16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 31


[TO TER EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—I read with great interest your most able article on the above in last week's Spectator. May I, as a mere provincial ratepayer, give my view as to the reason of the general routing at municipal elections of both Liberals and Socialists P Sir, my opinion is that the public are sending Tories in municipally for the self-same reason they sent Liberals in politically,—viz., in the desperate hope for economy. We all know the tale of extravagance of nearly twenty years of Tory rule—the heavy burden of Income-tax on the middle-class bread-earner (a tax already considerably lightened)—and we all know the still heavier burden of Yates, rates which in many towns have been doubled in ten years. Our Socialist Councillors tell us they hope to see these rates still go up by leaps and bounds until they are doubled again; and as Liberals are credited with being sympathetic towards the aspirations of the Socialist body, the community in its helplessness feels it safer to send in Tories. The truth of the whole thing is that the more we municipalise the more we pay, and we middle-class people simply cannot afford these rates. A book by Lord Avebury, lately published, "Municipal and National Trading," shows us that municipal working has not made one thing really pay —not one—and every ratepayer ought to read this most interest- ing and illuminating work. Lord Avebury also shows us that of late years municipalities have ruled Parliament, instead of the other way about. The system of monopoly pursued by municipal bodies is rotten to the core. Cobden could not say enough against it; and it is even more true to-day. Socialists are the great advocates of this system of plunder, for it gives absolute power to small bodies of men to do what they like with other people's money. What we are now in need of is a combination to wrest from the authorities all monopolies of necessaries, and if in future elections candidates arose calling themselves " Anti-Municipalisers," they would be returned to