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The Evening Star. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1914.

Otfß messages to-day announce that important German moveNews from the menta are taking place North Sea. In the Noith Sea. The news, let it be at once and emphatically declared and mado plain to all citizens far airJ near, is not unwelcome. The- Empire and thy fleet—that fleet which these five months past has enabled each one of us ir. thie Ultima Thulo of our far-flung Empire to go about our daily tasks, to Indulge In the- luxury of an uncalled-for General Election, and to sleep peacefully in our bods at night—have been longing and praying that the German fleet would ccme out from its hidden security within the mino-protected Baltic an<". put all to the test of battle. For over 130 days Sir John .Tellieoe. and his officers and men have been waiting for tho foe, and their patient, ■unrewarded vigil has a? trying t'> them as to the people on L«!'d. " T recently spoke," said Mr Churchill at too Guildhall banquet on November 9, '' with Sir John Jellicoe and his " principal Admiral, and both at them ex-"prot-Bt'd to me their keen desire to bring "more direct and immediate aid to bear "with the mighty weapon which they "wield, and of their natural desire to "share more immediately ia the sufferings "and losses of the Army in the field. "'But.' they said, ' Cornwallis was nearly "three years oft' Brest, and Admiral Nel"son was more than two years off Toulon. "We. are only just beginning. We must "not In impatient. Our turn will come.' " The question ths Mother Land is asking to-day is j Hrs our turn now coime? Wo doubt it. Wo are far from certain that Germany is attempting more than a daring raid with some fast cruisers from tho Wilhelmshaven base.: And raids of thi3 nature, whether successful or not, decide nothing. That on tho Yorkshire coast bears testimony to the spirit and enterprise of Garmau seam on, and k in harmony with theic record since the opening of the war. With few and doubtful exceptions, and' apart from the mine-laying business, German naval officers appear to have played the game. The shelving of the north-eastern coast of England, from its very nature, can only be a swift coming and going. In a few hours, or less, the possible lines of retreat will bo blocked, and nothing can sore tho raiding cruisers savea repetition of *hc same good fortune that favored them in their out-ward course. The situation is interesting, and its development wilbbe eagerly awaited. But there is absolutely no ground for panic or fear. What is now happening is what sober men and women knew would probably happen. It is only those who have not, even yet, intelligently apprehended the nature of this war in which the Empire is engaged who will exhibit amazement and protest volubly. And to such as these we again oay, not for the first nor the tenth, tins;_

T*ast your Navy. It is tantamount to an insult to its officers and men that wo should daie to hint, in our ignorance, at the possibilities of unpreparodncsa or inability to copo with each and every possible emergency. We repeat that we hopo that the great naval battle that shall decide our fate and that of the Empire and of mankind is upon the cvo of being fought. We do so because we k>now, beyond peradventure, that that mighty, silent fleet that has so long been our guard in the North Sea is going to win. Wo do not, however, ask our readers to rest upon our word in thitf momentous declaration, but refer them to the one man who alone is authorised to speak in this relation. This is what Mr Churchill said 38 days agoi

Examine the situation in the sixth month, in the ninth month, in the twelfth month, and you will begin to see results, results which will bo gradually achieved, silently achieved, but which spell the doom of Gennanv as surely as the approach of winter strikes tho leaves from the trees. Let each timid heart learn those words by heart, for they are the Alpha and the Omega of the whole matter. There is nothing to add lo thorn, nothing to contradict theiru They are final. Ye fearful souls, fresh courage take; The clouds ye so much dtead Arc big -with promise, and will break In blessings on your head.

