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THE "VICTORY ELECTION."

PACIFISTS SWEPT AWAY. HUGE LLOYD GEORGE MAJORITY. [(From Our Special Correspondent.)] LONDON, December 30." By a majority never exceeded by any one party in the 20 general elections that have taken place in Great Britain since 1532, Mr. Lloyd George's Coalition Government has been returned to power, and no man may to-day question his Government's possession of an emphatic mandate for the coming Peace Conference. Most men whose perceptions were not wholly obscured by personal rancour or the oid party cobwebs, were fully assured in their minds that Lloyd George would "come back" with a fairly substantial majority, but the actual result of the election is a far greater triumph than his most sanguine supporters ever anticipated, ln no fewer than 25 constituencies Lloyd George's men show majorities of over 12,000, and a total of 108 have given majorities of SOOO and upwards. Nothing can materially affect the significance of facts like these, especially when they are coupled with the rout of the "Asquithian" party, and the very complete overthrow of the Pacifist element, led by Ramsay Mac Donald and Philip Snowden. and the practical extinction of the so-called "Independent Liberals," of whom C. P. Trevelyan, Ponsonby, Outhwait ami Arnold Lupton were the "shilling lights."

The ladies who sought the honour of election were most, ungallantly treated. So far as Great Britain was concerned not one of the Id women candidates made successful appeal to the electors. In Ireland, that "stormy petrel," the Countess Markievicz, stood in the Sinn Fein interests for the St. Patrick's Division of Dublin, and was returned. The Trish elections, however, have little bearing on the great issues, for there local issues predominated, and resulted in the tragic obliteration of the Nationalist party, of which only seven members remain. Even Air. John' Dillon was defeated, and the Sinn Feiners swept the board. They could in the new House of Commons muster a strength of 7:?. but iv as much as they will not take the oath which would enable them to sit iv the House, their appearance at Westminster is seemingly nut of the question. ' Even with the Sinn Fein brigade, the Opposition to the Coalitionists eouhl only muster 229— without them the anti-Lloyd George tally is reduced to the miserable figure of 15(5, for tho Georgites have won no less than 177 seats. Moreover, many of the 32 non-Coalition Liberals who have been elected, at least a couple of dozen have failed to disclose any serious points of difference with the T.loyd George programme in their election speeches and addresses, and are just as likely lo prove supporters of the Premier on the main points of his policy as antagonists. Tor the first time in the history of general elections—one has to introduce a good many statements in connection with this particular general election in this form—all the Ministers who sought election, and there were over 40 of them, have been elected, and most of them by very large majorities. This tgiprecedented success of members of 'tbe I .Government gives.,_ Irther point to the significance of the general vercliet. These Ministers invited the judgment of the electors in every part of Great Britain, and from town and country. Highlands and Lowlands. Celtic AA'ales and Saxon Kent, the result was the same—Ministers wbo had served with and under Mr. Lloyd George found favour with the electors, an.i as a rule won by thumping.inajoritics. Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. llonar Law beat their opponents in hollow fashion, their majorities being 12.902 and 12.017 respectively, whilst. Mr. Winston Churchill fairly "snowed under" his rival, his supporters numbering over 15,300 more than those who voted for the other fellow. Other huge majorities were those secured by Sir G. Hewart (11,327), Mr. Fcrster (12.601), Major Astor (11.757), Mr. Pratt (11,821). Mr. Lone (931-.. and many otiher members of the Ministerial "family" secured majorities of from .000 to 7000.

