HOME RULE FEDERALISM.
The other ihiv a cab'e message from London stated tint- I'liiiniisf. papers were ;it ti'.clmig some significance to the fact that Mr Austen Chamberlain. M.1 , ., had :i>-co]iipanied the Kl. Haw. Winston Cliuivhill, M.1., on the Admiralty yacht o wiiii, , u> tin , known idontitv of views lii'isves'ii those two statesmen regarding i'li , sniuiioii of the Home Mule question a!..;:- i':"l< va! lines, it is true that' Mr C!r.i!vh;]l is an avilein believer in the i'.'<!cr";! system I'm - t lie I'nited Kingdom. 1 lit ton much must not be built upon tii:. , ; i:i (he direction of' any hope that" in s'.:ch a, direction the present Liberal Government will see reason, and a basis for compromise on the present issue as regards Ireland. Mr Churchill lias twice placed before his constituents his views on federalism in relation to Jfoiue Rule. The first occasion was in February. 1!Ul!, at Dundee, about two months before the Home Rule Bill was introduced in the House of (■ominous. On that occasion he said that lie looked forward to the time when Ireland would be changed from a disruptive force within the Empire into :t new centre of union: and though the same measure and form of Home Rule that Ireland needed were not applicable to Scotland and Wales, any plan put forward would be an integral part of Parliamentary devolution, and ''would not be out of harmony with the design of the ultimate federation of the Empire.'-' It must, therefore, be assumed that the present Bill, in Mr Churchill's estimation, is "in harmony with the design of federation," since he supports it.
The second occasion on which Mr Churchill referred to this subject was on October 9th of the present year at Lochce. We quote tho relevant portion of his speech from the verbatim report in "The Times" of October 10th: — Another great reason for the settlement of the Irish question in the present Parliament and for disposing of the Home Rule controversy now, while we have the full opportunity presented, is that the ground is thereby cleared for the consideration of claims of selfgovernment for other parte of the United Kingdom besides Ireland. You will remember how, last year, I addressed a meeting in Dundee on this subject. 1 made it perfectly clear that I was speaking for myself. I made it clear that I was not speaking of the immediate future, but dealing with the subject which Jay for the moment outside the sphere of practical politics and in raising a question for reflection and discussion rather than for prompt action. I spoke of the establishment of :i federal system in the United Kingdom, in which Scotland, and Wales, and, if necessary, parts of England, could have separate legislative and Parliamentary institutions, enabling them to develop, in their own way, their own life according to their own ideas and needs in the same way as tho great 'and prosperous States of the American Union and tho great kingdoms and principalities and States of the German Empire. You will remember that this announcement raised quite a commotion. Why do you suppose it raised a commotion? Because it is a subject which is in the minds of thousands of
thinking people in the United Kingdom, because it is a subject which is very near to the confines of practical affairs. It is beneath the threshold of the national conscience and it will some day spring into full and vigorous reality. I am absolutely unrepentant at having niado that speech; indeed, the only regret I have is that 1 cannot make it ail over again to-night. (Cheers.) I am perhaps at an unfortunate age for making a prophecy. 1 am ceasing to belong to the young men who dream dreams and 1 have not yet joined the, ranks oi the old men who see visions; still 1 will run the risk of prophecy and tell you that the day will most certainly come—many of yon will live to see it —when a federal system will be established in these Islands which will give Wales and Scotland the control within proper limits of their owi. Welsh and Scottish affairs, which will free the Imperial Parliament from the. great congestion of business by which it is now pressed, and which win , ilound and conduce to the contentment and well-being of all our people. .1. teiyou further that that, system when erected and established will in itrfei be only the forerunner and nucleus of a general scheme of Imperial federation Avhich will gather together in one indissoluble.circle the British people here and beyond the seas. (Cheers.) In view of these two pronouncements on the subject of Home Rule in relation to the principle of federalism, the one made before the Home .Rule Bill had been brought down, and the other twenty months later, after the Bill had been twice passed by the Commons and twice rejected by the Lords, we find it, difficult to see what significance, in so far as the Home Rule. Bill is concerned, is to be attached to the presence of Mr Austen Chamberlain on the Admiralty yacht in Mr Churchill's company. We are afraid that his presence is suliiciently explained by the fact, that Mrs Chamberlain was to chrisfen a battleship at Devonport. We wish it were otherwise.
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