I beg to move,
That, in the opinion of this House, the destitute and impoverished condition of the Working Classes, which is inherent in the present economic and industrial system, constitutes a grave menace to social stability and industrial peace, and, whilst welcoming both legislative action and industrial agreements that ease immediate hardships, this House declares that no permanent solution of the problem is possible apart from progressive advances towards the social ownership and democratic control of staple industries and the banking system.
I am glad to observe from the Order Paper that hon. Members on the opposite side of the House have taken up this issue and made it a very clear one. They have put down an Amendment to my Motion, in which they state that
the well-being of all classes being dependent on the maintenance of the present economic system, any attempt to undermine it constitutes a grave menace to society.
That, it seems to me, brings us to the fundamental issues and I hope to show that the present economic system is by no means to the advantage of the working-classes. A few weeks ago the Prime Minister made a very eloquent plea for peace. He was attempting to defend the party of which he is leader and to proclaim the difficulties with which he and his colleagues were immediately faced, but although he made a striking speech, possibly one of the best made in this House for many years, yet that speech indicated to me that the right hon. Gentleman recognises this economic position—that whether we like it or not, a class struggle is taking place in our midst. In making that plea the Prime Minister admitted that in his earlier days there was a direct association between the employer and the employé, but with the development of business they became further apart and the struggle became more and more keen. The right hon.
Gentleman showed the development of trusts and combines on the one hand and the development of the trade union movement on the other, and he also showed that the two could not intermingle. The plea of the Prime Minister was
Give us peace in our time, O Lord.
We on these benches are under no delusions on this matter. There can be no peace in our time while there are economic differences such as exist at the moment. There cannot be peace while we have aggregations of capital on the one hand and pauperism, starvation and unemployment on the other. One need only refer to the writings of a previous Prime Minister—Benjamin Disraeli, afterwards Earl of Beaconsfield—to find support for this view. In his book "Sybil" or "The Two Nations"—I take it he meant by the "two nations" the working class and the exploting class—Disraeli wrote:
I had long been aware that there was something rotten in the code of our social system—fortunes accumulating and wealth increasing, whilst our working class, the creators of wealth, are steeped in poverty.
In another passage he says:
If a spirit of rapacious covetousness, desecrating all the humanities of life, has been the besetting sin of England for the last century and a half, since the passing of the Reform Act the altar of Mammon has blazed with triple worship. To acquire, to accumulate, to plunder each other by virtue of philosophic phrases, to propose a Utopia to consist only of wealth and toil, this has been the breathless business of enfranchised England for the last 12 years, until we are startled from our voracious strife by the wail of intolerable serfage.
That was the statement of a previous Tory Prime Minister, and we on these benches can describe it as, unfortunately, only too true. It is not our business to preach a class war. We do not preach a class war. It is hon. Gentlemen opposite, and some of the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, who are responsible for the existence of this class war. We on these benches rather desire to get rid of it. We have seen in the Press that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman) has suddenly discovered that there are 15,000,000 capitalists in this country. How he arrives at that figure only the right hon. Gentleman himself can tell. He has taken into account War Savings Certificates—the twopences and pennies of the school children and the savings in the Post Office Bank. He is perfectly well
aware that in fixing this figure of 15,000,000 capitalists he has taken into account all the shopkeepers and all those living on exploitation and price manipulation in connection with the commodities which our people purchase. There is no need for hon. Members on these benches to reply to a statement of that kind. Hon. Members below the Gangway may be referred to their own school of political economy. Professor Clay, who holds a chair of political economy at Manchester University, makes the following observations:
What Mr. Runciman calls 'the stupendous total of £777,834,000' is not more than 5 per cent. of the national capital—not a large proportion to be held by 15,000,000 capitalists. On the other hand, allowing a considerable margin for error, it is probably safe to say that over two-thirds of the national capital is held by less than 2 per cent. of the people.
That was published in the "Times" of 24th March, 1925. Judging from the Amendment to my Motion, we are asked to assume that all is well under the best of all possible systems, in the best of all possible worlds. If we examine what is taking place under this system, what do we find? The Minister of Health, replying to a question on 17th March, said that in 1924 we had a total expenditure of £38,000,000 on Poor Law relief. We find over one million people are in receipt of Poor Law relief. If we take into account the dependants of the people in receipt of that relief, the figure is probably nearer four million than one million, which means that one in every ten of the population of this country is dependant upon institutional relief of one kind or another. If for no other reason—and I am going to show many more—the capitalist system stands condemned. Let us examine one or two of the large centres of population, so that we may be more clear as to the actual meaning of this system. I take Birmingham as an example. Judging by the representation which Birmingham has on the Front Bench opposite, it should be one of the best cities in this country. I do not propose to go through the figures month by month, but I will take them out haphazard to get at what they actually mean.
In January of this year, five weeks, there were 24,292 persons in receipt of domiciliary relief, and 7,127 persons in receipt of institutional relief. In February, four weeks, there were 21,942 and 7,157, respectively. It says in a footnote that of the total number of persons in receipt of domiciliary relief on the 1st January, 1925, 51 per cent. were under 16 years of age, 46 per cent. between 16 and 70 years of age, and 3 per cent. over 70. Ex-service men and their dependants constituted 47 per cent. of the persons in receipt of domiciliary relief on the 3rd May, 1924, and 17 per cent. of the persons in receipt of institutional relief. We will now take Manchester, and that information will be found in the OFFICIAL REPORT of the 2nd April, 1925. In January, five weeks, there were 19,846 men, women and children in receipt of domiciliary relief, and the number in receipt of institutional relief was 7,312. After that came the famous Circular issued by the present Minister of Labour, and during those four weeks, in February, 1925, we find that 20,381 were in receipt of domiciliary relief and 7,473 in receipt of institutional relief. Of the total number in receipt of domiciliary relief on the 1st January, 1925, 48 per cent. were under 16 years of age, 48 per cent. between 16 and 70 years of age, and 4 per cent. over 70 years of age. The corresponding percentages for those in receipt of institutional relief were 31, 51 and 18. Ex-service men and their dependants constituted 32 per cent. of the persons in receipt of domiciliary relief on the 3rd May, 1924, and 11 per cent. of the persons in receipt of institutional relief.
Hon. Members will remember, of course, that when ex-service men took part in the late War they were told that they were taking part in a War in order to make this a land fit for heroes to live in. In fact, they were coming back to a land of hope and glory. They were not coming back as those who took part in the South African War did. They were not coming back to grind barrel-organs, and to the selling of matches in our streets. They came back faced with pauper relief, after fighting for what they thought to be a beneficent country in a beneficent age, and under what one would consider to be, judging by the Amendment on the Paper, a most glorious capitalist system—one that it would be a shame to destroy.
Let us now look at the state of unemployment. It will be remembered that the Prime Minister during his election campaign, like all other political parties, was going to solve the unemployment problem. [HON. MEMBERS: "You were!"] The only difference is that you accuse us of having the only cure, which, by the way, we have. You believe in doing it by slow measures and slow processes, hoping that the people will die, so that you may not have to get on with the work. We say, and have said from our Front Bench and from our Back Benches, that, given a good working majority, we can solve the unemployment problem, but only by the abolition of the capitalist system. Someone behind me says that even the rich people would have to work. I can only suggest that if they did there would be an increase in the death rate, but let us look at the state of unemployment. We find that on 23rd February last in Glasgow there were 75,051, in Liverpool 58,604, in Manchester 30,473, in Sheffield 24,320, in Leeds 17,457, and in Newcastle-on-Tyne 16,509 unemployed, and that the total in the whole of the country was 1,287,048. In other words, taken in conjunction with their dependants, one in every ten is dependent upon the Employment Exchange for means of livelihood.
Now turning to the question of wages, it is always supposed that a wage is the price which a workman is paid for working so many hours per week, and it has always been assumed that some of these are living wages. In reply to a question that was asked in this House a little while ago, it was stated that agricultural labourers have had an increase in wages, but a large proportion of them are working for 25s. to 28s. a week, and others for 29s. to 31s. a week. In the iron and steel industry the average wage has been given at 51s., yet all those who know the industry and who are associated with it know perfectly well that, those figures are not true. In speaking at Smethwick last week, I was informed by persons working in this industry that the minimum wage was 32s. 6d. per week, and in the engineering trade in the same town the lowest minimum wage was £2 0s. 6d. We, on these benches, know that all kinds of minimum wages have the tendency always to become the maximum in an industry, and an industry that is dependent, as that is, upon low wages ought to go out of private ownership and be placed in the hands of national institutions, so that if private owners cannot make these things pay, they should be handed over to the community to see if they cannot make a better job of them than the capitalists have done and are doing.
I see hon. Members opposite smile, but I do not see anything to smile at. I do not know whether they are smiling at the nationalisation of industry or at the fact that there are such low wages paid in this country. Of course, they would not be so inhuman as that, but if our bon. Friends opposite will carry their minds back to the War, they will find that one of the methods by which you won the War, was by the control of your industries, nationalised. If you found a landlord standing in your way, you removed that landlord. If you found a manufacturer or producer standing in your way, you removed them. That was during a time of emergency, when there was a war on, which you wanted carried out properly, or to be dealt with efficiently, the quarrels that somebody else had made for us. When, however, it comes to a question of our people, that obviously is a different matter. But to my mind it is not! I have given a few figures in regard to the capitalist. Now let us see what one of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, or rather one who used to sit opposite, has to say about capitalism itself. I refer to Mr. Lort Williams, K.C., the late Member for Rotherhithe. On the 11th March he wrote an article to the "Evening Standard." He opened that article by an appeal to the Prime Minister. He said that he has got to get a move on if he wants to stay social revolution in this country. He continues:
Electors have been driven to the conclusion that no hope of thorough reform, no comprehensive attack upon the intolerable evils of our social system can be expected from any of the older parties.
