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OUR LONDON LETTER, Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
OUR LONDON LETTER
[By W. L. George.]
September 18. The Horae Rule controversy has at hist come to a comparative settlement, which ougjht, I suppose, to be looked upon as satisfactory, as both sides seem rather discontented with it. That was to bo expected after these three years of struggling for more or less illusory advantages when a settlement is offered in a hurry in the midst of a European war. As I suggested in my last letter, a settlement m the shape of a bad amending Bill would have been worse than none, and this much can be said for the Government: that they have done well not to exclude in a haphazard way certain sections of Ireland from the scope of the Bill. They have preferred to pass the Home Rule Bill into law at once, and to suspend its operation for a period of not less than a year, which I is to be extended by Order in Council i until the end of the war. In addition, .Mr Asquith has pledged himself to introduce an amending Bill in the next session to exclude the Protestant sections of Ireland from Home Rule. On the whole, this seems fair enough, though at first sight it seems to place Unionists at a disadvantage. The Unionist contention is j that Mr Asquith pledged himself early m the summer not to place the Homo Rule Bill on the Statute Book unless accompanied by an amending Bill on the lines suggested above. To meet the difficulty Lord Lansdowne laid down a Bill in the House of Lords to suspend the Home Rule Bill sine die, and to extend the provisions of the Parliament Act. His intention was clear enough : to preserve for the Government the benefits they had gained by passI ing the Bill three times, and bringing it within the scope of the Parliament Act. 1 This, as you know, means that the Bill can be given the Royal assent without the consent of the House of Lords. Lord Lansdowne’s proposal was perfectly fair, hut the difficulties of sheer procedure which involve usages as to the prorogation of the House, the continuity of sessions, the General Election (which must under the law take place before the end of next year), made it almost impossible to frame an adequate Bill. Besides, the Home ; Rule question cannot, indefinitely be alj lowed to hang in the air. Thirty years } of suspense, ending in four years of active i debate, should really make an end of (he | trouble. Given the relations between the ! Liberals and the Irish party. it seems j that Mr Asquith is compelled to pass the Home Rule Bill, and if is really a>t act of grace that ho should promise another amending Bill, given the treatment that has been afforded (ho amending Bill he j offered the Opposition three months ago. I In that Bill he was willing to exclude any ' ■ Ulster county that voted itself out. That | was a- very fair proposal, and the reply of . | the House of Lords was to ask for the I 1 “ clean cut" of the whole of Ulster,; which ha-s a population of seven Catho- \ j lies out of every 16 men. Well. . there really are limits. We have had a great deal of talk about the iniquity of the • Government's forcing Mr Redmond's will i upon a reluctant minority, but even if we j ignore the fact that Mr Asquith was i willing to exclude, wherever possible, the \ I minorities that wanted to ho exelnded i , from Mr Redmond's power, we must still I 1 agree that in th' end minorities must j i suffer. Tiie Liberal Coalition has a majo- j I rity of 95. Even if we knock out the , Il'ich, it still has a majority of 11. That j majority is not. for nothing, and theie is ' many a Government in Australia and ' New Zealand that lias carried on its bnsi--1 ness with a .smaller one. In these, eir- ■ cumstances, as the offer has been refused, i 1 think .Mr Asquith is being generous in | promicing any conccsfioiis at all. and j adhere to my old position that if be has sinned at all it has not been by bnuahty ! I but by weakness. The most elementary j theory of government gave him the right | '■ to incorporate Ulster by force. If, how- | ever, the Government- have dectd-H itu f to say, with Lord Milner. "Hatty the . consequencesit has probably been f< r tiie- following good reason :- -As t-.ion as 1 the war broke out a truce was call - d. and ; volunteers for the Army were app-ah d i for by l.oid Kitchener. Ireland was •■vn j death - it, much better Held than El eland just then. liecanse there were | ■ ; naps j 200.000 men. Ulster or Nationalist vuhuitects, who had received a <-:Tabt amount of military training, and would 1 hcid'ore ■ ; make good stuff' for t’i ’ new force. T h-‘ ■ recruit ina among the Ultstn men was go- -1. i but niti eg the National, si... it was bud- - worse than at ordinary times. That was evidently because the Nat ona! sis v.e.c anxious ah.ut Home Rnie. and in a g.moral way f'lt injured That h.vl to he settled, for In's man enlist in rneeh laim r proportions than Eitgiisnm-n —tn cerium districts as rail' ll as 40 p< r • ■’in. It was ■ neieesary to reassure th in. ami tint; is to a .’