PROHIBITION AND POLITICS
CATECHISING CANDIDATES. THE PARTY'S POSITION STATER. Having failed to secure a reduction of the three-fifths majority on the liquor question, the Prohibition party hav.e carried their movement into the political ajena to this extent—that the party will vote for any candidate of good character who; supports their platform, bo he Government, Oppoeition, or Labor in his general political viewa. This was made i:lear at the big No-license meeting in the Garrison Hall last night, when tho answers of candidates in five electorates to the party'a catechism were disclosed by Mr A. S. Adams to thoee present. And this was the way of it, as Mr Adams put Dunedin North: Mr G. M. Thomson and Mr A. 'Walker answered all the questions in the affirmative, except the one asking whether thev would support an amendment to section 18 making National Prohibition (if carried) come into force in one instead of four years. Dunedin West: Mr W. D. Stewart answered all questions on the affirmative eaw the one stated above. Mr Johnjon (to quote Air Adam*) " has not replied to tho quaabions, but has left it to bo inferred from reported utterances that he is out of sympathy with the party. I do not wish to do him any wrong. I have no personal knowledge of his attitude. Anyhow, ho has nob replied to the questions. Mr Maguire has . stated that ho regards Prohibition aa the most indefensible, most demoralising doctrine that over emanated from the fetish milid."' Dunedin Central : Mr S-ta,tham'a attitude is summed up in the answer " No " to the questions. He has throughout, with great consistency (if, in our opinion, with nad judgment) allied himself with the other side in connection with our legislative proposals. Mr Mnnro answers all questions with a simple " Yes." Dunedin South i Mr Sidey answers our question with reference to tho three-fifths majority, that he will not be in favor of reducing it. Mr Dalton is in favor of the simple majority, and answers all questions "Yes."' Chalmers t Mr Dickson is in favor of a 65 per cent, majority on the National issue, but the three-fifths on tho local issue; thinks one year too short a time for National Prohibition to como into force, and four years too long. Answers other questions in the affirmative. Mr G. S. Thomson is in favor of tho bare majority, and answers 'YesT to ill questions. Mr Mason has not replied, but we have Teason to suppose that if he had replied the answer would not have been satisfactory." That was Mr Adams's summary. As chairman, Mr Adams reviewed tho position of the U.T.E.C. He said that, had their party been consulted, there would have been no poll taken on Do ir-mber 10, but since there was to be an election, he protested against the suggesi ion to muzzle Reform under any circumstances, and particularly under present •■•renmatances. For, if ever there was a -,ime when moral and social reform should receive the greatest consideration it was now, when the nation was faced with the gravest issue of its history. (Applause.) He believed that the action of the party in keeping the question out of the controversial and advertising pages of the newspapers would be heartily approved. They had pat nothing sn the local or general Presa of the Domin <>n thai might inflame or bias public op ; nion, or cause ill-feeling. It would be a nice thing if the other side had been es careful. Everyone woidd have noticed the snormous advertisements that had been appearing in the Press, and what the party protested against was ths insertion of columns of matter, apparently con'r.buted by the staff of the papers, bu*- in reality contributed and paid for by the Irade. It was true that the wordi; "By arriuigement" were inserted, but , nine >ut of ten' people thought that this matter was the considered opinion of the paper in wlieh it appeared. On-J grossly unfair advertisement distorted the meaning of a statement made by Mr Philip •Snowden. By suppression of tho sentences immediately following the ones quoted, Mr Snowden was made to appear against National Prohibition, although \hosb who had heard him knew very well vhat his views were. The very next jentences to those, quoted by tho other jiarty na against National "Prohibition 'were these: "The. growing temperance sentiment of the country is helping to force temperance legislation. Tho civic conscience of the nation b being touched. The country is beginning to realise that the liquor traffic is anti-social and immoral. The people are beginning to realise that they must not permit the country to continue under the government of the liquor traffic. It is being realised that the nation must control the traffic, and not the traffic the nation. It is right that that should be so. Where we have an institution, where we have private rights, where we have a traffic, wherever things are manifestly against (he public welfare—that fact alone is a complete justification for the abolition of the institution and the abrogation of tho.«e private rights. The will of the people must prevail in Tegard to the liquor traffic, as in regard to all other •natters affecting common lifo.' - The sentences praoeding this, and quoted by tlhe :.<!hcr side, were sentences that might be uttered by any Prohibitionist. Any fiarty which descended to such methods ■- of advertising would descend to anything, and should we wiped out as soon as the votes of the people could do it. (Applause.) Mr Adams proceeded to Tefer to the no-called Moderate League. This league had on executive of six, and the people were informed that they had no relations with the trade. Yet one of them -was a director of a company holding a wholesale liquor license. This kaguo had passed a series of resolutions ■which sought to take political action in the direction of depriving the people of their voting privileges. They were out to destroy the right of the people in the election of licensing committees, holding that boards should -be appointed by the Government. Again, they wanted the establishment hy the Government of a standard basis of quality for liquor, and Government inspection. There had been that for 40 years. They wanted many other things, all of which showed that they distrusted the trade they championed. The EeT. E. Drake said thai there were only two parties in this crisis—those who ■yretea las liquor and those who \ywre against it. Twenty-caw years ago Mr Soddon introduced a Bill proposing tho threcfiftha majority, and said that