Meaning, I presume Members of the party opposite, and Members below the Gangway. Again, Mr. Williams says:
Tranquility in 1923 has become Stability in 1925. But tranquility in the slum is the silence of death. A workless, half-starved, hopeless people means stagnation or worse, not stability! This is the moment rather for action, and service, and sacrifice for a national upraising as great as in the war year. One and a half million of willing able-bodied workers cannot earn the means to live. The law forbids them to work. They may not build themselves
They may not grow their own food, nor make their own tools, nor clothe themselves. They may not even anticipate death. The only right which the law gives them is to claim a charitable dole, just sufficient to sustain life, but in a country teeming with wealth no part of it is theirs. A further 2,000,000 are dependent on the Poor Law. One million people are qualified by poverty to draw the pittance of an Old Age Pension. According to Mr. Clay, 2,500,000 out of a population of 47,500,000 own the entire wealth of the country.
That is not a statement by a Socialist Labour man, a Bolshevik or a Communist. It is a statement by a Tory King's Counsel, who goes on to say:
Then years ago the national income was £2,000,000,000. One million persons had incomes over £160 per annum. Their aggregate income was over £1,000,000,000, or half the entire national income. Half the land of the British Isles was owned by 2,500 persons. Out of £300,000,000 left at death in one year 4,400 persons owned £212,000,000. Out of 670,000 persons who died 594,000 left nothing or less than £100. To-day these monstrous discrepancies of fortune are even worse. If a future Labour Government orders a capital levy on estates of over £1,000,000, 95 per cent. of the electorate will be untouched by such taxation.
These are not statements, as I have said, of a wild Socialist, but from one of the friends of the Conservative gentlemen opposite. I have had a few words with regard to the industrial capitalist side of the matter. I want now to add one word in regard to the landowners and those who are controlling the destinies of house building in this country. What I am going to refer to can be seen in the various Government books, or documents, to be had on application from the Vote Office. The early days, when committees of inquiries were being set up and the local authorities were purchasing land, is the period to which these various figures apply. The Acton Urban District Council acquired 58,854 acres, the purchase price being £33,000. The annual net rateable value of this was £110. The Beckenham Urban District Council acquired five acres at Shortlands, and for this they paid £1,829; the net rateable value was taken to be £5 7s. The Blackburn Council purchased 13.42 acres, for which they paid £2,280, the net rateable value being just over £30. But let us come a little nearer home and see how
London fares in this matter. The London County Council purchased at Beacontree 2,050 acres, the purchase price of which was £295,544. This had a net rateable value of £3,590. In connection with the London County Council estate at Bellingham. 252 acres were bought at a price of £50,339 and the net rateable value was £490. [An HON. MEMBER: "Trade unions!"] This is a trade union of landlords. The London County Council purchased 148 acres at Roehampton and they paid £120,000 for it. The net annual value was £951. In short, altogether 3,006 acres are included in the table from which I have quoted. The aggregate price paid was £582,509 and the aggregate annual value on which the land had been rated was £6,053. When houses are going to be put on these respective estates it can be safely assumed that these houses will be rated at £40. That will mean that the figure will suddenly be changed from £6,053 to £1,442,880. Let it be remembered that hitherto the landlords have not paid the true valuation of their land, or if they have, then they have deliberately robbed the community. It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to smile at these figures, but these figures are worthy of serious consideration so far as housebuilding is concerned. The people of this country know what that means. It means increasing the rent of working-class houses. I will not detain the House any longer. I want to thank the House for the patient hearing it has given me on this opportunity of making my first speech in the House.
I beg to second the Motion.
From time to time this House is called upon to discuss a great many subjects of more or less importance, but I venture to suggest that none is more important than the one raised by this Motion. The one outstanding subject overshadowing all others to-day, the one doctrine is making more converts than any other political creed, the one force influencing legislation more than any other force to-day, is the force of Socialism. [Laughter.] My hon. Friends on the opposite benches may smile, but they know perfectly well that the outstanding political decision which the people have got to make is for or against Socialism. [HON. MEMBERS: "They have given their decision!"] To-night, therefore, we are not dealing with some academic question, but with something which is of vital importance to the nation. Even though hon. Members opposite may differ from us, there is no reason why we should not seriously discuss the matter with calmness, and even if we fail to agree at least we can respect each other's opinions. My hon. Friend who introduced this question supported the resolution with a vast amount of detailed information and a wealth of statistics. I will not attempt to follow him along that line of argument, but will approach the subject from a somewhat different angle. I think Members upon both sides of the House are fairly agreed on the general facts as to poverty, unemployment, and destitution in this country. Those facts have been verified, they are based upon authentic information, and they can be ascertained. We begin to differ when we discuss the causes of that poverty and that destitution, and especially when we begin to indicate the direction in which the remedy lies.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Sir J. Simon), speaking on this subject about two years ago, said, what is quite accurate, that at the beginning of the 19th century the population of this country numbered approximately 11,000,000. He went on to point out that the growth of population in this country would never have been possible if it had not been for the operations of what we call the capitalist system of society. I am not able to follow my hon. and learned Friend's reasoning quite so clearly as I usually can, but I pass that by. I want to deal with another aspect of his statement. While the population was about 11,000,000 at the beginning of the century, it is to-day, roughly speaking, 44,000,000, During the last 120 years the population has multiplied itself approximately four times, but during the same period the power of the people to produce what they require in the form of food clothing and shelter has been multiplied not four times, but 40 times, 100 times, 500 times, and in some instances actually 1,000 times. Take agriculture, textiles, engineering, transport—the argument holds good in any direction. I want to submit this proposition to my right hon. and learned Friend, or to the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), who is going to speak. Supposing he had lived 120 years ago, supposing he had been gifted with prophetic insight, and could have foreseen that during a period in which the population had multiplied itself four times their power to produce would be multiplied 100 times or 500 times, what would he or any other sensible man have predicted? He would have predicted that to-day there would be a system of society in which no deserving man, woman or child would lack the essentials of a decent life. But what do we find? That poverty is more widespread, life more intense, and the struggle for existence more keen than ever.
That is the problem we are up against. During the last 120 years, owing to inventive genius and mechanical skill, we have solved the problem of production. We have produced on a scale beyond the wildest dreams of men who lived at the beginning of the last century. Our powers of production to-day amount almost to the miraculous—they are miraculous to those who understand production; and what we say is that this production, instead of being a blessing, has become a curse, instead of being a help, has become a hindrance. These wonderful, marvellous powers of production, instead of ministering to human needs, to-day cause a glut, choke the world's markets, and cast on to the streets millions of people who want to work, who are able and anxious to work, but who are compelled to live upon relief, or on what hon. Members opposite sometimes term the "dole."
May I ask for the indulgence of the House whilst I try to indicate how, in my opinion, this state of affairs has come to pass. One hundred and twenty years ago the power by which the work of the world was done was muscular. When the work of the world was done by man's muscle, production was individualistic, industry was individualistic. Every man, according to the hon. Baronet, was then a capitalist, and I do not quarrel with him if that is his interpretation of a capitalist. At that time every man had the power of production. Every man could set to work and produce. But the coming of the stationary steam-engine de-individualised power, de-individualised production, de-individualised industry. Men began to gather round the engine, and we had the beginnings of the present industrial system.
If the House will pardon me for making a personal reference by way of illustration, I will give it. I happen to be a Welshman; I am not responsible for it, but am proud of it. My grandfather and my grandmother died at the ages of 94 and 95 respectively. They lived all their lives in a small Welsh village among the hills. My grandfather had built his own house. He had made many of his own tools at the village smithy. He had made most of his own furniture. He could fan hides, make leather, make his boots and make his clothes. My grandmother, along with him, could look after the farm. She could churn, make cheese and butter, take the wool from the sheep's back and pass it through all the various processes necessary to make cloth to clothe her children. My grandfather and grandmother knew at least a dozen or 15 trades, and knew them well, and if they had been pitchforked on to Robinson Crusoe's Island they could have provided all that was necessary for their family.
But the coming of the steam engine and the industrial order has destroyed all that, and it has gone for ever. To-day, instead of one man knowing eight or 10 trades, it takes eight or 10 men to know one trade. To-day, instead of one man being able to do 50 things it takes 50 men to do one thing. I was in Northampton not long ago, and my host took me through a very fine boot factory. The manager told me that every pair of boots made tin the factory passed through some 64 or 68 different hands. Consequently, the boot operative, instead of knowing eight or ten different trades, as my grandfather did, knows from one sixty-fourth to one sixty-eighth part of one trade, and each workman is dependent upon the other.
