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A litle light hansard trawling - featuring horror films, creosote and privateers in dog collars.

Monday, March 29, 2010
Starting in 1860.

"Mr Selwyn said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, Whether the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty intend to recal the Circular of the 2nd of February, 1860, relating to the rank of Chaplains in the Royal Navy, or to alter the Circular so as to make it accord with that portion of the Order in Council which relates to the same subject; and whether the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty are prepared to make any arrangement, in compliance with the request of the Chaplains, that in choice of quarters, sharing prize money, and taking a passage, they rank with Commanders afloat, or field officers when employed on shore?".

Insert joke about muscular Christianity here...

Lord Clarence Paget - With regard to the choice of quarters, by which he presumed the hon. and learned Member meant cabins, he had to state that Chaplains were always allowed one of the best cabins in the quietest part of the ship. With regard to sharing prize-money and taking rank as commanders afloat, he was afraid the Admiralty could not accede to that proposal. The Chaplains had never ranked with Commanders afloat, but had taken their rank with the Paymasters and Surgeons, and other Officers of that class, and the Admiralty had no intention of altering that arrangement.
Here's an idea:

MR. LINDSAY  said: Sir, I rise to propose the following Motion:— "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that she will be graciously pleased to enter into negotiations with the Emperor of the French, with the view of making a Treaty for the reciprocal abrogation of all discriminating duties levied upon the vessels and their cargoes of either of the two nations in the ports of the other; and for procuring such alterations in the Navigation Laws of France, as may tend to facilitate the Commercial intercourse, and strengthen the friendly relations between England and France."

This might  have obviated any need for the Treaty of Rome, if multiplied a few times....  
How much did creosote cost?

Mr. FRANCE asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he would consider the possibility of extending the period of loan on creosoted fencing used in connection with small holdings to twenty-five years, in accordance with representations made by the Small Holdings Commissioners in different parts of the country, upon the strength of which rents had been fixed by county councils?

The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Burns) Perhaps I may be allowed to refer my hon. Friend to my answer given on the 21st instant to the hon. Baronet the Member for North Dorset, from which he will see that I have been advised that thirteen years is an adequate period to allow for the repayment of these loans.

And all this NOT from the known creosote obsessive of 1909, Mr Courthorpe

How about this for the British motor industry, erm, motoring?

Mr. BIRD  asked the President of the Board of Trade if he would state the number of motor cars with bodies and also of chassis without bodies, all of foreign manufacture, imported into this country during 1909; and the value of the above and the value of the motor car parts and accessories imported from abroad during the same year.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Sydney Buxton)  3,666 motor cars of a declared value of £1,223,053 and 4,855 chassis of a declared value of £1,321,596 were imported into the United Kingdom in 1909, in addition to other parts of motor cars valued at £1,771,960.


Mr. BIRD asked the right hon. Gentleman if he will state the value of British-made motor cars and chassis exported from this country during 1909 and the actual total of British-made cars produced in 1909, according to the returns of the British Society of Motor Manufacturers?

Mr. BUXTON  Two thousand five hundred and eighty-three motor-cars and 219 chassis of United Kingdom manufacture were exported in 1909, their combined value being £1,037,787.

Having overturned the Treaty of Rome, maybe Beveridge could have been spared his report:

 Mr. HUGH LAW  asked the Prime Minister whether, in considering the amendment of the Old Age Pensions Act, the Government will bear in mind the desirability of making provision at an earlier age than seventy for persons suffering from permanent physical disabilities?

The PRIME MINISTER  I do not think that this is a matter which should be dealt with by amendment of the Old Age Pensions Act. The Government have had under their consideration for some time past the framing of a contributory scheme for insurance against sickness, invalidity, etc., which it is hoped will to a considerable extent meet cases such as those described by the hon. Member.
As in truly contributory, rather than via a governmental Ponzi scheme.

And so to 1960, wherein Marcus Lipton finds American architectural adornments not his cup of tea.

Mr. Lipton (Lab, Brixton) asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when planning consent was given to the erection of an aluminium eagle with a wing-span of thirty-five feet on the American Embasy Building in Grosvenor Square, London.

Sir K. Joseph The design approved by the London County Council included a large cartouche on the facade. It is now proposed to substitute an aluminium eagle. The planning authority is being consulted.

