25 MARCH 1899, Page 2

The debate on the London Government Bill was opened on

Tuesday by air. Herbert Gladstone, in a speech which strikes us as extremely unreasonable. He set up a man of straw which was not the Government Bill, and not even very much like it, and then proceeded to demolish his own bogey. " It was clear," he said. "that the Bill meant the destruction of the central authority,"—which it most certainly does not. Alto- gether, there was a great deal more heat than argument in the speech, and Mr. Gladstone at one and the same time seemed to infer that the Government were taking too much away from the London County Council, and giving too little to the muni- cipalities. He talked with scorn of "the emasculated powers" which the Government proposed to give to Westminster. Mr. Gladstone's best point was his demand for an independent audit. We cannot deal with the rest of the speeches, except to note Lord Percy's very excellent and independent speech. He is most anxious to link the central and the local bodies. In theory, no doubt, that is attractive, and makes one think of the men who went from the Hundred Court to the Shire- moot, but we doubt its practical wisdom. The municipal Councillors will have plenty of local duties without doing County Council work and joining in County Council debates.