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[No title]

The Boroughs Nomination.




SEEN AND HEARD. Nothing oxtenaato, nor set down aupht in maliee. SU. X'BPEAI<,JI. ONCE MORE TO THE COLONEL. HIS PLEAS FOR ELECTION. M DEAR SIR,— I have read very carefully your platform speeches, in which you advance various reasons why the electors of these Boroughs should vote for Toryism and its conception of a reformed House of Lords. But I am not to make these deliverances the sub- ject of criticism in this letter. Speaking impromptu, and in the excitement of con- flict, a man is apt sometimes to commit errors of judgment or of assertion. Of such I discern a few in your Welshpool speech, but they will find no mention here. With scrupulous fairness, I am going to deal with your claims as they are deliber- ately set forth in your pointed election addrfess. That document, I presume, was drawn up in calm and unhurried moments, and therefore represents the true position by which you are prepared to stand or fall. It is signed by you as an authentic ex- pression of your views upon questions of principle and policy, and the elector is in- vited to judge of your political faith and intentions upon what is contained in that script, which now lies before me. You lead off by saying that if the Veto question had been fairly brought before Parliament, with a real desire upon the part of the Government to find a solution for the difficulty, one would have been found." What is your justification for that contention ? You say every indication has been given" of it. But you do not name one. Why, if this solution was likely, did Mr Balfour himself confess that a gen- eral election must in any case have occurred in a few weeks ? Just please tell us why. Do you actually imagine we are simple enough to believe that despite the favour- able opinions of Lord Lansdowne and Mr Balfour at the Conference, the Government wantonly forced an election, and thus risked the realization of what they could have secured by pacific means ? Now, a statement like that from a platform to a mixed audience might be excused to some extent, but since it forms part of your studied election address, you must accept full responsibility. I leave the wortli of your No. 1 asser- tion to the sensible judgment of the elec- torate, and come to No. 2, which consists of three passages. You deelare without the slightest qualifi- cation that the veto proposals of the Government would, in effect, mean Single Chamber" government, and log-rolled" measures passed in all probability in opposition to the wishes of a majority of the electors." Well, let us suppose for a moment that you are right in both contentions. In practice, in reality, is a Single Chamber Government absolutely unknown in this country ? Is it possible that when you penned, dictated, or approved that state- ment, you could have forgotten the fact that while the House of Commons was Tory the House of Lords has always been practically deserted ? Do you honestly conceive of a double chamber system which, according to unimpeachable fact, has never once rejected or amended a Tory Bill during the last 100 years ? I asked you last week to say whether this fact, unparalleled in the history of any other self-governing country, was due to absolute perfection of the wisdom and sagacity with which all Tory measures have been devised during the last century ? The necessity occurs from its repetition. But you say in effect, I want to abolish this glaring one-sidedness by means of a strong, reformed Second Chamber." I will come to grips with you on that point pre- sently. Meanwhile, what of the "log-rolling" bogey ? Again, I ask you, did the House of Lords justify its existence as a. real revising Chamber or as a check upon ill-considered legislation when it passed without a single word of objection the Tory Education Bill, in spite of the numberless petitions pre- sented against it, and regarless of the great shout of protest that went up throughout the length and breadth of the land ? Do you think that was an action conceived of honest revision ? There I leave your point No. 2. Now for your strong, reformed Second Chamber," which you believe, "being com- posed, as it would be, of a very large elected and democratic element, would meet all legitimate parliamentary needs, and would give entire satisfaction and confidence to the people at large." The number of your woulds is rather amusing. I notice there is no should" among them. Even the most sanguine of prophets safeguard them- selves by an occasional "should." What on earth do you mean by saying that such a Chamber as is outlined by your party leader would give entire satisfaction and confidence ?" Are you really oblivious to any other party than your own ? While I write I hear the cheers over successive Liberal victories, every one of which pro- vides an effective commentary on your ex- traordinary statement. You speak of a very large elected and democratic element which is to be introduced into the Re- formed House." What authority have you for that representation to the people of these Boroughs ? Neither Lord Lansdowne nor Mr Balfour has promised that such "would" be. Refer once more to the Lansdowne scheme of reform," and conscientiously declare your opinion whether it does not provide for a smaller House of Peers, but yet one over- whelmingly Tory, ready to continue the mangling of all Liberal legislation with which it does not agree. Do you imagine that this sham reform is going to deceive the electors of the Montgomery Boroughs ? Do you think they forget the Balfourian boast that the Tory party shall control, whether in power or opposition, the des- i tinies of this Great Empire ? Or as your party whip (Sir A. Acland Hood) still more plainly put It--H Whether we have a majo- rity or a minority, the fact remains that we will govern the House of Commons and the policy of the country ? Hence it is, my dear sir, the people clearly understand the mock character of your Reformed Second Chamber," pos- sessed of all its old vices. This is the yoke you would impose upon them in the name of Reform." As a Progressive in local self-government, you astonish and surprise me. Away with your bauble of "Reform It is a spurious thing, a mockery, and a sham, and an insult to intelligent citizens. More work and wages and no increase in the cost of living" under Tariff Reform is your fourth point. Will you dare pledge the promise that all this shall be resultant of a Tariff Reform government? I note that you have carefully dropped an important adjective which used to figure prominently. What has become of the "higher" wages? Can it have disappeared because I chal- lenged you to promise higher wages to your own workers as the certain reward of Tariff Reform ? Or is the cause of its deletion the unanswerable fact that in al- most every Protectionist country in the world wages are lower and the prices of food higher than in this Free Trade country of ours ? You toy with Mr Balfour's pledge that, Protection will not mean dearer food.




[No title]




The County Election.