerned merely to export, to sell. Now we must think more of buying from our customers and using our buying power to sell our goods in exchange.
This war has proved that the soil of our country is enormously productive. We had starved and neglected it for over 20 years, but we came to it in an emergency, and in spite of its being so let down we were saved by it. We have proved that we can produce far more food than present day economists ever thought possible. But this is only the beginning. 1374 If we were to organise properly and be prepared to spend capital, we could produce nearly all our essential food requirements. It would mean spending £500,000,000 to £1,000,000,000 on drainage, building, housing, amenities and so on. I submit that it would be well worth it; it would be an insurance for the future. There is however, a still more important consideration, and I put this to the House: During the last 30 years mankind, through destruction of the soil, has created more desert than in the 5,000 years of recorded human history.
That desert creation is going on in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Africa and Australia, and it is an appalling fact for the future of humanity. The means by which alone mankind can live are being rapidly destroyed. But the new countries are waking up to the danger, and there are great schemes of soil conservation going on everywhere. In America, what does that mean? In the United States they are going in for mixed farming. If the countries of the New World are conserving their soil, it means that the great stream of cheap imports of food which has been flowing into Europe during the last two or three generations will begin to diminish, and every country will have to be more and more dependent upon its own soil.
There is another reason. I think one of the fundamental evils of our civilisation is the divorce of man from nature. We are part of nature. In our huge cities mankind is getting more and more divorced from nature and from natural things. We have to recognise that. May I remind the House that even primitive peoples have taken steps to prevent the divorce of man from nature? To give an instance, in the ancient Inca civilisation of Peru they had mines—not coal mines but silver mines. They had the sense to pass a law that every miner was allowed to work for only six months of the year in the mines and had to work the other six months on his farm; and while he worked in the mines his neighbours had to look after his farm before attending to their own. If we had had the sense to adopt such a law 300 years ago in respect of our coal mines, we would have been in a very different position now.
§ Mr. Maxton
May I remind the hon. Member that the civilisation to which he is referring in such glowing terms is one that is now extinct?
§ Mr. Loftus
It is extinct for various reasons into which I have not time to go. I come back to our agricultural policy. The final reason we should be thinking and planning now for dealing with agriculture is this. We shall want to have schemes ready to employ our people after the war. Let us have ready schemes for land drainage, housing on the land, electrification of our villages and farmhouses—schemes that will employ tens of thousands of people—so that when demobilisation comes many of our people can go to work on the land and get used to and fond of the land, and remain there to increase our agricultural population. I feel that to get a healthy balance in Great Britain we ought to have 750,000 more people living on the land than are living on it at the present time. We want to see our small country towns, instead of being sleepy, decaying places, again prospering as the centres of a prosperous agriculture. We can do much to achieve this. One thing we can do is to see that electricity is sold in the country village and the small country town at the lowest price at which it is sold anywhere else, thereby encouraging people to go back to the land by giving them amenities in every cottage at the cheapest prices, thereby encouraging small rural industries to go into the country to revitalise the villages and the small country towns. These and other things we can do, and I was a little disappointed that the Paymaster-General did not give more indication in his speech of what is being planned now for the revival and restoration of agriculture in this land of ours.
I conclude by saying this, that when we talk of planning for the future, I think each one of us should have in his mind some ideal of the kind of Britain he wants to see. I confess I do not want to see a Britain entirely planned, with the life of every individual planned from birth to the grave. I do not want to see an egalitarian Britain, because I know that the equality of all can only be achieved under the tyranny of one. I want to see a Britain where wealth is widely distributed and property widely distributed. I want to see a country where a large proportion of the people live on and by the soil. I want to see a country where the vocation of women is not planned to be in the factory but in the home, a country which will give every 1376 citizen a decent home and afford opportunities to men and women for early marriages. I desire to see a diversified society of free men, not a mechanical society devised by a super-planner.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
We are coming to the end of a very long series of Debates on the Address, and to-day we are considering the Amendment that was moved by the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern). With the terms and aspirations of the Amendment many hon. Members are in full and cordial agreement. The speech with which the hon. Member for Shettleston moved the Amendment contained a good deal that most of us could applaud, when he expressed concern, which many of us share, about individual cases and social problems; but I was disappointed in that the hon. Member did not, I think, carry out the promise he made in one of the first sentences of his speech. He said that so far, in a series of Debates which has covered a wide range of problems, there has been a failure to face the real issues to-day. I cannot help thinking that if there is anyone who has failed to face the first real issue that confronts all of us at the present time, it is the hon. Member for Shettleston, who moved the Amendment. Therefore, I want to put a question to my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) who is to wind up the Debate on behalf of those supporting the Amendment, and to whom we always listen with great attention. I understand that the hon. Members propose to divide the House on the Amendment.
§ Mr. Griffiths
With the aspirations expressed in the Amendment with regard to peace, the development of human welfare and the abolition of social inequalities hon. Members of the party to which I belong cordially agree, for we have worked for these things all our lives. But I want to put a plain and blunt question to the hon. Member for Bridgeton, and I hope he will give me an equally plain and blunt reply. Does he assert that these objectives can be obtained in this country, or in Europe, or in the world, while it is dominated by Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese war lords? That is the world in which we live and in which the hon. Member moves his Amendment.
1377 Unless we conquer those forces we shall live in a world dominated by them, and there will be no hope of the realisation of any of the aspirations and ideals embodied in the Amendment. We did not have from the Mover and Seconder any reply to that question at all. There was a complete avoidance of it. The real alternative is that either we break those forces or they conquer, and, if they conquer, they will rule the world and it will be a world in which none of these aspirations can be realised. It is because we realise that that, if the Amendment is pressed, we shall oppose it, because those who move it and support it do not face up to the grim reality of the present-day situation. The Paymaster-General told us that reconstruction depends upon victory. I and the party to which I belong agree that, unless there is victory, there can be no reconstruction. If there is defeat, we can see the kind of world that there will be all round us.
