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Important Meeting at Hereford._______I

HEREFORDSHIRE AND WORCESTERSHIRE…

NOBTH HEREFORDSHIRE FARMERS'I…

HUNTING.

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IUNIONIST MEETING AT COLWALL.…

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I UNIONIST MEETING AT COLWALL. I I Speeches by Mr W A S Hewins, M.P., and Captain Clive M.P. A largely-attended meeting under the auspices of the Colwall Branch of the South Herefordshire Association was held at the Workman's Hall, Colwall, on Friday night last, when trenchant speeches on current political questions were delivered by Mr WAS Hewins, M.P. for the City of Hereford, and Captain P A Clive, M.P. for South Herefordshire. Mr 0 N Holt-Needham presided, and was supported on the platform by Captain and Mrs Clive, Mr Hewins, and others, and amongst those present were:— Rev Dr Harris, Capt Raymond, Mr and Mrs C Bulton, Mr and Mrs T Wall, Miss Lake, Mr and Mrs W C Allen, Miss Allen, Mr and Mrs T C Monre, Mrs Burroughes, Mr and Mrs Clee, Miss Ryan, Miss Davis, Mrs Holt-Needham, Messrs J G Holt, D A G Birchlev, A E Law, A Evans, C Hyde, A T Waters, W H Lawton, J Stallard, J Wells, T F Davis, B L Mitford, H E Hanson, N Harris, W Bough, C Pedlingham, R 0 Allen, W Leighton, F Crabb, T Wilkins, S Roberson, G Jones, H Eagles, J Barnett, J Lloyd, J Toombs, J Preece (Ledbury), W Bannister, W Evans, C Hinett, T Bridges, WE Hyde (Trumpet), T D Morgan (Unionist agent for the division), etc., etc. The Chairman, in opening the meeting, said they would be pleased to give a very hearty welcome to their Member, Captain Clive, and Mr WAS Hewins, M.P. for Hereford. (Loud applause.) He hoped Captain Clive would be their Member for many years to come, I 1_ (Applause.) I SPEECH BY THE MEMBER FOR I HEREFORD. Mr Hewins was the first speaker, and at the oetset he said it was very desirable that they should have meetings at the present time because all the signs that they could see in public affairs pointed to the probability of a great crisis in the fortunes of the country in the course of the next few months. Parliament would meet on February 10, and in the few remarks he had to make to them he would do his best to make them realise the nature and gravity of some of the questions that Parliament had to consider and for the solutipn of which they as electors were of course responsible; Captain Clive and himself were only instruments. It was the electors who really had to decide all these questions and therefore it was meet that they should see exactly where they were. He was not sure that the electors of the country, particularly the Liberals, realised quite the grave situation in which the country was. Last year they had a budget of 195 millions. That meant roughly speaking that 195 millions had to be raised by taxation and by the more or less very few beneficial things which the Government had under its control. That vast sum was in addition to all they had to pay in rates, and that money went as well to pay for public affairs. This year they were going to have a budget of at least 200 millions, probably more. That was not the end of the story, either. By the mere automatic growth of expenditure, whether the Government did what it. ought to do for the Navy or not, there would be an increase on the Navy. The Government was pledged to a gigantic scheme of expenditure on education, there was the automatic growth of old-age pensions, the Government had to pro- vide money for insurance, and as he would point out to them presently there was every reason to suppose that the prophecy many Unionists made at the time Mr Lloyd George chose to force, in the stupid way he did, the Insurance Bill through the House of Commons--they prophesied it would bring ruin to the friendly societies-and it was coming, too. They had got to keep that little thing in their mind. The Government was also pledged to deal with the reform of the system of local taxation. That might run to anything like 30 millions. There were people who wanted them to nationalise everything, and he did not know how much they were going to nationalise if the Govern- ment stayed in. They had therefore to consider not only a Budget of 200 millions, but one in time to come of 300 millions. WHERE WAS THE MONEY COMING FROM? Who had got it ? Mr Lloyd George said the dukea had got it, and he awtoed his land taxes. He (the speaker) knew a little about history, and there had been in the course of history some egregious fools who had been ministers of finance, but there had never been a man minister of finance who had been so mistaken as Mr Lloyd George. (Applause). He remem- bered some years ago, before Mr Lloyd George introduced the Budget of 1909, he remombered being present at a little society at which Lord Haldane, Sir Edward Grey, M' Sidney Webb, Mr Wells, the novelist, Mr B?nard Shaw and (,' many more eminent men were present, and they had a discussion on land taxes. He ven- I' tured the opinion at that time that they could t not get any money out of land taxation, but they were told, and it was insisted upon by some eminent persons at that meeting, that they could get 50 millions a year out of land taxation. All the land taxes brought in was the salaries for the officials who valued the land, and if that went on they would have everybody paying everybody else for valuing their pos- sessions. (Laughter). There were 11 million valuations to be made, and they had provision- ally got through 4i millions, and. there was another valuation due next year. (Renewed laughter). They had only got to go on having these valuations, and every individual in the country would have to be on Mr Lloyd George's staff. (Loud laughter). The humour of the situation was that they would not get any monay out of land taxes, however