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which will be largely under the influence of the Cabinet. That will be quite as efficacious a method of weakening it as a direct transfer of legislative powers to the Ministry.

• Palliatives, and nothing more, all the remedial measures which are at present within our reach must remain. Even the strongest steps that could possibly be taken would not prevent obstruction, if a sufficiently determined body had combined to carry it on. We have referred to the penalty of expulsion, and of course we recognize the difficulties connected with that. A member might be expelled, but suppose his constituency reelected him, and went on doing it as often as he was sent back? The constituency could be disfranchised. But a group of members might be acting together. Should we then go on to disfranchise all those constituencies ? That would carry us far—too far, perhaps, for safety. The expelled members and the disfranchised constituencies would, of course, belong to the party out of power. Would it not be said, and sometimes, perhaps, with truth, that the majority were seeking, under pretence of obstruction, to make their hold upon office permanent, and practically to rule the nation by despotic means? Alarm would be naturally aroused in the mind of the nation, no matter which party began to expel on a large, or even on a small, scale. If the persons singled out for punishment were Irish members, does any one suppose that they would long stand alone? They have not done so hitherto when they were engaged in the work of obstruction. Among the taunts which they constantly use with the greatest effect are those which they address to members on both sides of the House who have, in past times, acted with them in obstructive tactics. In the list of those members some of the best known men in Parliament are included. The indictment may or may not be well founded, but a remarkable degree of caution is usually shown in replying to it. We may, as Conservatives, justly boast that the recognized leaders of our party have never condescended to sanction obstruction in any of its multitudinous forms. Lord Beaconsfield was incapable of inflicting any such degradation upon Parliament, and Lord Iddesleigh was equally opposed to the unscrupulous tactics which now, unfortunately, are a recognized part of public life. We should hope that the credit of depriving obstruction of its worst sting may be won by the Conservative party, but we have felt it our duty to point out frankly the obstacles in the way of success.

If these obstacles are not accurately measured beforehand, utter failure must attend every effort to set the House of Commons once more free. There must be a greater degree of personal liability for misconduct

brought brought home to every member; there must also be a more direct action of the Closure, on the responsibility of the Leader of the House, who can be brought to account for any misuse of it. If necessary, the Ministry must be prepared to make an appeal to the country on the plain question whether it sanctions obstruction or not, and whether it wishes the national business to be transacted in an honest manner, or to be thrown into shameful disorder and confusion. It would be an emi. nently wise proceeding to reduce, by degrees, the number constituting the House, and to diminish and reapportion the representation of Ireland. It is probable that none of these measures will receive the immediate support of the body into which a cancer is steadily eating its way. It is only too cer. tain that the time will come when the country will be obliged to adopt them all.

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