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The 1909 Hansard Trawl - featuring logic, bananas, ethical foreign policies and smutty postcards.

(And if that 'smutty postcards' don't fetch 'em, I don't know Arkansaw.)

What about this for an ethical foreign policy?:

Sir GILBERT PARKER asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he had yet received any reply to the protests lodged by the British Government against Mulai Hafid's treatment of prisoners; and whether any assurance had been given that punishment involving-mutilation or lingering death shall cease?

The UNDER SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. T. McKinnon Wood) The representatives of all the Treaty Powers at Tangier have signed a collective note of protest to the Sultan which was despatched to Fez on the 3rd instant. There has been no time as yet for an answer to be received.
It would be utterly, utterly remiss me of me not to point out that Hafid was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by his French masters in 1909.

I think we can be excused a hollow laugh at this question on Middle East arms trafficking:

Mr. HART-DAVIES asked whether the traffic in arms by way of Muscat and the Persian Gulf exists in quite undiminished vigour; and whether there is any hope that the Brussels Commission will, within a reasonable time, formulate any international means of dealing with this admitted evil?

Mr. McKINNON WOOD The arms traffic in the Persian Gulf still exists on an extensive scale, and the matter is being considered by His Majesty's Government. I cannot answer the second part of the quesion until the Brussels Arms Conference, which is to meet again on 4th December next, has reached a conclusion.
I would not expect a Brussels Commission to achieve much, bar agreeing to a succession of agreeable lunches.

From everything I have heard about King Leopold II's 'stewardship' of the Congo Free State this falls under the heading of 'I would bloody well hope so' (And with that, back to the normal deal on profanity):

Sir GILBERT PARKER asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he had any official information that Prince Albert of Belgium has furnished a report to the Belgian Government on his visit to the Congo to the effect that he was very unfavourably impressed with the condition of affairs there and by the devastation and destruction of native life; and whether he had lately received any authoritative communications concerning the system pursued at the present time in the collection of rubber, and, if so, what was the nature of those communications?

Mr. McKINNON WOOD I have received no official information of the nature referred to by the hon. Member. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative.
And from that to something rather more agreeable, and dare I say it, in this context quite surreal - the Irish and philosophy:

Mr. CHARLES CRAIG asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he can state who were the persons who appeared before the Statutory Commission of Queen's University in Belfast, under the Irish Universities Act, 1908, to request the Commission to include scholastic philosophy in the arts curriculum of that university; and what other subjects did they ask to be included in the curriculum?

Mr. BIRRELL I understand that three members of the Senate of the Queen's University, Mr. John Burke, Mr. Patrick Dempsey, and Mr. Charles L. McLorrinan, came to lay their views upon the organisation of the University before the Belfast University Commission. They asked that provision should be made for philosophical teaching such as Roman Catholics could attend without danger to their faith.

Erm, surely it is not the teaching that endangers faith, but what one does with the knowledge acquired? Anyway, there's more:

Captain CRAIG Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that no other denomination except the Roman Catholics have applied to the members of the Commission for special facilities?

Mr. BIRRELL I do not know if it is a fact, but I have no doubt that it is so. It shows that they are satisfied with the system of teaching already there.

What about that for a leap of faith?

And my favourite exchange of the day:

Mr. GRETTON Is logic much studied in Ireland?

Mr. BIRRELL I trust so.

And so say all of us. The great 'redneck misunderstanding of logic' joke can be found here. Broadly maiden aunt safe.

Anyway, the appointment of a lecturer in scholastic philosophy was pretty controversial by the look of things:

Mr. CHARLES CRAIG Is it a fact that an appeal has been lodged against the establishment of this lectureship?


Mr. C. CRAIG When is that appeal going to be heard?

Mr. BIRRELL I saw from an Irish newspaper that the date fixed is the 24th of this month.
It looks like the Philosopher Kings triumphed, as Queens has a philosophy faculty.

Yes, we have no bananas:

Mr. T. SUMMERBELL asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that there is a general desire in British Guiana to establish a banana industry; and whether the Government can do anything by way of encouraging an export trade in bananas?

Doubtless the talk in Georgetown was of little else. The usual place names bananas as an important Guyanese crop, by the way.

Governments, eh - taxing anything if they can get away with it:

Captain CRAIG asked whether the right hon. Gentleman can state the amount of revenue derived from the duties on quack medicines in the years 1905–6, 1906–7, and 1907–8, respectively?