many valua- tions they made. Surely nobody had ever been so mistaken as Mr Lloyd George. (Hear, hear). They could not got money out of land taxes, or landlords, or millionaires. There was no money there. Where was it coming from ? Mr Asquith made a speech the other day in Lan- cashire, and he pointed out that the finances of the country were going to be put TO DANGEROUS STRAIN. He had a great admiration for Mr Asquith and he was perfectly certain when Mr Asquith said that that the position was exceedingly serious. Mr Asquith went on to point out the sources from which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to get money. They were told that there had never been such a prosperous country as this, and it had never been so prosperous as during the past two years, and yet they were told that their finances were to be put to a dangerous strain. That was rather damaging to Cobdenite finance. He thought they might have done better if they Tariff Reformers had been in power. It was a pretty state of things when the great high priest of Free Traders had to come along after all this wonderful prosperity in this great country, and according to him it was within measurable distance of bankruptcy. He knew what he should do with a stateman who played the fool in that way. They should revive the old methods when they had got ministers in the responsible position of Mr Asquith stumping the country and lying as they had lied about the proposals of Tariff Reform, and that great statesman, Mr Chamberlain- (applause)—and when they had statesmen like these on the Liberal side who said that the only way of reducing the expenditure was to sell the birthright which was won them by Lord Nelson and others years ago. (Loud applause.) Mr Asquith said they should revise the income tax downwards. At the present time people who had less than £ 160 a year did not pay income tax. Mr Asquith's brilliant sugges- tion for getting the country out of difficulty was that they should make these people pay income tax. It was a suggestion which had the approval of that great Welsh hero, Sir Alfred Mond. (Laughter.) He did not know how they would like that. It would hit all the people who had so many burdens at the present time, those peaple who had small incomes and who really did not quite know how to make both ends meet. Of course, a great many working men would be brought in, and he supposed employers would have to send in a return of wages they paid to people they em- ployed. Mr Asquith seemed to think in the speech he made that they HAD ABOUT REACHED THE LIMIT in the taxation of millionaires. The fact was the taxation of millionaires was not worth very much. They could not get at them. He was not a millionaire, but he knew one or two, and some of them had told him how they managed. He could therefore explain. If a man was a millionaire he did not consider such a ridiculous country as England at all. They might have a small banking account here, but there was no reason why they should bring their income into England to be taxed, and therefore they avoided it. All those beautiful ideas of getting money from the millionaire failed, and the money had to be found by small people who were patriotic enough to stay at home and spend their money here. So there was nothing in millionaires. There was not enough to go round. Having givem them Mr Asquith's suggestion of dealing with the finances of the country, he would ask them to consider why they were in such a terrible mess. Mr Chamber- lain told them ten years ago how to raise money, but they said he was But vote-catching, and the Liberals chose to misrepresent what Mr Chamber- lain wanted, and they misrepresented the Tariff Reformers' proposals all over the country. He (Mr Hewins) had never complained of the way people voted on the question Mr Chamberlain brought before them. Given a clear issue, a plain issue, and he would trust any issue to the working classes of England—(applause)—because whatever some people might think they were absolutely patriotic. They were more patriotic in many ways than other classes. They had. nothing to gain really and they had no interest to serve. They were accustomed to sacrifice, they were very courageous and sympathetic in dealing with each other, and if he wanted an audience to whom be would refer any proposal affecting the interests of the country he would take an audience of working men in preference to the most select audience they could get out of the best Universities of Europe. (Applause.) Had they done what Mr Chamberlain wanted them to do they would not have had this difficulty at the present time. This expense had grown through the growth of armanents, but if they had done as Mr Chamberlain wanted them to do they would have had the whole of the Empire behind them. and there would have been practically nothing the Dominions would have refused them- Going on to refer to the manner in which the Government had pledged itself, Mr Hewins said nobody had any right to pledge themselves on these questions of public policy. When a man was elected to Parliament he was elected TO GIVE THE: BEST ADVICE HE. COULD to his Sovereign=(applause)-and there was no other limitation on his freedom of action. But the Liberals had preferred to pledge themselves up and down to do this and not to do that and the other. Mr Hewins then went on to point out the ridiculous net the Liberal Party had allowed their leaders to get round their feet so that they could not move, through the Parlia- ment Act, and they had to introduce the Home Rule Bill in order that the Irish Party would keep them in. power. They introduced a Bill the country had rejected twice. He went on to point out how when the Home Rule Bill was discussed in the House of Commons Liberals were absent and when the division bell rang they