State of the Nation

Part of Order of the Day – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th August 1947.

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Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford 12:00 am, 6th August 1947

I thought the hon. Gentleman had something useful to contribute to the Debate. The fact is—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I am talking about our present economic difficulties. The fact is that this Government have been guilty of the same mistake three times over, and each time the mistake has been in a more important matter and has led to consequences each time more severe. The first time was in the early spring of 1946 when the maladministration of our food situation led to the resignation of Sir Ben Smith. The second was the fuel and power crisis in the spring of this year when the maladministration of our coal industry ought to have led to the resignation of the Minister of Fuel and Power. The third occasion is now, when the maladministration of our economic situation should certainly lead first to the resignation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and secondly to the dismissal of this Government, and the Dissolution of Parliament.

In each case the mistake has been the same. In each case the country was faced with a prospective crisis, which could easily have been foreseen, and which ought to have been dealt with in time. In each case it could have been dealt with in time, not so as to avoid all hardship, but so as to incur a hardship far less than that which has in fact been incurred by the policy of putting off the evil day. That was true in the case of food, that has been true in the fuel crisis, and still more has it been true in the dollar crisis which we are discussing today.