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480 supporters of the Coalition, of whom two-thirdssay 350-were Unionists and one-third-say 130-Lloyd Georgian Liberals.* These figures are now somewhat less, not so much because of lost by-elections, as because a number of the Unionists have formally requested that the epithet Coalitionist' should no longer be applied to them. The last Parliamentary Companion' puts the mystic letters CU to only 335 names, and before some of these it would appear to be decidedly misplaced. But, at any rate, the Government majority at any important division of the last four years ought to run to over 420 Liberal and Unionist votes, after allowing for a reasonable percentage of absentees from illness or other unavoidable causes. We must not credit them with any casual Labour or Asquithian votes which may chance to fall to them, on occasions when the Coalition is at the moment bringing forward some measure opposed to Conservative principles.

When we examine actual divisions on crucial questions, we soon discover that the Coalition never gets anything like the total number of votes to which-on paper calculation-it is entitled. Indeed, its voting power often appears contemptibly small-yet its bills go through, because of deliberate abstention on the part of Unionists. The third reading of the Home Rule Act which established the Northern and Southern Irish parliaments was carried on Nov. 11, 1920, by 183 votes to 53. The important debate on Mr Montagu's treatment of the Punjab officials ended (as we mentioned above) in a division of 230 to 129. At the end of the bitter discussion about the Prime Minister's bargain with the Irish Free State,' on Dec. 14, 1921, there was, indeed, a full House, and the Government got 401 votesbut of these 63 belonged to Labour men, 18 to Asquithian Liberals, 4 to Irish nationalists, 103 to Coalition Liberals -so that we find that of 338 Coalition Unionists then in the House only 207 voted acceptance of the bargain. As 58 voted against it, we see that over 70 chose to absent themselves altogether. Considering the pressure that

Owing to difficulties in the classification of certain individuals, and doubts as to whether they can be said to have received the 'coupon' or not, no two lists of parties at the first meeting of the present Parliament exactly tally in their figures.

had been brought to bear upon all members, we know that they must have been absent from intention and not from inadvertence. They refused to back the policy of Mr Lloyd George and Mr Winston Churchill; but they deliberately refrained from expressing their aversion to it, and thereby sacrificed one of the cardinal principles of the Unionist creed, to support which they had been returned at the last general election. The very name of Unionist, in which they still purport to take pride, should have recalled to them the fact that the preservation of the Union with Ireland had been the basic dogma on which their party came into existence, at the time of the first Gladstonian Home Rule Bill. It would appear that some people nowadays take it as a loose synonym for Coalitionist!

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But the proportion of so-called Coalition Unionists who abstained from giving any vote three months later, at the third reading of the Irish Free State Bill on March 8, 1922, was far more striking. The pressure applied to the recalcitrant was just as great as in the preceding December. But by this time the gilt was off the gingerbread'; it was clear that the Government's bargain with Messrs Griffiths and Collins was a much less successful piece of diplomacy than had been supposed -the Dail Eireann had been within a few votes of rejecting the treaty, and a vigorous Republican opposition to it was on foot. For the third reading of the Free State Bill the Ministry could only bring up 295 supporters, as compared with the 401 who had voted their approval on December 14. And of these 295 only 136 were Coalition Unionists-the remainder being Liberals of sorts or Labour men. Of the 336 Coalition Unionists in the House, therefore, after deducting the usual 52 ‘DieHards' voting in the minority, 136 appeared at the call of the Government whips, but 148 did not present themselves. Making all allowance for absences on account of illness, it is obvious that a long way over 100 of the party which is supposed to maintain the Coalition in office refused to vote, and that only a little over a third of it (136 out of 336) was ready to support the Government in its hour of need on the Irish Question. There was another interesting division a fortnight later [April 3] on the granting of the mandate to Mr Lloyd George to

take part in the Geneva Conference; at this 245 Coalition Unionists appeared to vote for the ministers-so that more than 100 voters who refused to put in an appearance to ratify the Cabinet's Irish policy were ready to back its commercial policy. On this occasion only 30 'Die-Hards' voted against the Genoa Mandate, and about 60 other Unionists did not show themselves in the House. How many of these last absented themselves because they disliked the Conference policy, and how many because they were indisposed, or far away from London, it would be impossible to say. But the former reason was certainly the more effective cause of nonappearance.

Is the policy of absention practised on many occasions by so many Unionist members justifiable? There is obviously a large body of these abstentionists-whose numbers may vary from 50 on one occasion to 150 on another, according to the particular question on hand. We must confess that we find their policy doubtful.

