Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The 1961 Hansard trawl, featuring, inter alia, Denis Healey, the 'common market' and smoking

Another Hansard ramble, this time from October 1961.

What about this little nail bomb? (my emphases):

THE EARL OF MANSFIELD asked Her Majesty's Government:

If, when negotiating for entry into the Common Market, they will make it clear to the other countries concerned that such entry on the part of Great Britain will be possible only if we retain the right to withdraw from such an association at a later date, on due notice given, and under previously agreed conditions, should it be subsequently found that continued membership would be dangerous, or prejudicial, to our national prosperity or way of life.

THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE) The Treaty of Rome contains no provisions for withdrawal or denunciation. Any proposal for the inclusion of such provisions would go beyond the adjustments to the Treaty provided for in Article 237. Under Article 236, proposals for amending the Treaty can be made by the Government of any member State or by the Commission and require unanimous approval. If Her Majesty's Government had come to the conclusion that British membership of the E.E.C. would be dangerous or prejudicial to our national prosperity or way of life, they would not have decided to apply to open negotiations with a view to acceding, on suitable terms, to the Treaty of Rome.

We wuz warned.....  Mungo David Malcolm Murray, 7th Earl of Mansfield and Mansfield (we heard you the first time...) did not live to see us accede to the Common Market, if my calculations are correct.

And so to older friends / partners etc:

THE EARL OF HARROWBY asked Her Majesty's Government:What Department has inherited the duties and propaganda of the pre-war Empire Marketing Board and whether modernised publicity, along the invaluable lines on which they worked, can be re-introduced to-day.

An Empire marketing board, eh?  Sounds like a pretty challenging job for even the most efficient of marketeers, but perhaps quite entertaining.  Maybe one would get a governorship rather than equity as a reward for a job well done.    As to the answer, that is far too dull to be worth quoting.

On a day, and in the junior chamber, this:

Mr. Strachey  (by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Aviation whether he is aware of the growing public concern over the recent accidents to aircraft belonging to private airlines, including the Dakota aircraft that crashed near Carlisle on 17th October; whether he will give the number of fatal accidents per million passenger miles flown for aircraft of the private airlines and the public Corporations respectively during 1960 and 1961 to date; and whether he will issue new and stricter safety regulations for all aircraft on charter flights.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. C. M. Woodhouse)  My right hon. Friend is indeed aware of the growing public concern over the recent accidents to aircraft belonging to private airlines and he shares it. He is today on a flight gaining background knowledge to assist him in considering the problems involved, and that is why I apologise for being here on his behalf.

I think he survived.

Some interesting comments from Denis Healey in a foreign affairs debate:

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East) The second day of this debate on foreign affairs is, inevitably, overshadowed by the statement made at the Soviet Communist Party Congress yesterday by Chairman Khrushchev that the Soviet Government intend to explode a 50 megaton bomb in about a fortnight from now. All of us are by now used to the tedious bluster about Russia's atomic striking power in which Mr. Khrushchev so frequently indulges, and I do not think that there is any evidence that anyone in the West has so far been deflected from his course by this type of rocket rattling.
After all, for Germans and, I think, for anyone who cares for human freedom, the closing of the frontier between East and West Berlin on 13th August was one of the most monstrously inhuman acts carried out by any Government in the last fifteen years. There is no doubt that public opinion in Western Germany was stunned by this act and was equally stunned by the failure of the allied Governments to do anything about it....There is no doubt that a final solution of the European problem must depend on the reunification of Germany. History teaches us that we cannot build a stable peace on the division of a great nation against its will. Incidentally, no one knows this better than the Poles. Moreover, the possibility of German reunification will remain alive so long as West Berlin is free. But German reunification can come only by the consent of all concerned. It is now finally revealed that it cannot come by force or by the threat of force.
Away from the particular to the philosophical:

Against this background I deplore the tendency which seems to me to have been growing in leading Government spokesmen in the last few weeks to pose as crusaders for spiritual values in the struggle against the world's materialists. Frankly, I think this sort of posture striking comes no better from them than it did from Mr. Foster Dulles—especially when the temple of their religion is the bingo parlour and when their first beatitude is "You have never had it so good." [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."]

One has to hand it to the old bruiser, he has a way with words.  He's still with us, and now 94. A civilian friend who served him in a shop some years back said he was charming and unassuming.

And so to '[the] custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless' (in James I's reckoning):

Mr. Francis Noel-Baker (Swindon) I wish to attempt to draw the attention of the House to the advertising campaigns being conducted by tobacco manufacturers and, in particular, to their efforts to persuade young people and children to smoke cigarettes, on which they are at the present time spending large amounts of money....Of course, this whole matter has to be judged against the background of the horrifying risks to health which have shown to be involved in the heavy smoking of cigarettes. That risk, let me add, is precisely the same whether one is dealing with the smoking of the old-fashioned, conventional, plain cigarette, or with the cigarette with the filter tip or the mentholated cigarettes which in the last few years have been entering the consumer market.

Let's not get him started on low tar cigarettes....

What should one conclude from this:

A survey of a county borough near London showed that over one-quarter of grammar school boys and over one-third of secondary modern school boys were smokers by the time they were 15, and smoking over five cigarettes a week, and often more.

When I were a lad, I did not start in my teens - unlike many of my contemporaries - as I did not have school dinner money to re-appropriate for the habit, as I was a picky blighter who took a packed lunch to school instead.  My eating habits have improved since, and I've also smoked the odd tobacco product.

And here Noel-Baker gets tendentious:

Those in this business who ought to know take the view that very few smokers can tell the difference between brands of cigarettes if they are blindfolded. Therefore, advertising campaigns are concerned with factors other than the immediate physical characteristics of the cigarettes concerned.

I have not smoked cigarettes 'professionally' for years, but I could still differentiate French from American from 'British' cigarettes.

And so to the past being another country:
Indeed, I see no reason why tobacco advertising should not be taken off the commercial television screen altogether in the same way as the advertising of spirits has. 
Go to circa 5:26 for something a little bit wonderful:

Mind you, from what I've seen - admittedly with the volume off, as I'm in a coffee shop - it is all rather good.

Furthermore, while the Parliamentary Secretary is talking to the Chairman of I.T.V. he might speak to him about smoking by performers in non-commercial programmes. I do not watch the commercial screen very frequently, but I am told by those who do that in almost any type of programme, and particularly the so-called serious political discussions, some and often all of the participants are constantly puffing away at cigarettes and offering themselves a further supply.

Yeah, yeah and he didn't read any newspaper other than The Times.

Niall MacPherson proves prescient:
The hon. Gentleman suggested that we should try to eliminate this element of what is, after all, realism from the stage and television. How far are we to carry that? Are we to edit books and censor any suggestion that smoking may give satisfaction? Has the hon. Gentleman his eye on Sherlock Holmes' pipe? Is all smoking on streets and in public places to be forbidden? One has to regard this in due proportion.
And wise:
After all, advertising in a very real sense is the hallmark of a free society. It is playing a great part in raising the standard of living in this country. It will certainly have to play its part in our efforts to expand our export trade, and we ought to think very carefully before we subject any part of it to what may be an unnecessary restriction. We should, and we do, restrict advertisements presenting misleading claims for cures and for certain other goods and activities. There is legislation to deal with that.


  1. You covered a lot of ground there but this bit sticks in my mind:

    should it be subsequently found that continued membership would be dangerous, or prejudicial, to our national prosperity or way of life

  2. This bit sticks in mine...

    "The Treaty of Rome contains no provisions for withdrawal or denunciation."