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ELECTION CRACKERS. e For Conscionable Voters Only! Something About Misrepresentations. The Conservative candidate for these Boroughs is professedly optimistic. Usually optimism reflects a frame of mind rendered happy by pleasing prospects. But the humble champion" of Toryism, to quote his own modest phrase, is very angry. The cause of his anger, we regret to learn, is the politics of the Express.' He charges us with wilful misrepresenta- tion, and warns us that if we persist in this discreditable policy our circulation will go down." All which would be very unnerving, indeed, were we not upheld by the fact that the circulation of this journal shows a most gratifying and encouraging increase year by year. How foolish intel- ligent people must be to read a paper which, according to Colonel Pryce-Jones, just inserts the kind of tilings that mis- lead them." Assertions are easily made. We would not be so unkind as to charge Colonel Pryce-Jones with wantonly deceiving the electors. His attempted deception arises from his own misconceptions. Not a few Express' challenges he has conveniently ignored. We make him yet another. Let him in his next public speech play the part of honour and responsibility by endeavouring to make good his charge against us. The people, whose confidence he is courting, will form the tribunal. "Unwilling to wound and yet afraid to strike" is not the attribute of a champion," however humble." Liberalism prides itself upon the cleanness and the fairness with which it is fighting this battle, and we should be everlastingly sorry to think that the Ex- press had contributed to the victory by wanton misrepresentation. Let Colonel Pryce-Jones venture upon the proof of his assertions, and we shall be glad to publicly meet him while yet there is time. Meanwhile, we invite the electors to gaze upon some misrepresentations" as they are set forth in the following notes. As is stated on the head lines, they are sub- mitted for the study of conscionable voters only. Criticising the proposed Liberal reform of the House of Lords, Colonel Pryce-Jones says: Thus the House of Commons, what- ever its political character might be, might pass some measure which they were not sent to Parliament, to carry out, and the people had no say in it." Is this not just the case at present when Toryism is in power? What of the Tory Education Act, which battened the upkeep of the Church schools upon the ratepayers of every de- nomination, and relieved the clergy of their rates at the expense of the ordinary rate- payers ? Were these enactments desired by the majority of the people ? Were the peo- ple even consulted concerning them ? Col. Pryce-Jones knows they were not. The Colonel tells us that under Tariff Reform the prosperity of Newtown would be greater, and there would be more work and more wages. He has yet a few days in which to prove that bald assertion. Let him try to do it, in justice to the wage- earners, who we contend (and that conten- tion has been repeatedly backed by figures) will suffer what is equivalent to a reduction of wages should ever a sordid Protection be resurrected in our country. It Protection is a .wage-raising process, we challenge the Tory candidate to explain away the indisputable fact why the wages of bricklayers, carpenters, labourers, masons, painters, pattern-makers, plumbers, black- smiths, and turners are much lower fti Pro- tected France and Germany than they are in Great Britain. That is a challenge which he cannot shirk in the interests of the work- man and his wife and family, whose confi- dence he is seeking. We also challenge him to give a. satisfactory explanation why food is dearer in all Protectionist countries, and cheapest of all in Free Trade Britain. These questions demand honest and straight- forward answers. Will he let us have them ? If higher wages is to be the result of Tariff Reform, will he assure this blessing to his own employees before they go to the poll ? This assurance they and all other wage-earners are entitled to, in return for relinquishing untaxed flour, untaxed bread, untaxed butter, untaxed meat, untaxed eggs, untaxed cheese, untaxed clothing, and untaxed domestic necessaries. They now enjoy the privilege of buying all these re- quirements cheaper than any other country- men. Are taxes on these things to be ade- quately compensated by a miserable reduc- tion of the duty on tea and sugar—a reduc- tion which would mean but the lopping off of the Tory taxes heaped upon them ? The Colonel may not wish to reflect upon the intelligence of the workman, but surely he courts the charge. Although, he says, the Liberal Government have been in power four years, food is dearer than ever under Free Trade. Has Free Trade made it dear- er ? Would the addition of tariffs make it cheaper ? Only an extremely poor opinion of the working man's common-sense could risk a statement of fhat kind. Tariff Reform means taxing the for- eigner as he taxes us," argues the Colonel. "As he taxes himself, the fool, is the telling and true retort of Mr Hadyn Jones. Ask Colonel Pryce-Jones," he adds, why is wheat so much cheaper in our country than it is in Tariff Reform countries and if it is cheaper here, ask him how it is that the Tariff Reformers in Germany and France are foolish enough to pay a tax upon hit wheat ? We have just been viewing the Tory caricatures posted by the Short Bridge at Newtown. A Tory Free Trader stood hard by muttering maledictions upon the heads oi scandalously abandoned artists whose brushes were permitted to paint such —— pictures." The adjective is scarce printable. We could not join in his indignation. Our feelings were those of uncontrollable mer- riment, and the unrestrained laughter did us good. Some of the drawings are really clever and immensely