pressure had been brought upon him to make this e-oportion. To-day there was an absolute ajority of 54,200 in the Dominion for Prohibition, and the Prohibitioa vote hadi Increased, by 108.0 CO last year. Yet if the vote increased and advanced at tho came rate, it would take them fop more elections to carry Prohibition with this unjust handicap. It was not democracy. Hardly any man Bitting in the House would be there now if he had had to get a 65 per cent, majority. In 1910 there were Z56 prosecutions of hotelkeeper3 in ihe country, and 123 convictions. One in 11 in 1910 of the retail liquor traders was . a convicted law-breaker. The propaganda of the Moderate League, with the provifoao of more drastic penalties, etc., showed that the league did not trust the trade, inquiry into the possibility of municipal or Mate control was suggested. In fact, the Moderate party condemned the liquor trade as at present conducted. A trade that needed srcch careful # restriction as was postulated needed wiping out. Ic .ma month there were 260 cases in Auckland arising from drink, and in one year 11,800 men in the Dominion were brought before the Court for d!ninfce<nrieß9» The No-licenso party had been accused of thwarting legitimate legislative issues, but had not the trade been bending legislation to its purposes far 21 years? Every pub. tie bar was a recruiting ground for the trade vote. The newspapers also did- not represent the people. For, while a majority; 6i 54,200 peopfe w&i ia fsror of Prohibition, the papers were again and again against it. "Now/' continued toe speaker, "the party have coma to th&i oonclumoa j that they will not vota for a nwo vho will no* consent to tb» redocttbq .jjfc.iha-taajority* W* wen* tp»a -to>-a«^.
that Labwond Land and other questions will never bo solved until the blighting influence of the trade is removed." Mr Dalton, in expressing his views on National Prohibition, said that it would do more for tho workers than any- labor union had done, and ho believed that when it was carried one year was quite long enough to allow the trade- to'continue. Mr Maguire sKud that tho Prohibition party had been thv? bignert- enemies of the Labor movement in every 'country of the world. Ho was in favor of tho threefifths majority. A bare majority at prosent, when only 65 per cent, of the people voted, would not be fair. Tho three-fifths majority was a good thing for tho Prohibition party if they would only realise it, for once carried on such a majority the issue was not likely to be brought up again. Mr Suowden had said that from its insular position Zealand was an admirable place in which to try the experiment of National Prohibition. In a word, he wanted to "try it on the dog." Thero was a good deal of laughter and some interruption during Mr Maguire's discourse. Mr J. W. Mnnro said-that Prohibition wa3 a moral movement' that deserved support. People eaid that you could not bo made sober by Act of "Parliament.J but an Act of Parliament was only the expression of ihe will of the majority of .the people, and it was ridiculous to say that the majority could not impose*" their will and carry it into effect. A movement with the disinterestednwis. moral and dynamic force of the No-License movement ■ must succeed. He was on tho platform as s. militant advocate of it. (Applause-.) Tho Rev. B. 8. Gray pointed to tho significant fact that all moderate leagues of the past 20 years had been to "reform the trade." So'it was on this occasion. But thero was something more. He hod never heard of such, a glaringly dishonorablo and dishonest proposal as that which tho Moderate League.(so-called) had embodied in their platform.' They arrogated to themselves an importance which they did not possess, and had the effrontery to state that .they would absolve candidates from tho pledges extracted from them (by the Prohibitionists). "In the name of public morality," said the speaker.''• I challenge the newspaper editors of this City to take that statement into consideration and cri; ticise it. It is glaringly dishonest." Things like tills made him believe that there was a common purpose between the liquor trade and tho Moderate party. Thoy were both out to stop Prohibition. And there was a common method. They both put in lying advertisements. The suppression of'half of Mr Snowden's sentences was worso than a lie. Tho Moderate party said that the Prohibitionists put their questions before their country. There never was so base a lie. The whole question was discussed by the party, and the Reform Council had said that they would not hold meetings, as on pruvious occasions, but would allow the common moral sense of the people to decido the issue if there was no.agitation on the other side. But at the very time when they had been trying to prevent such agitation, the other side had been voting money at meetings of those interested in the trade to organise and prevent the Temperance party's reform measures. He spoke of what he knew, and threw back tho Moderate party's lying charge that Prohibitionists placed Prohibition before the safety of their country. The Prohibitionists had not wanted a poll at this time, but since it was to bo taken they must ask the people to vote out this traffic. Now, there were two sections of the Moderate League—the successful Moderates and the unsuccessful Moderates—and 11,000 of the latter were arrested .last year for being unsuccessful. (Laughter.) And some of the successful ones would be arrested next year for being unsuccessful. (Laughter and applause.) The Prohibition party had never been a political party, but was composed of people of all political colors. They had always put character first, and urged their adherents to vote against any man who was not of good character, even if he favored all they wanted. But previous experience justified them in saying that they would not support anyone who would not help to reduce the majority. They had proved that there was no way to reduce the handicap (that provented one fair fight with the other side) except by helping to put into Parliament men who would remove thre three-fifths handicap. (Applause.) The meeting concluded at 10 p.m. with tho singing of the National Anthem.
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PROHIBITION AND POLITICS, Evening Star, Issue 15665, 2 December 1914
PROHIBITION AND POLITICS Evening Star, Issue 15665, 2 December 1914
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