A question, one imagines, that would pre-suppose the answer 'no'?:
Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that robberies have recently taken place on the Bushire-Isfahan road, and that further acts of brigandage are feared; and whether representations will be made to the Government of Persia with a view to securing the protection of the road?
Sir E. GREY The incidents referred to have been reported by His Majesty's Minister at Teheran, who has already made representations to the Persian Government on the subject.
So I'm going to recycle the 'he sees a sparrow fall' line.
Mind you, he's a right misery here:
Mr. MORRELL asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he could yet say whether he would lay upon the Table of the House the Report issued by the Egyptian Commission last September on the question of cotton growing in Egypt; and whether he would give the House any further information as to any action which the Government were now taking in the matter either in Egypt or the Soudan?
Sir E. GREY The report is an already published Egyptian document, with elaborate diagrams, which it would be very expensive to reproduce.
I've had a look at the report, and apart from the vigour of the plants, there were outbreaks of fish jumping too.
This one's quite interesting:
Gun Running (Persian Gulf)
Mr. LLOYD asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if he will state the annual expenditure incurred by the Government of India in regard to the ordinary and the special measures for the prevention of gun-running in the Persian Gulf during the last five years?
Mr. MONTAGU The ordinary measures for the prevention of gun-running in the Persian Gulf form part of the duties of H.M. ships in Indian waters for which a subsidy of £100,000 a year is paid from Indian revenues.
What one might expect, I imagine. However, someone is not at all happy:
Mr. M'CALLUM SCOTT May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government of India have any legal right whatever to interfere by violence with the citizens of a foreign State who are engaged in the peaceful occupation of increasing armaments?Alexander MacCallum Scott would appear to be a Liberal non-interventionist. He ended up joining the Socialists in 1924.
Mr. MONTAGU I should like to assure my hon. Friend that the Indian Government never do anything which is not within their legal rights.
Mr. BURGOYNE asked the Secretary of State for War how many dirigibles are complete, building, or ordered for the French, German, and Russian armies?
The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Haldane) The German army has nine complete dirigibles, but no official information as to further orders is available. The French army has four dirigibles complete, and eight in various stages of construction. The Russian army has nine dirigibles complete, one building, and four on order.
Mr. BURGOYNE asked the amount of financial provision made for aeronautical work in France, Germany, and Russia during the last two years?
Mr. HALDANE The figures are as follows:— Germany.—1900, Expenditure £54,231. 1910, Estimate £400,000 (including the Zeppelin Subscription Fund, £305,000).
I rather like the idea of a Zeppelin Subscription Fund. Presumably one fronts the money and in return gets updates as to the health or otherwise of the Zeppelin, flying hours and the like. And maybe a preferential rate for flying in it.
All will be delighted to know that our military aviators were not going to be left to wing it:
Mr. BURGOYNE asked whether a special course of training for officers and men in connection with aeronautical work had been decided upon; and, if so, over what period of time this training was likely to extend?
Mr. HALDANE The training of officers and men in aeronautical work is proceeding. No definite duration, of course, has yet been fixed, but officers joining are placed on probation for six months.
And so to this:
Mr. WEDGWOOD asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture what is to be the composition of the proposed committee to inquire into the breaking-up of large estates; what will be the terms of reference; and when is it to be appointed?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir E. Strachey) I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on this subject to the hon. Member for the Wilton Division on the 2nd instant.
Politically motivated expropriation of private property. Socialism did not first land here in 1945, did it?
Sticking with Socialists, James O'Grady (Lab) has a question:
Mr. O'GRADY asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he can now state if the Government of Bengal is subsidising a wekly newspaper published in Bengali; how long the subsidy has been paid; and whether it was granted under a guarantee of a certain minimum circulation, or only to secure that Government views should find expression in the columns of the papers?
Mr. MONTAGU The Government of India telegraph as follows:—"An agreement has been entered into between the Government of Bengal and the Editor of the 'Indian Mirror,' Rai Norandra Nath Sen Bahadur, who has undertaken to publish, on the lines of the 'Indian Mirror,' a weekly vernacular paper, of which the Government engage to subscribe for 25,000 copies.
And having suckered Montagu:
Mr. O'GRADY May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether the India Office or the Indian Government has taken any cognisance of the fact that the great bulk of the papers in India, whether Anglo-Indian or venacular, have protested against these subsidies, and whether any step has been taken in the matter?And
Mr. O'GRADY May I ask who is going to be the authority for putting particular news or a particular feature of politics into this paper—whether it is going to be the Viceroy or the editor?And
Mr. O'GRADY Are you going to manufacture their politics for them?
My sympathies are with O'Grady. First Socialist Governor of the Falklands, apparently. I expect that frightened the