24 AUGUST 1912, Page 13


who, like Mr. E. L. Oliver, would very much like to know who are the men who stand in the way of a reassertion of the Referendum pledge on Tariff Reform. I am as certain as Mr. Oliver that these men are not to be found among the rank and file of the Unionist Party. Moving regularly, as I do, up and down and round about the country, and meeting average Conservatives by the score, never do I find the man in whose political mind Tariff Reform occupies first place. The average Tory is wildly anti-Lloyd George, and he is sceptical rather than actively hostile to Home Rule and Disestablishment. He is not too discon- tented, save he be a naval or a military crank, with the Government's discharge of its administrative duties; while he is frankly enthusiastic for Sir Edward Grey. He hopes for the return of his party to power, vaguely believing that its Cabinet will be composed of quiet men. One thing I am perfectly sure of is that he does not look on Tariff Reform as in any sense the " first construc- tive plank." He believes that " something " will be done to introduce the "principle," but that the country will suddenly follow its plunges into Socialism by plunges into Protection he does not believe, and he certainly does not desire. If our leaders wish to win the next election, it is imperative that they should understand first and foremost the psychology of their own supporters, so terribly misrepresented by what passes for the Unionist Party Press. The Conservative of to-day is more than ever a Conservative, but in the economic rather than the political sense. A relief from further taxation; A period of setting things in order, of readjustment of Radical

messes; briefly, a nice, quiet time—c'est cela qu'il nous faut !