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moral pronouncement by an attack on the misdeeds of the Government. It is important, however disagreeable, that this should be stated publicly, in order that politicians may be warned that the Roman bishops only keep control of their people in so far as they condone the political crimes to which a vast body of their adherents are committed. That they are pious and amiable men is probably quite true; but they have abdicated the office of moral leadership. And this is not without parallel in the action, or inaction, of the Vatican when moral issues were at stake in the Great War.
It is easy to write pages of criticism upon Governmental policy, or pages of analysis of the Irish character and of Irish aspiration ; it is not so easy to suggest what might be done, or what ought to be done, at this tragic moment, to ameliorate the relations between Great Britain and Ireland. Whether it were wise or unwise (and we believe it was unwise and unstatesmanlike) to adopt a policy which involved the partition of Ireland, Ireland is now divided into two parts. •Ulster' need not be afraid that she will be placed under a Dublin Parliament against her will; and it is a vain dream of the Irish Republicans that Imperial forces will ever be used to compel her to submit her destinies to the arbitration of a Parliament mainly Roman Catholic. The partition of Ireland, temporary at least, is a fait accompli, and we heartily regret it. The Government of Ireland Act of 1920 was an unstatesmanlike and opportunist measure, of which the best that can be said is that the tactics of its promoters were better than their strategy. We would prophesy, if prophecy were not so wanton a foolishness, that Ulster will bitterly regret at no distant period the severance from the agricultural life of Ireland, which has been brought about by her own deliberate act. Ulster breeds shrewd, hardheaded men of business, but she does not, as yet, breed statesmen; and she may soon find that economic causes will compel her to reverse her policy of self-centredness, and persuade her to take her place, with due safeguards, in the common life of Ireland. However that may be, she has now a Parliament of her own-and not only a Parliament but a separate Judicature. She wishes to have special educational provisions as well, without regard to the wishes of the rest of the country; and she may succeed in all this. That is, a population of a million and a quarter people may be successful in setting up a provincial government, which shall be economically stable and at the same time realise the ideal of Sinn Fein,' Ourselves Alone, which has been proclaimed urbi et orbi as the ideal of its opponents. We do not know.
Meantime, what is to be done for the rest of Ireland ? Great Britain would be perfidious indeed, if it were now to break faith with Ulster, whose battalions fought so gallantly in the war, and whose achievements were not less than the achievements of the Irish Guards in France and of the Dublin Fusiliers and Munster Fusiliers in Gallipoli. But what of Southern Ireland, and especially of the 350,000 loyalists who live there?
In Southern Ireland the House of Commons which has recently been elected will not perform its duties. All its members except four—the members for the University of Dublin-are avowed Sinn Feiners and Republicans, who will not take the Oath of Allegiance to the King. It has been evident for a considerable time that this would happen; but in deference to the wishes of Ulster, elections have been held in Southern as well as in Northern Ireland, although it was quite certain that the Southern Parliament would not consent to administer the Act of 1920.
Mr George has said more than once and in this the world is with him—that Britain can never permit Ireland or any part of it to become an independent State. That is obvious, although it is often forgotten. That Great Britain and Ireland form a strategic unit, is a geographical, not a merely political, truth. Providence has placed these islands in such proximity that they cannot be treated as politically distinct; the larger must, and will, embrace the smaller, in the interests of both. The dream of Irish idealists for an Irish Republic is only a dream. But it is by no means certain that the majority even of Irish Sinn Feiners desire a Republic, although they cry out for it. What they desire is independence of Britain in domestic matters, and particularly in all the departments of executive government. Apart from the division of Ireland into two parts, which can
now be brought together only if the South can persuade the North that it is in the interests of Ulster to associate herself with the other provinces-a distant and dim prospect--the provisions of the Act of 1920 which have proved most distasteful to Southern Ireland are those which relate to finance. Fiscal autonomy is claimed ; and this would involve the consequence that Ireland would pay very much less than her fair share of taxes rendered necessary by the burdens of the Great War. Thus to favour the Irish taxpayer at the expense of the British taxpayer would be unjust.
Nevertheless, it has been widely believed for months' past that the Government are willing to offer more favourable financial terms, both to Northern and Southern Ireland, than were granted in the Act of 1920, Lord FitzAlan, the new Lord Lieutenant, said at Belfast, on June 7, that the Act requires amendment. Events move so quickly that, by the time this article is in print, the Government may have announced their intentions about this matter. But no offer of concessions will have any good effect unless it is made in such a manner that it cannot be repudiated or withdrawn. As we have already said, Irishmen do not now trust the mere word of British statesmen; and it is important that the intentions of Government should be publicly announced in Parliament by the Prime Minister, with a definite statement touching the clauses in the Act of 1920 which are to be amended.
