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and misrepresentation which but the ebb will come, and if the Tariff Reformers have to our opponents come into office face, and the absolute necessity before the reaction sets in, the of their securing as much time country in a few months will as possible for the dispersion of be much more anxious to get it before the appeal to the rid of them than they ever constituencies. Public opinion were to put them in.” Then must be educated, and have the Unionists will return to “time to gather strength,” if power “with a clear and defthe Tariff Reformers are to ap- inite policy accepted by the peal to it with any prospect vast majority of the party." of success. Mr Chamberlain is This is a very pretty prospect, convinced that a small duty we allow, and things of course
foreign corn, sufficient may turn ou as Mr Chamberto enable the Colonies to lain predicts.
But when we supply the home demand in- reflect on the mischief which dependently of foreign com- Radical Government has petition, may be accompanied done before now, during a by such a reduction of taxa- very brief tenure of office, tion on other articles of food
we may be excused for wishas would make the whole costing that “the ebb” should of living no greater than it was come before they get another before, if not considerably less. chance. That is why we trust If we took our corn - supply that we may take Lord Lansfrom our own Colonies instead downe's statement of from foreigners, the closer guarantee that this Parliaconnection which we should ment will be allowed to comthereby establish between dif- plete its natural term before ferent branches of the Empire the struggle begins. It is would be worth a little addition not by any
certain to the price of food, even were that if a Liberal Government this a necessary consequence; came in they would go out how much more, then, should again in a few months; and we value it when it costs us if we to pass through nothing! But all this cannot another such Government in be made plain to the working order to reach our goal, we classes in a day. Mr Chamber- may find ourselves in a sorry lain says that “sooner or later plight before we get there. our cause must be victorious,” The imperial principle may and looks forward to what have undergone disastrous may happen in the meantime eclipse before that time. with perfect equanimity — a As the Opposition naturally sentiment, we confess, which wish to take advantage of we do not altogether share. the flowing tide, so are they “In our party system we anxious to accumulate always have to reckon on many offences as possible on the ebb and flow of popular Mr Balfour's head before the opinion. At present it is flow- tide turns. This was the obing in favour of our opponents; ject of the vote of censure ;
VOL CLXXVIII. —NO. MLXXVII.
this was the object with which cussion, and may take up the the adjournment of the House fiscal question, or leave it was moved on the 22nd of alone, as it pleases. If it May, ending in a scene of dis- likes to anticipate a discussion graceful violence without a which had better be deferred, parallel in our parliamentary Mr Balfour cannot help it. history; and this was the obWhat he said about the Conject with which Sir Henry ference and the General ElecCampbell- Bannerman got up tion referred only to a the debate of June 7. The ference which may or may not motive in each case was the be convoked immediately the wish to convict Mr Balfour of elections are over, for the exa breach of faith. For this press purpose of considering the purpose they drew a
com- fiscal question, and for that parison between the words he only. If the present Governused in the Edinburgh speech of ment are still in power, it October 1904, the Manchester certainly will be convoked. speech of January 1905, his If not, alors comme
alors. answer to a question from Mr Now, where is the breach of Soare on the 22nd of May faith in these several statelast, and his speech at the ments ? Mr Balfour allows Albert Hall on
the 2nd of that in his speech at EdinJune. The contention was burgh he did omit to refer that Mr Balfour had promised to the ordinary Quadrennial that the fiscal question should Conference. But he has exnot be discussed at a Colonial plained so often that what Conference before the General he meant was this, that no Election, and that since giv- special conference should be ing this pledge he had stated summoned for the exclusive that the Colonial Conference discussion of the tariff quesof 1906 would be free to dis- tion till after the dissolution,
it, whether after a that the affected ignorance of dissolution or before.
the Opposition as to what he planation is so simple, that we really means at this moment are lost in wonder at what can be intended only to delude we cannot help calling the that large class of voters, barefaced impudence of the especially in working-class conOpposition in asking us to stituencies, who have neither shut our eyes to it. Mr Bal- the skill to analyse such prefour was speaking of two texts, nor time to do it if they different Conferences. There had. To do this for them must will be next June the regular be the work of the Unionist Quadrennial Conference, which campaign during the interval meets as a matter of course, that still remains between the
-"Automatic,” Mr Balfour autumn of 1905 and the autumn called it,-on which the Gov- of 1906, or it may be, perhaps, ernment can impose no limit a little longer. ations or conditions. It will The Opposition—and much enjoy perfect freedom of dis- may be forgiven to men in
such a plight-would fain force all manner of accusations, mison Mr Balfour's declaration, representations, and calumnies; namely, that the fiscal ques- and it is this tissue of falsetion would occupy a front hoods, woven together with no place at the next appeal to inconsiderable skill, which time the people, a meaning which is required to unravel. does not belong to it. Of The Opposition very natur. course, it must occupy a front ally are unwilling to allow place. We did not want Mr us that time. As Mr Bal. Balfour to tell us that. How four admits, the tide is now can a question which has been flowing in their favour, and discussed up aud down the they are eager to take advancountry for two years, which tage of it while it lasts. But a has caused the resignation of Government supported by a Ministers and the reconstruc- substantial majority is in no tion of Governments, help way bound to humour them. coming to the front ? The “I shall consider it my duty,” constituencies will know that said Mr Balfour at Manchester, if Mr Balfour returns to “as long as the party of which power he will summon a con- I am for the time being the ference to consider the new leader show their confidence in fiscal scheme which Mr Cham- me, to carry on the work of the berlain has suggested, and with country to the best of my which he himself in its main ability.” And considering all features is in sympathy. If that is at stake independently they disapprove of such a refer- of the fiscal question, he is ence to our Colonial fellow- bound to be as good as his subjects they will, perhaps, turn word. Not that it is by any out the Government.
