I think that all my readers will know that Viscountess Astor was the first woman MP to sit in Parliament. She was an American, and for many a long year before she was born in Virgina, her family lived in near poverty. Why?  Because her dear father had had a hand in the slave trade on the North American continent and when Grant dicked Lee and the southern slaves were emancipated after the American Civil War, her family lost the majority of their income.  What a nice man he must have been?

It is regularly said that MP's talk out of their back-sides, and this little piece of data proves that comprehensively. Viscountess Astor must have been talking to Agnes Weston before making this ridiculous statement about sailors and their likes and dislikes. Simply a case of having nothing constructive to say but she was going to be heard nonetheless.

At least Mr Lawson got it right!

Have a read of this recording of a debate in the House on the 15th February 1933.


15 February 1933 → Commons Sitting → ROYAL NAVY.




asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) if Jamaica rum is supplied for the rum issue to naval ratings on the West Indies station;

(2) if rum for naval issue on the West Indies station is bought by local purchase or by the Admiralty on the London market; and whether, in the latter case, shipment is made from England to the West Indies station?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Sir Bolton Eyres Monsell)

Navy rum as issued to the Fleet is a blend of rums bought on the London market, all Empire products, including Jamaica when price permits. The blend is in such proportions as long experience has shown to produce the flavour preferred by the men. The blending process is carried out at the Deptford Victualling Yard, where the rum is stored in vats before issue to ships. This procedure is the most economical and the most practical.


Could my right hon. Friend say what proportion of the rum used is Jamaica rum?


A very small proportion, owing to its price and owing to its not being liked by men in the Navy.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that the comment of the men on shore does not bear out his contention that they do not like the rum, and that the Government laboratories say they can make any blend of rum of any kind that is required?

Viscountess ASTOR

Is it not true that most of the men of the British Navy prefer a money allowance to rum in these days?


Is it not possible to give the Cabinet a dose of this rum?