24 OCTOBER 1908, Page 3

During the week Parliament has been steadily and mechani- cally

grinding through the Licensing Bill. We have dealt with some general considerations of great importance in a leading article, and will here only say once more how difficult it is to take seriously discussions conducted under the shadow of the auto- matic Closure and enforced by the pressure of "the compact majority." On Thursday the clauses which have special refer- ence to Wales in regard to the matter of local veto were under debate, and the Government were strongly pressed to point out why a difference should be made between England and Wales. In the course of a very able debating speech, Mr. Balfour asked whether the special legislation as to Welsh Sunday closing had increased temperance, and whether the English population was less temperate than the Welsh. Mr. McKenna, on behalf of the Government, met this with the de- claration that two Royal Commissions—those of Lord Balfour of Burleigh and Lord Peel—had testified to the success of the Slmday Closing Act in Wales.