The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, July 1907

How the Attack was Received.

(Our representative has been at great pains to elicit the views of leading Members of the House of Peers on the subject of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman’s attack.)


A COOL-HEADED Marquess from Surrey
Said, ‘No change can be made in a hurry;
So I think we’re all right
If we only sit tight.
Look at me. Do I quail? No. Why worry?’


An elderly Duke muttered ‘Pooh!
The Commons mean well it is true;
But they can’t legislate
Upon matters of weight:
Their blood’s not sufficiently blue.’


A juvenile Viscount said ‘What!
Abolish the Peers! Bally rot!
Why, if we shut up shop,
The whole show ’ud go pop.
You want brains? Well, that’s just what we’ve got.’


A foolishly timorous peer
Quivered worse than a jelly with fear,
When a friend for a joke
These simple words spoke:
‘Look out, Percy! The Premier’s here!’


Said an Earl, at his house in Pont Street, ‘Oh!
I don’t care a hang for the Veto.
I’ve bought a new car,
And I’m full up, so far.
Finding out all about the magneto.’


There was a young lordling from Lancs.,
Who scoffed at the Commons as cranks.
‘And as for C.-B.,
He’s a rotter,’ said he.
This encouraged the wavering ranks.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.


On June 24, 1907, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Liberal Prime Minister, introduced a resolution in the House of Commons which he had been foreshadowing in speeches during the previous month:—

That in order to give effect to the will of the people, as expressed by their elected representatives, it is necessary that the power of the other House to alter or reject Bills passed by this House should be so restricted by law as to secure that within the limits of a single Parliament the final decision of the Commons shall prevail.

In other words, the House of Lords would no longer have their traditional full power to veto or amend bills passed in the House of Commons.

Note by Neil Midkiff