Teddy Taylor – 1964 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Teddy Taylor in the House of Commons on 10 November 1964.

This is my first attempt to speak in the House, and I ask the pardon of hon. Members for making my maiden contribution at such an early stage in the Session. Some senior Members may consider that the abundance of maiden speeches we have heard during the debate shows a lack of humility on the part of the younger generation, but I feel that the cause is not over-confidence but simply a fear, strengthened by the weekend Press, that circumstances might require us to present ourselves to the electorate again before we have had the chance properly to present ourselves to the House. I think that some other hon. Members elected for the first time may have experienced the same difficulty as I did when completing a form which asked whether my new employment was likely to be of a permanent nature.

May I further crave the indulgence of the House for making my speech with the handicap of a cold—which will ensure that even if hon. Members opposite do not hear pearls of wisdom they will, at least, receive plenty of germs. I say this in the full knowledge that with the narrower balance between the parties germs in this Session might well play a more effective political rôle than anything I may say today.

No new Member can attend or take part in the initial proceedings of a new Session without being fully conscious of the enormous responsibility which is placed on each one of us. For we do not come here to start anew—the basis of our British democracy has been established for us by our forefathers and by hon. Members past and present. Even to maintain the high standards and achievements of the past is no easy task, and yet the problems facing the world and this country require that we must seek to aim even higher.

I would refer to my predecessor, Sir John Henderson, who, I know, was well liked in the House. He served as a Member for 18 years after giving over 20 years of continuous service in local government. The conscientious manner in which he applied himself to his duties and the faithful and attentive service which he gave to the electors of the constituency have established a very high standard which I will do my best to emulate in my membership of the House.

The constituency which I represent is the Cathcart Division of Glasgow. Glasgow, as hon. Members know, has 15 constituencies, and Cathcart is one of the only two which have returned a Unionist Member. It is a matter for the individual judgment of hon. Members as to whether this situation reflects the general wisdom of the people of Glasgow or the particular political sense of the electors of Cathcart and Hillhead.

Apart from politics, Cathcart is rather a unique constituency. It contains some of Glasgow’s most beautiful public parks—Linn, Queen’s Park and Cathkin Braes—the finest football stadium in the country, Hampden Park, perhaps the biggest municipal housing scheme in Western Europe, Castlemilk, and one of the world’s outstanding engineering works, that of Messrs. G. and J. Weir. It is a historic place, because in the heart of the constituency lies the site of the battle of Langside, which decided the fate of Mary Queen of Scots.

Cathcart, although merged with Glasgow geographically and socially, retained its municipal independence until early in the century when it was “taken in” by the City of Glasgow, in perhaps more ways than one. I know that the electors of Cathcart and of Glasgow are vitally interested in the contents of the Gracious Speech and I would like to comment briefly on the section which states that the Government intend to promote reforms in taxation and, in particular, to bring about better arrangements for the modernisation of local government finance.

I think that most hon. Members would agree that the rating system is, in principle and in practice, unsatisfactory in many respects. And the dissatisfaction of the system has been aggravated by the ever-increasing burden of local rates. For example, in Glasgow the average man, woman and child has to pay well over £25 per head a year in local rates, and this means an annual burden for the average family of £100 which must be paid directly or indirectly.

The principal objection to the rating system is that it is not levied either according to ability to pay or to the use which people make of local government services. There appears to be no justification for a system which imposes the same burden on a widow living on a small fixed income as on a neighbouring family which may have three or four wage earners.

Apart from that, the unequal incidence of rates throughout the country produces serious problems. Some areas have a high burden per head of population which is about double the burden elsewhere, and the tragedy is that areas with high unemployment are often the ones that have a relatively high rating burden and enormous municipal problems. Thus, those areas which need to attract industry are often hampered in their efforts by the disincentive of a high rates burden. This is considered by some to be a small problem, but for most industrialists it is becoming a more and more important one. Some Clyde shipyards, for example, pay £30,000 or £40,000 a year in rates, and an increase of 2s. in the rate poundage can mean an extra £1,000 on the cost of each ship.

A third factor which the Government will be bearing in mind is the ever-increasing volume of local government responsibility and expenditure, and, of course, this means that a large section of public spending is outwith the timely or effective control of national economic policy.

