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which his own name is more im- be some practical difficulties, or mediately connected ; and heads rather inconveniences, in the the list with a measure for en- case of houses which do not abling the working classes to be- affect land. When a man buys come owners of the houses they a small farm he means to live live in. Secondary education on it for the rest of his life. is the next. London municipal But he may wish, or be obliged, reform is the third, and Mr to change his residence, and Chamberlain couples with it might find a difficulty in getting the long-promised measure con- his money back. But the workcerning Scottish private billing man himself has probably legislation. Some measure for thought over this objection, and the protection of workmen em- does not apparently seem to reployed in dangerous trades guard it as a fatal one. But be completes the catalogue. With this as it may, the proposed the question of old age pen- measure is only the further exsions he all but undertakes that tension of a policy to which Government shall grapple be- both parties have committed fore the end of this Parliament; themselves, and Conservatives and on this matter we may will be very ill advised if they refer to some useful remarks offer any opposition to it now. of Mr Morley's in his speech We ourselves should not care at Montrose on the 19th of to defend it merely on the January. The Queen's speech ground that it had precedents will tell us, before another week in its favour. For reasons alis out, whether the lapse of two ready assigned, we regard such months has added to or taken a measure not as the lesser of away from this very substantial two evils, and therefore only a bill of fare.
negative good, but as a positive As regards workmen's dwel- good in itself, and one which lings, Mr Chamberlain is quite should have created a precedent right in saying that the con- had none been in existence. templated measure is only the Of secondary education we same in principle as those al- can only speak in very general ready passed both in Ireland terms. The bills introduced and England to facilitate the last session by the Duke of acquisition of land. If there is Devonshire provided only the nothing inconsistent with Con- machinery by which the new servatism in helping the tenant system to work; and of a farm to become the pro- whether the Government measprietor, why should there be any ure, to which we are now lookin helping the occupier of a house ing forward, will be restricted to to become the owner ? Or if the same object, or be carried an Irish precedent is thought any further, perhaps the Presiinsufficient, we have Acts con- dent of the Council does not ferring on the English agri- even know himself. Last year's cultural labourers exactly the bill was limited to the creation same boon as we conferred on of a Board of Education, to be the Irish tenant. There may a department of Government VOL. CLXV.NO. M.
ranking with the Board of pity that Professor Jebb, speakTrade and the Board of Agri- ing on this subject about a culture. The Science and Art fortnight ago, did not say someDepartment was to be fused thing to allay the anxiety on with it, and “any power with this subject which confessedly respect to the control or man- exists. agement of property forming We take it, however, that the capital of any endowment, the London Municipal Bill will
to be exercised by the be the leading business of the Charity Commissioners with the session, and we do most sinconcurrence of the Board of cerely trust that whatever may Education.” We believe it will be the fate of other measures be found that in this clause lies now upon the anvil, no dishalf the secret of the bill. It appointment is in store for us has been thought necessary to on this head. And by disapplace some check on the "schem- pointment we mean not only ing” propensities of the Charity the failure of the measure, but Commissioners. But what will the passage of a weak and inhave to be clearly understood effective one. London wants a is that no tampering is to be strong bill: one that shall not permitted with our old public do things by halves; but shall school system. We fully ac- put it wholly out of the power quit the Government of the of the overgrown and unwieldy slightest intention of doing any- body which now governs the thing to lessen the value of the metropolis either to continue a training which fosters a type system of taxation which has of character peculiar to Great made it little short of odious, or Britain, and in the opinion of to acquire an extended jurisdicsome of our wisest and greatest tion which will render it absomen has contributed largely to lutely dangerous. The ratethe foundation of the British payers of London have long empire, to our naval and mili- groaned under the exactions of tary glories, and to the founda- this most incompetent and extion of a political constitution travagant authority. But if which is without a parallel in its claws are left unclipped, and the world. But we know that a Radical Government come in, the best intentions on the part they will, maybe, groan still of the Legislature are not always louder. If ground values are able to check the indulgence of taxed, the householder will at pet crotchets and mischievous once find his rent raised : and prejudices by subordinate offic- if voluntary schools are extinials, and sure we are that if guished, his school-rate will be pedantic or bureaucratic theo- at least doubled. To both of rists are allowed to meddle with these schemes the London these time-honoured institutions, County Council, in common we shall have an educational with their Radical allies in revolution such as the culti- Parliament, are known to be vated classes in this country favourable. Mr Asquith has will bitterly regret.
It is a taken care of that. But even
without these aggravations, Council and a Radical Governwhich, unless precautions are ment in office at the same time, at once taken, are sure to come we need only look to the evidence sooner or later, the Council has given before the Labour Comlost the confidence of the rate- mission, and the Duke of payers, and a sweeping change Devonshire's comments upon it. has become necessary.
In the How would the working man outlying districts of London the be the better for becoming the number of empty houses is owner of his own house if the daily on the increase. Their following little plunder plot former occupiers have been were ever to succeed. The Prodriven
away from them by the gressives, or the more active rates : and the neighbouring section of them, are quite willing shopkeepers have lost a valu- to face the contingency of the able class of customers. Nor rates rising to 20s. in the £. can the Council plead in ex- Nay, they would regard it with tenuation that the money has positive satisfaction. “Here,” been well spent. On the con
says the Duke, trary, recent disclosures have brought to light a system of “You have the socialistic policy
openly avowed. There is no pregross jobbery, which its au
tence of superior economy thors have endeavoured to con- better work. There is no pretence ceal by still grosser frauds. to the saving of the ratepayers' The old Municipal Corpora- money. It is not advocated on the tions were abolished for no
ground that the work would be better
done or more cheaply done. It is greater abuses ; the Metro- acknowledged that probably the politan Board of Works was work would be more costly. It is abolished for less.