funny. \Ye were tickled most, perhaps, by that representation of two bullocks—the one an old, scraggy, fleshless creatures starving to death by Lloyd George's Socialism." Per- imps it is intended to portray the condition of the rich man, despoiled of his luxuries j by a little super-tax upon his abounding t thousands. On the other side of the picture p I we beheld a prime fed Hereford ox, which 3 may well represent the type of man who t, directs the tariffs trusts and waxes fat upon what he can squeeze out of the humble a toiler. t Jf Then there is that hackneyed picture of the disconsolate working man sitting in his poverty-stricken home, lamenting the evils h of Free Trade, which has robbed him of t employment. Presently there came along an a elderly dame, bearing a basket, which ap- r peared heavily laden with household com- modities. The melancholy caricature ar- l rested her, and after momentarily surveying it, she exeliiiiied. Yes, them beastly for- eign brutes Just such an exclamation as an unlearned old dame would set forth. It caught the ear of another woman, whose Christian name appears to be "Gwen." Says Gwen, What's thee say, wuman ? The aged dame, roused from her reverie, wheeled round and answered, "I was say- in' them beastly foreigners 'av starved this man and his children look you here, see." Gwen answered with a rollicking laugh, and the pair strode off together. Some dozen paces away they paused while Gwen deliv- ered a brief lecture, which concerned the cheapness of the domestic contents in the old lady's basket. Then they both laughed, and the parley concluded with the latter's enlightened exclamation, "Who'd a thought them painters are such liars! Our merriment was temporarily subdued by the poster which has the unblushing effrontery to declare, Do you know that the Radicals prevented old-age pensions being given to the old people who had re- ceived even a loaf of bread as out-door relief ? Hypocrisy is too feeble a word to describe this shameless travesty of the truth. We leave the fitting description to all intelligent persons. Radicals howl revolution because the Lords trust the people." It is impossible to feel indignant with such grotesque caricatures. The overwhelming burden of that trust" is going to be considerably removed from the coronetted brow by a no longer trustful people. Free imports don't mean cheap food." Is the ignorant working man going to be deluded into thinking that a tariff on every bit of food he eats will actually cheapen it ? If such ignorant men there be, we reckon they will be saved from this delusion by the common-sense of their wives. What colossal frauds these pictures of the horrid foreigner are! Is it. not the foreigner who provides so many of the jobs for the British workman ? For every pound's worth of manufactured goods which we im- port, nearly £2 worth is sent abroad. Dur- ing last year £ 378,180,000 worth of British goods of all sorts crossed the seas, and two- thirds tf that went to the hateful foreigner. Spoil that commercial connection with him, and we should soon see the Tory picture in all its ghastly reality. Caricaturists would not then require to draw upon their imaginations. The Tories, if they do not win this time, are not likely ever to win. Not a stone are they leaving unturned. Not a voter will they leave unvisited. A little army of can- vassers, mainly inspired by influences per- sonal rather than political, is working over the constituency busy as bees in mid- summer. We hear of many of their stories, sympathetic and otherwise, told at the fire- sides which they invade, and we should feel tempted to reproduce them, but for the knowledge that they fall as seed on stony ground. These facts will inspire Liberals to work their hardest, and work with clean hands and consciences as Mr Humphreys- Owen has specially desiderated. Their cause requires nothing more than a plain statement, together with the ever useful reminder that the ballot is secret, Here are a dozen questions which electors might keep handy when the Conservative candidate or his canvassers call. Just cut them out, paste them on a card, and exam- ine the Tariff Reformer one by one. We should be glad to be informed of his replies. Here they are :— 1. If the aim of Tariff Reform is to keep out foreign goods from this country, why not put on a tax of 100 per cent ? Tariff Reformers only advocate a tax of 5, 10, or 15 per cent. If it is good for the British working man that those foreign goods should be kept out, why not make the tax 100 per cent ? 2. If the foreigner pays the tax, why not Jet him pay a. tax on raw material ? If the aim of the Tariff Reformer is to increase trade with the Colonies, why tax Colonial wheat, which at present comes into Great Britain free ? Or, if they do not want. to tax Colonial wheat, where is the protection for the British farmer ? 3. If tariffs keep out the goods of a foreign country, how is it that. Protectionist coun- tries such as Russia, Germany, France, Bel- gium, Austria, the United States, Italy, and Spain buy from Great Britain ever-increasing quantities of goods ? 4. If Free Trade is as bad as we are told, how is it. that our trade is increasing by leaps and bounds ? 5. If Tariff Reform i? a remedy for unem- ployment, poverty, and slums, how is it that Germany, Belgium, France, the United States, Italy, and Austria—all Protectionist countries—have unemployment, poverty, and slums ? 6. If Protection is good for working men, why have Frenchmen, Germans, Austrians, and Belgians lower wages and longer hours than British workmen ? 7. Can Tariff Reformers explain why the working men in Germany and France and other Protectionist countries are agitating against their Protective tariffs ? 8. If Protection was such a good thing, why did British workmen revolt against it when it existed in this country before the repeal of the Corn Laws ? 