Mr. Lipton Will the hon. Gentleman say what on earth London will look like if all the foreign Governments represented here stick up monstrous national emblems on the buildings they occupy? Is not London already defaced and scarred by all kinds of architectural eyesores and so-called planning improvements, and has not the time come to call a halt?

Oh I don't know Marcus, I think it might be rather fun.

An unlikely take on the position of South Africa in the Commonwealth from a Labour MP:

"Mr Silverman Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a great many people in this country would desire that, far from withdrawing the invitation, this gentleman should be actively encouraged to come here, and that while he is here he should be given every possible opportunity of seeing democracy at work? 

He had a point, didn't he?

Captain Richard Pilkington  (Poole)
Mr. Speaker, I have to ask you very kindly to switch your attention from pigs and eggs to the problems of some films, bad films. I think the vast majority of people in the country and in this House are very concerned with the growing wave of crime and brutality that there has been since the war. That crime wave has been particularly evident among the young people of our nation, the people to whom we have to look for the leaders of the future.

[much toing and froing over matters of law, procedure etc]

I quote, first, from a review appearing in the Sunday Express of 27th September, 1959. It referred to a film called "The Mummy," at the London Pavilion, and the following sentences are germane, I think, to what I am putting to the House. The review states: But we are now given a flash-back of Princess Ananka, describing the circumstances of her death. The only reason for doing this, as far as I can see, is to give you a close up of the way to cut off a man's tongue. Why put that in? Because the film's makers (Hammer Films), who have made a lot of money out of doing this sort of thing, believe that you will pay to see it—especially if it is in Technicolour. My second quotation is from the Daily Herald of 29th October, 1959, and refers to a film called "Eyes Without A Face," at the Cameo-Royal. It says: The daughter of a famous French surgeon is badly injured … and has 'an enormous wound instead of a face. Only the eyes are intact.' While she lopes about the house wearing a mask, Dad lures girls to his clinic, where he removes their faces and tries them on his daughter for size. He has already been successful with the same trick on dogs. I apologise, Mr. Speaker, for reading some of these details, but the review goes on to say: Finally, the daughter goes mad, and lets loose the dogs, who tear Dad to pieces … The lingering and obscene eye of the camera focusses on the following: The daughter taking off her mask (in close-up); the surgeon drawing a pencil round a girl's face as she lies on the operating table, then tracing the line with his scalpel (in close-up); the surgeon beginning to peel off the girl's face (in close-up); the face of the surgeon after a score of dogs have got at it (in close-up).'Eyes Without a Face' is a piece of revolting, pandering evil rubbish.  The review very rightly comments 'Eyes Without a Face' is a piece of revolting, pandering evil rubbish."

Mr. Vosper I was coming to that point. My hon. and gallant Friend referred to horror films. I think the public, on the whole, regard the horror film as a film of a Dracula type. Despite what my hon. and gallant Friend said, and despite the Press criticisms, I think these are somewhat infrequent nowadays. The Board accepts what it regards as legitimate horror films, but it removes scenes which appear to it as disgusting or repulsive, and it invariably places horror films in the "X" category, which means that they must not be shown to children.

Both 'Eyes' and 'The Mummy' are available on DVD with '15' ratings.....

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The DPRK update - and it is a really *good* one.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
And rather more interesting than the Budget too:

From the usual place:

A spokesman for the National Reconciliation Council (NRC) released the following statement Tuesday to denounce the south Korean puppet conservative group for its recent frantic anti-DPRK smear campaign:
The puppet conservative group, obsessed by an anti-DPRK confrontation ruckus, is using even human scum including defectors to the south as a shock brigade in escalating it only to be jeered by the public at home and abroad.

(All quote marks are in the original)

The group whipped together such riff-raffs as defectors to the south, calling them "future forces for unification". It is busy fabricating what it called the "Alliance for the Movement of Free North", the "Solidarity of NK Intellectuals" and other anti-DPRK plot-breeding organizations. It is even contemplating organizing a preparatory committee for forming a political party called the "Solidarity of Persons for Unification" and letting its candidate to run for the elections to "local self-governing bodies"..iIn another development, the group even let "defectors from the north" to conduct various forms of anti-DPRK smear campaigns such as "broadcasting for reforms in the north", "broadcasting for leading the north to opening" and "daily NK" in a bid to utter a spate of anti-DPRK vituperation. It also made them visit puppet army units and even foreign countries so that they might appear in "security lectures" and "seminars" and at "interviews" to hurl mud at the DPRK. And it instigated them to scatter leaflets, stage such foolish anti-DPRK charade as "opera" and "art performances" and publication of novels and memoirs.
What should not be overlooked is that the puppet group has made no scruple of hurting the supreme headquarters of the DPRK, not content with raising a hue and cry over its situation while working with blood-shot eyes to spy it with human scum involved.
It is as clear as a pikestaff that betes noires will make only vituperation just as a crow will never be whiter for often washing.
The groundless mud-slinging made by those human scum who have become living corpses as politicians censured by the people for their despicable acts of treachery and those anti-DPRK plot breeders who rely on them only betrays their wretched plight as betes noires.

