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Still more 1909 Hansard nuggets - including the spite of Chiswick Council, MPs failing to check their facts and the folly of the War Office

(Enjoy them while you can, as there will be a couple of hiati over the next 10-14 days).

The ever fascinating issue of the face off between the Royal Navy and the Kaiserliche Marine:

Mr. ASHLEY asked whether the German cruiser which was laid down in 1907, at the same time as the British "Invincible," is of considerably greater displacement and fighting power than the British vessel, and whether the German Government have, during the last year and the present year, laid down two more cruisers still larger and more powerful?

Mr. McKENNA  The details with regard to the "Von der Tann," which is assumed to be the vessel referred to in the first part of the question, have not been made public, but it is not anticipated that the comparison suggested with regard to our "Invincibles" will be found to be justified. It has been stated in the Press that the two cruisers laid down subsequently by the German Government will be larger and more powerful than the "Von der Tann."

Looks like Ashley was being a tad alarmist -'She set the precedent of German battlecruisers carrying much heavier armour than their British equivalents, albeit at the cost of smaller guns'.

Mr. ASHLEY  Is it not a fact that the German cruisers have twelve big guns and ours only eight?

Mr. McKENNA It may be well known to the hon. Gentleman, but we have no official information on the subject.

I think he just called Ashley a shipspotter...

But theres more to come, as Ashley blunders into issues of the Canopus class:

Mr. ASHLEY Then are we to understand that these battleships are going on the scrap heap?

Mr. McKENNA The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong.

Mr. ASHLEY If that is not so, why have these battleships not got a proper complement of men?

Mr. McKENNA It is rather difficult to explain the organisation in answer to a question across the floor of the House, but the fourth division of the Home Fleet has nothing to do the scrap heap.

Roughly translated - 'you Sir, are a half-wit'.

Our friend Rear Admiral Studeee had a stout friend in Captain Faber:

Captain FABER  May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if Admiral Sturdee was Lord Charles Beresford's Chief of Staff?

Mr. McKENNA Yes, Sir; I believe he was when he was captain.

Mr. ASHLEY May I ask if this officer received a warning that if he remained with Lord Charles Beresford he might find himself unemployed?

Mr. McKENNA The statement made by the hon. Gentleman is absolutely without warrant, and he has no right whatever to make any such statement in public.

I think a nerve was touched there.

And to rather less weighty matters - hare hounds in the New Forest

Sir ROBERT HOBART Has the right hon. Gentleman received a Petition signed by 448 persons, representing the trade of Lyndhurst, also the followers and puppy walkers, of the hare-hounds, requesting that permission for these hounds to hunt in the New Forest for the past 40 years, which is now withdrawn, may be granted to hunt the hare in the Forest on the same terms as other New Forest packs?

Mr. HOBHOUSE It is true that I received this petition, but like many other petitions a good many of the signatures appear to be in the same handwriting.

Sir R. HOBART I verified most of the signatures. I knew the handwriting of the persons.

Hmm.  I think I might be able to recognise maybe half a dozen sets of handwriting, so the fedora is well and truly doffed to Sir Robert.

An extract of special interest for one particular reader, the Chiswick Frontage Dispute:

Dr. RUTHERFORD (Lib, Brentford) asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Chiswick Urban District Council paved Barrowgate-road in 1901, subsequently took legal proceedings against one of two frontagers who refused to pay their apportionments, abandoned these proceedings, and then in the middle of the night of 20th May, 1909, tore up 300 to 400 feet of paving stones fronting the premises of the person against whom they started legal proceedings; and whether he proposes to hold a public inquiry into this expenditure of public money on legal proceedings and in regard to this destruction of public property?

Mr. BURNS I have received a Memorial on this subject from some of the ratepayers of the district. It is not one, however, with respect to which I am empowered to direct an inquiry at the present time. The only jurisdiction I should have in the matter would be on an appeal from the decision of the auditor as to the legality or otherwise of the expenditure incurred. It will be competent for any ratepayer to raise this question before the auditor at the audit of the accounts in which the expenditure is charged.

What about that for absolutely best in class spite?  The road in question can be found here.  I am tempted to make a pilgrimage. 