9. Why is it that Protectionist countries have a deficit each year, although they put on taxes every year, whilst Free Trade England, with i diminished taxation on sugar and tea, bus paid off over £ 50,000,000 from the National Debt since 1906 ? 10. Why are the supporters of Tariff Re- form League dukes, earls, barons, landlords. monopolists, and manufacturers? 11. If the Tariff Reform League's propa- ganda is good for the working man, how comes it to be that the League does not contain a single Labour Member of Parlia- ment ? 12. If Protection is good for the working- man, why is Socialism, which the Tariff Reformers dread so much, increasing in Germany ? Irish Tory Canvasser Will you vote for Colonel Jones and against the oppression of the Protestants in Ireland ? Newtown Protestant Tradesman Look here, my man You needn't go any fur- ther I'm going to vote Radical Exit Irish Tory canvasser. Lady Tory Canvasser (to working man's wife) Where does your husband go on Sunday?"—Wife: "To the Wesleyan Chapel."—Lady Canvasser Oh, there are many Wesleyans going to vote for the Colonel this time." But this particular husband will vote Radical. Another Llanfyllin Radical could not be ryoved by the plea of the Tory candidate, who at length despairingly observed: Well, if you won't vote for the Colonel, you won't vote against him this time, will you The Tradesman I should consider that more reprehensible than voting Tory. You want to choke the exercise of my franchise." This is a typical Tory tactic adopted in all the other Boroughs. It would be unjust even to imagine that the Conservative candidate is conscious of some of the extraordinary tales which are being circulated by his supporters as a means of vote getting. We cannot credit him with a knowledge of the statement cir- culated in Newtown that if he is defeated there will be no more annual sports. We have it on good authority that many of the R.W.W. workers would be among the last to protest against being relieved of the demands which the work of organisation imposes annually upon them. Perhaps, after all, this electioneering statement is but a breaking of the ice. We shall see. The Conservative electioneering agent (Mr Sydney H. Jarvis) did an act the other day which must. be put to his credit, although we feel sure he would be the last to pub- licly trumpet it. Waiting at certain cross roads for the coming of an expected car. Mr Humphreys-Owen was severely disappointed at its failure to turn up. At length, how- ever, another car hove in view, and since it was travelling in the direction in which the Liberal candidate desired to journey, he asked the favour of a ride. The request was readily granted, and for a while the future member for the Boroughs travelled all un- consciously in the car of his opponent, and side by side with Mr Jarvis. Scared almost, out. of their skin by the results of what might be brought about through a cross-examination of their can- didate, the Tories have evidently conspired to summarily bundle out of their public meetings all who interrupt with questions. They cannot stand fire. This intolerance harmonises perfectly with the character of the House of Lords. Their state of despera- tion is evidenced in the almost fanatical manner in which they are trying to develop a Home Rule scare. We hear they are jubilant over the success of this bogey, and claim to have duped not a few Liberals. We should like to see these Liberals. Mr William Owen Jones, a Newtonian stalwart, had a. question to ask the Con- servative candidate for Radnorshire in one of his meetings at Builth. Amid of buzz of excitement he asked Mr Venables Llewelyn, "Is the ballot secret The Torv candi- date having replied that it was, Mr Jones in a voice that drowned all the storm of in- dignation aroused by such a question, bel- lowed out, "Men, vote then The desire of a Llanidloes audience to assist the speakers is at t.imes almost em- barrassing. Mr William Jones, M.P., on Tuesday night, said that, only five articles of food were taxed, and proceeded to enumerate them—tea, coffee. sugar, cocoa, and- -but the fifth would not come. To- bacco shouted an enthusiastic Rad from the gallery, amidst, roars of laughter. Evidently he considered that tobacco, which could be chewed, should also be swallowed as an article of food. The trade boom still continues, and the November returns further vindicate the Free Trade policy of Great Britain. During the month imports showed an increase of E2,479,901, exports E3,575,970, and re-exports £ 706,716. The totals for the month show imports f-64,091,443, and exports (with re- exports) £ 44,356,034. Some of Mr Venables Llewelyn's support- ers will have occasion to cuss their luck, for those who worked for him felt so cock- sure that they were willing to accept five ro one odds. Betting transactions on the re- sult. were not confined to Radnorshire, and not a few of the true blues have had to turf out their dollars in addition to sus- taining a bitter defeat. At Glazebury a well-known Montgomery- shire merchant was staying over-night at. the principal hostelry, which, almost needless to remark, was Tory. The Radical man from Montgomeryshire felt himself sadly in the minority, but something happened to make his lot more tolerable. In walked a swaggering supporter of the Tory candi- date. Anyone here take five to one on Llewelyn ? said he. Taken, cover that, then," said our friend from the Severn Valley, and he planked a sovereign on the smoke-room table. The baffled Tory felt in his pockets, but failed to discover five sov- ereigns. "Pick your coins up then, and don't come boasting here, if you can't. sup- port what you say." was the rejoinder. For the remainder of the night the Radical quite enjoyed himself, for the Tory guns had been silenced.