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Education Committee. I


mmmm ———— Burry Port District…

[No title]



- The Claims of Wales. I


The Claims of Wales. I I FOOLING THE WELSH. I Mr W. Llewelyn Williams, M.P., contributed a very interesting article, in the Morning Leader" of Thursday last, which we repro- dnce Wales deserves well of the Liberal party. If there is room for gratitude in politics, the claims of Wales for consideration at the hands of a Liberal Government are over- j whelming.. In the days of stress and storm, Wales remained steadfast and loyal. The Unionist fever rent the Liberalism of Scot- land in twain; it strengthened, the- Liberalism of Wales. The khaki fever resulted in the return of a majority of Tories from Scotland: it left Wales serene and impregnable in her devotion to the cause of progress and re- form. In 1906 not a single Tory was returned I for the Principality. Since then there have been seven by-elections; the Tories have not dared show fight except on three occasions, twice in East Denbighshire and once in Pem- brokeshire. Last year, when the Pembroke- shire .election was fought, the publicans had II been Toused to fury by the Licensing Bill, but Mr. Roch was returned with practically an undiminished majority. Last March, when Mr. Hemmerde sought. re-election in East Denbighshire, the county had gone tempo- rarily crazy over the Dreadnought scare. But the Liberal majority in Gallant Little Wales remained at its old figure. PLEDGES. I But the claim of Wales does not rest merely on such vague abstractions as political grati- tude. Distinct, specific pledges have been given by prominent members of the Govern- ment that the question of Disestablishment shall be dealt with in the fourth session of this Parliament. Mr. Lloyd George gave such a pledge at Cardiff, in September, 1907. The only imitation to the absoluteness of that pledge was that the session should run its- normal course. Mr. Asquith, on 23 July, 1908, gave an equally specific pledge, with the qualification that no new facts" should emerge which would render the fulfilment of that pledge impossible. Mr. Lloyd George has on at least two subsequent occasions— once in Liverpool last December, and the se- cond time in Cardiff last March-stated that the Government "mean business." As an ear- nest of their sincerity the Government have produced their bill which has been read a I fiTst time, and they have recently, through the I Chief Whip, intimated that they mean to pro- ceed with the second reading as soon as pos- sible. ) IS THERE TIME? I The question that will occur to everyone is —Is there time to pass such a controversial measure through the House of Commons in a session which is already hypothecated so largely to the Budget? That is a question which no private member can answer. It is for the Government to say whether they can (illll the time or not. If there is no time, then the sooner the Welsh members and the Welsh people are told the truth the better. If the Government's answer is to defer the hope of Wales once more, it is needless to say that there- will be deep disappointment, and perhaps some bitterness of heart. But the Welsh people are not fools. They are willing to face facts. Let the Government frankly ¡' take them into their confidence, and I believe that however grievous their disappointment will be they will loyally accept the situation. II But what is intolerable is that the Govern- ment should continue to raise hopes and ex- pectations which they do not mean to satisfy. I If there is no time in this session to proceed with the Welsh Bill, it would be folly to waste time■-over the second reading. Such a pro- ceeding would be to fool both the House of Commons and the people of Wales. If the Welsh Bill-is to be dropped, let the Govern- I ment frankly face the situation AT ONCL, and I without more ado make their decision known to the Welsh people. FIRST PLACE FOR THE BUDGET. i The Welsh people have no desire to place i their national demand in conflict with the I projects of social reform contained in the Budget.. If the Prime Minister tells us that he can find no time, this session for anytllin, i but the Budget and the Bill to establish I Labour Exchanges, there is no alternative but J to accept the situation with what grace we I may We know that there is but little chance that the House of Lords will pass our Bill; the Budget, thank heaven, is beyond its II power of mischief. The Budget is a measure which benefits equally the whole of the Uni- I ted Kingdom, and no sectional interest should come into competition with it. But if there I is time for something beyond the Budget and 1 Labour Exchanges, then we claim that Wales should have the first charge upon that time. Ireland and Scotland have already had their fair share of Parliamentary time: we have stood on one side while one sectional interest after another has been served. I Welsh members can no longer, with any self respect, stand by while the Government deal with other sectional claims. At pre- ¡ sent the Irish members aTe figlititil- the Bud- get night after night. Mr. Redmond said on j the night, the Budget was introduced that he I intended, to it strenuously and in detail. Surely, under these circumstances it would i be the h81ght of folly for the Government to proceed with the Irish Land Bill to the ex- j elusion of the Welsh Bill. If they do, they will create^ a serious situation in Wales, which has hitherto been the impregnable stronghold of militant Liberalism. It is all very well to I kill the fatted calf for the prodigal; but even the most. loving of fathers should have the j good sense to wait till the prodigal returned. I

Library Committee. ;