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MR. EDWARD POWELL'S FIGHT…

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MR. EDWARD POWELL'S FIGHT IN SALOP. One of the hardest and most interesting fights for Liberalism is being waged by Mr Edward Powell in the Oswestry division of Shropshire. The Salopian character on the border line of England and Wales has its distinctive peculiarity, besides which, few counties are more politically dominated by territorial influence. In a county where farms are held on yearly tenancies, the agriculturist is largely at the mercy of his landlord, to please whom he must not only vote Tory, but contrive to politically in- fluence his servants. Of this no more con- vincing proof is needed than the shameless treatment of Mr Horne, which will remain a lasting reproach upon the intolerant land- lordism of Salop. Against all these adverse circumstances Mr Powell contends, and only a man of his -ability to reason with encrusted prejudice and to arrest a blind allegiance by the force of logical arguments and the effective presentation of uncontrovertible facts, could hope to successfully overcome them. Is it believable that the farm labourers in this part of Shropshire will prove them- selves so lamentably ungrateful to a Gov- ernment which has provided for the comfort, happiness, and independence of their aged fathers and mothers, by voting for Mr Bridgeman, who did his best to thwart the grant of old age pensions ? Are the rural wage earners silly enough to believe that the farmers will pay them higher wages on the strength of 2s a quarter more for wheat, in order to compensate them for the certain increased cost of food and every other necessary article of the household? Are they so completely insensible to their own interests as to close their minds against all the warnings which Mr Powell is utter- ing ? While the farmer must bow to the politi- cal behests of his landlord, let the farm- servant show himself an independent be- ing, fully alive to his own welfare and that of his family, and that he possesses a con- science upon which he sets so high a value that it cannot be bartered for the con- descending smile of a landlord or his high- placed emissaries. The landlord has everything to gain from Protection the humble wage-earner has everything to lose. A Tory house of Lords is the landlord's friend and the poor man's oppressor. These are not mere as- sertions. They are the resounding facts of history. Every man in the Oswestry divis- ion of Shropshire who is dependent on his labour must, if he thoroughly realises the serious import of this election, strive with heart and soul for the return of Mr Powell, and it is hardly necessary to remind all outvoters resident in Montgomeryshire of the duty they owe to themselves and the Liberal candidate, who is fighting so gal- lantly for righteous principles and for the humanities of politics against tremendous odds. FAIR PLAY. Speaking at Trefonen, Mr Edward Powell said that what Liberals wanted was fair play. If the electors said they wanted Tory measures, then the Liberals said not a word against them having them but if the people declared that they wanted Lib- eral measures, then let them have them (cheers). That was the reason why they were now appealing to the country. As to the reform of the House of Lords, they could deal with that, if necessary, when the Veto Bill was passed. It was, however, quite clear from the attitude of the peers that we should never get any real reform or anything approaching a representative Second Chamber if we relied upon obtain- ing the consent of the House of Lords. HECKLING AT PULVERBATCH. At Pulverbatch, Mr Powell delivered a vigorous speech on the House of Lords, and at the close was asked a number of ques- tions. One asked, "Supposing the Government created a thousand peers, was it not a fact that what had happened in the past would very likely happen in the future, they would go over to the Conservative party ? Mr Powell said they accepted in that re- spect. the peers' own resolutions, namely, that the possession of a peerage was not in itself to give the right to vote in the House of Lords. We were constantly being told that these peers were being created by the Liberal party. They would continue to be created just as knights and baronets were created, but neither a knight nor a baronet had any right as such to sit either in the House of Lords or the House of Commons. It was considered sufficient if they had that honour, and he did not see why it should not be the same with the peers. As to the creation of peers now for the carrying out of those resolutions, it was a very clumsy method. We did not want a thousand peers, but the creation of those peers was the only way by which we could get rid of the present stumbling block of the House of Lords! Another questioner: Do you believe in a second chamber ? Mr Powell: I do most certainly, and that is why we object to the present system, because we have not got it now (cheers). We have only an antiquated caucus of the Tory party, which blocks our nfeasures when we have a Liberal Government, and which, when the Tory party is in power, does