Those who judged the situation between 1908 and 1906 by.
the support which Mr: Chamberlain had from the London Press—as -many 'people did judge it—supposed that he was " sweeping the country." • The formation of opinion which was 'going on quietly outside London was ignored. - The General Election- Of 1906 was a- fearftil disillusiorunent. for the Tariff Reformers---= They had mistaken noisiness for strength, .the wideness of the circulation of the popidar newspapers for influence. No doubt the United Empire Party derives a certain adven- titious advantage from the present national distress. People who are suffering from bad trade are driven by impulse rather than by reason to wish for a change. A second advantage for the party is its enticing name. A third is its assurance that it stands for Free Trade. So; of course, it does within the Ernpire—but a freer trade which is to be obtained only by clapping against the imports into' this country from the rest of the world. EVen if the Empire could become self-supporting• —and we by no means deny that it Couldthere would be a. long period during which the prices of necessaries in this country would• be higher. than now. This brings us to the 'other side of the account. • It has been proved' * * * *.. 'On •dutieS at every attempt to tax foreign food that British wage: earners will not stand it. Mr. Baldwin, though he is as strong a Protectionist as ever, has frankly abandoned the hope of convincing his countrymen in the near future that food taxes are desirable'and ' therefOre - prudently rules them out.