As a foot note, I acquired a coffee table book on the DPRK the other day - well, it was remaindered from £25 to £3, but it proved devoid of any particularly good anecdotes. 


A very brief Hansard trawl

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This, from 1960, in a debate about the touring programme of the Covent Garden Opera Company:

Mr. James Watts  (Manchester, Moss Side)  ".....All of us who live in the area have from time to time witnessed the whole of the Wagnerian sequence of operas— "The Ring", and so on—and we have heard all the Italian operas in these theatres in Manchester".

I am NOT making this up.  Nor that Moss Side was represented by the blue team back then.

And there's more:

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)   "For example, I am told that the cast for the current production of what are popularly known as "Cav and Pag", or "I Pagliacci" and Cavalleria Rusticana", includes 106 men, 68 women, 25 small boys, 13 small girls, and a pony, quite apart from the orchestra; and a whole battery of green rooms, wardrobe rooms, bathrooms and workshops is needed backstage to keep the cast and their settings and accessories in good order".

Mr. Charles A. Howell (Birmingham, Perry Barr) And the pony.

Sir E. Boyle Yes, indeed.

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If it looks to good to be true, it almost certainly is - an object lesson from the DPRK.

Note this uplifting headline / opening para, especially given the horrors that tomorrow holds:

It certainly caught my attention....

Anyway, some detail:

In Juche 44 (1955) the Republic lowered the blue and white collar workers' income tax 30 percent and radically reduced taxes of handicraftsmen, businessmen and merchants. It also brought down the peasants' tax in kind at 20.1 percent on an average from 25 percent of the yield, and again at 8.4 percent since 1959.
With the production relationship transformed on socialist lines and solid foundations of socialist industrialization laid, it pushed ahead with preparations for the abolition of the tax system and eliminated agricultural tax in kind in 1966.
Thus only the income tax paid by the industrial and non-industrial workers and some amount of local taxes still remained in the DPRK.
The President had a historic law, "On Abolishing the Tax System," adopted at the third session of the 5th Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK convened in March 1974 to finally do away with the tax system in the country.

I think I would rather suffer even our iniquitous tax system than live in an economy where the state owns the entirety of the means of production and thus can get its greasy mitts on one's income etc without going through the palaver of pay slip with itemised deductions.

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Byers, Hewitt and Hoon on the payroll

Patricia 'very, very regular' Hewitt is a director at BT, and judging from this filing, her hourly rate is some £446.4s, gross.  Alliance Boots get her on the cheap, at £306.66 per hour, while Cinven are getting stiffed at £500 per hour. 

Byers has failed to rack up quite such a selection of household names, and has non-exec positions at a water treatment company and 'a company established to promote closer links between the Ukraine and the European Union'.  Yes, really.  He also consults for 'Consolidated Contractors International Co., an international construction company founded in Lebanon with its head office now in Athens'.  Alas his hourly rate is not given, which is rather sad.

No-one seems to think it is worth employing the Hoonster - understandable, frankly. 

I would be among the last to object to folk making a living, but one does have to wonder whether those companies are risking brand contamination from ongoing dealings with Hewitt and Byers.

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Literary extract o' the day

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Among other titles, I am reading Prescott's 'Conquest of Mexico' (1848), and felt that this less than delicate extract merited a narrower audience:

Those familiar with the modern Mexicans will find it difficult to conceive that the nation should ever have been capable of devising the enlightened polity which we have been considering. But they should remember that in the Mexicans of our day they see only a conquered race; as different from their ancestors as are the modern Egyptians from those who built, I will not say, the tasteless pyramids, but the temples and palaces whose magnificent wrecks strew the borders of the Nile, at Luxor and Karnac. The difference is not so great as between the ancient Greek, and his degenerate descendant, lounging among the master- pieces of art which he has scarcely taste enough to admire, speaking the language of those still more imperishable monuments of literature which he has hardly capacity to comprehend. Yet he breathes the same atmosphere, is warmed by the same sun, nourished by the same scenes, as those who fell at Marathon and won the trophies of Olympic Pisa. The same blood flows in his veins that flowed in theirs. But ages of tyranny have passed over him ;
he belongs to a conquered race.


