16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 18

In the latter part of his speech Mr. Balfour turned

to the question of Socialism. Though he is, no doubt, a convinced anti-Socialist, we cannot help wishing that he had used some- what firmer language in regard to those who foolishly imagine that Socialism can be fought by conceding half the Socialist programme, and by consequently piling upon the backs of the middle class, and indeed of the bard-working section of every class of the community, an intolerable burden of taxa- tion. The Unionist Party, said Mr. Balfour, must deal with "the condition of the workers in urban and rural districts, the increase of small ownership, the complete remodelling of the Poor Law, the attempt to deal with the mighty problem of old age." That programme is, of course, open to a perfectly harmless, nay, a beneficial, interpretation, but it also is open to one not a little injurious to the body politic. It will be the duty of sober-minded Unionists to see to it that it is the benignant interpretation which shall prevail. We have dealt with Mr. Balfour's speech elsewhere, and will only repeat here that it Ives not in any sense an epoch-making utterance. Its main object was to gain time,—to "wait till the clouds roll by."