House Of Lords
Tuesday, 14th December, 1915.
Baronies Of Ferrers, Bourchier And Coiifton
Committee for Privileges met: The Attorney-General heard on the admission of certain evidence: Counsel further heard on behalf of the Claimant Henry FerrersFerrers: Witnesses examined: Evidence put in: Committee adjourned till To-morrow, at Twelve o'clock.
Barony Of Wharton
Report made from the Committee for Privileges—
That on the 28th day of July 1845 it was resolved and adjudged by this House that the Barony of Wharton is a Barony created by Writ and sitting on the 26th November, 2nd Edward VI in the Year 1548, and is descendible to heirs general; that upon the death of Philip James, the sixth Lord Wharton, in 1731, without issue, the said Barony fell into abeyance between his two sisters and co-heirs Lady Jane Coke and Lady Lucy Morrice; that Lady Lucy Morrice died without issue in the Year 1739: that upon the death of Lady Jane Coke (who survived her sister) without issue in 1761, the said Barony fell into abeyance between the descendants of the three daughters of Philip Fourth Lord Wharton, Elizabeth, Mary, and Philadelphia Wharton; and that the said Barony was then in abeyance between Charles limeys Kemeys-Tynte, Esquire, Alexander Dundas Ross Cochrane Wish-art Baillie, Esquire, Mrs. Matilda Aufrére, the Right Honourable Peter Robert, Lord Willoughby D'Ereshv, and the Most Honourable George Horatio Marquess of Cholmondeley:
That the Petitioner, Charles Theodore Halswell Kemeys-Tynte, is one of the co-heirs of the said Barony of Wharton as being descended from and sole heir of Mary, one of the said daughters of Philip, fourth Lord Wharton:
That the Right Honourable Gilbert, Earl of Ancaster, the Most Honourable Charles Robert, Marquess of Lincolnshire, and the Most Honourable George Henry Hugh, Marquess of Cholmondeley, are three others of the co-heirs of the said Barony of Wharton as being descended from Elizabeth, only daughter of the said Philip, fourth Lord Wharton, by his first marriage:
That the Right Honourable Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Ross Cochrane, Baron Lamington, and George Lockhart Rives, a citizen of the United States of America, are two other of the co-heirs of the said Barony of Wharton as being descended from Philadelphia, the youngest daughter of Philip, fourth Lord Wharton:
That the said Barony of Wharton is now in abeyance between the said Petitioner, Charles Theodore Halswell Kemeys-Tynte, and Gilbert, Earl of Ancaster, Charles Robert, Marquess of Lincolnshire, George Henry Hugh, Marquess of Cholmondeley, Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Ross Cochrane, Baron Lamington, and George Lockhart Rives:
That the said Barony of Wharton is at His Majesty's disposal:
Read, and agreed to; and resolved and adjudged accordingly; and Resolution and Judgment to be laid before His Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.
Appeal Committee—Fifth Report from: read, and agreed to.
London County Council (Celluloid &C) Bill
Glasgow Corporation (Celluloid Bill
Reported, with Amendments.
Finance (No3) Bill
Brought from the Commons; read la ; to be printed; and to be read 2a on Tuesday next (The Lord President ( M.Crewe)).(No.182.)
Indictments Bill Hl
Returned from the Commons, agreed to, with Amendments: The said Amendments to be printed and to be considered on Thursday next. (No.183.)
Munitions Of War Act, 1915 (Amendment) Bill
The proceedings of Thursday last relating to the Bill ordered to be vacated.
Returns, Reports, &C
Treaty Series (1915) No.14—Declaration between the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Japan and Russia, engaging not, to conclude Peace separately during the present War. Signed at London, 30th November 1915 ( see Treaty Series, Nos.1 and 9 (1915)):
Miscellaneous, No.19 (1915)—Correspondence with the United States Ambassador respecting the treatment of British Prisoners of War and Interned Civilians in Germany (in continuation of "Miscellaneous, No. 15 (1915)"):
Retrenchment in Public Expenditure—Second Report of the Committee on Retrenchment in the Public Expenditure:
Presented (by command) and ordered to lie on the Table.
Destructive Insects and Pests Acts, 1877 and 1907—Orders declaring areas described in the schedules thereto to be infected areas for the purposes of the Wart Disease of Potatoes (Infected Areas) Order of 1914—
- D.I.P. 322–324, dated 29th November, 1915;
- D.I.P. 325–328, dated 1st December, 1915;
- D.I.P. 329, dated 2nd December, 1915:
Shops Act, 1912—Order made by the Council of the Borough of Gravesend and confirmed by the Secretary of State for the Home Department affecting certain classes of shops within the Borough:
Laid before the House (pursuant to Act) and ordered to lie on the Table.
Companies Of Enemy Character Bill Hl
Committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.
A Bill to consolidate and simplify the law relating to Larceny and kindred offences—Was presented by the Lord Chancellor; read la , and to be printed. (No.184.)
Evidence (Amendment) Bill
Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—( The Lord Chancellor.)
On Question, Motion agreed to.
House in Committee accordingly.
[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
Evidence of depositions of witnesses engaged on naval or military service.
1.The provisions of section seventeen of the Indictable Offences Act, 1848, and section seventeen of the Indictable Offences (Ireland) Act, 1849, and section fourteen of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, which enable the depositions of witnesses in certain circumstances to be read as evidence at the trial shall, during the continuance of the present war, apply to depositions of witnesses who are proved to be unable to attend, having regard to the necessities of the public service, by reason of being actively engaged in the naval or military service of His Majesty, in like manner as they apply to the depositions of witnesses who are proved to be dead: Provided that no deposition shall be read in evidence under the powers of this section save with the consent of the court before which the trial takes place.
had on the Paper an Amendment to leave out Clause 1 and to insert the following new clause—
The noble and learned Lord said: I have put down an Amendment to carry out what I thought was right and stated to your Lordships the other day—namely, that in a matter of this kind there should not be legislation by reference. It is particularly important in matters of Criminal Law that prisoners and others should know what the conditions are when they come to be tried. I submitted to the Lord Chancellor my suggested new clause in place of Clause 1, and he has agreed that the clause should stand in these words, which carry out the intention that I had in putting down my Amendment—viz.: "If, during the continuance of the present war, upon the trial of a person accused of an indictable offence it is proved that any person whose deposition has been duly taken before the justice or justices by whom the accused was committed for trial is unable to attend the trial having regard to the necessities of the public service by reason of being actively engaged in the naval or military service of His Majesty, and if also it is proved that such deposition was taken in the presence of the person so accused, and that (except in the case of a deposition by a witness on behalf of the accused) he or his counsel or attorney had a full opportunity of cross-examining the witness, then, if such deposition purports to be signed by the justice by or before whom the same purports to have been taken, it shall be lawful to read such deposition as evidence at the trial without further proof thereof unless it is proved that such deposition was not, in fact, signed by the justice purporting to sign the same: Provided that no deposition shall be read in evidence under the powers of this section save with the consent of the Court before which the trial takes place." I propose to add the words "and after reasonable notice to the accused person." Having regard, however, to the concession which the Lord Chancellor has made, I do not intend to press the addition of these latter words unless the noble and learned Lord thinks they are proper to be added. Personally I think it is important that reasonable notice should be given to an accused person if depositions are going to be read against him. My words are purely for what I consider the fair protection of a prisoner, and I think all your Lordships would desire that in a change in the law of this kind, under special conditions, nothing should be done which should in any way prejudice the right of a prisoner to a fair and just trial. I will first move the Amendment in the agreed terms, and will then move to add the additional words."The depositions of witnesses who during the continuance of the present war are proved to be unable to attend the trial of an accused person, having regard to the necessities of the public service, by reason of being actively engaged in the Naval or Military service of His Majesty, may be read in evidence if it be proved that such depositions were taken in the presence of the person accused, and that he, or his Counsel or Attorney, had a full opportunity of cross-examining the witness, if such depositions purport to be signed by the Justice by or before whom the same purports to have been taken without further proof thereof unless it shall be proved that such depositions were not in fact signed by the Justice purporting to sign the same. Provided that no deposition shall be read in evidence under the powers of this section save with the consent of the Court before which the trial takes place and after reasonable notice to the accused person."
Leave out Clause 1 and insert the following new clause:
"If, during the continuance of the present war, upon the trial of a person accused of an indictable offence it is proved that any person whose deposition has been duly taken before the justice or justices by whom the accused was committed for trial is unable to attend the trial having regard to the necessities of the public service by-reason of being actively engaged in the naval or military service of His Majesty, and if also it is proved that such deposition was taken in the presence of the person so accused, and that (except in the case of a deposition by a witness on behalf of the accused) he or his counsel or attorney had a full opportunity of cross-examining the witness, then, if such deposition purports to be signed by the justice by or before whom the same purports to have been taken, it shall be lawful to read such deposition as evidence at the trial without further proof thereof unless it is proved that such deposition was not, in fact, signed by the justice purporting to sign the same:
Provided that no deposition shall be read in evidence under the powers of this section save with the consent of the Court before which the trial takes place."—(Lord Parmoor.)
