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related communities, not the acquisition but the surrender of rights. The alternative to federalism in America in 1787 was not a single unitary State, but thirteen independent States; the Swiss Cantons in 1848 sacrificed something of sovereignty to a Federal Republic; Bavaria, Saxony, Würtemberg, and the other German States made a similar sacrifice to the Federal Empire in 1871. I do not suggest that the application of the federal principle to the United Kingdom is impossible, but I submit that such a process can derive no sanction from the success which has attended the experiment in the countries enumerated above.
Nor can it seriously be contended that the federalisation of the United Kingdom is an indispensable preliminary to the evolution of a federal constitution for the Empire as a whole. On the contrary, it would gravely complicate a problem already sufficiently embarrassing. To devise a federal constitution for the existing units of the Empire—the United Kingdom, the Canadian Dominion, South Africa, the Australian Commonwealth and New Zealand o--ought not to be a task beyond the ingenuity of jurists and diplomatists. To add Ireland, Scotland, and possibly Wales to the confederating units would gratuitously enhance the difficulties of the situation.
That the federal idea has not failed to influence the framera of the new Home Rule Bill is tolerably obvious. The retention of forty-two representatives of Irish constituencies in the Imperial Parliament may be accepted as a concession to this principle. In this respect the Bill seems to me an improvement both upon the cumbrous ‘in and out' device of the 1893 Bill, and still more upon the separatist version of 1886. But I question whether this amendment will increase the cordiality of its reception among the electors of Great Britain. At this point, however, it seems important to notice a confusion which is not uncommon. The principle of federalism is apt to be confounded with that of 'devolution. Of all the arguments employed by Home Rulers there is none, I imagine, which will carry so much weight with the average British elector as the suggestion that * Home Rule' for Irelanı? will restore the legislative efficiency of the Imperial Parliament. Mr. Asquith pointedly commended his Bill to the House of Commons as a device for 'reconciling Ireland and emancipating itself.' The business of the Empire and of the United Kingdom must, it is contended, continue to suffer from neglect so long as the Imperial Parliament is compelled to concern itself with matters of purely local significance. Nothing can cure the deep-seated evil but a measure of devolution. The argument will tell. It harmonises completely with a
Perhaps Newfoundland should be added ; but it would be much more to the purpose if Newfoundland would consent to enter the Canadian Federation.
sentiment which the newly enfranchised classes have embraced with passionate conviction. Modern democracy has an ineradicable belief in the efficacy of legislation, a touching reliance upon the beneficent activity of the State.' Anything which impedes legislation is a barrier to social amelioration. Nothing can shake this conviction. The failure of one legislative effort after another to effect its avowed purpose serves only to stimulate the appetite for more. According to the prevailing creed, there is no economic inequality and no social injustice which you cannot legislate out of existence. Needless to say that the superstition is fostered by the professional politician. Its prevalence enhances the reverence with which he is regarded. He is the custodian of the legislative mysteries. He and he alone can work the oracle. But the process is at present too deliberate; the wheels of the legislative machinery are clogged. Anything which will speed it will be eagerly welcomed by the neo-collectivists. The Parliament Act was one important step in the right direction; the Home Rule Bill is another. Devolution, therefore, is welcomed for its own sake, and not less for the promise it holds out of accelerated legislation.
Home Rule' thus presents itself in a fourth aspect, as glorified and extended local government. In this guise it can claim a wide allegiance. Most people believe that much of the work now concentrated at Westminster could be advantageously distributed among local bodies. Everyone is ready to utter a benediction on any reasonable scheme of ' devolution.' It is unnecessary, therefore, to labour the point. It is, however, pertinent to point out that there is more than one way of relieving the congestion of business in the existing House of Commons. It may be done by a process of decentralisation or devolution; it can be done not less effectively process of integration, by the creation of an Imperial Council, genuinely representative of the Empire as a whole.' Nor are the processes mutually exclusive. Even if an Imperial Council were to take over the supervision of foreign and Colonial policy, the control of emigration and immigration, Imperial defence, posts, telegraphs, means of communication, and the like, the Imperial Parliament might still find itself overburdened, and anxious to devolve upon local bodies, administrative and legislative, the control of strictly local affairs.
This point, however, must not be developed. Enough has been said to establish my primary contention that ‘Home Rule is protean in form. It may be synonymous with separation; to a logical 'nationalist' it can be hardly less. It may follow
'1 may perhaps be permitted to refer, in this connexion, to the scheme which I outlined in this Review in May 1911.
the lines already familiar in the evolution of Colonial self-government. It may appear under the alluring guise of federalism,
. or it may amount to little more than devolution, the extension of the sphere of local government.
Under which of these several guises is Home Rule presented in the scheme which Mr. Asquith, on behalf of his Ministry, has lately propounded to the House of Commons ?
Before an attempt is made to answer this question it may be desirable to indicate the salient features of the scheme.
The first is, the supremacy, unimpaired and inviolate, of the Imperial Parliament. The Prime Minister described this as the 'cardinal principle of the Bill, and it is obvious that no pains have been spared to render that supremacy as secure as a paper constitution can make it. * There is no question,' said Mr. Asquith, of the distribution or allocation as between a central and a local body of supreme legislative authority ... the Imperial Parliament can neither surrender nor share its supreme authority to or with any other body in any other part of his Majesty's dominions.' This doctrine of the sovereignty of the Imperial Parliament is expressly set forth in the first clause of the Bill : ‘Notwithstanding the establishment of the Irish Parliament or anything contained in this Act, the supreme power and authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom shall remain unaffected and undiminished over all persons, matters, and things within his Majesty's Dominions.'