advocated with the full intention and A speech made by the Duke with the full foreknowledge that its
cost would be enhanced. That cost of Devonshire on London gov- would fall, without any benefit to the ernment, just after the meeting ratepayer, upon the owner; in other of Parliament this time last words, on working men- and there year, will show that these re- are many of them — who through
building societies have acquired the marks no exaggeration. freeholds of their own houses and For all practical purposes the cottages, and who now live in them London County Council is the rent free. Such a working man majority of the London County would, under Mr Sidney Webb's Council. A decisive Progres- extent of the reut which his less pro
policy, find himself rated to the full sive majority was returned at vident neighbour is now paying ; and, the last election, in spite of the without the smallest benefit to the overwhelming strength of Con- ratepayer, the working man who bad servatism in the London con
by his own prudence and forethought stituencies. It is useless, there acquired the freehold of his dwelling
would find himself no better off.” fore, to look for any effectual resistance to the most disastrous Thus, while it is the object and ruinous schemes within the of the Government to benefit Council itself: and if we wish the working man by helping to see what might happen with him to become the owner of a Progressive majority in the his dwelling - house, it is the
policy of the Council to render But this is not all. The questhe boon of none effect by rais- tion has a constitutional side to ing his rates to the level of the it as well as an economic one, rent he would have paid had and one of even greater and he remained a tenant. The graver importance. The County socialism of the one scheme is Council, pledged to a policy of to defeat the individualism of communism, would have the other. If anybody wants great army at their to know what real “socialism” mand, composed of a “special is, he need go no further. Here and privileged class” thoroughwe have openly proclaimed as ly organised, and under the an article of the Progressive control of men exercising an creed the virtual abolition of almost despotic authority over individual ownership.
the labouring population. A All the Progressives on the Radical Government would, Council may not be socialists. sooner or later, place the LonBut socialism is the active don police at their disposal. energetic force which moves And we beg our readers calmly the whole body. The trades' to reflect on the position which unions are the wire-pullers; and they would then occupy. They “The ratepayers need hardly call to
would hold their sittings within mind,” says Lord Onslow, "how the
a mile of the Houses of Parliaofficials of the Council, in order to ment. They could bring ten please their masters, were forced to thousand men together in any cook the accounts and resort to artifice and fraud in order to cover up chose at an hour's notice. They
part of the metropolis they the disastrous failure which had attended the municipalisation of works could forbid the police to interand labour. The Progressive mem- fere; and a band of ruffians, bers, and more particularly those on in overwhelming numerical the Labour Bench, were constantly down at the
works listening to the strength, would be at liberty complaints of the men, and providing to occupy Palace Yard while ticket men to see that none but Parliament was sitting, and trades unionists were employed at threaten the life
of every the works.”
member who ventured to withAnd now what follows ? stand their will.
This is no fanciful picture. “You might,” says the President of the Council,“ before very long The thing has happened before. have had a great army of work- Sir Robert Walpole and his ing men in the direct employment of friends had to fight their way the County Council, a special and a
out of the House of Commons privileged class, exercising a great, with drawn swords. In June perhaps an overwhelming, influence over the elections ; and no one can be 1780 a furious mob was in blind to the dangers that might have possession of the lobbies till been created by such a state of nine o'clock at night, and they things."
only dispersed when they knew What his Grace says we might that the Life Guards were aphave had, we still may have, proaching. Many members of if we do not take all the better both Houses were seriously incare.
jured. Such a mob would be far more dangerous now, be- mote.” This is in the Premier's cause, whatever the particular favourite style. And he regrievance which had moved peated what the Liberals have their passions for the moment, never attempted to deny, for their leaders would have ulterior the assertion is plainly unobjects in view, and would use answerable, that the people are them as tools for effecting it. not likely to be in any great There is no saying to what hurry to destroy an institution extremities such disorders might the effect of which is to prevent proceed before either the soldiers sudden revolutions from being were called in, or the County sprung upon them against their Council for very shame directed own convictions, and he gave the police to act. Such are the Fox's India Bill and the Home beginnings of all revolutions. Rule Bill of 1893 as instances. And it is this consideration If the House of Lords will not which forms
forms the strongest abdicate, it can only be deposed ground of all for the new Lon- by violence—in other words, by don Government Reform Bill. a revolution, which might or
The Opposition have been too might not mean civil war. much occupied with internal However, according to Mr Asdissensions to keep up their quith, speaking again on the customary attacks on the Gov- 17th December, the Liberal ernment during the parliamen- party has quite made up its tary vacation.
And hardly a mind to face all risks, in order single Radical speech has at- to deprive the people of the tracted much attention except only political court of appeal Mr Asquith's, to whom we which they now possess. He ought all to be grateful for the said it was quite unnecessary opportunity of enlivening a to go into any details, the rather dull recess which it truth being that he had none afforded to Lord Salisbury and to go into. The Liberals, who Mr Chamberlain. The dry sar- are all agreed, he
says, are casm with which the Prime nevertheless as much at a loss Minister treated the proposed to explain how the thing is to abolition of the House of Lords, be done as Lord Salisbury himand the smart but logically self. It may be that the “inexcorrect description given by the tinguishable faith ” with which Colonial Secretary of Mr As- Mr Asquith accredits them is quith’s “new congregation,” to be sufficient by itself. If were both of the best. " It faith can remove mountains, seems to be a commonly re- why should it not remove the ceived opinion,” said Lord Sal- House of Lords? The Liberals isbury, “among our opponents have certainly nothing else to that the House of Lords is to rely upon. be swept away. I do not know We are afraid, however, that how it is to be done, because the age of miracle is past, and the prospect of the House of that Mr Asquith will soon have Lords itself lending any assist- to dispense with another someance to that operation is re- what cumbersome vestment for