Government Policy

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

If the altercation has now come to an end perhaps I might begin what I was about to say. I cannot, of course, emulate the polished oratory of the right hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan), or his carefully chosen words, and I do not propose to do so. Nor do I propose to deal with this situation in that spirit of levity which he showed during various parts of his speech. The more I listen to Conservative back-benchers and Front Benchers the more bewildered I become. The complaint of the right hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition—whose speech yesterday interested and amused me—was that we had a plan. The Leader of the Opposition does not like plans. He likes a nice, juicy freedom going back to the Middle Ages, when every man worked his own will and the devil took the hindmost. What does his master's voice say today? The right hon. Member for Bromley complained that there was "no central strategic plan at the centre." Well, I never knew where else a central plan could be. I never thought it could be at the periphery. Central strategic plan at the centre! That is high-powered planning, that is; that is super-planning.

Who speaks the voice of the Tory Party? Its leader or those apostles of his who speak their own gospels? At one time the right hon. Member for Bromley was himself a planner. This afternoon he went out of his way to pour balm on his leader by describing him as one of the greatest men in the world. That was certainly implied, and in some respects I would admit the claims of the right hon. Gentleman.