The Aeroplane today suggests that 'The visits of the various "scare-ships" have evidently not been without salutary effect', if they have given rise to the present Aerial Navigation Bill (p. 162). The Daily Mail would tend to agree, but hopes for more. It devotes both its first leading article and nearly a column's worth of articles on the opposite page to the bill and to the mystery airship danger (much of which are reprinted in the Dublin Irish Independent, p. 6, and the Dundee Evening Telegraph, p. 4). To take the Mail's reportage first (p. 5; above):
The Government has awakened to the fact that foreign airships have several times recently appeared over England. The result is that a Government Bill is now being rushed through Parliament to meet the danger.
The operative word here is 'rushed'. The bill was introduced into the House of Commons only on Friday (according to the Mail, but Hansard says Saturday; the text seems to have been published on Friday), but
will be the law of the land before many days have passed. Read for the second time on Monday, its remaining stages in the Commons were passed in a single session. During Tuesday's session it was, in the terse language of the orders of the day, considered in Committee, and reported, without amendment; read the third time, and passed. The Bill will be taken in the House of Lords early next week.
There was practically no discussion in the Commons. The proceedings took place after midnight in the sessions both of Monday and Tuesday [...] Thus a Bill of considerable importance to national defence has been hurried through with hardly a word of discussion. The Opposition were asked, and agreed, not to delay the Bill in any way.
Colonel Seely is reported to have told the Commons that the bill 'is not aimed at the aircraft of any foreign Power, but rather at preventing mischievous persons -- possibly from over-sea [sic] -- from hovering over places where there are combustible stores, to the great inconvenience of the people of this country'. This would not seem to explain the haste with which it has been conducted through to the Lords, unless the scareships are taken in account:
The reasons for this urgency are to be found in the frequent reports published in The Daily Mail, of the appearance of unknown airships over various parts of England.
(Though in fact the reports have not been nearly so frequent in the Mail as they have been in the Standard or the Express.) There then follows a summary of the Sheerness incident from last October (which was thoroughly investigated by the Mail) and eight sentences from yesterday's Times on the more recent airship visits and their presumably unfriendly purpose. The Mail then concludes by revealing that
It is understood that the 'sky guns' for firing at aircraft for which contracts were given some time ago will be stationed round the coast for the purpose of carrying out the new regulations.