Doctors in the House, again

One of the less-remarked on aspects of the 2017 general election is that it made my post, below, about MPs with PhDs out of date. Of the old guard, John Pugh (Lib Dem) stood down in Southport, and both of the SNP PhDs lost their seats–Paul Monaghan in Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, and Eilidh Whiteford in Banff & Buchan. And Tristram Hunt (Labour) had earlier quit his seat in Stoke-on-Trent Central, of course. I’ve now scratched around with the new boys and girls, and here is some fresh information about the more academic end of the new House of Commons–as before, a pleasingly all-party affair. Three new doctorates have come to light: Continue reading “Doctors in the House, again”

Doctors in the House

So last night, on a whim, I started collecting links to doctoral dissertations written by members of the House of Commons, and posting them on the Twitter. With some assistance from the hivemind, I found a dozen then, and eight more this morning [UPDATE: and then another came to light in the evening]. Here they all are, for ease of reference, in alphabetical order, in many cases with more stable links than I managed to post before. (There may be more, of course.) Continue reading “Doctors in the House”

Refugees in Post-War Britain

[This is Page Five, continued from Pages Four, Three, Two and One.]

The record of the refugees in Britain before and during the war clearly suggests that they have been an asset to this country in some of the most critical years in its history. Are there any reasons why they should be less valuable and less welcome after the war? Continue reading “Refugees in Post-War Britain”

What Have Been The Effects?

[This is Page Four, continued from Pages Three, Two and One.]

Quite apart from the quantitative aspect, have the refugees who wish to stay here proved an asset or a liability? On the basis of the evidence which will be discussed in these pages, there is only one conclusion it is possible to draw. By and large refugees have proved a valuable element in our society: they have made contributions to our national life in industry, in the universities, in the arts and in the world of science. During the war they have acquitted themselves well. Continue reading “What Have Been The Effects?”

How Many Will Be Left After The War?

[This is Page Three, continued from Page Two and One.]

We do not, of course, know precisely how many further arrivals there will be. But the Foreign Secretary, in his Report on the 1943 Bermuda Conference on refugee questions between the British and the United States governments, stated that Great Britain was continuing to admit about 800 non-British war refugees every month. These, like most of the war refugees, w ill, for the most part, stay in this country only to fight. “Nearly all are admitted because they are wanted for the Armed Forces or the Merchant Service of ourselves or our Allies. Nearly all of them are people who would be repatriated after the war.”[6] Continue reading “How Many Will Be Left After The War?”

How Many Were Admitted?

[This is Page Two, continued from Page One.]

Immigration into Britain was practically unrestricted during the whole of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century; at that time the average level of unemployment was low. But after the last war unemployment became more pronounced: this is the fundamental fact which coloured the whole of British official policy towards aliens in the last three decades. Continue reading “How Many Were Admitted?”

Summary / Are Refugees an Asset?

SUMMARY

  1. The object of the pamphlet is to answer the question, “Should the refugees who wish to stay in Britain after the war be allowed to do so?”
  2. The fear of aggravating British unemployment was at the root of the Government’s unwillingness to admit more refugees before the war. At its outbreak there were not more than 90,000 refugees in Britain; 73,000 of these were from Germany or Austria, and most of these were Jewish. Emigration and death has now reduced the number of Germans and Austrians to less than 50,000.
  3. About 75,000 Allied nationals have been admitted during the war. Relatively few of them wish to stay permanently in Britain.
  4. Only about 40,000 refugees will want to become permanent residents; about 80 per cent. of these are former German and Austrian nationals.
  5. Britain’s population is bound to fall. Emigration to the Dominions would enhance the decline. Encouraging refugees to remain would help in small measure to offset British emigration.
  6. During the war most refugees have found employment. They have contributed to the war effort.
  7. Refugees have developed new industries in Britain, In peace-time they created additional employment and assisted British exports.
  8. Refugee scholars and artists have enriched Britain’s cultural life. Refugee scientists have cooperated in the advance of war-time science.
  9. The record of the refugees before and during the war suggests, in short, that they have been an asset to Britain. The services they are able to render should be no less valuable after the war.
  10. If we in Britain want refugees to stay they should be granted equality of rights with British subjects. Those eligible for naturalisation should be granted citizenship.

