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The 1909 Hansard Trawl - featuring the pleasures of working in a telephone exchange, rustling in convent-side bushes and the generosity of the Admiralty.

Scandal o' the day, or perhaps, 'choc, horreur'.

Mr. HART-DAVIES asked the Secretary for War whether he would take into consideration the advisability of appointing a committee to revise the rates of pay of all officers of all ranks?

Mr. ACLAND While my right hon. Friend greatly sympathises with the aim and object of my hon. Friend's question he regrets that at the present time it would not be practicable to carry out his suggestion.

Mr. HART-DAVIES Is the hon. Gentleman aware that owing to a recent revision the pay of captains and subalterns in the French Army is actually higher than in the English Army?

Mr. ACLAND Yes, Sir, I am aware of that.

Good job military mobility of labour, other than to the Légion étrangère, was pretty limited, eh readers?
(Note for Francophobes and those others doubting French military prowess, the Foreign Legion - 90% officered by French nationals - was the furthest into Iraq at the close of Gulf War One).   

Technology is our friend - a knock down proof:

Night Telephone Service.

Mr. WATT asked the Postmaster-General, whether he was aware that in most local exchanges of the National Telephone Company in Scotland an operator lived on the premises, slept in the exchange room, roused to every call, and was thus always available day and night; and, if so, whether his Department proposed to continue this system on the taking over of the Company, or to close at the same hour as telegraph offices?

Captain NORTON   My right hon. Friend is aware that the National Telephone Company gives a continuous service at its exchanges. He does not anticipate that the present facilities for night telephone service—so far as they meet any actual need on the part of the public—will be restricted after the transfer of the Company's system to the State. The question of the extent of Sunday use will require special consideration.

I hate being woken up by the 'phone, as I always assume it will be bad news, and if it isn't, it is usually a wrong number, so pity the telephonists of Kirkcudbrightshire and Banffshire.  

Workfare, 1909 style:

Mr. FELL asked the President of the Local Government Board, how many able-bodied young men there were at the present time in the Marylebone Workhouse, how long the majority of them had been there, what work they were made to do each day, and if they were allowed to go out each day and seek for work?

Mr. BURNS I understand that the number of able-bodied young men in the Marylebone Workhouse on Friday last was 56. The majority of them have been in and out of the workhouse for the past two years. The daily task of work for this class of inmate is to pick 4 lbs. of oakum, or to grind 8 pecks of corn, or to do scrubbing. They are not allowed to go out each day, but can take their discharge by giving the usual notice.

Sounds like fun. 

The awesome generosity of the Admiralty:

Mr. BOTTOMLEY asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in the case of the men who lost their lives in the recent disaster to submarine C11, their clothes and personal effects were sold, and out of the proceeds a week's wages was deducted, on the ground that they had been overpaid to that extent at the time of the disaster; and, if so, whether, having regard to the position of the widows and relatives of the victims, the Admiralty would consider the propriety of refunding the amount of such deduction?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr. Macnamara) The personal effects of the men who lost their lives in C11 were sold in accordance with the custom of the Service. It is not the fact that any deduction has been made from the proceeds. As a matter of fact, although the men had received an advance of pay beyond the amounts due to them, the Admiralty have decided, in view of the sad circumstances of the case, not to recover the over-payment.

 Keep the enemy guessing:

Mr. GRETTON asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any of the four additional ships to be laid down in April of next year are to be large amoured cruisers, or whether all four are to be battleships?

Dr. MACNAMARA It is not considered desirable to make any statement at the present juncture.
I would think not.

Political prisoners?

Mr. J. DILLON (Irish Nat) asked the Home Secretary for what offence Mrs. Anne Cobden Sanderson has been sentenced to a week's imprisonment in the second division; and whether he will take steps immediately to secure that all political prisoners in this country shall be put in the first division or subjected to such treatment as was customary in the case of political prisoners in England a hundred years ago?

Mr. MASTERMAN  On 3rd September Mrs. Cobden Sanderson was convicted of obstructing the police in the execution of their duty, and sentenced to pay a fine of 40s., with the alternative of seven days' imprisonment in the second division. ...

Mr. DILLON May I ask the hon. Gentleman, as I think this is an extremely serious business, whether he is now of opinion that the time has come to restore the ancient practice in England of treating political prisoners in a different class from that of common felons?

Mr. J. D. REES (Con) Before the hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask whether the law of England recognises this lady or any other law breaker as a political prisoner?

Mr. DILLON So much the more shame to England.
First it was our Tommies tempted to take the M Le President's sou, now it it Johnny Frenchman fleeing the jurisdiction because of our ruinous taxes:

Lord ROBERT CECIL asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can give any estimate of the value of the investments of French subjects in this country which have been transferred elsewhere in consequence of the agreement respecting Death Duties dated 15th November, 1907?

Mr. HOBHOUSE No, Sir. I should perhaps add that the information at my right hon. Friend's disposal does not indicate that any such transfer as is suggested in the question has taken place.

Dark times indeed.

This is a good one - Police Action at Elphin, County Roscommon.

Mr. JAMES O'KELLY asked the Chief Secretary whether he was aware that Head Constable Gilhooly and Acting Sergeant Nestor had frequently of late stopped respectable inhabitants of Elphin, some of them young ladies, going about their ordinary business, at nine and 10 o'clock at night to ask for their names and the business on which they were abroad; whether he could say if these police officers have any special instructions, and for any, and, if so, what, special reasons to thus interfere with and annoy respectable residents well known to them; and whether he would give instructions that this action on their part should cease?

Mr. BIRRELL  I am informed by the constabulary authorities that, on the occasion to which the hon. Member appears to refer, the two policemen named in the question, hearing a noise in some bushes near the Convent, and having received complaints of damage done to the Convent grounds, examined the bushes and found two persons there who refused to give their names. The head constable lit a match in order to see who they were, and then went away. The Inspector-General is satisfied that the police did no more than their duty. This incident appears to be the only ground for the allegations in the question. No special instructions have been issued to the police on the subject and none are required.

And I'm not saying a *mumbling* word

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