If ever a Government received a vote of thanks and of confidence from the nation, the present Government unmistakably has. Just as all the Ministers have"been elected, all the ex-Ministers, with the exception of three of a subordinate rank, have been defeated. Tbe country has failed to supply the Front Opposition Bench -vith Liberal occupants, for two of the three minor ex-Ministers who have succeeded in getting hack repeatedly insisted during the election on their friendliness towards the Coalition, and, having -been elected on that ground, are not likely to be hostile. A CLEAN SWEEP. This clearance of the front Opposition _ ench is most remarkalble. Mr. Asquith has, lost East Fife, after holding it at every election since 188G, and all his lieutenant, who broke with the Coalition in December, 101G, have shared a like fate. They are: — Mr. McKenna, exChancellor of'the Exchequer, Mr. Runciman, ex-President of the Board of Trade, Mr. H. Samuel, ex-Home Secretary, Sir John Simon, ex-Home Secretary, Mr. McKinnon Wood, ex-Secretary for Scotland, Mr. H. J. Tennant. ex-Under-Sec-retary for War, Sir Charles Hobhouse, ex-Chancellor of the Duchy, it is a clean sweep —too clean, some people are inclined to think, for the best interests of the House of Commons. It may be so, but there are just as many who rejoice at this "wiping out" of the "Old Gang." though they fully recognise the great abilities of Messrs. Asquith, McKenna, Samuel. Simon, and Company. Over -Sir John Simon's fate, however, no one seems to have a tear to shed. His attitude at critical periods of the war was never satisfactory to any Englishman outside the pacifist crowd. LABOUR'S DISAPPOINTMENT. One of the many surprises of this election to the average man was the poor showing made by the Labour candidates. It was confidently anticipated •by the least optimistic of the party's prophets that 100 would be the minimum of Labour's representatives in the new Parliament, whereas the full tally is 62. This is certainly a gain of 20 "on the 1910 election returns, but it is a woeful disappointment for the Labour party nevertheless, and opponents of the Government are already making it a ground of complaint that some of the Coalition members have been returned without the votes of the majority of the electors in their constituencies. A glance through the returns shews however, that the same may be said of other parties, and that Labour candidates

have gained considerably in some instances iby the splitting of the opposing votes amoAig two or more candidates. A 50 PER CENT. POLL. According to available official figures the total electorate of England, Scotland and AValcs aggregates about 19,377,000, and as the total of those who took the trouble to record their votes A\-a_, roughly speaking, 9,668,000, it will be seen that barely 50 per cent, of the "free and enlightened" were able and willing to exercise the privilege of the franchise in this, "the most important election ever held." We have yet to learn what weight our soldiers en active service and our sailors on the sea were able to throw into the voting scale, and we have yet to learn huw many of the ~000,000 women voters called "into existence by the recent extension of the franchise exercised their newly acquired right. Recent letters from the front do not suggest that our soldiers made any special effort to make their votes | effective, and also these same missices • suggest that tiie machinery erected for ascertaining tbe political 'view of our| fighting men actually on foreign soil j broke down badly in parts, even in those I areas which are only a few days' post from the Old Country. Still, it would be fatuous to question the reality of Mr. Lloyd (Jeorge's mandate because we I are not in possession of the full facts I regarding the soldiers' and sailors'j votes, and are still in the dark concerning the extent to which the ladies went I to the polls, or because only 50 per cent.! of tho electorate voted. All the con- j current testimonies are too various, too representative, too universal, too emphatic, to leave room for any justification for asserting or believing that I if 100 per cent, had voted the verdict 'would have been different.

A SINISTER INCIDENT. Ireland, like Great Britain, has been swept almost from end to end, but by Sinn Fein instead of by the Coalition. The only (Woman elected to the House of Commons is from Ireland, and is a Sinn Feiner. The largest single party elected outside the Coalition is from Ireland, and is Sinn Fein. If we do not know what Sinn Fein means to do there is no excuse fo r us, for we have been told plainly enough in hundred, of speeches and in dozens of newspapers in Ireland for the last eighteen months.

The Sinn Feiners are Republicans, and they do not mean to cosne to AVestininster and take the oath of allegiance and their salaries as M.P.a. They intend to meet in Dublin and pass resolutions with such authority as their elee-~ tions—by overwhelming" majorities, bo it noted—may have given them with their people. AA'hatcvcr its causes for congratulation on this side of the Irish Channel, the late general election in this one aspect of it is as sinister an incident as this generation has known.

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Bibliographic details

THE "VICTORY ELECTION.", Auckland Star, Volume L, Issue 65, 17 March 1919

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THE "VICTORY ELECTION." Auckland Star, Volume L, Issue 65, 17 March 1919

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