LABOR AND DUNEDIN CENTRAL.
i TO THE I3DITOR. j Sir, —Our letter on ' Square Deals, True j Sports, and Dimedin Central' formed the subject of a- leading article, in your issue of last- night. Permit us to say it is a surpiising product-ion. It is in part, a, political confession of faith, in part an apologetic exeitise for changing your political ; coat. "There vm-= a time," yon say. j"whcn the 'Star' unhi.-siuiunc.ly gave the I Liberal-Labor coalition strong support. | That time was when the Liijeral-Labor I forces t-tood ior a progressive policy."' ! .V::d yon transferred your support from j the Liberal-Labor coalition Ix-caik-e. you i a'i-'ge, it. ceased to be progressive. That j wi.uid be a logical cxoi.ve for turning your I political coal, but when it ii> remembered 1 that you shifted your political allegiance to | the most reactionary party —tiiat is, to the lettsr, progressive paity m New Zealand politics your position and it 6 explanation must, be a source of embarrassment to your friends and delight to your enemies. Here is year peeitiou in present-day politico : j You declare that Proportional RquHvcntation is the most urgent need of the hour. There is only one hope of getting Proportional Representation, and that is by returning the Opposition and defeating the Governmeutf. You .-upport tho Government. And yon have, proved in your load- ■ ing columns, that the Government are in power on a minority vote. '1 here are more electors against the Governm°;!t than for them. You have denounced that state of | things as an outrage' on democratic prinI cipies. Yet you support the party who ! profit by the outrage, mid the party who j wii-h to perpetuate- the undemocratic jinoi ma!y. And you assure your readers that i yen ceased to support, the Lihcral-Lahor coalition lxteause it was not progressive enough'. It would appear from your logic, Mr editor, thai the i rayfteh corresponds I to your ideal of progress, since the cray- ! fiiih' progre.-r.es backwards, if your excuse | for turning down the Libera-] party was i the real reason for your political change iof heart, you should have immediately transferred your support to the Labor party, since" that, party stand for the reforms you profess f> stand P.r. i You declare • that you support Mr Staj fhani because you believe that a- a par's liamentarv representative, of Dimedin Ccn- ; tral "Mr Statham i< the better man. i apart altogether from ' bis association with la' group of reactionary politicians mas- ! queracling tinder the name of Reformers.' '' I A politician is known and judged by the '■■ political company he keeps, and Mr Sta ! tham's political faith and aspirations are j rigidly circumscribed by tho reactionary ' principles of the Reform party. For inj stance, Mr Slatham says now that he will 1 vote for 45 hours for women workers in | woollen mills. But of what practical value Ms his --npport unless bis paity are of ihe 'same opinion; The Opposition party. i supported by Mr Munro, are pledged to ; give this reform. Mr Statham can only
:>e as progressive as a. majority of his party i= progre^ivc —not one whit more. And that is one thing the electors of Dimedin Central must- remember - -Mr Statham has cboMUi to ally his political future with Mr Massey and his band of "Reformers." Surely. Mr Editor, you were hardly pressed* for points arrain>f u. v.dien von penned this: -"Ms Breen says that Mr Munro was declared elected on polling day by one vote. There was no such offktai, (the small capitals are yours) declaration, and could be none on that da\." Quite so. But why didn't you tell your readers that the "omcial" declaration gave Mr Munro the seat by eight votes? It was only whmi Mr Statham's repiesontativfi objected at- the. later (magisterial) recount to the admission nf the ballot papers marked by an official with the voter's roll number, and .so disfranchised voters who had done their part in perfect order, that Mr Statham was declated elected. You cannot, dispute the fart that a majority of the electors who cast their votes strictly in accordance with the law- have emphatically declared that Mr Munro should be the parliamentary representative of Dimedin Central. But you still insist that Mr Statham proves himself a "true sport" because he re=igns the seat. And you make ibo astonishine admission that " if he had hein left to give effect to his own inclination he would have taken that course the moment he knew his election was assured." Apparently Mr Statham had to persuade his political bosses that it would bo better to resign the seat than to hav-3 the election declared null and void. Which, as. you know, would have been the case hael Mr ! Statham not resigned. And that is why we say there was no virtue in Mr Statham resinning a seat which he, as a lawyer, knew he could not hold.
We are surprised at your audacity in speakinrjt of the Melbourne 'Argus' as a "dispassionate journal." You know that for the best part of a century it has been the bulwaik of Victoiian Conservatism, Its opposition to the Labor party in Australia (even to Mr Fisher, of whom you say such pleasant things) lias been most bittoi sjkL iiiifair. But you seek to foist
its opinion on vour readers as that of a dispassionate journal: It has always oppose the Labor party, and lias nrwr given them fair play. So" Hint when the 'Argus' had to express an opinion a-:, between the action of a. member of the New Zealand Conservative party and a. Ltiivu- man it mms only to be expected that the "dispassionate journal " would find the major virtues in the Conservative. That, is why the 'Argus' praises Mr Statbam's action. It is perfectly satisfactory to know that the 'Star' will now give the contestants for Duncdin Central a (■■>'■■ ik-ld. We trust w<< shall be able to i- Palate you on a strict adherence to \ ■ decision at the conclusion of the contest. On behalf of the Dune.] in Political Labor Representation Committee —I am. etc., R. Bre>:k. January 13.
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LABOR AND DUNEDIN CENTRAL., Evening Star, Issue 15701, 15 January 1915