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THE NEW SESSION. THE moat remarkable thing about the open- ing of Parliament is the distinct revival of the Opposition. Nothing could be more encouraging ^aa Sir Henry Campbell Ban- nerman's brief, but excellent speech at the Reform Club when he undertook to lead the Oppositi IEJ in the House of Commons, at the unanimous request of the Liberal members. He then warned the Unionists that there von Id be fighting. Ministers have, been .complaining in tho country, that toey cannot go on kicking against a body that oSors no resistance, but Sir Henry made it ciear, iu his speech on the Address, that the Government has little reason to be dissatisfied on that score. By general con- sent Sir Henry's first efforts in his new apacity, was one of the best speeches of ts kind ever made in the House of Com- nons. It showed great clearness and -lactical shrewdness, while its hard-hitting )owers were at once acknowledged by the act that Mr. Balfour was unable to answer t, or at least made no serious attempt to do o. What we want from now to the next ;eneral election is a strenuous Opposition, nd there is every promise that Sir Henry Sannerman, with his great experience, and 1 is general popularity, will succeed in re- I rganising tho Liberal party, as an effective t fighting force. A new development in the grouping of political parties Iras now been brought about by Mr. Dillon's resignation of the chairmanship of the Irish Parlia- mentary party. Mr-. Tohn Dillon has had great difficulties to contend with, and he seems to have taken this step in the interests of peace. Turning to the legislative programme for the session, we find no new or startling an- nouncement. The Queen's speech is dull and commonplace, and more remarkable for its ommissions than its contents. It con- tains no note of emphasis upon our im- proved relationships with America. It says nothing about the prevalent lawlessness in the Church of England, or upon the pres- sing problem of Old Age Pensions, or the Irish University question. Amongst the dozen measures mentioned, there is only one not previously announced. This is a bill 'for dealing with the Usury Laws, presum- ably under the recommendations of the com- mittee which reported last July in favour of checking the abuses of money-lenders. Only three others may be said to be new measures. These refer to Workmen's Dwel- lings, an Anti-Anarchist Bill, and an amendment of the Factory Acts, applying to dangerous trades. The Anarchist mea- sure is probably only a new cover for a Destitute Aliens Bill. With regard to the Dwellings Bill, this is understood to do nothing more than afford new facilities for obtaining loans. If a workman wants to buy a house, the municipality will oblige him with a loan, which he could probably obtain upon equally good terms from any respectable building society. The eight re- maining bills are all remnants from previous sessions. The London Municipalities Bill, will be the first business taken. Ever since the Government came in, it has been going to deal with the London water supply, and at last it produces a bill to enable the different companies to connect their mains, a simple measure, which like the proposed Workmen's Dwellings Bill, merely makes a pretence of a solution. The other bills refer to Secondary Education (England and Wales only), Irish Agriculture, Food Adulteration, Scottish Private Bill Proce- dure, Companies Acts Amendment, and lastly Agricultural Holdings, which usually brings up the rear. There is nothing am- bitious in this programme. It is possible that the London Bill may be of a reaction- ary character, but it would almost seem as if the legislative programme was arranged so as to avoid trouble and controversy. It mvke-s no mention of the I dole' to the clergv of the Church of England which is obviously in contemplation from the emer- gency report of the Royal Commission on the rating of tithe rent-charge. It is clear that this has been hurried out under poli- tical pressure, and it savours too much of the proceedings which led to the relief of the landlords in 1896 to hope that it will not be made an excuse for a further contri- bution of public money to the privileged friends of the Government. The unusual phrase in the Queen's speech that the esti- mates have been prepared with the utmost economy that circumstances permit, points to additional taxation next April. Not even the unexampled expansion in the Re venue, can keep pace with the-Govemment's extravagance. Unless it reduces some of the expenditure in the navy, which the Government has declared to be necessary, it is more than probable that fresh taxation will be imposed, in spite of the great in- crease in the national receipts. Lord Salis- bury was not so hopeful as everyone would wish, in dealing with the reference to the Czar's message in the Queen's speech. He I evidently does not believe that it will result in an arrest of armaments, though he thinks the principle of arbitration may be extend- ed, and the horrors of war mitigated. In the general survey of foreign affairs, which always marks the opening of Parliament, there is little that is new. The Unionists look upon Lord Kitchener's victory at Om- durman, as making up for all political failures, but this is not evidence, and there ,if¡ none, that the Government have any real policy in China any more than a year ago. ;The only difference is that other Powers are taking a rest without any assurance that a permanent settlement is insight. Sir Henry Bannermati emphasised the point, and it is perfectly true, that the excitement of this country over Fashoda, was not so much an outburst against France, as a protest against Lord Salisbury's wobbling and er- ratic diplomacy which has led to so many humiliating surrenders. If Lord Salisbury bad always acted with the vigour and de- cision which was successful at Fasheda, many disaster would have been prevented, including the war between Greece and ¡ Turkey, as Mr..Morley iliJimself declared ,an his speech at Afbroath, -an the 28th of Sep- i tember, .1897. I

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