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The vintage Hansard trawl - featuring telegrapher's arm, suicide stats and quackery

Having taken the day off yesterday, a double dose of vintage Hansard-related goodness.

Telegrapher's arm

Mr. J. P. FARRELL asked the Postmaster-General whether, in the case of a lady telegraphist who has contracted muscular disease of the arm in consequence of her occupation, he will consider the advisability of arranging for her transfer to some other department requiring less manual effort instead of being removed from the service?

Mr. BUXTON If, when such a case arises, the officer in question desires to make any representation to me on the subject, I will, of course, gladly consider it.

Mr. FARRELL If I forward the right hon. Gentleman particulars of the case; will it receive his attention?

Mr. BUXTON I shall be very glad to look into it.

What about that for dedication to one's constituents, even the ones denied a vote?

And the ever popular topic of warships, again:

Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON (for Mr. Middlemore) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the cruiser which is to be built as an answer to the foreign super-"Invincibles" is to be of a design which will merely enable it to outrun capture by the foreign vessels, or whether it will be itself equipped with such speed and armament as will enable it both to outrun and to capture the enemy's vessels?

The SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara) It is premature, as yet, to give details of the design of this vessel.

One would have thought that blasting them to kingdom come was the aim of the game.

The vexed issue of the Rhondda and Swansea and Great Western Railway Companies:

Mr. WARDLE (Lab) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has communicated with the Rhondda and Swansea Bay and Great Western Railway Companies, asking if they would supply a copy of the working agreement into which they had entered; and, if so, will he say what has been the result of such application?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Churchill) I have not asked the railway companies for a copy of the agreement, which they are under no obligation to supply, but I called their attention to the hon. Member's previous questions on this subject, and was informed by them that they saw no reason for the publication of the agreement.

Mr. WARDLE Will the right hon. Gentleman seek for legislative powers to compel them to publish these things?

Mr. CHURCHILL I am not in a position to make any statement upon that point.

Socialists, eh? Always seeking an increase in the power of the state. A bit of sniffing around suggests that the R&SB, a loss making line serving coal country, was taken over by the GWR but maintained some autonomy for a while after. Disappointed that Churchill did not tell Wardle to shove it, frankly.

Wardle would appear to have had a lively and enquiring mind, as he came up with this too:

Mr. WARDLE asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any statistics exist of the number of deaths from suicide; whether he can give the figures for each of the last five years; whether the statistics are classified according to the manner of death; and, if so, can he give particulars?

The average for the period was 3,447. The figure for 2007 was 5,377, so on the basis of an approximate UK population of 41 m in 1909, the rate is largely unchanged.

Youthful criminality:

Mr. FENWICK (for Mr. Bottomley) asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the sentence of five years' detention in a reformatory recently passed by Mr. Rose, the stipendiary at the Tower Bridge police court, upon a girl 14 years of age for stealing the sum of £3 10s. from a coffee-shop in which she was employed; whether there had been any previous conviction against the girl; and, if not, whether he proposes to advise a mitigation of the sentence?

Mr. GLADSTONE I have made inquiry into this case, and am not prepared to interfere with the order of the court. There had been no previous conviction against the girl, but it is clear, in view of her character and history, that it is in her interest that she should remain in the reformatory school, where she will receive the careful training which is called for in her case.

My suspicions that £3 10s did not constitute an entirely trumpery sum were confirmed by playing around with a calculator here, which gives a figure of £271.84 based on RPI, and £1,428.19 based on average earnings. I reckon she got her just deserts, frankly.

Socialists, always messing with property rights:

Mr. BARNES (for Mr. Ramsay Macdonald) asked whether the Scottish Office has had any communication from the Peebles Town Council regarding the closing of paths in the grounds of Neidpath Castle by Lord Wemyss; whether the Scottish Office has any powers to protect the public in the enjoyment of these paths; and, if so, whether it proposes to put them into operation?

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for SCOTLAND (Mr. A. Dewar) No communication from the Peebles Town Council dealing with this matter has been received at the Scottish Office, nor has the Secretary for Scotland any power to interpose in the direction suggested by the hon. Member.

Mr. H. A. WATT Can the hon. Gentleman say whether this action was prompted by the fact that the Commissioners of Woods and Forests have permitted fishing in the Tweed?
Mr. DEWAR I have no information on the point.

The castle is not uneasy on the eye.

Full marks to Asquith for honesty and for not taking up an opportunity for point scoring

Captain CLIVE asked the Prime Minister whether, seeing that the Government Bill relating to hops is now practically uncontroversial, and is of importance to the hop-growing districts, he will proceed with it so that it may have an opportunity of becoming law this Session?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith) I am afraid that the Bill in question cannot be regarded as of a non-controversial character, and I cannot hold out any hope of its being proceeded with this Session.

Mr. JOHN GRETTON Can the right hon. Gentleman indicate in what quarter of the House the opposition to the Bill arises?

The bill looked to revolve around 'the abolition of hop-substitutes and the marking of foreign hops'. Fascinating.

And now for a big finish:

Captain CRAIG asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the increase in recent years of the sale of quack medicines; whether he is aware that it has been proved that such nostrums frequently contain nothing but harmless drugs, coloured grease, coloured water, small quantities of aloes, pilules of sugar, etc., though advertised to cure a multitude of different maladies; whether he is aware that the chief cost of such quack medicines is in the advertising; and whether he will appoint a small Commission to inquire into and report upon the whole subject?

Mr Glastone I beg to refer the hon. Member to the answer on this subject which I gave to the hon. Member for North Lambeth on 12th March last. I understand that inquiries are being made, at the instance of the Lord President of the Council, as to whether the practice of medicine by unqualified persons is extending, and as to the effects produced by such practice. These inquiries will, no doubt, throw some light on the question of the use of quack medicines, and I think it will be advisable to await their result.

Meanwhile, reiki practitioners, homeopaths etc etc continue to go unprosecuted.....

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Anonymous Anatole France said... 4:37 pm

Homeopaths, sir? Sound very dubious.

If of any interest, I've just visited Penguin Island and found their last entry was april 2008.  

Blogger James Higham said... 5:14 pm

a lady telegraphist who has contracted muscular disease of the arm

Vintage RSI. [Chuckle]  

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