The supremacy of the Imperial Parliament is, it would appear, to be secured in three ways : (1) By the power inherent in the sovereign Legislature to legislate for Ireland as for any other part of his Majesty's Dominions; (2) by the power expressly reserved in the Bill to nullify, amend or alter any Act of the Irish Parliament; and (3) by its control over the Imperial Executive, which has power under the Bill to veto or postpone the operation of any Act of the Irish Parliament.
In this connexion it is important and interesting to note Mr. Asquith's emphatic repudiation of one of the cardinal principles of federalism—the distribution of power as between a central and local Legislature. The Imperial Parliament is not to stand to the Dublin Parliament in the relation of the Dominion Parliament to those of Quebec or Alberta : from the jurisdiction of the omnipotent Legislature nothing is or can be reserved. On the other hand, the power of the Irish Legislature is to be inferior to that of Victoria or New South Wales, since the latter delegate to the Commonwealth Legislature only cer
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tain powers, within the limits of which its activities are legally confined. Clearly, then, the first principle of federalism is at the outset repudiated; there is no legal division of powers.
Subject, however, to the overriding supremacy of the Imperial Parliament, Ireland is to enjoy 'real autonomy' in regard to most Irish concerns. The Irish Parliament is to consist of the King and two Houses : a Senate and a House of Commons. The Senate is to consist of forty members holding office for eight years, and nominated in the first instance by the Imperial Executive, and afterwards by the Irish Executive. The number of the Lower House is to be 164, elected by the existing Irish Constituencies on the basis of one member for every 27,000 of the population. Ulster under this plan will get 59 members, Leinster 41, Munster 37, Connaught 25, and the Universities 2.
The constitution of the Senate indicates a wide departure from the precedents of 1886 and 1893, and, not on this account only, will demand much more justification than Mr. Asquith has so far vouchsafed. The Bill of 1886 provided for a single-chamber Legislature of two Orders, sitting, deliberating and voting, as a rule, together, though in certain circumstances apart. The first Order was to consist of 103 members, of whom seventy-five were to be elected on a comparatively high franchise and twenty-five were to be representative Peers of Ireland, elected, as at present, by the general body of the Irish Peerage. The device may have been adapted, though remotely, from the Norwegian Lagthing, but it was generally regarded as unhappy and fantastic, and is never likely to reappear. The Bill of 1893 accepted more frankly the bi-cameral principle and provided for a Legislative Council of forty-eight members elected on a twenty-pound franchise, as well as for a Legislative Assembly. In the event of a deadlock between the two Houses there was to be a joint sitting, and the question was thereupon to be decided by a simple majority.
Mr. Asquith has decided in favour of a nominated Senate. But the reasons for his choice are far from convincing. He rejected the plan of 1893 apparently from a dislike to the property. qualification of the proposed electors, and preferred a nominated Senate out of regard for 'the special circumstances of Ireland,' and with a view to safeguarding the interests of the minority. As the point is one of the most debatable in the whole Bill it may be well to transcribe Mr. Asquith's own words : 'It is most desirable to get in your Senate, if you can, the representatives of the minority, of persons who will safeguard the interests of the minority-persons who might not or who will not have a fair chance of election in a question of popular election; and it is still more desirable in Ireland that you should be able to draw for the purposes
Senate on resources which are not avail
able for the ordinary, everyday life of the community.' And such a Senate, in Mr. Asquith's view, can best be secured by confiding the nomination of it to the Imperial Executive, and then as vacancies occur to the Irish Cabinet. In eight years' time at latest, the whole Senate will thus be the creature of the local Executive. And this with a view to safeguarding the interests of the minority ! If Mr. Asquith
Asquith were not the most serious of contemporary politicians, it would be difficult to resist the conviction that in this matter he had been guilty of an elaborate but misplaced pleasantry. Any proposal more grotesquely inadequate to the achievement of its professed object, more incongruous with its avowed motive, it is almost impossible to conceive. Mr. Asquith as a constitutional lawyer must have had all the precedents before him. There are Senates in plenty in the Over-sea Dominions of the King. Of these, five are wholly elected—those of Victoria, Western and South Australia, Tasmania and the Federal Senate of the Australian Commonwealth ; one, that of United South Africa, is as to four-fifths elected and as to one-fifth nominated ; seven are wholly nominated—those of New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and the Dominion of Canada. Of these, however, all are
, nominated for life, except that of New Zealand, which, since 1891, has been nominated for a term of seven years only.
The four Senates of the constituent Colonies of the United South Africa have already lapsed, but the fact may be recalled that that of Cape Colony was elected, that of Natal was nominated for ten years, and the Senates of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony for five. How far does the experience gained from the working of these Second Chambers afford ground for hope that the interests of a minority may safely be confided to a nominated Senate? One point must not escape notice. The Irish Senate, as proposed by Mr. Asquith, is to consist of forty members, neither more nor less. In thus defining the precise number he follows a precedent, general but not universal. To the Canadian Senate six members but no
. more may, under certain defined circumstances, be added. The Senate of the Australian Commonwealth consists of six members for each of the six constituent States, but the Federal Parliament is by the Constitution empowered to increase or diminish the numbers for each State, provided that the equal representation of the six original States be maintained, and that no original State shall ever have less than six Senators. In New South Wales the number of Senators has been increased from twenty-one to sixtyone, and it would seem that there is no legal or constitutional limit to the discretionary power of the Executive in the appointment of Senators. This principle has not, however, been established with