The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit MONDAY, JULY 14, 1890. THE TOOLEY STREET TAILORS
The three tailors of Tooley street are historical personages m English literature. These three individuals, dissatisfied and disgusted with the manner m which affairs of State were dealt with m the House of Commons, sent forward a petition setting forth their grievances, the said petition commencing with the memorable words "We, the people of England," etc. The lineal descendants of these tailors are numerous, and may be found anywhere m Great Britain or her numerous offshoots. The latest authentic evidence of the last-named fact is forthcoming from Dunedin, where fifteen or twenty persons, who arrogate to themselves the title of "leading citizens," have forwarded a " strongly-worded" protest against what is termed the "useless wrangling" now taking place m the New Zealand House of Bepresentatives. There is this distinction, however, between the Tooley street tailors and the fifteen or twenty leading citizens of Dunedin : The former professed themselves to be the people of England, while the latter, blessed with a little more nineteenth century modesty, profess to be themselves only, and nobody else. The lineal descendant is more modest than the ancestor, but is not sufficiently modest to lave his own reputation and the country's valuable time by withholding a petition representing only the views of a few persons m the town m which he resides, and not at all the opinions of the country. Parliament has been m session little less than a month, and the Financial Statement has been brought down, and is now being discussed. A no-confidence motion has been tabled and disposed of, and the people's representatives are engaged seriously considering and discussing the important proposals made by the Ministry, beneath which lie hidden an ingenious scheme for borrowing money and acquiring lands for State disposal under the present unsatisfactory land laws. The Financial Statement of.the Colonial Treasurer is an exceedingly voluminous document, and the proposals therein set forth require careful consideration and keen criticism. Our representatives would fail m their duty to the. country if a Statement of the character j ust..submitted were_simply read and passed without a word of comment or dissent. In the discussion of the Statement now going on, most of the members Have spoken, and little, if any, useless ground has been gone over, while side issues—such as the appointment of Judge Edwards and the alleged relations of two members of the Cabinet to a leading banking institution—have been promptly dealt with. For the time that the present House has been m session good and wholesome work has been done, and the charge of " useless wrangling" is therefore unwarranted. It may be that the policy enunciated m the Financial Statement meets with the full approval, of the fifteen., or twenty leading citizens of Dunedin, and they would therefore like to see the House swallow it holus bolus, knd the petition tent forward is perhaps an adroit move to stifle discussion! by clamour ; but whatever the object may have been m making this unfounded charge of " waste of time " so early m the session, the facts do not bear it out. The petitioners, have, unconsciously, borne testimony against themselves and their opinions. Only fifteen leading citizens of a large commercial centre like Dunedin were willing to sign the protest, and the limited number of signatures may be taken as a fair indication of the value of the opinions set forth. We trust that the Dunedin members to whom the petition was sent, will not allow themselves to be thus coerced into shutting their mouths when the welfare of the country demands that they should speak out; and we also trust that members of the House generally, and Her Majesty's Opposition particularly, will not hesitate to criticise freely and expose thoroughly any abuses that may exist m the past administration of the Government, and that they will use every endeavor to prevent further pernicious legislation. We know there are m the colony a class of persons who believe the country can be governed without any discussion whatever taking place m what is vulgarly known as the "Wellington Talking Shop," these persons, evidently, thinking that M.H.R.'s should go to Wellington, draw their honorarium, and come home again. There j s another class who believe the country's business could be done with half the present amount of talk ; and there is still another class who think that by far too much hasty legislation finds its way into the statutes of the Colony owing to insufficient discussion and criticism. It is impossible for legislators to please all these persons, and we trust they will not endeavor to do so, but will deal soberly and sensibly with the great questions they are called upon to consider. The cry of 'waste of time" has been too often allowed to influence members m the past, and Aye hope to see less attention given to such cries m the future. As a rule these charges, as m the case of Dunedin, only represent the chronic complaint of a small clique of dissatisfied persons, who wish the country to believe that they have more wisdom to legislate than the people's chosen representatives.