13 NOVEMBER 1909, Page 14


[To THE EDITOR. 07 THE " srscrAT0R.-] SIR,—Any one who has looked for a word upon the subject of redistribution amidst the babel of Radical political tongues which has filled the air during the past few months has sought in vain. To put it concisely, England and Wales return one Member for every 12,210 electors; Scotland one for every 10,595; Ireland one for every 6,725 ; this is taking the electorate as it was for 1908. It is quite possible, many people think it more than probable, taking the trend of recent municipal elections and Parliamentary by-elections, that this Government will, if there is a General Election during the next few months, be returned with a majority absolutely dependent on the Nationalist vote. Are politicians who revel in language similar to that with which they sought to edify their audiences at Limehouse, Newbury, and Leicester to be expected for one moment to hesitate in carrying a Finance Act, even if only sup- ported by a fictitious majority, as any majority must be which is not independent of the Nationalist vote ? As at present elected, the House of Commons does not, cannot, accurately reflect or voice the will of the people, and one might think the Peers in these circumstances had no other alternative but to demand that a Referendum be taken of the electorate before they sanction the Finance Act, especially as a General Election might only give a false verdict upon the issue; and it is inconceivable that any serious politician could object to this course. Possibly it might be wiser to give the country a taste of Socialism and burdensome taxation. It is curious to watch how Radicals who never tire of talking about the rights of the people avoid making any allusion to the over-representation of Ireland. At heart England appears to be Conservative, Scotland and Wales Radical, Ireland lawless and irresponsible. In a few weeks we may see the edifying spectacle of the lawless and irrespon- sible holding the casting vote in the House of Commons, and the Mother of Parliaments reduced ad absurdum.—I am, [We have dealt elsewhere with the over-representation of Ireland, and the need for the introduction of the Referendum as a permanent part of the Constitution.—ED. Spectator.]