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A CLOSE SHAVE.

(The Nation, June 28 )

Thursday week saw the beginning of a series of sensational incidents in Parliament, and the events Bince have reduced one of the most powerful Governments the country has seen to a discredited and woe-begone condition. The result has been the consequence of the most extraordinary mismanagement of business. Hy the carelessness of the Whips and the preference of the Tory gentlemen of Ascot heath for the loaded atmosphere of the Commons, the majonty of the Government, which has varied between thirty and fifty on the Compensation Bill, WBB reduced to four. A five-lined whip bad been jssued by the Tories for a division at half-past four, but it was not enerally expected till long after. Mr. Storey, however, who was in p,osĀ»et-sion of the House when it rose on the previous evening, did not resume bis speech, ai.d no Tory rising to continue the debate, the division was at once taken. Just as the doors were being closed. Lord Hartington, Mr. Chaplin, and two other supporters of the Government arrived from Ascot, aud gave tue Ministry a majority.

It was a close shave, too close not to be damaging to the Government. Naturally considerable disappointment was felt in Ireland at the opportunity that was mssed of putting the authors of the Coercion Act in a miLority. The Irish members pretsed their questions and asked tupplementary questions with the effect of postponing the division. Moreover, eighteen were not in their places, and at first blush there was great dissatisfaction id Ireland. Its stiongest expresion is found in a letter addressed by the Archbishop of Dublin to the editor of the Freeman's Journal. He declares that owing to the absence of those members " a grave crisis has been reached in the public affairs of our country. " The crisis has not come on our represen'Ptives without notice." Finally, bis Grace writes : " For my part I ft el bound to lose not a moment in stating that if a satisfactory explanation be not forthcoming for what occurred, I do not cars

who the absentees may be, I shall find it hard to phce any farther trust in the present Irish Parliam jntary party."

C impared with the other parties, the Irish members, to whom no whip had been issued, were present in grei'er proportions. There were 110 Conservatives absent out of 308, or over 35 per cent. ; there were 31 Liberal Unionists out of 68, or over 45 per cent. ; 53 Liberals out of 207, or over 25 per cent. ; while the Irish members who were absent from all causes were oaly eighteen, or less than 22 per cent, There had been no special whip issued, moreover. Under the circumstances, the condemnation of the party, as a party, is rather sweeping. Mr. T. D. Sullivan, who writes in no spirit of controversy, points out, that no party can be expee'ed to poll its full strength in every division. " The full strength of any party is rarely maintained for any considerable time on active service, in any part of the world. Jt is not kept up in army or navy, iv firm or factory, in Church or State." He expresses no opiaioa on the qaestion whether the attendance of tne Irish paity in Parliament comes nearly or fairly up to the possibilities of the case. But he points out that its attendance is better than that of any of the other parties, and that it is maintained nt a cost of inconvenience, trouble, discomfort, and loss, whnh attendance in Parliament entails on no other party. We believe the country will feel the truth of every word Mr. Sallivan haa written, and acknowledge the debt of gratitude due to the men whose sacrifices he describes.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/periodicals/NZT18900815.2.27

Bibliographic details

New Zealand Tablet, New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVIII, Issue 16, 15 August 1890

Word Count
626

A CLOSE SHAVE. New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVIII, Issue 16, 15 August 1890

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