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Political Notes By F. W. Jowett, M.P. I THE RICH MAN'S BUDGET. I Once more the wealthy classes of the com- munity have escaped much easier than they ex- pected at the hands of the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer. The income tax which they feared would he to 7/6 in the £ is only raised to ,) on earned incomes of over £ 2,500 a year. The rate of 2/3 in the £ previously charged on incomes not exceeding i-i,rn,tin, at the old figure. The super tax on inwmes above £ 10,000 a year is advanced from 3/6 to 4/6. The scale of charges for super tax ranges now from 1/- on the first J.){)O over and above £ 2,000, to 4/6 on the excess of £ 2,000 in the case of incomes over £ 10.000. The first £ 2,000 is free of super-tax in all cases. Postcards are in I utlire to be charged a postal rate of a })("'nny and letters ljd. Sugar is to be 7d. a lb. in- stead of is to be 2d. per oz. more. The daily press is almost unanimous in praising the rich man's budget, and as there is no daily press to speak for the workers, an atmosphere of contentment appeal's to prevail. However, the reckoning will come later for the financial committments grow heavier as the war goes on, and even if, fs seems likely, the working-classes offer no resistance to the present infliction, the i hnnt of endurance will be reached later. Then I the real struggle will come. "MY NATIONAL DEBT." I Mr. Ljnch, M.P., recently invited Mr. Bonar Law to tell him why, seeing that in all Royal Proclamations the King speaks of My Amy," I I inly Nax-y, or Aly Empire," the Govern- ment does not also advise the King to claim the same relation to the National Debt. "Mv Na- tional Debt would read well in a King's Speech and there does not appear to be any good reason for the National Debt alone being regarded as a democratic institution. Mr. Bonair Law. how- ever, declined to reply to Mr. Lynch's enquiry. THE EMPEROR'S LETTER. I Several members of Parliament have placed questions on the Parliamentary notice paper asking the Foreign Secretary witether lie was aware that at the time of the refusal of the Bri- tish Government to consider peace negotiations the French President was in possession of a letter from the Emperor of Austria st,ating that he would support by every means, and use his personal influence with his Allies, to secure ''the .French just claims" regarding Alsace-Lorraine, and affirming that the Sovereignty of HpIgiml1 shouldiw restored as also that of Serbia, with an outlet to the sea for the latter. To all the mem bers concerned Mr..Balfour lias replied that the Government after most careful consideration has decided not to answer questions relating to the Emperor Carl's letter at present. This is not surprising, for whether the letter had been mis-translated or not there is no denying the fact that in the form in which it was received by the French President the letter covered all, and more than all, the original objects for which the people of this country approved of the war, and soldiers are asking why negotiations were not considered on the basis laid down in the letter, which, so far as was then known to the Allies. was genuine. Only one reasonable ex- planation can be offered for the refusal to con- sider negotiations on the terms suggested by the Austrian Emperor, and it is that new objects have been added for which the Allied Govern- Iments are committed to keep the war on. These objects are to be found, of course, in sooret treaties rfc?ntiy disclosed by Russia. BEFORE THE WAR. I Sjieaking of disclosures 1 am reminded of an- other sensational disclosure of which the Bri- tish Government is fully aware but will not publish for the enlightenment of the British public. It is the protocol of the special Russian Council held under the Tsar's presidency on Feb- ruary 21sit, 1914. The chiefs of the Foreign Office., the Army, and the Navy of Russia at- tended. M. Sazonoff opened the business by stating that in the near future events may arise which might alter fundamentally the ¡ international positions of the straits at Con- stantinople." Presumably the alteration of position referred to by Mr. Sazooff was that a German General (General Limau Von Souders) had been given executive command at Constan- tinople and the Bagdad railway dispute was ap- proaching settlement on ternis favourable to Germany. The position of Germany threatened, therefore to interfere with Russian plans con- cerning Constantinople and the Straits. M. Saxonoff, a.t the Council referred to, asked for ¡ plans to be prepared for a landing at the Straits. SHAMEFUL DOCUMENT. In the document above referred to .M'I &zonoff points out that the plan recommended by him could not be carried out without a European War" and that a clash with the Tri pJø AUiance" Was unavoidaMe. "We must," ho said, "strive to ensure success in the main theatre of war." The Russian Council then went on to discuss steps for hastening Russian measures of mobilisation on the German-Austrian front, and the final decision of the Council, signed by the Tssar. was that special measures would be taken for the