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The Conservative Candidates for Christchurcli.

(Lyttelton- Tims.) j Misfobtttne is said to make people acquainted with strange bedfellows. Similarly, it may be said that political j necessity leads to the formation of i queer alliances. Great indeed must j be the necessity of Canterbury Conservatives, i£ we are to judge of it by ! the extraordinary political alliance j into which they have just entered, i The journalistic organ of the party yesterday morning reviewed the ; qualifications of the eleven can- j dictates who have been nominated ' for the representation of Ohrist- j church in the nations Parliament, and ; singled out three whom it recom- j mended for the support of the electors. With this procedure no reasonable person caD find fault. It is clearly within the right of public writers, and quite in accordance with journalistic practice in this Colony to j guide and advise electors as to the { persons upon whom their choice should rest, and even to carry this : process to the verge of dictation. TSo . one will therefore be surprised at the course pursued by our contemporary, j nor will anyone seek to examine ! critically the manner in which the j advice is conveyed, offensive though that manner may be. It is when the nature of the selection is discovered, and when it is realised how awful ( and deplorable has been the descent ( of Canterbury Conservatism, that ; astonishment takes possession of the j observer of events, and he feels im- , pelled to rub his eyes and ask— Can ; this advice emanate from the party of high traditions, that was wont ; to claim a monopoly of all the political virtues, of culture, social t eminence, patriotism and gentlemanly instincts ? Everyone has for j some time been perfectly^ well aware that the Opposition Party was ' in dire straits, hufc few sußpected j things had come to such a pass that { in order to find candidates for the city seats it would belie its cherished , traditions, eat its own words, and ' hail as a champion of its cause a man whom its authorised organ had re- ' peatedly condemned as unworthy of public confidence. I After a professed examination of the claims and qualifications of the candidates in the field, the | Conservative organ has no difficulty, ' apparently, in asking that the full vote and influence of the Opposition , should be given on behalf of Messrs Mortimer Davie, Joseph S. Evisoii and Eden George. These are the selected three who are declared to be "moderate" in their views and worthy to represent the city in theCouncils of the Colony. These are the chosen champions of Christchurch Conservatism, who are thought fit to \ supplant the Minister for Education and other Liberals in the representa- [ > tion of this city. It is worth while j spending a few minutes in calmly and i judicially inquiring into the sound- i ness of the claims made on behalf of these gentlemen. Of MrDayie i there is little of good or bad to be ■ 1 said. Hois a reputable citizen who ji enjoys the advantage of having no j i political history. His right to seek ' i the suffrages of his fellow-electors is < equal to that of every other citizen ; 1 he has some knowledge of public { questions, and a fair share of common .< sense ; but the same could be said of ' i hundreds of others whose Candida- j ture would not for a moment be < seriously entertained, were they so I rash as to offer their services. We J take it that before a man aspires to i a seat in Parliament lie ought to have < gained some status as a leader or < representative man, or to have ex- < hioited some special aptitude for 1 public life. Mr Davie might in j course of years develop into a pass- < sable Conservative candidate, but i meantime he is best fitted to fill the i role of an estimable private citizen, < " alike unknowing and unknown." i Mr J. S. Evison, the second on the i list of the Conservative candidates, is i not altogether a novice in public affaire, f though this is his first appearance as ] a Parliamentary aspirant. As a < lecturer and journalist, he has at- < tamed some degree of notoriety in \ different parts of the Colony, more ' < especially in Wellington and Auck- j 1 land. It is possible that he has shown <

