31 OCTOBER 1908, Page 13


rTo THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR.] Srit,—Since the publication of my letter and your leader (October 10th) on the above subject, five other letters have appeared. Of the three principal, one deals mainly, two entirely, with the party management of a late election. Their trend, in fact, is tantamount to the shunting of the "main- line" contention on to a siding where its local bearings were better discussed in the local Press. Two other letters advo- cate respectively legislation to prohibit veiled bribery on the part of candidates or Members, and a species of entente cordiale between opposing Conservatives and Liberals for the mutual protection of their pockets. To the first letter, signed "A.," the obvious reply is that our need is instant and urgent, while legislation connotes indefinite postponement and delay. The course I suggested (upon which you, Sir, were unable wholly to bestow the editorial blessing) entails no delay, no legislation, no revolution, sudden or sinister. It involves no appeal to the headquarters war-chest, the replenishing of which is mainly responsible for the foisting of brainless, speechless candidates upon Unionist electors. It advocates simply the selection of the fittest, not the fattest, and the local equipping, when needful, of the selected champions for the fight. Our need of bold fighters is momentous, yet our votes and interest are again and again demanded for panto- mime warriors in pasteboard armour, with no weapon within their capacity to draw—except a cheque. Meantime, if I (an outsider) know, bow much more fully must you know that the

bad old system of selection through money, instead of through merit, is at this moment as rife as ever.—I am, Sir, &c.,


[Seats are now hired by large annual payments rather than bought by a lump sum as formerly. That, we fear, is the only change. We wish all possible success to " Constitu- tionalist's" efforts to get a better type of Unionist candidate, but we are not very hopeful. This correspondence must now cease.—En. Spectator.]