18 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 3

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's contribution to the debate was one of

the most cogent speeches he has yet made. They might, considering the Prime Minister's record, dis- pense with a confession from him of his agreement with Mr. Chamberlain. First, there was his letter to Mr. Chamberlain wishing him " God-speed" ; next, the message of "unabated sympathy" with Mr. Chamberlain, sent through Lord Lans- downe last summer ; and then the speeches of Mr. Balfour's own colleagues. In face of this record, coupled with the sinister declaration made in the Edinburgh speech, we agree that even if the Unionist party were to adopt the violent and pedantic form of Protection then defined by the Premier—a form universally repudiated by British politicians—he would nevertheless not abate one jot of his zeal and energy in furthering the interests of a party thus committed to the most fanatical form of "antiquated Protection." Mr. Balfour, when his turn to speak came, threw, it is needless to say, no fresh light on the subject of his views. He merely adopted his usual pose of the politician incompris. He does this so well, indeed, that sometimes one wonders whether he is not in earliest after all in his expressions of annoyance in regard to those who misunderstand him. How can people be so idiotic,' he seems to say, as not to understand that

though I am at heart at one with Mr. Chamberlain, I cannot say so openly until I feel a good deal more certain than I do at present that he is going to win. If he does win, no one will be more pleased, or more glad to share the victory, than I, because I genuinely like Tariff Reform. It is too stupid, however, to expect me to commit myself irrevocably to less than a certainty on a matter so important.'