Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

3 articles on this Page

Notes of the Week.

News
Cite
Share

Notes of the Week. The Election.-As the General Election began so it has proceeded. The defeat of the ex-Prime Minister on the first day brought about a general collapse of his party in every part of the country. The Liberals did expect a victory, even a great one, but the most sanguine of them never dreamed of such an overthrow of their opponents as has come to pass. Not since 1832 has there been anything like it, and even the triumph of the Liberals in that year is put into the shade because parties were much more evenly divided before that memorable contest than they were a fortnight ago. Seven members of the late Cabinet have gone under, besides five more who held subordinate offices, and, at least, two men besides who had been in high offices in previous Governments—Mr. Henry Chaplin and Sir W. Hart Dyke. In London, the Liberals have captured -more than two-thirds of the seats, being now 40 against 18, instead of 10 against 48. It was thought by many that the counties would stem the tide of Progressive reaction, but instead of that they have swollen it. Agricul- tural districts that never before returned a Liberal have done so this time by majorities of thousands. Kent, Surrey, Middlesex, Berks, and Bucks, always so loyal to Conservatism, have gone over to the enemy. Up to the time of writing, the Liberal gains number 202 as against 11 Unionist. And it is a remarkable fact that five of those eleven have been in constituencies that had gone Liberal in bye-elections. Why they should have proved so unstable is one of the inexplicable features of the present contest. We are Seven.That was the message sent out from Birmingham the morning after the poll, and it indicates a fact that is unique. Whilst the Unionists were meeting with disaster everywhere, even one third of Liverpool going over to the other side, in Birmingham, Mr. Chamberlain held the fort successfully against all attacks. Not only were seven Unionists Tariff Reformers returned for that city, but, with the exception of one division they were given majorities that must have surprised even themselves. It would be absurd to maintain that the results in Birmingham have any political significance. They are due to the immense personal popularity of Mr. Chamberlain in that city. And he is popular there, not as a politician so much as a municipal benefactor. He grew up with Birmingham he, more than any body else, made Birmingham what it is. Whatever other people may think of Mr. Chamberlain's actions to his fellow townsmen he is still Our Joe." How- ever far he may have wandered from his first political love, it must be admitted that he has remained all along perfectly loyal to those principles of municipal government that first brought him into fame. And it is to the credit of the Birminghamites that they do not discard him in the day of adversity. But outside Birmingham proper his power is very small. Constituencies that actually touch the citadel have succumbed to Liberal attacks. And it is a most remarkable fact, that wherever this man, so invincible in his own city, has spoken outside, the seat has been captured by his opponents. All this is very significant. It goes to prove what we have long been convinced of, viz., that great success in municipal administration and reform does not necessarily make a statesman. The two realms are altogether different and require different orders of mind. The Results in Wales.-In Wales the elections have turned out as anyone familiar with the state of opinion in the country knew they would. Twelve Liberal candidates were allowed a walk over, and in all the contested districts up to date the same party has swept the board. All the four seats of the Conservatives have been lost. The Pembroke boroughs returned Mr. Owen Phillips, and gave him a majority of 1,049 Denbigh boroughs deposed the Hon. George Kenyon by putting him in a minority of 573 and Colonel Pryce Jones, a most popular local man and a great employer of labour, has lost his seat for the Montgomery boroughs, his opponent, Mr J. D. Rees, being 83 ahead of him after a most strenuous and exciting contest. So far, not one Liberal seat in Wales has been lost. Mr. Lloyd- George not only retained his for the Carnarvon boroughs, but added 928 to his majority, bring- ing it up to the substantial figure of 1,224. Mr. Llewelyn Williams carried the seat for Llanelly and Carmarthen with 2,094 votes to spare; and Mr. IvorGuest polled 3,005 more than his opponent in Cardiff. Mr. Ellis Griffith asked for an increase of a, thousand in his majority, which stood at our figures before, and he got it; whilst Mr. Vaughan Davies was nearly three thousand ahead of Mr. Morgan Richardson in Cardiganshire No Conservative entered the lists at Merthyr, and the third candidate failed to oust Mr. Keir Hardie; whilst Mr. Howell Idris not only succeeded in possessing Mr. Herbert Lewis's old seat, but also increased his predecessor's majority. And it must not be forgotten that the election was fought in Whales on the Education question quite as much as on Tariff. The Revolt" has been sanctioned by the nation once more, and a mandate given the representa- tives to ask for an immediate amendment of the Education Act. It is said that the downfall of Toryism in Manchester is due to Mr. Winston Churchill-there can be no doubt that the sweeping of the board in Wales is the triumph of Mr. Lloyd-George. And his triumph is different to that of Mr. Chamberlain. Whilst the latter enjoys the confidence of a city, the former is the trusted leader and hero of a nation. Death of an Old Chartist.—There is something very touching in the passing away of the veteran Chartist and Co-operator, George Jacob Holy- oake, just when the principles to the service of which he devoted his life are in the ascendant. Mr. Holyoake was born in Birmingham nearly 89 years ago, and in early life came under the influence of Robert Owen, of Newtown, the father of Socialism. He became prominent during the Chartist movement, and probably was the best hated as well as the least understood man in England fifty years ago. He called him- self a Secularist, and people thought secularism meant atheism, and the authorities put Mr. Holyoake in prison for blasphemy. His was the last case of trial by jury for that offence. When carrying on business as a publisher in Fleet- street he joined the struggle for the freedom of the Press, and by sending out copies of news- papers without a stamp duty made himself liable to a penalty amounting to £ 600,000. Soon after the tyrannous Act was repealed Later on Mr. Holyoake founded the Co-operative move- ment, which has grown so enormously. He refused a Civil List pension which Mr. Gladstone was prepared to grant him. The reason he gave for refusing showed the grand consistency of the man He had spent," he said, "many years in teaching working men the lesson of self-help, and it was the duty of the people to support the State, and not the State the people." Mr. Holy- oake outlived all the prejudice against him in early life, and had enjoyed the personal friend- ship not only of Mr. Gladstone, but also of such men as John Bright and the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes.

MARWOLAETH Y PARCH WM. JONES…

Am Gymry Llundain.