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COSTLINESS OF THE BRITISH ELECTIONS.

s* The way the money goes in this campaign is remarkable. It will probably be the most expensive election ever held in this country. There is no great enthusiasm 'd&'i the h®ad or the heart of the nation, ftnd nq important cause or principle on either side." The profowndeat agitation exists in the minds of the licensed vie? tualers, who are in perpetual fear of some legislation restricting their liquor selling ; the public houses are innumerable, each is jg vntre of influence, and they are solid the Tories. Then there is a good of warmth among the small tradesmen because of the advance of co-operative stores, concerning their views on which candidates are sharply questioned. Apart from those exercised by these two burning questions, no class of the community seems concerned to enquire after the opinions of candidates. It is mainly a race for power, a Derby race for the stakes. Money makes

the mare go in such a race. Everybody who does anything, however little, expects to be paid three or four prices for it. Tt is a lime when the roulette is rolling, and, as it must scon stop, each intends to make the most of the opportunity. The newspapers all charge treble the ordinary prices for advertisements or statements put forth by candidates or committees. There is an electoral district in London, the details of whose daily expenditures for oik- party are known to me. There the Liberals occupy public houses with committees at a cost of L2OO per week. They employ fifty-five clerks at a salary of L2 per week. This running through six weeks makes L 1,860. Last week the postage amounted to Lloo—a fair average—raising the amount in six weeks L 2,460. Newspaper advertising and placards raise it easily to L 3,000. That is the mere basis of what has to be done for an ordinary canvass in London, one of the most commonplace, the candidates being of little distinction. It is about half of what the Liberal candidates will really have to pay for either their victory or defeat. Their leading manager told me their party expenses would probably amount to LB,OOO. The Tories will expend LIO,OOO on the same election. And these are the sums which will be spent in nearly half of the constituencies of the country. The prices have risen above the average of former elections from two causes : First, the lack of any great cause or cry to raise enthusiasm above the plane of mere party management; and, secondly, the vote hurried through by the Government in the last hours of Parliament, excepting from the list of “ corrupt practices at elections ” the conveyance of voters to the polls.— Moncure D. Comvm/s Letter in Cincinnati Commercial .

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18800608.2.13

Bibliographic details

COSTLINESS OF THE BRITISH ELECTIONS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 110, 8 June 1880

Word Count
461

COSTLINESS OF THE BRITISH ELECTIONS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 110, 8 June 1880

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