It is true that capital spending by local authorities can be influenced sharply, although not immediately, by Government policy; but revenue spending, which must now be over £2,000 million a year, cannot be restrained or boosted in a timely or effective manner by the present economic weapons.

For these and other obvious reasons, my constituents and many others trust that the reorganisation of local government finance will include a complete and comprehensive review of the rating system. I would like to say something about the possible alternative systems of collecting revenue, but I have no wish to burden the House unduly and would merely say that I hope to have the opportunity of speaking further on this subject at an early date.

The promise in the Gracious Speech to promote economic development and modernisation in the under-employed areas leads me to the final point I wish to make. The hon. Members who have so ably represented our city in recent years have rightly stressed the urgency of our housing problems and the need to attract lighter and more flexible industries. These representations were vitally necessary because Glasgow’s housing problem is immense and acute and our economic problem of overdependence on heavy industry is one which will require strong, speedy and effective action.

The emphasis on our problems has, however, created the impression in some quarters that Glasgow is a dull, derelict and depressed city with backward industries and an unenterprising population. This is certainly not the case. Our traditional industries, in particular our great shipyards, have spent many millions from their own resources in modernising their establishments. There has also been rationalisation, made necessary by surplus world shipbuilding capacity, but the yards which remain are vital, progressive and among the most modern in the world.

Orders are being obtained in face of international competition, and if British shipyards, which face the full blast of foreign competition unprotected by tariffs or quotas, are given assistance comparable to that given by competitor nations, they will face the future with even more confidence, particularly in view of the Clyde’s good and improving labour relations.

The west of Scotland needs new and lighter industries, but we must never forget that just as vital is the prosperity of the Clyde shipyards on which around 80,000 families depend, directly or indirectly, for their livelihood. In these circumstances, an extension of the Shipbuilding Credit Scheme and the security and stability stemming from it would be welcomed as much as an entirely new industrial project.

Glasgow, like its industries, is often unfairly maligned. It is one of the few cities which support five major theatres and one great orchestra. Its public parks, libraries and museums are world famous, and every district within its boundaries is within, at most, half an hour’s journey of the beautiful surrounding countryside. Firms, administrative offices and even Government Departments need have no fears about moving to Glasgow, and they can be assured that every assistance in location, planning and essential services will be given by our unique Industrial Inquiries Centre which is situated appropriately beside the two basic pillars of any great city—the main line station and the Conservative Club.

I thank hon. Members for listening so patiently and apologise for taking so long.

Queen Elizabeth II – 1964 Queen’s Speech (II)

queenelizabethii

Below is the text of the speech made by HM Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Lords on 3 November 1964.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

“My Husband and I look forward with pleasure to cur forthcoming visits to Ethiopia and the Sudan and to the Federal Republic of Germany. We were glad to be in Canada last month to attend the centennial celebrations commemorating the conferences held at Charlottetown and Quebec City in 1864 and to pay a further visit to Ottawa.

“In international affairs it will be the principal purpose of My Ministers to seek to reduce East-West tension. To this end they will give renewed and more vigorous support to the United Nations in its vital rôle of freeing the world from the threat of war; and they will consider how this country can make a more effective contribution to the Organisation’s peace-keeping capability. They will seek to encourage further progress towards disarmament and to contribute to other steps which will permit the East-West conflict to be replaced by international co-operation in promoting peace and security throughout the world.

“My Government reaffirm their support for the defence of the free world—the basic concept of the Atlantic Alliance; and they will continue to play their full part in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and in other organisations for collective defence. They will review defence policy to ensure, by relating our commitments and our resources, that My Armed Forces are able to discharge their many tasks overseas with the greatest effectiveness and economy. In particular, they will make constructive proposals for renewing the interdependence of the Atlantic Alliance in relation to nuclear weapons, in an endeavour to prevent duplication of effort and the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction.

“New arrangements have been made to aid and encourage the economic and social advance of the developing nations, including the remaining dependent territories. My Ministers will also endeavour to promote the expansion of trade to this end, and they will seek, in co-operation with other countries and the United Nations and its agencies, to stimulate fresh action to reduce the growing disparities of wealth and opportunity between the peoples of the world.

