Friday, May 29, 2009

House Points: J. W. "Paddy" Logan in the House

Today's House Points column in Liberal Democrat News is based on an earlier posting on this blog.

Past times

With MPs away for Whitsun, we go back to an era when they put their hands in their own pockets rather than those of their constituents.

I have written before about J. W. “Paddy” Logan, Liberal MP for Harborough 1891–1904 and 1910–6. How he gave Market Harborough its cricket ground and swimming baths and started a brawl in the House.

But there was more to Logan’s politics than fisticuffs. Here are three of his Commons speeches from 1896.

Logan opposed customs duty on tea:
The right hon. Member for Thanet had said that if the Tea Duty were abolished the bulk of the revenue of the country would have to be found by the Income Tax paying class. But who was it who enabled them to pay the Income Tax if not the working class? It was the men who worked for him [Mr. Logan] who enabled him to pay the Income Tax.
He was less tolerant of faith schools than I am:
In the Board Schools the children were not taught to curtsey to the squire or to the parson. In the Church Schools the children were taught to fall down and worship the great god of the Clerical party ... 
What the children were being taught in thousands of villages today might be summed up in the words: God bless the Squire and the Squire's relations, and make us know our proper stations.
And Paddy Logan was sound on bicycles. When the Member for Mid Tipperary complained of "the reckless riding of cyclists, especially lady cyclists, in the crowded thoroughfares," Logan pointed out that:
a large number of clerks, artisans, and others now used cycles to enable them to get home, and by the aid of which they were enabled to house their families in healthy neighbourhoods, away from the slums and crowded areas of large towns.
He also asked whether they did not have an equal right to use the streets as the owners of carriages and men who run coaches as a hobby.
Logan was even something of a visionary. When another MP called for bicycle licences , Paddy suggested “the money so collected should be allocated for the purpose of providing a well-kept track for the use of cyclists”.

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