Continue reading “Summary / Are Refugees an Asset?”

Are Refugees an Asset?

I’m republishing on this blog the text of an anonymous pamphlet that was published by PEP (Political and Economic Planning) in September 1944, during an earlier public debate about the fate of refugees and the United Kingdom. I’ve stuck this up on the web before, on older incarnations of this website, and now I’m going to stick it up again.

I’m reproducing the text unabridged from the original pamphlet across five blogposts (not including this one), following the major divisions in the text; the only significant change I’ve made is that I’ve placed the “Summary” at the start, rather than at the end of the pamphlet, to serve as an introduction to new readers.

  1. SUMMARY / ARE REFUGEES AN ASSET?
  2. HOW MANY WERE ADMITTED?
  3. HOW MANY WILL BE LEFT AFTER THE WAR?
  4. WHAT HAVE BEEN THE EFFECTS?
  5. REFUGEES IN POST-WAR BRITAIN

Buckingham: from the Palace to the Parliamentary Constituency

So on the one hand, the Tories really don’t like John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons. And on the other hand, the hilarious letters Prince Charles used to write to ministers are finally going to be made public (full judgment here [pdf]), raising a question-mark over how he might try to shape public and ministerial opinion in the future in support of his various idiosyncratic and reactionary agendas.

A solution presents itself. John Bercow will stand for re-election in Buckingham as Speaker, and the three major parties will not stand against him, as is customary. (There’ll be a Ukipper and a Green–and this is where Farage stood last time, of course.) So what the Tories will be looking for is a way of running a candidate against him who is (i) officially an Independent, but in practice a Tory, and who (ii) might actually win the seat. Well, there’s Jeremy Clarkson, of course, who lives not so far away in Chipping Norton, and is looking for something new to do. He probably isn’t interested. But there’s also HRH The Prince of Wales.

Is the Prince eligible to stand for election to the House of Commons? I think he is. He is a peer, but he’s no longer a voting member of the House of Lords, which seems to be the key eligibility criterion. (There’s a quick guide to the question here [pdf], which refers you on to the 1975 House of Commons Disqualification Act, of which I haven’t read every word, but at a glance can’t see the bit that says No Royals.) And were he to be elected to the Commons, no-one could ever complain that he was exercising illegitimate influence by writing eccentric letters to ministers as often as he chose. He’d even have the benefit of Parliamentary privilege, if he wanted to slag off his enemies beyond the reach of the libel law. And the constituency work would give him something useful to do, while he continues to wait for his mother to die.

“Expensive appendages to the science of robbery”

So I spent part of the morning reading stuff by the eccentric eighteenth-century Welsh philosopher (and friend of Brissot) David Williams, as one does, in which he more or less calls for the Hanoverian political system to be replaced with something that looks quite a bit like what the Marxists later called democratic centralism. Anyway, I liked the rhetoric of this bit, towards the end of the sixth of his 1782 Letters on Political Liberty:

It will probably be said, that the revival of this mode of establishing political liberty would have all the effect of innovation; and that innovations, even on the most perfect principles, are hurtful, because they press on the prejudices of the people.

This is always the shallow pretence of political Jesuitism. The throne is daily innovating; while every step presses out the blood of the most industrious and excellent among the people. A standing army is an innovation against the prepossessions, habits, and judgement, of every independent man in the nation; and yet it has been established. Is it to be imagined, the people will object to the very little trouble attending to such an arrangement, as will afford them an intire security against the encroachments of the Crown, and the depredations of fluctuating parties in their legislature, who plunder them in succession? If they were to arm themselves slightly, they would also have a police on the best footing; and be perfectly secured against the collusions of thieves and thief-takers, watchmen, constables, church-wardens, overseers, trading justices, and the whole train of expensive appendages to the science of robbery.