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of 1.7 per cent., and in order to make a true comparison it is necessary to take the actual figures per head of population.
Taking first the gross assessments to Income tax. On p. 34 of the fifty-eighth number of the Statistical Abstract for the United Kingdom Mr. Childers will find that between 1900 and 1910 the gross amount of Income brought under the review of the Inland Revenue Department in respect of England and Wales increased from 682,020,000l. 877,888,0001., a growth of 195,868,000l., or 28.7 per cent.; but on a per capita basis the increase was only 14.7 per cent. Within the same period the Gross Assessment of Scotland advanced from 76,213,000l. to 93,020,000l., an increase of 16,807,000l., or 22 per cent.; but on a per capita basis Scotland's increase was only 12 per cent. The Gross Assessment of Ireland in 1900 was 33,501,000l., and in 1910 it was 40,192,000l., an increase of 6,691,000l., or 20 per cent., which was equivalent on a per capita basis to 21 per cent. The gross assessments to Income tax therefore prove precisely what I stated-namely, that the welfare of the Irish people is improving more rapidly than that of the people of Great Britain.
With regard to the Irish trade returns, there is a gap between the official returns from 1826 to 1904; but it may be pointed out that in 1895 the late Sir Robert Giffen estimated the value of the exports at about 20,000,000l., and that of the imports at about 25,000,000l., making a total of only 45,000,000l., or not much more than one-third of their present value, and if returns were available showing the growth of Irish trade since land purchase first began to exert its beneficial influence, it is not unreasonable to assume that they would show such an improvement in the volume of Ireland's external trade as I have suggested. But taking the short period of 1904-10, even Mr. Childers is constrained to admit that there was an actual increase of 26 per cent. in the value of the external trade of Ireland, as compared with an increase of 31.4 (not 30 per cent., as stated by Mr. Childers) in the external trade of the United Kingdom; and making the comparison on a true basis, namely, per head of population, it will be found that the increase in the value of Irish trade during the period of 1904-10 was 27.2 per cent., as compared with an increase of only 22.8 per cent. for the United Kingdom during that period.
But the statement that the economic condition of the Irish people is improving at a more rapid rate than that of the British people rests upon a broader foundation than Mr. Childers appears to have any conception of. In the Banking supplement to The Economist of the 21st of October, 1911, Mr. Childers will find that between 1901 and 1911 the deposits in the Joint Stock
Banks of England and Wales increased from 634,346,000l. to 796,800,000l., a growth of 162,454,000l., or 25.5 per cent.; the deposits of the Scotch Joint Stock Banks decreased from 107,347,000l. to 106,633,000l., a diminution of 714,000l., or .7 per cent.; while the deposits of the Irish Joint Stock Banks increased from 48,428,000l. to 65,418,000l., an expansion of 16,990,000l., or 35 per cent. On a per capita basis there was an increase in the case of the English and Welsh Banks of 13.4 per cent.; in the case of the Scotch Banks a decrease of 7 per cent. ; and in the case of the Irish Banks an increase of 37 per cent.
Under the circumstances it is perhaps natural that Mr. Childers should regard the figures of increased trade and banking deposits as not altogether reliable indices of increased prosperity, so I would venture to direct his attention to the railway statistics. On pp. 319-321 of the Statistical Abstract already referred to, Mr. Childers will find that in 1896 the gross receipts of the railways of Great Britain amounted to 86,640,000l., and in 1910 they amounted to 119,451,000l., an increase of 32,811,000l., or 37.8 per cent. During the same period the gross receipts of the Irish railways advanced from 3,478,000l. to 4,474,000l., an increase of 996,000l., or 28.6 per cent. But on a per capita basis the increase in the case of the railways of Great Britain was only 18.5 per cent., as compared with an increase of 34 per cent. on the Irish railways.
If Mr. Childers would prefer to apply another test he might possibly like to take the net capital value of property on which Estate duty was paid. Owing to the occasional inclusion of large estates it would perhaps give a misleading result to make a comparison on the basis of a single year. In order to overcome this difficulty the writer has taken the four years 1896-7 to 1899-1900, and compared them with the four years 1907-8 to 1910-11 (the figures are given on p. 41 of the Statistical Abstract already referred to). During the first-named period the average value in the case of England and Wales 217,520,000l., and in the last-named period the average was 237,505,000l., showing an increase of 19,985,000l., or 9.1 per cent. In the case of Scotland the average in the first-named period was 23,568,000l., and in the last-named period 29,206,000l., an increase of 5,638,000l., or 24 per cent. In the case of Ireland the average amount for the first period was 12,190,000l., and for the last period 13,248,000l., showing an increase of 1,058,000l., or 8.6 per cent. But, again, making the comparison of a per capita basis, it will be found that in the case of England and Wales there was a decrease of 3 per cent., in the case of Scotland an increase of 15 per cent., and in the case of Ireland an increase of 11 per cent.
