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The 1909 Hansard Trawl -

And the last one for a week, because I'll be away and /probably/ will have commitments that trump blogging...

Can you read this sub-heading without your imagination scampering away at speed?

Military Manœuvres (Travelling Kitchen).

Less exciting than it sounds, however:

Mr. ASHLEY asked whether, during the late manœuvres, a trial was made of a new type of travelling kitchen; and, if so, what was the substance of the report furnished to the War Office upon it?

Mr. HALDANE A trial was made, but the report has not yet been received by the War Office.

The all important issue of the 9.2" guns at Sheerness:


Mr. ASHLEY asked how many times and on what dates the two 9.2-inch guns in the Ravelin Battery at Sheerness had been fired since they were handed over to the Royal Artillery on 11th February, 1908?

Mr. HALDANE These guns have not yet been fired, but they will be at no very distant date. The date of such practice rests with the local Artillery Commanding Officer.

Mr. ASHLEY Why, for two whole years, have these guns, which defend this important dockyard, not been fired?

Mr. HALDANE There were other important matters which had to be attended to.

Doubtless. And quite possibly there was nothing worth firing at.  As might be said of the ICBMs carried by our Trident submarines. Ashley is rubbish at dates too.

Someone is quite some distrance from the ball.  About 24 light years:

Mr. GINNELL asked what the status of Johore now is, whether a Free State, a Protectorate, or a British Crown Colony; and, if either of the two latter, whether debt was the principal means employed in depriving Johore of its independence?

And thwack, off goes the ball into the still longer grass
Colonel SEELY The status of Johore is defined in the Agreement of the 11th of December, 1885, a copy of which was presented to Parliament in C. 4627 of 1886.
And I can't find any refernce to Johor (It is in what is now Malaysia) in Hansard between 1880 and 1887, and half-hearted excavations elsewhere disclose little more than a treaty of friendship in 1886.   So perhaps Seely had no idea, but reckoned that answer would shut Ginnell (a Yorkshire word for alley, according to my Northern correspondent) up for the time being.

Beautifully phrased question o' the day:

Mr. WEIR asked the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the villagers of Inver, Ross-shire, from time immemorial have been in the habit of grazing their ponies on part of Morrich Moor, in the immediate vicinity, and also securing there from dried grass for thatching purposes, as well as turf for covering potato pits; will be explain under what circumstances these ancient rights have been divided between the Town Council of Tain and the Cadboll estate; and will he take such steps as may be necessary to secure to the people of Inver a restoration of their rights?

Resisting - manfully, I think - the temptation to state that the talk in the Lord Advocate's chambers was of little else, he replied thus:

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Alexander Ure) My hon. Friend is already aware of the facts from the answers which he has received to his earlier questions upon this subject, to which I can add nothing. Any complaint which the people of Inver or my hon. Friend wish to make should be addressed to the Town Council of Tain, the Cadboll estate, and the other parties to the recent agreement. The Government have no right to intervene in the matter.

Weir had a slew of Caledonian interest questions, but he crowned the day with this stab at embarassing the  doubtless good people of the Island of Lewis:

Island of Lewis (Insanitary Townships).

(See what I mean?)

Mr. WEIR asked the Lord Advocate, in view of the fact that the Secretary for Scotland has repeatedly stated that the congested and insanitary townships in the island of Lewis require special treatment, other than that provided in the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill, will he state when the Secretary for Scotland proposes to take action in the matter?

Mr. URE This is a matter primarily for the local authority, which is doing all it can to the full extent of its rating powers.

Mr. WEIR  For the last four years the Secretary for Scotland has had this matter under his consideration, and nothing has been done. The local authority has no funds.

Doubtless there was much pointing and sniggering at Lewisites when folk on the boat to Ullapool got downwind of them.

I fear that Patrick O'Brien might be guilty of libelling his fellow Irishmen:

Mr. PATRICK O'BRIEN (on behalf of Mr. Nannetti) asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that balls, dances, dinners, etc., are held on unlicensed premises in Dublin; that the police do not interfere with the holding of such entertainments; and that intoxicating drink is consumed without restraint on such occasions;

I am shocked, shocked.  Something like that would never happen in O'Brien's patch of North Tipperary, to be sure.

The lovely people who digitised the Hansards may have let this one slip through quality control.  See what you think:

The mind boggles.  And then boggles some more.

And wrapping it up, our neighbourhood postage obsessive is encouraged to push the French to adopt sensible systems of weight and currency:

Mr. HENNIKER HEATON asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that a foreign merchant residing in France can send 504 circulars in open envelopes to English clients resident in England for £1, whereas the English merchant can send only 480 circulars in open envelopes to his customers for £1; whether he is aware that French firms having branch offices in this country actually post these circulars in France, thereby, under the Postal Union law, England does all the work and France takes the whole of the postage receipts for these circulars; and seeing that this arrangement is prejudicial to the postal revenue of this country and gives the foreigner an advantage over his English rivals in trade, whether he will take steps for an alteration?

Mr. BUXTON I am aware that 25 francs is equivalent to 500 five centimes, and that £1 sterling is equivalent to 480 halfpence. Perhaps, however, my hon. Friend is not aware that, in consequence of the difference in weight between two ounces and 50 grammes, the English halfpenny prepays about 14 per cent. more than the French five centimes. Thus, while the advantage in numbers is with the French poster, the advantage in weight is with the English poster. Until my hon. Friend has been able to arrange international standards of money and weight, I fear these slight differences of postage must remain.


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Blogger James Higham said... 4:50 pm

What are we going to do about our daily Hansard fix?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:04 am

We'll see, but Hansard trawling would involve the prospect of the wrath of both my mother and my lady love.  

Anonymous Frank said... 11:08 pm

At about this time the Germans had a field kitchen (Gulaschkanone) that was welded rather than riveted, but it did them no good in the end.  

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