a certain species of wisdom in making his debut as a candidate in a place where he is comparatively unknown. The Conservatives of Christchurch have no doubt reason to be satisfied with Mr Evison as a candidate for their suffrages. In his extreme individualism he represents a class of Conservatives still to be met with, though rapidly becoming extinct. As contrasted with the views of Captain Russell, or even of Mr Bolleston on the subject of Labour legislation, his Conservatism is of a type bo antiquated that it may truly be set down as belonging to the dark ages of industrial history. Mr Evison is entitled to the Conservative block vote by virtue of the services rendered by him, both in theory and practice, to the party of individualism and unrestricted competition. Of this there is no doubt. The third Conservative candidate is Mr Eden George, the present Mayor of Christchurch. This gentleman has the advantage, not possessed by the other two, o£ having both a political history and a local reputation. If it were possible for a politician to be too well known we should say Mr George suffers in that respect. His " moderation "is known unto all men, and the Conservative organ has during the past year done much to impress the virtues of his Worship upon the people — presumably by way of preparing for its advocacy of his claims to a seat in Parliament, In April last, under cover of a pretended consideration of Mr George s great scheme of municipal reform, our contemporary entered into a highly-coloured description of that gentleman's personal attributes, physical and mental. It described him as a "ridiculous personage " and a " fantastic creature," who, after being elected Mayor by way of a joke, talked " hare-brained nonsense," and brought forward "preposterous and imprac*' ticable proposals," which the public went to listen to in the same spirit as - they went to a burlesque performance. After counselling the Councillors to bear with the Mayor because - of '* the enormous quantity of morbid vanity at large in his system," Mr George's panegyrist concluded with the following sentence:— "lf they can act on these principles for another seven months or so, we can assure them it will be many a long day before they are c tiled upon to endure the humiliation of having their deliberations presided over by such an extraordinary specimen of! the human race as the present Mayor." That was eight months ago, and it might be urged that in the interim Mr George had improved bo much that it would no longer be a "humiliation" to have him put forward in a representative capacity. Well, there is before us the opinion of the same Conservative organ regarding him, as given just four weeks ago. In this our con temporary accuses Mr Eden George of employing "contemptible" election* eering tactics, and it adds: — " By' means of the wildest rhodomontade and the most extravagant promises— so wild and so extravagant that only incipient lunacy could excuse them — Mr George ha 9 been hounding on the unemployed to hoot Mr Beeves." A few lines further on it refers to him as " fawning on the unemployed," and then follow these words : — " Were they (the unemployed) not utterly demoralised i and lost'to common sense, they would never make a hero of a man whtf. is not ashamed to confess tMp ' he acquires his political information, by ■ eaves-dropping in the Lyttelton Tifrieß< Office. Even Powell is a better man :-■■■ than George. He at least stands' self-confessed. When Mr Beeves refuses to see any but 'genuine working men,' Powell modestly takes himself off or sneaks behind a fence. Powell knows he is a political loafer — and admits it. George knows he is a political tout— and professes to be a philanthropist." These, be it remembered, are not our opinions of Mr Eden George ; we should be sorry to use such language regarding any man; they are the opinions of the highly-respectable journal that leads Conservative thought in Canterbury, and which now recommends the party to vote for the "political tout" of a few days ago and the " ridiculous personage " of an earlier period. No word of ours is required to emphasise the desperate straits of the Conservatives to find a candidate, or the utter hopelessness of a cause whose leaders confess that of such stuff its champions are made. People may now begin to understand why not even the prospect of the unanimous support of the women voters could induce Sir John Hall to .become a candidate for the city. They may also faintly imagine the horror of Mr Bolleston and many others of the party at the bare possibilities disclosed by the alliance thrust upon -.; them. It is not a little significant to find that the three candidates singled out for the support of the Conservative voters have declared themselves enemies of the education system, by expressing approval of proposals that would sap its very foundations. No doubt there is a block vote which they hope to secure in addition to the Conservative vote ; but the two are really irreconcilable, and there must be something unsound and insincere, either in the Conservatism or in the denominationalism of these gentlemen. The l leader of the Opposition and the party as a whole ire most emphatic in their'determination to maintain the unsectarian sharacter of our education system, rad they cannot maintain such professions and at the same time enter into an alliance with advocates of lenominational. grants. No more incongruous combination could be conceived than that which is proposed to be effected. An attempt to mix oil md water would be a rational proceeding compared with this. Oil would it any rate have a soothing and mollifying influence, but the two political elements which it is sought to mingle must prove mutually irritating and repellent. If the Conservative morning paper is not complimented by its supporters* upon its astuteness in picking Parliamentary candidates, it jught . to be assured of the gratitude :>£ the Liberal electors. By its selection of Messrs Davie, Evison and (Jeorge it has unerringly indicated three men for whom the Liberals aught not to vote. .

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TS18931122.2.9

Bibliographic details

The Conservative Candidates for Christchurcli., Star, Issue 4807, 22 November 1893

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1,751

The Conservative Candidates for Christchurcli. Star, Issue 4807, 22 November 1893

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