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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

True Representation

True Representation.

That we have not now got true representation in Parliament must be patent to anyone who reflects. The true principle of government is the government of the whole people by the whole people equally represented. That is a very different thing from what we have got—viz., the government of the whole people by a majority of the people exclusively represented. Sometimes the elections are won by the barest majority, and an immense minority is unrepresented. The result of the last elections left certain classes and interests unrepresented. Indeed, some of those who went into Parliament would never have got there at all except for their artfully pronounced bias against certain classes and interests. By the present system the wisest and best men in the Colony get defeated by noisy, self-assertive carpet-baggers, who only take to politics for a living when all else fails them; as if, forsooth, those who cannot successfully manage their own affairs can successfully manage the more complicated affairs of the nation. What a delusion! (I except those who fail not through their own fault but through the fault of others.) But one test of a men's prospects of successfully managing the affairs of our 650,000 colonists is this: How has he managed his own affairs? Members in pecuniary embarrassment are exposed to temptations which people well off escape. The former are not their own masters, and cannot afford to be independent or to refuse office. Their very impecuniosity makes some men desperately anxious to get into Parliament, and they promise the electors impossible things to secure election. When elected they cannot hold their heads erect as among equals and be impartial to all classes.