Orders of the Day — Sterling Exchange Rate

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th September 1949.

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Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford 12:00 am, 28th September 1949

I certainly do not approve of a coalition. I had thought that I was not particularly ingratiating myself with those who in a Coalition Government would inevitably be some of my future colleagues. I thought I had made it plain and that I had had a certain measure of agreement from some quarters opposite. I believe that there is no royal road in the sense that we cannot prescribe a patent medicine for the ill, but what there is is the necessity that every item of public conduct and every item of private conduct throughout a period of years should be separately examined in the light of that disequilibrium, and reshaped and remoulded—[HON. MEMBERS: "Controls."]—yes, self-control, too—in the light of that paramount necessity.

I turn now to my last point. It is vital that in our search and scramble for dollars we should not lose sight of our ultimate spiritual values and our ultimate social objectives. There are many on both sides of the political fence who will seek to make us do so. There are many on both sides of the political fence who will seek either to destroy the advantages gained over years of patient effort by many other than members of political parties, or else to use the economic crisis as a means of forcing a political or economic revolution. There are many who will try to utilise our dependence on the United States, which I suppose those on this side of the House hate as much as the enemies of the United States, as a means of poisoning our relations with that great country. There are many people who will use the difficulties as a means of upsetting our relations with Europe.

They must all be resisted. Dollars are not everything in this world. In the long run, by patient effort, we have built up a standard of life in this country which, saving the opinion of certain hon. Members opposite, has at all material times been better than any comparable country at that stage in the world. We are now faced with the maintenance of that standard of life without our traditional advantages, and it is our task to see that our posterity do not curse our name as that given who dissipated and lost their heritage. There is a song in a popular comedy written by the junior Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert)—not very good poetry and not very good English—containing a phrase which caught my fancy. It ran something like this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Sing it."] No. My peroration is spoilt and the House must therefore be disappointed.