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MR. BONAR LAW REPLIES TO MR. LLOYD GEORGE. Lord Powis presided over a meeting at Welshpool on Tuesday night, when Mr Bonar Law attempted to answer Mr Lloyd George's speech at Newtown the previous evening. Starting with a reference to Lord Powis's remarks on the House of Lords, Mr Bonar Law said they all knew that it was no part of the policy of the party to which he belonged to deny that some reform of the House of Lords was necessary in order to bring that House into direct touch with the people, and to give it the authority which would enable it more efficiently than now to exercise the proper functions of a second chamber—that was to deal fear- lessly with every proposal brought before it. Their opponents' cry against the House of Lords was no new one. Seventy-five years ago Mr Disraeli made speeches in reference to that attack, which, if they substituted the name of Mr Redmond for Mr O'Connell, applied equally to-day. The reason the House of Lords was at- tacked to-day was not because of the harm it had done, but because it was the one barrier which stood between the Irish members and Home Rule. Dealing with Tariff Reform, Mr Bonar Law said he noticed that the Chancellor of the. Ex- chequer delivered a speech in the con- stituency the previous night. He read what he could of it, but, it was a short re- port, and, therefore, he was afraid he could not do it justice, but he was going to take it as the text for the few remarks he had to make on Tariff Reform. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had many gifts, which, within limits, were appreciated by nobody more than by himself (laughter). He was a great master of platform rhetoric-of a kind (laughter). Indeed, he thought he had no superior, and he doubted if he had any equal in that particular kind of rhetoric. But when he gave up his rhetoric, which was always good, and came down to ar- gument, he was not so formidable. He was very fond in dealing with Tariff Reform of using statistics. But those statistics when examined were found to be either inaccu- rate or to prove the very reverse of what he set out to establish. He seemed to realise himself that he had a certain weak- ness in that direction. After the last elec- tion he was accused of having made a great number of erroneous—to put it mildly —statements. He sperit half an hour in reply, and what did they think was the object of his reply ? He could not attempt to prove that he had not made these mis- takes. He spent half an hour in proving that during the election he had made two or three assertions that were really accu- rate (laughter). It was his duty to follow him in debate, and he at once, in the most handsome manner, admitted that in the course of an election campaign, which had included more than a score of speeches, it was surely impossible that he could have failed to make some statements that were accurate (laughter and cheers). Last night he brought out some figures on trade. They referred to the last two years and part of a third. Let him first read them what Mr Lloyd George himself said about the use of statistics in one of his lyicid intervals- for he had them (laughter). It would, he said, be unfair simply to take one or two years and pick out the figures which suited one best they had to take trade for a cycle. But the way in which he did take trade for a whole cycle was to take the year 1908, which was admittedly the worst year for trade we had had for a generation, and compare it with the present year and say, Look how much better we are. Does not that prove we have the best fiscal system in the world ? Let them just think what the argument meant. There was no Tariff Reformer with whom he was acquainted who had ever said that our fiscal system was so bad that we must always be at the lowest depth of depression, and that no matter how great might be the improve- ment in the trade of the world, we should never get a share of it. Mr Lloyd George's kind of argument would only have any value when he could prove for the im- provement which he pointed to in our trade was met by a corresponding improve- ment in the trade of other countries with a different fiscal system, or if he could prove that the improvement was greater than in those countries. He made no at- tempt to prove that. Indeed, if he had looked it up, he could not have used that argument, for it would have shown that there was a greater improvement instead of a less, compared with ours. The facts were that 1907 was a booming year 1908 was one of the worst years for trade. Let them compare the position of this country with Germany. In 1908 there was a falling off of the imports of both countries, but the falling off of Germany was not nearly so great as that of this country. Later there was a slight improvement in both countries, but the improvement in Ger- many was much greater than here. If they took the total trade of Germany for the first six months of this year compared with the corresponding period of 1907, they would find that the total increase in Ger- man trade had been greater than in the United Kingdom during the same period. When, therefore, they examined the matter, it merely came to this, that when bad trade did come we felt it sooner and we felt it more severely than other countries, and when the improvement began it was late in beginning with us, and even after it had begun it did not approach the dimensions it reached in other countries with a differ- ent fiscal system. To say that the people of the United States were rebelling against tariffs was a fable. The only desire of the Democratic party was to modify the tariffs and not to abolish them and have the American markets unrestricted (cheers). Lord Willoughby de Broke and Mr H. Longstaffe also spoke, and a vote of thanks was accorded the speakers on the motion of Mr Harrison, seconded by Mr Edward Green. I


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