Your Lordships having granted a Second Reading to this Bill I was anxious to do all that I could to meet what appeared to me to be the important elements of Lord Parmoor's criticism, and with that view I drafted the form of words which he has now moved as a substitute for Clause 1 as in the Bill. I have never myself disguised the feeling that legislation by reference, wherever it can be avoided, is an undesirable thing. There are many cases where it cannot well be avoided without overloading the Bill with a large amount of matter which might make it a cumbersome and difficult thing to control, but in this particular case the amount added does not affect the Bill materially, and I am able that I am able to come to terms with the noble and learned Lord as to the form which the clause should take.
I am extremely glad to hear what the Lord Chancellor has said, and I think it will end this particular matter. May I suggest to the noble and learned Lord that Clause 4 of this Bill is a rather aggravated form of legislation by reference. I will not ask him to say anything definite upon this point now, nor need any proposal be made to-day; but I should like the noble and learned Lord to consider between now and the next stage of the Bill whether he cannot place in simple language the purport and effect of Clause 4. which now appears in a very obscure form. I am not asking that there should be any change in the proposals of the Bill, but merely that people should be able to understand by reading the clause what it means.
I should like some information as to the precise meaning of the words "naval or military service," because at some time or another that question may arise in an acute form. In the case of any one directly connected with either of the Services the meaning of the words is obvious, but there are others to whom the circumstances would apply exactly as if they were on active service abroad or elsewhere—for instance, a Red Cross doctor, a Red Cross orderly, or a nurse. The language in which the Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Admiralty or Army Council is to certify is very precise, and I think it undesirable that any misunderstanding should hereafter arise. The meaning should be clear. It need not necessarily be done now, but perhaps the Lord Chancellor will be good enough to consider the point if he has not already done so.
I shall be very glad to do what I can to meet the view of Lord Loreburn. He will understand, of course, that I cannot make a definite. premise, but I will consider whether it is possible to make Clause 4 more comprehensible than it is at the present moment. I agree as to the desirability of that being done, Clause 4 being part of the permanent legislation of the country and not limited by the conditions of the war which affect other clauses of the Bill. With regard to the observations of Lord Desalt, I any not quite sure what it is that he desires. It is obvious that the words "actively engaged in the naval or military service of His Majesty" may be the subject of some uncertainty, and in order to make the matter perfectly plain it is provided in the Bill that those conditions shall be determined by a certificate signed by a Secretary or Assistant Secretary of the Admiralty or Army Council. It is left to the Secretary or Assistant Secretary to say whether the man is actively engaged in the naval or military service, and I do not see how it is possible to make the Bill more plain in regard to that.
The wording of Clause 3 might be held to be a very strict limitation in this respect. These are not general words. I gave instances a moment ago in which all the considerations arise just as much as if the man were in the fighting line. Would it not be better to say "actively engaged in connection with naval or military service"? The wording at present in the clause is a very close limitation and does not give much scope. Or words might be added such as "or other indispensable service in connection with the war." I think the point is one that requires a little consideration.
I am afraid I am not in accord with what the noble and learned Earl has just said. As I understand the Bill, this is to have reference to people actively engaged in the naval or military service of His Majesty, and the certificate of the Secretary or Assistant Secretary is to be conclusive evidence of the fact. I hope the Bill will not be extended beyond the words which we find in it.
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
I now move to add to the new clause the words to which I have already referred— namely, "and after reasonable notice to the accused person." I desire that these words should be added in order that a prisoner should have reasonable notice of what is going to be done. The words are taken from the Act which deals with the depositions of persons who are in a dying condition, in which case it is required that reasonable notice should be given to the accused person. I hope the Lord Chancellor will think this a reasonable addition to the clause.
At end of Clause 1 insert ("and after reasonable notice to the accused person").—(Lord Parmoor.)
I regret that I am unable to accept this Amendment. The present time is one in which any witness may be suddenly called away, and the fact that he is going may not be known until a few hours before he is summoned to leave the country. It may at the same time be of the utmost importance that the trial of a man charged with spying should be brought on without delay. In those circumstances I cannot consent to the introduction into the clause of words which would prevent the opportunity of using evidence by deposition if it had been found impossible to give reasonable notice to the accused. I may say that I have taken steps to place before the Home Secretary and the Public Prosecutor the view—which both of them entertained without my suggestion—that it is very desirable in all cases that such notice should, if possible, be given; and the noble and learned Lord can rest assured that notice will be given except in cases where that is impossible consistently with securing the ends of justice.
After the Lord Chancellor's statement that in all practical cases notice will be given, I do not wish to press my Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
I move to insert a new clause after Clause 2. In cases of offences punishable by death it may be that the deposition may be the only material evidence against the prisoner. It is a very strong thing to inflict the punishment of death where the deposition read in evidence at the trial is not corroborated in some material particular by oral testimony. My suggested clause proposes that unless it is corroborated the punishment of death shall not be inflicted.
After Clause 2 insert the following new clause:
"Where any person has been convicted of an offence punishable with death and depositions have been under the powers conferred by this Act read in evidence at the trial which have not been corroborated in some material particular by oral testimony, the punishment of death shall not be inflicted, but the Court may pass such sentence of imprisonment or penal servitude as it may think just."—(Earl Loreburn.)
I regret that I cannot accept this Amendment. The effect of the new clause would be that if a witness had proved a material and vital point against a man and he was the only witness upon that point and was unable to be present for any one of the causes which allow the deposition to be read, his deposition could not be read against the accused. It might well be that the evidence given was in respect of handwriting or some other important point which could not be corroborated by independent evidence. It would destroy the whole effect and value of this Bill to say that the deposition should not be read unless it was corroborated on the real point on which it was going to be read. The punishment of death is an ugly thing at best, and I should be sorry if it were thought that any one regarded it lightly or thought the case ought not to be abundantly established against a man before such a penalty was inflicted. I shall be glad, therefore, to modify the clause by providing that a man should not be condemned to death upon a deposition alone, and that if that were the only evidence the alternative punishment of imprisonment should be inflicted. If the noble Earl agrees to that, I will undertake to introduce after Third Reading an Amendment which will carry that out.
I am much obliged to the noble and learned Lord, and heartily accept his suggestion. My Amendment, though in a clumsy way, perhaps, really amounts to what the Lord Chancellor now suggests. I shall therefore be grateful to him if he will bring forward his Amendment at a later stage.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Remaining clauses agreed to.
The Report of Amendment to be received on Thursday next, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No.185.)
Midwives (Scotland) Bill
Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—( The Marquess of Crewe.)
On Question, Motion agreed to.
House in Committee accordingly.
(The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE i11 the Chair.]
1.—(1) From and after the first day of January one thousand nine hundred and seventeen any woman who, not being certified under this Act, I shall take or use the name or title of midwife (either alone or in combination with any other word or words), or any name, title, addition, or description implying that she is certified under this Act, or is a person specially qualified to practise midwifery, or is recognised by law as a midwife, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five pounds.
(2) From and after the first day of January one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two no woman shall habitually and for gain attend women in child-birth otherwise than under the direction of a registered medical practitioner unless she be certified under this Act; any woman so acting without being certified under this Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, provided this section shall not apply to registered medical practitioners or to anyone rendering assistance in a case of emergency.
(3) No woman shall be certified under this Act until she has complied with the rules and regulations to be laid down in pursuance of this Act.
(4) No woman certified under this Act shall employ an uncertified person as her substitute.
(5) The certificate under this Act shall not confer upon any woman any right or title to be registered under the Medical Acts or to assume any name, title, or designation implying that she is by law recognised as a medical practitioner, or that she is authorised to grant any medical certificate, or any certificate of death or of stillbirth, or to undertake the charge of cases of abnormality or disease in connection with parturition, but nothing herein contained shall prevent a midwife granting such certificates as may be required by the rules of approved societies or insurance committees in connection with maternity benefit under the National Insurance Acts.
:I move to omit from the proviso at the end of subsection (2) the word "section" and to insert "subsection." This is a drafting Amendment. Subsection (2) is the one which is the subject of the provision, and it is desirable that the provision should be formally made to apply to it only and not to the whole clause.
Clause 1, page 1, line 20, leave out ("section") and insert ("subsection").—(The Marquess of Crewe.)
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
Constitution of the Central Midwives Board for Scotland
3.On the passing of this Act the Lord President of the Council shall take steps to secure the formation of a Central Midwives Board for Scotland (hereafter in this Act termed the Board) which shall consist of—
On the first day of February one thousand nine hundred and twenty-one, and on the first day of February in every fifth year thereafter, all the members of the Board shall retire from office together, but Shall be eligible for re-appointment, and their places shall be filled by the appointment, by the same person and bodies respectively, of a like number of members possessing, where any qualification is prescribed, the same qualifications as aforesaid.
Any vacancy occurring by death or resignation or any cause other than retirement in ordinary course shall be filled by a member appointed by the person or body by whom the member whose office is vacated was appointed, and possessing, where any qualification is prescribed, the same qualification.
The Board may act notwithstanding a vacancy or vacancies in their number.
The Board shall elect a chairman from their own number.
The meetings of the Board shall be held in the city of Edinburgh, and the members shall be paid in respect of their attendance thereat reasonable expenses on a scale approved by the Privy Council.
