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 Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

I would like now to turn to the Lord President of the Council. He, of course, employs rather less expansive oratory, and puts in a number of contingency clauses which his experience of Socialist mistakes has led him to suppose are necessary in all public statements. He said: It is necessary only "— I am sure this is very distasteful to hon. Members opposite, but I will be quite fair— to glance at the huge queues of necessary demands waiting to be met to realise that 1947–I want to be quite frank and not to mislead you—will also be a year of tight supplies and lack of elbow room in the whole economy. It will, however, be a year in which we are beginning to draw the dividends from our efforts of 1946. There is another passage: 1947 will be the first year in which we shall all be working on something like a peace footing. These statements have rather come home to roost.

Lastly, the Prime Minister, in replying to a speech of mine in February, 1946, said that I was much too gloomy, and when I re-read the speech I felt that it should be criticised for underdoing rather than overdoing the gloom. I think that I am right in saying that the Prime Minister on another occasion said that his Government were not going to be "a one-man show." In that respect, his hopes have certainly been fulfilled. Of course, the implication which he wished to make was that the Coalition Government was a one-man show. That was perhaps a little hard on himself. It was a little hard on the Lord President of the Council, and it was a little hard on the Foreign Secretary. I hope that I am not being indiscreet, but I can tell the House on the very best authority that the Foreign Secretary himself thought that the Coalition Government was at least a two-man show. I trust that this will not be regarded as a breach of confidence. But what is true about the Coalition Government is that it was a one-policy show, and the most fervid supporters of the present Government would hardly claim that.