3 DECEMBER 1904, Page 30

SIE, — In the event of a contested Parliamentary election in which

on one side there was a declared Home-rule Free-trader, and on the other a declared Unionist Protectionist, it would, I think, be of much interest to many of your readers to know for which of these candidates the Spectator would recommend

them to vote.—I am, Sir, Sal, J.

[We find no difficulty in meeting our correspondent's request. In the first place, we should advise Unionist Free- traders to ascertain to what section of Home-rulers the candi- date belonged. If, as are the bulk of Liberal candidates, he were only a Home-ruler in the abstract, and declared, as we believe that the vast majority of Liberals will declare at the next General Election, that Home-rule was not before the constituencies, and that the supreme issue was that of Free- trade and Protection, we should have no hesitation whatever in advising them to vote for the Liberal, and against the Unionist Protectionist candidate. If, on the other hand, the candidate declared that he was a Home-ruler first and a Free- trader only second, that in his view Home-rule was the supreme issue before the country, and that on this issue the electors must decide, we should not advise Unionist Free-traders to vote for thie type of Liberal. As a matter of fact, however, such speculations as those which our correspondent invites us to discuss are purely academic. We venture to say that Liberal candidates, from the leaders downwards, will act as the Liberal candidate did in Chertsey,—the only con- stituency in which, as yet, Unionist Free-traders have acted as a separate political entity, and though remaining Unionists, have actively supported a Liberal Free-trade candidate. On that occasion the late Mr. Sadler, though a professed Home- ruler, insisted in the clearest and most emphatic terms that Home-rule was not before the countiy, and refused to discuss the matter on the ground that it was irrelevant, and in this he was supported by even his most Radical adherents. The Liberal candidate who at the next General Election will insist that if he is returned he will do his best to pass a Home-rule Bill, and will give the Fiscal question at the Election only the second place, is a creature of the imagination, not a real man. Curiously enough, however, a Unionist candidate, Sir John Cockburn, at West Monmouth, is said to have been in favour of Home-rule, as well as of Disestablishment, the repeal of the Education Act, and payment of Members. Yet the Unioniat Tariff Reformers, encouraged by Mr. Chamberlain, gave him their votes. Unless we are mistaken, there is quite as much danger of Protectionist candidates turning out to be cryptic Home-rulers as of Liberal candidates insisting on making Home-rule the essential issue before the country at the next Election.—ED. Spectator.]