The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit FRIDAY, JULY 12, 1889. A GOVERNMENT WANTED.
Since the last general election Minis terialists have continuously, up to the opening of the present session, taunted tb.eir opponents with being without a aader, organisation, or policy, and it must be admitted that the taunt wbb not without a certain degree of truth. If the Opposition were then so weak as to justify such accusations what oanbesaid of the present state of the Government. .No Government within our recollection was ever so unsparingly condemned as was Sir Harry Atkinson's by members of his own party during the debate on Address m- Keply. This was a bad beginning for the Government, but their subsequent oonduct of their business m Parliament quite justified the hostile criticism. A more helpless display of drifting hither and thither before every influence brought to bear upon them was never seen. The Ministry has neither strength nor policy, and it is very doubtful it it possesses tbe allegiance of a party. 'I he only bond between its members is their grasp of office, and it is quite certain that this would be lost were they to endeavor to pass any of the Bills which they hare introduced. In stead of making genuine efforts to fashion the laws of the land according to their principles— whioh they aver to be those which are held by the majority m the country, and by the profession of which they attained to power — they bring down a mass of Bills which re 1. 1 _
abstract subjects for discussion drawn blindly from the hat by the chairman of a parochial debating society. Then the Government, instead of leading the discussion on these Bills quietly looks on, watching every straw of the objectless debate that they may learn how. the wind of opinion blows and shape their course with the majority. Uhis weakness cannot fail to bring them into undignified positions. Of this their position with regard to the Representation B^ll is an instance. Avowedly introduced without any idea of its passing into law the proposals of the Uijl have had little but condemnation from members on both sides of the House. The country members exact from the Premier a promise that the Bill shall be withdrawn and seriouß business proceeded|with,butafew hours afterwards a speech by some theorist on the beauties of the Hare system so delights the susceptible heart of the head of the Government that he cannot part with his plaything so soon, and the time of the House is further wasted upon it, The question arises, Why should such a Government be allowed to retain office ? We answer that it is simply because there is no party anxious to turn them out. Parties m the present House are m an anomalous position. On the Government Benches are men who got into power by their condemnation of the principles of fheir predecessors and professions of possessing certain principles of their own. Once m power their own principles went to the winds and those of the previous Government were unblushingly adopted. They were, and are, kept m power by their opponents,their nominal party having forsaken them. Coalition with those of £he Opposition who have helped them thus woyld Bfiem a natural sequence of such proceedings, but the different elements are not of a charaoter that would easily assimilate, and sinking minor points be content to govern the country on" broad principles. The Opposition leader at present has as much or more influenco on the conduct of public affairs as the Premier, and he wisely dees not wish to sacrifice that power for a position of weakness »s the Jiead of a Government. Tho rights of the country are another matter. The people have a right to good government, and it cannot be said that they have it under present conditions. If their present representatives show themselves incompetent others must be found who are capable of governing and a very little more of the vacillation and incapacity of the Government is needed to call for^h a cry for their resignation, m favor of a Government strong enough to act with decision— which can only be done by the people themselves, and by the means of a general election.