29 OCTOBER 1910, Page 17


SIR,—As a working man and a Liberal, I have some difficulty in following politics from your point of view, but am quite willing to correct my views if any of them are wrong. You seem to denounce Mr. Lloyd George for his method of dealing with the question of the rich ; but is it not the case that the rich are represented by the Conservative Party and the House of Lords, and have they not of late brought every question in the political atmosphere down to the bedrock of all political questions,—viz., "Should the rich man be absolute in the State?" Socrates and Plato discussed this question three hundred years before the Christian era. We know, for instance, that the bees every year decide the question of the drones. It is political economy with them. The prospects of their community until the return of the spring involves the suffering of some part of the community, and the bees always decide against the drones. To hand over the government of the hive to the drones is never considered; it would be preposterous. It is now a generation (exactly seventy years) since the working man got a vote. During all that time the House of Lords have been supreme, and on their own asser- tions they were there to check anything hasty. Now we working men are only worthy of the measure of liberty we are able to bear, and we have never been capable of absolute rule up to now. But we have learned sufficient about politics to know where our interests lie, and we are beginning to think that a generation has been long enough for us to wait before we could realise the power of our vote, and are confident that our House of Commons should be able to legislate for us, and that it should not for ever continue to be as much at the mercy of the Conservative Party and the House of Lords as the Russian Duma was at the mercy of the Grand Dukes.

As to Federal Governments, the present system is all in favour of the Conservative Party. Mr. Balfour was always in a position to play off one nation against another. The Catholic vote in England was always a valuable asset to him. He secured it through having always something to give Ireland. Home-rule abolishes that. Quoting from memory, Mr. Balfour, in addressing his London constituents at the last. Election, said something like this :—" Now that the tide is going against us, I ask you gentlemen to so use your influence that whether in office or out of office the Conservative Party shall still control the destinies of this great Empire." A Liberal Government has no power to overthrow a Conservative Government, while the latter may use the House of Lords to overthrow a Liberal Government. Legislation for the working classes passed by the Lords is always a question of expediency. What, then, is the use of my vote as a working man seeing the whole thing is so one-sided? It seems to me that Mr. Balfour and the Lords have so overstrained the electorate that the downfall of his own party and the House of Lords has become inevitable.—I am, Sir, &c., JAMES GOODFELLOW.