“My Ministers will have a special regard to the unique rôle of the Commonwealth, which itself reflects so many of the challenges and opportunities of the world. They will foster the Commonwealth connection on a basis of racial equality and close consultation between Member Governments and will promote Commonwealth collaboration in trade, economic development, educational, scientific and cultural contacts and in other ways.

“My Government will continue to play a full part in the European organisations of which this country is a member and will seek to promote closer European co-operation.

“A Bill will be introduced to provide for the independence of the Gambia.

“Members of the House of Commons

“Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.

“My Lords and Members of the House of Commons

“At home My Government’s first concern will be to maintain the strength of sterling by dealing with the short-term balance of payments difficulties and by initiating the longer-term structural changes in our economy which will ensure purposeful expansion, rising exports and a healthy balance of payments.

Our industries will be helped to gain the full benefits of advances in scientific research and applied technology.

Central and regional plans to promote economic development, with special reference to the needs of the under-employed areas of the country, are being prepared. New arrangements will ensure proper attention to the needs of Wales. Legislation will be introduced to provide for the appointment of a Highland Development Board.

“My Government will initiate early action to re-establish the necessary public ownership and control of the iron and steel industry.

“To foster the health and prosperity of agriculture, they will continue the system of guarantees under the existing Acts and will promote measures to secure better marketing arrangements for farm produce. They will encourage the development of the fishing industry and the steady expansion of forestry.

“My Government will call on trade unions and employers’ organisations to co-operate in eliminating those restrictive practices, on both sides of industry, which impair our competitive power and the development of the full potential of the economy. They will take steps to improve industrial efficiency by dealing more effectively with monopolies and with problems arising from mergers. They will also take action to improve the arrangements for industrial training and for the retraining of workers changing their employment. A Bill will be introduced to give workers and their representatives the protection necessary for freedom of industrial negotiation.

To the end that all may share the benefits of rising productivity, My Ministers will work for more stable prices and a closer relationship between the increase in productivity and the growth of incomes in all their forms and they will promote reforms in taxation and better arrangements for local government finance. They will pay special attention to protecting the interests of consumers.

“Action will be taken to require companies to disclose political contributions in their accounts.

“My Government will have particular regard for those on whom age, sickness and personal misfortune impose special disabilities. They believe that radical changes in the national schemes of social security are essential to bring them into line with modern needs. They will therefore embark at once upon a major review of these schemes. Meanwhile, they will immediately introduce legislation to increase existing rates of National Insurance and associated benefits.

“Action will be proposed to modernise and develop the health and welfare services. Steps will be taken to increase the number of doctors and other trained staff in the National Health Service. Prescription charges for medicines will be abolished.

“My Ministers will enlarge educational opportunities and give particular priority to increasing the supply of teachers. Bills will be introduced to establish new machinery for determining teachers’ pay in England and Wales and for the governance of the teaching profession in Scotland.

“My Government will pursue a vigorous housing policy directed to producing more houses of better quality, and will promote the modernisation of the construction industry. They will restore control of rents, they will establish as rapidly as possible a Crown Lands Commission with wide powers to acquire land for the community and they will provide for leasehold enfranchisement. In conjunction with a progressive transport policy and a system of comprehensive regional planning, these measures will be directed to providing a fresh social environment in keeping with the needs and aspirations of the time.

“My Government will be actively concerned to build up the strength and efficiency of the police, to improve the penal system and the after-care of offenders, and to make more effective the means of sustaining the family and of preventing and treating delinquency. Facilities will be provided for a free decision by Parliament on the issue of capital punishment.

“My Government are studying the report, which they have recently received, of the Committee appointed last year on the Remuneration of Ministers and Members of Parliament.

“Other measures will be laid before you.

“In all their policies My Government will be concerned to safeguard the liberties of My subjects. They will take action against racial discrimination and promote full integration into the community of immigrants who have come here from the Commonwealth. They will propose the appointment of Law Commissioners to advance reform of the law, and will propose new measures for the impartial investigation of individual grievances. In so doing they will be acting in the spirit which has always animated Parliament, whose seven hundredth anniversary will be recorded in this Session. In that same spirit I pray that the blessing of Almighty God may rest upon your counsels.”

 

Robert Maxwell – 1964 Maiden Speech in the House of Commons

Below is the text of the maiden speech made by Robert Maxwell in the House of Commons on 3 November 1964.