means certain that if Parlia. the Conference will be called. ment were dissolved to-morrow That is all. Mr Balfour is not the Liberals would secure going to the country with any majority. It is probable, no cut-and-dried programme. He doubt. But we must remember is not going to ask the constitu- that on more than one occasion encies to vote for any form the bye-elections have proved of protection, retaliation, or deceptive. In Lord Palmerpreferential treatment. He ston's second administration will simply ask them whether the bye-elections went strongly they wish to hear what the against the Government. The Colonies themselves have to Opposition gained 80 many say upon the subject; whether, seats that before the Parliaafter having had Mr Chamber- ment was dissolved they were lain's proposals fairly set before able to defeat the Church Rate them, they think it worth while Bill. In 1864 the Government to unite with our Colonial rep- majority on a Cabinet question resentatives in considering how had sunk to eighteen; yet at it would work. This is the the dissolution which followed moderate proposition which the it was raised to fifty-eight. Opposition have overlaid with Immediately before the general
election of 1880 the Conserva- to have been only the culminatives scored three great victories tion of many previous ones, at Sheffield, Liverpool, and but little less flagrant, and not Southwark. But on appealing unlikely to be the precursor of to the country at large they others equally if not still more lost 111 seats. We would not 80. If to these causes of distrust attach too much importance should be added the discovery to these figures. They show, that the men who have been nevertheless, that constitu- guilty of these gross offences encies may sometimes at bye- against the spirit and authorelections be swayed by motives ity of parliamentary governwhich do not determine their ment have also been deceiving votes when appealed to by the public on the question of the Government.
Colonial preference, and have However this may be, it is wilfully and of malice aforecertain that the line of action thought accused the Prime lately pursued by the Opposi- Minister of offences of which tion must, in a greater or less they knew him to be innocent, degree, have its natural effect then the ebb spoken of by Mr on public feeling. Decided Chamberlain may be expected partisans, to whichever side to set in; and all we dethey belong, make the best sire is that before Parliament excuses they can for the mis- is dissolved public opinion conduot of their leaders, and should be allowed time to stick to their colours through ripen. If candidates are put thick and thin. The party to any inconvenience by this system makes it necessary that delay, it is their own fault there should be such men, both for listening to what the Liberal and Conservative. But Opposition said rather than to there is a large body of voters what Mr Balfour said. There who have not taken the oath are, then, two valid reasons of allegiance to either side, and against a premature dissoluwhose natural prepossessions, tion - one, the necessity for whether in favour of Tory or bringing home to the popular Radical, are always liable to mind what is really meant by be disturbed by the personal Mr Chamberlain's plan, and behaviour of the statesmen for dispelling the fogs and whom they have hitherto sup- falsehoods in which his opported. On such men as these ponents have endeavoured to the scenes of May 22 would disguise it; the other, the make a considerable impression, equally essential object of exand the failure of Sir Henry posing to the world at large Campbell - Bannerman to put the carefully concocted fiction forth the slightest effort to which charges Mr Balfour with check such a gross violation of a breach of faith, and the unparliamentary decency would worthy and immoral conduct make a still stronger one. This of those who have continued scene, moreover, may be said to repeat it.
MUSINGS WITHOUT METHOD.
MR BERNARD SHAW PLAYS AND THE PLAYGOER-MR CHESTERTON
PARADOX AND PRETENCE-THE FRENCH SYMBOLISTS.
THE dramatic season reasons best known to himself, drawing to a close has been encourages his disciples on a triumph for the French and many a platform. He clowns Mr Bernard Shaw, and of the it before the devout with a two Mr Shaw's is the greater solemn gravity which deceives triumph. For some months a them, and perhaps himself. theatre has been wholly devoted Not content with writing his to the presentation of his works, plays, he must be his own philand he has at last attained theosopher and his own critio; and honour, long withheld, of a he does not scruple to wrap up place in the evening bill. That a genuine talent in the rage of is to say, he has emerged from charlatanry.
For our part, the back drawing - room into we could never discover Mr the full blaze of the electric Shaw's much vaunted philoslight, and he may almost be ophy. When he discusses the regarded as a rival of Messrs high matters of policy and Jones and Pinero, who doubt- morals, it is generally from a less cherish a contempt for him middle-class and somewhat in their professional souls. And antiquated point of view. It no sooner did Mr Shaw find is true that he has recently his theatre than he became a dipped into the works of fashion : he is followed to-day Nietzsche, and has written a by a band of zealous wor- play—“Man and Superman shippers, and henceforth there under the inspiration of that is no extravagance which will demented professor. But Mr not be permitted to him. Shaw, if only he knew it, is a Whether the worshippers un dramatist first and last. He derstand him or not is another interprets his characters, not question. From the fact that in the terms of this or that their laughter generally ripples dogma, but in the terms of the in the wrong place we may stage. He has a gift of consurmise that they do not. struction which no living playMoreover, they take his works wright can surpass, and this with a seriousness which might gift is far higher and rarer be galling to him were it not than an easy traffic in false for the fact that he alone is to doctrines. Of this elementary blame for the misconception. truth, no doubt, Mr Shaw is They prate of what they (and perfectly conscious. He knows he) call the “Shavian phil- as well as we do that no ideal osophy," and they are not sustenance can be drawn (for ashamed to use the vile epi- instance) from “You Never thet. Mr Shaw, meanwhile, for Can Tell.” But superstitions