But there is another aspect of this truth Which is very important, not only that reconstruction depends upon victory, but victory itself maybe, and certainly the speed and effectiveness of the victory, depend upon reconstruction as well. We have had a speech from the hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn). There was much in it that was very clever indeed—a good deal of it superficially clever. If in these crucial days that is all that an ancient university has to offer us, all I can say is that one of the vested interests that ought to be removed is the voice of the universities in the House of Commons. I believe that we are rapidly reaching the stage where we can look with confidence to victory. It is because I believe that that I think, having provided our men with the means with which to win a victory, if we provide an objective for victory it will urge them on to the supreme effort that lies before us. I believe that an objective, not the promise of an objective, but tangible action which will lead to the kind of Britain that we want when we have won the victory, will add a tremendous potency to our war effort. The Paymaster-General also said that there can be no reconstruction in the world, or in Europe, or in this country, unless we can remove the fear of aggression. We all agree. There can be no reconstruction if, once every generation, the world, and 1378 Europe, and this country are to be involved in a catastrophe of this kind. Therefore the desire that we should all work to make the victory we get, and the reconstruction we plan, the kind which will give us an enduring peace is one that we all share.
This is a very big problem, which has many sides. I wish to refer to one only. What are we to do to try and ensure an enduring peace by laying an economic foundation for it? I am not suggesting that that is the only problem, but it is one of the basic problems. I believe there can be no enduring peace in the world in which the markets and the raw materials are competed for. I do not believe there can be an enduring peace in a world in which there is economic warfare. The other day we had a speech from America by Henry Wallace, who said:We cannot perpetuate economic warfare without planting the seeds of military warfare. Those who write the peace must think of the whole world.Referring to the United Nations in particular, he said:We must use our power at the peace table to build an economic peace which is just and durable.Can the United Nations begin now to plan for that kind of economic peace, without which no real peace is possible in Europe or in the world? I want to raise two or three issues about that which are, I think, of cardinal importance. When the end of the war comes we shall be confronted in Europe, and in the world, and in this country, with the very great problem of repairing the broken fabrics of our economic life and our international trade. Almost as soon as the last war was over we found another economic war beginning for the raw materials and the markets and the trade of the world. I want to ask one or two questions and urge on the Government that consideration should be given to them now. How are we to approach this problem of restoring and reconstructing the international trade of the world? There are three methods that can be adopted. Two have already been adopted and have failed. Therefore there is only one method left for us if we are not to fail this time. The first is to leave the restoration of our economic life and the resettlement of our international trade to competition—competition within the nation between rival 1379 economic groups and competition in the world between rival economic Powers. If at the end of this war we again adopt that method of competition, let us have no illusion as to what will follow.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I do not want to spend too much time on detail. If the hon. Member listens, perhaps it will become clearer as I speak. I will take an example from the industry I know best. At the end of the last war we found ourselves engaged in competition for the markets for coal. For 10 years we had intense competition for the available markets. All kinds of schemes were devised, subsidy schemes were built up, and we had tremendous competition between the rival groups of Europe, all of it mixed up with reparation payments and the economic clauses of the Versailles Treaty. The result of that competition was that the people concerned in producing that commodity in every country of Europe were reduced to a state of poverty and destitution from which they have not been rescued yet. In a number of speeches attention has been called to the problem of the distressed areas of this country. South Wales, the North-East, Clydeside, and the other areas were all casualties of the kind of economic warfare which followed the last war. If at the end of this war we enter into that competition, whoever wins and whoever loses, it will sow the economic seeds which in the end lead to warfare. The second method was an attempt to solve these problems of the distribution of markets and the control of raw materials by the creation of international cartels. They were built up on the policy of restricting production and controlling supplies in order to maintain as high a rate of profit as possible, in other words, to restrict production in the interests of the few. Are we at the end of this war going to adopt either the method of competition or the method of cartel manipulation and control of commodities?
There is only one other way, and it is the way that offers the only real hope to build at the end of the war the kind of enduring peace that we want. That is by economic collaboration and co-operation. Unless we can at the end of this war carry out plans by which there can be economic collaboration, we shall begin the old cycle which ended in this war. I want to refer 1380 to two suggestions made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), for I want to commend them and hope that they will receive the serious attention of the Government. The first was that we should begin now in our discussions with the United Nations to formulate precise plans for the creation of international machinery to handle this big economic job at the end of the war. The second was that we should develop through the instrument of the International Labour Office methods of raising the standards of life of the people everywhere. My hon. Friend who preceded me referred to the poverty of the primary producers, to the effect that that had upon the inter-war period and the pre-war period, and the relationship it had with the situation with which we are confronted now. What we have to realise about the economic and industrial problem is that we are living in the machine age, an age of mass production, and that if we are to live in an age of this kind without recurring economic crises with all they mean, the real job confronting us is the organising of mass consumption of the things that are produced. That is true in the international sphere and it is true also in the problems that confront us on the home front.
As has been said in the Debate, men dread going back into that inter-war period in Britain, that period in which there was mass unemployment. For 20 years in this country unemployment was never below the million mark. Oftentimes it was higher. I suggest that in the period that confronts us, when the victory has been won, we cannot afford to face a wastage of human life that is represented by these figures. I hope, therefore, we shall see to it that we plan, first for the full use of our human resources, plan for social security, plan for equality of opportunity. Let me tell Members of something that is sinking deeply into the minds of this generation.
§ Mr. Griffiths
The generation of to-day, the people of Britain to-day—if my hon. Friend is so very keen on making grammatical corrections. [Interruption]. He is endeavouring to make them and to be 1381 supercilious. I am speaking of the people of to-day. We ought to plan the economic life of this country for all generations, both the generation that is in the Forces and the generation that is outside too. All of them are saying this to themselves, and this is the point which I want to impress upon the House: "For purposes of war we can organise and mobilise the whole of the industrial and economic resources of the country; plan our economic resources; utilise the human resources of the country; see that everybody is in a job or serving; working as a nation for a common objective. Is it only in war that we can do a job of that kind? Why cannot we do it in peace?" What have we done since the beginning of the war? We have set ourselves a common objective, which is to beat Hitler. To do that we need tanks, planes, guns and munitions, and we have discovered that the only limitation to what we can produce is the limitation of the materials we can gather or produce and the limitation of the resources of the labour which is available to us.
§ Mr. Summers (Northampton)
May I ask this question, simply in order to find out a little more of what is in the hon. Member's mind? He speaks of mobilising the resources of the country and planning them. Are we to understand that he is advocating the direction of labour, directing a man to a job in peace as we now are doing in war?