Mr. HOBHOUSE The amounts of revenue derived from the Medicine Stamp Duty, to which I take the hon. Member to refer, in the years 1905–6, 1906–7, 1907–8, were £324,112, £327,106, and £334,142 respectively.
Craig appears to have been ccaught out by this, or if not, I would not want him as my accountant:

Captain CRAIG Is this extraordinary increase year by year in those quack medicines to be attributed, to a certain extent, to the fact that the label put on by the Government in order to collect the duty is taken by certain of the poorer classes to mean that the contents have Government approval?

Mr. HOBHOUSE I do not think so. There has been no extraordinary increase. It is only an increase of £324,000 to £334,000.

Captain CRAIG That is an increase of £10,000 for duty alone on the sale of these medicines.
Driving in Devon must have been quite an adventure:

Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the refusal of the Devon County Council to erect warning signs, under the provisions of the Motor Car Act, 1903, unless the sum of £50 was contributed towards the cost thereof by private persons or organisations...

Mr. BURNS I have had some correspondence with the Devon and Cornwall Automobile Club and the Devon County Council on this subject. I learn that, after a conference between a sub-committee of the council and some members of the club, the council came to the conclusion that they would only be justified in incurring expense in erecting notices if a part of the cost were provided from sources other than local funds. I have no power to compel the county council to erect these notices.
Righty-ho. Drive safely now.

A good question, and a non-answer:

Mr. HUNT (Con) asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of £100 spent on average champagne would be paid to the State as duty; how much of £100 spent on mild ale, as usually drunk by the working classes, after the Finance Bill has passed, would go to the State as duty; and how much of £100 spent on ordinary whisky, as usually drunk by the working classes, after the Finance Bill has passed, would go to the State?

Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE I am afraid the information given in the question is not sufficient to enable me to work out the problem which the hon. Member has set me.


And one more for the day - the scourge of indecent publications:

Mr. TALBOT asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the exposure for sale of picture postcards of an indecent character, and to mutoscopes at railway stations of similar character; and whether he can take steps to check such breaches of the law?

Mr. GLADSTONE The police take action in all cases of the nature referred to which come to their notice, and which can be brought within the criminal law, with the result that exhibitions of the grosser sorts have been largely stamped out. The Postmaster-General has also recently issued a public notification that the transmission of such postcards by the post is a serious criminal offence. As regards the exhibitions which are of a demoralising and disgusting character, though not coming within the law relating to obscene exhibitions, I hope that when I have an opportunity of passing the Bill which has been prepared to give effect to the recommendations of the Joint Committee on indecent publications and advertisements, it may enable effective action to be taken.

'In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything Goes'.

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Anonymous puzzled of nether wallop said... 5:11 pm

I must confess that I preferred Lorelei Maldemer when she was in her feminist mode. Her latest kick is animal rights and she has just caused an enormous hoo-hah in Canada by demanding to marry an Elk named Hubert. The Canadian authorities, not unreasonably, took the view that as Hubert was not human the proposed nuptuals were not acceptable. After causing a pile of trouble Lorelei was deported back to Nether Wallop in disgrace.

Anyway, there I was in the Dog and Mandelson tucking into a pint of Old Prepuce as per usual when Lorelei came blundering in. I tried to avoid eye contact as she presently has a stoat resident in her underwwear. Whether the stoat has a name or not remains obscure. But there was no avoiding her.

'Quentin!' she exclaimed.

'Actually my name is Lance' I replied. It isn't but Lance will do for her.

'Whatever' she replied. 'I wonder if you can help me'.

Oh dear, I thought.

'I have a wart on my left knee' she announced.

'That's nice' I essayed.

'Did you know you can remove warts with a nail file?' she enquired.

'Absolutely no idea, old thing' I ventured.

'But then you have to cait the wart with nail polish' she continued.

'Ermm...' I said hesitantly. She plonked a bottle of nail polish on the table next to my pint of Old Prepuce.

'Would you mind awfully?' she asked.

I let out a sigh.

'Provided you keep that stoat under control'

I set glumly about my task.

Some people!  

Anonymous puzzled of nether wallop said... 5:13 pm

paint the wart not cait it - silly me!  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:19 pm

PoNW - Your travails appear to be never ending.  

Blogger James Higham said... 7:01 pm

Villages [in the Belgian Congo] who failed to meet the rubber collection quotas were required to pay the remaining amount in cut hands, where each hand would prove a kill. Sometimes the hands were collected by the soldiers of the Force Publique, sometimes by the villages themselves. There were even small wars where villages attacked neighboring villages to gather hands, since their rubber quotas were too unrealistic to fill.  

Blogger JuliaM said... 7:13 pm


I had to look that up!  

Blogger Unknown said... 7:28 pm

James - that is stomach churning, but thanks for sharing, so to speak. The heart of darkness indeed.
Julia - I would guess a sort of 'what the butler saw' machine, but haven't checked yet.  

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