It is with a great sense of humility that I rise to speak here for the first time. I am the representative for Buckingham, one of the nicest constituencies in the Home Counties. Our people are known for their warm-heartedness, hospitality and responsibility.
It would be fitting for me to pay tribute to my predecessor, Sir Frank Markham, who championed well the cause of Buckingham over the past thirteen years. He is a courageous man. During the recent battles on the Resale Prices Bill, he did not hesitate to vote against his Government in the cause of social justice.

My constituency, like the rest of southern England, by and large, is prosperous. It contains five towns, Bletchley, Wolverton Urban District, Newport Pagnall, Linslade and Buckingham, as well as over 100 of the loveliest villages of England, which, as a result of the recent railway closures, suffer from a severe lack of adequate bus services, a situation which is causing great hardship to many private individuals as well as to farmers and to businesses.

Many of our villages lack ordinary amenities such as sewerage and lighting systems. Most of our roads are not capable of handling modern traffic. There are hardly any amenities for our young people, and a great deal remains to be done to make the lives of our retired citizens more in keeping with life today in a highly civilised and prosperous industrial society.

In my constituency, the two major industries, in addition to the railways and railway workshops, are brick and cement manufacture. These industries are daily discharging into the atmosphere millions of cubic feet of harmful gases and dust, polluting the air in a way dangerous to health and often making life quite intolerable for many thousands of my constituents.

Working conditions in the brick industry leave a tremendous amount to be desired. In many respects, brick manufacturers, as the House knows, have failed the nation time after time by not providing sufficient capacity to produce the bricks we require and, more particularly, by their failing to explore and introduce quickly new scientific techniques of manufacture. Working conditions in the brick industry are shocking, with the consequence that manufacturers cannot attract sufficient labour from home and have to import large numbers of people from abroad to man their works. This brings serious social and housing problems on all the people and communities living around brick and cement works.

I earnestly hope that the new Government, jointly with the brick industry, will take urgent steps to increase brick output and improve working conditions, as well as to tackle on a multidisciplinary scientific basis the grave problem of air pollution. It is not enough for the inspectorate of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to say that the industry is doing all that it can to abate the nuisance. The time has more than arrived for it to be tackled in a really serious way through the new scientific disciplines which are available, if there is the will in the industry and in the Government to do so.

I hope that the Minister of Transport will confirm soon that he will refuse to sanction the closure of the Oxford Bletchley-Cambridge line. People in my constituency have already suffered grievously from Beeching closures, and, because of the considerable expansion of population in this part of Buckinghamshire, it would be social as well as economic madness to close this important line. An example of the last Government’s mistaken economics, which, I hope, the present Minister of Transport will re-examine, was the recent closing of Castlethorpe railway station in my constituency. The Government are paying a subsidy of about £3,000 per annum to a private bus company to provide an unsatisfactory bus service to the village, whereas Castlethorpe station could be kept open at a cost of only £1,300 per annum. My constituents and I do not understand why this valuable modern station, on which many tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money were recently spent, was closed down, particularly as it is on the main line along which trains continue to run.

I look forward to the Government lifting the restrictions on the railway carriage workshops which in the past have prohibited them from accepting contracts from private industry or from abroad. I hope and expect also that the Minister of Transport will use his good offices with the Railways Board to have its workshops division substantially improved working conditions in railway workshops.

I very much welcome the Government’s proposals to help our industries to gain the full benefit of advances in scientific research and technology. At this point, I wish to refer to the strictures which the Leader of the Opposition seemed to think it right to cast on the creation of the Ministry of Technology and on the Government’s examination of the Concord project. The House may wonder what authority I have to deal with these matters. I was chairman of one of the working parties appointed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) in his previous capacity as Opposition Front Bench spokesman on science and education, and I had the responsibility and privilege of chairing the committee on science, Government and industry. Also, I am a publisher of scientific magazines and books, and I earn my living by being in the closest touch with scientists from all over the world. I can say without any doubt that many leading American scientists have advised the American Government not to enter into a project such as Concord because of grave scientific doubts about its real feasibility and its cost, and I very much support the Government in their determination to review this costly project for which there does not appear to be any real social or economic demand.

I hope to be able to prove to the House that the new Ministry of Technology is certainly one of the answers that the Government needed in order to get British industry to apply the results of research faster and better than it has done in the past. It is now well understood that the growth of our economy, the welfare of our citizens, our national security and the aid that we can afford to give to under-developed countries all depend to a growing extent upon the effective use that our industries make of new technology.