In these days of combines, trusts and syndicates, not only are men in one factory dependent upon each other, but factories are dependent upon each other. We have our great allied trades and a miners' lock-out or a transport strike may paralyse the whole industry of the country. What we have done is this. We have socialised production and made it collective. We have made production co-operative, and what we assert is that that which is produced collectively by co-operation should be controlled collectively and controlled by co-operation. We may be right or we may be wrong, but, at any rate, our proposition is entitled to intelligent consideration. Whether we are right or wrong, our challenge is that, if our remedy is not a remedy, produce yours! Surely you have had your chance. The Conservative party and the Liberal party of this House have held not only office, but they have held power by magnificent majorities, and they have from time to time passed Acts of Parliament which have toned down a hardship here and eased slightly a burden there, but I have failed to find, after a long study of the history of this Parliament, a single act passed that has ever gone down to the root causes of poverty. This is what we ask, and that is our challenge.
I am not prepared to-night to waste the time of this House in dealing with the silly and foolish criticisms that some people pass upon Socialism. When a learned and an able Member of this House stands up and talks about State-pattern house, State-pattern dresses, and State-pattern shoes, it indicates nothing to me except how stupid and foolish at times an able man can be. We are told sometimes that Socialism is a violation of liberty. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] What do hon. Members opposite mean by liberty? I happen to be a member of two large public health authorities, one of them in a town with a population of 100,000, the other in a county with over 1,000,000 people in it. In that town in that county, no sane or sensible citizen ever complains that we interfere with his domestic or private arrangements. The only time a public health authority interferes is when some individual is so conducting his domestic arrangements as to interfere with the welfare and the health of other people.
I have just been reading the speeches which were made in 1870 when the Education Act introduced compulsory education, and I find that the very same arguments now used against Socialism were used at that time. We were told that compulsory education would interfere with liberty and domestic privacy and that the appointment of a school attendance officer would do away for ever with the idea that an Englishman's home was his castle. If hon. Members opposite believe all that, then Socialism does interfere with liberty. The man who conducts his life and his affairs without interfering with the liberty and welfare of others will be far safer under Socialism than under the present system of society.
May I briefly call attention to two points in the Resolution. What we ask for in the Motion is the democratic control of industry and the democratic control of the banks. Is there an argument logical and reasonable that has not been raised against political democracy? In the early days of political evolution we were again and again told that to give miners, agricultural labourers and tinkers the vote would bring about the downfall of the country. We were asked what stake miners, agricultural labourers and tinkers had in the country? But the years have passed, the franchise has been extended, and to-day we have practically universal adult suffrage in the land. We have widened and spread political power, and what I want to ask hon. Members opposite is this. If the people of this country are competent and Worthy of being entrusted with the appointment of statesmen and leaders to conduct the affairs of the nation which affect the destiny of the world, why should not the self-same people who invest their lives in industry have control of the means by which they live?
May I just make one reference to banking? I believe that there are thousands upon thousands of people in this country who are not Socialists, who would repudiate being called Socialists, but who are being driven by sheer intellectual necessity to the position that the nation must, in its own interest, control its currency and credit. Within the last few years we have seen a gradual centralization and control of the finance of this country in the hands of a few men, and I say that this House may pass legislation, this House may think it rules and think it governs, but, so long as currency and credit are in the hands of a small group of men, they can largely nullify every Act passed by this House. If anyone should question that, may I quote a statement made, not by a Socialist, but, perhaps I may say
without offence, by an anti-Socialist—I refer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George)? The right hon. Gentleman, speaking some time ago about the Dawes Report, made these remarks:
Agreement would never have been reached without the brusque and brutal intervention of international bankers. They swept statesmen, politicians, jurists and journaists all on one side, and issued their orders with the Imperiousness of absolute monarchs who knew that there was no appeal from their ruthless decrees This settlement is the joint ukase of King Dollar and King Sterling.
This is not the utterance of a Socialist; it is the utterance of an ex-Prime Minister, who deliberately points out that a small band of financiers were able to impose their will upon the most powerful statesmen and politicians. I am not now discussing whether the bankers on that occasion were right or wrong; I dismiss that for the moment; but I assert that no body of men, even though they were angels from Heaven, have the right to hold that absolute power in their hands.
If I have trespassed unduly upon the House to-night, I can only plead that this is my first offence. My second reason for so doing is the importance of the subject. My hon. Friend who moved this Motion made reference to the Prime Minister and to his speech some weeks ago. I want to say, if a back bencher may, that that speech was worthy of the first stateman in this country. I regret that in many quarters it has not been received in the spirit in which it was made. I say for myself, quite frankly, that I hold out the olive branch, but I also say that you cannot have peace on an ill-clad, ill-fed, ill-educated and ill-housed democracy. I represent a constituency in Durham which has, perhaps, produced as much wealth as any other area in this country. That constituency and that district have played as large a part, if not a larger, in the evolution of the commercial system of this country, as any other district. I think I shall be justified in stating that fortunes as great as any in this country have been made in that district. And what is the result? May I ask the House to listen for one minute?
In that constituency, the area of Consett, where wealth has been produced in abundance, the figures given at the Sankey Commission were appalling. In the district of Anfield Plain 43.6 per cent, of the people were living in overcrowded conditions. In Leadgate they were even worse. The infantile mortality rate was appalling—one in every six or seven children born in my constituency died before reaching the age of one year. At the last General Election I went to canvass in one area, and in one of the houses that I visited, a house of five rooms, I found nine Parliamentary voters, besides women under 30 and children, showing appalling conditions. For five generations the people in my constituency have toiled to produce wealth which has helped to make this country prosperous, and yet to-day they are living under conditions that are a disgrace to Christendom and unworthy of a Christian civilisation. Thousands of these men are coming home after a hard week's work with £2 2s., £2 3s. and £2 4s. to maintain and keep their families. These men and these women are among the best people that God ever created. They are good fathers, good mothers, good husbands, good wives. Six or seven years ago many of these men fought in the War, and were producing nothing; but when they produced nothing they had good suits of clothes, good boots, good food. To-day they are producing and working, yet living on starvation rations. We want peace. Generally I hate strife and conflict between people who ought to co-operate; but you cannot have peace on those terms. Improve our conditions, and we will join hands with you to make the lot of our people better than it is. I close by thanking the House for the courtesy and indulgence that it has extended to me. I do not suppose that this Resolution will be passed tonight, but some day it will. We on these benches will go into the Lobby to-night and vote for this Resolution, because we believe with Ruskin, that there is no limit to the help that man can render to man, because we believe with that great teacher, that government and co-operation are the ways of life, that anarchy and competition are the ways of death.
I beg to move, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof the words,
the well-being of all classes being dependent on the maintenance of the present
economic system, any attempt to undermine it constitutes a grave menace to society; and, whilst recognising the necessity of legislative and other action for easing immediate hardships, this House declares that no real solution of the problem of employment and wages is possible in the near future unless recovery from the trade depression is assisted by the encouragement of enterprise and by the co-operation of all sections of the community in an earnest endeavour to secure and maintain a more satisfactory competitive tooting in world markets.
I should like to preface my remarks by congratulating the Mover of the Resolution on his maiden effort in this House. We all of us realise the difficulty which such an occasion brings to us, and I am sure the House appreciated the genuine feeling of sympathy with those who have the misfortune to be in difficult and hard circumstances to-day, and I claim that we on this side of the House equally realise and sympathise with those difficulties just as much as hon. Members opposite. I realise that these preliminary speeches are a sort of overture to the gladiatorial contest between the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley), but perhaps I may be permitted, as the Mover of the Resolution has criticised my Amendment, to criticise his Resolution and to compare it with the Amendment. The first thing that struck me about the Resolution was this. I was very much astonished that the hon. Member should have said that the impoverished condition of the working classes is inherent in the present economic and industrial system. I wonder if he has ever heard of a country called the United States of America. That country is highly industrial and highly capitalised. There is an urgent demand to immigrate into that country. In fact, it is absorbing many of the most skilled workers of this country, and you find that in this most highly capitalised country real wages are higher than they are in any country in the world.
There has been an experiment during the last seven years in Russia. Hon. Members may say the two are not comparable, but I assure them they are. First of all, take the size of the countries. They are both very large and both self-contained. You have this experiment in Russia to-day, and we have some experience of its results. We find
that Russia and the United States are similarly rich in natural resources. They are comparable as to population also. Let us compare the effects of this experiment. We find that in Russia to-day the population is declining. The average wages throughout industry are 58 per cent. of pre-War, whereas the cost of living is at the point of 177. I am quoting those figures from the report which was made by members of the trade union joy-riders who went to Russia. It is assumed that a man or woman working for the State will produce more than if working for individual firms, but according to this report productivity was not more than 60 per cent of pre-War. Then there is something which will appeal, I am sure, to the hon. Member who just interrupted me. I should like to refer him, if he has not seen it, to the "International Labour Information" which was published on 15th March, and he will find that pages 10, 11 and 12 especially deal with Russia. When you have nationalisation of industries, as you have in that country, apparently it is not considered necessary to pay wages, or, if you pay wages, you pay them considerably in arrear. I wish hon. Members opposite would read the effects of this disastrous experiment in nationalisation. I will read one or two sentences from this report, because I think they are worthy of note and should be recognised by the country as a whole. It says on page 11:
The disastrous consequences of this situation are being more and more keenly felt. Production is suffering. The workers are not interested in production and, in order to make both ends meet frequently absent themselves for several days to work in private industry. In the metal industry and the coal mines, one-third of the working days lost are lost for this reason. The often defective quality of the goods manufactured and the high percentage of throw-outs are directly related to irregularities in the payment of wages.