Legal trouble for a favourite blog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Folk concerned about the state of British defamation law and the activities of George Galloway might want to hie themselves to Harry's Place.

All the details here


Headline o' the day. Maybe even o' the month

Friday, March 12, 2010
 Passed to me by Dizzy, who found it on Twitter, so maybe you've all seen it already:

Bet the subs just loved having that opportunity.

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Strangling small businesses at birth - a handy guide from the TUC

And very simple it is too:

"The real pension problem in the UK is in the private sector where employers are no longer providing pensions to almost two thirds of their staff...That is why the pension reform we need is compulsory employer contributions to pensions for all staff, which will start with auto-enrolment in 2012 as the first step towards winning decent pensions for all".

Just what every business needs - even higher employment costs.  

Elsewhere,  Brendan Barber, for it is he, reckons that gold-plated public sector pensions are a myth, and points to 'just' 1.8% of civil service pensioners and 'just' 2.5% of NHS pensioners having pensions of £40,000 or more.  So one in 25 in the case of the latter are trousering / handbagging double the median wage. 

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'Borrowed' from elsewhere

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Found this in a b3ta.com thread called 'Letters they'll never read'. The author is someone called Chad.  All I've done is blank the profanities at the end and fix a few typos:

"Dear Gordon Brown...

Look, I know it's been your dream to play at running the country and that your jug-eared friend said he'd let you have a go in much the same way that a kid with a new Playstation says he'll let his poorer mate come round to play it, but then refuses to give up the controller. I know you really, really, wanted to fulfil your egotistical power fantasies, presumably as a way of getting over the fact you were probably bullied through school and were the unfit wheezy kid that everyone picked on.

I understand that you thought letting the country’s finances be run by people whose expertise was based on their ability to wear a suit and lie convincingly was a good idea and that, presumably, you had some thought that meant lending money to those who couldn't afford to repay it in order to secure the votes of the underclasses who felt life was good as they ordered Plasma TVs they couldn't actually pay for was probably sound political thinking.

I understand that you think that spending more on a political witch-hunt over expenses than the expenses claimed had cost was sensible.

I understand that you thought that devolving the UK into petty squabbling factions was genius, despite the fact that Scotland is now a haven for public services that are funded out of the English Parliament (after all, if Scotland, Ireland and Wales are self-governing, then surely England should be, as well).

I understand that you think sending troops into battle with equipment that a boy scout would turn down and under-funding the compensation and treatment of the poor sods who are being blown apart is good fiscal probity, whilst awarding bonuses and medals to Labour civil servants who happen to pass over Afghanistan on a quick jolly is fine.

I understand that it's not fair that people say you're unelected because in the UK we elect the party, not the leader, despite the fact that you have changed the way the party manifesto is headed, thus negating the points on which your party gained power.

I understand you think it's fine to sling accusations of corruption at any competitors, whilst re-hiring and offering a peerage to a man who had to effectively flee the country to a quiet job in the EU over huge scandals over corruption.

I understand that it's not fair to criticise the fact you can't even be bothered to spell a soldier's name correctly in a letter when he has given his life for this country and that it's unfair to blame the fact you're blind in one eye and obviously care about no-one other than yourself.

I understand that you feel it is fine to create an atmosphere in your own cabinet where no-one would even tell you the building is on fire in case you attack them, where you can accept no personal responsibility for any decisions you have made that have gone wrong or which have been found out to be deliberately misleading or dishonest.

I understand this all, Mr Brown, because you are a [...]. I, and 90% of the British public, wouldn't [...] on your gums if your teeth were on fire. How can we trust the leadership of the country to a man whose long-term vision matches his monocular outlook on life? I'm surprised the helmet you wore when trying to look "down with the lads" visiting the troops in Basra didn't have a [...] bullseye on it - why, after all the poor [...]who have been shot, a sniper couldn't have hit you will remain a mystery to me. Presumably it's because you made a deal with the devil you soul-less slack-jawed, pious [...].


