The 1959 Hansard Trawl - featuring some bizarre claims about Basildon and 'the inevitable advance of mankind towards Socialism'.
Someone (Edward Gardner) loved some of the less lovely parts of Essex:
"Billericay is the most remarkable constituency in the country. There is nothing quite like it. Certainly, if the speed with which its election result was announced is to be a test, Billericay is the most advanced constituency in the country. It is a fascinating division, a microcosm of Britain, where the new is pressing hard upon the old—too hard, some people think, for in places like Pitsea, Vange and Laindon many watch nervously as the new town of Basildon stretches out towards them. The benefits of Basildon for those people are not always apparent or appreciated.
None the less, Basildon is an exciting new town where the wide windows of modern factories overlook green fields, a town of contemporary designs and primary colours, and, more important, prosperous industries. It all began ten years ago. Now it is a very fine place to live in, and I believe that the sooner we drop the prefix "new" the better. As striking as the freshness of its architecture is the friendliness and vitality of its people".
Conservatism, as I understand it and have seen it develop over the years, has never meant a negative policy of keeping things as they are. Indeed, if that had been our approach to the problems 72 of this century, we should still be in opposition, or perhaps a small, dwindling party, like the Jacobite Party in the eighteenth century.
Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire) Or the Tory Party in Scotland today.
The Prime Minister Even in Scotland we polled more votes than hon. Gentlemen opposite. They should get one of their statisticians to help them.
How things change....
And behold the exciting bills tabled for the session:
I am sure that hon. Members will feel that their time is profitably used when they consider our schemes for the improvement of horticultural marketing; our Measures for penal reform; our Measures to deal with the problem of juvenile crime; or when they are asked to consider the law relating to building societies and the protection of those who lend their savings to them. For Scotland, the Mental Health Bill, which is the counterpart of the Bill introduced for England and Wales last Session, will be brought in.
Be still my beating heart.
In Europe, one of our immediate tasks is to consider not merely the economic but the political problems of Europe today. We have always feared that if economic unity is impaired this will ultimately produce political divisions which could be a source of weakness to the free world. We welcome the Treaty of Rome, and are anxious that it should succeed. We want to work as closely as possible with the Treaty of Rome Powers to achieve greater European unity and prosperity.
Meanwhile, as hon. Members know, we have been seeking, with our partners in the Stockholm Group, to provide a new basis for achieving a bridge between the Six and the rest of Western Europe. I hope that a convention establishing a European Free Trade Association between the seven members of the Stockholm Group will be achieved within a month or two. This Association will be viable in itself. It should open up excellent prospects for exporters in the seven countries.
Sounds like an excellent idea, doesn't it?
"Sir Thomas Moore (Ayr) I now find myself, I understand, in the position of being the deputy Father of the House and, therefore, I should like to take this opportunity of adding my congratulations to those which have already been offered so felicitously from the other benches to the mover and seconder of the reply to the Address.
I was particularly pleased to find in the Gracious Speech that there was no mention of nationalisation and I am glad that the Prime Minister happily expressed that in his concluding remarks. I thought that after the General Election nationalisation, as an issue, was dead, and that it would certainly no longer be a controversial matter between us. Now, to my intense surprise, it has reared its ugly head again...When nationalisation was first introduced by the Labour Party I felt no very strong opposition to it, and for one very good reason. For about half a century it had been offered by the Labour Party, held out as a sort of panacea, as the cure for all industrial ills and, indeed, many social ones, too. Therefore, I felt that the people would not be satisfied until it had been given a fair trial. However, I believed that the policy should, so to speak, be restricted to the services in our social system. I did not think that it should be adapted to the competitive industries of the country. At the same time, I realised that coal was a sick industry at the time—indeed, it has been for years—and, therefore, that it might be worth while to take the risk with coal as well.".
If only it had been.
Quote o' the year?
Mr. Mallalieu The facts show just the opposite. Nationalisation has been singularly successful wherever it has been tried in this country, and there are outstanding examples abroad in the motor industry, where two firms which are completely nationalised are sweeping the world, Renault and Volkswagen.
Horace King did not like the PM's speech:
As I listened to him, I felt that his speech, like the Gracious Speech, reflected the confidence—natural enough—of the Conservative Party. It reflected that pride in the inner self for which the Greeks had a word of sinister connotation—hubris—pride could go no further. An American Secretary once said: "What's good for General Motors is good for America." The Prime Minister has persuaded the majority of the electorate that what is good for the Stock Exchange is good for Britain.
The last line sounds about right to me...
And more of the same:
Underneath the complacent words of the Queen's Speech remains the basic purpose of the Government—to resist what I believe to be the inevitable advance of mankind towards Socialism"
Rather delightfully King lived to 1986, so he would have seen much of his life's work fail dismally.
Shame he did not live to see one the last century's greatest Babylons fall:
"Nationalisation in the Soviet Union can hardly be regarded as a failure when State planning has sent the first rocket to the moon, produced today dramatic photographs for the first time in the world's history of the other side of the moon, talks tomorrow of damming the Bering Strait and altering the whole of the climate of the Arctic".
A valid point on social housing:
Sir O. Prior-Palmer The hon. Member for Itchen also mentioned council houses. There is one thing that could be done in this respect, and I think that I shall get the hon. Gentleman's agreement about it. Why do not some of the local councils take much stronger steps to remove from council houses people on a higher income level who have no right to occupy them at all? It is really a disgrace to see, as I did recently, a Jaguar car standing outside a council house. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because the house is intended for a person in the lower income group who cannot afford a Jaguar. A man who can afford a Jaguar can also afford either to buy his own house or to pay a higher rent.
I have argued for council rents to be linked to income before, but cannot find the reference as google's blog search is playing up. Gah.
And what about this for getting cut off at one's ankles:
Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton) Despite all that has been said today, the main problem facing the majority of people in this country—Lipton did not like the Bay City Rollers, apparently.
It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
Debate to be resumed Tomorrow.