I should like to mention the sugar industry.
In October, 1924, the State Sugar Trust owned 5,300,000 roubles to its workers, which is equivalent to 35.8 roubles per worker, which is almost the average monthly wage in industry.
I should hardly think hon. Members opposite, although they may appeal to the sentiment of the House and appeal strongly, when they are up against the practical facts of an experiment which has been in existence for seven years—
In conditions such as they have today, with no secret ballot and no freedom of the Press, they are never likely to have it. That was the first sentence that interested me in the Resolution before the House. The second one I wish to deal with is that the hon. Member welcomes both legislative action and industrial agreements that ease immediate hardship. I am sure in his heart he thoroughly believes in that, but I wonder whether all the followers of right hon. Gentlemen opposite desire to see industrial peace. I know the difficulties of a Labour leader. There are always a great many people who want their jobs, and the position is not a bed of roses. While one may recognise that men may be wild at the street corner, the fact is they come here cooing like doves, compared with the sanguinary language they use at street corners. It makes one wonder whether it is true that there is a great number of the followers of the right hon. Gentleman opposite mho desire to see peace in industry. I do not think they do. I believe they wish to upset the present state of affairs. [interruption.] I think I can confirm that by what Mr. Cook, the Secretary of the Miners' Federation said. He said:
There must be drastic changes, but not in the direction of longer hours. We are going to get a living wage—by reason, if possible; by force, if necessary. When we act it will not, I hope, be alone.
Then there was a warning from the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), whose illness we all deplore. He appears not to be proud of the wild men in his own movement, and he wrote recently:
A determined effort is being made to induce all these bodies to join together in a general strike which will hold up the community. … Such a strike as that would inflict incalculable harm on British industry, and would put back for a long time any revival of trade. That would just suit the Communists' policy.
And it is perfectly true. I wish there was a definite feeling behind hon. Members opposite for peace. I think this affords a very good opportunity to have some explanation about the distinguished
visitors whose pictures we saw in the papers this morning. I confess that they did not inspire me with confidence by the look of them, but when you get into close contact with them, possibly they may be different. But what I want to know is why, at a time when there is great economical difficulty in Russia, they want to join with the trade unionists in this country to find some way out? Are they here for the improvement of the conditions of this country and their own country? [Interruption.]
This is a very small subject, and I do not want to rub it in too much. I am looking forward to some answer from the right hon. Gentleman as to what benefit this country and the industries of this country are going to get from the conferences at the headquarters of the trade unions in this country. In the third sentence which I wish to deal with he says that no permanent solution of the problem is possible apart from social ownership and democratic control of the staple industries by nationalisation. Possibly hon. Gentlemen opposite will say: "We are not going to put all these things under Government; we are going to have something analagous to the Port of London Authority." But when you are dealing with coals, sugar, oil and rubber, we know perfectly well that on any question of any importance brought up in this House the Minister in charge will be questioned, and that in the case of mines, anything like sinking a new pit or closing an old one, or on a question of expenditure, the question would be immediately put to the Minister, and that would not make for rapidity of business.
But there is another aspect of the question I should like the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico) to recognise, that is the effect of nationalised industry on international relations. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last is, I believe, a whole-hearted supporter of peace. What effect is the nationalisation of industry going to have in that direction? Take the case of coals. He knows very well the opinion of the men in his division and he knows how well they did in the boom years. All that money had to be paid over into the pockets of France and Italy owing to the shortage of coal in those countries. Even when the pits belonged to private companies there was still great ill-feeling between the French and Italians against ourselves; but if the Government put up the price of coal what would their feelings be? Let me take another commodity. There is nothing more fruitful of international jealousy than disputes about oil. Supposing the distribution of oil in this country was in the hands of the Government, or suppose that the control of the rubber industry was in the hands of the Government. Now rubber is practically the only article that cannot be produced in the United States. A year ago you had the rubber output restricted owing to over-production. What would happen if the Government of this country restricted production and there was a shortage of supplies of rubber in the United States? Surely it must be apparent to every hon. Gentleman in this House that if you have nationalised industries there would be a most fruitful source of international dispute when you are dealing with such matters as coal, oil and rubber.
I should like to say a few words in regard to the conditions under which we live to-day. I recognise, and all Conservatives recognise, that inequality exists. It exists in the brains of every Member of this House. Thank goodness, there is inequality. But I just want to say that I think the Conservative party would welcome a meeting with Labour on these questions where difficulties arise. I am quite certain of that. We realise that the whole employment of this country depends upon securing the necessary capital in order to keep industries going. We realise that capital has been built up during generations and that a great deal of capital is getting no reward. We realise also that a good deal of capital is being lost. On the other hand, we recognise that there are companies, owing to monopolies and other reasons, getting a bigger return than they are giving to the community. Take the Anglo-American Tobacco Company and the subsidiary companies. Year after year we have seen that huge dividends are being paid on watered capital. We realise that there is such a thing as reducing the return on capital after a period of years, provided that nothing was done to discourage thrift, enterprise or industry. I would go into the question of holding companies, which are a source of very great suspicion. These are questions which we can discuss, and in regard to which we can come together. The wild experiments which have been made in Russia are not going to benefit the world. The one thing that we have to appreciate is that it is absolutely essential that capital should increase pro tanto with the increase of population in this country. If it was not for the increase in capital it would be impossible to keep a large number of workers in this country employed, or even fed.
I am inclined to look upon the world at this moment as a very gigantic ant heap. It has been built up by a great deal of work, a great deal of steady labour, done by generations, and as a result we have to-day that complicated mechanism which we call a civilised nation. There are dangers threatening. This mechanism is threatened by such proposals as come from hon. Members opposite. Hon. Members come like a great ant-eater, and they may destroy in one moment this extraordinary mechanism which it has taken generations to build up. What happens then? When once this thing is destroyed, you will have to start again from the beginning. You will have to build up piece by piece, generation by generation, until we get nearly to the level at which we stand to-day. It would not be the first time that civilisation has been destroyed. We have read of civilisations in centuries gone by which have been destroyed. We are not going to benefit the workers by any drastic experiments of that kind. The only thing that will help us through is a spirit of understanding, good feeling, and cooperation between man and man. We must work together in the situation in which we live to-day, and it is in that spirit that I move the Amendment which stands in my name.
I beg to second the Amendment.
It is an Amendment which, I hope, will commend itself particularly to the hon. Members who sit below the Gangway on the Opposition side, whose numbers to-night have suffered a temporary reduction. The tinge of Socialism about this Resolution must be peculiarly repugnant to hon. Members opposite who have shown themselves so fiercely individualist. Is it not a fact that they have among their reputed leaders the right hon. Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), whom one might call the high priest of individualism. One is entitled to hope that this evening hon. Members below the Gangway opposite will not strain the quality of the Liberalism which their mouths utter, by allowing their feet to take them into the Lobby in favour of a Socialistic Motion. However, "Paullo majora canamus." Let me turn to the numerically more important section of the Opposition. This Motion, to use the words of my hon. and gallant Friend, is more in the nature of a mild and indeterminate quid than the Socialism one might expect. It reminds one of a fact which we ought not to forget, that the name of Socialism covers a multitude of aims; that beneath the banner of Socialism are ranked men of extraordinarily diverse opinion, ranging from the pure intellectual, with the blood of 100 Blue Books in his veins, to the man who comes under the glamour of the speeches of the right hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald), and under the persuasion of that eloquence confuses Socialism with social service. It is not for me to say in which category comes the Socialism of the hon. Member who has moved this Motion.
I am sure that hon. Members on this side of the House will, at least, be glad to see that he has avoided one of the first fallacies into which so many of his Socialist friends fall. He has, at least, recognised that, whether under Socialism or under capitalism, industry, the intricate, organised mechanism of industry, must still go on, and that he who tries to maim the mechanism is doing an ill-service to the cause of the Socialism which he supports. There are Socialists, Members of this House, and there is even, I believe, a right hon. Gentleman, who are out, as they call it, to smash capitalism. The House would like to know how it is possible to smash capitalism without at the same time smashing the industrial machine which capitalism has built up. The House also would like to know what is the opinion of those of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues who, presumably, will have to sweep up the mess.
The hon. Member who moved the Motion and the hon. Member who seconded it made long and interesting speeches. They put before the House a quantity of figures about which there is no dispute, which showed the very grave state of the country at the moment. They threw out ideas and desires with which all of us, on all sides of the House, must concur; but they omitted something, and it was an omission of extraordinary importance. They attempted to say nothing as to how Socialism is going to remedy these evils and how Socialism is going to bring about the desires which they mentioned. The hon. Member for Consett (Mr. Dunnico) appealed for a calm, intellectual consideration of this problem, but if hon. Members consider it from that aspect, what we have to consider about Socialism is whether it can stand or fall on its own economic legs.