§ Mr. Griffiths
The hon. Member asks me a question, and he must give me an opportunity to answer. I am in favour of planning the whole of the economic resources of the country. Let me put it this way. We should say; So much food we must produce and so much we must import, so much coal we must produce, there are so many other things that we must make, so many houses that we must build. I am in favour of planning a target for the economic life of the country in peace as in war. If that planning means the organization and mobilisation of labour, I am prepared to face that. What our men are afraid of at the end of the war is not that they will be mobil- 1382 ised but that no one will want them. That is actually the biggest threat of all to them. The hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment talked about our workers being in the chains of the Essential Work Order. I should like to be able to go back to Llanelly to-night and to tell my people that the chains of full-time employment are there for them, to say that this country intends to see at the end of the war that not a single human life is wasted.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I did not suggest that the Essential Work Order was chains, and I began by combating that idea. I replied to the hon. Member opposite that if to organise the economic resources of the country means the mobilisation and organisation of labour, I would, I confess, rather a thousand times face it than face a free labour market after the war with 1,500,000 people or more unemployed.
§ Mr. Griffiths
It means a plan by which to make use of the work and services of whoever in the country is capable of working and serving. That is what it means. Are we to understand that the only justification for the mobilisation of labour is war? We have shown that we can do it, for war. I would remind the Chancellor that when we have been formulating war programmes no speech has been made asking the Government whether we could afford all those plans. We have all realised that what we can afford is what we can organise to produce, in this country and in association with other countries. We are at the beginning of these discussions; so far they have been general discussions of plans and surveys of problems of reconstruction. I hope that, having concluded the stage of discussion, we shall begin the stage of action. At the end of the war, here and all over the world, we shall be confronted with problems of tremendous magnitude. The people of this country will look to this House of Commons to show no hesitation in displaying equal resolution in organising the resources of the country for peace as those displayed in organising them for war and victory.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
To-day's Debate has been a sequel to that of the two previous days on the subject of reconstruction, and hon. Members have once more been concerned with the implementing of the Atlantic Charter and of the Four Freedoms therein promised. It is just as well, when one asks that the Atlantic Charter should be implemented, to remember who are the authors of the Charter. The Charter was not promulgated by visionaries but was put before the world by two of the most practical and influential statesmen in the world. It was afterwards endorsed by the Governments of the United Nations. I think one is therefore right in saying that those statesmen and governments would not try to deceive the peoples of the world, and that when they said that four freedoms were possible they really mean what they said.
The first of the Four Freedoms, to my mind, is fundamental. It is the freedom from fear. I was very cheered by the speech which we had yesterday from the Foreign Secretary, which showed that we have learned from some of our mistakes in foreign policy and from what happened after the last war. I must confess that, when this war began, although I had no doubt about the justness of our cause and was certain that we should win the war, I was very uneasy about the prospects of making a good peace. The reason for that was that we were fighting this war with two great Powers outside the conflict, and I did not think that without their help and co-operation a durable peace was likely to be established. When we began the war Russia was not in the war; actually she had a pact with Hitler. The United States of America was still Isolationist. Happily, that has been changed, and with these two countries with us to-day I think we can look forward to the prospect of making a good peace at the end of the war. But a great deal will depend upon the kind of peace settlement we make.
I am not one of those who advocate a soft peace with Germany at the end of this war. I remember that all my life German aggression, either potential or actual, has been a fact, and though I do not say, with the elder Cato, who used to end every speech he made in the Roman Senate with the words, "Delenda est Carthago," I must say that though our ultimate objective must be to see that 1384 there will rise a Germany which will not have the will to make war, our immediate objective is to ensure there shall be a Germany that shall not have the power to make war. I therefore hope that we shall succeed, as a result of the co-operation between the United Nations which exists now during the war being continued after the war, in establishing a world free from fear.
The Foreign Secretary in his speech, however, reminded us of the sufferings which the people under Nazi domination endured during the war, and in particular he spoke of the terrible sufferings of the Jews in Poland. I am grateful to the Foreign Secretary for reminding the House that, though every community wherever the Nazis have gone have suffered terribly at their hands, the Jews in those countries have been singled out for the worst cruelties of all, and I would ask the Foreign Secretary, when he is consulting with other Powers, to try to establish conditions under which Jews in all countries where they live are also able to enjoy freedom from fear. I do not plead to-day for any special privileges for Jews, but I do ask that the Jews in the various countries of the world should get out of this war the same sort of things that other peoples are hoping for, that is, that they should be allowed to live as full citizens in all lands, enjoying all the rights of citizenship, freedom of worship and freedom to bring up their children to careers that are open to all, and also themselves, as a result of receiving the full rights of citizenship everywhere, as they have had happily in these islands, throughout the British Commonwealth, and in others of the more enlightened nations of the world, playing their part with the other citizens of the countries in reconstruction and identifying themselves, religion apart, completely with the ideals, hopes' and aspirations of those peoples.
I wish to express the hope too that after this war anti-Semitism will not be allowed to raise its ugly head anywhere, because history has shown that the anti-Semite is not only the enemy of the Jew but is the enemy of freedom, the enemy of democracy and the enemy of peace. The House will remember that the Jewish community were the first of Hitler's victims, and it is only right to ask that at the end of this war, when the Jewish communities everywhere have suffered as no other religious bodies have suffered, 1385 they should be allowed to enjoy at long last a freedom from fear, which, alas, very rarely have they been allowed to enjoy for any long period in many countries.
I am aware that my time is very limited, and there is only one more question to which I would refer. There have been references during the Debate to education. I was very glad the Member for Park Division (Mr. Burden), in his maiden speech, devoted so much time to education. I confess that I preferred what he had to say about education to that which was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn), one of whose constituents I am. I would like to express the hope that a high priority will be given after the war to school buildings. It will be necessary to raise the school age, but I am concerned not only with increasing the amount of education, but also with improving its quality. I attach great importance to the teacher, and I hope that the Committee which has been set up by the President of the Board of Education will report that teachers should no longer be educated in training colleges isolated from the universities, but that they should be trained at the universities. I believe that by bringing them into contact with people who are being prepared for other walks of life, you will broaden their outlook and make their influence in the schools greater. I believe that in the past, although elementary teachers have done remarkable work, we have given them an almost impossible task. One reason for this is the size of the classes. It seems impossible for a teacher to do justice to classes which contain 40 or 50 children. I trust that the President of the Board of Education will bear in mind the importance of trying to widen the training of the teachers and of seeing that the classes are reduced to a reasonable size.
I hope that we shall bring what are called the public schools into a national system of education. Certainly, I should like to see every child in this country given a period—a term or a year—at some time or another of his or her school life at a residential school. We shall have available many hostels and camps which have been erected for war purposes, and they could be usefully put to this use. In view of the fact that after the war 1386 we have not only to recreate wealth which has been lost and to repair the ravages of war, but that we are pledged to create a better order of society, it is most important to make the most of the material at our disposal, particularly the human material. We have in the character and ability of our own people very fine material, but in the past we have not made the most of all of it. If we are to play our part in the world and to fulfil all our responsibilities we have to see that all our children are given the opportunity to develop all the powers they possess.
