2 DECEMBER 1911, Page 29

[To TAR EDITOR or THZ " Srzczeros.'] Sin,—It is unfortunate

that the first really popular and wide- spread demonstration against the present Government should have its origin in the Insurance Bill. The Old Age Pensions Act is a peculiarly demoralizing piece of legislation. It strikes at the very root of those qualities of self-reliance and inde- pendence on which the British Empire is primarily based, The ideas of self-help and thrift are entirely alien to it, and the whole scheme may very justly be regarded as a gigantic piece of political bribery.

But the Insurance Bill stands on quite a different footing. Let me give even Mr. Lloyd George his due, and acknowledge that, for almost the first time as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he has not courted popularity in bringing it forward. If we make the perhaps rather large assumption that compul- sion as a principle is justifiable at all in such cases, he has made an honest endeavour to carry out this measure on contributory and non-pauperizing lines. At all events it may fairly be said that this is his intention. Now, I allow to the full the irksomeness and the interferenoe with the home that are involved. But surely it is no bad thing to bring home to the greater public what must necessarily be part and parcel of any system of government which tends more and more towards the paternal ideal. The real and serious objections to the Bill are to be found, not in the clauses relating to domestic service, but in the incidence of the burden on the large employers of labour. In the case of a manufacturer this may easily amount to an extra income tax of anywhere from 2s. to 5s. in the £, or even more. This does, indeed, involve a monstrous injustice, but it can hardly be maintained that either in the case of a mistress or of a domestic servant the burden in the vast majority of cases is a very serious one. It would be a strange bit of irony if the downfall of the Government should come about owing to the least objectionable clauses of the least objectionable measure with which their name will be associated.—I am, Sir, &c., Hildon House, Stockbridge. GEORGE BRISCOE.