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After a large amount of backing and filling the Government has it seems at last fixed the date for the forthcoming general election, and it is Tiow announced that the sth December will be the actual polling day. The telegraph has informed us that Ministers have consulted honorable members of the present House on the subject, arid that almost every one of those communicated with desired a different date from, that desired by anybody else; but we venture to think that the members consulted have been all or nearly all Ministerial supporters, attd that the general counsel of these has tended m the direction, of the Fabian policy of delay, and that for very sufficient reasons from a strategic and party point of view. No doubt it lias been seen that the session was a disastrous one to the political reputation of the present Government; and .that had the elections followed quickly, their defeat was certain ; and it is probably hoped that a delay of nearly threa months will weaken impressions formed so long previously on the public mind, and thus improve the chances of Ministerial candidates; If so, the anticipation is based on a correct appreciation of the characteristics of human nature, and will, to some extent, bo justified by results, though we venture to think that the public memory is a little too good to allow of the manoeuvre being entirely successful. The considerations which are put forward as those which moved the Goverament to fix so late a datd, do not of course ostensibly include any such motive or calculation, the public being informed that the reason " it was found inconvenient to fix an earlier date" was "owing to the number of carnivals held m the colony during Norernber, and the necessity for revision and purging of the rolls." Now it js generally safe to be suspicious of people who urge double-barrelled reasons for any particular line of conduct. One reason is always enough, that is to say provided it be a good one, and had the delay till December been requisite to enable the rolls to be purged that would have been an unchallengeable reason for the postponement. But this dragging m of the " carnivals" (for which read agricultural shows and races) suggests that it was not so, and that the Government were casting about for excuses for a line of! policy determiiieel upon for other considerations. And now as to the excuses urged. As to the " carnivals " there would have been iio difficulty m finding a day during the early part of November, which was neither a show day nor a race day, and as to the revision of the rolls, seeing that the main rolls were closed on the 29th September, had notices at once appearing stating where the rolls could be inspected,, and calling for objections to be lodged within 14 or 21 days, the revised rolls would have been ready for use by the end of the present month, and the elections might have come off' by the 14th of November, or three weeks earlier than will now be the case. The earlier date would have been an advantage m every way. It would have involved considerably less expense to candidates and others than will now be caused by the proceedings dragging over more than two months, and would have reduced the disorganisation of business always, consequent i upon a general election, and which renders it very desirable that the excitement of a political struggle should not be unduly protracted. We therefore think that the long delay which the Government has resolved upon was not justified by the excuses they have put forward, and that they have been, actuated rather by a desire to make the game so as best to suit themselves than by a desire to consult the best interests of the Colony. Tlijat, however, is by no means surprising from a party the fir°t article of whose leader's creed is that the "■ first duty of! a Government is to, preserve its o|vn existence," By the bye it may be notfed, by those who are inclined to be superstitious, that, after all their pains, the Government have managed to light upon a Friday, the proverbially unlucky day of the weekly calendar, , Maybe it is an otuea of tfce result. '

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Bibliographic details

THE COMING ELECTION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2535, 4 October 1890

Word Count

THE COMING ELECTION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2535, 4 October 1890