§ Mr. Maxton (Glasgow, Bridgeton)
Whatever the general view of the House finally may be about the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friends and myself, at least there are some half dozen members in the House from whom we are entitled to receive the utmost support for giving them the opportunity of making speeches, an opportunity which otherwise would have been denied them. They made the best use of the opportunity. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) made some protest to Mr. Speaker before my hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) moved the Amendment, seeming to doubt your wisdom, Mr. Speaker, in calling that Amendment. He seemed to resent the fact that a minority in this House should have one opportunity of opposing His Majesty's Address. May I remind him, in his absence, that he has four representatives in the War Cabinet who presumably assist in guiding him or expressing his point of view? In addition to that, on the day the Address was first debated here, he had representing him one of the two people who were thanking His Majesty for the Gracious Speech. Then he has had a speech from his Leader on the Front Opposition Bench and speeches from a multitude of his colleagues alongside him on the back benches. He has had about six opportunities of having his point of view adequately expressed, and I imagine, if the routine is the same as it was in the days of my membership, numerous opportunities in the Party meeting of expressing his views on the subject—and, I should imagine, has availed himself of those opportunities.
We are a definitely declared opposition to His Majesty's Government, having an organisation and a political party which 1387 has had an honourable 50 years' existence, and whose only act in the political life of this country that they might have cause to regret is the fact that they brought the hon. Member's party into existence. I ask him to consider these points and at least to feel that fair play is a thing that is worth preserving even in the case of a Labour Party which at the moment is sitting on some of the seats of the mighty. I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman the Deputy Prime Minister is going to reply to this Debate. He reminded me the other day in private conversation that he and I entered this House on the same date. We have, through our own abilities, been able to maintain our presence here uninterruptedly during that period. I am reminded of a meeting I addressed a year or two ago at an education gathering in Glasgow, when our former colleague, Lord Tweedsmuir, had just been elevated to the peerage and appointed Governor-General of Canada. John Buchan happened to have been educated at the same grammar school in Glasgow at which I was educated, and the chairman, in introducing me to this education meeting, said, "Nearly 50 years ago there sat on the benches of a secondary school in this city two boys, John Buchan and James Maxton. John Buchan has gone up and up and up until he is now Lord Tweedsmuir and Governor-General of Canada. Mr. Maxton"—and then he saw his difficulties and concluded—"has had a career of which you are all aware."
I think a similar thing could be said about the right hon. Gentleman and myself. We have had very much the same political experience and the same length of membership of the Socialist movement. We came into it with the same inspiration, and he has gone up and up and up while I have played the part in this House that I have been very pleased to play. On the last occasion on which we had a Debate of this kind the right hon. Gentleman accused me of irresponsibility. It has rankled since that time. It is true that I have never occupied a seat on the Treasury Bench or even on the Front Bench above the Gangway. Perhaps if I had got into the queue that is formed of appropriate people, jostled a little bit, rubbed shoulders and dodged about as I have done in cigarette queues with them very often, with remarkable success, I may perhaps have got on to the lower end as a junior Parliamentary Lord of the Treasury—unpaid 1388 I hope I am not exaggerating my own ability. Perhaps in the process of time I might have edged my way along those benches, as I have seen other people do. But I was not in the queue. I was not even in the market place, and the right hon. Gentleman knows that very well. Still, I never was so anxious about that as I have been about cigarettes during their scarcity.
If, when the right hon. Gentleman accuses me of irresponsibility, he means that I have not tried to play a responsible part in the affairs of this nation, then I think he is being grossly unfair, because when I came into the Socialist movement as a young man I came to it with a faith and a religious fervour, to the self-dedication of my life to the task of helping to create a world in which men would be free and equal, a world in which no man would be a serf to another and from which all the tyrannies and unfairnesses that have gone down through history would be removed. I was not alone in having that ideal. At that time it was welling up in the hearts of Englishmen; it was welling up in the hearts of Frenchmen; it was welling up in the hearts of Germans, Russians, and Italians. It was sweeping over the world. It created the Labour party. I made myself responsible for propagating the ideals and principles of that movement, and I have remained so responsible, inside that party and outside it, and I have tried to make my Parliamentary conduct conform to the principles of that movement.
The hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) asked me whether I believed that the things I stood for could be achieved in a world dominated by Hitler and by Mussolini, and he insisted on a straight answer. There was no need for him to insist on an answer. It is recorded in a dozen different ways. I do not believe that you can have Socialism in a world dominated by Hitler and by Mussolini. It is recorded in the writings of the party, it is recorded in the writings of the international Socialist movement. When I went to Vienna, in 1931, to the great international working-class organisation, in which the party above the Gangway formed a part and in which we formed a part, and warned the conference of the rise of Hitlerism to power, what did the hon. Member's representatives do? They pooh-poohed the idea that Fascism could ever come to power in Germany. 1389 They said that with our great Social Democratic past, with the power that we had in half a dozen States, with the power that we had at the centre and in the control of the police, Hitler would never come to power. They said that all Germany needed to put her on her feet was that short-term loans at high rates of interest should be changed into long-term loans at low rates of interest. That was the advice of the great Labour and Socialist Internationale to the German people. That was the policy of hon. Members above the Gangway when Hitler was climbing to power and I was saying "Do not let him up; get together now, as a working class, and prevent this thing happening."
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Did not my hon. Friend and those associated with him, having said to the working class "Get together to prevent this," proceed to break away and break up the unity of the working class?
§ Mr. Maxton
There is a debating point in that; but we broke away from the policy of the Labour party only at the point when they declined to do the things they had been brought into this House to do, and did precisely the contrary things to the unemployed and the miners, and in international affairs. And not even then did we break away. We only broke with them when they not only did these things themselves but tried to compel me and my friends to do them honour. [Interruption.] It is accurate, and the hon. Member knows it. Every Member of his party knows it.
§ Mr. A. G. Walkden (Bristol, South)
Does not the hon. Member remember in 1931 that the Labour Government assembled the great Rearmament Conference and the great World Economic Conference?
§ Mr. Maxton
I know. The Labour Government of 1929–31 summoned together all the capitalist nations of the world in London and asked for world unity—the Socialists asking for the wolves to come together and be one happy family with the British Labour party. If ever there was a silly, fantastic episode in the whole of history, it was the summoning together of these 65 nations to London.
