The Week in Parliament
NO unexpected.feature marked the course of the debate on the Unionist vote of censure last week. - Mr. Baldwin opened in the detached and reflective vein to which the House has become accustomed. His speech consisted for the most part of an analysis of the views expressed by certain leading nineteenth-century econo- mists, and bore little relation to the terms of the motion. But it was not dull. Mr. Snowden, who followed, was more moderate than usual, and somewhat ineffective on that account. By far the best speech came from Mr. Oliver Stanley, who treated the question of protection from a realistic standpoint as one of sheer expediency, and argued that any considerable extension of safe- guarding should be accompanied by a quid pro quo extracted from the industries affected, in the matter of efficiency. Mr. Stanley's observations were cordially received by the younger members in all parts of the House, and afforded a further illustration of the great gulf that is now fixed upon so many subjects between the general ideas and outlook of Youth and Age.
Even Mr. Churchill, with all his versatility, cannot wholly free himself of the pre-War mentality, and his speech in winding up the debate for the Opposition, echoed at moments the dim and dusty controversies of a bygone era.
Sir Herbert Samuel and Sir Robert Horne gave exhibi- tions of that brisk competence which has characterized their interventions of late. But Mr. Wedgwood Benn, who brought the proceedings to a final and rather dis- creditable conclusion, was very disappointing. His speech at least had the merit of being short. It is too early to judge of Mr. Bern's administrative record. But one more performance of this kind in the House will go far to confirm Mr. Lloyd George's recent assertion that he is a man of insufficient calibre for the job which he now holds, This week we have had the Service Estimates. A remarkable feature of the debates has been the incredibly sparse attendance of members of all parties.
No one seems to be interested in anything but economic problems nowadays, which is probably is it should be Mr. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty, spoke lucidly and well When introducing hiS estimate ; and Mr. Churchill followed him with a moderate and well-balanced statement of Opposition anxieties.
On the Air estimates Mr. Kinley voiced the sentiments of the ultra-pacifists, but otherwise complete unanimity prevailed, and Sir Samuel lloare's comprehensive survey of our air position, based on nearly ten years' adminis- trative experience, was listened to with attention by the small band of enthusiasts present.
The Liberals have decided not to oppose the Coal Bill further on committee stage, so we shall have no more crises for a bit. As the fourteenth of April approaches, interest in the Budget increases, and 'all other questions, including the Naval Conference, are gradually fading out of the picture.
Once again the props have to be changed, and the scene-shifters elbow their way 'across the political stage. Supporters of the Mosley Memorandtim are hustled off, while its authors, wisely or unwisely, decide to live— perhaps to fight another day. Mr. Snowden has retired to his dressing-room. Already a' hush descends upon