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The 1959 Hansard trawl - featuring MPS discussing X films, Carlisle's pubs and 'coloured people'.

Breaching the peace, so to speak:

Mr. Iremonger asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints have been received by the Metropolitan Police concerning excessive noise caused by the exhausts of various classes of motor vehicles; and how many prosecutions and how many convictions have ensued.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Renton) I regret that no record is available of the number of complaints received. In the first seven months of this year, there were 404 prosecutions and 385 convictions in the Metropolitan Police District for the offences of using a motor vehicle with defective silencing equipment or in such a way as to cause excessive noise.

Mr. Iremonger Could my hon. and learned Friend tell the House what is the attitude of the police to complaints by citizens about exceptional noise, to what extent such complaints are required to be corroborated by witnesses, and how many witnesses are acceptable?

Mr. Renton  When a complaint is received, the Commissioner makes arrangements to have the matter followed up by having the section of road to which the complaint relates specially patrolled and then very often a prosecution follows. Corroboration is not generally necessary.

So in other words London's finest would just go on fishing trips, as it were.  Couldn't happen now, could it?

The things they do in Carlisle:

Dr. D. Johnson asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what authority the premises of the Arroyo Arms at Harraby, Carlisle, were used for an election news broadcast on the Northern Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday, 26th September; if he is aware that the purport of this broadcast was to extol the virtues of State Management Scheme beer in an identical manner as was being done by one of the candidates at this election, thus creating the widespread misunderstanding that these public houses, though a State institution, were actively entering the political arena; and what action he proposes to take to pre vent such misunderstandings arising in the future.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Dennis Vosper)  Permission was given for the B.B.C. to take shots of the Arroyo Arms for a film for a television news programme on the election campaign in Cumberland and North West England. 

A very rum business indeed, as Dr Johnson further notes:

Dr. D. Johnson While thanking my right hon. Friend for his very full reply, may I none the less ask him whether, in the forthcoming examination of the licensing system, he will assess the propriety of the State owning public houses as a monopoly in a single area, out of which misunderstandings of this rather paradoxical character arise?
From a separate exchange, this:

"Mr. Nabarro If I were to bring in a Bill to denationalise public houses in Carlisle, could my right hon. Friend say what would be the official attitude of Her Majesty's Government to it? Also, would he have some regard to the fact that it should be no part of the policy or purposes of the Conservative Party to own licensed premises or to promote the sale of a larger quantity of beer?

More on the insanity of the state owning pubs here. I will, with the greatest imaginable reluctance, give Heath credit for scrapping it.

Sub-headings that jar:

Coloured People, Notting Hill (Housing)

Mr. Fisher (Con, but father of Socialist MP Mark) asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what report he has received from the Metropolitan Police with regard to housing exploitation of, and threats against, coloured people living in the Notting Hill area of London; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. R. A. Butler The Commissioner of Police has investigated allegations of intimidation and will continue to give attention to this matter. It would not be in the public interest for me to say more.

One would think he meant well.  But perhaps not:

Mr. Fisher I appreciate that, but can my right hon. Friend indicate what thought has been given not only to the elimination of housing exploitation, but  also, perhaps more constructively, to the provision of alternative sources of housing for coloured people, such as, for instance, through special housing associations?

I believe the correct term is 'ghetto'.

The issue of 'Private Interests (Political Propaganda)'  

Mr. McAdden  Would my right hon. Friend have a look at this question most carefully and bear in mind the considerable expenditure on the part of the co-operative societies and especially that part which was spent on propaganda during the election period in plastering all their windows with the words, "All Prices Reduced", thus contributing to Conservative victory?

Mr. Bevan Is it not rather extra ordinary that a Question of this importance should not have been answered by the Home Secretary? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we on this side of the House would like to take all these matters into consideration, including the co-operative societies? Is the right hon. Gentleman not further aware that the authority of the House will be reduced in the minds of citizens if it is widely felt that the election has been rigged—

Mr. Osborne Take your beating like a man.

 Mr. Bevan Rigged by means of vast expenditure of money in the possession of the wealthier members of the community? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Members will permit me to put my supplementary question. Is it not a fact that if we cannot retain the authority of the House, then, of course, people will try to redress their wrongs in other ways?

Hon. Members Threats.

Mr. Vosper The right hon. Gentleman will have noticed that the protests against the electoral law have come equally from both sides of the House.

A brief extract from the debate on the Cinematograph Bill:

Mr Mawby (Con)...It is not very pleasant to have to say it, but an X certificate on a film seems to be an added inducement to people to go to see it, whatever the quality, the nature or the craftsmanship of the film. We should record that British producers do not seem to have jumped on the bandwagon of those who seek to produce films which will gain an X certificate and as a consequence will presumably earn a good deal of revenue. British producers can be congratulated, in the main, on producing films of a high standard which are not trying to pander to some of the feelings which apparently many members of the British public have in saying that because a film has been given an X certificate—in  the same way as if a book has been banned—they ought to leave no stone unturned in their endeavours to see it.

The beasts...


Sir Leslie Plummer  (Deptford) The hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) will not be surprised when I say that I do not quite share the enthusiasm which he expressed for the quality of British pictures. I think that the British film industry produces as many "stinkers" in proportion to the number of films it produces as the Americans do...There are some 1241 horror films coming out of Wardour Street and British studios which I would have preferred were made in Hollywood or in some other country. They are no credit to the British film industry.


Mr. John Hall Would my hon. Friend also agree that this "stinking awful film" will probably get a better showing throughout the cinemas of this country than would a good British film?

Mr. Cooper I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. The reason is that it has the one element which will always attract people in this country—sex. The low-cut neckline will always attract the film-goer in this country.

Here's a list of '59 box office smashes.  Maybe it was 'Some like it hot' to which they refer

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Anonymous Frank said... 5:43 pm

I believe nationalized beer in Carlisle was very good although I never tried it myself.  

Blogger James Higham said... 6:29 pm

Low cut neckline - especially in women.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:36 pm

Frank - Maybe, but my innate prejudices would have got in the way.

James - That gets a genuine laugh out loud.  

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