Fifth Schedule. — (Adaptations and modifications of provisions of the Electricity (Supply) Acts, 1882 to 1936, and of the Schedule to the Electric Lighting Clauses Act, 1899.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 27th May 1943.

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Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

In Scotland. Mr. GallaPher: Of course, I do not expect hon. Members on the other side to understand or appreciate that, but it is the actual fact that the business man is the enemy of the people. He lives on the robbery of the people. The great problem is how to utilise this Bill not for the purpose of exploiting the Highlands but to help the Highlands and bring back at least some of their population. Is that something for a business man to do? Not at all. That is something for politicians. If we get Tory politicians or Tory business men or Liberal business men on the Board we shall get no real progress. If we get on the Board Labour or Communist politicians—the united front—who understand how the crisis in Scotland has developed, who understand the economic basis of the crisis, who understand the politics of the situation, we shall get the very best results from this Bill. Therefore, I want to impress upon the Secretary of State for Scotland and upon the Minister of Fuel and Power—because the two of them have responsibility for the Board, the Board is appointed by two Ministers instead of one—the very great importance of making a correct and effective selection of members of the Board. If it is a Board that is progressive, it will come into the closest association with and give the greatest encouragement to the Co-operative movement in the development of the industries in the Highlands, and that will have the greatest value. If it is a progressive Board, it will gradually work towards taking over the independent undertakings. Of course, the hon. Member for Stockport will not like that, but the people of Scotland will, and it will not. matter very much what his reactions will be. We want a Board of that kind, a progressive Board that sees here the opportunity for bringing all the best forces in Scotland into association with the life of the Highlands for the purpose of developing and expanding the life of the Highlands.

The Secretary of State for Scotland has put in much work, time, energy, and patience in connection with this Bill. I must say—I have said it before maybe—that I do not know when there was a Secretary of State for Scotland who had so many well-wishers, and so much ready support in this House. I am glad that he has brought in this Bill. I am glad he has carried it to the present stage but regret that he did not accepts our assistance. It would have been to his advantage to have done so I hope above everything else that the selection of this Board will be of a character to launch the Act in such a way that there will be special benefit for the people of the Highlands and advantage to the people throughout the whole of Scotland.