The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 1890. THE COMING ELECTION.
Within tho next two months the colony will be m the throes of a general election. Already various political organisations are busying themselves hunting up and enrolling voters, and one result of this action will be that the new rolls will contain the names of many persons who have not heretofore been entitled to exercise the franchise. In consequence of this change, the new rolls will be considerably larger. Electoral districts have also been enlarged, and political interests hitherto opposed have become identical. These two alterations, of themselves, will no doubt considerably affect the personnel of the new House ; and when taken m connection with the all-important fact that twenty odd members will be relegated to private life, the political outlook becomes interesting. Since last election, also, the various political organisations —the Bible-in-achools party, the temperance party, Freetraders, and Protectionists, et hoc genut omne —have had another important rival introduced into the field, and one which promises to become the most powerful political factor of the future. We refer to the amalgamated labor organisations. Members of the Labor Unions represent the vast proportion of electors on the rolls, and it is probable that a block labor vote will turn the scale at almost every contest. The Labor -Bills now before the House are being jealously watched, and the speeches and actions of members m relation thereto are being carefully noted. Members appear to realise this, and each one is doing his best to curry favor with the all-powerful labour party. In some instances this sudden change of front on the part of our public men is amusing. Members of the House whose public actions for years have been characterised by a disposition to heap as much taxation as possible upon the shoulders of the working man, and, at the same time pay him as little wages as possible, are now posiiig as strong supporters and even partisans of Trades Unionism ! The working man's labour-stained hand is being cordially clasped by the be-jewelled fingers of those who hare openly derided and secretly hate him, but who, for policy sake, now profess the warmest friendship and greatest regard for his comfort and welfare. While professing this kindly regard and wondrous solicitude for the welfare of the " sons of toil," efforts are also being made to shake the confidence of the wage-earners m those public men who for years, and m the face of strong opposition, have fought the laborer's cause m the Parliament of the colony. We much mistake the working man, however, if he cannot distinguish between his political friends and foes ; and we shall be extremely surprised if the supporters of the present Government do not realise this when t|>G ballot-boxes are opened, However, ©veil the labour party, like other strong partisans \yith which the colony is overrun, may make a grievous mistake m blindly voting for men whose only qualification is that they are willing to run amuck m favor of labor measures, and who have no other qualification or fitness for the position of legislators. In this respect the labor party, like many other political powers m the colony, may use its power 'to the great detriment of the country as a whole. The great drawback of New Zealand is that i-hfi colony is split up into innumerable small factions, composed of faddists, who will ipt look tyeyond the small circle m which they are grquped, and who will vote for any public man, no matter what ojbher views he may hold, so thftt he subscribes to the particular " fad" which b\w associations are organised to run. Whjile this continues the colony can never expect to have representative Government m the proper acceptation of the term, as each representative is pledged to pander to the peculiar views of the faction who have been most instrumental m securing his return. With the enlargement of the electoral bouutkjvißs, the reduction of members, and the addition, of a large section of new voters, the operations pf the social and political " cliques ?! who have hithflpto governed the colony will be considerably interfered with, and it is probable that the new House will witness the relegation to obscurity of many who owe their present political i positjon to the blind folly of small factions, yiwj «ty 4QU^ mean well, but do incalculable harm.