13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 14



Sin,—Whatever views we take of the fiscal question, there is no dispute that a grave crisis is at hand involving the well- being of England in the near future, and also that it will be determined by eighty votes of those who have described them- selves as legatees of undying hate towards her. That these votes are in the market for the highest bid of each political party has been stated by Mr. Redmond over and over again. But of these eighty votes, thirty-two at least have no right whatever to be east in a division of the House of Commons. Why, then, are they retained ? They helped Mr. Balfour to pass his Education Bills. Can it be that they are retained to help his fiscal policy ? However that may be, it is surely high time for the "man in the street" to bestir himself and decide whether these thirty-two votes shall be done away with by a short Act of Parliament giving Ireland's seven hundred and eleven thousand seven hundred and sixty-one electors the some representation as Scotland's seven hundred and thirteen thousand two hundred and sixty-six, or retained to the peril of these kingdoms. I do not dwell on the hardship to the Irish minority that they should be overweighted with thirty-two bogus Home-rule votes because their representatives never com- plain; but I cannot help thinking that were the Irish minority over-represented by thirty-two seats, such a upas-tree of ascendency would have been long ago hewn down by Mr. Gladstone or Mr. Balfour.—I am, Sir, &c.,


[As our readers know, we have urged again and again during the past ten years the imperative need that exists for reducing the over-representation of Ireland in the Imperial Parliament. The dangers that have arisen owing to Mr. Chamberlain's fiscal propaganda make us more, not less, anxious that the question should be dealt with. The sup- porters of the present Government are apt to accuse Free- trade Unionists like ourselves of want of devotion to Unionism. Will they prove their devotion to that cause by insisting that before the Dissolution the over-representation of Ireland shall be reduced ? If the Government pass the necessary Bill, they will have given proof that their opposition to Home-rule is real and living.—En. Spectator.]