The statistics as to the number of paupers in receipt of relief, and the statistics as to insolvency, afford further confirmation of the view that Ireland is progressing more rapidly than Great Britain, but it is not necessary to go into details on these two points. The question of population is the final point to which attention may be directed. As already stated, within the past decade the population of Great Britain increased to the extent of 10.3 per cent., while that of Ireland declined to the extent of 1.7 per cent. It may be pointed out, however, that the intercensal decrease in Ireland was by far the lowest ratio of decrease reported since 1851. The increase of population in Scotland was only 6.4 per cent., the lowest rate of increase reported for any intercensal period with the exception of 1851-61; and the intercensal increase of population in England was 10.5 per cent., which was by far the lowest ratio of increase recorded since 1821. It may be doubted whether it is generally known that the volume of emigration from Scotland is now nearly twice as large as that from Ireland. In 1911 about 61,000 persons emigrated from Scotland, whereas only 30,573 emigrated from Ireland, the ratios being 12.8 per 1000 for Scotland and 7 per 1000 for Ireland.
The evidence that the economic condition of the Irish people under the Union is now improving at a more rapid rate than that of the people of Great Britain is incontrovertible, and there is every reason to believe that the advocates of Home Rule, who are now so eager to deny this improvement, would be the first, if Home Rule were granted, to search Ireland from end to end for evidence of the wonderful economic advance, which they would then have no difficulty in discovering and no hesitation in ascribing to the adoption of their policy. There is, of course, still a great disparity, as I have taken care to point out, between the national wealth and income of the people of Great Britain and that of the Irish people; but if the economic ties which at present bind Ireland to Great Britain remain unbroken and the constructive policy of the past fifteen years be continued, there is every reason to believe that the Irish people will make up the greater part of this leeway within a period and in a manner which will astonish the economic world.
THE RULE OF FUNK
IN the Times of the 16th of March I read the following announcement:
Mr. Sherwell has given notice of an amendment to Mr. Ormsby Gore's resolution on Syndicalism in these terms: That this House, while expressing its strong disapproval of all forms of incitement to acts of violence in connexion with social or political propaganda, is of opinion that the interests of the State and of social order could best be secured by immediate consideration of the causes of the unrest now and lately prevailing among the industrial classes.'
Nothing apparently came of Mr. Ormsby Gore's resolution, beyond a phantasmal debate. With the thought underlying Mr. Sherwell's amendment I am in full sympathy. The great -the greatest-problem now before the world is the reorganisation of industry upon an ethical basis. But I confess to much astonishment that Mr. Sherwell, with his experience of the House of Commons, should have invited that assembly to discuss it. Consider what the House of Commons really is. No doubt it contains intellects of the first order, perfectly able to grasp and solve the highest questions of statecraft. But those are not the subjects which engage their attention. Party,' Mr. Balfour once told his fellow-legislators, 'is the very breath of our nostrils,' and party issues so absorb their energies that other topics receive unwilling and scant consideration. Even those among them who have the pre-eminence supply conclusive evidence that this is so. Thus Mr. Lloyd George, the holder of a very important office, and accounted, by some, a man of light and leading, informed the House the other day that Socialism is the policeman of Syndicalism.' The writer of an able article in the Times1 observed, justly, that 'the remark, and the spirit of cheerful confidence it embodied, reveal a state of deep ignorance covered by a thin coating of treacherous knowledge, extremely dangerous at these times in a particularly active Minister.'
And if party leaders can so gravely misapprehend important public topics, what capacity for rationally dealing with them can be expected from the rank and file of the led? What, in
1 An article entitled 'Syndicalism.' It appeared on the 25th of March.
fact, is the average member of Parliament but claptrap made flesh and dwelling among us as a legislator? Ignorant of history, of finance, of political philosophy, his intellectual equipment is a set of commonplaces, platitudes, shibboleths, which he has never tried to think out, and very likely could not if he tried. 'How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue!' But it must be that sort of nonsense which bears the party imprimatur, or his place will soon know him no more. Sir Henry Maine has remarked that debates in the House of Commons may be constantly read which consisted wholly in the exchange of weak generalities and strong personalities.' To this we may add that they are the hollowest pretence in the world, for it is perfectly well known that honourable members must not give expression to any conclusion at which they may arrive in opposition to the party ukase. 'I have heard many speeches in Parliament,' a veteran legislator observed, which changed my opinion, but never one which changed my vote.' 'Non cogito ergo sum is the true account of the ordinary Parliamentary representative. If he once begins to think for himself, he is a doomed man. So was it with Mr. Belloc. So with Mr. Harold Cox, whom the University of Cambridge-or I suppose I should say the clerical electors of that seat of learning-rejected in favour of a gentleman doubtless full of mathematics but, politically considered, a simple vote."
And can it be otherwise when our system of party Government prevails? I do not see how. Let us look at the situation with eyes purged of cant. What is the real employment of the six hundred and odd gentlemen who assemble within those walls? They are engaged in playing the party game— perhaps the most demoralising of all forms of gambling. The prize for which they are contending is office. It is a question of Ins or Outs. Carlyle puts it very well:
A mighty question indeed! Who shall be Premier, and take in hand the rudder of government,' otherwise called the spigot of taxation'; shall it be the Honourable Felix Parvulus, or the Right Honourable Felicissimus Zero? By our electioneerings and Hansard debatings, and everenduring tempest of jargon that goes on everywhere, we manage to settle that; to have it declared, with no bloodshed, except insignificant blood from the nose in hustings-time, but with immense beershed and inkshed and explosion of nonsense, which darkens all the air, that the Right Honourable Zero is to be the man. That we firmly settle. Zero, all shivering with rapture and with terror, mounts into the high saddle; cramps himself on, with knees, heels, hands, and feet; and the horse gallops-whither it lists.