The political situation in >Ncw Zealand, as a result of the General Remarkable Election last week, has Political bseomo extraordinarily inSituatlon. terosting. The rival parties are numerically equal, and neither can claim ability to maintain administrative control under conditions which would prove acceptablo to the country. The Reform party's narrow majority of two members over combined LiberalLabor has been removed' by tho amazing reversal of the result of tho contest for Hawke's Bay seat, which was officially credited to 'Mr H. M. Campbell, the Ministerial candidate, with a- decisive majority of 196 votes over Or R. M'Nab, the able Liberal, who was formerly a valuable member of the \\ ard Ministry. The recount yields a narrow lead for Dr M'Nab, tho official, and presumably linal, figures being: Dr M'Nab 4,225 H. M. Campbell 4.216

Majority for Dr M'Xab 9 Tho altered figures show that there must have been blundering on the part of some of the officials on pulling day. Should the recount stanjd, the result gives tho rival political parties an equality of voting strength. By a stubborn rejection of advice and by over-confident optimism the Reform Government succeeded in bringing their continuous administrative difficulties to a political crisis. The numerical position of parties—4o members etich renders impossible- a nationally proiitablo retention of administrative- power by either. If tho Government decide to retain office, on the ground that they have not been defeated at the polls, their defeat would come when the new Parliament assembled, unless '"diplomacy" seemed an ally or two from tho other side, a possibility so remote that it may be ignored altogether. After the election of one of their number as Speaker of the House of Representatives—the choice of Mr Lang for the position may be accepted as a foregone conclusion — Reform would be in a minority oi one, and it hardly ncuds to be pointed out that once Mr Lang goes into the Chair he will hold tho position for the term of tho Parliament. If, as the result of a want-of-confidence motion moved by: Sir J. G. Ward, the Liberal-Labor party could secure and maintain (if the Social Democrats, who were not supported by the Liberal Leader at the polls in respect to the allocation of the votes of the Expeditionary Force, remain friendly) administrative, control by a majority of one, it would be as effective as a hundred if it be dependable, which it is not.

Another method of procedure has been suggested by solicitous supporters of the Reform Government—namely, to form a Coalition Ministry for patriotic rather than political reasons. It is to be feared that Party will prove stronger than Patriotism. If Patriotism had been real and robust in politics there would have been no General Election this year, and It seems rather like a confession of blundering weakness to urge patriotic claims now, when circumstances have exposed the weak foundations of the Government'* optimiam in rejecting friendly advice to defer the General Election until the Imperial cause was placed beyond danger. One admits readily that there is no great need for "popular"' experiments in legislation while the war lasts, and that it would be an easy matter to find 80 men in New Zealand who could look after the affairs of State for a year or two without quarrelling like tinkers at a fair. But the situation is very different when it depends on 80 party politicians. Any attempt to coalesce for purely patriotic reasons would, we fear, end in dragging Patriotism to the dust of jealous politics. We have- passed the stago of looking for political idols; we know that they have feet of clay. A Coalition "Ministry at the present juncture would only engender deeper partisan jealousy, and would prove of little advantage to the country. One conclusion is forced upon impartial observers : The Government must in fairness to the public and to themselves call Parliament together as early as possible —at the end of January or the beginning of February. It is perfectly true that the Government have not yet been defeated, but they arc unable to command a working majority, without which administrative success is impossible. They must therefore recognise the seriousness of their position, and must take steps at once, to define future procedure. This is not the time for an exercise of Reform's characteristic secrecy as regards Ministerial intentions. The public are entitled to be taken into the confidence of ihe Government as to the methods likely tc be adopted for the satisfactory settlement of a political impasse.

A petition Burned, by about 350 resident of Wakan, protesting against the erection of a secondary hospital in that district, has been forwarded to the Ministea- of Public Health. Tho owners of dairies in tho locality have also communicated with tha Minister on tho subject. The Education Board object to the hospital being built at Wakari, and havo forwarded a strong urotest to the Charitable Aid Board, and have advised the Hon. B. 11. Bhodcs of tho steps they have t-?.ken. A correspondent, whose bona fides we can guarantee, writes to us stating that a young woman living in King street has for some time past been subjected to the grossest insults by a number of young men and women. The person, on behalf of whom our correspondent writes, boars an unblemished character, and the only reason for the conduct referred to is that she has a slight physical defect. It is to be hoped that the police, who have the matter in hand, will be able to bring the offenders to book.

