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I OUR WEEKLY CALENDAR.

SATURDAY, MAY 30, 1914. Topical…

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SATURDAY, MAY 30, 1914. Topical Tattle. The discussion at the Guardians meeting on Tuesday respecting the proposed changes in the machinery for local rating was very interesting and especially the contribution of the Vice-Chairman, Mr J A Thompson, who showed a grasp of the subject which probably few of the Guardians possess. The point he made against the proposal to abolish the Assessment Committees and substitute a paid official to value property received the cordial approval of his fellow-members, and it is a long while since such a chorus of hear, hear," was heard on so a debatable subject as this is when he declared that the agriculturist had been taxed in the past on his stock-in-trade, and that the food-producing industry bad borne much more than its fair share of taxation. ♦ There is undoubtedly going to be a vast change in the system of local rating, if the present Government remain in office, and probably even if they don't, as it has been recognised now for years that the system whereby local rates are made responsible for education, the maintenance of main roads and lunatics, is all wrong. These matters are national subjects and not local, and being such they should be removed from local rates and made charges upon the income of the nation as a whole. It is particularly hard on an agricultural county like Herefordshire, with its vast mileage of roads, that the upkeep should bealocal charge, and that makes the burden particularly heavy on the farming industry, seeing that the bulk of the rates in the county are paid from agriculture. And at the same time that the charges for the maintenance of the roads is a local charge, yet the Treasury takes about 93,000 a year from the county in taxes paid by people living in the county for licenses for motors, carriages, etc. The allocation of a fixed sum from such licenses to the County Councils was a big blunder, as if the respective counties were allowed to keep the amounts they themselves collect in the counties it would make some difference, probably not a great one, but still a reduced rate would be the result, for whereas expendi- ture is growing and the receipts from licenses growing, yet the amount left in the county from such receipts is barely half of the total amount received. ♦ We have evidentlv not got into the way of observing Empire Day in Ledbury. True the schoolchildren observed it on Monday morning by all meeting at the boys' school, singing the National Anthem and saluting the flag, but apart from this, the ringing of the church bells and one or two flags being hung out the Empire was a dead letter so far as celebration of the Day was concerned. We really must see what we can do next year in this matter. It is the usual tale of every- body's business being nobody's business, and we must see if we can persuade somebody to make it their business next year. I sincerely trust that the suggestion thrown out at last Friday's gathering of the Ledbury and District Air-Rifle League, regarding the formation of a miniature rifle club, will bear good fruit. The manner in which air-rifle shooting has caught on as a pastime for the long nights in the winter months has really been remarkable, and while expressing my congratulations to the various members of the league, I would most sincerely impress upon them the importance of the suggestion thrown out by Mr T G Drew. That gentleman having broken the ice, might he not go a step further and take the lead in calling a meeting of loeal riflemen, of whom there are a good number in the town and district, who would be only too ready to join a miniature rifle club, if they could but see that business was meant. « When one can see flourishing miniature rifle clubs at villages such as Much Marcle, Tarrington and Canon Froome, it seems a positive disgrace to the riflemen of Ledbury that they do not go in for one. There was such a club some years ago, but that was before the sport became so popular io the county as it is to-day, and bad the club only existed a year or two longer I have no dyubt that it would have been in existence now. At the time of its being there were very few such clubs, nor was there a league or the trophies to be shot for that there are to-day. and without question a real good club MOLD be run at Ledbury. It is probably too late to do mveh this season as regafrcfa competing for the couaty trophies, but the dab coald be formed and placed on a working basis, and next season it would be plain sailing. Poor Mr Masterman has had another great fall. The question is whether all the Cab- inet's horses and all the Cabinet's men will ever put Mr Masterman together again. I do not think they will attempt the task. The fact is not to be blinked that Mr Mas- terman is not popular, and all the dislike of the imperfections of the Insurance Act seems to fall on his head. He has made energetic enemies in many quarters. ♦ The Red Heads. announces the Evening News," will be the principal new attraction next week." Will The Dead- heads be there also? Mr Churchill, Steersman is a heading in the Daily Mail." Mr Masterman looks like being the man overboard. TATTLER.

- DYMOCK.

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