It is easy enough to find explanations for the conduct of Unionists who not merely stay outside the House, but actually vote for Government measures, however opposed these measures may be to the old Unionist creed. Many scores of them are in a greater or a lesser degree 'placemen': they hold some post-paid or unpaid—which they would lose at a change of Ministry. We have no reason to think that financial reasons secure their loyalty; but few men like to surrender a position which gives them some real (or fancied) importance among their fellows. Resignations on grounds of conscience have always been common at Westminster. But close observers are aware that non-resignations, when a departure has been expected for similar conscientious reasons, are also numerous. Some men-Lord Robert Cecil may serve as an example-have abnormally touchy consciences, and throw up office on points which seem of little importance to most of their fellows. But there is a larger number of placemen whose consciences act slowly when it is a question of giving up some position for which they have worked for years, and which represents to them either the summit of their ambitions, or at least a useful step towards that summit. And we must also remember that for every placeman in office,

there is another would-be placeman, who is watching every vacancy with a keen eye, and would be glad to enter the official circle if it can be done without too much violence to his creed or his pledges to his constituents. And, granted a certain amount of ability and tact, minor posts may be won by consistent good behaviour and obedience to the party whip-or if not even minor posts yet some honour-a knighthood or a Privy Councillorship-which many men hold desirable.

Over and above placemen or aspirants to place, there are undoubtedly scores of Unionist members who show a record of straightforward voting for Government measures through thick and thin. With some it may be a question of strict party loyalty their whips order them to go into the Aye or the No lobby, and they obey: theirs not to reason why.' The responsibility for the policy lies on their spiritual pastors and masters: the conscience of the party must be kept by its officials, who alone have that inner knowledge of the facts which govern that policy. We cannot believe that the 'blind obedience' section is a very large one: much more numerous are the members whose perpetual voting for every bill or amendment brought forward by the ministry is explained by well-reasoned-if not very avowablearguments.

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There are undoubtedly some scores of Coalition Unionist members who are now sitting for constituencies which before 1914 used to be reckoned old Liberal seats. They were won at the great general election of 1918 because great masses of the electors in the enthusiasm of victory and in blind admiration for the Prime Minister who had 'won the War' and given the celebrated Coupon,' voted contrary to their old habits and abandoned the Asquithian camp. Now the members who to-day hold these seats are firmly convinced that if at the next general election they were to stand as mere Unionists, they would not be successful. Their only hope of returning to Westminster is rooted in the notion that they must retain as many as possible of the Liberal votes given them in 1918; and this can only be done by persuading their constituents that they are still followers of a leader who in the old pre-war days was the typical advanced Liberal. That by continuing to call themselves Coalitionists they

disgust many of their original Unionist supporters, and may even cause some of them to abstain from voting at all, counts for little with these holders of uncertain seats. They rely on the hypothesis that at the last moment an old Conservative will vote for a Coalitionist, rather than for an Asquithian Liberal or a Labour candidate, because few men like to sacrifice their suffrage by a sulky abstention. The practical question is whether a sufficient number of the pre-war Liberal voters can be induced to repeat their action of 1918 in favour of a candidate who is avowedly not a Liberal. Many occupants of North-Country and other seats believe that this end can be secured, by keeping continually before the eyes of their constituents the fact that they remain enthusiastic supporters of Mr Lloyd George. They obey his orders on every occasion, and vote consistently for measures which no Unionist who thought of himself only as a Unionist could possibly approve. This attitude of mind is very comprehensible; but we are forced to declare that it is wholly selfish, and subordinates all political principles to the private end of securing a return to Westminster in 1923—or perhaps we may even have to say in the autumn of 1922.

There is, however, another section of consistent supporters of Coalitionism which is guided by a theory not so entirely based on private ambitions. They are obsessed day and night by a fear that only the personality of Mr Lloyd George stands between the State and Revolution. They have allowed themselves to be impressed by the gloomy picture which our present Lord Chanceller and certain other Coalitionist magnates are never tired of painting. They hold that nothing can justify any opposition to a Government which represents the union of all the forces opposed to anarchy. In an interesting speech made last session, a Coalition Unionist of this type spoke of the Indian, Irish and Egyptian questions as antiquated problems that had no importance compared with the great division of principle between Individualism and Collectivism. Those who brought them up were 'blind political pundits who were wrecking the chance of any ordered opposition to the doctrines of Socialism in this country.' Wherefore he besought all Unionists to sink their 'small' differences with the Government

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