I venture to intervene on this clause and to put a question or two to the noble Marquess the Leader of the House. I do not for a moment object to the general principles of the Bill; quite the contrary, because in England a similar measure has worked very effectively and has proved of great advantage. The reason I intervene in regard to a Scottish measure is that old friends of mine, Liberal Members of the House of Commons who sit for Scottish constituencies, are not at all satisfied with certain of the provisions of this Bill. I asked them why they did not raise the matter in the House of Commons, and they replied that under present arrangements and with a Coalition Government it is practically impossible for independent Members to do anything there; and, to my surprise, these Radical Members said they had to look to the House of Lords for freedom of debate and for having matters threshed out.The first question I wish to ask is, why is it thought necessary to constitute another Board for Scotland? At the present time there are, I am informed, nineteen Boards established in Scotland, at an expenditure of over £3,000,000 a year; and I am further informed that it would be quite easy for the whole of this work to be done by the Local Government Board for Scotland. That Board, I am told, has very little work at present. In making that statement I speak under correction, but that is the view of a number of Scottish Liberal Members of the House of Commons. When I asked what evidence there was that the Local Government Board for Scotland had little work to do, I was told that an old House of Commons colleague of mine who was made Permanent Secretary of the Local Government Board the other day had been given a military appointment. which necessitated his entire absence from the Scottish Local Government Board. The question was asked in the House of Commons whether it would not be necessary to appoint some one temporarily in his place, and in reply it was stated that it was entirely unnecessary to do so because there was so little work for the Local Government Board for Scotland to do. If that is the case, surely this extra work might be given to that Board. If that were done the Government would save a certain amount of expenditure, because obviously you cannot establish a new Board even in Scotland, where I understand things are done much cheaper than they are in this country, without having officials and a certain amount of expenditure. Moreover, Clause 15 empowers the Lord President of the Council to appoint a paid Secretary for the new Board which it is proposed to constitute. The fees which will be obtained from midwives registered under the Bill will not amount to a large sum, and I notice that power is given to the new Board to make up any deficiency out of local rates; so that this Bill has a double effect—not only will it lead to an increase of general expenditure from the Imperial Exchequer, but it will also lead to an increase in local rates. My Scottish friends think that as the Government are always talking about economy they should practise what they preach, whereas here they are setting up, quite unnecessarily, a body of new officials and incurring additional expenditure. Perhaps my noble friend in charge of the Bill can give an estimate of what the extra expenditure will be on the Exchequer and on the local rates, and also state the reasons why the object desired could not be achieved by giving this work to the Local Government Board for Scotland instead of setting up a new Board.
I should like to say a word before the noble Marquess replies to the noble Lord, some of whose statements have come to me with surprise. I was for eight years responsible for the government of Scotland, and this is the first time I have heard that there was very little work for the Local Government Board to do. It has an enormous amount of detail to attend to, and at the time I was acquainted with its work the staff were fully occupied. If any Civil Servant has been released for military or naval service in present exigencies I have no doubt that the other members of the staff are cheerfully working overtime to enable that purpose to be carried out. I venture to say that the noble Lord might just as well have moved the rejection of the Bill on Second Reading as attempt to alter the structure of it to such an extent as to change the method of administration by a mixed council, as proposed in Clause 3, and substitute the Local Government Board for Scotland, which has not, and cannot have, any of the technical knowledge that would be at the disposal of such a Board as is indicated in this Bill. The English Act is worked by the Privy Council. It would be absolutely impossible for the Privy Council to work this Bill in Scotland. Some Scottish body is necessary for the purpose. The meetings must be held in Scotland, because it would involve an enormous amount of expense and trouble if everybody had to come to England for this purpose. So far as my experience goes, I venture to say it would be absolutely impossible for the Local Government Board for Scotland to do this work. So far as expense is concerned, I had probably better leave that matter to be dealt with by the noble Marquess the President of the Council. I heard a rumour, however, that it was on the ground of expense that this point was to be raised, and I have endeavoured to ascertain as far as I could what the expenses under the English Act are, and what, upon a moderate estimate, the similar expense in Scotland would be were this Bill to be worked upon the same lines. I am assured that, if the same relative expenses are incurred in Scotland as in England, as soon as the Act comes into working order there should not be a total expense of more than £200 or £300 a year to be defrayed from Imperial and local resources. Even in these days of strict economy, that does not seem to me a serious prospect, and I hope the noble Marquess in charge of the Bill will resist the noble Lord's suggestion.
It seemed that my noble friend on the Front Bench opposite (Lord Strachie) recognised a certain incongruity in his appearance as champion of a particular form of Scottish opinion. That, no doubt, arose from the fact that his forbears settled themselves in a part of England as remote from Scotland, apart from the Scilly Islands, as they well could have; and I imagine that this is the first time in my noble friend's political experience that he has appeared in the character of a champion of Scottish economy.I am afraid I cannot accept my noble friend's suggestion, for the reasons very tersely given by my noble friend above the Gangway (Lord Balfour). It would entirely destroy the structure of the Bill, as anybody can see by looking at some of the later clauses, if the provision for the appointment of a representative Board were eliminated from the Bill. Lord Strachie bases his demand upon the necessity for introducing, as far as possible, economy in the conduct of all our public affairs, and the consequent disadvantage of appointing a new Board at this moment. It was accordingly suggested by those for whom he is acting that the business ought to be handed over to the Local Government Board for Scotland.I hesitate to believe that there is a large body of opinion in Scotland which would like to see work of this kind administered solely by a Government Department rather than by a representative body such as we propose to form under the Bill. Of course, if the charges involved thereby were heavy, or, indeed, substantial, my noble friend would have at any rate a plausible case; but if the analogy of the English Act can be taken as a guide to this—and I think it may—he will find that at any rate for a number of years to come no charge is likely to be made upon either Imperial or local funds. What happened with regard to the English Act was this. The first application which was made under Section 2 of the English Act was made in the year 1902, and between that time and the end of the financial year of 1905 between 22,000 and 23,000 women were certified as midwives, and the certification fees for this number amounted to £11,154. That kept the Board going altogether until 1909, after which a small debit balance began to accrue. The debit balances for England for the last three years have ranged slightly over £2,000. If he takes Scotland on a like proportion of population, as it is reasonable to do, my noble friend will find that for some time no charge is likely to be made upon Scottish or Imperial revenues at all, because the sum received by certification fees ought to amount to somewhere about £1,300, which would go a considerable way towards meeting the necessary expenditure. After that it may be presumed that a sum of between £200 and £300 might be required annually for meeting all expenses. I think the House will agree—and I am entitled to think my noble friend himself would agree on consideration—that the prospect that this sum may have to be spent in the course of the next few years is not sufficient to warrant the destruction of this particular measure.
I am quite satisfied with what my noble friend has said upon this question, and can quite appreciate the fact that he should be somewhat amused at my interfering in regard to a Scottish measure. At the same time I am sure he sympathises with me in wishing to give an opportunity to my Scottish friends in another place to make use of the House with which they were not always in sympathy.
Clause 3 agreed to.
Clauses 4 and 5 agreed to.
Provisions as to suspensions.
6.—(1) The power of the Board to frame rules defining the conditions under which midwives may be suspended from practice shall include a power of framing rules—
(2) Where in pursuance of any power conterred by any such rule a midwife has been suspended from practice pending the decision of her case by a court or the Board and the case is decided in her favour, or where in pursuance of the duty imposed by paragraph (3) of section sixteen of this Act a midwife has been suspended from practice in order to prevent the spread of infection, the Board or the local supervising authority by whom she was suspended may, if they think fit, pay her such reasonable compensation for loss of practice as under the circumstances may seem just.
The Amendment standing in my name to Clause 6 refers to a small matter, but it is one which ought to be set right. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) makes it possible for rules to be framed by the Board which would allow an indefinite suspension of a midwife from practice. The Board is authorised "to suspend a midwife from practice for such period as the Board think fit." That might be for the term of her natural life. On the other hand there is an appeal from a sentence of removal from practice altogether; and although one need not suppose that rules would be so made or would so act, it does not seem right that a power should be given of practically destroying a right of appeal by allowing indefinite suspension. Therefore I propose to omit the words "for such period as the Board think fit."
Clause 6, page 5, line 36, leave out ("for such period as the Board think fit ").—(The Marquess of Crewe.)
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 7 to 12 agreed to.
Fees and Expenses.
