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and solid under the leadership of ganda, and few were more Mr Baldwin, is still the largest consistently "defeatist" than party in the State. But Mr was he. Why, then, should Ramsay MacDonald is bent on he be at the pains to take being Prime Minister for a part in the government of while, even though he can be England ? Or why, indeed. but a caretaker. Why he and holding the views which he has his friends should be so fierce expressed, should he want to in their desire to govern the interfere in the government of British Empire we do not anything? He and his friends know. Yet they have not been have very often shown a conable to hide for an hour their tempt for government, smer anxiety, lest something should government means law and come between the cup and order, and law is as inter their lip. Though they num- the mind of the Sociale, a i ber some sixty less than Mr order. We cannot forge 155 Baldwin's followers, they took Mr MacDonald, our Prime Min it for granted, at the very ter-elect, hastened prUBEstart, that it was their destiny that Soldiers' and Wor to govern. They do not love Councils shouc estaban the British Empire; and why in England. fatI" should men aspire to govern tation of Kerenart what they do not love? They though he show have sworn allegiance to a to a that their estate polyglot international body our defeat which meets in Germany, and triumpi which holds the English dele- forget that t gates in proper subjection, and once upur they have promised, on oath, a genera to keep the flag of class-warfare revointan flying. A pretty situation, of fore truly! With the best inten- we a tions in the world, a man can- fte not serve God and Mammon: soand Messrs MacDonald and Webb will find it the hardest thing in the world to go t
sea in a ship which has a ruc der at each end, and not a run upon the rocks.
Not only are Mr MacDomai sympathies international: present hour, but in t he was frankly on of our enemies. I were regarde
as the mo
Mr MacDonald. We have felt the scorpion before the whip. In truth, we almost have it in our heart to pity him. He is essaying a task which is beyond his powers, and for which he has had no training. He lacks the tradition which alone can make a statesman. He cannot rely upon his followers, who fondly believe that one man is as good as another, or rather better, and who want, every one of them, to lead the Party. It is his intention, we believe, to be his own Foreign Secretary, and to assume the office which, above all, needs long and patient training. He has never been an under-secretary; he has no experience in diplomacy; and how should he hope to possess the knowledge and the tact which are necessary to adjust the difficulties which may daily, even hourly, interrupt the relations of ourselves with foreign countries These difficulties may not be overcome by rhetoric. And we know not what other weapon than rhetoric is to be found in Mr MacDonald's armoury.
And the worst danger wherewith Mr MacDonald is confronted is the consciousness of the vast promises which he has made in the past, and which no ingenuity will enable him to fulfil. He will be a caretaker, a minister on sufferance, with a majority opposing him, wise and resolute, and how shall he satisfy all the hungry men who clamour behind him! None of his supporters will ever set eyes on the new heavens and
the new earths which his sanguine mind has sketched for them. But at any rate if he cannot create new heavens, he can, or he thinks he can, create a new hell for those who do not support him. He cannot abolish poverty,—that is beyond the power of man ; and if he could, what would he have to talk about in the future? But he has a firm hope that he can decrease wealth, and if the decrease of wealth brings hardship with it even to his own friends, at least the envy and jealousy which seem to animate the Socialists will be assuaged.
Mr Clynes, in the very moderate speech which he made in the House of Commons-a speech which does not suggest that he ever in his life uttered the words Direct Action,made it quite clear that he and his colleagues mean, if they can, to attack the institution of private property. He declared that "in the main those who were in the full possession of riches did not enjoy their property as the result of any persistent personal
endeavour." We believe that statement to be untrue; we believe that the most of those who are the masters of wealth have acquired that wealth by their own skill and their own thrift. In any case, the statement is wholly irrelevant. Despite the nonsense that has been talked by Socialists in the past, there is no crime in ownership. man has not to excuse himself
because he inherits money. There are, as a statesman said many years ago, "other and less reputable ways of acquiring money than by inheritance." But Mr Clynes and his colleagues have long been preaching the gospel of confiscation. As Sir Martin Conway said in the House of Commons, "the purpose of the Socialist Party was to take from the rich and give to the poor, even though the poor might not deserve it; and though the rich man might, by his thrift and industry and by his personal abilities, be entitled to the full enjoyment of all he possessed." But it is an attractive policy to rob Peter and enrich Paul, especially if you keep a hand upon your own possessions. And there is no cry like the cry of spoliation to keep alive envy and class-hatred. The worst of it is that in the end all men suffer for it-the robbers and the robbed. The Bolsheviks in Russia proved how easy a job it was to make millions poorer than they were. They did not enrich by the process any but a handful of political and financial exploiters.
will be asked rather commanded-to toe the line drawn by the pedantic hands of Mr and Mrs Webb. There is to be no money, and be no money, and a complete reform of morals and manners. "The continued existence of the functionless rich," say these half-baked philosophers, "of persons who deliberately live by owning instead of by working, and whose futile occupations, often licentious pleasures and inherently insolent manners, undermine the intellectual and moral standards of the community, adds insult to injury." Did you ever read such nonsense in your life? We do not know where these futile and licentious ones are to be found; as little do we know why they should not live, even deliberately, if they can and choose by owning instead of by working. If they do thus live, they will but imitate the example, doubtless admirable, set them by Mr and Mrs Webb. We have been told by a friend of these philosophers who have kindly consented to remodel the world for us, that their idea of dissipation is to engage another private secretary-a dissipation no less futile, we are sure, nor less licentious than those which they impute to others. But we would check neither their futility nor their licentiousness, and we ask of them in exchange only that we should have an equal freedom to choose our pleasures for ourselves.
