Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A 1911 Hansard trawl, featuring an early argument for kettling, the misery of tax collectors and some robust common sense on nationalisation.

First up, a late breaking entry for Man o' the Year, 1911 Edition.  Step forward Sir Frederick Banbury, 1st Baronet, Conservative member for the City of London, and prior to that - get this - Camberwell & Peckham, thus having Mrs Harriet Dromey as one of his less impressive successors.  Anyway, to the man's credentials:

Nationalisation of Railways and Canal Bill:


I am sorry I must oppose the Second Reading of this Bill. It provides for the nationalisation of the railways of England, which, I think, would be a very large order. I see the Secretary of State for War agrees with me on that point. As if the nationalisation of the railways was not enough, the canals are added to the Bill. I wish to ask the House whether the railways and canals of England should be nationalised. The capital of English railways amounts to 1,300 millions sterling. I am now leaving out the question of the capital of the canals. That I propose to deal with later. I think 1,300 millions of capital is sufficient to deal with on a Friday afternoon. I do not suppose that any hon. Member below 1830 the Gangway on either side of the House would get up and say that he proposes to confiscate 1,300 millions of money. Let me ask: the House to realise what the proposal really means. The National Debt of this country is about 700 millions, and if you add 1,300 millions we are going to make the National Debt 2,000 millions, and we are going to do that at a time when by the course of fortuitous circumstances Consols have gone down from £90 to £81. 

Hurrah for that.

If you have tears, prepare to shed them:

Mr. HUGH BARRIE asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, on 28th January, a mass meeting of the surveyors of taxes was held at Birmingham to protest against the amount of overwork in the Taxes branch; and what action he proposes to take with regard to the promised improvements of the clerical staff in tax offices? 

The tax collectors' friend was an Ulster Unionist, so to speak.

Lord HENRY BENTINCK asked the Home Secretary whether he will give the exact wording of the instruction to make as few arrests as practicable, under which the Metropolitan Police were acting in dealing with the women's deputations on 18th and 22nd November last; whether this order was issued in writing; and whether he has made any inquiry to ascertain by what means it was conveyed to the men and in what form it reached them?

Mr. CHURCHILL No fresh instructions, verbal or written, were issued to the police on or before 18th November. The Noble Lord will, no doubt, appreciate the peculiar difficulties of the police and other authorities in dealing wtih disorderly demonstrations of women Suffragists. If a body of four or five hundred men were to endeavour to force their way into the House of Commons, they would, after being duly warned, be dispersed by charges of police. Many would, no doubt, receive blows from police truncheons; the rest would take to their heels, and very few arrests would be made. In regard to women, and because they are women, no such course is conceivable.

I can't Theresa May arguing for that course of action these days.

And so to his proposed options:

Two alternatives alone remain, each attended by its own disadvantages. First, the police may show great patience and defer making arrests until the conduct of individual women has become so outrageous that their arrest is imperative. This course involves comparatively few arrests, and is confined to persons who have committed serious offences, but has the great advantage of allowing the disorder to continue for a long time, during which the women work themselves into a high state of hysteria, expose themselves to rough horseplay at the hands of an unsympathetic crowd, and finally collapse from the exhaustion of their own exertions. The second course is that the police should arrest disorderly women as soon as there is lawful occasion, with a view to conveying them as speedily as may be to a place removed from the disorders they have themselves provoked. 
Sounds a bit like kettling,doesn't it?。

I rather like this barb of his:  "that copious fountain of mendacity, the Women's Social and Political Union".