How to hack off the Catering Corps:

Mr. BOWERMAN (Lab) asked the Secretary of State for War whether he would grant facilities to the rank and file of the Army to cater for themselves, as are allowed to the commissioned ranks?

Mr. HALDANE I am afraid that the hon. Member's suggestion is impracticable. In barracks at present, within certain limits, soldiers settle details regarding the cooking of their rations and the expenditure of the messing allowance.

Yeah, great idea Bowerman.

And what's that saying about the military always readying itself to fight the previous war:

Cavalry and Yeomanry (New Pattern Sword).

Major ANSTRUTHER-GRAY asked the Secretary of State for War what progress has been made with re-arming the cavalry with the new pattern sword; and whether there is any intention of arming the Yeomanry with the sword?

Mr. HALDANE As regards the first part of the question, I have nothing at present to add to the information already given. As regards the second part of the question, no decision to arm the Yeomanry with the sword has at present been come to.

Earl WINTERTON Are we to understand that the suggestion has been abandoned of arming the Yeomanry with the sword?

Mr. HALDANE No, the whole thing is under very careful consideration. There is great division of opinion among the commanding officers.
I had been led to believe that our last cavalry charge was Omdurman, but apparently it was in 1920. Sticking with defunct forms of warfare, I am reliably informed that the British Army had one kill by bow and arrow shortly after the D-Day landings. If memory serves, it was one of our officers who was a sporting bowman, so to speak, and used it to snipe a presumably rather surprised German.

We would have had an awful lot of lost deposits in 2005:


Bill to direct the Returning Officer in a Parliamentary Election to repay to a candidate who has been returned unopposed, or being opposed has polled one-third of the total number of electors voting in such election, the amount of any deposit made by such candidate under and by virtue of the Parliamentary Elections

If I was not so bone idle I would go and mine the data.  However, All Seeing Eye, being an all round gent and good egg has done just that in the comments.  For which thanks are happily and gratefully given.

Great use of 'alleged' here:

Boycotting and Maltreatment (Alleged), Fawney Cross, North Derry

Mr. GLENDINNING  (Ind Unionist) asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that a Mr. Robert Bailey, residing at Fawney Cross, in the division of North Derry, is the victim of boycotting and intimidation, and that his cattle is being maltreated, causing him considerable financial loss;....

Mr. BIRRELL I am informed by the constabulary authorities that Mr. Bailey is not the victim of boycotting or intimidation. He has reported to the police that seven of his cattle have been maltreated during the spring and summer, and that as a consequence four of them have died. After careful investigation the police have been unable to find any evidence in support of his suspicions that these cattle were maliciously injured.
And how small did you feel then, Bob?

And lo, more scandal from across the Irish Sea:

Exhibition of Irish Agricultural Produce.

Mr. SHEEHAN  (Irish Nat) asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if he will state what approximately  was the cost to the Department of its stand for dairy produce at the recent show of the Belfast Industrial Development Association; whether he is aware that the persons who made inquiries at the Department's stand, and whose names were transmitted to the creameries as probable customers were all persons who were financially unsound; is the Department aware that no customers have been secured by the exhibitors as a result of this show; and will the Department take steps to see that only inquiries from distributers who are financially sound will be transmitted to exhibitors?
Then again, maybe not.
Mr. T. W. RUSSELL The approximate cost incurred by the Department in exhibiting Irish agricultural produce at this show was £48. The answers to the other queries are in the negative.

Heavenly Father, grant me the wisdom to check my facts....

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Blogger All Seeing Eye said... 6:26 pm

A trawl of the digits for 2005 shows 96 MPs wooing above 33.33% of the registered number of electors. Of those, 54 wore a blue rosette, 23 a red one and 15 that shade of vomit orange.

One UUP, one Independent and two SF round off the pack, with the "winner" being SF in Belfast West with 45.48% of registered voters.

My apologies, but these things must be done...order and precision maintained on deck at all times. Otherwise, of course, we would find ourselves in France.  

Blogger James Higham said... 8:56 pm

Well yes, the Kaiserliche Marine was very much on my mind this week at the Conference.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:06 pm

JH - One does what one can to ride that zeitgeist, and maybe even hang nine in the process. (Cue 'Wipeout' in the background)  

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