THE BRICKLAYERS' UNION AND THE TRADES AND LABOUR COUNCIL.
(To the Editor.) Sir, —At the meeting of the Bricklayers' Union held last Thursday evening, and reported in the "Star" of last Saturday, one member of the 14 who were present voted against the resolution condemning the Trades Council in their action re "the Premier and the Dreadnought." I am that member, and would like to state my reasons for so doing. I have never yet spoken with Mr. Long nor with 'Mr. Henry, and shalL not bind myself to support or oppose them that they may say, but the very fact that Britain will not need New Zealand's contribution for 12 months is proof sufficient tp mc that there was no need for this hurried one-man business. Another day or two, or even a week, spent in the calling together of Parliament, and getting the sanction ot the people, would not have made such a difference, and our New Zealand statesmen ought to have known sufficient of world politics for that. I can imagine what the next meeting of the Bricklayers' (or any other) Union would have been like if its secretary had taken upon himself to donate a few pounds of the Union funds or to strike a levy, without calling a special meeting and getting the will of its members, and yet the Premier of this Democratic Canaan has just done as much for its citizens, and the majority of the people shout "Hear, hear!" and call unpatriotic anyone who dares protest against such undemocratic action. One result of the New Zealand offer has been, according to cables, that Austria, the ally of Germany, has now decided to enter into the Dreadnought competition, by investing in four of these monsters, doubtless in order that on the eve of war, if such shall take place, she may be able to hand them over to her stronger neighbour, Germany. set thje pace, and at present it looks as though we, and the Germans, too, will exhaust ourselves in trying to keep it up. Some of the parliamentary representatives of the British workers are already holding out the hand of fellowship to our German cousins across the North Sea, and now we read that "Vorwarts" (the "organ of the German Socialist party, which represents 3,259.023 voters, who with their families number about one-third of the German nation) warns the anti-Socialist majority in the Reichstag that "unless an agreement with Britain on naval armament be reached, there will be fearful disaster sooner or later." We, the workers of both countries, have nothing to fight about. We have the power, and let us educate ourselves to the use of it, by ballot, if possible, and if we fail in that, then let us take any declaration of war between the two countries as a signal for such an international strike as will paralyse them both, and so render war impossible.—l am, etc., C. H. PARKER.
[Germany, not Britain, has set the pace. There is no analogy between the functions of the secretary of a trades union ana the constitutional prerogatives of responsible Ministers of the Crown; but even a trades union secretary would be warranted in promising "to donate a few pounds," subject to the approval of his union. A Cabinet, under the British Constitution, is well described by Mr. Bagehot as "a board of control, chosen by the Legislature, out of xhe persons whom it trusts and knows, to rule the nation." It initiates as well as administers the Government policy, and has power to dissolve the Parliament which created it, and appeal to the country. Sir Joseph Ward and his colleagues were well within their constitutional rights in adopting the course thej* pursued. They have publicly proclaimed a measure by which they are resolved to stand or fall. To have convened Parliament now would in no wise have altered their position, and would have entailed a heavy and unwarrantable cost upon the Treasury. If they have misjudged national feeling, and Mr. T. E. Taylor and those who think with him are the true exponents of the will of the people of New Zealand, the gift of a Dreadnought can never take effect. —Ed.]
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