The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 1890. THE CABINET AND THE HON MR FERGUS.
It is an open political secret that Ministers view the Hon. Mr Fergus' speech at Queenstown with disfavor ! This is the latest political rumor, and coming, as it does, from the Press A&sociation, it is doubtless correct. Prior to this Minister's address, it will be remembered, the Press agents in the confidence of the Government let it be freely known that the Government policy was to be divulged at Queenstown by Mr Fergus. The honored Minister of Public Works travelled in state to Queenstown, accompanied by a special telegraph operator, seyoral newspapers' reporters, and others; and the country looked forward anxiously and hopefully for the result, The Government had been so long without n policy that it was quite refreshing to learn that their backs had become stiffened, and that they were prepared to lay down o ie, and stand or fall by it. The mountain was in labor, however,» and only brought forth a tiny little mouse. When the speech had been delivered it was hard todistinguish whether Mr Fergus expressed the policy of the Government, or merely gave utterance to his own individual opinions as member for Wakatipu. It was made sufficiently clear, nevertheless, that Mr Fergus Iwd been authorised by his colleague-; to make known the leading planks in the Ministerial programme, and it now comes as a rude shock that these, same colleagues repudiate the official utterance. Surely the Minister for Publjc Works did not take it upon himself to make known the Government policy without being authorised to do so ! We are aware that the outspokenness of this Minister on former occasions has caused his colleagues some trouble, but it was publicly believed that he had been sufficiently educated in the art of " fencing " deputations from the public, and the public themselves, to be able to keep silent upon matters which the Cabinet wished to keep secret, To such a state of perfection in this art had Mr Fergus reached that it caused no surprise that he should be put forward as the Government mouthpiece. Now, however, it would appear that the Ministry only took advantage of Mr Fergus' reputation for political indiscretion in order to shirk responsibility for any portion of the Ministerial programme that did not find favor with the electors, MiFergus was, no doubt, led to believe, and the country was also led to believe, that the Queenstown speech was official; but the Ministry, finding that their sub rosa borrowing proposals, the perpetuation of the present system of taxation and disposal of lands, and other "planks" in their feeble platform did not tickle the public ear, have resolved to throw their colleague over rather than stand true to their colors. It has been no surprise, since the present Government took office, to find the Ministry coming down to the House with proposals of various descriptions, and afterwards withdrawing them after finding that they were unpopular with the people's representatives. These tactics were a distinct characteristic of the Ministry. But it was at least expected that, in order to save themselves, tke members of the Cabinet would not repudiate the utterances of, and practically throw over, a colleague; this more especially when the said colleague had been put forward by themselves as the Ministerial mouthpiece. The present occupants of the Benches have been guilty of many peculiar public actions during their tenure of office, but the repudiation of their policy after it has been publicly expounded is the most peculiar of all.