In recent years the rate of increase in our gross national product per worker and per capita has slowed down and has been substantially less than the increase of almost all highly industrialised nations. It is apparently not fully realised that scientific discovery followed by technological research and development produces nothing, other than knowledge, for society. They must be followed by their applications through the combined use of capital, and equipment and human resources—labour and management—to produce an economic good.

It is commonly accepted that management in British industry, both private and nationalised, by and large has failed badly to make use of science and technology as an aid to increased productivity and profitability. For example, of the first fifty ethical drugs prescribed by doctors under the National Health Service, in order of sales value used in this country, only three were discovered and developed in this country—ordinary penicillin and the new Beecham penicillins, Broxil and Penbritin.

It is generally agreed that one of the major obstacles preventing the wider application and use of science and technology in British industry is that there does not seem to be, at present, an effective organisation or method to convey to individual companies, their management and foremen, the new technology in a form which points the way to its practical applications.

The other major problem is the great gulf, and lack of communication that exists between the pure scientists and the applied scientists, the universities, the technical colleges, the trade research associations, industry and government, and, finally, the gap that exists between management and scientists in individual firms.

The whole issue may, therefore, be summed up as being a problem in communication of information and the need to change attitudes of mind. I submit that the creation of the Ministry of Technology is a massive and positive step in bringing about the necessary alteration and to obtain the needed change of attitude.

The Government should provide something which has been lacking in our country for a long time—a sharp and independent means for recognising when the mission of a Government research and development establishment has lost its validity, and the practical means for re-directing the establishment into more productive channels either within or outside the Government Department that originally sponsored it. When the independent nuclear deterrent is abolished, the problem of what to do with the Aldermaston Weapons Research Establishment is a good example of the kind of problem that I have in mind.

The present system of awarding development contracts tempts private companies to talk their way into a development programme with promises of results which wise technical judgment would deem unattainable. Blue Streak and various other failed home-produced missiles and weapons come to mind. The present arrangement does not provide for adequate penalties for failure to achieve promised results, nor does it give sufficient incentives for a high level of technical performance. It also offers incentives to contractors to make systems complex and expensive or to prolong the development work. All this is most wasteful of our vital scientific and engineering manpower as well as of the taxpayer’s money.

Finally, the present defence research contract arrangement with its built-in competitive incentives and inadequate penalties for poor technical performance leads to the proliferation of many research and development groups in private industry of sub-critical size or quality. This is another important example of where the new Government’s changes in the organisation of science and engineering may prove to be most helpful and valuable both in saving taxpayers’ money and in making better use of our scarce national resources in science and engineering.

The Government and our scientific and engineering community should make it one of their major joint tasks to employ our new-found ability to combine the great diversity of scientific and engineering skills and disciplines to make a massive assault on very large-scale national problems. The effectiveness of employing this new Government tool has been demonstrated during the last war and in the massive U.S.A. and Russian space programmes. The social innovation of use in peacetime of this new Government tool is of even greater consequence in the long run than the scientific and technical innovations on which most of our attention is presently focussed. This is the spill-over from defence of the greatest national and social consequence, and we as a country have so far failed to use this instrument in peacetime. There can be no doubt that the development of this new capability has endowed us as a nation with great new powers. I am sure that the new Government will use this social invention for peaceful purposes and not just confine it to the defence sector.

The Government should show the way how to use research and development in the modern inter-disciplinary way through industry to improve and raise the quality and excellence of the environment in which we work and live. Familiar examples of the material waste and erosion of the aesthetic environment which are very complex and which can only be solved on a multidisciplinary basis are traffic congestion and air and water pollution.

The strength of British science depends on the initiative, imagination and intelligence of individual working scientists and engineers. The best possible programme formulated at the top can be made entirely ineffective by the people who are carrying it out. The purposes of organisation for science and engineering in the Government must be to ensure quicker identification and support of new ideas and maintain support for basic research and development to guarantee that the most important national technological jobs are tackled by the most able people. I am convinced that the Government’s arrangements for the organisation of science and technology will do that.

In conclusion, I wish to thank you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and hon. Members for tolerance shown to me this day.