19 NOVEMBER 1910, Page 11


TARIFF REFORM AND THE CRISIS. LTo TEN EDITOR or TEE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—As a reader of the Spectator, with whose views on Free- trade I do not, however, agree, permit me to venture the opinion that the article which appeared in last Saturday's issue on the break-up of the Conference points a sure way, indeed the only sure way, for a return of the Conservative Party to power. The pressing need of the hour is, or should be, in the mind of every true Unionist, be he Tariff Reformer or Free-trader, the removal of the present political olla podrida from power. How is this to be accomplished if we do not concentrate our entire force, in the endeavour to frustrate their evil intention, upon the one question which the so-called Liberal Party are sure to put before the people with all the force of oratory at their command, and with all that wealth of invective in which some of their leaders are past masters,— viz., the destruction in its entirety (for that is what it will amount to in the long run) of the House of Lords in order to make way for the repeal of the Union P I am, and have been for several years, an ardent Tariff Reformer. Summed up, the advice in your leaders of last Saturday and a fortnight before to such as I is simply " Wait a little." The policy of Tariff Reform is, in our opinion, worth fighting for, and if this is so, surely it is also worth waiting for. It is a self-evident fact that the mind of the country as a whole has not yet been educated to the need of any altera- tion in our present fiscal system, as evidenced by the result of the last two by-elections. Why then should we risk defeat by pressing upon the electors a policy for which at the moment they are not fully prepared ? Defeat now would not only mean ruin, utter and irretrievable, of the cause of Tariff Reform (a result, from a Spectator point of view, not to he deplored), but would also mean a fresh lease of power to the present Administration in which to further their present, and concoct fresh, pernicious schemes, and, worst of all, a setback to the Unionist Party from which they would not recover for a decade. I trust that all Unionists, no matter to what wing of the party they belong, will give earnest heed to the sug- gestion set forth in the Spectator, and sink all differences to defeat the present Government. Surely if we thoroughly belie've in the efficacy of the policy of Tariff Reform, we can be content to delay that policy for a year or two until the people have had time to weigh its "pros" and " cons." Surely, Sir, we can do this, and not stake the fortunes of our party and our cause on the result of one Election with all the reckless indifference of the gambler's last throw.—I am, Sir, &c.,