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VICTORIA COLLEGE

T WO PROFESSORS APPOINTED. Dr E. Marsdcn, lecturer and research .assistant to Sir Ernest Rutherford in Victoria. University (Manchester), wa 6 last evening appointed, to tin; chair of iihy&ies at Victoria College, Wellington. Dr Marsdcn holds the B.Sc. degree, with first-class honors in physics at Manchester, and thus year was awaidcd his doctor's degree in the same faculty. Hu has shown a high standard in hisTriginal researches, and has held tho John Darling Fellowship (tile most, important echoiavship in research work at Manchester). Dr Marsdcn is described as a vigorous lecturer, popular with both teachers and students. He is a lieutenant in the Officers’ Training Corps (Manchester), is it* charge of the wireless company of that corps, and has spent a good deal of bis time in training iccruite for the army. He is about 28 years of age, and was recently married. The appointment of DrD. M. Y. Sommerville, M.A., B-So. (who at St. Andrews University, in 1800, obtained first-class honors in mathematics and natural philosophy)- to the chair of mathematics at Victoria College was also decided upon. Dr Sonimerviile, who has had a distinguished academic career, is about 35 years of ago. Ho has been a university lecturer in mathematics and applied mathematics at St. Andrews einoo 1908. In 1905 ho obtained his doctor’s degree in science, and, since 1901, has been lecturer in applied mathematics to honor students at St. Andrews. Ho is another of many publications on mathematical subjects, was president in 1911-12 of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, and has been a Fellow of tho Royal Society of Edinburgh since 1911.

This -week has witnessed the customary blundering attempt to asA Confused certain the will of the Election. people of New Zealand. The Prime Minister lias recently made the astounding statement that the reason why he repealed, the Second Ballot without substituting any system of reform in order to prevent a recrudescence of Minority Representation was that he knew no better, electoral machinery than that old. discredited creaking one which has again been put in operation. By its working half the people have been disfranchised. Its method is to cast aside, as rubbish, votes that are not recorded-for the winning candidate. Whatever the issue in Dunedin, nearly 50 per cent, of the electors have been deprived of all representation of their opinions. What a stimulus to the political interest of the general public were every vote registered to count- for the election or a member of Parliament I But the present system, which, we are told, is the best known to the Government, not- only effectually prevents all Minority Representation, but puts to hazard even the democratic, principle of majority rule. It has been made a ground of complaint against Sir Joseph Ward that he has made an arrangement with the Labor party. Such an arrangement ns admittedly exists is for many reasons to bo regretted, as it is based not upon political affinities or a. desire, to promote a joint programme upon which both parties arc agreed. It is clearly designed to frustrate a defect, of the electoral system. As no provision is made for the duo representation of the various schools of political thought, and the existing machinery is altogether inefficient for dealing with a political condition where their- are three strong parties, some arrangement of tliekind agreed to was the only possible way of meeting the exigency. Let- it. Ik? fully understood that the arrangement is an evil thing occasioned by a. more pronounced evil inflicted by ihe unrcsourrefiil statesmanship which removed the blot of the Second Ballot only to make a bigger one. Last election, under the regime of the Second Ballot, unnatural alliances of the Massey party with Labor were created ; now factitious alliances of the Ward party with Social Democrats and Moderate Laborites arc the order of the day. Such arc the false dispositions of political forces brought about by a defective system. When politicians get into the habit of penetrating to the root of troubles there will lie less of those strange fellowships. The fact in that the- much-vilified arrangement is a symptom of a. disordered electoral system. The remedy is not to attack the, symptom, but to cure the disorder. The exigencies which have resulted in the arrangement between Labor and the Liberals is matter for regret upon another ground. The country wants to know the strength of the various shades of Labor. We would have assessed the voting power of the dreaded “Red Federation.” We are satisfied it is a menace to the community, but we would know the magnitude of the danger. In assailing any foe the first thing is to measure its res*mm's and estimate its effective force. Under present conditions this is impossible. In the electorates of Grey and Lyttelton, for example, Social Democrats were successful: but this does not mean that the majority of tho voters in them; districts were, upholders of the cause of the “Red Feds.” Upon Messrs Webb and M‘Combs were concentrated the votes of moderate and violent Labor, of Liberals, and antiGovernment electors generally. But these victories of the Social Democrats will furnish no criterion of their hold upon the reason and sympathy of the community. It may he they will wield in Parliament a power altogether disproportionate to their following in the country. And how many cases are there where members have, been elected by n majority of votes but whose opinions on many out standing questions arc not approved by a majority of voters? What remarkable anomalies have, been created by the system which the Prime Minister despairs, apparently, of correcting Good government necessitates that the opinions of the people be really and clearly expressed, and not disguised in such a manner as to baffle analysis. Under Proportional Representation the Social Democrats would nominate their candidates and concentrate their votes upon them. The public and Parliament would then know the potency of tho force behind them. We should probably find that whilst the Federation is a noisy, obstreperous factor, it cannot count tip many heads. The Dominion would probably be gratified with the tranquillizing disillusionment that the terror inspired by tho party of strikes springs from no sufficient reason. Like the ass in the lion's skin, it may be it has no power to accomplish much, although it certainly can bray loudly. We, badly need in this country a census of political opinions. It is needed as a guidance to legislators. It is needed for tho enlightenment of electors themselves. It is needed that there might be that, accurate, calculation of political antagonisms upon which alone rational political campaigning can be conducted. It is needed that the community may he seized of the dimensions of the forces which threaten its security and pursue the anarchist path of destruction. Tho only way known to man of taking such a census is by applying the principle of Proportional Representation to an election. This alone will dissect political thought. This alone will furnish that scientific analysis which will provide the material for enlightened statecraft. This alone will get rid of many bogies whidi frighten ns now. After all. we hold an election for the purpose of ascertaining the will of the people, but so adept is our electoral machinery in perverting tho expression of that will that when the election is over feeling is common that tho mind of the people is still largely undislosed. What a confusion of issues was presented to the electors this week 1 A voter wanted to support the Liberal party, but there was only a Labor candidate standing. A man wanted to support the Bible-in-schools referen- I dum and Mr Massey, but' it was only the Liberal candidate who would represent his opinion on the Bible-in-schools question. ; When the votes were cast, how imperfect a guidance to popular opinion! There’ is only one remedy, and. that is a system of election which will give representation to an opinion in proportion to its strength. For the present unfortunate arrangement between tho Liberals and Labor the Government axe more to blame than the Opposition. Thq)' gave Proportional Ro-

presentation to the Upper House—they endorsed the principle--and they leave chaos to umpire the contest for the election of representatives to the Lower Chamber. Sir Joseph Ward, v.e delight to see, lias placed this great electoral reform upon the forefront of his programme. With him it is a belated conversion to reason. .After tin* experience of the evil results of the Second Pallet in IvL'J he ought to have adopted boldly Propor- j tional Representation. However, politi- 1 cians have a way of holding hack alie- j gianco to reform until the pressure he- j comes irresistible, and we can scarcely j expect a revolutionary charge in their j nature. i

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Bibliographic details

VICTORIA COLLEGE, Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

Word Count
1,465

VICTORIA COLLEGE Issue 15674, 12 December 1914

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