19 NOVEMBER 1910, Page 1

Mr. Balfour's speech at Nottingham on Thursday was in many

ways a speech of power and of insight, but, loath as . we are to weaken our cause by criticism, we are bound to point out how signally it failed in the essential need of the hour. It was not a speech calculated to produce the maximum of Conservative concentration. What was wanted at this moment of great national peril was not so much a rousing party speech, or a speech in which the folly, weakness, and political immorality of the Government should be exposed, as a speech which should rally all the, moderate men of the . nation, whether in the ranks of the Liberals or among the non-party electors, in opposition to the revolution, cynical and partisan in its origin, and demoralising in the effects it must . produce, with which we are threatened. Mr. Balfour should have subordinated everything to the allied questions of single- ' Chamber government and the reform of the House of Lords, and to the still more vital question of the propose] destruction of the Union which lies behind them, and to effect which the establishment of single-Chamber government is the lethal instrument. Incidentally Mr. Balfour dealt wisely and well, and with admirable spirit, with these three questions, but he did not tell the people of these islands, as he should have told them, that he not only asked for sacrifices of party feeling and party allegiance from moderate Liberals to save the country from disaster, but that he and his colleagues and followers were prepared to make even greater sacrifices in order to achieve a concentration of patriotic effort. He should have made it clear that the edifice of the Constitution is at this moment a prey to incendiaries, and that everything must be subordinated to putting out the flames. Instead, his speech as a whole called up the famous simile of Abraham Lincoln. He seemed like a man trying to let lodgings while the house was on fire.