Part of Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 27th February 1936.

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Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

I have not the least doubt that the hon. Member knows what he is talking about. I would rather leave the matter this morning and get through this complicated Estimate. So far as I have been able to discover, the discussion has ranged, not so much around the Estimate itself, as on the words "the crisis" which are to be found in this document. I think that, if hon. Members consider this as a financial document, then what is meant is a financial crisis. It is a financial document and it will be obvious to everyone, except some hon. Members opposite, that the crisis of 1931 is a perfectly well understood expression standing for certain definite events which took place at that time. These have not been without repercussions upon the hon. Members themselves, on the elections which followed, and on the great democracy of which they are always hailing the wisdom and discernment. That democracy had no doubt as to the crisis. If hon. Members object to the term, I can earnestly assure them that no one will be puzzled as to what is meant.

A more serious note was the protest made by one hon. Member who accused me of introducing Government propaganda into the colourless body of a Supplementary Estimate. Hon. Members on this side need no converting by this document, and hon. Members opposite are incapable of being converted. The term appears in some way to irritate the majority of hon. Members opposite. Conscience does make cowards of us all. Hon. Members may see, not only a financial crisis, but a financial crisis with which they were to some extent connected. That is a feeling which does not effect any great section of the people, and hon. Members opposite need not bother about it for that reason. The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) was good enough to remind me that oats are good for horses in England and for men in Scotland. He may remember it was also said "where can you find such horses and men?" In every Estimate put forward on this occasion opportunity is taken for the restoration of cuts. I was asked about the savings. It would be impossible for me to enumerate all the savings in all the departments mentioned here. Savings themselves do not necessarily mean what is usually called economic savings. The duties performed in one year by a Department may no longer be necessary, and, therefore, money is saved. The savings mentioned here have been attended by no loss to the public in regard to the efficiency of the services. I think hon. Members feel no objection to the principle of restoring these cuts now. Hon. Members have had their fling at me for the use of this word "crisis," for which I take full responsibility.