10 MARCH 1900, Page 2

The discussion of the Budget in the House of Commons

on Monday night was for the most part either perfunctory or irrelevant. On Tuesday, however, Sir William Harcourt made a speech in which the criticisms were of real value. We do not for the most part agree with those criticisms, but they were in every sense worthy of the most respectful hearing. Sir William Harcourt's chief point was the national extravagance. We shouted "Pay, pay, pay," but meant "Borrow, borrow, borrow." We were willing enough to endorse proposals for expenditure, but it was a very different thing when we came to meet the bill [Sir William might, from his point of view, have compared John Bull to Falstaff with his immortal "Base is the slave that pays 9. Sir William Harcourt ended his speech by imploring the House of Commons not to fritter away the magnificent resources of the country. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach replied, and was followed by a number of speakers, but none of them contributed very much to the discussion except Sir Samuel .Montagu, who approved of the loan being offered in small sums to the public, and not launched through the bankers.