Monday, 14 March 2011

A brief 1911 Hansard trawl

The things MPs think worth asking.  Be warned, this is quite surreal.

Mr. HOARE asked the Secretary of State for War whether officers of the Army who inspect boys' brigades or church lads' brigades are forbidden to appear in uniform; and, if so, whether this order could be revoked?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Haldane) Under the King's regulations officers on the active list of the Army are not permitted, if in uniform, to inspect bodies of boys that are not recognised as cadet units by a county association. There is no intention of revoking the regulations concerned.

One has to imagine semi-tame captains dashing to get changed into mufti that they might inspect.  

Viscount HELMSLEY Is not pressure being put upon boys' brigades to become recognised as cadet units?

Mr. HALDANE  Not at all. If they choose to do so they will be very little interfered with: they will be supervised to see that they are efficient. If they are recognised they get certain advantages, but they are perfectly free to remain out.
Viscount HELMSLEY  As a matter of fact is not the provision of officers in uniform to inspect them practical pressure?

Mr. HALDANE No, I do not think it is. But they can hardly have their cake and eat it. They cannot be inspected by officers in plumes and scarlet coats yet say that they have no desire to be associated with the military.
I wonder if naval types were / are allowed to inspect in full uniform.

Mind you, this next one suggests that any misshapen brigade boys might be at risk of sophisticated humour from the officer class:

Mr. BYLES asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to an incident a few days ago, after dinner at the officers' mess of the Army Service Corps at Aldershot, when a quarrel arose because two young officers bearing foreign names were irritated by the persistent ridicule of their comrades; whether several officers have been reprimanded and two placed under arrest; and what punishment, if any, has been administered?

Mr. HALDANE  The General Officer Commanding, Aldershot, reports that the statement that any quarrel took place in the Army Service Corps Officers' Mess, or that any instance has occurred of officers with foreign names having been subjected to ridicule, or that any officers have been reprimanded on account of any incident of a like nature, is unfounded; and that no incidents bearing any similarity to those referred to have taken place.

Not quite the end of the matter:

Mr. BYLES Is the right hon. Gentleman fully aware that in several highly respectable newspapers on Sunday week, and in, I believe, the "Times" of the previous day, the alleged incident was described in great detail: does he suggest, or does he wish the House to believe, that there was no foundation at all for this story?

Mr. HALDANE What I wish to suggest is that a lot of unfounded gossip can be found in the newspapers.

How very different from our own times.... 

As is this:

Captain MURRA asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that drivers of motor cars in London not infrequently make use of syrens, whistles, and motor horns described as of high and penetrating tone and as thoroughly efficient road-clearers; and whether he will give instructions to the police to take steps to prohibit the use of such syrens in London, especially during the hours commonly devoted to sleep?

The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Burns)  My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. The method of signalling the approach of motor cars is at present the subject of a statutory enactment which makes it difficult to make specific regulations on the subject. The point will, however, be borne in mind in connection with any alteration of the law.

Doubtless Murra was driven to distraction by renditions of la cucuracha

Cynics might think that I mentioned that in order to allow a contrived connection to this.  However, it was pure serendipity.

Mr. SANDYS asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information with reference to the situation in Mexico; and whether the Mexican Government is taking adequate precautions for the protection of British subjects and property?

Sir E. GREY I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the question of the hon. Member for mid-Armagh on the 13th instant. In the only case in which it has been necessary to communicate with the Mexican Government on behalf of British interests, I hear that the situation has much improved; and, so far as my information goes, the Mexican Government are doing all that is necessary to protect British subjects and property.

Very good of them, frankly.
An outbreak of an early equivalent of 'just google it':

Mr. CLOUGH  asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can state the number of Chambers, the number of members of each Chamber, the duration, and whether that duration is fixed, in the case of each of the following Parliaments:—Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway,  Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United States of America?

Sir E. GREY The information desired by the hon. Member will be found in the current issue of the "Statesman's Year-Rook," from which, for the convenience of the hon. Member, the following extracts have been made.....
 Maybe Clough had a pub quiz to set.

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