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"8olva, Thursday, FEB. 22,…


8olva, Thursday, FEB. 22, 1906. THE POSITION OF PARTIES. Although the Parliament of 1906 has only been sitting for a few days, and there have not been many opportunities for dis- sension between Sir H. Campbell-Banner- man and his motley following, official or unofficial, yet evidence has not been want- ing that the position of the rt. hon. gentle- man is far from being a bed of roses, and that his worst difficulties are likely to arise from those who are somewhat grimly designated his "supporters." Nor is there anything to be wondered at in such a situation. The Liberal triumph has been secured mainly by misrepresentation-& shorter word would be more exact-and to a less extent by holding out all kinds of delusive promises. The Liberal leaders having declared that certain enormities were being perpetrated by the late govern- ment, those who believe that they spoke truly naturally demand that they should put an end to atrocities which the govern- ment know are not committed. That is one difficulty, and besides that, there are the promises. Having undertaken to make a pint pot hold a quart, or anything that a particular voter wished it to hold, they are expected to redeem their prom- ises, and of course they find that they cannot do so. Mr Asquith was the first to realise the difficulty, and having been ap- pointed Chancellor of the Exchequer he hastened to teil the electors of Perth that it was absolutely impossible to hope for any remission ol taxes of any sort, or kind, until they had reduced the level of expen- diture prevailing in the country." That was a perfectly safe thing for the rt. hon. gentleman to saj, seeing that it committed him to nothing. He is, at any rate, too patriotic a man to endanger the country by weakening the navy, and Mr Haldane will probably nave something to say if the Government seek to reduce the strength of the army. Even if we admit-as we are free to do-that something may be saved out of the military estimates, the sum cannot in any event be very consider- able, and where else is the Chancellor of the Exohequer going to effect economies ? Again, one scarcely knows whether the pathetic or the ridiculous predominates in the reoeption by the Prime Minister and the Chanoellor of the Exchequer of a de- putation on the subject of old age pensions. There had been much talk of old age pen- sions by Liberal candidates, and now that these gentlemen were in office, it was not surprising that a deputation should come to them from the Trade Union Congress in the expectation that something was going to be done. They aslied for bread, and the Ministers gave them compliments and professions of sympathy. That is not likely to satisfy the Labour party in the House of Commons, or the multitude of people who voted against Conservative candidates in expectation of the millenium. There are, however, more disappointments in store for these credulous electors, who will probably not be long in discovering that they would have gained more from the unlimited promises of the impossible, which had procured their votes. Many nice things have been said by Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman concerning the Labour members, but he will find it im- possible to satisfy their demands, and that there will be trouble. Meanwhile, Mr Keir Hardie tells us the Labour party ex- ists to carry on its present warfare until the time came when Labour should rule and dominate, not only the affairs of England, but the affairs of the Empire and the World." That time will never come, and, if Mr Keir Hardie asks why, it is enough to tell him that which he could find for himself in the pages of history- that all democratic movements have come to an end through those engaged in them quarrelling among themselves. The Conservative and Unionist party in the House of Commons number 157, but the Opposition are ably led, and they are absolutely united on every subject except one, which is not at all likely to become a burning question during the life of the present Parliament. All they have to do is to confirm that unity by courteous con- sideration for the small minority and to make their presence felt, without vexatious obstruction, in a House where heads are not the only things that count.

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