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PRINCIPLE AND EXPEDIENCY. THERE is a certain class of people who are great advocates of principle as long as principle pays, but as soon as the balance of profit or advantage is on the side of expediency then principle is calmly put on one side. The selection of alder- meh in the County Councils- has dent onstrti ted beyond possibility of cavil, that Liberals are not i whit better than Conservatives in their ] exercise of power, and that when in office they are prepared to do with alacrity those things which they protested against most vehemently when in Opposition. If one thing more than another has been firmly believed by Liberals it is, first, that every member of local governing bodies should be elected by the ratepayers, and, second, that unsuccessful candidates should not be pitchforked into those bodies by electing them as aldermen. It was long the custom of the Liverpool Town Council to select unsuccess- ful Conservative candidates as aldermen, and much indignation has from time to time been expressed in Wales at what was called the in- sult offered to the ratepayers by this method of procedure. If in Wales Conservatives had been as successful as Liberals have been at the County Council elections, and had proposed, as the Liberals have proposed, not only to select aldermen from outsiders who have not been elected by the ratepayers,bu t to select defeated Liberal and Conservative candidates, the cry of indigation would have continued to go up. We are told that if fresh elections had been forced upon the constituencies the ratepayers would j have resented the trouble and expense is not this the Tory reason for avoiding election-, q We are told that if aldermen had been chosen from the inside the other party would have been successful at the polls and much ill-will would have beeu created is not this just what Conser- vatives say about all elections We are told that some very good men have failed to secure election and that it is for the good of the rate- payers that these individuals should become members is not all this just what Conservatives say, and have not Liberals made it their boast that they appeal to the electors and do not ignore their verdict or act in opposition to it. Liberals can offer no defence in times to come when Conservatives act as Liberals are now acting They must then take the bitter conse- quences of their policy of expediency and put up with the deserved taunts of their opponents We admit fully and frankly that if the alder- men had been selected from the inside there would here and there have been a little local irritation, and it is possible one or two Liberal seats would have been sacrificed, but the people would have admitted the wisdom of the course adopted, and good instead of evil would have been the ultimate result. That Welsh Liberals should sacrifice principle, to secure tem- porary success is very humiliating, and shows how little there is, after all, in loudly vaunted Liberal principles. The curse of political parties is that they act on the principle that the end justifies the means. Hitherto we believed that Liberals were in earnest and were not prepared to crawl through any dirty avenue to place and power. We thought their denunciations of Con- servative tricks and dodges were genuine and that they were honestly prepared to suffer loss and inconvenience, and even exclusion from office and power, for the sake of their principles. We have been mistaken. We have claimed for Welsh Liberalism virtues which it evidently does not possess. There are occasions when Town Councils and County Councils might elect an outsider as alderman as a mark of special honour. We do not for a moment say that in no case whatsoever should a mayor, county chairman, or borough or county aldermen be elected from the outside. What we contend is that to elect county aldermen outside for mere expediency's sake is to degrade County Councils and to degrade the men to whom the so-called honour is offered. In future good men will not offer themselves for election. There is another way than the people's suffrages that leads to the County Council Chamber. We profoundly regret the decision to select outsiders as aldermen where- ever that decision has been reached, and believe that a blow has been struck at the new bodies from which they will never recover until that decision is reversed.




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