1390 I want to recall the House to the Amendment. I want the right hon. Gentleman, when replying, not to devote himself to the deficiencies of my personal character, which are too obvious to make it necessary for him to waste any of his valuable time on them, but to try to persuade my hon. Friends and myself and the House generally, that the criticisms we make of the King's Speech in our Amendment are untrue. They express the highest aspirations for the peace and welfare of the peoples of the world. Where are the concrete proposals?' Where is the legislation to remove grave social inequalities? Where is the prospect of a new order for the common people here or in India or in the Colonies? The King's Speech speaks in general terms, and we begin to get precision in the course of the Debate. Responsible Ministers of His Majesty's Government give precision to the general phrases of the Gracious Speech. Where have the speeches been? They have gone from generality to generality. The Prime Minister—it is understandable and excusable—met the wishes of the House in using his occasion on the Address to give us an account of the happenings in North Africa. He was followed subsequently by the Paymaster-General. I listened to most of it and read the whole of it. Did ever anyone deliver himself of such a collection of empty, platitudinous vapourisings? And the length of it—telling us how he runs round Whitehall from one office to another. He should change his name from Paymaster-General to Ministre des Pavés, because he seems to spend all his time on the pavements of Whitehall. Yesterday we heard the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in a speech, pleasing, delightful and pleasantly delivered, but there was nothing in it.
Where are the concrete proposals for the new social order? Where are the proposals of a foreign policy for permanent peace in the world? Where are the proposals for all the things that I believe the majority of hon.' Members above the Gangway stand for? I have watched them for 20 years led in the most facile way, always allowing themselves to be led into an impasse and being let down because they were always very sensitive. They always regard their own Socialism as Utopian, something that is merely for theory, never for practice. When a 1391 Minister gets up and defends the existing order and suggests pettitogging modifications to it—well, that is statesmanship. Take the history of the mining industry. The miners of this country had more to do in putting the Labour party into electoral success than any other section of the community. They expected with the rise of Labour to power that they would get decent human conditions. The whole history of this 20-odd years up till and including now has been a history of dodging the fact that there was one practicable way of dealing with the mining problem, and that was to bring it into public ownership and to associate the men working in the industry with responsibility for management. That was the only intelligent, practicable proposal. Always it was some other pettifogging plan. The miners were kept in the most miserable conditions. In 1926 there came the great strike of the miners, and the general strike of the mass of the workers—the most spontaneous, the most generous, the most selfless working-class action in this country. The miners were beaten. A Labour Government came into office in 1929 and messed around. We had a wonderful, statesmanlike Bill produced by that Labour Government. The hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) had the job of putting it through its concluding stages.
§ Mr. Shinwell (Seaham)
I do not know how far the hon. Member has been correct so far in his speech, but he is certainly incorrect as regards my association with the Bill. It was, in fact, passed by this House before I had returned to the Mines Department.
§ Mr. Maxton
That is strictly correct. The effective thing in the last Mines Act passed by the Labour Government, the effective thing that was to take the place of nationalisation and avoid the necessity of putting a living wage proposal into the Bill, was the power to reorganise the mines of this nation either by a voluntary association on the part of their existing owners or by compulsory association. The one definite thing that had to be done to get that machinery operated was to appoint a permanent civil servant, and the hon. Member for Seaham appointed the man and defended his appointment from the Treasury Bench.
§ Mr. Shinwell
He is involved in a mess of inaccuracies. He has already been proved incorrect in his first statement regarding myself. I was not technically responsible for the passage of the Mines Bill.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Secondly, as regards the appointment, I presume, of Sir Ernest Gowers, that appointment was made by Downing Street, by the Prime Minister, and not by myself.
§ Mr. Maxton
I remember the circumstances perfectly well. The hon. Gentleman was a member of my party.
§ Mr. Maxton
My hon. Friend will remember that I was the chairman and leader of that party. Ben Turner left office at the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill and the hon. Member for Seaham took his place.
§ Mr. Maxton
Yes, but you have to defend the baby if you hold it—even if it is somebody else's baby. But I do not want to pursue that point, and I am sorry that I have been led away. The hon. Member will agree with me in this, that that Bill was merely an indifferent substitute for the public ownership of the mines and that it worked out in practice as a most horrible fiasco. And now we find ourselves in the middle of a war and we do not get coal. We starve the miners for 20 years and then wonder why they cannot work. It reminds me of an old Irishman in my division who sometimes fights in the boxing ring in my area—and usually gets beaten. One night he came home to his wife and started throwing his weight about because his son had been beaten in a fight. His wife turned to him and said, "You come home here with your miserable 30s. a week, and you expect me to breed gladiators."
This House consistently starved the miners and knocked the spirit out of them, and now it wonders why the miners cannot do prodigies in the way of turning out millions of tons of coal every week. I ask the hon. Member for Seaham to remember that it is perfectly clear what 1393 his relationship is to the Amendment that we have on the Paper. He and his friends would have put that Amendment on the Paper if they had been free men. They can have no confidence in the promises of their Tory allies to-day. They can see evidence of that, now that there is a slight easement of the military situation. We already hear sneers at the Beveridge Report as "grandiose" and "Utopian." As to India, they are only waiting for Indian agreement to give India complete independence, yet they have sent out two Conservative Members to India in the last week, one to be Chief Justice and the other to be Governor of Bombay. Can anyone in the existing circumstances imagine anything more difficult to understand than that? Is that the new order? Is the Empire still to continue as the place where Conservatives are boarded out?
The King's Speech consists of platitudes. The speech of the Paymaster-General consisted of platitudes. The speech of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—generalities, meaningless generalities and aspirations about what we were going to do when the war is over. In the one place where the war has been finished, Abyssinia, what did the Government do? Put the Emperor back on his throne, on his despotic throne, with British bayonets. The function of our Ambassador in Madrid is to endeavour to restore the monarchy in Madrid. I have seen it suggested in the Conservative Press that the restoration of the Italian monarchy, with the old traditions and power, is a desirable object to be pursued by His Majesty's Government. In face of all these things, the Minister's speech yesterday was generalities. Similarly with the Debate on the Colonies—generalities from the Parliamentary Secretary. The discussion on these matters has gone on, and there is only left the right hon. Gentleman the Deputy Prime Minister to give coherent content and precision to it, and to let the people of this country, the soldiers, sailors and airmen and workers in the mines and shipyards throughout the length and breadth of the country, know, in definite and concrete terms, what they are to get now. Failing the ability of the right hon. Gentleman to do that, he must be prepared to admit the correctness of the criticism of the King's Speech embodied in our Amendment and he will not object 1394 to my hon. Friends and myself proceeding into the Lobby to vote in support of it.
