WHAT HO, A PLOT!

Charitable observers suggest that the Conservative party in England is suffering from midsummer-madness for some of its leaders are preparing to embark upon a course which would certainly dilute the democratic element in its parliamentary system. Nothing short of a remodification of the House of Lords is proposed.

In 1911 the Liberal party after a decisive mandate from the electorate, emasculated the ancient and honorable House of Lords by reducing its veto on non-financial legislation to the power of delaying a given bill for two years. The lords have continuously been Conservative, almost to a man; and the present cabinet is hoping to coin their temporary popularity in the Commons into a mint of future strength. The power of the lords is to be positively restored by providing that all bills from which the upper house dissents will be drawn up by a committee of sixty, divided equally between the two houses and shared among the parties according to relative strength. These compromise bills cannot then be amended by either house, but must be accepted or rejected as a whole. Since the Conservatives are soon to control the lords and at least a third of the Commons, the Conservatives will be assured of a majority in case a Socialist majority in the lower house tries to change in a radical manner the present system of government.

This proposal, if formally placed before the Commons, will be greeted by how is of indignation and lacerated pain by the minority, which may be able to force a general election. In that case, it is likely that the electorate will avenge itself upon the offending Tories. The minority intends, at all events, to move slowly in so hazardous a cause, but that so retrogressive a stop is contemplated and even supported by a large section of British political opinion, shows to what straits property and prestige are being driven to maintain their predominance in the civic structure.