29 JULY 1905, Page 3

The general effect of the debate is to confirm strongly

the view that Mr. Balfour and Mr. Chamberlain are acting together, though Mr. Balfour does not consider that the time has yet come to let the fact be known without any doubt. For the time it is convenient to allow those who enjoy the process of self-deception to remain self-deceived. One of the points which most strikes an observer of the general trend of the debate is the way in which the Govern- ment speakers ignored Mr. Balfour's solemn pledge at Edin- burgh that the General Election should precede the Colonial Conference. It is now clear that if the Government can manage to postpone defeat till next year, the Conference will meet, and will be encouraged to devise a scheme of Preference, which will enable Mr. Balfour to go to the country with the cry : "Will you throw the generous offer made by the Colonies back in their faces ?"