4 NOVEMBER 1905, Page 3

On Thursday evening Mr. Austen Chamberlain addressed his constituents at

Stirchley, and said certain things which deserve to be considered by all who would understand the policy of the present Government. Dealing with Lord Rose- bevy's recent speeches, he complained that that speaker had laid down a fine, generous policy of reforms, but had given no indication how they were to be effected. "They were merely lures to catch the unwary by high-sounding phrases." Turning to; the Fiscal question, the Chancellor of the Exchequer declared that though some people might desire to put it in a secondary place, "such was not the view of the Government or of the Prime Minister." They had set their hands to the plough and would not turn back. Since we were not growing in prosperity in the same proportion as our competitors, we must, endeavour by Retaliation and Colonial Preference to make up the leeway. He could conceive of Colonial Preference without a tax on corn ; but if, as the result of the Conference, the Colonies asked for a Corn-tax, he was prepared to support the proposal. This is at any rate a definite policy. Imperial consolidation, by means of a food-tax if necessary, is the aim of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, on the confession of this discreet politician, it is also the aim of "the Government and the Prime Minister."