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Hendon Courier (Newspaper) - March 3, 1887, London, Middlesex THE HENDON COURIER A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER CIRCULATING IN Hendon, Child's Hill, Cricklewood and Mill Hill No. 4. Vol. I. THURSDAY, MARCH 3rd, 1887. Price One Penny. WEARISOME NIGHTS ARE APPOINTED TO ME." Any one condemned to listen night after night to the Debates which have been going on in the House of Commons for the past month would be inclined to think the above quoted utterance of the patriarch Job extremely appropriate. In fact, with 4>ne slight alteration, the whole sentence is very much to the point-"So am I made to possess mouths of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me." The greater part of the Session has been occupied with " idle chatter of a transcendental kind!," without interest and without useful result. The mischief does not stop here. Not only are the debates fruitless, but worse, for a constant flow of uninteresting talk in the House has the effect of spreading a sort of political lethargy over the land. People at the beginning of the Session opened their morning newspapers hopefully, with a feeling of satisfaction that at last their political instincts were going to be stimulated and gratified. That hope has been gradually dispelled. Nobody expects now, for some time to come, to find any intellectual solace in the political part of the newspapers. People were already beginning to leave their papers unopened, when the reverberations of the earthquake shock woke them up again and gave the papers another chance. But the interest in politics is for the time effectually quenched. These things ought not so to be. It is absolutely necessary to the proper conduct of the business of the country that the people at large should take an intelligent and constant interest in public affairs. Howsoever competent our rulers may be, they are but mortals, and unless the pressure of public opinion is constantly, quickly and efficiently brought to bear upon them, sooner or later they are sure to go wrong. Public opinion has now many channels for its expression. Associations, clubs, public meetings, and a host of similar instrumentalities' exercise their due influence. At the time of a General Election party feeling often gets the better of reason, and unless there is some very definite issue before the electorate, its voice is only indistinctly heard. The invisible yet potent influence, which public opinion exercises upon our legislators during their session, is of quite as much importance as the influence exercised at the polling-booths. It is indispensably necessary to the welfare of the state that the vox populi should never be silent. And if there be for weeks together in politics (as the old lady said of her tea) " a pungent unmistakeable flavour of nothing at all," the public interest is damped, and the public voice is stifled. We donot conceal from ourselves the fact that, to a certain extent, we are the victims of necessity in tlys matter. We have arrived at an era of resistance in politics/ The Parnellites and the Separatist Radicals are laying sief/e to one of our most cherished institutions ; and as a means of exhausting the defenders they have been attempting, with more or less success, to blockade legislation. As a first step towards an active resistance to this attack it is absolutely necessary to settle the question of Procedure, so that we may be in a position to defend ourselves from the showers of obstructive speeches, which form the chief ammunition of the besiegers. Procedure is a dry subject. The very word repels the average Briton. Supply is the only thing which will vary the monotony of Parliament for the next six weeks. It is unfortunate that the arena of politics should present, to the ordinary mind, such a sandy waste for ten weeks together. Yet it is upon an effective solution of the question of Procedure that our hopes now depend. The very best argument for Home Rule that we have yet seen is based upon the fact that the Imperial Parliament has more work than it can efficiently get through. If we can effectively neutralise obstruction in the House of Commons, and if we can at the same time, apply the principles of the division of labour to its proceedings, the Home Rule question will be solved. The Government are now engaged in rendering obstruction, as far as possible, impossible, and are to some extent keeping in view the importance of division of labour. We hope, however, that they will soon see the necessity of going further in this direction. Unless they can find the way to a reasonable solution of Irish problems, we may yet see the Separatists triumphant. The very spirit of weariness which is abroad in the political atmosphere makes for Home Rule. People are growing tired of the discussion of the subject. They are beginning to think that, after all, the game of keeping the Irish Members at Westminster is not worth the candle. There are whispers even amongst ardent Unionists that, if we can make due provision for the security of life and property in Ireland by keeping a firm hold upon the executive, it would be better to banish the Irish members to Dublin and let them imitate the Kilkenny cats. And unless the subject is taken in hand constructively by the Government before the next election arrives, this spirit of weariness may work a startling change at the polls. , But an active endeavour on the part of the Government to tackle and solve the Home Rule question would change all this. The very essence of modern Conservatism is to preserve our institutions by necessary modifications ; to find out what it is that gives colour to any destructive agitation,-what if any grain of truth is wrapped up amidst radical errors,-and to give effect thereto. Now the truth which is wrapped up in, and gives colour to the Home Rule agitation, is this-It is better that any people should, as far as possible, manage its own affairs, and that those who are to live under the laws should have the making of them. We have already recognised the principle as applied to the whole of the United Kingdom. Is it posssible to apply it to its divisions ? Can we maintain the legislative, commercial and national unity of the United Kingdom and at the same time divide the labours of local legislation among the representatives of its several parts ? Can we maintain the absolute supremacy of the Imperial Parliament and yet provide that English, Irish and Scotch members should be respectively harnessed to the work Of English, Irish and Scotch legislation ? We believe the problem can be solved, If the Government fairly takes it in hand we need not fear a Radical reaction. But if a passive resistance to Separatist proposals is all we have to offer, the spirit of weariness over which Job triumphed, may yet conquer our less patient electors. The Procedure rule now occupying the attention of the House of Commons runs as follows :-" A member rising in his place may claim to move ' That the question be now put,' and unless it shall appear to the chair -that such motion is an abuse of the rules of the house, or an infringement of the rights of the minority,jthe question ' That the question be now put,' shall be put forthwith, and decided without amendment or debate." If this motion were carried the question would be put at once and the debate would come to an untimely-or rather timely-end. Mr. Whitbread proposes as an amendment to the above rule that the consent of the chair should not be necessary for the applicaticn of the closure. It would then be open to any member to move to close the debate. This is going a little too far. Mr. Whitbread's amendment comes on for discussion to-morrow. We have not yet heard the last of the Bulgarian question by a long way. All the materials for a conflagration are still ready, as soon as it suits Russia's purpose to apply the match. Perhaps the beginning of a new act in the drama opens with the military revolt in Silistria. The whole of the garrison appears to have risen against the Regency, and though it is reported that the outbreak-is being quelled, there are no details to hand. There is no hope ci quiet in Bulgaria until a new Prince is appointed, and the sooner this can be brought about the better.
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