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Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

19 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT.…

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENT. I In a. few more days the new Parliament will meet and, although the December Session promises to be a comparatively short one, no politician doubts that it will have much signifi- cance. The announcement that the Houses would assemble on December 3 came as a surprise upon the public generally, and not least so upon the permanent officials of the Palace of Westminster. These had made up their minds that it would not be until the end of January at the earliest, though more probably the beginning of February, that the Legislature would meet; and they had accord- ingly been leading tha doleefar niente existence I n, which is accustomed to be theirs during a long recess. But then came a rude awakening from their dream, for the Chancellor of the Esohequer had had it borne in upon him that more money was required by the Treasury before Christmas, and that Parliament accordingly must be immediately called, Probably the only persons who rejoice over the fact are the newly elected members, who are deeply desirous to show themselves at Westminster in all their freshly-acquired glory to their sisters, and their cousins, and their aunts. There is nothing quite so pathetically ludicrous to an old parliamentary hand as the desperate endeavour of a new member, when surrounded by his female relatives, to show himself thoroughly at home: and, as this is almost the only kind of pleasure that the older member can fairly look forward to in a December Session, it is scarcely to be begrudged him. It may fairly be assumed that, by the time the Houses assemble, Parliament-street, the main thoroughfare by which the Palace of Westminster is approached, will be made clear for them. For months during the recess, half of it has been impassable by reason of certain excavations which are going on at its Westminster end, though why these were not undertaken at the time the street was widened and reconstructed only a couple of years ago proves a puzzle to all unacquainted with the ways of our public authorities. London during the present autumn, indeed, has suffered an unusual plague in the tearing up of the streets. Much of this, of course, has been due to the gigantic operations involved in the laying of the Govern- ment telephone system, which is intended to embrace the whole of the metropolis. Fleet- street, Ludgate-circus, and New Bridge-street have so far been especial victims, and those who have business in those thoroughfares have been able to possess their souls in patience, only because of the promise that their present difficulties will lead in the early future to the establishment of that vastly improved tele- phone service for which we so long have sighed. That very old gibe at the English people that they take their pleasures sadly has long been fading further away from whatever amount of truth it may originally have possessed and a further illustration of its general untrust- worthiness is just now being furnished in an account of the recreations chiefly favoured by the principal members of the reconstructed Cabinet. The Premier, as is well known, is devoted to chemistry and applied electricity, while no one is likely to be ignorant of the fact that Mr. Chamberlain loves orchids, and Mr. Balfour golf. The fact that the First Lord of the Treasury give much time to cycling, to which pastime he is about to add motor-car driving-and the Colonial Secretary to photo- graphy^ not, however, matter of such common knowledge, and the same is to be said of the statements that the new President of the Board of Trade does a little shooting, and that the Secretary for India is fond of cricket. But whether the information be new or old, it at least possesses that element of human interest which always attaches to an acquaintance with the personal habits of famous folk, for it sup- plies just that one touch of nature which makes the whole world kin. Some projects of much importance intimately affecting London are to be laid before the new Parliament early next year in the shape of projects privately promoted, and certain of these will have to deal with the ever-increasing difficulty of locomotion in the metropolis. The striking success of the Central London Railway, now much more commonly known as u the twopenny tube," which runs from the Bank of England to Shepherd's-bush, is naturally stimulating the promotion of other lines of the same kind; and, in addition to those which even now are in rapid course of construction, one is projected from the heart of the City to Hammersmith: which would go under Fleet- street and the Strand, and which, if conflicting interests could be adjusted, would be welcomed by all. Other similar projects are being for- warded to the Private Bill Office, and enter- prising investors will more and more be tempted to put their money into these domestic schemes than into wild-cat or imagi- nary enterprises abroad. Another private bill which will be submitted to Parliament partakes of a public rather than a local character, though it especially affects London: and that is the measure promoted by the Commissioners of Works and Public Buildings in order to secure certain premises abutting upon the western side of the National Gallery. It has long been recognised that the proximity of these premises to our greatest and most precious art collection was a source of danger but, as long as that danger could be described merely as theoretical, the authori- ties made no sign. When not so very long ago, however, the peril became practical by the breaking out of fire in one of these houses, it was impossible longer to hesitate; and the bill now being promoted will prevent the danger being incurred again. Apart altogether, in- deed, from the treasures of art involved, there is the question of their money value to be considered; and it would evidently have been false economy to have allowed this any longer to remain in risk. I Preparations for the census continue to be busily made, the latest evidence of these being afforded by the circular which has been issued by the Registrar-General to local bodies throughout the kingdom requesting their assistance in obtaining local business men of standing and experience as enumerators for the purpose of taking the census next April. In order to enable such men to undertake the work, it is proposed to sub-divide the districts, so that each enumerator shall have to collect only about three hundred papers, which may be conjectured to contain some one thousand five hundred names; and there need not be much doubt entertained as to a suf- ficient number of qualified persons offer- ing to assist in the task. The question of absolute accuracy is the most im- portant one in regard to the taking of the census; and it may be fairly assumed that every precaution will be taken to avoid at the next census any repetition of the doubt which was entertained at Liverpool, for instance, on the last occasion. The authorities of that city were so astonished at that period at the number given as its population, which was much smaller than had been anticipated, that there was some talk of a possible re-count; and though that came to nothing, the most elaborate steps may be anticipated this time to make any similar doubt impossible. Something is promised to be heard in the House of Commons next Session as ,to the desire of certain devotees of the automobile— ebe earlier term motor-car seems just now to have largely gone out of fashion-to secure what has been called "free trade in pace." The present limit, though to the ordinary man it seems liberal enough, risks those striving souls who wish to dash through the country at lightning speed and they contend that they should be allowed to; go «« fast as ever they like, with only the common law restriction of liability to action for damage. In support of this con- tention they put forward the thesis that every person ought to be taught to take care of him- self; but there would be extremely little chance for a child or an aged lady on a country road, when an automobile was tearing along at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour, this enabling it to be out of sight before any specific damap-e could be alleged asainst its driver. ° ° R. I

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