came flocking from everywhere where they were spending their £400 a year—(laughter)— and went to the whips and asked" How do I vote ?" (Renewed laughter.) And that was how the Liberals were conducting their business. That was how the Home Rule Bill had gone through, and he ventured to say that there were not 12 men on the Liberal side who could tell them what the financial proposals of the Home Rule Bill were. Did their Liberal Candidate at the last election tell them that in the first place the Bill created an Irish Parliament co-ordinate in authority with the Imperial Parliament ? that the Government proposed to hand over to an Irish Parliament powers which would enable them to make engagements with foreign countries ? Were they told that Ireland was to have a separate customs system? that the labour legislation was to be split up 1 And so they could go on through clause after clause of this Bill. The trade union movement was going to be split into fragments by this Bill. And then they had another serious question—the religious question. It was very important they should realise that in the British Empire they had every known religion, and they dsare not introduce religious dissension. They might play with their colonies, they might neglect them, andi make blunders about them in ordinary legislation, but they could not introduce religious dissension into the Empire or they were going to split it. There was no other proposal possible in the governmeitt of this Empire THAN RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE, a.nd this Home Rule Bill had done more to breed religious dissension than anything during the last 50 years. And what were they going to do about the Ulster Volunteers, who had a perfect right to resist the Home Rule Bill. These Uister men, many of them, were Liberals by tradition, and it was certainly not the Liberals who bad the right to force the Home Rule Bill on them. He would like to see what the Liberals would do in the case of armed resistance. How were they going to put it down ? Were they going to bring the forces of Crowu against them t They could not, and the Liberal Preas admitted it. He would not consent to a compromise on any terms whatever. Passing on to the question of Welsh Dis- establishment, Mr Hewins observed that such questions as the betterment of the labouring classes had been thrown on one side in order to talk about robbing the little Church in Wales. How were they going to find a way out of all this ? There was only one path in which they could move with safety and that was to organise the Empire. At present it looked as if they were going to encounter great difficulties and to his mind they should have turned over a new leaf years ago. (Loud applause.) At this point Mr Hewins left the meeting, amidst applause, as he had to address another meeting in Hereford the same evening. Before his departure the Chairman voiced the thankst of those present to Mr Hewins for his able and lucid address. The vote of thanks was carried with acclamation. CAPTAIN CLIVE'S ADDRESS. Captain Clive, who received a great ovation, addressed the meeting. He prefaced his remarks by saying that Mr Hewins had ably explained to them the difficulties of the Liberal Party at the present time and which they, the Conservatives, hoped to be able to remedy in due course. It remained for them to consider on the one hand whether they should adopt the Prime Minister's proposal of lowering the income tax or whether they should make that beginning which must commend itself to all professional men, namely, to make a beginning with Tariff Reform and tax those luxuries which were imported from foreign countries, and thus give encouragement to manufacturers at home. The Radical Party, as far as they could see, were at loggerheads about the Navy but he hoped the electors would insist upon the country being unchallengeable in this respect, for the Navy was the life blood of the nation. (Hear, hear.) As regards the Army he looked upon their present position with the greatest alarm. Every officer he had met had put the question to him "Suppose my regiment is ordered to Ireland and I am given the order to fire upon a loyal Ulsterman shall I obey it ? These officers were obviously turning over the possibility of disobeying the lawful command. This was to his (the speaker's) mind an appalling state of things. It was necessary that the discipline of their army should be unchallengeable but could I those present wonder at it when such an amaz- ing proposal was in the air, when it was possible that the army might be called over to Ireland to fight again those Ulstermen whose only crime was their wish to remain loyal to their king and country ? The beat thing, perhaps, would be that those who received the order should obey it. Ulster, would, however, have the support of the Conservative Party in everything they did until the country had decided upon a General Election. In a recent speech Mr Bonar Law had given out what seemed to him (the speaker) the only possible course for them to .take in order to solve the present difficulty. Mr Bonar Law said he had been having con- versation with the leaders of both parties and J that they had, so far, r I FAILED TO FIND ANY SOLUTION I to the Home Rule problem. Mr Law had come to the decision that the only course for them to take was to refer the question to the electors of this country. Let the electors decide, he said, and abide by their decision. The Conservative Party had thus shown itself in the truest and simplest manner to be the democratie Party in this country, the Party which said, when there was a question like the Ulster problem, and which the leaders of both parties had failed to solve, refer it to the electors of this country. Therefore, he would ask those present, in anticipation of