13. There shall be payable by every woman presenting herself for examination or certificate such fee as the Board may, with the approval of the Privy Council from time to time determine, such fee not to exceed the sum of one guinea. All such fees paid by midwives in practice at the passing of this Act and by candidates for examination shall be paid to the Board. The Board shall devote such fees to the payment of expenses connected with the examination and certificate and to the general expenses of the Board. The Board shall, as soon as practicable after the
thirty-first day of December in each year, publish a financial statement made up to that date, and showing the receipts and expenditure, including liabilities, of the Board, during the year, which statement shall be certified as correct by an accountant who shall be a member of one of the Societies of Chartered Accountants in Scotland or a member practising in Scotland of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors. The Board shall submit a copy of such statement to the Privy Council, and, if the statement shows any balance against the Board and such balance is approved by the Privy Council, whose approval shall be binding and conclusive as to the amount of the balance to be apportioned, the Board may apportion such balance between the local supervising authorities in proportion to the populations of their districts as ascertained at the last preceding census. The Board may issue precepts to the local supervising authorities for the amounts so respectively apportioned to them. The local supervising authorities shall within six months after the receipt of such precepts, or such longer period as may be agreed with the Board, pay to the Board the amounts so payable by them respectively.
moved to omit the words "who shall be a member of one of the Societies of Chartered Accountants in Scotland or a member practising in Scotland of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors," and to insert "practising in Scotland to be appointed annually by the Secretary for Scotland." The noble Marquess said: This is one of those points covered by the observation which I made on the Second Reading that certain variations have to be made from the English Act on account of the difference of Scottish procedure. I understand that the appointment of the auditor by the Secretary for Scotland follows the uniform practice in similar cases; and the change has this advantage, that it removes from the Board the power of appointing their own auditor, and, as we know, in most cases it is considered desirable that where possible the auditor should be appointed from outside rather than by those whose accounts have to be audited.
Clause 13, page 7, line 37, leave out from ("accountant") to ("The") in line 40, and insert ("practising in Scotland to be appointed annually by the Secretary for Scotland").—(The Marquess of Crewe.)
On Question, Amendment agreed to.
Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.
Remaining clauses agreed to.
The Report of Amendments to be received To-morrow, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 186.)
Judicial Committee Bill Hl
Amendment reported (according to Order).
My Lords, I beg to move that Standing Order No. XXXIX be dispensed with. Your Lordships granted a Second Reading to this Bill a few days ago and it is important to get it through this term, otherwise it may he ineffectual. As this Bill originated in your Lordships' House, unless we can dispose of it quickly and send it down to another place at once there may be some danger that it may be prevented from passing immediately. I therefore hope your Lordships will agree to pass the Bill through its remaining stages to-day.
Moved, That Standing Order No. XXXIX be dispensed with.—( The Lord Chancellor.)
My Lords, I was not present when this Bill was read a second time, but I wish to say on this occasion that think the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack is to be congratulated on having brought forward a most useful measure. For a long time past greater freedom of action in the constitution of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has been required, and I believe this Bill will prove the foundation of great future usefulness.
On Question, Motion agreed to.
Bill read 3a and passed, and sent to the Commons.
My Lords, I desire to call attention to the problems which will arise after the war in relation to the o return of our citizen soldiers to industrial pursuits and the reorganisation of our industries on a peace footing. I desire to do this, not because these problems are not patent even to the most casual observer, but because we have learnt, or ought to have learnt, from the crisis through which we are now passing how heavily a nation may be handicapped if no one has taken the trouble to think out on its behalf beforehand the measures which ought to be taken to meet some particular emergency which may arise, or to mature the plans and organisation necessary for carrying those measures into effect.I myself confidently anticipate that history will acquit the generation to which I belong of having desired the war or having taken any active share in bringing it about; but so far as regards our want of preparedness for the war, whether from a military or financial or industrial standpoint, I am not sure of an equally favourable verdict. The truth is that as a nation we considered war on the present scale an impossibility or so remotely probable that its occurrence need not be considered at all Sincere lovers of peace ourselves, we attributed to other nations a love of peace equally sincere. Moreover, I think we have all lived in an era in which it has been assumed that the clash of private and Party interests is likely to produce national efficiency; we have talked largely of rights and very little of duties, and the need of organisation for national ends has been most imperfectly realised. But, my Lords, whatever excuse we may have for our unpreparedness for war, we shall surely have no excuse if we are similarly unprepared for peace. The war may have been improbable but peace is certain, however long delayed; and when peace conies we shall have to face a situation which, unless it be wisely and prudently handled, may entail on our posterity evils equal to, or even greater than, those entailed by the war itself. Let us for a moment consider the several factors which determine the situation. First of all, we shall find that fully one quarter, possibly considerably more, of the industrial workers of this country have been withdrawn from industrial life or military purposes, and possibly that three quarters of a million more have been diverted from their ordinary pursuits to the production of munitions or other articles the demand for which will cease when the war is over. Most of the men so withdrawn will desire to return to industrial life, and many of them will find their places occupied by others, and, in large part I think, by women. Meanwhile large sections of our working classes have been earning wages on a scale unprecedented in their history, and the families of those who are serving at the Front. have been, by reason of liberal separation allowances, enjoying an affluence to which they had hitherto been strangers. But, my Lords, this scale of wages and these separation allowances will cease when the war is over. Moreover, the war has occasioned an unparalleled dislocation of the industries of the country. Many of these industries have been brought to a standstill, and many have had to be converted for war purposes. If after the war these industries are to be reorganised time and capital will be required for the purpose. But, by reason of the great expenditure the war has entailed, capital is likely to be scarce, and, if obtainable at all, probably will only be obtained on onerous terms. Lastly, we shall have to face when the war is over a competition for the markets of the world keener than anything we have yet known in our history, and I am not sure that for the purposes of this competition we shall not in some respects be in a worse position even than Germany herself. It may probably be taken that we have during the war been exporting everything we could possibly export. Germany, on the other hand, has during the war had no export trade; and even if she has experienced a dislocation of industry similar to our own it is not improbable that she has been able to accumulate stores of merchandise wherewith to commence the new industrial campaign. These being some of the chief factors in the situation, I think it must be admitted that after the war we shall have to face dangers which, if met only by impromptu or opportunist measures, may lead to results disastrous to the country. It will be of ill augury for our future history if the war comes to be looked upon as a time of general prosperity, and peace as the beginning of our troubles. Having enumerated the several factors which determine the situation, I desire to mention some of the problems which arise out of them. First of all we shall have, in order to avoid friction in the return of so large a body of men to their ordinary industrial pursuits, to constitute some Executive body in close touch with the men who require work on the one hand and with their possible employers on the other. Such a body will probably act most usefully through local committees, but before it can act to any useful purpose at all it is obvious that it will have to make itself acquainted with the relevant facts; and for that purpose it must ascertain and classify all who when the war is over will require industrial work, discover their qualifications, and also ascertain the districts in which work will be required; and, on the other hand, it will have to ascertain and classify the various industries throughout the country which will require labour, and the extent to which that labour is likely to be required. Such a body will have at its disposal a great deal of useful information contained in the National Register, but this Register was compiled at so late a stage in the war that it will have to be supplemented at any rate as to the men who joined the Colours before August of this year from other sources. I do not know whether the War Office keeps a register of those who enlist in the Army. If so, this register may contain the information required. But at any rate with regard to ascertaining the industries throughout the country which may require labour after the war, it will be necessary to make extensive local inquiries. I believe the Garton Foundation has kept elaborate statistics of the effect of the war on industrial life and those statistics also will be useful. Again, it will have to be remembered that, as happened after the Boer War, many of our soldiers may prefer to seek employment elsewhere than in the Mother Country. I myself hope that the number of these will not be large. The nation will have suffered sufficient loss in its manhood by the war itself and can ill afford further loss by emigration. But however this may be, I think it is our bounden duty to see that those who desire to emigrate shall do so of their own free will and not be compelled by the belief that their country, though willing to utilise their services to the full in war time, has no use at all for them in times of peace. I think also that we should, if possible, endeavour to secure that the services of those who emigrate, though lost to the Mother Country, are not lost to the Empire at large, and for that purpose should enter into communication with the Colonial Governments to see what opportunities may offer for employment in His Majesty's Dominions beyond the seas. Again, my Lords, with regard to the period which will be required for the re-organisation of our industries, it is not unlikely that during that period there will be considerable scarcity of employment, and we ought to take time by the forelock in devising methods of alleviating the distress, whether temporary or permanent, that is likely to arise from that cause. But perhaps the most difficult of the problems which we shall have to face when the war is over is in relation to the position of those women who have during the war been doing work which before the war was done by men. I myself do not think it likely that women, after having so clearly demonstrated their capacity to take part in industrial life, can be expected to return to the conditions which prevailed before the war. Nor do I think it would be really for the advantage of the nation that they should do so. It may be that in its women a nation has an asset of enormous industrial and economic value. But if women are to compete more than they have done heretofore with men various consequential difficulties are sure to arise. An increase of competition in the labour market must tend to reduce wages, and is almost sure to do so unless it be accompanied by a corresponding expansion in industries; and for this expansion, again, capital