The first question is, can the supporters of Socialism offer a direct profit to the State? That is to say, that under Socialism the State will be putting into the Treasury an excess of revenue over expenditure, which before went into the pockets of capitalists, or can they show that by some new method which they advocate, some new incentive to the worker, some new opening for markets, the State is going to make profits larger than was made before by the capitalists, and, therefore, will be able to put that surplus into the Treasury? With regard to the first point, it is obviously impossible for the State to make any profit if it takes over from the capitalists the value of their assets at the market value. The only way in which the State can make a direct profit is if there is confiscation or partial confiscation of capitalist assets.
I believe that even members of the Independent Labour Party have come to recognise the folly of confiscation. They recognise first of all the injustice of picking on a particular set of men who happen to have invested their savings in a particular industry and saying to them and not to others "We are going to confiscate what you possess." You might just as well confiscate all the property of men whose names begin with a "W." I pass to the second part of the problem which is more difficult: whether under Socialism you can gain for the State any indirect profit out of which the State is able to increase the wages or improve the position of the working classes or else to reduce the price to the community of the articles produced. I do not want to quote examples of history, because the only use that most of us have for the lessons of history is to disregard them. I do not want to give any elaborate set of figures as to State trading in Australia or State enterprise in America, because I understand that hon. Members opposite place their reliance on figures which are capable of being used on both sides. I believe, as a demonstration of that, that certain Members by a careful analysis of the figures at the last General Election have proved conclusively that the Conservatives suffered a severe defeat, but there is only one general observation which I would like to make with regard to the question of Russia.
After the Bolshevik Revolution, as all hon. Members of this House know, industry in Russia was re-established on a completely communistic basis. The whole means of production were in the hands of the State. About four years ago an alteration was made, and private industry was let in again. It was let in on very restricted terms and in conditions of the greatest difficulty, and now, after three years of that, we find a reaction in Russia, and we find the Bolshevists trying to get away from the new economic policy and to go back to the old one. To my mind, this sudden reaction is, and can only be, due to this fact that, with all these conditions of difficulties, private industry in Russia was beating the State out of the field.
Taking the conditions with regard to Socialism first of all, how under State control can we expect any difference in management which is going to allow us to produce our goods more economically and therefore give us this surplus? In my submission you can not. After all, the management of industry is a highly technical business, a business to which men have to be trained throughout their lives. It is ridiculous to suppose that, if the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues came into power to-morrow with a majority to place the industries of this country under Socialism, they would have any reserve of competent power to draw on to take over the management of industry. Under Socialism the industry would continue in the hands of the same personnel as it is in at present, but with one very great difference. Whereas now under the capitalist system the livelihood of the man depends on success, under Socialism his job would depend only on the avoidance of failure.
The second question is this. Can you expect under State control that there will be any additional incentive to work to increase your production? Again, I believe not. There is nothing in modern conditions of mechanicalised industry which is going to make the worker produce more because he works for the State than because he works for private industry. It was different in the days of ancient Greece, when work was individual and artistic. A man could take a pride and pleasure in his work. How can we believe now, when a man will work in the same place, in the same conditions, at the same machine, doing exactly the same process, that it will make any difference at all to his powers of production whether he works under State control or private enterprise. Perhaps hon. Members opposite will allow me to read one passage in this connection from the evidence given before the Sankey Commission by a man of very great ability, who hon. Members opposite are aware is not in the least biased against the cause of Socialism. I refer to Mr. G. D. H. Cole. He said:
National management by itself will not secure the full co-operation of the workers.
Then he goes on to say:
State management will only mean management by a State Department. The workers under such management are no more free, so far as the conditions of the workers welfare are concerned, than the workers under capitalist management.
[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am glad that hon. Members dissent from the expression in the Resolution "social ownership," which can only mean ownership by society, that is the State. The last question is: What is going to happen to our industries in the markets which are now closed? That is the gravest problem of the moment. It is not a question of excessive profits of the capitalist, or excessive wages for the workers. It is not even a question of the fierceness of foreign competition. It is that in a great many of our staple industries markets are closed, not only to us, but to our competitors also. They are markets which have dis-
appeared. Take the coal industry. In the case of ships coal has been supplanted by oil. In the factories it has been supplanted largely by electric power. One asks oneself with regard to State control whether the right hon. Member for Aberavon, by a wave of his magic wand, is going to reopen these matters or is that festal gentleman who, we are told, the other day performed with success the lugubrious task of providing the right hon. Gentleman with two Scottish jokes a day also going to provide him with an open sesame at which these caves of hidden diamonds will fly open?
If all these questions are answered in the negative, if Socialism cannot effect any economies in management and cannot provide any incentive to work to increase production, and cannot open these markets which are now closed, what is the result going to be? It is possible that Socialism for a few years would perhaps give the worker higher wages and perhaps produce the illusion of greater prosperity, but if so it is going to do it not out of an annual income but of your national capital. You may do it for a year or two, you may gain a few votes, you may have a few years of power, but it is a method which can only lead to disaster in the end and you will find that, if that course is pursued, the very man you set out to help will find that his last state will be worse than his first.
I have already detained the House too long, but I want, if I may, in a few minutes to do what I ought to have done before, and that is to put our case. I am afraid I have put the cart before the horse—the very ramshackle broken-clown Socialist cart before the individualist horse which, although a little off colour at the moment, yet with careful tending and nursing will be able to perform its duties. We on these benches cannot agree that the destitute and impoverished condition of the working classes is inherent in the present economic system. We do not believe that to be so. We believe that before the War the capitalist system was working well, that we were progressing towards better conditions for everyone. Then the War came, and the machinery was upset, and it is no good pretending that the situation at the moment is not very grave. But the very fact that the situation is so grave means that we cannot afford the luxury of these Socialistic experiments. We believe that by means of Conservatism we can restore the State which Socialism would destroy. The principle of Conservatism is not what it is represented to be, simply keeping what you have got, any more than the policy of those opposite is what it is often alleged to be, grabbing what you have not. We have our philosophy to put against the philosophy of Socialism. It is based on the very real educational value of the ownership of property by the individual—an educational value which I am glad to see that the right hon. Member for Aberavon gave expression to the other day.
Obviously, if this is to have effect in the country, ownership of property must be as widespread as possible. It is our hope that by schemes of co-partnership, which will result in a condition where every worker is a capitalist to some extent and every capitalist is a worker in some condition or other, by schemes of small holdings, which will result in as many men as possible, within economic limits, going back to the land—we hope that we shall arrive, at any rate, at the goal of a property-owning democracy. That goal will need sacrifice, but I believe that what is called the capitalist class is prepared to make that sacrifice if it can see clearly that it is going to be to the good of the country. What they are not prepared to do is to give in without a struggle to compulsion whose only object is to take away their property and to throw it, with one of the right hon. Gentleman's well-known gestures, down the bottomless pit of Socialism. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may laugh, but I believe that if the time ever comes when the Prime Minister has to do what he promised to do, and that is, to cut through vested interests in order to improve the conditions of the people, the obstacle he will find in his way will not be the capitalist mote, but the very large and solid beam in the eyes of hon. Members opposite.
It is with some reluctance that I take part in this discussion, for I understood that it had been staged for the benefit of Back Benchers against the Front Bench of the Labour party, and that those of us who belong to other parties were not supposed to take any interest in the matter. There has been, one has noticed, in recent times a somewhat serious backsliding in the earnest advocacy of Socialism among many of those who are influential in the fortunes of the Labour party. It was, therefore, thought to be about time to stage one of these very academic Debates, which have not advanced our knowledge either of Socialism or of any other problem in any one discussion we have had, in order to drive the Front Bench back into the fold. Really I feel reluctant to go on discussing the extraordinarily academic and bootless type of proposition which we had two years ago in this House, and which is repeated to-night. These discussions remind one of the twistings and turnings of a squirrel in a cage. You get up and point out what is the evil spot in the present system. You then quite illogically and suddenly announce that Socialism will cure it all. You never tell anyone what Socialism is, how it is to work, how you intend to proceed, what steps you propose to take. I remember very well that when I was a young man of 19 I carried on a similar discussion with a very eminent member of the Fabian Society Debating Club. In all the years since the gentlemen who have been advocating Socialistic policy have not gone forward; they have gone back. I venture to say that Fabian Socialism in the days of the right hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Webb), Mr. Bernard Shaw, Mr. Hubert Bland, and men of that type, was more productive of ideas. They did endeavour to sketch out a state of society that they intended to produce. That has all been scrapped and abandoned.
I noticed, with great entertainment and not much surprise, the jeers which the idea of the State running industry was greeted on the Labour Benches. The hon. Gentleman, who spoke last, apparently, did not realise that State Socialism has been declared dead and out of date by a very large section of the Socialist party. They have advanced to what they call Guild Socialism. What Guild Socialism is, is equally obscure. We have had the Miners' Federation Nationalisation Bill. That Bill meant that the community finds the money and that the miners run the industry and take the profits. After all, that is not Socialism of any kind or form. It is merely transferring the entire profits of the community to the people who work in the collieries. Do hon. Gentlemen really imagine that any section of the British people are ever going into such a foolish proposition as that? I would ask them a simple question. The State now owns the Post Office. Are the surplus profits of the Post Office divided up amongst the postmen? Do the miners imagine that the community is going to allow them to have a gamble with their money, if there are any profits, which are very much doubt. Of course, their Socialism leads them nowhere, and is an abrogation of the moral principles which the right hon. Member for Aberavon (Mr. R. MacDonald) is never tired of laying down, that the whole idea of Socialism is not to get money but to do service; it is not that you are to have the surplus profits but that you are to turn out more coal for less money.
