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NOTES ON NEWS. There was never any doubt that the Govern- ment would carry their Budget through the House of Commons by large BATTLE majorities, even though it is OF THE being freely stated that many BUDGET. of the wealthier members of the Ministerial party are not at all in love with several of the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Apparently the spirit of party loyalty was strong enough to prevent their voting against the second reading, for the division list shows that none of the Liberal members voted in the No" Lobby. Of course the Labour members voted to a man in favour of the Budget, and equally of course the Nationalists voted to a man against it. The second reading was carried by a majority of one hundred and fifty-seven, which, counting Labour members with the Government, and Nationalists with the Opposition, is very little below the normal majority. Though the second reading is passed, however, the fight on the Budget is by no means finished. Land and liquor taxes, death duties and super-tax still arouse strong feeling and determined opposi- tion, and even when the Finance Bill Anally leaves the Commons, as it will doubtless do, substantially unchanged, there remains the question of how the Lords will deal with it. There are abundant signs that the majority in the Upper House would like to give it short Shrift, and they will certainly attempt to alter it considerably. Until that happy day comes when we are all united together under one mutual vine and fig tree, we have to recognise that POLICE some nation has got to be OF THE responsible for the pacific OCEAN. control of the ocean. Who shall it be P The foregoing is a passage from a speech of the First Lord of the Admiralty the other night, and his auditors immediately supplied the answer—" England." Mr. McKenna went on to say that no other nation had the same right as we to the duty of poii jirap; the sea. Our mission must be one of peace," he sail, mul nobody will be disin- clined to agree with him. It has frequently been said that we should regard our great ex- penditure upon naval armaments as an insurance premium for the protection of our commerce and the Empire. In the present state of things this is a simple statement of fact. We are the greatest traders in the world, and our ships laden with merchandise are on every sea. While the right of capture of unoffending trading ships in war time has the sanction of the Powers, we have no choice but to maintain a great Navy—the greatest Navy, in fact. We may hope with all our hearts that that happy day of the mutual vine and fig-tree will come at last, but in the meantime there can be no rest nor time for dreaming. People who are constantly talking about the good old times" may be recommended to study the remarkable statistics THE recently published in a Blue GOOD OLD Book relating to the public TIMES." health and social conditions in this country during the last half-century. They will then probably be constrained to admit that if the old times were good these times are a good deal better. The book might justly be entitled "Fifty Years of Social Progress," for there is scarcely a page in it which does not show a decided advance upon the condition of things fifty years ago. People live longer, their environment is healthier, they live in better houses, earn more money, are better educated, and commit fewer crimes. In nothing is the progress more marked than in the improvement which has taken place in the public health. Better methods of sanitation, improved water supply, the pulling down of disease-breeding rookeries, the measures taken to prevent overcrowding, the isolation of patients suffering from infectious diseases, have been the principal causes of reducing the death- rate from 22 to 15 per 1,000 during the last thirty years. Life nowadays is in many ways harder and more strenuous than it used to be, but it is certainly cleaner, sweeter, and more wholesome. So much fuss was made over the ludicrous airship scare a few weeks ago that there was some excuse for the German THE people thinking that the BETTER greater number of the people WAY. in these isles had suddenly t&ken leave of their senses, and were lying in their beds, unable to sleep, and shivering in abject terror of bombs being dropped upon the roofs of their houses from the skies. The noise, however, was made by a very few people, as noises have been before, and the vast majority remained sane and undisturbed. Some few people's nerves are perhaps still in a rather "jumpy" condition, but it will be a lung time before they venture to say anything about airships again. The scare, however, like that which has been manufactured out of the story that this country is overrun with German spies, has its significance. It is always, it seems, Germany which is the spectre behind all these things. Germany is the sinister enemy who keeps British patriots awake o' nights. Now, whatever may be the actual state of affair3 between the two countries, now or in the future, nothing will be gained bv getting excited about it. The better way is for the people of both countries to get to know one another, and they will find that, deep down in their hearts, the desire to live in peace and goodwill is very real and strong. Excellent progress towards this end has been made in the past year or two by the visits which have been exchanged between representative bodies, and not the least important of these is the visit to Germany now being paid by the party representing the chief religious denominations of this country. In a speech the other day Mr. Balfour said that our weather is of so monotonously bad a description that it is never OUR worth recording in any news- WOMJEKFUL paper. Now, whatever may WEATHER be said of our weather, it is not monotonous. It is often bad, and frequently worse than that, but it has always the considerable charm of variety. One never knows what it is going to do next. One day the almanack and the sunshine may delude lis into the belief that the hot weather has come at last, and we put on our lightest clothing and prepare to enjoy ourselves. The next day there is no sunshine, and rain and cold winds send us back several months in the calendar. April and May were delightful months, and created records for themselves in the matter of sunshine. Flaming June," however, has been more like chill October. Decidedly there is nothing monotonous about English weather. Just now the southern districts are getting all the clouds and rain, while the people in the north are having more than the average amount of sunshine. The temperature, however, is every- I where low, and it may be noted by those who take an interest in such things that it is warmer in Iceland than in England.

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