will be required. Moreover, men are not unlikely to resent the increased competition by women, more especially if, as appears to be now the case, employers are able by reason of the fact that women's labour is unorganised to impose on them a scale of wages lower than that enjoyed by men doing similar work. It appears to me that if women are to compete with men it must almost necessarily follow that women as well as men must be organised. And then the question will arise—and I think it a very important question—whether it is better policy to aim at giving them an organisation of their own, or whether we should aim at procuring their admission to existing trade unions. Possibly the latter might be the easier course; bat, as I shall presently suggest, existing labour organisations contain elements which may be extremely inimical to our success in the competition for the markets of the world which is sure to follow the war; and if it, were possible to organise women on slightly different lines avoiding those elements, and at the same time to secure to them equal advantages with men as to the rates of wages and otherwise, the experiment might be well worth while. If we pass from these problems to those more directly connected with industrial reorganisation large questions of general policy at once arise—questions which it may be undesirable to discuss in public, at any rate at present. I should, however, like to refer your Lordships to two subjects which appear to me to be of considerable importance. The first arises in this way. We have learned during the war that even if we retain complete control of the seas dependence on foreign sources for such things as munitions or the necessaries of life is not without its danger. In this country it is obvious that all imports must be paid for in exports or services, and while the war has largely increased a demand for imports it has seriously diminished our, power either of producing goods for export or rendering the services to which I have alluded. Our financial weakness at the present moment depends on this cause, just as in Germany her financial strength consists in her independence, if indeed she be independent, of outside forces for munitions and the necessaries of life. Are we or are we not, in reorganising our industries, to take these matters into account? And if we are to remain so largely dependent on outside sources for munitions and the needs of war, for many of the things indispensable to our industries, and for the necessaries of life, would it or would it not be wiser to be dependent on His Majesty's Overseas Dominions rather than on foreign nations? In considering questions such as these we should remember that it is useless to desire a particular end unless we are prepared to adopt the necessary means. If we are to start in this country industries which do not exist or keep alive here industries which probably would perish under a system of complete Free Trade, it is obvious that we must be prepared to sacrifice some of the advantages which Free Trade brings. If this, however, be our policy, we shall have further to consider how we may avoid in this country the political difficulties and abuses which are so often incident to a financial system in which a tariff plays a large part. The second point that I desire to mention is this. We are about to embark, as I said before, on strenuous competition for the markets of the world. We ought to set our house in order and prepare for the campaign. In considering what particularly we ought to do we have to remember, in the first place, certain quite elementary principles. Suppose that we have competing goods on a market, goods of equal quality and equally suitable for the market in which they are offered. What is it which determines success in the competition? It must necessarily be the price at which they can be sold, and price in the long run must depend upon cost of production. Cost of production, so far as it relates to the cost of labour which is one of the largest items in the cost of production, can only be reduced in two ways. It may be reduced by a reduction of wages, and it may be reduced by an increase in the efficiency of work I do not think that anybody in this country would desire to reduce wages below the scale which prevailed at the commencement of the war. It is obvious that the welfare of the nation largely depends upon the wage-earning classes receiving a wage as high as possible. Not only is this the only way in which we can secure a contented and healthy people, but it is really for the advantage of our industries. Every rise in wages increases the spending power of the nation, and it creates an increased demand for the goods by the production and sale of which our industries thrive. We come then to this, that the only method of decreasing the cost of production in this respect is by increasing the efficiency of labour, and I think the efficiency of labour can only be increased in three possible ways. In the first place, it can be increased by the introduction of new and more adequate machinery, of new and more perfect industrial processes, and for this purpose we ought as far as possible to encourage invention, and not only to encourage invention but to take the necessary means to bring inventions into use at the earliest possible moment. I believe that historically and also judicially the encouragement of industries lies at the root of our Patent Law, but I am not at all sure that our Patent Law as at present constituted does either encourage the inventor or secure that inventions may be brought into use at the earliest possible moment. It appears to me that a wise thing to do at present during the dislocation which the war is occasioning would be to make a thorough investigation into the working of our Patent. Laws and devise means of so revising them that they may effect the purpose for which alone there is any justification for them. The second way in which we might increase the efficiency of labour appears to me to be a more perfect technical training for our workmen. I do not intend to enlarge on this point, for I think that everybody will admit that in the matter of technical instruction this nation is behind the times. The third way of increasing the efficiency of labour appears to me to be in the removal of all artificial restrictions on output. There is no doubt that the trade unions have adopted a contrary policy. Their rules and regulations contain many provisions which tend to decrease output. These rules and regulations have, it is true, been suspended for the period of the war, but only on the understanding that they shall revive and remain in full force when the war is over, and this understanding must, of course, be scrupulously observed. At the same time it appears to me to be apparent that rules and regulations which are disastrous in time of war must in the long run be equally disastrous in time of peace. There can be no doubt that they will seriously handicap this nation in its competition for world markets. I think that probably the Labour leaders in this country are fully aware of the truth of what. I say. Why is it, then, that among trade unionists such great store is set on these restrictions? It is, I think, because they have the firmrooted and in many cases well-founded conviction that their removal might lead to increased profit on the part of their employers but certainly would not benefit themselves. It ought not to be beyond the wit of man to devise some scheme—whether it be founded upon profit-sharing or some other principle; a scheme acceptable to employers and workmen alike—whereby every increase in the efficiency of labour would be accompanied by a corresponding increase in wages, and would not inure solely for the benefit of employers. When the war is over we shall be entering a new stage in our history. Most things will, I think, be changed. If the beginning of this new period in our history be coincident with a permanent peace between Capital and Labour even the war itself may have been worth while. I hope I have made out a prima facie case for inquiry into these important matters. It only remains to ask His Majesty's Government as to what course had better be pursued. I have suggested in the Notice which appears on the Paper that a Joint Committee of the two Houses should be appointed to consider and report. I was led to this suggestion from the following considerations. The war has no doubt entailed upon every Government Department an enormous amount of extra work. Every Minister and every Departmental Head is probably now doing the work of more than two men. At the same time the war has brought to your Lordships and to members of the other House an excess of leisure. Leisure in times like these is a doubtful blessing. Every one wants to do useful work, and if he cannot find it to do is apt to become over-anxious and perhaps over-critical. Surely there are in both Houses men of whose energy and ability the Government might avail themselves. But a Joint Committee of the two Houses is not the only possible course. It would be possible as an alternative to appoint a Departmental Committee of, say, the Board of Trade, with a considerable number of non-official members; or, still better, to appoint a Committee of Imperial Reorganisation framed on the lines of the Committe of Imperial Defence. Either such body could map out the various subjects requiring inquiry, and could refer them singly or in groups to sub-committees appointed for the purpose. But whatever body be appointed to deal with the matters to which I have referred, I am not without hope that if all prejudices and Party affections be laid aside it may arrive at results and devise measures which shall secure to our children's children benefits which may in some degree compensate them for the burdens which the war will entail upon them.
My Lords, I am unwilling to intervene so early in the debate because I hope that other noble Lords will state their views on this supremely important subject, but I am unfortunately called away on an important engagement in a comparatively short time and I shall therefore venture to say a word at once upon the noble and learned Lord's speech. I am certain that we all listened with deep interest to his wide and at the same time closely-reasoned review of the conditions which will be brought about in our industrial affairs, and, indeed, in the life of the whole nation, by the conclusion of the war and the demobilisation of the forces. The noble and learned Lord began by drawing a somewhat melancholy picture of the "fool's paradise" in which we had all been living before the outbreak of the war. I will not attempt to dispute, at any rate in many respects, the accuracy of his criticism. But he is, I am sure, in conformity with the feeling of the whole House when he added that at any rate we must not be caught napping by peace, and that so far as possible we must, make all possible preparations for the social changes which are bound to follow the conclusion of the war.The first point that comes to mind in this matter is, of course, the actual demobilisation of the forces and the measures which will have to be taken in view of the return to civil life of such an enormous number of men in a proportion altogether foreign to anything which has happened before in the history of this country. So far as the particular question of the demobilisation of the forces is concerned, for inure than a year now that matter has been closely inquired into by competent members of the Civil Service; and without attempting to describe in any detail the course of their deliberation or its results, I may say that the general lines of what will have to be done in the direction of making it easy for men either to go back to employment or to find fresh employment have been the subject of close examination by those of whom I have spoken. One branch of this question is, of course, connected with the possible return to or arrival on the land of a certain number of those who have been serving. There has been a Special Committee dealing with this subject under the ægis of the Board of Agriculture, and I am informed that it is likely to issue a Report.