I am not in the least surprised when Mr. Cook, during the Election, expressed his amazement at the definition of Socialism given by the right hon. Member for Aberavon, and said that if that were Socialism, he was not a Socialist, as it was opposed to everything he had been trying to do all his life. There is a strong trade union movement in the Labour party, I understand, to protect their interests against the Socialist members of the party. These questions, I have no doubt, in time they will solve among themselves. Very much the same kind of conferences are taking place now, I believe, in certain sections of their Russian colleagues; but until they have settled some of these differences among themselves, I do not see why they should keep on maintaining that they are making rapid progress. As it is, revolution is going backwards like the crab. I remember the happy days when a Resolution for the immediate nationalisation of all means of production, exchange and distribution was passed by Trade Union Congresses year after year. I do not believe they ever paid much attention to it, but it was passed.
Look what is happening now. We had a Resolution in this House two years ago moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden). He, at any rate, was more universal than we are to-night. To-night, the red wine of Socialism has been watered down. The Red Flag has had a coat of whitewash put on it. We are now gradually, by progressive steps, said to be approaching some future day, when all the present unemployed are dead, and all people who live in bad houses have died of disease—[An HON. MEMBER: "And when the Jews have gone back!"]—when all that has happened, we will have merely Socialised, in some form unknown, some stable industries, and some genius has discovered the Bank of England. I expected to hear where those stable industries were. We have not heard one syllable about them. The only thing we have heard any serious attempt to discuss was the question of the nationalisation of banking. I listened to that part of the very eloquent speech of the hon. Gentleman who dealt with it, with a good deal of interest. He pointed out, I think with some force, that, undoubtedly, it might be a danger to a community if a money trust obtained control of national credit. I think other people have been occupying their minds with that problem. I think if the danger ever became imminent, the State, in the interests of the community, might be bound to intervene. There is nobody to-day lays down the doctrine that any part of the community has the right to impose on the rest of the community. If Socialists merely wished to remedy nuisances instead of interfering with everybody's business whether a nuisance or not, that is another matter. As soon as society wished to interfere with your dinner, with where you go in the evening, or whether you smoke a pipe, and your other domestic habits, there would be a revolt in this country. But that is what the Socialists want to do with industry. That is what their programme comes to.
Let us examine the question of banking. We have seen some instances of the danger of a National. Bank being dependent on political exigencies. There is no doubt that a great part of the collapse of German currency was due to the fact that they had a State bank. There is no doubt whatever, that if the Reichsbank had been an independent institution, under independent management, it would have been able to retain a sound financial position in Germany. The Socialist Government of Germany went on with inflation, which meant, of course, repudiation of their debt, but I do not think the German working classes are benefitting from it to-day. They are in a much similar position to-day in France. I do not want to intervene in a discussion that is taking place in another country on finance, but I cannot imagine the Bank of France, if it had been entirely independent of the Government, would not have adopted some different policy than is being adopted by the Government there. The reason is surely obvious. When you mix up this question of the existence of a Government, their popularity with the electors, with the hard question of whether you ought or ought not to deflate, and whether you ought or ought not to raise the Bank rate, you are mixing up two things you ought not to mix up. If hon. Members like to look it up, they will find that this matter was fully discussed at the time the Bank of England obtained its charter, when the question was raised as to whether or not it should be a State bank, and they very wisely decided, I think, not to make it a State bank. What claim to financial stability we have in this country is, I think, very largely due to the fact that it remains a private institution. Therefore, when these proposals are thrown out, they require a much more careful analysis.
We have always worked on the confidence of foreign nations. That is to say, there have always been large foreign balances held by the Bank of England, because it was looked upon as a stable institution. These large foreign balances meant credit to this country and enabled us to have a lower Bank rate than would otherwise have been the case. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shettleston (Mr. Wheatley) is very much upset about the rise in the Bank rate, and he is going up and down the country pointing out how it makes dearer the building of houses. I assure him that if the Bank of England were a State bank under a Socialist Government the foreign balances and a good many other people's balances would very quickly disappear. The Bank rate would undoubtedly go up, and if he was still paying for the building of houses, as I presume he would be, those houses would cost more to the Socialist State than they are costing the indi-
vidualist and capitalist State which is operating at present. There is no golden wand such as hon. Members above the Gangway try to produce. As a matter of fact, the golden wand has been repudiated by the leader of their party in a recent speech. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald), in a speech which he made recently—a very fair speech, as his speeches usually are, and also a cautious speech—admitted, frankly enough, that if he were in power again—a contingency which I think is remote—and had a Labour majority as large as the present Conservative majority, he could not do what some hon. Members seem to expect. He said:
If a Socialist Government were in power to-morrow with a majority of a couple of hundred like the present Tory Government—even then that Government would not be able to wave a wand and bring them into Socialism. They had to go another way about it.
[HON. MEMBERS: "What is wrong with that?"] Do hon. Members tell their electors that? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Did the two Gentlemen who spoke so ably to-night indicate that even in the happy position mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman the unemployed would remain unemployed, housing conditions would remain bad, and wages would remain low? [HON. MEMBERS: They would not."] If hon. Members allow me to deal with this argument, I will do so, but they must allow me to work it out slowly. The argument we have heard to-night is that all our woes come from a blight which is called the capitalist system, and that it can only be cured by Socialism. The right hon. Gentleman the leader of that party says that if had a majority he could not institute Socialism—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not in five minutes."]—no, nor in as many years. I will read his words again. He says he could not
wave a wand and bring them into Socialism. They would have to go steadily, certainly and without pause forming men's minds, habits and outlook.
I do not know how long that will take, but all the time that is taking place your condition would remain what it is. As I said before, the present generation of unemployed will remain unemployed and housing and other conditions will remain very much as they are. This entire discussion relates to something
which is to happen when we are all dead—even according to hon. Members themselves—at such a remote and distant date that it has no practical application to the situation to-day. Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway are, I believe, perfectly sincere in wishing for improved conditions, and I hope they will be kind enough to allow us credit for some sincerity also. Therefore would it not be more practical and useful if we, as Members of this House, were to concentrate on practical and immediate measures for improving the situation? It is curious to find that from this Resolution the very important question of land has been dropped out. One hon. Member did refer to the question of land values. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aberavon had it in his power to deal with the matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] You had a chance, and you would have received support on that question, I have no doubt—I was not here then—from quite a large body of the Liberal party in order to have carried it, but, as a matter of fact, you never tried. You tried to lend money to the Russians.
The land question lies fundamentally at the root of our economic evils, and you will have to deal with it on fairly advanced lines if you are ever going to effect any redistribution of the wealth produced by our industrial system. It is useless to imagine that by a mere redistribution of existing wealth you could very largely improve the conditions existing to-day. You must really increase the total amount of wealth as well as redistribute it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed!"] The hon. Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Mr. Windsor) did not understand why somebody smiled when he suggested that if only the community managed certain industries that paid low wages the community would manage them better. What does he mean by the community? What is the community? After all, it is the same people existing to-day, and why should you assume that they would manage an industry better? That is one of the curious ideas of hon. Members above the Gangway. I remember my right hon. Friend, in a debate we had at Cambridge, was always complaining about the faults of our present system, and he represented the private capitalist as an equal mixture of incompetence and greed, but where are the more competent people? If you take those same people and put them in a room in a Government office, and call them a Government committee, will they be any more competent than they are to-day? They are exactly the same people, and they would not be any more competent, and my experience is that they would be a little less competent.
That is exactly one of the complaints which I always feel when you talk about democratic control. What do you mean by democratic control? It means absolutely nothing. If you take a limited liability company, a big railway company, that has 300,000 shareholders, and if you hand it over to the State, you create so many million shareholders; that is all you do. How is the control going to be exercised in a more democratic fashion? Is it going to be managed by committees? By committees of whom, and how? As a matter of fact, if it is going to be managed, it will be managed by as few people as it is being managed by to-day. After all, there is no democratic control in trade unions. They are autocratic. The people concerned have an idea that they have some sort of control, but the leaders know perfectly well that they have not. What is the use of talking about democratic control? These resolutions mean nothing at all. If you say that the people who are engaged in a specific industry should by means of workmen's councils and joint management councils, or councils of the kind, have a greater voice in regard to the conditions under which they work, I think there is a great deal to be said for that course. But that is autocracy, that is not democratic control. Democratic control is control by the entire people. It really means control by some people, and probably not a large number by any manner of means, a control perhaps analogous to that exercised by the present system of shareholders. Some companies, it may be said, have many more shareholders than they have workmen. These are all questions capable of discussion, capable of judgment, and while you may have to wait till the Greek Kalends for some of the things suggested, you can get to a discussion of these other problems almost immediately. You will find, as a matter of fact, that a great many of them may be discussed seriously and in a friendly way.
