The Evening Star FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 1915.
( The politic?.! campaign for Dunedin Contra 1 by-election next Dunedin month wrt? opened spivitCantrai cdly last night by Mr ,T. Campaign. \V. Munro, the Labor ! candidate, who secured j the seal at the General Flection in He- ! comber mi the- actual voting test, but lost ! it through a legal technicality, occasioned ; by the error of an electoral officer at- one oi ti-c p-diing b.„.r , i-, (hihke .-cveral of bis pr-uninent supporters, he is neither i dislrosed nor dismayed by the nnforuiI mitt- nninncr in which victory was changed i to defeat. 11- a-rents the technical defeat | as uu awakening t; f the Labor and domo- | erntic forces of his electorate and country ■to their real political position, 'the silver ■ lining of the cloud is of more significance ,to him than its ragged blackness. This ’ spirit .uni outlook call for honest com- ; immdarion. It must be admitted, too, i tiiat ili the character of tho successful < mciting in tin. Prince,-s Theatre hist night i represents tho genuine, feeling and inten- | lions of the majority of Dunedin Central j electors. Mr Munro ha* no cause to bo d-c.vnen.si, and a few of his distressed supporters may confidently stifle their sobs anil prepare for jubilation at tic 1 Labci- party*.-; success over circumstances and, from (heir point of view, over a futile combination <7 " reactionary Tories and “a, capitalistic Press, stricken .sorely with “ : Bed ,Fedit is.' " 'the outstanding features •>£ Mr Munro's ' speedi were. vigor, vehemence, and frankness; its palpable weakness-is wore looseuc.ss of construction. shallow criticism, and exaggerated emphasis of several silly alheatioiis against ids character tu* a citizen and politician. It is clearly mipleasant t<> fie charged with disloyalty to on-’.- Flag and with heathenism, but any man who knows, a?, Mr Munro mutt
| kiiuw, that I'm public actept his cmi- ■ MuciitT-usm-ss and honesty of perpcee as I the best partr-. of his political equipment, j can aiVo.-.i to ignore the slanderous -stn- | polity of a. few fools who taint polities in e.,fry eivi'Md country. As regards ; sl.mdci'oiLs allegations that etj-oug men j laugh a!, .Mr .Munro suffers in good com- | j'.niv, M i.l.wd (.! .•<!» gi* riae been called 1 a- robber. Mr Asquith a sneak. Mr .Mas- ( sey a D'linicrer! As fur the good quali- ; ties of M >• .Muuii-'s liuhiing speech, they j wore keenly appreciated hv his audience. J ‘-virle tie- weak nesses were, overlooked. : H. » '.vhoiu.-j:; rmirisai of l.hc local daily lbs-a v.as a ,-licap entertainment to his audience th.at will not be resented by '■ the br.v.uy nun" who were paraded as f'civii-i, ft •.vt.uiid be an easy (ask, if Mr .Munro w,nt- worth it. to make him the butt of th.> ■■ ring," A few of his loose ••'■■'■'Vti.’iis must hr noticed and smothered. He had a- great deni to any, for example, 1 as to the ' Star's' attitude towards the exploitation 'M the people as regards the prices of foodstuffs, ami also towards the puiii.dui’.cnt of those who wore allegedly , dheetiy responsible for the deplorable mining dis-mier at llimtly last September. Ah regards exploitation, Air Munro deliberately made out that while the ‘Star’ and it? morning contemporary would anathematise despised waterside workersami despicable navvies for going out- on j fctrik«‘, (hey would rapport- the exploiting ■ operations of the Sugar Trust and holders i of wheat. Let it be noted that this is the i dwliration of a political candidate who i makes fairness the cardinal aim of Ins candidature- for Parliament. If Air 'Munro takes, the. trouble to study our attitude towords exploitation lie will find that wo have consistently opposed throughout tho opera lions of exploiters, and have condemned the (Jovcrnment for the futile manner in which tho Regulation of Trade and Commerce Act has been administered. As for opposition to the strike, engineered by the Federation of Labor iu 19J.3, we had tho support of the United Labor party with u- in opposing with all our might the dangerous tactics of the Federation. In similar circumstances we would again offer
the same opposition to Syndicalism. And if Mr Munro wero then the parliamentary representative of the Labor party in Dunedin ho would have to bo with us or violate his trust.
Apparently with a lamentable ignorance of tho ‘ Stars ’ attitude towards the punishment of the persons responsible for the Huntly disaster. jMx Munro charges this journal with having recently exercised a silence of sympathy with vested interests.” This is a stupid misrepresentation of the actual facts. May ws claim modestly that tho - Star' was the only journal in tho Dominion that suggested what practical miners acknowledge are the only means to protect underground workers against gaseous explosions? On October 12 wo pointed out that the only way to assist in minimising the greatest dangers [ in tho Dominion’s collieries was to establish adequate and expert daily inspection of conditions in mines, and that the beat means of encouraging dependable inspection was to provide statutory encouragement of increased efficiency in tiro inspection. That was a general suggestion, but in addition to that we recommended editorially and in another maimer which need not bo detailed that the Government should make provision for giving miners a free opportunity to acquire expert knowledge of mine gases and explosives, and to provide more adequate remuneration for those who acquired the requisite knowledge, that tho Commission’s report proved to does not affect its practical value. Then, on November 5, tho ’ Star,’ under the caption ‘Astounding Negligence,’ stated candidly that tho character and extent o! the neglect and ignorance of tho clangors from eh explosion of gas in Huntly mine could only bo described as “ damnable.” and that tho Commission's report proved to the point of amazement that in ail matters vitally affecting the reasonable safety of the miners tho management was inadequate, ignorant, and culpably negl’gent. And again wo urged legislative encouragement. of thorough inspection ithe role prevention against gaseous explos ens in mines). It is true that we have not referred recently to the punishment ol those respond'd'* for tho disaster. Common justice demands silence. The liberty of a Huntly mine official (who, after all, is merely the servant of a company without a body to bo kicked or a soul to ho damned) is in jeopardy Ho awaits trial for manslaughter. .Does Mr -Munro, who stands for absolute justice to all men, believe that the Press should flout the Supreme Court and its broad principles at justice, and jeopardise the man who awaits trial on a grave t harge. and whip his conscience? The reference to Huntly was indiscreet. to say the very least.
As regards Mr Munro's ad\ ocacy of a war tax, he must have borrowed the idea from the ‘ Star.’ Such an equitable method of distributing the burden of Xcw Zealand's war expenditure was advocated in this journal long before Mr Alamo began hi, jir-t campaign for Dunedin Central seat in Parliament. Perhaps that is another aignmcnt why the 'Star' should blindly support the Labor party, who, as Mr Munro explains candidly, are at least prepared to stand temporarily by the Liberal party during the war, in order to establish stable government. But we must continue to differ from the Labor party on a number of points.
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The Evening Star FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 1915., Evening Star, Issue 15707, 22 January 1915