Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

18 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



LONDON CORRESPONDENCE. [We deem it right to that we do not identify our. selves with our Corro-<poiiuent'3 opinions. J The opening of the fourth session of the present Parliament did not ditfer much from previous opening*, except as regards the enforced absence of the Prime Minister, who muat still obey the orders of Dr. Andrew Clarke, Her Majesty so seldom appears in person on such occasions now that the reading of the Queen's Speech by Hoyal Commission was accepted as a matter of course. There was a Bradlaugh demonstration about the purlieus of Palace-yard, following an earlier one at Trafalgar- square but an announcement in the House of Commons, elicited by a question put by Mr. Labouchere, that the Government intended soon to introduce an Anirmation Bill, had the expected effect of dispersing the mob, which had a large infusion of roughs and pickpockets. It had evidently been prearranged that Mr. Bradlaugh's colleague in the representation of Northampton should put a question with respect to the bill in order that the Attorney-General might have an early opportunity of stating what -were the intentions of the Government. But no sooner had the words stating that a measure of the kind would be immediately forthcoming, crossed the lips of the legal functionary of the Government, than Sir Richard ('ross-who had acted as leader of the Opposition in Sir Stafford ISorthcote's absence in the latter part of the autumn session—at once indicated that it would evoke the strong hostility of himself and the Conservative party. It may therefore be ex- pected that the b II, when it gomes to the stage of ft second reading in the fjouse of Commons, "will give rise to prolonged and heated debates, and there is no saying what fate may befall it in ithe House of Lords. In the Globe it has received the signiiicanttitleof the "Bradtaugh Relief Bill." Whatever shortcomings may characterise the proceedings in the House of Commons, it cannot be accused of showing any falling-off in talking power. Hath"r does it seem to try to excel itself in that respect session after session. In the House of Lords the debate on the Address in reply to the Queen's Speech seldom lasts beyond one setting; but in the House of Commons it has now bee- me fee practice to carry It on de die o in diim for a whole week or more. The speeches ^Tade in that prolonged debate, whether by supporters of the Government, or by members of the Opposition, are generally r»chaujje of leading articles that have appeared in the Newspapers, and they accordingly form very irksome reading -when that task is gone through as a matter of duty-to those who are well posted up in public affairs. Already it is pretty evident that the pieno de resistance this session will be the bill for including the whole metropolis under one Municipal Government. By whom the bill will be intro- duced does not seem yet to have been definitely (xed, though it may fall to the lot of Sir Charles J!>ilke. The remarks made by Alderman Fowler in the House of Commons indicated a conciliatory disposition on the part of the Corporation of London—the more intelligent members of which seem to have become persuaded that a change is inevitable, and that it is better to yield with good gra-e than to keep up any longer a fruitless, stubborn resistance. This question, though it properly comes under the category of local government, is one that possesses interest for the whole country, as it will give to the metropolis what it has long felt the need of, and what will place it in a better position, as regards weight and influence, than it has hitherto occupied. Mr. Buchanan, the new member for Edinburgh, was not far wrong when he said, in seconding the motion for the Address, that the placing of London under one Municipal Conncil, presided over by one Lord Mayor, would be one of the greatest administra- tive triumphs of the age." There is something rather startling in the official statement that the North London Rail- way Company has been defrauded by upwards of ten thousand passengers within six months. The fraud consisted in travelling, to and from suburban stations, in a higher class of carriage than that for which fare was paid. It may be surmised that in a large percentage of the cases the fraud was unintentional, as passengers, going to and returning from the city, have often to make a rush to the first doors that are open, heedless of the class, in order to avoid losing the train. Another reason is that the third-class carriages are often so over-crowded that pas- sengers with third-class tickets must either get into first or second-class carriages, or remain Jbehind on the platform for another train. The question of fraud, as between railway 'companies and railway paiaengers, has two sides. "When a passenger who ha3 taken his ticket and paid for his seat finds himself pushed by an obliging porter or guard into a compartment -where he has to stand, along with others in a eimilar plight, between two closely-packed rows of sitters, he has the not unnatural feeling that he is the victim of fraudulent treatment by the rompany, who subject him besides to the annoy- ance of making desperate efforts to maintain his equilibrium when there is any jolting of the train. There is some justification for passengers claiming a right to take a seat in a second or first class carriage when they cannot obtain one in the third-class niter they have purchased their tickets. On some of the suburban lines-the London. Chatham, and Dover in particular-the want of third-class accommodation gives rise to loud clamours and complaints, morning and evening, every day of the week except Silnday. If the directors could only get the benefit of the denun- ciations which are hurled at them by irritated passengers, they might probably be induced to feel that they ought to do something on behalf of the comfort of the long-suffering general public. There is seldom one-half of the number of third-class carriages required attached to the morning and evening trains; and as intending passengers are anxious to get to the city in good time for business, and equally impatient to get home again when business is over, the grievance is a palpable one and demands remedy. If rail- way companies can make charges against pas- sengers, the latter can, in their turn, bring charges against railway companies. It is fortunate for the members of the Danubian Conference, now sitting in London, that Parliament has met so soon after it com- menced its work. The members will thus have an opportunity of seeing how the mother of Parliaments discharges her duties and conducts her proceedings. A European status, to which they have hitherto been strangers, is accorded to Roumania, Servia, and Bulgaria by the presence of their representatives at the conference, though the chief business will, of course, be transacted by the delegates of the Great Powers. D. G

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