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the 1959 Hansard trawl, featuring MPs shunning glittering prizes, red pencils and the King's Lynn bypass

A bit of 1959:

European Free Trade

Mr. Chetwynd  asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the progress made in the discussions for the establishment of a European Free Trade Area both with the seven countries and the members of the Common Market.

Mr. Amory Ministers of the seven countries of the Stockholm Group will be meeting on 19th and 20th of this month to consider a draft Convention setting up a European Free Trade Association. No discussions are in progress at the present time with the Common Market countries, but it is our hope that the Convention will be a step towards a wider agreement embracing the whole of Western Europe.

Sounds like a great idea, doesn't?  Wonder if they achieved an agreement?

MPs in not wanting more money shocker:

Sir T. Moore asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider raising the prizes for holders of Premium Bonds to £10,000, to encourage the public to increase their investment.

Mr. Amory The Government, in consultation with the National Savings Movement, continue to keep the prize structure under review, but it is far from certain that my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion would be generally welcome.

Sir T. Moore  But surely my right hon. Friend will agree that few of us want the fantastic prizes offered by the pools—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—nor, indeed, would it be good for us to have them, but £10,000 would come in very handy to all of us—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—inasmuch as that sum might provide a house or a business enterprise, or both? Would he, alternatively, consider extending the number of £1,000 prizes in order to achieve practically the same result?

Mr. Amory I will reserve judgment on the first part of the supplementary question, namely, whether I would welcome receiving the biggest prize. I agree with the hon. Gentleman's second point, that I am not sure that it would be for my good if I did. I should be very glad to win a £1,000 prize if that came my way.

Those Frenchies and their nuclear tests:

Mr. Brockway asked the Prime Minister what official representations he has received from the Federal Government of Nigeria regarding the projected atomic test by the French Government in the Sahara.


The Prime Minister  The Federal Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar, and three of his colleagues came to England in September to explain to me Nigerian anxieties about the proposed tests. I hope the information I was able to give them, together with what they heard and saw on a visit to Harwell and the arrangements we are making to help monitor radioactivity in Nigeria, will have helped to allay some of these anxieties.

Mr. Brockway Is it true to say that this is not only a matter of the safety of the fall-out—in respect of which scientists differ—but also a matter of the resentment of African countries that these tests should take place in their continent at all, when the nations concerned have had no responsibility for 202 this instrument of annihilation? If this test is so safe, would it not be possible to conduct it in one of the stations of the other N.A.T.O. countries, and not on the continent of Africa?

An argument I've heard since.  The tests were conducted in Algeria by the way, and during the Algerian war.  Surprising that the FLN weren't intimidated, I suupose.  Meandering somewhat, the Battle of Algiers is a film well worth seeing.  Fabulous Morricone soundtrack too. 

The death of a Ministry (hurrah)

Mr. Osborne asked the Secretary to the Treasury what is the estimated number of civil servants who will be redundant through the closing of the Ministry of Supply; and what will be the economy in money by this change.

Sir E. Boyle The functions of the former Ministry of Supply will be carried out by other Departments, mainly the War Office and the Ministry of Aviation; and the staff will go with the functions to the new Departments. I have no reason to suppose that these changes in themselves will lead to redundancy, but it is too early to say what the net effect on total staff numbers in the Departments affected will be or on the cost of administering the services.

I can think of a few other ministries I'd like to go the same way, but where to start?

And what manner of odd ministry does this sort of thing?:

Mr. Parker asked the Minister of Works when he proposes to start work on further excavations at Avebury.

Lord John Hope It is proposed to start work next summer on the trial excavation of the North Setting at Avebury.

A rum business.

The business of pencils:

Mr. Johnson Smith asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that over 2 million pencils were imported from Iron Curtain countries during the month of August, many at 5s. a gross, and that British manufacturers have to pay this price for the wood alone; and, in view of the threat to the industry which this represents, what steps he is taking to safeguard its future; and whether he will make a statement.

Rodgers  Imports of pencils from Iron Curtain countries are restricted by quota and during August amounted to half a million. United Kingdom production exceeded 230 million last year. It is always open to an industry to supply evidence to the Board of Trade in support of an application for an anti-dumping duty. The pencil industry has already been told this.

And who knows where those red were sticking the pencils before shipping them here.

Elsewhere the Lords debated the King's Lynn bypass to the extent of 8,484 words.  Good job they didn't consider Wisbech, eh readers?

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Blogger ScotsToryB said... 5:40 pm

'I,Pencil' or 'I,Government'?

Compare & contrast: must be submitted by 5pm Friday the next.


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