I quite realise that we have had two generations of workmen who have passed through an important system of education, which is certainly a very good thing. We are very well aware that these people take an intelligent view and a different view of industry to the people of years ago. This need not be a matter of controversy. These people naturally feel that they do not particularly like the position of those who at the end of the week go to receive their wages without any knowledge of their industry, without any explanation of the why or wherefore, or without any opportunity of making their influence felt in any particular capacity in the industry itself. A great many of them are shareholders—more I hope are becoming shareholders every day. But I am not merely talking of shareholders here, but of dealing with the capacity of people interested in their industry and wishful to see legitimate improvement. The Whitley Councils were a step in the right direction. They have done very good work. Councils such as these do a good work, and help to avoid a great deal of unnecessary friction. In these matters of control by workmen let hon. Members note what has been taking place in the North of England where the co-operative societies and various unions have been in dispute, and a strike is taking place, the unions say to prevent those who are employed by the co-operative societies being sweated. Again, take the Miners' Bill. Under that the miners cannot be trusted not to strike. The officials who represented the collieries would not even accept arbitration. But I do not wish to score a point on that. There is no doubt that in our organisation these things are being developed and are developing, and I really do not think that seriously there is any controversy at all on some of the aspects of this question. Right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway have great knowledge of this subject, and ideas on it. They have experience, too. But I would suggest to them that they are spending their time, and it is not wise to do so in following a Will-o'-the-Wisp. Some hundreds of thousands of years ago saw the beginning of civilisation. There is only one place in the civilised world where you have a Socialist State, that is in Russia, and it is there rapidly coming to an end. Hon. Members on the Labour benches think they have the only wisdom in the world, but how is it the great democracies of America, France, and other countries, in the present or in the past, have never adopted this golden panacea? There must be some reason for it, some explanation for it. The human race is not so stupid that if it thought it could solve all its difficulties in this way, it would not have solved them long ago. The obvious answer is that the thing will not work. We need not really controvert Socialism, because Socialism is dead. Since the days of Karl Marx, somewhere about 1835 or a little later—he was the father and the inventor of the idea—there has been no cause which is more discredited, which has made less progress, and which has met with such universal non-acceptance in the whole civilised world, as the doctrine of Socialism. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] Hon. Members must not confuse social reform with Socialism; they must not confuse the effect of evolution in ideas as to the right of the State and of the individual. There are no boundaries to that. When I was a young man, Herbert Spencer's "Man versus The State" was the great gospel of many. He objected to the use of a common sewer, he objected to any common utility. We have passed from that stage, and we shall go on passing from stage to stage.
I would not lay down, no sensible person would lay down, a definite limit of what the community ought to do for itself or ought not to do. But that does not concern Socialism or Marxism. Those are questions of expediency, questions of organisation. If you can prove to us that anything you want to do in any of the staple industries will bring about an improvement, we will examine it, we will go into it, we will be ready to consider it; but it is no use carrying on these general denunciations or these general appreciations of either one policy or another. You will not succeed in converting those who oppose the idea of the abolition of private enterprise or private initiative, what we consider the inherent right of the individual to develop himself to the best of his ability, with the greatest liberty. That is why we say Socialism is opposed to liberty; because under it nobody could start an industry in this country, nobody could start a shop, nobody could start any enterprise, nobody could start an idea. That is what every Socialist State finally involves. That is why we are passionately opposed to Socialism—in the interests of humanity, in the interests of the development of the human race, and in the interests of liberty, for which our party has always stood.
I want to bring the mind of the House back to the subject of the Motion my hon. Friend has submitted. I am going to submit to the House that the present condition of the country does not make the question of dealing with this difficulty a fit subject for jocularity, and that a Motion such as this is entitled to the most serious consideration of every Member of every party. The question has been asked, and emphasised, How would Socialism work? The subject to which we want to direct attention is the present difficulty of making capitalism work. If capitalism were working successfully there would be no need for this Motion and no justification for this discussion. May I briefly summarise the criticism of the present condition of things made by the Mover and the Seconder of the Motion?
In the year 1923–24 there were 20,000,000 persons in this country occupied for gain, and out of that total only 4,750,000, or about one in five, had an income that reached the standard of the Income Tax; and after making the usual abatement for Income Tax purposes the number of persons who were chargeable by tax was only 2,500,000. It is not surprising therefore that my hon. Friends have been able to point out that in an order of society where 17,500,000 out of 20,000,000 workers are continually travelling along the verge of destitution that a large number should frequently topple over and get into the pit of destitution. On the 27th December last year 1,070,000 persons in England and Wales were in receipt of Poor Law relief, and a further 245,000 people were in the same unfortunate position in Scotland.
Notwithstanding these facts, ours is a rich and prosperous country for some people, because according to the Income Tax and Super-tax returns 85,000 people divided £495,000,000 amongst them an average income of £5,800 each, and 192 persons succeeded in obtaining £100,000 each. When we quote figures like this we are told by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that if all the surplus wealth that is now taken by this small number of people was distributed over the whole community, it would not add more than a few shillings per week to the income of the average artisan. Our criticism of the present system does not rest so much on that bad distribution at all, but our criticism is that it has now reached the stage where it restricts the production of wealth in a developed country like ours. I want to point out that the output of goods in this or any similar country must be determined by the purchasing power of the customers for whom it produces. You may go on talking about exports and imports, but when you get down to rock bottom, not only is your output of goods determined by the quantity you can sell, but your imports and exports are determined by the purchasing power of your own people.
The criticism was made very eloquently by the Seconder of this Resolution that, while the Capitalist order of society had succeeded remarkably in increasing production, it broke down as the means of distributing the goods that it produced. In other words, the wages of the people, which are the purchasing power of the people, do not keep pace with the people's power of production.
I hear people discussing the present order and our immediate difficulties as though the working class could be regarded as only producers. I want to remind the House that the working class are three-fourths of your consumers, three-fourths of your customers; and, when the working class are poor, your customers are poor and powerless. If your industries have to be kept going at a rate that will provide an outlet for your goods equal to your output, then your working class must have an ever-increasing purchasing power to keep pace with the increased rate of production. At the present moment there is no shortage of anything that the people require in this country, with the single exception of houses. The best evidence of that is to be found in the fact that on neither side of the House has anyone suggested, as a remedy for unemployment, that you ought to erect additional factories and set people to produce boots, clothes, furniture and other things that the poor require; because, immediately that was suggested, the idea would flash to the mind that we have more of these things at the moment than we can sell, and that it would be a further embarrassment with riches if we proceeded to produce more.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carmarthen (Sir A. Mond), who, strange to say, was relied upon by the Government as its defender this evening, is fond of telling us that we can all unite in deploring these conditions, but that it is not necessary to destroy capitalism in order to remove these evils. In regard to this state of affairs, this condition of things in which people are starving and unemployed in the midst of plenty—people who are prepared to produce more goods for you if you can distribute the goods which they have already produced, or which have been imported in return for what they have produced—these people are compelled at present to starve, and we are told that we can remove all these difficulties without removing capitalism. Our case is that that cannot be done. I put it to hon. Members opposite that within the competitive system an employer of labour, unless he has an absolute monopoly, is not a free man in fixing the wages in his workshop. The wages in his workshop, within a competitive system, are determined, all other things being equal, by the wages in the workshop of the employer who pays the lowest, rate of wages. If the virtuous employer proceeded to distribute purchasing power at the rate he believed to be necessary, without any regard to what was being paid by his rival in the same business, he would find himself driven to reduce the wages or forced into the Bankruptcy Court. If that is so, that within the competitive system the good man is not a free man in the fixing of wages and of the power to purchase goods if it is a fact, as is suggested, that within this system the sinner controls the saint, we are putting it to you that if your problem is a greater distribution of purchasing power among your people in order to enable them to buy more goods, and within the competitive system you cannot have the greater distribution of purchasing power, your system stands condemned.
May I labour this point further. May I sum it up in this way—that not merely in our country, but in every part of the world at the moment, you have more sellers than buyers. That is the very centre of the problem, that in every advanced country we have more goods than we can sell, and our problem is how to face a situation like that. If the capitalist system of society cannot distribute goods as rapidly as it can produce them, if this failure to distribute goods keeps our people unemployed or underemployed, surely I have proved my charge against it that to that extent it restricts the production of wealth. I could go further if I had time, and show you that immediately a monopoly grows in any industry that monopoly, owned and controlled for private profit, proceeds immediately to restrict production in the interest of its private profit. Within the past couple of days you had a pamphlet sent you by Sir Charles Macara in which he points out, with very serious lamentations, that the voluntary restriction of output in the cotton industry of the country has broken down, and he appeals for compulsory restriction of production. I could take you over industrial organisations which exist to-day, such as the National Light Castings Association and other industries, which organise Ca' canny in a wholesale manner that our poor bricklayers are not capable of contemplating. I submit that we are face to face with a very serious national situation, because this state of affairs exists not merely internally, but it exists beyond the seas as well, and your capitalist order of society has made us dependent on foreign products for our means of life. Your capitalist order of society has destroyed the agriculture of the country in order to provide cheap labour for its mines and workshops and factories, and by destroying agriculture they have made this land of ours dependent on foreigners for their food stuffs.
Being dependent on foreigners for cur food and being compelled to import and export, we have now to get down to this thing quite seriously. It is not an academic discussion.