§ The Deputy-Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)
The hon. Member has given us, as usual, a most delightful Parliamentary performance, with absolutely nothing in it except a lot of extremely good generalities. And this from the hon. Gentleman who is demanding concrete proposals. When did he ever put forward in the House of Commons a thought-out, concrete proposal, except an abortive proposal to nationalise the Bank of England which never even got on the Order Paper? The hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) said that the Government failed to face up to the realities of the situation and that he was going to try to concentrate on the important issues. The important issue in the world at the present time is that, there is a great fight going on, that millions of people are in chains, that millions of people are fighting to try to deliver them from those chains; and the hon. Member in the whole of his speech had nothing whatever to say about it.
I am sorry if the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) thought I was harsh with him in suggesting that he was irresponsible. I know the amount of preaching he has done for so many years, but I have never yet found him willing to stand and take responsibility for any action. The hon. Member says that the leader of the Labour Party led them into an impasse. Where did the hon. Member lead the I.L.P.? Into an ivory tower where they dream dreams and are totally out of touch with the workers of the country.
§ Mr. Attlee
Oh, yes. They do not represent the mass of the people of this country who are sacrificing themselves and are performing services. Except for this I do not know what services the hon. Member is performing.
§ Mr. Attlee
We are coming to the end of an interesting series of Debates which have covered a very wide field, and I think that most Members who have spoken have contributed something of value. When one reads these speeches—I have not been able to be present all the time, 1395 but I have read them—one can see there are an infinite number of problems, and that Members look at these problems and see one particular point, perhaps, in which they are more interested than others. Then another Member will speak, and one will see how these problems are intricately related to each other, and one realises at once that the solution of these problems cannot be attained by a nice debating speech of half an hour. The hon. Member for Bridgeton reminded me that we came into this House 20 years ago. We had entered the movement about the same time. In the course of those years there have been great changes in public opinion; there have been great changes' in the position of the Labour movement. The Labour movement increasingly, through its members, has taken responsibility in Parliament and in local councils of every kind. Their speeches have tended to change because it was enough in the old days to get up and denounce the existing state of affairs for 50 minutes, and in two minutes to say, "The remedy is Socialism," and sit down. [Interruption.] Not every one, but many did. And the hon. Member has done it ever since.
§ Mrs. Hardie (Glasgow, Springburn)
Does the right hon. Gentleman say that the pioneers of our movement had not a constructive policy?
§ Mr. Attlee
Not at all. I was talking of the rank and file, young members like the hon. Member for Bridgeton and me. When we got on a platform it was all we had to do. But increasingly, as the party has grown, it has put forward more and more concrete and detailed proposals, and it has taken responsibility. The hon. Member has not done that.
I was going to refer to a maiden speech made by another old colleague of mine at that time, the hon. Member for the Park Division of Sheffield (Mr. Burden). I thought he made an admirable maiden speech. He dealt very fully with education. I can assure him that the reference to education in the Speech from the Throne is not an idle reference, and that the importance of it is very fully understood. I thought that in that speech I caught the authentic tone of the I.L.P. and of the great leaders of the I.L.P., and particularty of the founder of the I.L.P. Keir Hardie, because in my experience of those leaders they did not 1396 take the line that everybody except themselves was practically beyond the pale and utterly insincere and hopeless. I caught the other note in the speech of the hon. Member for Shettleston, and I caught it again in the scorn that the hon. Member for Bridgeton showed. While he was in favour of freedom for all nations, it was perfectly ridiculous, he thought, to bring together all the nations unless they agreed with the hon. Member for Bridgeton. That was the crime—to bring together 65 nations to consult on the problems of peace. How futile it was, because they did not accept the views of the hon. Member for Bridgeton. The hon. Member for Bridgeton is the greatest totalitarian of the lot if he wants everybody to hold those views.
§ Mr. Maxton
Does not the right hon. Gentleman remember that he is a Cabinet Minister, not I? Let him try to deal with the Amendment.
§ Mr. Attlee
I am coming to the Amendment. This was only the introduction. This is the third time since this Government was formed that we have had an I.L.P. Amendment. In 1940 we had a complaint that we failed to propose a conference to bring the war to an early conclusion and establish a new social order. On that occasion my hon. Friends had the support of two Labour Members and the Communist Member. Last year the theme was varied. There was no proposal for a conference to end the war. There was a proposal forthe ending of the present economic system of financial and commercial rivalry and exploitation…and laying down the basis of a Socialist Charter, which would serve as an incentive to the German and other European workers to overthrow Nazi rule and free the populations in the occupied territories.On that occasion they lost the support of the Communist Member, who pointed out that Socialism in the abstract or in the dim and distant future can always be called for by those who desire to escape and avoid responsibility. Losing the Communist Member, they caught a Liberal, in the hon. Member for Barn-staple (Sir R. Acland). This time we have a new version of the old story. We are asked to regret the absence of concrete proposals for the future peace and welfare of the peoples of the world and for removing the causes of war and of any prospect of a new order for the common people. The Amendment is drafted in curious 1397 terms. Gone are those suggestions that peace can be had now by calling a conference. What has happened to that conference? What is the hon. Member's alternative? Gone is something else, the suggestion that if only we would adopt the hon. Member's policy we could arouse the nations of Europe to do the job that the hon. Member and his friends are not joining in doing; that is, ridding Europe of the Nazi menace. All we get are these phrases. The hon. Member talks about ensuring peace and welfare in future. I am concerned about the peoples who are at the present time in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Norway, and all those places. That is what we are concerned with.
§ Mr. Attlee
These people are looking to someone to deliver them. They are not looking to the I.L.P. They are not seeking their future peace and welfare in these nice phrases. They are looking to the valour and the skill of their fellow men who are fighting. They know, if the hon. Member and his friends do not know it, that the first need of all is the destruction of Nazism. The fighters in North Africa and the fighters of Stalingrad and the victors of El Alamein are making concrete proposals, not just theoretical proposals. Those are the proposals, they are the pre-requisite to the achievement of the hon. Member and many of the rest of us. I ask the hon. Members below the Gangway what contribution they are making towards that pre-requisite? We have a number of valuable Amendments on the Order Paper suggesting various points on which Members want the Government to act in this or that way, but the hon. Member's Amendment differs from all the other Amendments. All the other Amendments are put forward by people who say, "We want these things but we recognise that to get these things we must win this war and overturn Nazi tyranny." That is absolutely absent from the hon. Member's Amendment. 1398 Why does he not put that down? What is his proposal for dealing with the actual situation? Let him come to that realisationtion, along with the hon. Member for Shettleston. On the actual position of the war they have nothing whatever to say, nothing whatever on how to stop this tyranny; it is all in the future, all quite vague. I suggest, therefore, that that shows the enormous difference in the hon. Member's Amendment from that of anybody else. My hon. and right hon. Friends opposite put down an Amendment which we debated for two days. They suggested that the Government should implement the Atlantic Charter. They had a perfect right to put that down, because they are taking their share in getting the conditions in which we can realise the Atlantic Charter. The hon. Members talk about the future and do nothing whatever about the present. I ask them whether they do or do not at this stage think that it is necessary to overturn Hitlerism? If they do not, why have they so much to say about the future, and if they do, what are they going to do about it?
