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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 Major Guy Lloyd Major Guy Lloyd , Renfrewshire Eastern 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

—never tell us the answers to the questions so many people in this country want to know. There are such questions as: What do the Russians do with those who continuously absent themselves from work? What do the Russians do in regard to unofficial strikes? What do tire Russians do to insist upon increased production, and what do the Russians do to discipline those who will not obey the orders of their leaders in the unions? Those are the kind of questions we ask and it would be nice if the hon. Member who has had such an interesting visit with his happy little group of comrades, had been able to answer them.

Today I have the opportunity, as a representative of Scotland, to express the views of the great majority of the Scottish people on this Amendment we have put forward. [Laughter.] Certainly, because in fact Scotland was never led away up the garden path anything like so badly in July, 1945, as were England and Wales. Scotland had not entirely forgotten, as had so many other parts of the country, the lamentable experiences Scotland and the whole country had during those two disastrous years of Socialist Government between 1929 and 1931. Public memory is always very short, and those years are always slurred over by hon. Members opposite. Were they not the years between the wars, which are supposed to have been years of Tory misrule? Scotland has not forgotten the bitter lesson learned as to the true meaning of Socialist promises at the General Election in 1929 and the bitter disillusionment which followed those promises, and the result of the General Election of 1931 when the Labour Government was swept away from power by, I believe, the biggest majority returned against any Government that has ever been booted out by the electors of this country. Exactly the same thing has happened already, within two years or a little more, as happened then, except that the consequences are worse, and likely to be more lasting because, unfortunately, it is not possible now, in view of the tame majority opposite, to get rid of our new masters, as we did then.

So Scotland goes on, as other parts of the country go on, suffering from the consequences of that disastrous decision, that period of midsummer madness, in July, 1945. On the other hand, the Scottish people are not surprised at what has happened, because so many of them expected it, and a great many of us on these benches, in speech after speech during the Election campaign, predicted that it would happen, if the people were so foolish as to believe the promises of the Labour Party. Where have those promises gone? They have gone with the wind, and are repudiated everywhere. Now, in spite of the brave new world, and the Socialist Utopia, we are reduced to a state of affairs which even Ministers opposite have to describe as disastrous in the extreme, and as a situation of unprecedented gravity.

At last the wheel comes full circle and the Minister for Economic Affairs tells us the truth, that the promises have gone into the limbo of forgotten things. But the majority is still there, and they have betrayed the nation. It was not because they were not warned. As has been emphasised in speech after speech during the last few days, the Government have had every warning of the way things were going and what would happen if they did not listen to advice. In every single instance those warnings, which came from this side of the House, or from responsible newspapers, have been laughed at and despised. Every time we have warned the Government what would happen we have been mocked at, and told that it was just Tory propaganda. They even suggested that we manufactured the fuel crisis, or had something to do with the cold weather of last winter.

Can it be denied by hon. Members opposite, who make cheap jokes to cover up their failure, that every one of our warnings was laughed at, and that the Minister of Fuel and Power himself denied our suggestions? He told the country there was nothing in it, that it was, in fact, just Tory propaganda. It was the same story about our warnings in regard to the possibility of grave inconvenience through cuts in electricity supplies. The Scottish people were told again and again by Scottish Members of Parliament on this side of the House that that was inevitable. The great leaders of private enterprise in Scottish distribution of electricity warned Scotland that they would have to go desperately short. We warned the Minister of Fuel and Power in the House of Commons, and he was warned by leaders of the industry. His answer was "nothing of the kind. It is Tory propaganda. I should know, and it is not true." Within a few weeks Scotland and the nation suffered because those warnings were ignored. We warned the Government and the people that the American Loan would not last for five years; we said that it would not last for more than a year or two. I said that at many meetings in Scotland, and I was laughed at by the ignorant hecklers at the back of the hall, who said that it was Tory propaganda, and that the Loan would last five years; had not the leaders of the Labour Party always told them so? Where is the Loan today? Again, gone with the promises of the Labour Party.

My second indictment against this Government and against those who sit behind them, tamely earning their thousand a year—which they never put before the people of Scotland as one of those reasons why they should vote them into power at the last Election—is that they have not only broken the promises they gave to the people of Scotland, but have refused to accept any warnings which might have been of great value had they been acted upon in time. My third indictment—and this is a matter which angers the people of Scotland more than any other—is that they have plainly pursued theories, dogmas and doctrines which the majority of the people of Scotland believe are fallacious, and which they now know are fallacious. They have ignored the needs of the nation. Above all, they have ignored the needs of Scotland, and of all parts of the British Isles.

Scotland has received a raw deal from this Government. No part of Britain had more promises given ad lib from every Labour platform throughout Scotland—" We will look after the interests of Scotland, we will see that Scotland has this, that and the other." What has Scotland got that she wanted as a result of the Labour Government? Invariably Labour Party Members from Scotland put the party whip before the needs of Scotland. That is known throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, and there is no honest Labour Member who represents a Scottish seat who does not know that it is true. Hon.; Gentlemen have definitely put the party whip before the interests of Scotland, in spite of the fact that some of them had hopes of promotion which I understand have not been fulfilled.

I have just returned from an enthusiastic campaign in Scotland, where I spoke two and three times a night, and the overwhelming enthusiasm of the audiences, many people being turned away in some cases, show what Scotland thinks. One of the things which irritates the people of Scotland more than another is the propaganda untruth that we on this side of the House have no policy That follows the typical Socialist propaganda in other parts of Europe, based upon the belief that if they tell a big enough lie and go on telling it, it may be believed. That assertion is not true, and the reason why the party opposite continue to make this gross misstatement of fact is because the policy which we follow and have been pressing, and the faith and philosophy in which we believe, are fundamentally different from their own.

We are not a class party. Neither would we form a Government, and never have formed one, as a class party. There is the class party—on the other side of the House. There are those who for years have preached class hatred in the industrial areas of Scotland and who in most cases, owe their seats and salaries in Parliament solely to the fact that they have preached class hatred and endeavoured to arouse class envy and to divide the people of this nation when unity was the most vital essential of all. It is because this is known in the industrial areas of Scotland that they are despised for their broken promises. Now that they have obtained power they are despised because they have betrayed the interests of Scotland, and have put out the propaganda untruth that we have not a policy which can still save the nation from disaster in spite of His Majesty's Government.