such an event, to prepare themselves for an Election when it did come. They must try and keep this issue before their minds and remember that upon the verdict of the electors of this country depended I whether there would be civil war or not. He asked them to set aside all other proposals and "rare and refreshing fruit." (Laughter.) They must bear in mind the seriousness of the question before them and if they wished to avoid civil war, vote for the Conservative Party. (Hear, hear, and applause.) Of late the Chancellor of the Exchequer had endeavoured to divert their attention from this serious question of Home Rule. What was the past record of this man- Lloyd George. Certainly he had to his credit the question of Old Age Pensions. They (the Conservatives) would give him full credit for that. In his speeches Mr Lloyd George had been good enough to say that the Act could not have become law if it had not been for the spade work done by the Unionist Party in the early days. The old people were enjoying their pensions but at the same time the Act required amending seeing that there were people taking the penj t who did not ought to have it. But this wa. Ir Lloyd George's legislation all over. They ha t, however, a far worse example of it in the National Insurance Aet. (Cheers.) For this Act he (Captain Clive) had few words of commendation. From what he could gather a big national disaster was imminent as regards this Act. They might ask why has it not come before ? It was because they were living on a half-ye 's accumulation of funds received before Kay Benefits were given at all. This was obviously BAD FINANCE. I He hoped something would happen. He hoped the Unionist Party would go into power and then the first thing for them to do would be to appoint a good committee to go into the question with a view to seeing how the matter could be put right, and thus try and prevent t,he disaster which threatened them. (Hear, hear.) In the midst of their present troubles Mr Lloyd George had come out with a fresh scheme. He had come down upon the land. He apparently looked round and discovered a part of the country where things did not seem to be going quite right. Talking about the land he said You Englishmen are not fit to deal with the question of the land between man and man, it requires Government officials to do it for you." (Laughter.) Having made a brief reference to, the question of land valuation. Captain Clive went on to say that they seemed to be threatened more and more with a new method of Government so long as the Liberal Party were in power, and he would ask those present to think deeply before they gave their approval to the Chancellor's new land scheme. Referring to the question of housing, Captain Clive said the Radicals talked a great deal about cottage building. They had brushed aside the Unionist bills and refused to find time for their consideration and finally they had left the Conservative Party to the conviction that it was not cottages the Liberals wished to build, but to pass a bill and get the credit for it. It was a question which any Member of Parliament who could find time to frame a measure to deal with the problem, was entitled to do so. Continuing, the Member asked those present for their support at the next election for the reason that the Unionist Party's aim had been government by the will of the people, which practice bad not been followed by the Radical Party. The Liberals passed the Budget which they had not a majority for in the House of Commons and only achieved their object by winning over the votes of the Irish Party and by promising Home Rule. He would ask them to return a Unionist Party to power because it was the Democratic Party. Further a Second Chamber would be formed which would enable them, when they returned a Party with a majority to the House of Commons, to feel that there was a Second Chamber if any- thing revolutionary was proposed, to see whether the electors were to have it or not. (Cheers.) Whether the Liberal Party liked it or not he believed a General Election would come soon and he would agiin ask them to be ready for it when it did come. He would ask them to resent any curtailment of their powers and by a large majority to show their appreciation of the I stand made by Mr Bonar Law for Liberty and Democracy. (Loud and prolonged applause.) Questions being invited, Mr A T Waters asked if the hon Member would follow the example of Mr Bonar Law, Mr Balfour, the late Lord Biiconitield, and the late Lord Salisbury in supporting the Women's Suffrage Bill. Captain Clive, in reply, said that he had thought the matter out, and agreed that if a man householder should have a vote, so should a woman householder, but so long as the militant suffragettes destroyed property so long would he refuse to vote for the mea- sure. Mr T F Davis asked if in a scheme of Tariff Reform this country took off duties for the Colonies, would the Colonies do the same for them ? Captain Clive replied that each colony would have to be considered, and he had no doubt but that perfectly just terms between both would be decided upon. Miss Lake (Brook House) said that no one deplored more the doings of the militants than their Society (Mrs Fawcett's Society). Was it not rather hard that, because a few women, who were the worst enemies, did wrong things, that all should be punished ? Cape. Clive said that he sympathised with the 50,000 members who composed the National Union of Women Suffrage Societies, but they must suffer for the offences of their militant allies. Capt. Raymond proposed a vote of thanks to Captain Clive and Mr Hewins. Mr Hanson seconded. A vote of thanks to the Chairman for pre- siding was proposed by Mr D A G Birchley, and seconded by Mr T F Davis.

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