Tuesday, 6 October 2020

A trio of temperance twats

Despite zero encouragement either from the general public or the government, temperance twats kept banging their old battered drum.

First off, a Northern Irish Unionist MP asking that beer be rationed:

Dr. Little (Down, Ulster, Unionist) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will consider placing the sale of all alcoholic liquor on points ?

Mr. Mabane : My noble Friend is of opinion that my hon. Friend’s suggestion, even if desirable, would be impracticable.

Dr. Little : Does not the hon. Gentleman consider that in fairness to all, when the necessaries of life are rationed, there should be rationing of a luxury like alcohol ?

Mr. Mabane : My hon. Friend spoke of points. I think he will appreciate the difficulty of proper pointing as between champagne and mild and bitter.

Dr. Little : As the answer to this Question was so unsatisfactory and as the matter is one of vital importance to the nation at this time, I beg to give notice that I will raise the Question again on the Adjournment.
The Brewing Trade Review, May 1943, page 16

Hats off to Mr. Mabane for his answer "I think he will appreciate the difficulty of proper pointing as between champagne and mild and bitter." That put the bastard in his place.

This was a common temperance theme (along with the "destruction" of food in the production of alcohol): bread was many basic foodstuffs were rationed so why wasn't beer? Yes, beer wasn't rationed. But that didn't mean there was an infinite supply. Pubs regularly ran out of beer. 

And the whole point of rationing was to ensure that everyone got their fair share of essential goods, such as bread and meat. Not to limit supplies, which is what the temperance twats wanted to do with beer.

Next we have the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.

Viscountess Astor (Plymouth, Sutton, Cons.) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is prepared to take any action for the prohibition of the use of grain in Scotland for the manufacture of whisky ?
Mr. Mabane : No cereals from the next harvest will be allocated to whisky manufacture."
The Brewing Trade Review, May 1943, page 161.

I've some across Viscountess Astor quite a few time when researching the interwar period Because of the sort of material I look at, it was all related to temperance shit. It seems, however, that wasn't her least attractive opinion. 

She also turns out to have been anti-semitic and anti-catholic. Plus a bit of a closet Nazi, meeting von Ribbentrop in the 1930s when he was Germany's foreign minister.

Third and final of the temperance trio is Eleanor Rathbone. Who was MP for a university constituency. It's the first I'd heard of their being MPs specifically for universities. They were abolished in 1948 by the post-war Labour government.

Miss Rathbone (English Universities, Ind.) asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that at Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes canteens mineral drinks are so often unobtainable that Service men and women wanting cooling drinks at dances, &c., are driven to drink beer and that many girls are thus acquiring a taste for it ; and will he therefore take steps to secure a greater supply of temperance drinks at such canteens?

Sir J. Grigg : All N.A.A.F.I. canteens are instructed to have available ample supplies of soft drinks, and I am not aware of the shortage referred to by my hon. Friend. The manufacture of aerated mineral waters has been cut down all over the country in order to save labour and transport, but the supply of non-alcoholic cordials to canteens has been increased.

Miss Rathbone : Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that my information comes from an entirely unbiased source according to which canteens are pushing the sale of beer because of the higher profit ? Ought that not really to be overome in the interests of avoiding imported materials, as well as in the interests of temperance ?

Sir J. Grigg : Profits from N.A.A.F.I. canteens go back to the troops, so that that motive cannot be a very strong one. In the second place, the hon. Lady has sent me a letter containing complaints, but as the place of the complaints is unidentifiable, I can only say that unless she sends me more information I cannot investigate the matter.
The Brewing Trade Review, May 1943, pages 161 - 162.

Eleanor Rathbone seems a rather nicer person than Viscountess Astor, campaigning on many social issues, especially ones relating to women.

Surely beer, though, especially during the war, was a temperance drink?


Chris Pickles said...

Lady Astor: Winston, if I were your wife I'd put poison in your coffee.

Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.

Barm said...

Bread wasn’t rationed in Britain until after the war ended, so the argument that bread was rationed wouldn’t have made any sense.

Ron Pattinson said...