§ Mr. Attlee
I will give way if the hon. Member wants to intervene. It is obvious that the form of this Amendment does not very much matter. It is really only an attempt to collect a few Members, an attempt to make it attractive, a little bit of sugar for the bird. But in vain is the net spread in sight of such a bird, and I do not think that any bird will be so slow as to be taken in by this particular thing, because the net has been put out before and it is so very obvious. Who would be pleased if the hon. Member got some people into the Lobby? The only people who would be pleased would be our enemies, the Nazis. They would put across, "Growing strength of the I.L.P. against the war." The hon. Member has so drafted his Amendment that it would suit Dr. Goebbels very well. Last year he talked of a new social order. This time he talked, in the very phrases of Hitler, of a new order for European people. What scope for enemy propaganda that they should be able to say that so many have followed the hon. Member in his new order. The hon. Member must be more careful in his drafting.
1399 The substance of anything that is valuable in this Amendment was discussed yesterday in connection with reconstruction. At the beginning of the Debate on the King's Speech we had a speech from the Prime Minister in which he dealt with military operations and showed how, in order to bring about the Battle of E1 Alamein and the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa, plans had to be laid long before. In anything of that kind there must be a long period of preparation. We sat quietly and many hon. Members thought we were doing nothing, although preparations were going on.
§ Mr. Attlee
Perhaps the hon. Member will leave it to me. The hon. Member is so adept at pursuing lines, he pursues them so far that he generally finds himself back where he started. He is apt to become airborne in the last five minutes of his speech.
§ Mr. Attlee
There were people—of course, not the hon. Member—who did not understand that for complicated campaigns in war it takes a long time to prepare, particularly when you are not acting by yourself, as in the North African expedition, in which we were working with our Allies. If Members will read the speeches made during the course of these Debates I think they will find a consciousness that the proposals for peace and reconstruction also take a considerable time to prepare. In the admirable speech made yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wake-field (Mr. Greenwood) he particularly pointed out—and it was taken up by others—that the basis of our reconstructions here is the future of this country in the world's economy, and it was stressed in the Amendment yesterday how necessary it was that we should get at once into contact with other countries, particularly the United States and Russia. Those contacts are already being made. The Paymaster-General pointed out yesterday that conversations were going forward, that on some problems decisions have been taken and that on others decisions will shortly be taken. On the question, for instance, of housing after the war, you have to consider industry, 1400 demobilisation and the land. These questions cannot be dealt with in isolation. There is no excuse for not having a policy, and we have a policy. It is no excuse for not making decisions. Decisions must be made, but there is no excuse for not having proper consideration before coming to a decision.
My hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), in his admirable speech, dealt with the economic foundations of peace and pointed out that we must repair the broken fabric of world economy. He spoke strongly against the international cartel system of restriction. I can assure him he is preaching to the converted. The Government are resolved that we shall not go back to a scarcity economy. Our policy is based on the utilisation of abundance. We are now engaged in talks and conversations with our Allies to work out these very things about economic collaboration. We are in touch with the International Labour Office concerning labour standards. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Bridgeton is quite wrong. An internationalist is not an emigré, because he is at home in all countries. The International Labour Office was no more specially at home in Geneva than it is in Ottawa. The International Labour Office is one of those pieces of international machinery, set up after the last war, that has lived on and will continue to live after this war, and we intend to use it to the full. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour has already been working very fully on these questions.
I thought that hon. Members below the Gangway showed considerably less acquaintance with the Essential Work Orders than hon. Members above the Gangway. The hon. Member for Bridgeton and his colleagues want to have it both ways. They want to have a status for the: workers in industry, but they baulk at any responsibility in industry. My hon. Friends increasingly realise that we want to see industry primarily developed in the interests of the community. That means responsibility on all the people in industry. In these reconstruction problems you come to a certain point at which you reach the stage of decision and action. Hon. Members say that we ought to have acted earlier. We would like to have acted earlier, just as we would have liked to make some of these 1401 attacks earlier, but we have to consider what the position is. It is very easy to think that now, when things are going all right, but things have not been too easy. Industrialists have not had time yet to think very much about the reconstruction of industry. We are only just completing the phase of turning over our great industrial machine from a peace economy to a war economy; it will be a tremendous work to bring it back to a peace economy and put it on a new basis of economy. It is the same with all the other items. Therefore, I say to hon. Members that if they listened to the review given by the Paymaster-General they will know that not one of these matters is being neglected, but that it is quite impossible for anyone to come to the House and say from this bench, in a quarter of an hour, "Here is my answer to the whole problem." I think the hon. Member for Bridgeton suggested it could be done with
|Division No. 2.||AYES.|
|Acland, Sir R. T. D.||Maxton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Buchanan, G.||Stakes, R. R.||Mr. McGovern and Mr. Stephen.|
|Cove, W. G.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Cary, R. A.||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)||Challen, Flight-Lieut. C.||Entwistle, Sir C. F.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Cannock)||Channon, H.||Errington, Squadron-Leader E.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Etherton, Ralph|
|Ammon, C. G.||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Evans, Colonel A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Anderson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. (So'h Univ.)||Charleton, H. C.||Everard, Sir W. Lindsay|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Clarry, Sir Reginald||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Assheton, R.||Cobb, Captain E. C.||Fleming, Squadron-Leader E. L.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Colegate, W. A.||Foot, D. M.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Colman, N. C. D.||Fox, Flight-Lieut. Sir G. W. G.|
|Balfour, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. H.||Conant, Major R. J. E.||Frankel, D.|
|Beattie, F.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Fraser, Capt. Sir Ian|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Cooper, Rt. Hon. A. Duff||Fremantle, Sir F. E.|
|Beaumont, Hubert (Batley)||Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.||Fyfe, Major Sir D. P. M.|
|Beaumont, Major Hn. R. E. B. (P'ts'h)||Cripps, Rt. Hon. Sir Stafford||Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Gates, Major E. E.|
