Thursday, 24 February 2011

The 1911 Hansard trawl,featuring the Nelson Column, bright lights and phone books.

A 1911 round up:

Atheists neither in foxholes nor dreadnoughts:

Mr. HUGH BARRIE asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many seamen in the Navy are registered as Presbyterians; and how many Presbyterian commissioned chaplains are there in the Navy?
Mr. McKENNA The latest Return showed 4,299 Presbyterians as included in the personnel of the Royal Navy, a percentage of 3.65 of the total. There are no Presbyterian commissioned chaplains in the Navy, but when His Majesty's ships are in port every endeavour is made to permit attendance at places of worship of the church or denominations to which the men belong.

Barrie was Scots-Irish and likely a presbyterian himself.

Nothing new under the sun, pt 378:

Sir WILLIAM BULL asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has recently received petitions from various sections of the Coptic community in Egypt drawing attention to the religious disabilities from which they now suffer, particularly in regard to elementary education in the Kuttabs; and whether he has received any information to show that these grievances are receiving proper attention from the authorities, independently of the provincial councils, with a view to their redress?

Sir E. GREY I have received telegrams on this subject from four Coptic communities in Egypt, and have referred them to His Majesty's Agent and Consul-General at Cairo for report.

Puts me in mind of this from The Spectator the other week:

It is related that an emissary of Tsar Alexander III went to see the Coptic pope, with the Tsar’s gracious offer to proclaim himself Protector of the Copts. ‘Is the Tsar of Russia immortal, or will he die like other men?’ asked the Pope. ‘He will die, as do all men.’ ‘In that case, we shall depend for our protection as we have always done — on Him who is immortal.’

The terms they used: Housing of the Working Classes Act

Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND  asked the Chief Secretary whether he would take such steps as may be within his power to expedite the sanctioning of the scheme, now for some time under consideration, for providing, under the Housing of the Working Classes Act, suitable homes for the artisans and labourers of the town of Ennis?

What is meant is clear enough, but it is tempting to let one's mind wander as to what would be the differences between houses for the working classes as opposed to lower middles etc etc.   

Sometimes points raised just look foolish in the light of subsequent events:

Captain MURRAY asked the President of the Local Government Board, with reference to the question of the hon. Member for Kincardineshire on the 4th November, 1908, whether the subject of accidents caused by the employment of dazzling headlights on motor-cars had received his further consideration; and, if so, whether he could now take steps, by regulation or otherwise, to compel the use of such appliances as would reduce to a minimum the excessive glare?

Mr. BURNS  Further consideration has been given to this matter, but I regret that I have not as yet been able to find a satisfactory means for dealing with it.

However, this would have been timely up until quite recently:

Major GASTRELL asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider the desirability, as soon as he has control of the telephone service, of providing a directory for telephone users that shall not contain advertisements inserted among the names of subscribers?

 Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL  I do not think that the large financial sacrifice  which would result from adopting the suggestion of the hon. Member would be justified.
I imagine the galloping (?) major would have been spluttering into his pink gin if he had been landed with the cost of a phone book sans advertising.

These sound good, but Lombard Street to a rotten orange they have been banned:

Mr. GLYN-JONES asked whether instructions had been given to the Metropolitan police to enforce Section 30 of the Explosives Act, 1875, with regard to the hawking and exposure of an explosive known as electric sparklers in the public streets; and, if not, whether such instructions will be given?

Mr. CHURCHILL  No instructions of the kind have been issued, but the matter is now engaging my attention.

The Greatest Ever Englishman continues to deal in robust common sense:

Mr. YERBURGH asked the Secretary of State whether he is aware that the exhibition of the red flag and the use of treasonable language on the national monument erected to commemorate the services of Nelson are resented by loyal citizens without distinction of party; and whether he will arrange for the speakers at anarchist, republican, and insurrectionary meetings held in Trafalgar Square to be accommodated with a platform other than the plinth of the Nelson column?
Mr. CHURCHILL  The use of the plinth for public meetings has been allowed by successive Governments for many years, and I see no reason to interfere with the established practice. If any speakers use seditious language they can, if necessary, be prosecuted; but there is no ground for differentiating between the treatment of speakers at one meeting and speakers at another.
I wonder when the usage changed from the Nelson Column to Nelson's column.

How very unlike our own David Davies:

Mr. FELL asked if the Celtic shepherd, David Davies, will be allowed to return to Dartmoor Prison and resume the occupation he pursued there prior to his release, if he surrenders to the authorities or is captured by the detective who is now searching for him?
Mr. CHURCHILL As the question is hypothetical and depends on circumstances, some of which are not within my knowledge, I am afraid I cannot enter into any undertaking at the present time.

Further matters Cairene:
Captain GILMOUR asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the Abbassia barracks at Cairo, where British Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery are quartered, are only lit by old-fashioned oil lamps, from the light of which it is impossible for the men quartered there to 2087 see to read after dark, and that the men are therefore obliged to buy lamps to work by at their own expense; and whether, under these circumstances, either electric light or incandescent gas will be installed?
The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Haldane) New barracks are being built at Abbassia in which it is intended to install electric light. It may be found possible later to extend this light to the old barracks. Large sums are being expended on the improvement of lighting in barracks generally, but it is not possible to meet all requirements at once.

How would they be able to write <strike>their feelthy Port Said postcards?</strike>their orders for the morrow?

Not especially amusing this one, but it does tee up an old joke:

Mr. DELANY asked whether any regulation exists obliging railway companies to provide platforms raised so as to secure the safety of passengers; and, if so, will he say whether the platform at Portarlington, Great Southern and Western Railway, Ireland, meets those requirements, seeing that the level of the platform is over two feet and a-half below the floor of the carriages?

Mr. BUXTON I am informed by the railway company that the platform in question is about one foot six inches above the rail level, which would leave it about two feet six inches below the level of the carriage floors. The Board of Trade have no statutory authority to require the railway company to raise the platform, but I am asking them whether they propose to take any steps in the matter.
Yes, it's this headline from some years back "Steps to help hill farmers urged".  Rimshot

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