Clause 1. — (Summer time and double summer time for 1947 and subsequent years.

Part of Orders of the Day — Summer Time Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th March 1947.

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Photo of Mr Robert Boothby Mr Robert Boothby , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Eastern 12:00 am, 4th March 1947

I intend to speak for only a moment or two to say that the fuel crisis has, of course, had certain beneficial effects, in that it has aroused us to the urgency of the situation, but it has also had two most unfortunate results. The first is that it has given the Government the chance of introducing a whole series of Measures which are designed permanently to shatter enterprise, and I think this is one of them. I share the views of my colleagues on this side of the Committee who have expressed their gratitude to the Home Secretary for the concession that he has made. If he had not made it, he would have been faced with a very formidable insurrection from north of the Tweed. We console ourselves, to some extent, by reason of the fact that we shall get the chance of reconsidering this matter in a year's time. But it has further given to His Majesty's Government the opportunity to extend the iron grip of Whitehall over Scotland as a whole, and what we are worried about is that in the whole of this business Scotland has never been consulted. I would be inclined to take a bet that the whole of this summer time proposal was arranged and organised without any reference to the Scottish Office, just as everything else in this country is being organised and arranged without reference to that Department. We are regarded as being far below the status of a Crown Colony in these matters. Never have Scottish affairs been brought to the pass to which they have been brought in the present circumstances.

Everybody in this Committee knows, except possibly the Government, that the fuel crisis will be succeeded by a food crisis, and in no long space of time. Scotland is a great producer of food, and I suggest that food production in Scotland should have priority over everything else, with the possible exception of the production of coal itself. It has been pointed out in this Debate by my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) that in Scotland we have much more light than you have in England; it lasts much longer and there is much less darkness. That also applies, of course, in other respects.

My second point is that cows have always shown an invincible reluctance to changing their habits, and I would point out to His Majesty's Government that cows are not intellectually aware of the existence of the Socialist Government in this country. That is their good fortune. It does not mean that they will conform as readily as the patient and long suffering public to the rigours and hardships which are now perforce imposed as a result of this administration on the people of this country. I would only beg hon. Members to remember that animals cannot be ordered about. They will not play their part in a totalitarian regime in the same way as human beings are expected to. The Government must bear this in mind, and if they take into account the fact that we have more light in Scotland and that our cows do not recognise the existence of the Socialist Government, they will realise that this double summer time, which has a very deleterious effect on food production, ought not to be continued beyond the supreme period of crisis.