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NOTES OF THE DAY i ♦

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NOTES OF THE DAY ♦ From our London Correspondent. THE SCUTTLED iFLEEX. TO jtdge by the newspaper comments on the action of the Germans iin scuttling and sinking their warships in- terned at Scapa Fow, the war has ,eclipsed our sense of humour and im- paired our old fine sportsmanlike :instincts. The "Times" has written with portentous gravity about German treachery; 'the "Daily has yelled more frantically than ever against the Hun; even rtlie Radical "Star" declaims against the "gross perfidy" of the Germans. What rubbish it all is The German-bailors at Scapa didexactly what British sailors would have done in similar circumstances. Though our ,enemy .a. by this manoeuvre got the laugh against us, it is impossible for fair- minded .men not to admire the spirit that prompted 7it and the skill and dexterity with which it was carried out. It would 'be more becoming and more in harmony with British traditions for our news- papers to treat the incident, in; that spirit ithan to make us ridiculous by shouting "perfidy," "breach of faith" and "treachery. Neurotic scribes by their feverish and humourless diatribes are not helping the reputation of England. ACQUISITION OF LAND. TJROFITING by the absence of Mr. I "— Lloyd George, who is still, in Paris, the British Government is revealing openly -its Tory tendencies. There was a battle royal in the House of Commons this weeic over the clauses in the Acquisi- tion of Land Bill dealing with compen- sation :to landowners whose land is com- pulsorily taken for housing and land settlement. Sir "Donald Maclean sought -to make identical the taxing valuo of the -land and .the amount awarded in com- pensation. To this end he proposed that .the price paid should be fixed by ;the In- tiand Revenue valuers..They are com- petent impartial, and have local kuow- 1 ledge. It mill be remembered that the vcfficient staif of valuers under the Board ii;f,iniarld Revenue wasjargely augmented ♦for the purpose of carrying out the great •scheme of I=fi valuation embodied in Mr. Hpyd George's first budget. LANDOWNERS' INTERESTS FIRST. I 1~TiERE reads' tfco; haudH^j e. the very Kaon needed for the assessment of com- pensation for land acquired compulsorily uuiier the Housing and Land Settlementt bills. "Yet the (Govenuwent refuses to use tflhem and proposes instead to create an entirely new body of valuers. There can ibe lOttly one reason for this amazing decision 1U\.d that is eoncern for the in- tereet.s of rthe landowners. The feeling in the Boiwe was strongly against the Government policy. Sir EdwaAl Carson and feeveral other Conservatives made -co-mon -with the Liberal and Labour (Objectors. As was asked in the I -debate, w?ha± soiild be more equitable Aan to compensate on the basis of the value of land as ascertained for the pur- pose of tassaaataoB ? Despite the weight of .argument iu its favour, such is the strength of party discipline that the Maclean ame-ndmemt wasa ten bLv a Vbig majority. It is a victory that will teost the Government dear. They ha»e m¡ade it plain to the whole country that on a vital matter they place the, interesta of tthe landowners ahaYethose of the jnaf&vn. GOVERNMENT'S ROUCH ROAD. I THE Government have a rough road to travel in the next six months, and it will require all their ingenuity to -eseape disaster. Many Coalition Liberals this week openly said that they will ceo## to support the Governmient if in the new trade policy the principles of Free Trade &re violated. On the other side the Tariff Reformers are demanding universal Protection. "All our industries are 'key' industries" exclaimed a. Tory M.P. Mr. Gewge Terrell, son of a county-court judge who was well-known in Llanelly in the W&- Mr Ll°yd George, for all his nimbleneSoS 1JS » political tight- rope walker, will not fittd it easy to main- tain his balance amid the cries and pounter-cries of his Free Trade and his Protectionist supporters. The group of employers that has been formed to oppose the nationalization of the coal-mines is another element of peril. Then there is the Irish question whose explosive quali- ties "were never more menacing. Add to these problems the certainty of grave complications in international affairs, and it will be realized that the outlook for the Government is very gloomy. Once peare is kigaed the band that has kept to- gether this Coalition of incompatibles will be broken. Then the fun will begin. but i won't be fun for the Government. II' Ii)

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