Part of Orders of the Day — Civil Services Supplementary Estimates, 1924–25. – in the House of Commons on 10th March 1925.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

I do for the moment. I did not intend to speak at all, but I wish to say to the Home Secretary that there are a few of us here, whether two, six, or 600, who will oppose with the most bitter opposition any proposal to inflict any more punishment in the way of flogging anyone for any crime. The absurdity of the hon. Member's position is shown in the fact that the more brutal the punishment has been, the less repressive of crime has it been. I speak as one who has seen the interior of a prison. People who have never been through the experience do not understand. I have nothing to say about my own experience in prison. I was not a martyr. I was there because I chose to be there, and I have nothing to say in complaint of my treatment while there, but when I saw other human beings like me, degraded in the position they were, I was certain you could not drive out one devil by another devil, and you could not cast out evil by evil. That is all I want to say about punishment, because I do not want to take up the time of the House. As to the Press, having had very long experience of it, I say it is not the newspaper editors, it is not even the proprietors of the newspapers; it is the British public that like to read filth, and get what they ask for day by day. The journals with the biggest circulation, Sunday and weekdays, are those which give the fullest report of the most foul trials and things that happen in ordinary life. It is the ordinary British public that has got to be converted, and it is no use thinking that any sort of repression of newspapers will have any effect. When we have got a cleaner, wholesomer public opinion, and when the public do not want to read filth, they will not have filth sold to them.