11 DECEMBER 1909, Page 13

[To TEE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."' Sin,—As a student

of Constitutional law, and also as a constant reader of your paper, I am amazed and grieved at the attitude you assume at the present crisis. A Referendum of a Budget or of a Finance Bill to the people has never, I believe, been adopted in any community, and no serious politician has up till now argued that it forms part of our Constitution. That such a Referendum differs in toto from an appeal to the people on other Bills is obvious. It stops all supplies, and is a blow at the heart which terminates the life of a Government. I will not venture to assert that such a blow, if tolerated, is likely to be repeated annually, but the flourish of a mailed fist is often a very effective form of coercion. I claim to be a sober-minded citizen—one of that "forty per cent." of our electorate to whom political hustle and vituperation are alike abominable—and I am in entire agreement with the views of Mr. Henry Hobhouse expressed in his letter to you in your last issue.—I am, Sir, &c., rejecting Bills out of sheer perversity or selfishness, or even because they themselves particularly dislike them ? We do not suppose that more than twenty Peers approved of the Trade Disputes Bill. They accepted it because they believed that at that moment it reflected the wishes of the country. We should not support the principle of a Referendum it we thought it conceivable that the Lords would refer the Budget annually to the country, or even threaten to do so. The whole point is that the present Finance Bill, owing to the revolu- tionary legislative principles embodied in it, is very much more than an ordinary Budget.—En. Spectator.]