—I do not know whether it will be a Final Report—before Christmas. At any rate that Report will, I am certain, contain some information of great value to us all. Then there is the further and most important question from the national point of view of the care of disabled soldiers. Of that we heard much in this House recently in connection with the Naval and Military Pensions Bill and I hope a scheme has been framed, or soon will be framed, to meet that particular side of the subject, in which, of course, the whole country takes a peculiarly sympathetic interest. Then the noble and learned Lord dealt with that exceedingly difficult branch of the subject which is concerned with the labour problems that will have to be faced in connection with demobilisation. He touched on one or two specific points of great interest. He said—and I agree with him—that in the particular circumstances which we have to face the remedy of emigration, if it be a remedy, must be regarded as at best a doubtful boon. We do not wish to see more of our manhood leaving the country after the terrible depletion that it has sustained than is absolutely necessary. At the same time I entirely agree that there may be, and indeed almost must be, some cases where men will wish to emigrate, all the more after the close personal connection into which some of them will have been brought with their fellow-soldiers from the Overseas Dominions. I am in full accord with the noble and learned Lord when he says that we ought to act in concert with the Governments of the various Dominions in this matter, in order to see that a close relation still continues to exist between these men and ourselves, and that even if some of them go they do not altogether cut themselves oft from the old country. The noble and learned Lord indicated other matters which in his opinion would have to be inquired into. One subject that he mentioned was the dependence in which we have found ourselves upon other countries for the supply of munitions for the war and also in the general supplies for the support of our people; and he indicated very truly the particular financial difficulty which has arisen and which is so well known to us all, due to the unusual but necessarily vast excess of imports under existing conditions. I think it is clear that with these islands populated as they are it is altogether impossible to suppose that we can ever be a self-supporting country. Nor do I think it would meet the wishes of our fellow-citizens if we were to aim at the establishment of works parallel in character to those of Messrs. Krupp, which would conceivably render us self-supporting in the matter of military munitions. But I am far from disagreeing with the noble and learned. Lord when he says that these matters will have to be carefully looked into and considered, and whenever they become the subject of more than Departmental examination that is no doubt one side of the question which will have to be borne in mind. I leave it now because I do not wish to get upon any delicate or difficult ground which is obviously near at hand when one begins to discuss these particular questions, closely connected as they are with the controversy between Free Trade and Protection, which has been before the country for so long. The increased efficiency of labour, of which the noble and learned Lord spoke, is also, of course, a subject of the very first magnitude. Speaking generally and apart from the special aspects to which he alluded, I think we may say that this country is coming to the conviction that the general efficiency of labour is promoted in all industries by the payment of good wages and that it is assisted by the use of moderate hours. The noble and learned Lord mentioned one or two specific matters in this connection.I was impressed—although I am not entitled to express an opinion on the subject—with his observations upon a matter in which he is an expert, namely, the need for the revision of our Patent Laws; and I am quite certain that my learned friends here and the Government will pay due attention to what fell from the noble and learned Lord in that connection. He also spoke in very moderate and, if he will allow me to say so, wise terms upon the difficult question of trade union restrictions. Those restrictions, as he truly pointed out, do in many instances interfere with the efficiency of labour; and it has been shown during the progress of the war that when men feel that they are labouring for the country they are willing to reduce and in some cases to abandon altogether those restrictions. They have been jealously adhered to, as we know, on the ground that they are necessary for the self-protection of the workers, and, as the noble and learned Lord pointed out, that instinct of self-protection has been mainly founded on the belief that if more is produced it only goes into the pockets of somebody else who does not appear specially to deserve that extra bonus on his capital, whereas the worker may not necessarily derive any advantage from it whatever. The problem—the intense difficulty of it we all admit—is one which I fully agree is worthy of close and continued examination. Besides the question of the demobilisation of the forces there is, of course, the kindred though different question of the demobilisation of the war industries which will very soon after the conclusion of the war throw upon the labour market a great mass of labour, some of it skilled, but a considerable part of it very partially skilled or unskilled, for which openings will have to be found. The noble and learned Lord also stated with truth that there is then the whole question of women's employment, what are the proper industries in which women may engage—not under the stress of war, when such questions as possible injury to health and possible damage to child-bearing may be passed over for the time being, but as a regular permanent practice of the nation—what are the limitations which ought to be set upon women's employment. That is a branch of the subject which is of extreme complexity and difficulty, made more complex, as the noble and learned Lord pointed out, by certain difficulties in the relations between male and female labour, and it will require handling not only with the greatest sympathy but also with knowledge and the utmost care. It is obvious that all these matters open up a vista of possible controversy. Hardly one of the questions upon which the noble and learned Lord touched is free from the possibility either of reviving ancient controversies in an acute form or of exciting new ones hardly less violent. It is quite evident, knowing as we do that people hold such diverse opinions on the proper road of social progress, that at a public inquiry they would be unable altogether to resist the charm of advocating their general opinions, whether they be Collectivists or Individualists, in relation to these particular problems. There will always be some, people of both knowledge and ability, who will come forward with a particular social panacea to be applied to all these separate problems. That is just as true of trade questions as it is of labour questions. Consequently so far it has been desired to avoid public discussion of these matters. I have already stated that much has been done in the preparation of materials for facilitating the return of soldiers to civil life. That has been done departmentally, and the results, although ready for submission, have not yet been submitted to any body. As regards the labour side of the question, a great deal of work has already been done by the Board of Trade in the collection of material to be put to a similar purpose when the time comes. There are somewhere about three million men and women now engaged upon war work, and it is therefore easy to see what the magnitude of the problem is and the multiplicity of the questions which have to be faced. The Board of Trade have also with the help of skilled financial advice from outside been endeavouring to put together the necessary material for considering commercial and financial problems of the character of which the noble and learned Lord spoke. Obviously questions of policy are so much involved in the consideration of these matters that it is impossible for a Government Department to do anything more than the mere collection of material, and the question now arises, as a good deal of material is already prepared, what further steps ought to be taken for the purpose of getting that material into some kind of shape. We entirely agree with the noble and learned Lord that this consideration ought not to be postponed. Although few of us, I imagine, suppose that the conclusion of the war will be speedy or that it be sudden, yet at the same time it is impossible to be too well prepared for the conditions which will begin to arise whenever it comes. The original proposition of the noble and learned Lord was the appointment of a Joint Committee of both Houses, and I have no doubt that there is much to be said for such a form of inquiry. Greatly occupied though members of both Houses are in one form or another on work connected with the war, I should hesitate to say that it was not possible, though I do not believe it would be easy, to collect a Joint Committee of sufficient status and experience to satisfy public opinion in this matter. But we confess that as matters now stand we are not prepared to institute a public discussion of all these questions, mainly on the ground which I have stated—that almost all of them are closely concerned with different matters of controversy, and it would be impossible to suppose that in the great bulk of evidence which would be given before such a Committee a large part would not be given rather with the idea of airing the general views of the witnesses in various social directions than with the hope of assisting the actual deliberations of the Committee. I confess therefore that I for one, and I think my colleagues so far as I know would all take the same view, rather shudder at the idea of the submission of these subjects to a discussion of a public body at this moment. I think the other suggestion of my noble and learned friend is of a more hopeful character—that of the appointment of a body to examine the question of Imperial reorganisation as a whole and working largely through sub-committees with the ultimate view, no doubt, of conducting many of the necessary operations through local committees or bodies all over the country. I am not in a position at this moment to speak with any certainty, but what I hope is that before long something of this kind will be instituted. I can assure the noble and learned Lord that we are every whit as convinced as he is of the necessity in this matter of action as prompt as is compatible with the examination of a vast amount of material relating to a large number of subjects; and I need hardly say, in conclusion, that I am able that the noble and learned Lord has brought the matter before the House in the way that he has, because there is nothing, as I believe, which is more deserving of the careful consideration of men holding whatever views they may on political or social subjects.
My Lords, I think that my noble and learned friend is to be congratulated not only on having brought this matter forward but on the fashion in which he has laid it before the House. He spoke with moderation and with knowledge, both of them valuable and co-ordinate qualities in speech, and he elicited from my noble friend who leads the House a speech the conclusion of which was very interesting. During the delivery of both speeches I was struck with one defect, a defect which was remedied to some extent in the speech of my noble friend who has just sat down, Lord Parker brought forward a tremendous case. He covered the ground of national education, technical education anyhow; the Patent Laws; Imperial preference; large questions connected with our military organisation, and other industrial topics connected with trade unions of the most extensive and also controversial type. And his suggestion at the end was that there should be a reference to a Joint Committee of the two Houses—that was one of his alternatives—to consider these matters.My first observation is that these matters are of a magnitude far beyond the scope of any Committee, whether of the two Houses or drawn from whatever source. My second observation is that, after thirty years spent in the service of Parliament, I can conceive no body from which one could expect less than a Joint Committee of the two Houses, consisting, be it observed, of the residual members not occupied in other things. You would branch out into enormously controversial subjects, and you would get no further forward. Then my noble and learned friend made another suggestion which I think is much more hopeful. He said "Let us have a body of a more specialised kind, something akin to the Committee of Imperial Defence, which should examine these things and report on them"; and in the conclusion of his speech the Leader of the House said something which at any rate encourages one to hope that this is an idea which commends itself to the Government. Speaking for myself, I think that is a much more hopeful way of approaching this problem. There is no denying its magnitude. Peace will come and with it a set of problems which, I venture to prophesy, will find us still less prepared—and I say it deliberately—than we were for the war which came upon us. After all, the Committee of Imperial Defence of which my noble friend spoke had been doing years of work preparing us for war, and had produced as the result of its labours a War-Book which was of the utmost value in telling every Department of State what it had to do when war broke out. Even the telegrams