The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prevalebit. MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1881. The Working Man’s Friend.
. TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 4.30 p.m.j
It is an odd thing how men permit themselves to be gulled by the same i kind of trick and charlatanry over and i over again. The perennial thimble rig trick is an example in point; and if we ; turn to politics we find an equally > cogent illustration in the periodical reappearance of the self-styled “ working man’s friend,” upon the hustings. So [ sure as election day comes round, so sure does this noisy candidate for legislative or similar honors thrust himself to the front, spruce and active, and ! clamouring to be elected as the only person competent and willing to champion the rights of labor, which rights, he ; affirms, all the rest of the world is conspiring to destroy. He always stands on what he terras the “ Liberal ” ticket. ■ In reality, it is the ultra-Radical ticket, but as ultra-Radicalism is obnoxious to every decent working man, he carefully avoids giving his revolutionary doctrines their true designation, and deligently strives to cover with a cloud of words, the nature of his doctrines, and the intense selfishness of his personal aims. His tongue is commonly fluent enough; he is an adept in the lower kind of electioneering arts, and promises flow from his mouth like water. The “ latest thing out ” iri politics, of whatever kind, provided it be calculated to arouse his auditors’passions, and seek their applause, is always a trump card. If a “ bursting-up tax” is likely to help him to attain the office which he seeks, why he “ goes in ” for a “ bursting-up taxand it is perfectly certain that if the conservation of big estates were the current fancy he would “go in” for that. As a rule, however, he poses as the advocate of a general turning of things topsy-turvey. The rich and mighty are to be laid low; all abuses are to be swept away; and a sort of Millenium is to result, if only the working man will vote for his new-found “friend.” What is to become of the working man and the little property which he has accumulated by his toil during the cataclysm which is to be brought about by his “ friend’s ” operations, his “ friend ” does not condescend to say. One would imagine that balderdash of this kind could not possibly gain the vote of any intelligent person, more especially when its hollowness has been proved by practical experience over and over again ; yet there is no doubt that a section of the laboring class is apt to be led away by the clamour and noise ' always made by candidates of the class \ we have described, and to give their : votes for men who claim to be their ( friends, but in reality use them merely ( as tools for their own selfish objects. And when it happens, as it sometimes ] does happen, that one of these self- ] dubbed working men’s friends gets j 7. ; ...
elected, what is the natural and evitable consequence ? Take our own Legislature as an examp’e. The “ working man’s friend ” soon finds his level there. By rate good luck he may possibly take a back seat, and be heard of no more j but usually he makes himself a nuisance by pouring forth copious streams of nonsense — the commencement of the outpour being the signal for the sensible members of the House to emigrate to Bellamy’s, and its close, the signal for their return. Such a man can wield no influence in the House, and consequently the district which he represents is virtually disfranchised. He is looked upon in the House as a mob orator, and nothing more, and is treated accordingly. Gladly should we see some working men —by which we mean men who gain their livelihood by manual labor, and who may fairly be regarded as the exponents of the views of the working class—in the Assembly. The working man’s friend, however, never gains his living in this fashion. He considers himself a long way above the working man in the social scale; would feel deeply insulted if ranked in the class which he flatters. In point of fact, he has nothing whatever to do with working men excepting that he makes them useful to him. He belongs to that lower order of politicians so happily depicted in the “ Biglow Papers but impostor as he is, he and his race will flourish so long as working men are willing to be deceived. We trust, however, that no Canterbury constituency will be found foolish enough to return such a person to the colonial Legislature, but that men will be chosen to occupy seats in the Assembly whose views are broad and enlightened, and whose words will be listened to there with respect.