|Houses of Parliament by Monet|
On the tour itinerary of every visitor to London is the Westminster Debating Society, or as it also known, the Houses of Parliament, a gothic block on the banks of the Thames comprising two houses - the House of Commons (lower house) and the House of Lords (upper house). Each house refers to the other as ‘the other place’.
One or two historic and memorable speeches have doubtless been made within its chambers, but no more visionary and moralistic speech than that delivered to the Lords at 9 p.m. on the 18th day of the month of July in the year 1978 by John, Viscount Amberley, Earl Russell.
In parliamentary jargon, his speech is described as a ‘response to an unstarred question during a debate on Victims of Crime’. He began by addressing the question of what a modern society should be:
‘A modern nation looks after everybody and never punishes them. If it has a police force at all, the police force is the Salvation Army and gives hungry and thirsty people cups of tea. If a man takes diamonds from a shop in Hatton Garden you simply give him another bag of diamonds to take with him. I am not joking’.
He turned to the question of work:
‘Trade Union thinking on this subject is wrong. Leisure is the point and working is wrong, being in any case the curse visited by God on Adam and not blessed. ……….. Automation in the factories and universal leisure for all and a standing wage sufficient to provide life without working ought to be supplied for all. So everyone becomes a leisured aristocrat. ……. Shops ought to supply goods without payment, the funds to pay for the goods being paid by the State, so that all motive for stealing vanishes.’
It followed that there should be a redistribution of the nation’s wealth:
‘And in a completely reorganised Modern society Women’s Lib would be realised by girls being given a house of their own at the age of twelve, with three-quarters of the wealth of the State being given to the girls in houses of their own, to support them, so that marriage would be abolished and a girl could have as many husbands as she likes. ………. The men receive the remaining quarter of the national wealth to support them, and can, if they like, live in communal huts.
He focused on a how a caring nation can modernise and how to end the Cold War:
‘….for instance, lunatics could be looked after individually, and it could be found out what world is missing from them and the world which is missing from them could be restored. The madness of the Cold War could also be removed by the whole human race, since it is quite evident that neither Communist nor American exists, only persons. What makes it abundantly clear is the saying of Little Audrey; who laughed and laughed because she knew that only God could make a tree. Mr Brezhnev and Mr Carter are really the same person: one lunatic certifiable, or in American terms one nation indivisible, with imprisonment and lunacy for all. In a word, the whole Human Race can banish the Cold War, with one word, by simply saying “You do not exist.”
‘The total abolition of law and order is needed, and the Police turn into the Salvation Army as already observed and always help people. There are no prisons or punishments.’
He went on to say that our societies are spiritually dead with a ‘craven fear of nature’.
‘Forward the creative spirit! Leave people as nature made them, not indoor products of ersatz suffocation. …………….. Naked bathing on beaches or in rivers ought to be universal.’
Around this point his speech was interrupted by Lord Wells-Pestell, who, according to one observer at the time, only ever spoke on the privatisation of model railways. Lord Russell then left the chamber and was prevented from returning by the ushers.
Had he been allowed to continue his speech (which was later published in full), the House would have heard his vision of a society in which the older generation hand over the reins of power to the new generation of young persons. But first he rebuked the older generation for its treatment of the young.
‘ ………do not cause the older person, or the police, in the name of the older person, to prostitute the younger person out of unforgiveness. The punishment for such conduct is the guillotine. Cause this murder of young people to cease: abolish all institutions or spirits which cause such things. What is not granted at present is the gift of life. The older person is not grafted the gift to be generous, kind, forgiving, or merciful to the younger person, and the younger person is forced in self-defence to defend himself against the older person. ……… A relationship of extreme cruelty results, delightful to all those who relish the experience of sadism.
‘ ………. This spirit or happening is confined to England. It does not happen to Free Americans who are not subject to the powers of envy engrained in the British Class System, which gives such spirits power. Free Americans banish this spirit, and when Americans complain of the British Royal Family for being pampered, decadent and snobbish, are they not right? The Police Doll which prostitutes people is probably the responsible author of these evils: the Doll of Love which says to the person: You are exile from Love: you must prostitute yourself. …………. This unpleasant, cruel and disgusting machine ought to be stopped. Will you give the young people of England a better chance, please?
‘This machine has given a lot of trouble to a great many people in the last twenty five years, and the British people…….should invoke the spirit of Free America and banish the spirit in question. Get up British Lion: restore your free spirit……and the spirit which works damage and has power or control over the person, vanishes. ……….. Young people ought to be free to go on with their lives and pursue the gaining of their livelihoods free of such molestation. It is not safe for the human race to be thus menaced.
‘ ………… Can we have some action please? Lend a hand, stop cursing and start blessing. Speak well of people and not with malevolence and leave this bosom of usury of yours. This British spirit is so contemptible that no one could ever attempt to stoop to hearing it. It is the heavenly virtues, faith, hope, charity, lovingkindness, compassion and mercy which people hear: they hear Joy and Happiness, they do not hear the HIDEOUS virtues. God has not been let into Britain because the only divine authority which Britain accepts is the Temporal Anglican Authority, which NEVER repents.
‘ …….. The official rating of the human race in the Northern Hemisphere is TOAD. Until you have prayed for some better grace and found and produced some better repentance by their deed, they will not deserve a better world. Turn from your old, cruel, usurious ways to defend the young man and his lady; choose their kindness, their happiness, their peace, their rejoicing, their mercy. There is no point to you at all unless you put merciful young persons under the age of thirty in charge of your affairs; you will not get anywhere until you do.
‘Go where mercy is, not where it is not; young and merciful people have a stake in the future, which is greater than yours; yield all authority to them and cause State Ministers to accede to their requests. ………… Consequently you will let the young people pass without let or hindrance to the fullest power of the State. Cabinet Ministers can just receive their advice, and agree to anything that they request. The wisdom and guidance of the old are there to assist the young: not to impede them. Guillotine on earth; thunderbolts in Heaven are the punishment for any attempt to impede young people.’
The earl ended his speech with the following simple remark:
‘It may be expected that most people will support these proposals, because they are, after all, in everybody’s own interest.’