were ready; all the details were prepared, and the Committee of Imperial Defence furnished an example which we may well bear in mind in view of the problems which are confronting us. What I should like to see is a Peace-Book of the same kind, and I should like to see it prepared in much the same way. I should like to see the best Committee or Royal Commission that could be got together set to work to consider the problems which will be on us when peace comes—I will allude to them in a moment—and to work out something like a Peace-Book which would tell each Department of the State, each body of employers of labour, and the municipalities just what they may expect to have to do when peace comes and how to set about it. I say that that is just as important as it was to have a War-Book at the beginning of the war. I want to see a Peace-Book, and there is only one way of preparing it and that is in the same way as the War-Book was prepared. Let a Committee of experts be set to work, and do not be afraid of choosing people who are interested in the special subjects with which we have to deal. I know it is the fashion to say, "We cannot have So-and-So and So-and-So because they are interested in the Exchanges with America," or some other subject which it is suggested may make their duty and interests clash. In days like these people are only too able to give their utmost exertions and their best abilities to the service of the State regardless of whether their interests suffer or not, and we should not pass over the most competent men because it is supposed they have interests in the subject which may deflect their judgment. It is only from such people that you will get the guidance you want. I quite agree with my noble friend that if we have a Committee of this kind it must be a Committee for distributing the inquiry and setting up sub-committees to carry it out. You want General Staff work in peace just as in war when you have to confront an emergency of this kind, and you will have to pick the best experts to guide you. Having said that, it is obvious to my mind that the scope of the inquiry and the field it covers must be much narrower than that contemplated by my noble and learned friend who opened this discussion. He seemed to think that you could settle a vast number of controversial questions by keeping them away from Parliament and referring them to a body of this kind. I can assure him that, at any rate for another hundred years, it is useless to expect the British nation to cease to be a political nation. Parliament will go on discussing all these matters and resorting to those things which my noble friend deprecates as interfering with the scientific consideration of great subjects. That is a fact you have to accept, and it is no use looking away from it. Those who have the most experience attach not the least importance to that, because they know it is there, and they know it is a thing which, after all, is only carried to a limited extent. You have always the opportunity of making efficient inquiry provided you do not allow the field of inquiry to be spoiled by dragging in controversial topics. I should deprecate very much referring to any Committee or Commission the question of our trade with the Dominions. Such trade is the subject of an inquiry by a Royal Commission which is now sitting and which has produced many volumes of evidence, and I doubt if at the end we shall do more than bring a certain amount of material to bear on the consideration of the subject by the processes of Parliament. I am certain of this, that the only people who will settle the question of Dominion trade are the Colonial Governments in consultation with the Imperial Government in the Imperial Conferences and the Imperial Parliament following on the top of it. I am sure that you will get very little guidance by referring it to a Select Committee. But when you come to such a question as demobilisation, there you get to something of a very different kind. The noble Marquess who leads the House told us that this was being inquired into departmentally. It is very valuable that the War Office or the Board of Trade should inquire into these things, but I am certain that the topic is far too big a one for any merely departmental inquiry. You have to call to your assistance the employers of labour, and you have to deal with a variety of matters which go beyond the scope of any particular Department. I feel that the question of the re-employment of the mass of men coming back from the war is one of the most thorny and perplexing subjects with which we have to deal, and I should be sorry to gather from the noble Marquess that it is left merely to departmental consideration. I think that here you want to bring the best inquiry to bear that you can and the most expert knowledge drawn from all sorts of sources. The noble Marquess spoke of two or three other things which he said were being investigated. The question of the land, he said, was being inquired into by the Board of Agriculture. Well, that is all to the good. But you cannot inquire into the question of the land in isolation from the other subjects. The noble Marquess spoke of the case of disabled soldiers as another subject which is engaging the attention of the Government. I think it is vital, if any good is to be done by the Government plan, that all these things should be considered together and with some sense of unity. I do not believe any method will be satisfactory unless it is one which does something towards appointing a single body, and a body of picked experts, who shall consider the lines of the inquiry together and select the sub-committees and the sub-inquiries which are to be made for the purpose of working out the details. It is not one subject; it is twenty subjects. I do not think such an inquiry can throw very much light upon the general question of women employment, for instance, but it can throw light on the problem of giving guidance to employers as to how to deal with the women who are in their employment when those who are serving in the field come back after the war. I do not believe much will be done by such a Committee in regard to the Patent Law; that is too large and too separate a subject. Nor in regard to technical education. What we have to contend against in this matter is not only the indifference, but, I will add, the stupidity of our nation. We are a nation which has not been neglectful so far as individuals have been concerned; the difficulty has been that at the back we have had a stupid nation on this subject of education. The public and Parliament are indifferent to it. No one is more indifferent than your Lordships' House, unless, if it be possible, it is the other House of Parliament. It is almost impossible to awaken any real interest upon this great question, which I entirely agree—I am not saying it here for the first time—is going to lie at the very root of our survival as an Empire when the time comes. No Royal Commission will give you that; it turns upon the national state itself, and the national mind. But if it is possible to take up an inquiry which will give us a Peace-Book parallel to the War-Book which we had at the commencement of the war, a volume which will instruct all those concerned as to how to face the problems which will confront them when the war comes to an end, then I think something valuable will have been accomplished. I think it is all to the good that my noble and learned friend raised this debate, and I welcome the hint given by the noble Marquess. One appeal I will make to the Government in conclusion. It is that they should take this discussion seriously. It is not enough to talk about this matter. It has to be tackled; it has to be done pretty thoroughly, and it will require a good deal of courage and energy. The Departments will say each of them, "We can do the work admirably." They cannot do the work admirably. It is too big for them. Just as the War Book came about by calling all the bodies together, so with this campaign the Government will have to call all sorts of experts into conference and adjust a variety of points of view without which you will not have success. Therefore if it be possible for the Government to afford us any more definite assurance than the noble Marquess gave us about the creation of some body which will work on those lines, I, for one, should welcome the assurance, and it would give me considerable relief as to the prospect for the future.
My Lords, I should like to add a word of congratulation and thanks to the noble and learned Lord for having brought this subject before the House. The words "after the war" are sometimes used to introduce matters about which it is far better that we should at present hold our tongues, but that is very far from being the case with regard to the subjects upon which the noble and learned Lord has touched. Here it is plain that we need to review beforehand our resources, to bring into the consideration of the problem, if I may use the term, our munitions of thought. A great deal, as the noble and learned Viscount said, may be done by what has been adumbrated by the Government, and, no doubt, behind the scenes by smaller works of preparation such as the noble Marquess has told us are going on. I cannot help thinking that though these things may have limited effect, yet anything which gives a little push to public opinion in the country to recognise that with the relief which the end of the war will bring there will be the opening of questions, and possibly controversies, which will carry in them as much anxiety as the war—anything which gives a push to the opinion of different classes in that direction seems to me to be altogether to the good.I suppose there must be in many of our minds a parallelism between what has happened and what might happen. I mean that we have felt that we drifted through a period of unacknowledged or partly unacknowledged controversy between nations towards the abyss into which at last we plunged. In different ways we anticipated or feared that plunge, but we felt powerless to resist it. And I suppose the reason why it was not resisted and the terrible consequence was not averted was that among the nations concerned there was not such a moral force of determination that the thing should not occur as would have made it impossible. It must have occurred to many who think about our home concerns that in more than one direction—there was the famous case of almost Civil War, and the case as to the relation between those who are engaged in different ways in industry—there may be a danger of the same kind; that is to say, there is a difference of view, a contention of interests, in which both sides go on repeating their claims and taking up their positions, and it would sometimes appear that it is probable that something in the nature of a collision, a catastrophe, must occur, that we are in fact adrift in that direction. Now what is there to avert this? The noble Viscount who has just sat down has, after his manner, for which we all owe him much, laid great stress on the educational factor. He has said to us, as he has said before to our advantage, You must think, and "you must get the nation to think." I am not sure whether he will quarrel with me, or think that I am doing more than speaking of another factor equally important, when I say that you must address yourselves also to the moral sense of the nation. We hope that out of the losses and the chivalry alike of the time through which we are passing there will come a great quickening of the sense of moral responsibility through all classes and determination to apply to the solution of difficult questions that kind of force which alone can avert the fatal collision that may occur. I do not suppose that any of us are doubtful that a real explosion, a controversy and collision, between different classes of this nation, if it came to pass, would be a greater evil to us even than that through which we are now passing of international war. Therefore I cannot help thinking that if the nation is moved to think, to consider really the bearings of things, it will take-to heart something like that parallelism between the two cases which I have ventured to indicate and get into itself that feeling that the better life of the nation must gain strength to be master of itself. And then when, either by the opposition of logic or by the opposition of the interests of classes and so on, there appears to be nothing but a kind of drift towards calamity, the nation will have gained something new in its body from the terrible influence of the war if it is able to say "This shall not be, because we will meet each other with something of a higher spirit, a spirit of greater devotion to the common weal and a determination that our time shall mark the improvement upon the time which went before." Thus the nation may by the application of its own conscience, its own determination, and its own unity solve these great problems.