Even more fun with statistics - social media and politics

Those nice people at Lewis PR have been polling the populace on Twitter, Facebook and the like, and their having sent me a press release on the findings I was sufficiently intrigued to harass them for further and better particulars and then to knock up some charts:

I'm surprised she did that well, frankly.  It should be 'Irish pop singer', by the way.

Curiouser and curiouser:

Words fail me.

And there's more:

Even I draw the line at having MPs as Facebook friends.

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Who's afraid of swine flu?

The Irish, apparently, as according to a eurobarometer poll on all things H1N1, some 68% are very or somewhat concerned that it 'may develop into a serious risk in my country'. 

Hidden in their alpine fastnesses, the Austrians and the Swiss are the most blasé, with 73% not concerned.  We err on the side of panic, with 55% concerned, compared to an EU average of 41%.  Elsewhere, some 16% of Maltese think it 'very likely' they will catch it.

It would appear that we are a trusting bunch, as 80% of us trust the Ministry of Health (or whatever it is called this week) to tell us the truth about H1N1.  Latvians and Poles are a good deal more cynical, at 40% and 45% trust levels. 

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Fun with statistics, TUC dept

Here are the unemployment figures by gender, region by region - as found at the TUC's site, so presumably derived from the usual Fantasy Island official figures:

Readers might cast an eye over the figures and conclude that it is we chaps who are hardest hit by job losses, and therefore consider that the TUC  - having seen these figures - would be worrying about male unemployment.  This is not what it has been doing, rather it is concerned that any early attempts to balance the books would result in female employment being disproportionately hit.

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A small tribute to the 2009 best director Oscar winner

Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Possibly my favourite of her work:

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Everybody loves a widget. Don't they?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Well, I'm adding one to the blog.  Those nice people at ComRes have teamed up with Betfair (my bookmaker of choice, and no - they aren't paying me.  However, if anyone wants to sign up with them, e-mail me first and we both get a kickback) to create a range of election-related widgets which looks exactly like those that have now appeared in my sidebar.


(or they would do if I could get them to work.  I am e-mailing those concerned)

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Survey o' the day - Europeans and their teeth

Sordid commerce nothwithstanding, some things just cannot go unblogged.  So, courtesy of eurobarometer, the question - 'How often in the last 12 months have you felt embarassed about the state of your teeth or dentures?'

And it turns out that some 15% of Euromen & women have been embarassed by their gnashers in the last year, with the greatest levels of dental confidence seen in Germany, Malta and the Netherlands - just 7% admitting to any embarassment last year.  Whether this is a reflection of the quality of dentistry in those parts or that said Germans, Maltese and Dutch types lack self-doubt.  At the other end of the scale, no movie star smiles from some 34 % of Romanians, 26% of Macedonians, 25% of Lithuanians, 23% of Bulgarians, 23% of Portuguese or 22% of Italians.  The negative score for these parts is 13%, so depending on how one looks at it, either many of us have paid no heed to the jibes our American friends make about our dentition, or else we have gone out and done something about it.     

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The 1910 Hansard Trawl, featuring

Monday, March 01, 2010
The things we were teaching in the colonies:

Sir HERBERT ROBERTS asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention had been called to the fact that the syllabus of temperance instruction issued by the Board of Education last year was being translated into the vernacular and adapted for use in schools in Burma; and whether the Government of India had under their consideration the desirability of taking similar action in the other provinces of India?

The UNDERSECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Montagu) The Secretary of State has no information regarding the action said to have been taken in Burma. As regards the latter part of the question, an inquiry made in 1907 showed that in three of the provinces of India lessons on temperance were already included in the 725 books read in schools, and that such lessons were about to be introduced in two more.

I believe William Hogarth, the patron saint of these parts, had London rather than Rangoon or Calcutta in mind when he drew 'Gin Lane'....

They shoot boil horses down for glue, don't they?

Mr. BYLES asked the hon. Gentleman whether he could give the House any statistics of the export trade from this country in decrepit worn-out horses; whether the trade was increasing; and whether the attention of the authorities was vigilantly directed to prevent cruelties and to punish offenders?

