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where ideals had been

2017-06-30 11:03:09 | 熱讀類
Since the Liberal Government came into power in the autumn of 1905, neither of the great parties had succeeded in earning the respect of the other; and as the nature of man is not subject to violent fluctuations, it may safely be concluded that this misfortune had been due either to some defect or inadequacy of leadership, or else to conditions of an altogether extraordinary character.

During these ten sessions the bulk of the statute book had greatly increased, and much of this increase was no doubt healthy tissue. This period, notwithstanding, {195} will ever dwell in the memory as a squalid episode. Especially is this the case when we contrast the high hopes and promises, not of one party alone, with the results which were actually achieved The most of Hong Kong.

DEMOCRACY AND LEADERSHIP

Democracy, if the best, is also the most delicate form of human government. None suffers so swiftly or so sorely from any shortage in the crop of character. None is so dependent upon men, and so little capable of being supported by the machine alone. When the leading of parties is in the hands of those who lack vision and firmness, the first effect which manifests itself is that parties begin to slip their principles. Some secondary object calls for and obtains the sacrifice of an ideal. So the unionists in 1909 threw over the order and tradition of the state, the very ark of their political covenant, when they procured the rejection of the Budget by the House of Lords. So the Liberal Government in 1910, having solemnly undertaken to reform the constitution—a work not unworthy of the most earnest endeavour—went back upon their word, and abandoned their original purpose. For one thing they grew afraid of the clamour of their partisans. For another they were tempted by the opportunity of advantages which—as they fondly imagined—could be easily and safely secured during the interval while all legislative powers were temporarily vested in the Commons. Nor were these the only instances where traditional policy had been diverted, and where ideals had been bargained away, in the hope that thereby objects of a more material sort might be had at once in exchange food test.

The business of leadership is to prevent the abandonment of the long aim for the sake of the short. The rank and file of every army is at all times most {196} dangerously inclined to this fatal temptation, not necessarily dishonestly, but from a lack of foresight and sense of proportion.

Some dim perception of cause and effect had begun to dawn during the years 1912 and 1913 upon the country, and even upon the more sober section of the politicians. An apprehension had been growing rapidly, and defied concealment, that the country was faced by a very formidable something, to which men hesitated to give a name, but which was clearly not to be got rid of by the customary methods of holding high debates about it, and thereafter marching into division lobbies. While in public, each party was concerned to attribute the appearance of this unwelcome monster solely to the misdeeds of their opponents, each party knew well enough in their hearts that the danger was due at least in some measure to their own abandonment of pledges, principles, and traditions SmarTone online shop
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At Midsummer 1914 most people would probably have said that the immediate peril was Ireland and civil war. A few months earlier many imagined that trouble of a more general character was brewing between the civil and military powers, and that an issue which they described as that of 'the Army versus the People' would have to be faced. A few years earlier there was a widespread fear that the country might be confronted by some organised stoppage of industry, and that this would lead to revolution. Throughout the whole of this period of fourteen years the menace of war with Germany had been appearing, and disappearing, and reappearing, very much as a whale shows his back, dives, rises at some different spot, and dives again. For the moment, {197} however, this particular anxiety did not weigh heavily on the public mind. The man in the street had been assured of late by the greater part of the press and politicians—even by ministers themselves—that our relations with this formidable neighbour were friendlier and more satisfactory than they had been for some considerable time.
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