acceleration of the Rus- sian mobilisation, in readiness for the imminent Russian attack on the Straits, which would give rise to the European war which was antici- pated. This, the reader will please note, was in the month of February, 1914, but the plan was not required for the anticipated European war because the assassina-tion of the Austrian Archduke later on in the saitie year precipitated the anticipated war without it. RUSSIA, THEN GERMANY. I If the Russian protocol above-mentioned, and 1 the memorandum by Baron Rosen, the Russian Ambassador to the United States, and the re- ports of the Belgian Government of the sinister forces at work in Paris and London for some years before the war fomenting conditions that made war almost inevitable—along with the Lichnowsky memorandum, could all lie printed in a collected form, they would, ta ken together, be a source of real enlightenment for the British public. Such a collection of decuments would show that this war is the deadly fruit of the action of a comparatively small number of in- dividual men, some of them working innocently I at cross purposes, others scheming for motives of imperialistic expansion, personal ambition, and capitalist plunder. Personally. I am of opinion that such a collection of documents would prove that the largest measure of re- sponsibility for the war rests upon the late nilers of Russia and that to the rulers of Ger- many belongs the next largest share. Two things, however, could not be concealed from the readers of the suggested collection of dis- closures. One is that the rulers of no w nation are exclusively responsible and the otfuar is that I in all the nations concerned the people have been hoodwinked and deceived. EQUALITY. I The German prisoners in Russia who were said to be about to take the field against the Allies under German generals have recently been the subject of a formal protest made by Germany aiMt Russia. The reason for the protest is that the German prisoners are farming revolu- tionary committees and are striving for equality with German officer prisoners. There has actual- ly been a congress of German prisoners of war at Moscow, and the German Government is wor- ried about it. Thus disappears another excuse for n. Japanese invasion of Russia. It is not the only lie that has been foisted upon the world with the same object. Another one was the lie that the landing at Vladivostock was the result of an international agreement. Mr. Francis, the American Ambassador to Russia, has now stated publicly that the Japanese Ad- miral landed men on his own responsibility and that the British Marines were landed because the British Consul anticipated that the Japan- ese landing would cause unrest in the town. Ap- parently President Wilson has put his foot on the Japanese invasion outrage for the present. It stands on record, however, to the lasting dis- grace of, the French and British Governments, that they were ready and willing to let Japan do on the Siberian frontier of Russia wjiat Ger- many has done on Russia's western frontier. The motive is almost surely the same in both cases, and is more concerned with hatred of the Bolsheviks and the wish to protect the threat- ened investments of the capitalists and money- lenders of the Central and Allied powers than (with anything else. THEN AND NOW. I The Black Slaves of Prussia" is the title of one of the latest official propaganda pamphlets of the British Government. The object of the pamphlet is to prove that Germany is unfitted to have any power over the native population of Africa. One of the leading London newspapers commenting on the pamphlet, suggests that the restoration of any ex-German Colony to the Boehe Beast," having regard to the contents of the pamphlet in question, would be "one of the blankest of crimes." And yet. one of the revelations contained in the famous Lichowsky memorandum—carefully seWcted extracts from 'which are also being circulated by the million by the British Government—is that shortly before the commencement of the war the British Gov- ernment had agreed to sign a treaty the object of which was to facilitate a vast extension of German rule over African natives. We are not allowed to know what is being said by the Por- tuguese about the British bargain with Germany to assist Germany to acquire Portuguese Colon- ies, for the treaty had not been signed at the outbreak of war, but we do know that Germany objected to the treaty being published because, so it is suggested of the contradiction between the treaty in question a.nd a previous treaty on the same subject with Portugal. Be this as it may, the point remains that but for the war the British Government would have assisted at a large extension of German Colonies in Africa, which it is now stated would have been one of the blackest of crimes. "SOME" DEAL. I The truth is. of course, with regard to all the adventures of European Governments in Africa, they are not, and never have been, un- dertaken in the interests of the natives, and if (Continued at foot of next column).

I The Visit of Soermus.

ILabour's Choice at Bedwellty.

Political Notes