nofr do its duty. Mr Hugh Hulton Harrop: What has happened to the 240 peers the Liberals have created ? Where are they now ? Mr Powell: I suppose if they are alive they are in their skins, and if they are dead they are in their graves (laughter). Most of them, I believe, have turned over, because the people who are created peers are people in high positions, and as peers they get out of touch with the people. In answer to another question, Mr Powell said there were taxes on 1,500 articles in the days of Protection, but Mr Gladstone removed the whole lot (cheers). Do you believe in building material com- ing in free ? Mr Powell: I do. The questioner: What good does that do the working men ? Mr Powell: It enables us to build cheap "houses and find more employment. Mr Hulton Harrop: Do you agree with ;Sir J. D. Rees when he says that all the stories about the food in Germany are so many fairy tales ? Mr Powell: I world much rather take the Board of Trade returns than the word of a man who has recanted everything he said in his election card last January. FORM IV. At Hope, Mr Powell discussed the ques- tion of small holdings and the land tax. Referring to Form IV., he said he would tell them another case where the record contained in those forms would come in useful. Supposing land was required in Shrewsbury on wmch to build a sehtool. They sought out the landowner, asked for a quarter of an acre, and he charged, as they had had cases, ten times its value. He heard of a case the other day in which a man bought seven acres of fend in another county, and the County Council wanted a quarter of an acre of it. THfe man actually asked for that quarter of an acre more than he had paid for the seven acres. It was in cases like that that Form IV. came in, and the Government said, This land fer which you ask £ 200, say, is down in the schedule as worth 120. We will not stop -you selling, but we ask you to pay 20 per cent. on the increased value" (cheers). Personally, he hoped they would go further, and that when land was required for public purposes or for housing the working classes, the owners should be compelled to sell at the valuation plus, say, 25 or 30 per cent. (sheers). Thus they saw the advantages of the land taxes and why the Liberals wanted them, and why he did not want the Tories to interfere with them. He did not think they would, although they would be safer if they saw to it that the Tories had no chance of interfering with them. AN INSOLENT HECKLER. Mr Sumner asked if Mr Powell would tell them his views on the referendum. Mr Powell said the suggestion for a re- ferendum in England came now from the Tory party. The experience of Australia and other countries which have adopted the referendum has been that if it is an unimportant measure, the people will not take the trouble to vote, the result, there- fore, was most unsatisfactory. If it was an important matter it was like having another general election. The referendum, there- fore, was most undesirable, and we should only have it put in force when a Liberal Government was in office. Mr Sumner: Nonsense! Nonsense! (laugh- ter). Mr Powell: Do not be rude, if you please. I do not talk nonsense. Continu- ing, Mr Powell said that we had never in the last hundred years had a Tory measure thrown out by the House of Lords. There- fore, if we had had a referendum, for the last hundred years it would never have been used when the Tory party was in office. He thought that was not nonsense, but sound common sense (loud cheers). When the Liberal Government was in office the House of Peers, to worry the Liberal Government, would be enabled to throw out any measure they liked, under the spurious pretext that the people didn't want it, so that on any measure the peers didn't want, the Liberals would have all the expense of a general election thrown on them, perhaps six months after they had been returned to power. They would see how absurd and one-sided such a referendum would be (applause). No great State in the world had got it in such circumstances. Mr Sumner: You say, "Trust Asquith." I say that you should trust no man. But supposing you do, and he is returned, what would be the result of another election ? Because Mr Asquith is a puppet—(inter- ruption and cries of Do not say puppet.") Mr Powell said he had spoken for over an hour, and he had never used any lan- guage insulting to the other side (cheers). Yet this gentleman told him that he was talking nonsense, and now he called the leader of the Liberal party, of whom they were all proud, a puppet (loud cries of "Shame"). That was not the way to con- duct a political contest (loud cheers). Mr Sumner: I withdraw it, and I will say he is the nominee of Mr Redmond (interruption). Mr Powell: That is equally insulting. Mr Sumner: Oh, then, it seems you don't want to hear the truth (laughter, amid which Mr Sumner rose from his seat and saying, "It is not worth my stopping here," left the room)

THE GENERAL ELECTION.

MOCHDRE.

NEWTOWJN.

LLANIDLOE3.

KERRY.

PENIEL.

LLANBRYNMAIR.

WELSHPOOL ROWDIES

MACHYNLLETH.

TO THE ELECTORS OF MONTGOMERY…

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1WELSHPOOL.