Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1914. MR HOLMAN'S MESSAGE.
The Premier of New South Wales is inclined to talk in parables in his- "message" to New Zealand democrats, which will be construed in divers ways by the various brands of social and political reformers who claim democracyl as their ideal and guiding- star. It would be unkind to class Mr Holman amongst the opportunists of the political arena. A description that better fits his record is to say that early in his career he w,as g-ifted with a species of second-sight, or political intuition, that enabled him to correctly gauge the trend' of events, and to be prepared to clutch at the skirts of opportunity when she passed; his way. To his mind, the,■'" evolutionary process in national progress" is synonymous with the gradual but eventual supremacy of Labour, and his message- is purposeless if it does not convey to the militant section of the Labour Party in New Zealand the conviction of the speaker that that idea), can.be reached only by sane methods. The " impatience " of the democracy finds expression in strikes and rioting, but every such exhibition of the lack of a sane democratic spirit is a step backwards—a " short-cut" that ends in disaster., * The modern tendency of the Labour Party is to jump for the goal at one bound, and Mr Holman's little homily will not have missed its ' object if it impresses upon the leaders of that party the futility of such methods. The sense of unity of interest betwixt all forms of labour, and of the power born of agreed | action in times of crises, unhappily predisposes Labour to grasp by violence what the calm equity oi the law fails to give, or to give 1 quickly enough. Though Mr Holman so clearly recognises the folly and the ineffectiveness of militancy in labour matters, he apparently has not succeeded in inducing the workers of his State to come to his way of thinking. The constant and disastrous unrest aniongst the industrial 1 classes in New South Wales may be merely one of the phases of the evolutionary process which our visitor seems so confident about, but the evolution that is i bought at such a price is likely to prove a very doubtful blessing. The history of industrialism in j New Zealand and Australia proves that legislation in its wisest form is utterly powerless to arrest, or heal, labour disputes. Mr Holman professes a profound admiration for arbitration, but it has failed to effect a'settlement of the strike of Sydney F butchers just as signally as it failed in the case of the recent watersiders' strike in New Zealand, which was settled, not by arbitration, but by the display of a force superior in numbers and judgment to that of 1 the strikers. The trouble is that arbitration, as applied to the settlement of industrial disputes, too often fails to "arbitrate "> 1 and Mr Holman " probably will find, if the butchers' strike is not settled by the time he returns to Sydney, that the theoretical arbitration that wears such a pleasing aspect at an after-dinner speech is useless when applied to the case of men who "see red" in every possible solution that does _ not bear the colour of their desires. The democrats of New Zealand will have some difficulty in squaring the purport of Mr Holman's message with the conditions that exist in Sydney to-day. It is no secret that the Labour Government of New .Soutn Wales was returned to power because of Mr Holman's ability to convince the
public outside the area oi unionism that the day of industrial peace would dawn when Labour held the reins. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the beginning of the Government's term ot omce should witness the initiation of one of the most unjustifiable and senseless strikes in the history oi Australasia.