‘rta.ilt extent, I b.d'eve, why Home Utile Iris been passed into law. What form the Amend.ng Bill w il tab- n<\l year no.ioilv can 'ell, but it feme hatdl. likely tli.it the Unionists will g-'t i.nc ;i more Hum they would have Cot thine months ago wit hout so mnen hj ! tei no' and so much agitation. I should say that Mr Asquith intends to apply yhe same i suspending treeHncnt to the Vt cl.-h IBs1 osLiW’-hivniit. Rill, and that an Amendin' ; Bill to mitigate the disemlowmrnt clause will also be. iinroduerd in I he tfxt scsr.ion. j | * * «• *■ * * * I | An intercfitiog suggestion was made b> j ; Mi Bonar Law’" in tne bitter .speech lie ■ delivered ayamst -Mr Asquith's proposal. ( I He suggested that if Home Rub' was to | j he adjourned until alter the war. ni view | I of the heroic loyally of the Dumm.pits, we . I might settle the whole Irish qu.t-ii.m hv | i Imperial t-deration. We have lu .ud qt ; i Pi,at. sort, of i hing before, and nothing ifi j mere pleasant in theory, but 1 lia.:<b' | I lielicve that it can be eatried out. I | interests of -be various parts of tne. Empire are .on varied and divergent to make federation workable. Certainly an j Imlserial Anny and Nu\y are as manage- | able a-s Imperial diplomacy, but questions i j of trade and industry create already so much trouble inside the Dominions, wli.oe the farmers clamor for Krectrade and t.i? , voiuirg manufacturers for f’roloi lion, l.rd j ]f we had to conciliate in one tno ; monetary rivalries of New Zealand. Great j Britain, Canada, and the row, we s.imdd j end onlv in confusion and bitterness. If - i bo,rally,* I feel that federation, of which we have heard a good (leal during the last two or three years, has Wn slain and buried in the last six weeks bv the attitude of the Dominions in the European war. If you had been sulky and said, more or less: “This is a British war, and not a New Zealand war, and we’ll have no hand in it,” there might have been good reason to induce the Dominions to tighten up their links, and a little persuasion— shall we say financial pressure —would perhaps have been applied in time from London; this would have had bad results, created bitterness, and paved the way for separation, as in the case of Great Britain’s American es- ; tablishments in 1776. But this did not i happen; New Zealand is offering for service more men in relation to its popula- j tion than Groat Britain herself; Canada, j though not endowed with a conscript ays- i tern, is doing almost as well; while the , navies of all the Dominions have been j offered to Great Britain to be used anywhere. And if we add to this -picture ; the gifts of corn, oats, meat, that have j been offeree! the Mother Country, I think ! there is good cause for saying that- we need no closer link * —that an Empire, standing like this, foot cumue. in times i
of emergency, does not. want its loyalty hampered by agreements. It has coin© out in a spontaneous way, infinitely more effective than a legal way, because generosity docs more than agreements ever can do. I hesitate to prophesy, but somehow I doubt that we shall ever hear anything positive again about federation : the English are sensible, and now that they have seen that, we have federation in fact., i c :i hardly credit that they will trouble alwu its outer forma. * * * * * * * I am not giving yon any war new;- <-r forecasts, been use the news wonM ustale in a month, while tho toreea*)« might injure my reputation. But there are diplomatic movements, slower in their action, which are worthy of record. Italy still remains the X. of the iniermitionH situation, for her intervention at 1 h;s stage might, compass the downfall *>t Germany, or seriously interfere with lho chances of the Allies. If she wetv to attack France in the south-east 1 d-> not suppose the effects