18 DECEMBER 1909, Page 1


THE situation at home has been rendered much clearer than it was when we wrote last week by the declarations of policy by the leaders on both sides. The electors know now accurately enough what they have to expect. Mr. Asquith's speech must be described as one of the gravest pronounce- ments that any living politician can remember. For not only is Gladstonian Home-rule to be offered once more to Ireland, but it is to be offered, if Mr. Asquith is able to do what he wants, under conditions which would prevent any of the checking, revising, and delayingforces of the Constitution -doing their work as in the past. First, the House of Lords is to be made impotent, and then Home-rule is to be driven through at a gallop. Mr. Balfour's declaration, which is in form an election address, is really a manifesto. It is undoubtedly a very able document, and deals faithfully with the sham Second Chamber proposals. Neither in this nor in Mr. Balfour's speeches can we find any trace of a wish to shut out from the party Unionists who are not Tariff Reformers. We trust that the madness and stupidity of exclusion will not be persisted in now that the first charge upon the energies of Unionists is the duty of saving the Union simultaneously with the Constitution.