Yesterday I was at the House of Commons.
Lloyd George's introduction of Man Power Bill, for conscripting Ireland and raising military age etc. See also 'War Nerves' - March 27th. <http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/war-nerves.html>
Two rows of seats with narrow desk all round. A few standing at either corner, including Spender, (see also 'Writing for Victory - Sept. 3rd. http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/writing-for-victory.html and 'Writers for Peace - Feb. 11th. http://earnoldbennett.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/monday-february-11th.html ) Gardiner and me. Reporters passing in and out all the time, crushing past; a horrible lack of space. No light in House of Commons except through glass roof. No repose in Press Gallery. Sharp corner of elaborate wood carving against which you knock your head if sit or lean in corners. Glimpse of Ladies' Gallery above, with glimpse of a smart woman, past first youth, with complexion soigne but going.
|Lloyd George and Churchill|
Looking from left, I could just see Ll. G., Churchill, Bonar Law, Cecil, Balfour etc., on right. House full. 12 or so standing between cross benches. (Gallery opposite full. Side galleries half full.) Two M.P.s wearing hats. As the M.P.s left they bowed awkwardly to Speaker in getting up if in front rows or on reaching central space if not; and on coming in they bowed either on entering, or on reaching open space. Speaker under a canopy.
Cheap effects of Ll. G. looking round as if challenging; trick of dropping his voice for last, rather important word of sentence. Unpleasant Noncomformist voice. He did not know his case, and having made a muddle deliberately left the muddle. Truisms about values and will-to-win cheered. Proposal to conscript Ireland loudly cheered a long time by Tories. No applause as he sat down.
The whole thing a vast make-believe, with an audience of which a large part was obviously quite unintelligent and content with the usual hollow rot. Ll. G.'s oratorical effects very poor - like a Lyceum melodrama. Asquith with long hair very dignified, at home, persuasive.