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FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TO-DAY

[From the Dunedin ‘Evening .Star.’ December 5, 1870.] The escort brought down 16.1280z of gold. ******«• Special sessions of the Provincial Council are expensive things. That of 1869 over the Hundreds Regulation Act) cost £1,200, and that just about to terminate £I,BOO. No wonder that complaints are made of the folly of Provincial Councils, and one can sympathise with Mr Wm. Wood (Invercargill) when bewailing that so much money should have been spent on useless wrangling while the large and important district of Southland could not get one 6d more for necessary works. * •* * * * * * Governor Boweu has intimated to tho Superintendent his intention of visiting the Otago goldfields early next year and of visiting tho Cold Lakes district.

No doubt the chief interest in the election next week centres Tha Labor Party, in the contest for Power between the Hon. Mr Massey and Bir Joseph Ward. But tins by no means exhausts the attention of those whose minds are directed to political issues. Despite the more or Jess loose alliance of Labor with (he Liberals, indications point- lo the emergence of the former as a separate political entity. Since 1890 there lias not been a (Jenera! Llection in which organised Labor took such a pronounced and individualistic pai'l. During the long career of the Hallance-Seddon .Administration Labor was content to merge iis identity and link its ambitions with the party which attained world-wide fame as the Liberal-Labor paily. ]‘or a few years past Labor has manifested a, disposition to regard sneh a sarrilice oi its independence as detrimental to the realisation of its aspirations. Wo believe it, errs in this opinion. The advantage of the Labor party seem* to ns best served when they form the advanced wing of a Liberal partv. It is not onv purpose, however, at present to assume Die role of counsellor.

Tfcrt forces that make for the isolation of the Labor cause arc probably too power fnl for the manipulation of any hut an independent Labor party. The experience, too, of Australia has heartened the leaders of Labor in New Zealand, and led (hem to anticipate with confidence, the control of the macliinery of governnient. It should be recognised by ail classes in the community that the Labor interest will grow in political influence and power with the march of time. This is inevitable in a democracy where government goes by the counting of beads. The wage-earning class is the most numerous and the least wealthy body in the. land. Not. having largo possessions to conserve, it has nothing to fear but everything to hope from innovation. If this class were thoroughly organised, effectively weaned from violence, and wisely Jed, it would sweep the polls at a General Klection. Wo believe that this coining week it will secure the return of 10 or 12 representatives. Were the. organisation as good as it was in the days of the Maritime Strike, were there the same spirit of unity and the same absence of disintegrating jealousies. and were the memory not still green of the, industrial wreckage designed by that avalanche of stupidity, the waterside workers' strike. Labor would secure a much larger measure of representation. ]*ibor is going to be the world power of the future if it can satisfy two conditions. In the first place, its programme must he marked by that moderation which alona will win esteem. Politics deals with practical affairs. Since the world began benefii-ent change in this domain has corns slowly and xiiecemeal. Whenever tbo head of sudden revolution has been reared there has followed disastrous reaction. Too many in the Labor ranks are feel to gluttony on the beatified theories of dreaming Socialists. Witli their eyes lifted to the mists of the mountain top they reach, out a hand to grasp them. The lessons of history are unheeded ; tbs principle of inertia, so deep-seated in human nature, is disregarded : and tin* tendency to believe that whatever is : s right is neglected. With the vision of a millennium opening out before him the reformer in his eseta-sy is apt to kick awav unceremoniously any obstruction. An opponent be calls a. robber and an oppressor. Extravagant language always awakens tumultuous applause In certain quarters; (bo clamorous approval turns the head of the mob orator, and straightway he becomes a. full-fledged, demagogue. orkers must realise, if they aie not to be defeated in their political mission, that a great, reform is not attained by flight. but by slow and laborious creeping. Many an innovation stands absolutely approve 1 by reason—it is not possible to gam.-ay it by argument —and yet were flic opportunity afforded, it would Im unwise to

adopt it in its entirely. Tim I'.-i't tugs like gravitation. .Ml progress ccnsi-ts in the tardy and painful pursuit thioiigu generations of the just thought <oin-<>hed hv the seer. No man is ijualified in shape the Future who does not keep his glance fixed upon tiie Past. If Labor, instead of talking wildly about .Socialism, addresses itself to the task of reducing tho cost of l-.v'ng by assailing all forms of unearned incomes and by perfecting the machine) c of government, it will win enthusiastic suppoit. There are economic wrongs to he righted, there arc econotnio oppressions to be resisted, and then- arc many ways in which the lot of the poor can lie improved. lint a moderate policy is not the. only reotiisite. .Mmost mox: important still i« sane leadership. Men of tlio stamp of Messrs Holland and rh-tuple are the worst foes of Labor. Their wild, barbaric nttm - mens alienate nubi;. sympathy. One is terrified at tin' prospect of the chaos into which they would iodine society ■worn they placed in a. position of power. Labor must throw these riders who are spurring it to the precipice. If the party would, turn from these to men of the stamp of Mr David M'l.aren. of Wellington, and the Hon. Mr Paid, of Dunedin, a. bright day would dawn for its cause. For this r?asfMi ''VP rear'll tin* uhsonrt* from liw political arena of Mr H. I). Bedtord. Sc ever was tins demand more, importunate for men whose radical thought was chastened with the restraint of moderation. Unfortunately, Labor shows too much jealousy of its wise leaders. Mon wh.< tickle its ear with claptrap are too often profaned. By banishing such from the, seat of influence tho working classes will reflect credit upon their policy, will enlist public sympathy, and will promote the most speedy realisation of their ideals. We confess to tho deepest, concern in the great industrial upheaval which marks a : - countries of the world. The movement for human betterment has our ungrudging support. 'Wo aro not of those who believe that the power of reform is exhausted. Perplexing as the Labor problem is, it is not tho riddle of the Sphinx, defying the utmost ingenuity ol man to effect a solution. Tho advent of a Labor party fulfilling the conditions we have prescribed would fill us with hope. Upon them devolves the grand privilege and the solemn obligation of working social renovation along tho paths of peace, order, and decency.

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Bibliographic details

FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TO-DAY, Evening Star, Issue 15668, 5 December 1914

Word Count
1,191

FORTY-FOUR YEARS AGO TO-DAY Evening Star, Issue 15668, 5 December 1914

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