Sir W. Harcourt, on Thursday, moved the second reading of
the London Government Bill in a persuasive speech, the pith of which was that, although his opponents spoke of "local self- government" as a better alternative, they made no effort to secure it. There is no local self-government in London, except in the City, but only a jumble of thirty-eight Vestries and Boards ; and the Bill, therefore, destroys nothing. The Home Secretary was, as usual, strongly supported by Mr. Firth, who has made the question his own, and this time devoted himself to exposing the almost farcical character of most vestry elections, which are usually conducted by minute knots of people, and the extravagance caused by the conflict of authorities. The City Corporation, for example, and the Metro- politan Board, spent £40,000 in contesting their respective rights to some sewage. Mr. Ritchie and Earl Percy denounced the Bill,—the former on the ground that London does very well as it is, and the latter on behalf of borough Councils ; but the debate throughout was half-hearted. There is no real resistance to the Bill anywhere, and no keen feeling for it out of London ; and there is an idea abroad that it will not be proceeded with this Session. We still think it might be urged through the House; but we confess that the labour of passing it in weather like this, only in order that Lord Salisbury may squelch it with a sneer, is almost too much for human nature to endure. We have got rid of the Royal veto ; but it never was half so humi- liating or so misused as the veto of the Lords.