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Factlet o' the day

From a 1960 debate, or rather an orgy of backslapping, on Nigerian independence:

Fenner Brockway "Today we are deciding that half the population in the British Empire shall have the right of self-government and independence. If I had been speaking thirteen years ago, before the right of India to independence was recognised, I would have had to say that there were over 500 million people in the British Empire without the right to self-government and independence. Today that number has been reduced to 70 million, and on this occasion by carrying this Bill we shall be reducing the number to 35 million".
Mildly interesting, no?

And because this is too good not to include:

Sir Kenneth Pickthorn  (Carlton) I never eat breakfast, so I hope that I shall not speak for long, but I make no kind of promise....I speak here, not that I think that I can raise the scale of the occasion. Indeed, it is extremely difficult—it is like swimming in a swimming-bath with only half an inch of water left in it—to speak at this stage on a Friday debate, and especially at a quarter-past one, when one has not eaten anything since half-past eight the night before.

Thanks for keeping us posted on your dietary habits, Ken.  There's a photo of him at the NPG's site, looking reasonably well fed, if a little awkward, here.

All mockery aside, he makes some very worthwhile points further on:

"And I am not at all so sure about "human rights." I do not know enough about Nigeria and the Nigerian Constitution to know its special case, but I did not want it to be thought that silence meant that every one here present is sure that declarations of human rights are great things. I suppose that human rights have been better defined and better protected in the history of the world, so far as any of us know, by the two great legal systems; by the Roman law and common law. They did not—and much less did the common law even than Roman law—go in for definitions of human rights. On this occasion it may be a very good thing, but I would not have it thought that we all of us assume that declarations of human rights are always a very good thing.

Naturally, I do not feel so sure about planned economy as some hon. Members opposite; but not altogether for the reasons which they might suppose. As a kind of West Indian, when I think of the benefits conferred on West Africa by the planned taking of cocoa there, I can remember what happened to Grenada, too, at the other end. Even at the West African end, there have been cocoa growers who have thought that the planned economy enabled the Government to squeeze out of them what ought to have been their profits to an extent to which private enterprise has never squeezed any agricultural producers. They may have been right or wrong, but certainly a great many cocoa producers felt that."

Maybe a 1910 trawl later.  We'll see.

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Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:14 am

The population of Nigeria is about 160 million now!!  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:14 am

The population of Nigeria is about 160 million now!!  



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