Messi-s Stephenson and Linley have been generous enough to invito the inmates of various charitable institutions of tho city to attend tho matinee performance of ' Humpty Duinpty' on Saturday.

At Kaiapoi on Monday Robert Burgess was charged with assaulting tho intant mistress of tho local school. Dofendant urged provocation, alleging that his child had been unduly punished by the mistress. It was' stated by the head master of the Kaiapoi School that the punishment the child received was the minimum of corporal punishment, one cut on the hand. The defendant, on December 1, interviewed the mistress of the school. He was very excited, and struck tho mistress on the face. He afterwards threatened a male teacher, who interfered. The Magistrate (Mr Bailey, iJvM.) .said that the offence was a serious one. Not only was it a grave assault on a woman teacher, but it was also greatly against the discipline of the school. Defendant would be sentenced to threo weeks' imprisonment. .Subsequently the head master suggested that a heavy fine would be sufficient, and tho Magistrate, acting on the suggestion, fined defendant £5.

Tho annual report of the Dunedin' Competitions Society states that the balancesheet shows that tho total income for the year amounted to £1,132 5s 4d (including £93 12s 8d carried forward from last year), and tho expenditure to £1,299 lis 2d (this included a donation of £SO to the Patriotic Welfare Association), showing a loss on tho year of £250 18s 6d. It was indeed unfortunate that the year fhowed such a heavy loss, but it is felt that tho commlitce did the correct thing in carrying tho festival through, and in the coming year the expenses will require to be cut down as fine as possible; but the committee are confident that the public recognise that the society are carrying on a good work in our City, and tliat they can confidently look forward to their practical support in the coming year. At tho break-up of tlie. Port Chalmers District High. School tlus afternoon, the Chairman (Mr J. M'Lnchlan) said that tho inept interesting announcement he- had to make was that the attendance at tho school hud up and l>eeti maintained. Consequently the school now rcso to a higher LT-ado, and all the teachers' salaries would lie increased accordingly. In respect to the school band, which was practically defunct 12 months ago, it now had 33 players, and the boys were so enthusiastic that the band could be doubled in number wcro uniforms available The dux of tin* school was again a country pupil—.Janet Eva Wilson, from Wait at i—and that showed how the country people, so far away as Waikouaiti appreciated the benefits of tha district iiL'h school. Standard VI. had done very well this year, all thepupils except two having passed for proficiency -or competency. The prizes were presented by Mrs John .Mill, the Mayoress being unable to attend owing to indisposition.

So far as caa bo ascertained, the Government- proclamation regarding tho confiscation of wheat lias so far had no effect on the big holders in other centres. It is thought probable that ro move will be made until near the expiration of tho time p.llowcd by the proclamation—viz., 14 days. Meanwhile some local millers are* without wheat, and others very short-. The Otago Boilermakers and Iron Shipbuilders' Union passed the following resolution : —"That this union heartily congratulate Messrs Munro and Walker on winning the Dunedin Central and Dunedin North seats for Labor, and trust that complete victory for the progressive forces of the Dominion will not bo long delayed.'' Watson's No. 10 is a little dearer than most whifikies, but' is worth the money.— [Advt.] Speight's ale and stout are acknowledged by the Dominion public to be the best on the market.—[Advt.] The Rev. J. L. Mortimer will be instituted as vicar of St. Peter's, Caversham, this evening. We stated inadvertently in our Inst issue that the function was to take place this morniug. " Have one with me." " Thanks, I will. I'll have Watson's No. 10, please."—[Advt.] Mrs Blomfield sends us 5s in aid of Mr Talboys's Christmas appeal for those in receipt of charitable aid outside the Benevolent Institution. No lady should be without Martin's Apiol end Steel Fi'.ls. Sold by al'j chemists and stores throughout Australasia.—[Advt.] It is proposed to form in Dunedin a branch of the New Zealand Political Reform League. A public meeting for tho purpose is to be held in the Early Settlers' Hall this evening.

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The Evening Star. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1914., Issue 15678, 17 December 1914

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The Evening Star. THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1914. Issue 15678, 17 December 1914

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