Friday, 15 July 2011

The 1961 Hansard trawl, featuring junkets, aviation, car parks and Edward Heath

This might prompt a wry smile or two:

Mr. Rankin asked the Minister of Aviation if he has yet received from the French Government a reply on the possibilities of their collaborating with this country in the production of a supersonic airliner.

Mr. Rippon Within the last few days my right hon. Friend has received a reply from the French Minister of Transport suggesting a discussion between them on this subject, as soon as it can conveniently be arranged.

Mr. Rankin Can the hon. Gentleman say whether or not any sort of study is going on with the French Government on how we are to achieve supersonic speed without the power which, according to Lord Brabazon, at a height of 20,000 feet may shatter the windows of houses below the machine?

Mr. Rippon French firms as well as British firms have been engaged on these studies, which include the sort of matter to which Lord Brabazon referred.
I've heard some rather lurid tales about the former member for Hexham, but on the off chance he has not gone to meet his maker I'm keeping schtum.

A less than thrilling junket for the Czechoslovaks:

 Mr. Houghton asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he has invited a delegation from the National Social Security Office in Prague to visit this country; when he expects the delegation to arrive; for what period they will stay; and what arrangements will be made for them to see the working of his Department.
Mr. Boyd-Carpenter The Czechoslovak National Social Security Office has accepted an invitation to send a small party of officials to this country to study the work of my Department. I expect them to come in September for 866 about 10 to 14 days. Arrangements will be made for them to visit my Central Office at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and to study other aspects of my Department's work.
I would have thought that B-C was setting us up for a fall here, given the nature of Socialist planned economies.

Speaking of planned economies, here's one from 'the past is a foreign country' file:

Mr. V. Yates asked the Minister of Aviation why he has increased the car-parking charges at London Airport;

...(much blah)...

Mr Rippon....As regards the future, I think that the multi-storey garage which is being built will go far to ease the position.

And aviation again:

Mr. Stratton Mills  asked the Minister of Aviation what regulations he makes regarding the tipping of porters at airports and air terminals under the control of this Department.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon) Ministry of Aviation porters at airports and aerodromes are forbidden to solicit tips from passengers or visitors or to behave in such a manner as to suggest tips are expected, but they are not debarred from accepting tips which are freely and spontaneously offered. Ministry porters are not employed at the air terminals.

Mr. Stratton Mills

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him if he does not feel that as B.E.A., particularly, and other airlines have a strictly enforced "no-tipping at all" 876 policy, there is considerable confusion in the minds of people using our airports? Will he also bear in mind that, as I once had a tip returned to me by a French porter at a French airport—[HON. MEMBERS: "Was it too small?"] —I admit that this should be considered somewhat unusual—it would be more desirable to have a definite policy of no tipping at British airports and air terminals? 

Dame Irene Ward Is my hon. Friend aware that I think our men at our airports are jolly good? Is he aware that they do not let it be known that they would like tips, whereas when one arrives at foreign airports a standard rate is generally demanded? Will he see that our men are put on the same favourable terms, if this decision is an international one, at our airports? Our men have done jolly well.

Mr. Rippon My hon. Friend does not bestow tributes lightly, and I know that the porters will be grateful for her observations.

Doubtless the conversation in the Heathrow breakroom was of little else.  Meanwhile, the Dame is worth reading about.  She was once the Conservative member for Wallsend.  We got 18% in the successor seat in 2010.

Pity the poor Greeks:

Mr. F. Noel-Baker asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the purpose of his recent official visit to Greece; for how long he stayed; which Greek Ministers he saw; and what decisions were taken.

Mr. Heath I visited Athens from 11th to 13th July for discussions with the Greek Foreign Minister. I also met the Greek Prime Minister and the Minister for Co-ordination of Economic Affairs. This provided a most useful opportunity for a frank and friendly exchange of views on matters of mutual interest.
It probably involved Edward the Worst telling Karamanlis what a marvelous Lord Privy Seal he was.

What the...

Captain Kerby asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the financial losses incurred by the British Railways, if he will give a general direction to The Britisth Transport Commission not to undertake prestige advertising.

Mr. Marples No. This is a matter for the Commission's commercial judgment.


  1. Why do my fists clench whenever I hear of Edward Heath?

  2. "Lord" Rippon did indeed meet his Maker in 1997, although on a point of utter pedantry he was Member for Norwich South at the time of this Hansard, not Hexham until later.

    TQG, though, greets pedantry with a doff of the trilby and a large scotch so I offer no apologies.

  3. James - I find that thoughts of Edward Heath do a good line in stopping my blood pressure dropping to dangerous levels. Reading Toynbee has a similar effect. So, my mentions of the man are intended as a form of public health provision.

    ASE - How does the verb go? I value accuracy, you are a nitpicker, he is a pedant..... As to Rippon's predelictions, they were similar to those of one of his Hexham successors, apparently.