|Beit, Sir A. L.||Crowder, Capt. J. F. E.||George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd (P'b'ke)|
|Bennett, Sir E. N. (Cardiff, Central)||Culverwell, C. T.||Gibson, Sir C. G.|
|Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Gledhill, G.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)||Gluckstein, Major L. H.|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E.||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Glyn, Sir R. G. C.|
|Blair, Sir R.||De Chair, Capt. S. S.||Goldie, N. B.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||De la Bère, R.||Gower, Sir R. V.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Denville, Alfred||Grant-Ferris, Wing-Commander R.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Digby, Capt. K. S. D. W.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)|
|Bower, Norman (Harrow)||Douglas, F. C. R.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. B.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Grigg, Rt. Hon. Sir P. J. (Cardiff, E.)|
|Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.||Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)||Grimston, R. V.|
|Brooke, H. (Lewisham)||Dugdale, Major T. L. (Richmond)||Gritten, W. G. Howard|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Duggan, H. J.||Groves, T. E.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Ede, J. C.||Guest, Lt.-Col. H. (Drake)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Gunston, Major Sir D. W.|
|Burden, T. W.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Guy, W. H.|
|Burghley, Lord||Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Sir D. H.|
|Burgin, Rt. Hen. E. L.||Edwards, Walter J. (Whitechapel)||Hall, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Aberdare)|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hambro, Capt. A. V.|
|Butcher, Lieut. H. W.||Ellis, Sir G.||Hannah, I. C.|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.||Elusion, Captain G. S.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.|
|Caine, G. R. Hall||Emery, J. F.||Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Haslam, Henry|
§ regard to unemployment. It is all very well to resolve that there shall be no unemployment, but the question of ensuring employment in particular industries means working out things in the international and national spheres. We are at work on these problems.
§ I ask the House to reject the Amendment because it is not a sound, honest Amendment. It leaves out the essential thing. The hon. Members who moved the Amendment do not face up to the essential thing. At the present moment the world is in crisis and the decision as to whether we are to have anything like civilisation depends on the actions we are taking now. Millions of men and women are giving service, except the hon. Members of the Independent Labour party.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 5; Noes, 312.
|Headlam, Lt.-Col. Sir C. M.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A.|
|Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Medlicott, Colonel Frank||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Mellor, Sir J. S. P.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)||Mills, Colonel J. D. (New Forest)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Herbert, Petty Officer A. P. (Oxford U.)||Mitchell, Colonel H. P.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hewlett, T. H.||Molson, A. H. E.||Somerset, T.|
|Hicks, E. G.||Montague, F.||Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.|
|Higgs, W. F.||Moore, Lieut.-Col, Sir T. C. R.||Southby, Comd. Sir A. R. J.|
|Hill, Prof. A. V.||Morgan, R. H. (Stourbridge)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Morris-Jones, Sir Henry||Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. Oliver|
|Hopkinson, A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Strickland, Capt. W. F.|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Murray, J. D.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-(Northwich)|
|Hudson, Sir A. (Hackney, N.)||Nall, Sir J.||Studholme, Captain H. G.|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Summers, G. S.|
|Hashes, R. M.||Nicholson, Captain G. (Farnham)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G. (Leicester, W.)||Tale, Mavis C.|
|Hurd, Sir P. A.||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Taylor, Captain C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Hutchinson, G. C. (Ilford)||Nunn, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|James, Wing-Comdr. A. W. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Paling, W.||Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'th'm'tn)|
|Jeffreys, Gen. Sir G. D.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Thorneycroft, Major G. E. P. (Stafford)|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Peake, O.||Thurtle, E.|
|Jennings, R.||Peat, C. U.||Titchfield, Lt.-Col. Marquess of|
|Jones, L. (Swansea, W.)||Perkins, W. R. D.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Jowitt, Rt. Hon. Sir W. A.||Petherick, Major M.||Touche, G. C.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Comdr. Hn. L. W.||Peto, Major B. A. J.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Keeling, E. H.||Pickthorne, K. W. M.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.|
|Kerr, Sir John Graham (Scottish U's)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Power, Sir J. C.||Walkden, A. G. (Bristol, s.)|
|Kimball, Major L.||Price, M. P.||Walkden, E. (Doncaster)|
|King-Hall, Commander W. S. R.||Pym, L. R.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Quibell, D. J. K.||Ward, Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Leach, W.||Radford, E. A.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Leigh, Sir J.||Rankin, Sir R.||Waterhouse, Capt. C-|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Rathbone, Eleanor||Watkins, F. C.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Reakes, G. L. (Wallasey)||Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. H. (Richmond)|
|Levy, T.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Lewis, O.||Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)||Webbe, Sir W. Harold|
|Liddall, W. S.||Raid, Capt. A. Cunningham (St. M.)||Wells, Sir S. Richard|
|Linstead, H. N.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Weston, W. Garfield|
|Lipson, D. L.||Rickards, G. W.||Westwood, J.|
|Little, Dr. J. (Down)||Ritson, J.||White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)|
|Lloyd, C. E. (Dudley)||Roberts, W.||White, H. Graham (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Lloyd, G. W. (Ladywood)||Robertson, D. (Streatham)||Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.|
|Looker-Lampson, Commander O. S.||Robertson, Rt. Hon. Sir M. A. (M'ham)||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Loftus, P. C.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Lyons, Major A. M.||Rowlands, G.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Willink, H. U.|
|McCorquodale, Malcolm S.||Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)||Windsor-Clive, Lt.-Col. G.|
|Macdonald, Sqdn.-Ldr. P. (I. of W.)||Salt, E. W.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.||Womersley, Rt. Hon. Sir W.|
|McKie, J. H.||Savory, Professor O. L.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir K. (W'lwich, W.)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. H. (Stockton)||Scott, Donald (Wansbeck)||Woodburn, A.|
|Maitland, Sir A.||Scott, Lord William (Ro'b'h &Selk'k)||Wootton-Davies, J. H.|
|Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E.||Shakespeare, Sir G. H.||Wragg, H.|
|Mander, G. le M.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)||York, Capt. C.|
|Marlowe, Major A.||Shaw, Capt. W. T. (Forfar)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Marshall, F.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Martin, J. H.||Shinwell, E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mathers, G.||Shute, Col, Sir J. J.||Mr. James Stuart and|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth:
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.