Sir E. STRACHEY We have no statistics as to the number of decrepit worn-out horses exported from this country, but the extent of the trade will appear from the fact that 16,420 horses, valued at less than £5 per head, were exported in 1909. The trade shows no signs of increasing. (etc)

Special pleading corner:

Mr. WILKIE asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the dislocation of business, the financial loss, and the exasperation caused by the recent-failure of the telegraph to Dundee and the North-East of Scotland, also considering the frequent recurrence of these breakdowns, he will implement his Department's qualified promise of a year or two ago, and now without further delay have these lines placed underground?

The HON. MEMBER further asked whether, in view of the statements of members of the Government that they recognise their liability to the unemployed 741 workers of the country, he will now make financial arrangements whereby the work of placing underground the telegraph lines to Dundee and the North-East of Scotland could be at once proceeded with, and thus provide work of general utility and national benefit for some of the unemployed?
The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel) I would refer the hon. Member to my reply yesterday to questions on the subject of underground cables. I much regret that, in view of the very heavy cost of laying these cables and the many claims which have to be considered, I see no present prospect of laying lines to Dundee and the North-East of Scotland. The hon. Member doubtless realises, however, that a considerable part of the expenditure on underground cables already incurred—over £1,500,000–is on the line from London to Edinburgh, by every mile of which Dundee and places beyond benefit.

I will pre-empt by noting that Dundonians, or at least their representative, wanted jam....

Strangeways, here we come:

Mr. SNOWDEN asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he was aware that certain of the visiting justices of the Strangeways Prison, Manchester, were recently convicted for an assault upon a woman prisoner; and could he say what action had been taken to remove these men from their positions as visiting justices and as magistrates.

Mr. CHURCHILL I am not aware of any proceedings of the nature indicated by the hon. Member. A prisoner discharged last year from His Majesty's prison at Manchester did, however, institute an action for damages against certain of the visiting justices. It was held by the court that a technical assault had been committed on the prisoner, but that, the justices having acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds, and no substantial injury having been done to the prisoner, the damages should be merely nominal. The proceedings afford no ground for action on my part, and, further, the selection of justices for appointment on the visiting committee for a prison is not a matter over which I have any control.

The mind boggles.  And then boggles a bit more.

If you have tears, prepare to shed them:

Mr. FRANCE asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if any complaints have reached the Treasury from Inland Revenue officers now acting as pension officers with regard to the increase in their work without regular increase in remuneration?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhouse)    The introduction of Old Age Pensions threw a considerable amount of new work upon Excise Officials, and complaints on the subject have from time to time come before the Treasury. Many of the causes of complaint have been remedied, and others are still engaging the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and myself and our advisers. As the hon. Member is possibly aware, a Committee, under my Chairmanship, will shortly inquire into the conditions of service of those Officers of Excise and Customs who are affected by the recent amalgamation of the two Departments.

Have their been *any* redundancies at tax offices since the advent of internet filing?

A shocking failure at the dept of tractor statistics:

Mr. MASON asked what had been the decrease in the output of coal in the United Kingdom during the last six months of 1909, compared with the same six months of 1908?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Churchill)   I am unable to say what has been the output of coal during the last six months of 1909, as the returns which are furnished to the Home Office in pursuance of the Act give only the total output for the year. The output for the year shows an increase over the whole country of two and a quarter million tons, seven districts—including Northumberland and Durham, where the Act was not in operation—showing increases and five districts showing decreases. The figures will be published in the course of a few days.

C'mon Winnie - 'we have exceeded all norms because of the efforts of heroes of labour in the nation's coalfields'.

Nothing new under the sun dept:

Sir JOHN JARDINE asked the Lord Advocate whether any rule has yet been made to allow or forbid the disclosure of the names of recipients of old age pensions to persons applying for the same?

Mr. DEWAR I am informed that pension officers are expressly forbidden by the Board of Customs and Excise to disclose information of the nature referred to by my hon. Friend.

Sir J. JARDINE Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the systematic sending of circulars to old age pensioners at the last election?

Mr. DEWAR I have no such information, but I shall be glad to consider it.

Mr. EUGENE WASON May I ask whether he does not consider it desirable that other persons who may possess the same information as the pension officers should be forbidden to disclose the names of pensioners?

Mr. DEWAR I think old age pensioners' private affairs should be treated with the same consideration as those of anybody else.

And a late breaking find:

Mr. GIBSON BOWLES May I ask whether there is any prospect whatever of the restrictions being removed from Russian sugar, Russia being the largest beet-growing country in the world, so that we may have cheaper sugar in this country?

A Man of the Year candidate, I would think.

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