My Lords, I should like to join with the right rev. Prelate in expressing cordial thanks to the noble and learned Lord for calling the attention of the House and the country to the gravity and the multiplicity of the problems which will come upon us as soon as the war reaches its end. If that is generally admitted, I think we must admit also the singularly fair and thoughtful spirit in which the noble and learned Lord raised these different questions.The point upon which discussion seems to have turned is what is the best method of giving effect to the suggestion for an inquiry into these subjects. There were really so many matters touched upon by the noble and learned Lord that I find it hard to think that we could get any Committee or any Commission which would be competent to deal with special knowledge and wide outlook with them all. I agree with what was said by the noble Viscount (Lord Haldane) that a Joint Committee of the two Houses would seem to be in some ways specially disqualified, because many of the questions are controversial. It is a habit at any rate in another place to import the spirit of political controversy into economic questions. Whether this House would rise above an atmosphere of that kind it is not for me to say, but certainly in the other House it is very seldom that Members who are serving upon a Committee in which controversial questions arise are able entirely to divest themselves of the political results of the inquiry on which they are engaged. It must be observed also that some of the questions suggested by the noble and learned Lord cannot really be approached until we know what the end of the war may be. The war may end in more than one way, and it is very largely upon the end of the war and the treaties which will be made then that some of the questions will depend. Take the question of armaments. We do not know whether at the end of the war it will be necessary for the country to maintain such enormous armaments as are being maintained and as will have to be maintained if the end of the war is not conclusive. There are various other questions as to which the end of the war will affect the course which any inquiry of the kind would take. Again, at this stage to bring in such questions as those of tariffs would tend rather to deflect the inquiry from those uncontroversial lines upon which it ought to proceed if it is going to be profitable. But there is one topic winch is uncontroversial and must arise as a practical issue and which is of the utmost gravity, and that is the question of the restoration of industrial conditions on what may be called the demobilisation of those who are now engaged in war, and the new conditions due, among other things, to the much larger employment of women. We have that question to face, and it is, and I hope will remain, in the main an uncontroversial question, which can be approached without the bringing in of actual political issues. And, moreover, it is a question which lies pretty compact. It is primarily an economic question. It is a question on which the opinions of employers of labour and of the representatives of labour are of the first importance; it is also a question upon which skilled economists who have observed similar phenomena in other countries, although never upon any scale so large as that which we may expect now, would be able to offer an opinion. Perhaps what the noble Marquess told us is being done by the Board of Trade would go very far towards the conduct of such an inquiry. They are accumulating materials, and those materials will no doubt. include not only figures as to industries and as to the amount of labour likely to be liberated but also the opinions of those who have thought, upon the subject and possibly in that way know what to provide. If there are to be Committees the smaller those Committees are the better. It is far more easy to have a practical and useful discussion if the Committee does not exceed seven or nine persons than if an attempt is made to represent every possible point, of view. If a small Trade Committee of that kind could take up the material which the Board of Trade is collecting and work it out in such a way as to show what, are the points that are fairly well-established, what are the points which are more doubtful, and then help the country to think about the matter by giving it the outlines along which its thought ought to proceed and suggesting beforehand the difficulties chiefly likely to arise and chiefly to be met, then I think a very considerable service might be rendered. What we really want is to address our thoughts by anticipation to these questions. It was truly said by the noble Viscount that our fault has been not to think enough, and I think we shall all agree with what was put with so much force and emotional power by the right rev. Prelate when he said that we ought to look upon this question as one which appeals to our moral sense and in the attempt to solve which moral feeling must be called into play. That is quite true. That is to supply the motive force. But we also want steady hard thinking. We want to apply our minds beforehand constantly and steadily to these questions, and not let them come upon us, as questions generally come upon us, unprepared. It was well said of Napoleon Bonaparte that the thing which distinguished him most from other men was his power of concentrating his mind beforehand upon the questions that would arise and so thinking them out that when the emergency arrived it found him ready to meet it. That, of course, is true also of nations, and if we are to learn a lesson from this war it is the necessity of thinking beforehand and not being taken by surprise and obliged to extemporise on imperfect thinking. I think the noble and learned Lord has rendered a service in helping us and the country to see the gravity of the crisis that is coming and endeavouring to get us to prepare to meet that crisis.
My Lords, perhaps it will be thought advisable that I should say a word or two with regard to the proposals which the War Office have in mind with regard to the difficulties that will be created when demobilisation takes place. As I think was indicated by my noble friend the Leader of the House, this is a question which has been under consideration for a long time; and unless my memory has betrayed me I rather think that a long time ago, long before the present Government was formed, an undertaking was given that the Army should not be suddenly disbanded and a vast mass of men thrown upon the labour market, but that the process would be of a gradual nature. The War Office, I understand, has been in close consultation with the Board of Trade with regard to this particular question for a long time, and I believe I am correct in stating that whatever proposals are arrived at it has always been in view that they should be submitted to a Committee or tribunal of some kind. Among the provisions which it is proposed to make for soldiers relieved from service with the Colours at the termination of the war are the following. These, I should like to point out, are only some of the provisions winch are in contemplation. Those which am authorised to state to-day- are—A working, furlough on the usual conditions as to full pay and allowances for a period of four weeks, during which separation allowances would continue to be paid; travelling warrants from the place of disbandment to the home district; money gratuities for services on scales hereafter to be fixed. It is to be presumed that this scale will be determined by Parliament. Then there will be an insurance Policy against unemployment valid for one year, finally, assistance in finding employment. I only desire to add that there are three agencies in existence which may materially assist with regard to the last point—namely, the machinery of Unemployment Insurance, the existence of the Territorial Force Associations, and, more important than all, the Labour Exchanges. None of these agencies was in operation at the conclusion of the south African campaign, and it is to be hoped that they will prove of great value in the future. That, my Lords, is all that I am authorised to state at the present moment, but I trust that these assurances will satisfy the noble and learned Lord to a certain extent.
My Lords, my noble friend (Lord Newton) has said enough in regard to what is being done by the Department which he represents in this House to show that, so far as the more restricted aspects of the case are concerned, the War Office is not losing sight of the important questions with which it will have to deal when this war comes to an end. I desire to say a word with regard to the much wider problem with which the noble and learned Lord dealt in a speech which arrested the attention of the House and which has been referred to by subsequent speakers in language which I am sure must have been agreeable to him. Nobody will deny that these immense problems will await solution, and it will be the duty of the Government of the day to deal with them. My noble friend Lord Crewe alluded to the steps which are already being taken in the different Departments concerned to deal with particular branches of this manifold question, and he also, I think, gave to your Lordships a sufficient indication as to the kind of lines upon which His Majesty's Government are disposed to work in dealing with the wider aspects of the case.I am bound to say that I agreed with what was said by the noble and learned Viscount (Lord Haldane) as to the form which an inquiry of this sort might take. I am not attracted by the proposal that it should be referred to a Joint Committee of the two Houses of Parliament. I am never quite inclined to repose absolute confidence in the manner in which these Parliamentary Committees are composed. The business generally is regarded as one which concerns the Whips a good deal, and I am not at all sure that investigations carried on by composite bodies of this kind are always of the nature which would be best fitted to ensure the general confidence of the country. I believe that the kind of investigation which the noble and learned Lord (Lord Parker) has in mind would go far beyond the scope of any Parliamentary Committee and any one body however composed. I think, therefore, that my noble friend Lord Crewe was upon sound ground when he suggested that the proper mode of carrying out an investigation of this kind was to appoint a small central body, and then in connection with that to have subordinate inquiries which might indeed be multiplied in number as events developed. There are, of course, some branches of the problem which obviously would require to be dealt with in some such manner as this. There is the problem of demobilisation. That will be an enormous problem, and we have to remember that it concerns not only the vast number of men, now counted by millions, who are serving with the Colours, but it concerns all the great industries which are now employed in connection with the war and which, when the war is over, will require to have their activity diverted into other channels. Apart from those, there will be the question of woman labour. I have had in the course of an inquiry with which I am connected some opportunity of considering this question of the substitution of the labour of women for the labour of men, and I believe that a great deal can be done in that direction. We are only at the beginning, but so far the indications are hopeful, and I feel little doubt that if the war is prolonged we shall find a very large number of women occupied in various industries. But I should be rather sorry to contemplate the possibility of these women at the end of the war having to be provided with other industrial work in lieu of that which they are now doing in different departments. In time of war it is quite right that every one, man or woman, who can do something for the State should be called upon to do it, however hard and laborious the work may be; but I own that in time of peace I should be very sorry to contemplate the possibility of a great number of women who are now taken away from their home duties and their home life being retained permanently as workers in different industries. The place of the English woman, particularly if she is a wife and mother, is in her own home, and I should be sorry to see any change in our social arrangements which would put an end to that state of things. As to disabled men, my noble friend who leads the House was able to say that a scheme was already under consideration for dealing with that subject, and I think he said the same in regard to the question of finding employment for soldiers on the land and also in regard to emigration—a problem, by the way, which requires extremely careful handling, for it by no means follows that because a man is a good soldier lie is therefore likely to make a good emigrant. I will only say one word in conclusion, and that is in reference to the striking remarks which were made by the right rev. Prelate. He said something as to the spirit in which these social problems might be approached at the end of the war. I share with him the hope that when that time comes we may find that one effect of the war has been a great bringing together of classes and a burying of some of the old antagonisms by which they have been divided. But, my Lords, I feel sure that if that result is to happen it will not be brought about by Parliamentary Committees or Royal Commissions or investigations of any kind. It will rather result from the better feeling which I, for one, look forward confidently to seeing established, the better feeling which will be the result of common sacrifices, the kind of Freemasonry that unites people who are bound together by the recollection of common losses; and I do not believe that any-thing will produce that better feeling except the spontaneous movement of thought which will arise from those causes and not from any external pressure that can be applied.
My Lords, I desire to thank the House for the way in which they have received the Motion standing in my name, and also to say, with regard to the suggestions and hopes which His Majesty's Government held out of the appointment of some body to see to these matters, that I am for the present quite content. I cannot, having had no experience of them, undertake to defend Joint Committees of the two Houses from the imputations which have been made against them.
House adjourned at Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, Eleven o'clock