the basis of Irish society. It is to be supposed
that, when the whole Unionist Party addresses itself
seriously to the question, it will give further and
careful attention to the principles of reform before
setting up this, or some other, executive machinery.
I can think of no more thirsty or fruitful field in
Ireland for the exercise of the highest constructive
statesmanship that the Party may possess. The
need is urgent, the time is ripe, all the circumstances
are favourable. The Old Age Pensions Act and
the Insurance Act, if not vitiated by further increases
in Irish taxation, will greatly simplify the task of
Poor Law Reform. The former Act has reduced the
number of old inmates in the workhouses; the Insurance
Act should lead to a reduction in expenditure on outdoor
relief. Moreover, it may be hoped that the infirm
and pauper classes will be henceforward, like the
old age pensioners, a diminishing fraction of the
population of Ireland. They are, to a large extent,
flotsam and jetsam over the sea of Ireland’s
political troubles. Land agitation, with its
attendant vices of restlessness and idleness, the
emigration of wage-earners, the discouragement of industry
under Governments indifferent to the administration
of law and the development of national resources,
have all contributed to the Dantean horrors of the
Irish workhouse system. These poor people are
an excrescence on the body of Ireland which good government,
if it does not wholly remove, may reduce nearly to
vanishing point. Hitherto the chief rewards and
blessings of British administration in Ireland have
gone to the hard voters and to the strong agitators.
It is time for the Unionist Party to think of the
hapless, the helpless, the voteless, and, therefore
voiceless, elements in Irish life. Ireland, as
she becomes better educated, gives more thought and
truer thought than formerly to her social and economic
problems. Her gratitude and loyalty will go in
abundant measure to those who take counsel with her
about these problems and help her to solve them.
The Government which cleans up many sad relics of
the past by a complete reform of the Irish Poor Law
system will put all Irishmen and Irishwomen under
a deep sense of obligation to it. Policy, not
less than duty, should give this reform a place in
the forefront of the Unionist Party’s constructive
programme for Ireland.
IRISH EDUCATION UNDER THE UNION
BY GODFREY LOCKER LAMPSON, M.P.
Education is probably the most sorrowfully dull of
all dull subjects. It is difficult to repress
a yawn when the word is mentioned. Yet we owe
everything to it that we value most. Through it
we become emancipated citizens of the world.
Through it we are able to appreciate what is beautiful
and what is ugly, what is right and what is wrong,
what is permanent and what is merely transitory.
If the people of a country can make it their boast
that they are truly educated, they need boast of little
else, for all the rest will have been added unto them.