A bit of historical perspective, or the long awaited return of the vintage Hansard trawl
Starting with 1860:
With a wonderfully irrelevant addendum:
MR. E. ELLICE (St. Andrews) said, he rose to ask the Lord-Advocate, Whether he intends at an early period to propose a Bill for establishing greater uniformity in the interpretation of the Law of Scotland as regards the definition of Lunacy; for removing doubts as to the obligation of Counties to provide accommodation for Lunatics; and for giving to the Commissioners in Lunacy extended powers with regard to the custody of Pauper Lunatics?
THE LORD-ADVOCATE said, it was his intention to introduce a Bill to remedy some of the defects which were found to exist in former Lunacy Acts, and he hoped soon to lay it on the Table of the House.
Given the exciting times of the lion lying down with the lamb etc, readers are invited to choose which political party's Scottish election performance best points to mental health issues North of the Border.
And the add on:
"MR. G. W. HOPE said, he rose to say a few words of explanation with reference to a statement he had made when moving for the production of the Civil Service Exanimation Papers a few nights previously. On that occasion he had said that in the case of the particular candidate of whose rejection he complained, there had been but one single mistake in his spelling. He had since been informed that there was more than one mistake. He had also stated that he was unacquainted with the names of the Commissioners. He had now ascertained that two of them were Sir Edward Ryan and Sir John Lefevre, and he might say that if there were any gentlemen whom he would entrust with the duties of such a position with confidence, those were the two he would select".
COLONEL LINDSAY said, he rose to draw the attention of the House to the system of cooking in the army invented by Captain Grant, and to ask the Secretary of State for War, if he intends to recommend that some remuneration shall be given to Captain Grant for the great services he has rendered in improving and economising the system. The hon. and gallant Gentleman observed that before those improvements were introduced the only means employed for cooking soldiers' dinners were boilers, and if the men desired to have their food baked they had to take it to an oven in the town where they happened to be, and to pay for it out of their own pockets...The expense of cooking at the present moment varied from ½d. per man per week to 5d. per man per week. But this last was an excessive charge. It occurred at St. George's Barracks, and was caused by the apparatus of cooking by gas, which for military reasons ought to be discontinued. The system which only cost a halfpenny per day per man was that of Captain Grant. The Army Sanitary Commission...recommended that the means should be furnished the soldiers of having their rations cooked by baking, stewing, and frying.
Mr Cave....If a man invented a method of blowing a whole regiment to atoms, he was amply rewarded, and covered with distinction; but if he merely contrived a means of keeping them alive, he was not thought entitled to distinction or reward by the Government of the country.If an army does indeed march on its stomach, I pity our Tommies a non-stop diet of the boiled.
In 1910, our Parliamentarians were mainly concerned with encomia to the lately deceased Edward VII, which does not lend itself to much amusement or facetious asides. Mind you, how about this for flowery:
"The Douma of the Empire at its sitting of the 26th April (9th May) has charged me with the duty of interpreting to you the sentiments of profound condolence and of sorrowful sympathy which it experiences on the occasion of the decease of His Majesty King Edward VII. The mourning of your country has found a unanimous echo in the representatives of the Russian nation, which loses in the person of the late King a near relative of the Imperial family of Russia, a sure friend and constant well-wisher, a monarch devoted to the maintenance of universal peace. Please convey to the House of Commons the expression of the Sentiments which animate the Douma of the Empire, as well as the profound assurance which it feels that the bonds of friendship between our two countries, which received so powerful an impulse from the great Sovereign who has passed away, will not cease to be developed and strengthened for the greatest good of both nations. ALEXANDER GOUTCHKOFF, "President of the Douma of the Empire
A bit late, Sandy, we know you volunteered for the Boers in that war.
Meanwhile this little nugget from 1960, prefacing a question about surplus army boots:
Mr. Norman Dodds (Erith and Cray ford, LAB) The Sixth Report of the Select Committee on Estimates on Treasury Control of Expenditure reports that a very knowledgeable person, Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, former permanent head of the Foreign Office, had called for a purge of top civil servants who squander public money. In fact, he asked that civil servants who waste public money should be sacked, and he said that many top civil servants are failing to keep a tight hand on the taxpayers' money and should be retired earlier, with revocation of honours granted. That is the view of Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, who should know.
There are many thousands of people in this country who are asking why top civil servants are not penalised when public money is wasted. People want to know, and I want to know, what does happen to them when millions of pounds are thrown away or lost through lack of initiative or care. Are they punished, and if not, why not? I have asked this question of the Prime Minister, and there does not seem to be any record at any time in recent years of any top civil servant being sacked or in any way penalised when money has been spent and it has been proved that much of it has been wasted.
I think it should be politicians first, then civil servants