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COMING LICENSING REFORM.

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COMING LICENSING REFORM. It is pretty generally understood, is in fact a distinct promise, that in the next session of Parliament, an attempt will be made to bring in a Licensing Bill, and to support the Govern- ment in this matter a great Temperance Con- vention was called for this week in Haverford- west. At the time of writing, we do not know what lines will be followed by the speakers at the meeting, but we may safely expect from the names of the speakers, that they will be in favour of an affective and comprehensive measure which will grapple with some of the admitted evils of our existing system. The Prime Minister has told us that "the difficult and thorny question of Temperance Reform is to be grappled with comprehensively, with a view to putting our complicated, confusing, and largely ineffective licensing laws on a sound and permanent basis." That appears to us to be the right spirit in which to approach the question, but the point is, are the extre- mists of the Temperance party ready and wil- ling to accept a statesman-like measure, such as will meet the approval of the vast majority of the people, and of such a measure as the Gov- ernment may reasonably hope to carry? It seems paradoxical, but it is true, that the great- est hindrance to Licensing Reform in the past has been the action of the temperance, or rather the teetotal, party. The vast majority of the people are in favour of Temperance re- form, but teetotallers are not a majority. It has been estimated that total abstainers from the use of intoxicating liquors are about one in ten of the electors. That fact makes it clear that no measure of reform can be passed which has not the approval of a very substantial num- ber of non-abstainers. It is because they have forgotten that one fact that the United Kingdom Alliance has so long been as "a voice crying in the wilderness." It is not what the alliance or the abstaining section would like to see enacted, that is to be considered, so much as what can be carried through Parliament with such a volume of public approval behind it as will ensure its becoming law. It is because temperance men and women, very sincere, and earnest, have not learned to be practical, that their labours for two generations have been in vain. To-day, and in the present Parliament, the temperance party are favourably placed, aiid if they have profited by the past, and can be brought to use their power with due modera- tion, their opportunity has come to put our "ineffective licensing laws on a sound and permanent basis."

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