It is the most serious subject that Britain could be considering at the moment. I would like to see more conferences being held—international conferences—on the industrial situation of Europe and how to bring the purchasing power of Europe into relation with the productive capacity of Europe. The question we are dealing with now is of more immediate and urgent importance than the question of the wars of the future. Whether we want Socialism or Capitalism from the point of view of the nation and not from the point of view of a party, at the moment we are compelled to fight in the international markets of the world. The Government side of the House, instead of turning its attention to the question of how to widen the markets, improve our home markets, and encourage a greater purchasing power among the people, accept the present limited diminishing markets as the last word in commercial and industrial organisation. They ask us to accept that. That is their last word in industrial organisation when they ask us to reduce the cost of production and enter into competition with other nations for this limited and diminishing market. I put it, that is a game at which two can play. If we are going along that course, we are going down to the economic level of the poorest efficient competitor that we have to meet in the industrial and commercial markets. That is the course you want us to pursue.
I want to put this question. Having to fight in the markets of the world, are we in the position to fight? I remember in 1915, when we had to deal with the question of rents, a wise man came along and said, "You cannot afford to carry on two wars at the present time. You are bound to fail if you attempt it. Therefore we ask you to come to terms in regard to home affairs in order that we may unite in saving ourselves from the conflict with other nations of the earth." I submit that the capitalist system has converted our country into an economic battlefield, with the interests of one industry against another industry, with group against group and class against class. Reference has been made to the unemployed and the dole. Your million and a quarter of unemployed are merely the wounded in the industrial fight, and your Employment Exchanges and dole are the hospital and hospital treatment for the people who have gone down in the struggle. Reference has also been made to the devastated areas—the districts which have suffered most. What is our plan? Our plan is that you should stop the economic civil war and act so that as a nation we should sink or swim together. Trade, in my opinion, is not merely a right matter for the Government, but it should be, in my opinion, the first concern of a Government. Reference has been made to the bankers. We know how they have attacked industry. Scarcely a day passes that I do not hear from a builder that he has entered into a contract to build houses in a period of 12 or 18 months, and he has to depend on high per cent. advances from the bankers. After making a contract, the price of money goes up and that strikes the very feet from under our calculations. I hear of cases where people in order to encourage trade here entered into contracts with Germany, and gave them goods on three months credit on a 4½ per cent, basis, on the assumption that they were going to get money at the old rates. Having entered into the contract for a year, the price of money goes up by 1 per cent., and they find themselves bound, on the one hand, to Germany, and handicapped on the other hand by financiers at home. I am not surprised to hear cheers from the other side of the House of statements that we may have to muzzle the bankers. I know that the industrialists in this country, sooner or later, will be driven to take up arms against the financiers and to apply the principles Socialism in advance in order to save their industries.
What do we find in the coal areas? We find that you have area in conflict with area and county up against county. People talk glibly about the necessity of taking 30 per cent. of the miners out of the industry and putting them somewhere else. Again, if I may ask hon. Members to exclude for the moment from their consideration the temporary difficulties about housing—they are only temporary, for when we build we build for 60 years—when they talk about taking 30 per cent. out of one industry, have they ever asked themselves where they are going to put them? Are they going to put them into
the manufacture of boots, or cotton, or what? Do not forget this, that it is not merely the workers in the coalfields who are being attacked, but capital in the coalfields is to be lost if this policy is to be pursued. It is not Socialism that is a menace to capital now, but it is capitalism which is becoming the greatest menace to capital.
If there is to be a loss of that kind it ought to be a national loss. The Labour party, when the Sankey Commission reported, pleaded for a pooling in the coal trade. We plead for that still. We contend that even the developments necessary in the coal trade cannot be conducted under private ownership. You require national ownership and national administration. I submit also—I have not time to deal with all the points on which I would like to touch—and I would like to put it to the Prime Minister, that our industries require to be organised nationally. Even Conservative newspapers have been asking for the coordination of various services required for shipbuilding.
The first step that ought to be taken is to appoint a national industrial committee of safety. We ought to have a national stocktaking of our resources of men and materials. We ought not merely to set up a pool in the coalfields, but a pool of our national wealth, and, where necessary in the national interests, we should be prepared to use national wealth to support a weak national link. I am satisfied that only along that line of cooperation and co-ordination is Britain to be saved from its present industrial difficulties.
|Division No. 75.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Bromley, J.||Day, Colonel Harry|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Dennison, R.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Buchanan, G.||Duncan, C.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Dunnico, H.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Charleton, H. C.||Gibbins, Joseph|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Clowes, S.||Gillett, George M.|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Cluse, W. S.||Gosling, Harry|
|Barnes, A.||Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)|
|Barr, J.||Compton, Joseph||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)|
|Batey, Joseph||Connolly, M.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Cove, W. G.||Groves, T.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Dalton, Hugh||Grundy, T. W.|
|Broad, F. A.||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Hardie, George D.||Murnin, H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Naylor, T. E.||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Hastings, Sir Patrick||Oliver, George Harold||Thurtle, E.|
|Hayday, Arthur||Paling, W.||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Hayes, John Henry||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Henderson, T. (Glasgow)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Hirst, G. H.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Viant, S. P.|
|Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Potts, John S.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Riley, Ben||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|John, William (Rhondda, West)||Ritson, J.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Weir, L. M.|
|Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Westwood, J.|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Robinson, W. C. (Elland)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Kelly, W. T||Rose, Frank H.||Whiteley, W.|
|Kennedy, T.||Salter, Dr. Alfred||Wignall, James|
|Kirkwood, D.||Scrymgeour, E.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Lansbury, George||Scurr, John||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Lawson, John James||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Lee, F.||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Lindley, F. W.||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Lowth, T.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.||Windsor, Walter|
|MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)||Wright, W.|
|Mackinder, W.||Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Smith, Rennie (Penistone)|
|March, S.||Snell, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Maxton, James||Stamford, T. W.||Mr. Warne and Mr. Charles|
|Mitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)||Stephen, Campbell||Edwards.|
|Montague, Frederick||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Grant, J. A.|
|Albery, Irving James||Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Greene, W. P. Crawford|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Conway, Sir W. Martin||Greenwood, William (Stockport)|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Cooper, A. Duff||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Cope, Major William||Grigg, Lieut.-Col. Sir Edward W. M.|
|Baird, Rt. Hon. Sir John Lawrence||Couper, J. B.||Grotrian, H. Brent|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Courtauld, Major J. S.||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Crawfurd, H. E.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)|
|Barclay-Harvey C. M.||Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hammersley, S. S.|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gansbro)||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Harland, A.|
|Bennett, A. J.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Harney, E. A.|
|Berry, Sir George||Dalkeith, Earl of||Harrison, G. J. C.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)|
|Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Davies, A. V. (Lancaster, Royton)||Haslam, Henry C.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hawke, John Anthony|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Dixey, A. C.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Doyle, Sir N. Grattan||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Drewe, C.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Eden, Captain Anthony||Henniker-Hughan, Vice-Adm. Sir A.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Edmondson, Major A. J.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Herbert, S.(York,N.R.,Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Hilton, Cecil|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Holland, Sir Arthur|
|Burman, J. B.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Homan, C. W. J.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Fenby, T. D.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Fermoy, Lord||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Fielden, E. B.||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)|
|Caine, Gordon Hall||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)|
|Campbell, E. T.||Ford, P. J.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Cassels, J. D.||Forestier-Walker, L.||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Forrest, W.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Fraser, Captain Ian||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Gadie, Lieut.-Col. Anthony||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Jacob, A. E.|
|Christie, J. A.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Gates, Percy||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Kindersley, Major Guy M.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Goff, Sir Park||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Gower, Sir Robert||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Lane-Fox, Lieut.-Col. George R.||O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Hugh||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)|
|Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip||Pennefather, Sir John||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Little, Dr. E. Graham||Penny, Frederick George||Steel, Major S. S.|
|Loder, J. de V.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Storry Deans, R.|
|Looker, Herbert William||Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.|
|Lord, Walter Greaves-||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Lougher, L.||Pilcher, G.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid|
|Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Preston, William||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Lumley, L. R.||Price, Major C. W. M.||Templeton, W. P.|
|MacAndrew, Charles Glen||Radford, E. A.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Raine, W.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell-(Croydon, S.)|
|McLean, Major A.||Rawson, Alfred Cooper||Thomson, Trevelyan (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.||Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Tinne, J, A.|
|Macquisten, F. A.||Remer, J. R.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|MacRobert, Alexander M.||Rentoul, G. S.||Waddington, R.|
|Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-||Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Rice, Sir Frederick||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Margesson, Capt. D.||Roberts; E. H. G. (Flint)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Marriott, Sir J. A. R.||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.||Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)||Watts, Dr. T.|
|Meller, R. J.||Ropner, Major L.||Wells, S. R.|
|Merriman, F. B.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Wheler, Major Granville C. H.|
|Meyer, Sir Frank||Rye, F. G.||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Mitchell, S. (Lanark)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Sandeman, A. Stewart||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Sanderson, Sir Frank||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Moore, Sir Newton J.||Sandon, Lord||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Morden, Colonel Walter Grant||Savery, S. S.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Moreing, Captain A. H.||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Womersley, W. J.|
|Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl.(Renfrew, W)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Murchison, C. K.||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Wood, Rt. Hon. E. (York, W.R., Ripon)|
|Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph||Shepperson, E. W.||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Neville, R. J.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Skelton, A. N.||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Smith, R.W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)|
|Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Nuttall, Ellis||Smithers, Waldron||Lieut.-Colonel Spender-clay and|
|Oakley, T.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Major Stanley.|