Urban Powers – 13 Mr A.Willey – A Satire on the Scheme

November 1919

Mexborough and Swinton Times, November 29, 1919

Mr A. Willey

A Satire on the Scheme.

Mr Willey after returning to congratulate Mr Neal on his recent important political appointment, went on to address the Commission on behalf of the Denaby Main Industrial Cooperative society, which he said was the second-largest ratepayer in Denaby, with 1000 members, 95% of them working men.

There were large free all property owners, and add three stores, the leading places of business in the parish, as well as about 40 well built, well equipped houses. Mr Chambers happened to be President. In fact, everybody, in this part of the country, appeared to be in at everything. (Laughter.)

The promoters said that this was a scheme to elevate the people and to bring about happiness, comfort, and prosperity, and they called in number of witnesses with wild impossible dreams of this utopia which was proposed to be brought about. If the magical Urban Powers was given. What seemed to aim to dam this suggestion effectively was a total one of unanimity behind it. There was a remarkable division of opinion. The proposal emanated from the Conisbrough Parish Council who were an ineffective and effete body, governing a parish which historically angiographically had nothing in common with Denaby Main. What they wanted to do, supported by the Socialist gentlemen who had given evidence, and by the trade union people (against whom he had not a word to say), – what was there avowed well-known policy was to get all of somebody else´s property with a view to helping out a derelict concern.

None of these men were philanthropists. They wanted to get hold of the most effective and remunerative rip playing concerns in the three parishes. They had gone over the River for that express purpose will stop they said, “all we want is a little bit here – the fat may – that is all we want.” (Laughter.)

The very intelligent gentleman who gave evidence last but one, a regular Pooh-Bah for these workingmen, secretary of everything – (laughter) – admitted he knew nothing whatever about the finance of the thing. If he had done himself justice he would have added that he doesn´t care either, (laughter.)

“There is a large section of the community, which shall be nameless, but whom, no doubt, you can identify, who don´t care what the rates are. They probably brag that they don´t mind if they go to 30 shillings in the pound. There is a serious part of it (as Mr Talbot pointed out) of this wretched idea that something wonderful is going to turn this district into Fairyland in 5 minutes if urban powers are provided.

There will be duplication of officials, new offices, and all told it will cost from £1200-£1500 a year in administration along. He had tried to think what there was put forward, apart from the idea of getting old of all this rateable property, to justify the proposal. True, there was a broken ventilating shaft and a stopped gully- (laughter.) – And the privy middens.

“The gentlemen seem to think that the moment a thing is called Urban, every privy midden will automatically become a water closet.” (Laughter.)

There was a ludicrous and ironical incident when the prime mover in this application, the editor of the titbit that was sent round the parish – (laughter) – discovered that he had some 40 of these privvy middens on his own account. (Laughter.)

What was then new in the case? The Rural District Councel were shown to have dealt as expeditiously as possible with every complaint. Was an order to be made against the wishes of the biggest rate paying part of the district, simply because the gentlemen were impatient?”they expect gas mantles that nobody else can get, and they want better gas – I all the get that – (laughter.) – But they wanted it in 5 minutes.” Five sixths of the ground of complaint was that something had not been done here that could not have been done either here or anywhere else in the country.

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