So long as Irish politicians believe that the Government have not said their last word, and that they are still open to negotiations, so long will there be disorder and crime in Ireland; for Ireland has been taught by the experience of many years that the path of violence is the shortest path to reform. It was through agrarian crime that the Land Acts came to be passed. And it is by murder and arson that the Irish extremists are now trying to persuade Great Britain that her best policy is to leave Ireland to its own devices. This Great Britain cannot afford to do; the secession of Ireland from the Empire can never be permitted. But, in the hope of bringing about peace and some semblance of order, it may be worth while for Britain to make a final offer forthwith, going as far as she can go with safety to herself, to the Empire, and to the Irish loyalist minority, in
the direction of autonomy and of fiscal concessions. • Dominion Home Rule' is an unhappy phrase, and should not be used. For powers--in regard to military and naval forces, for example—may be entrusted to a Parliament sitting two or three thousand miles away, which cannot safely be entrusted to a Parliament sitting in Dublin or Belfast. A new offer of the kind which we have indicated might or might not be accepted by the Sinn Fein party, represented by Mr de Valera; it would probably be rejected with scorn by the dangerous men who form the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and whom Sinn Fein is now unable, even it were willing, to check or control. But we should occupy a much better position in the face of America and of our Colonies, if we were able to demonstrate that Ireland had been offered everything that she can reasonably ask, while remaining within the Empire, than we are now when we can only say that we have offered a measure of Home Rule which, by all parties, loyalist or Republican, in the South of Ireland, has been declared to be unworkable. It is not worth while for Britain to haggle over the amount of the Imperial contribution which Ireland should pay. Ireland will be mean indeed if she refuses to pay her fair share; but it would be better for Britain to secure peace, even at a price, than to continue the policy of the past year which has signally failed to accomplish the end for which it was designed.
The newspapers of June 13 forecast fresh military activities in Ireland, and upon this some comment may be useful. We repudiate altogether the foolish saying, * Force is no remedy.' Force is often the only remedy, when you are dealing with men of violence. But if force is to be used, you must be prepared to use it to the full. And the military authorities at Dublin Castle have never been given freedom of action. They are like a man fighting with one hand tied behind his back. The Government are afraid of admitting publicly what every one knows, viz. that their half-hearted policy has failed. It is a policy of declaring martial law here and there, while centres of sedition and murderous plotting like Dublin are not subject to it; of arresting the subordinates, while the leaders, de Valera and the rest, are allowed their freedom; of declaring Sinn Fein an illegal
organisation, while no attempt is made to punish any one merely for being a Sinn Feiner. This policy has failed. Life and property are more insecure in Ireland than they have been for a hundred years at least; and our brave soldiers and the equally brave Irish Constabulary are being murdered, three or four daily, not to speak of innocent and loyal civilians. The loyalist minority who gave all they could to the Empire during the war, who gave as many recruits in proportion to their numbers as any district in England, are living in intolerable fear,
Sir Hamar Greenwood has failed to redeem his promises that he would soon have murder by the throat. He has failed; and his policy should be changed. His policy is that of trying to compel the Southern Irish Nationalist to accept an Act of Parliament which no one in Ireland approves; and to do this, while it is matter of common knowledge that the Government which he represents is willing to amend it. Such a policy can only succeed if it has the sanction of overwhelming military force behind it, and this the British Parliament is unable or unwilling to provide.
Would it not be the wiser course, even now, to make a public offer to Ireland, and particularly to Southern Ireland, of as generous a nature as is possible without danger to Britain ? If that fails, it may be a miserable necessity to pour more troops into Ireland and reconquer the country. But, at any rate, such drastic measures would then be understood to be inevitable. There must, in any case, be a further period of unrest in Ireland, during which the criminals who form the Irish Republican Brotherhood are gradually suppressed. To remove the soldiers or the auxiliary police now, as some politicians have suggested, would be a great wrong to the loyal population, who would thồn be left at the mercy of unscrupulous criminals.
But it would be a great gain if the majority of Irish Nationalists, who are not all criminals, could be enlisted on the side of order; and this may perhaps yet be done if Britain can persuade them of her bona fides and her genuine goodwill.