There is something extremely funny in the spectacle of the
Temperance party continually protesting that the Liberal party could never be so base as to desert them, and yet showing all the time an uneasy consciousness that pre- cisely this is to be their fate. At the annual meeting of the 'United Kingdom Alliance, held in. Manchester on Tuesday, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who presided, talked about the Govern- ment being "as firm as ever." No doubt; but then, how firm did they show themselves last Session ? Mr. Caine was more emphatic, and even threatening, but there was a tremor in his words which shows he knows what is coming. He insisted that the Bill must have a first place in the next Session of Parliament. "If that were not done, he warned the Government that there would be trouble, and that, if be stood alone, he would give them that trouble." Canon Wilberforce spoke in the same strain. "They must allow no Government to deceive them again with promises which were unfulfilled." Bold words of this kind are all very well ; but the Government will not care a snap of the fingers for them, unless the Alliance is prepared to say, We will 'tell our people either to vote against you or to abstain at the next General Election, unless you make the Local Veto Bill the first charge on the Session." The Temperance leaders will not do that, because they are better Gladstonians than 'teetotalers; and hence the Government realise that being "as firm as ever" is all that is required of them, and act accord- ingly. The line of least resistance is the desertion of the Temperance party; and therefore it is the line which is sure to be taken.