would be > ni#‘ur:r. ■but we should certainly be in extra three or four months of c.ar; on the other hand, she were to march through Tyrol into Germany, i ..el.eve it would be the last, straw for (be lioii-m----zoJJerns. People here are himmng HaJy a little unfairly for not taking tic h.vcr course, but the position of that >tate most difficult. Here is a Power winch L 30 years has formed a pan of the Trite 1 ■ 1 Alliance. Injured as it may bo by not j having been taken into the confidence of i its-Allies, it is ftiil thejr Ally, end if hj ■ docs not stand by their side it i- -indy a | little too much to ask that it should ini' terrene against them. There .arc very j good reasons why Italy should attack Austria. sordid reasons. 1 mean, for m international politics those are the hc-t, and there arc very good fiordiii roa-ons. t",i. why she should not. If Italy docs mi step in, but kc.‘w: ready her good modern army of 800,000 men until after the- war. she may play the role of th" ec tin try tbit j has amiably been nicknamed KV-pto-I Ro'.imunia when the day for the treaty j comes. That is to say. when everybody | cle is exhausted and rutin .1. Italy will be I the only Greed Power ihal ;s m jo fleet i condition. She may ih.n conceivably help j iiensc’f t;> Trieste and tin- Trentinn whhI out liriiVa n shot, thv-c af a.- being dee to 'her as the price of her nent r.iliiy. ’lhat ! is exactly what I? hj mam a did after the i Balkan War. when the _ Balkan States. after a year of hand fighiing, had nobody I to put ut) against h' r f r.'v.''i In L ■ that is Halve plan 1 <G not t ionic sh“ i should lie blamed, fur. nit or ail nations do ' not go to war f-r jun. but t«-r pronto. j They never get them, even i: t hey w:.-.. hut that is another and :: Norman Vngei! 1 stray, into which I will not, eater ter j- vr jo; becoming mipopu'.av among y; nr pa ( -_ 1 viotic rentiers. Piwr.tbly t;w alt unde "i Italy is dependent upon that of Bulgaria. ; Rumania, and Greece, who arc said to j have made an agreement again'' Tor- ; key. The latter rr-c-ms to Iw t termany's I onlv friend, us if. indeed, the Hoivn- j znlferns had established with -thou! : Hamid, "the bloody Sultan." a bond of j amity. This, ol course, meat s that Tu r - j kf v fens in the struggle t-ltM'.o" <’f recover- j it.g a lost province or nw. la l '- tie- LG : knit Stales nil! not n!h w. and they arc i probably incbiK-d to lake t! <•>••, Inr key tuvr | what they had to leave her y- and | that is where Laly comes in. Italy, if* j inoic than Austria, wish*- !•/ Greece j extending into Albania, and ebg'rg up the ! Adriatic.’ There bos been no -Vy b to;. 1 i" sparring so frr. Go i .mould not. be al all surpri-.ed If Italy stood out of tin's struggle lor that unite subsidiary reason that site considers hj< j r roh- in the struggle as being to keep th- Balkans qtif l. It that, id K<\ we own Italy apologics, hj r. aeverybody know-.-, in the Balkans more than anywhere e!.—■ in tin; world a pohe ■ man's lot id not a. happy one. j ] J. n. !id to r-v urt t ha' G■■ I ondit hm lof ur -mphiyiruv.l in ht gland r iter :->x | weeks of «cr is n u o I ,d. TVtt to entrh.vineiii o ; dc W ■ r.t. !-.g; v th-', in the ordinary Au/v Tv,t hv of v’ly' m’Gi , ''iot'-e"' A ‘ v'e';. t; ' aVm- . titm ■ i nii'ii an- midi r ihj 'I. i iativelv t" fol vigil '‘'VV,f '‘ V. we j :] a iviiu'i 11 ! <d. 1 i'd y c:• ■: .1 a ' | n..ijdli ago that. i’y ■i.■v ,-t , IW' id.: he ii.iieb lie re ; v s.a -. hi • ,■ t.. v > ' did • .ui 1 1 ‘ai l 'l. ha* w: yd m i'v Lt s ■ i lo alt r Hmi; nv v o; hj b'. y , ! trade _ route.- • r ■ l ■ '■ i]■•b ■' - iv. - . of hc'itaHo'i p■G '■ ••• A i; I, i j ’II»1 i o .-p. lid ill" c ■ : ■ 1 a ' d- .. 1 ! I ami ;il(|Ut, :<‘S I > avc I Vroea Ay a" !is jn.= ’.-bout •uai Vi \e-.p ih. 11l ••oil g. ■ and that is a af.-at ;/ a! wi. " "'itG-r j tine Ul I’a ti - a 1 1<! 11 vie tin •'I •v " ' I wc have r m-d a v ■f ■■ : thia.'trr-. '! Iv y ;o’ d v ’ ■ i I theatre niien th'-. tvivi, j things that me h..j ; V, ' : tint il hti?. lev lem,, • diet |if i imy do •go• o:. ■ • v ■ : j (Oline.-t'd wiljl llm a: au-y tty ' j namely. ,ti v v.i. n. :i ; •. -r . • " getting a-. omed lit' ■ v.ai, aim i . io’ i:mi iv n i o'liv fr.iio :if c v ■ : hr.: it r.v:y ■ ing some ir.oi .■ -i • . Hade and geiieraily makvig *y : ■ more miseralil 1 t van v d.
OUR LONDON LETTER, Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
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