WHY NOT A COALITION GOVERNMENT AND A TARIFF REFORM COMMISSION
[To TSB Burros or me "SrscvAroa."3
Sra,—I am a Liberal of twenty years' standing. I have lived for six years in a British Colony, and remain an unrepentant Free-trader. I have served for ten years (and am still serving) in the Auxiliary Forces at home and. abroad. Because I decline to drop my Liberal principles I now find myself, in common with nearly two millions and a half of my fellow- electors, dubbed as a "traitor" to my country, not merely by the irresponsible politician in the heat of the Election, but by the majority of the Conservative Press and an appreciable number of leading Conservative statesmen. Since when has patriotism been the monopoly of one party ? However, my friends the patriots have an excellent opportunity of display- ing their patriotism. The results of the Election have proved that, generally speaking, the Budget is not unpopular, and that Tariff Reform is. I attribute the Conservative victories very largely to the sincere (but, as I think, mistaken) con- viction that the defence of the country is not safe in the hands of the Liberal Party. But the position is that either party is at the mercy of the Nationalists. I believe in Home- rule, but not in any scheme of Home-rule which will be acceptable to the Irish Party. The next Parliament, there- fore, will be powerless, and we are certain to have a fresh General Election within twelve months.
Why should we not have a Coalition Government, with Sir Edward Grey as Premier, and a Royal Commission on Tariff Reform ? The Coalition Government must accept the principle of the Budget, though very considerable con- cessions might be made on the land clauses. The Tariff Reform Commission should be a strong one, drawn from both sides of the House, but excluding, on the one hand, Mr. Austen Chamberlain, and on the other, Mr. Lloyd George. I am not entirely without hope that such a Government could find sufficient support from five hundred and ninety Members who put the State before party to carry on the Govern- ment efficiently until the next Election.—I am, Sir, &c., E. A. B.