Mr and Mrs Webb evidently believe themselves to be the
last repositories of good manThey should open a school of deportment, and call themselves Turveydrop. It is clear that Mr Webb is Petronius reincarnated, the supreme arbiter elegantiorem. And as for Mrs Webb, she should rival the great ladies of the eighteenth century, who dazzled Paris with their salons, and taught the arts of life and talk to the poets, the statesmen, and the courtiers of the time. Thus the mission of these two good people is plainly marked out for them. They will, no doubt, in their beneficence begin with the Court. So far, they have consented to keep the King and Queen upon their thrones, but not unconditionally. The Court must mend its manners, or disaster will surely overtake it. Let us not lose a single one of the winged words of the
Webbs : "Unless 'the Court' can acquire better manners and a new sense of social values, it may be expected that the institution of monarchy, whatever its political advantages, will become unpopular, and in that case it might very quickly disappear." However, Mr and Mrs Webb have given "the Court" due warning, and we have no doubt that if "the Court" went to them hat in hand, our eminent arbiter elegantiorem and his spouse would give it a few first easy lessons in "democratic deportment."
That there should exist two personages so absurdly devoid of a sense of humour as are
Mr and Mrs Webb is a fierce unanswerable indictment of Socialism and all its practices. Their simple vanity has persuaded them to set forth their views in the terms of an exquisite pomposity, and has thus enabled us to measure the height and depth of their folly. After their excursus upon manners, we cannot profess active interest in the statement that they intend to lay hands upon the 22,000 country houses of England-they have, we suppose, made a census-and convert them into houses for tired workers. Plunder clearly lies outside the sphere of manners. But the puzzle is that personages so vain and foolish as these should aspire not only to govern the Empire but to tell us all what we should think and how we should live. only they had the power, there would be an end of freedom. For tyranny is in their blood and bone, a dogged determination to interfere with the liberty of others. And they have not yet discovered that England is no proper field for their pranks. For many centuries we have lived, as we chose, within the limits of the law. We have done what suited us, each according to his character and temperament; and there have grown up in our midst
and women of infinite variety and manifold talents who have brought happiness and prosperity to a smiling land. And if Mr MacDonald and Mr and Mrs Webb think that they are destined to put
the people of Great Britain abroad was weaker than ever under their goloshes, they are it was, that our influence in woefully mistaken. There is foreign affairs has almost dismuch that Englishmen will en- appeared." But he gave no dure for the sake of tran- facts in support of his case, quillity. They will fight to and then bullied France for not the last drop of their blood being at peace with Germany. against any pedants who thrust “To treat Germany now worse themselves into their houses, than Germany treated France desecrate their hearths, steal fifty years ago," said he, "is their possessions, and then to make a monstrous prepara(worst of all) offer them, tion for the next great war." cheap, a course of lessons in He forgets that fifty years ago France kept to the terms of peace which she signed, and that Germany still repudiates her obligations. However, when an aspirant to a place in a Socialist Cabinet can find no better stick than this wherewith to beat his opponents, it proves either that he has nothing to say or that he is following the instruction of his Party leaders not to commit himself.
Mr and Mrs Webb are, it need not be said, figures of fun. But in a democracy of Aristotle's fifth-class, figures of fun may come to the top at any moment, and it is well to be forewarned. Did not Athens have its sausage-seller? Meanwhile the Socialists, as though the mere thought of office weighed heavy on them, have adopted a demure and placid style, as though they would not, for all the power in the world, rob so much as a henroost. They discourse most willingly of such vague matters as foreign affairs, and they are grievously shocked if it be suggested to their patriotic minds that there is such a thing as an International. That they, who love their country far more than their class or kind, should be suspected of a double allegiance, of fostering an imperium in imperio, is an outrage upon their single-hearted loyalty. The speech which Mr Clynes delivered in support of the Vote of Censure was softly garrulous and no more. He murmured that "our position
Mr Asquith, in giving support to the Socialists, whom he once regarded as his bitterest foes, allowed himself a far greater freedom. He did not do much with it, for he, too, is cribb'd, cabin'd, and confin'd in a dangerous place. However, he announced at once that he would vote, and ask his followers to vote, for the amendment. "There may be many theories," he said, “why we have been sent here by the electorate in such strange proportions; but there is one theory which will not hold water for a moment, and that is that we were sent here to maintain the present Government in office." That may be