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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

Democracy the Future Government

Democracy the Future Government.

There can be no manner of doubt that the future govern- page 4 ment of this country must be that of a democracy, that is to say, a government Of the people, For the people, and By the people. "When I say a government For the people I mean the whole people and not any class or section of the people. In the past New Zealand has been governed for a section of the people, the squatters and plutocrats, but in the future the whole people will be considered, and their interests alone will be the standard and criterion by which the utility of laws will be tested. (Cheers.) The peace and good order of the State can never be preserved without a just appreciation of the rights of all, and no section of the people, least of all the great mass of the toilers, can long be despoiled or oppressed without permanent injury to the State. Cicero, in his essay "Concerning Duties," gives the following illustration of the evils of class legislation, such as afflicted this country under the regime of the Tories, who, by the agency of the National Tory Associations, are again trying to foist themselves on the country:—" Suppose that the several limbs of the body were of opinion that they should be strong, if they could severally draw to themselves the strength of the adjacent members, it must result that the whole body would be debilitated and die; so if we were severally to appropriate the rights of others, and wrest all we could from others for our own profit, the necessary result is that the society and intercourse of mankind would be deranged."

Democracies firmly hold to the principles enunciated by Plato for the management of a State. "First, to secure the interests of one's fellow countrymen so far as to refer to them all their actions, irrespectively of personal advantage; and secondly, to consider the general body of the State, lest while protecting any one interest they may sacrifice the rest."

The three great watchwords of Democracy are Progress, Equality, and Justice, while the principles of Colonial Toryism may be summed up in the words "Privilege and undue advantage to the rich." There are now fortunately in the politics of New Zealand clear lines of demarcation between the supporters of equal justice to all men and the reactionaries who style themselves Conservatives. Electors need no longer be puzzled or hoodwinked by the promises of individual members of Parliament. There is a solidarity among the two parties, the friends of the people and the friends of monopoly and privilege. The Tories are continually denying that there are any clear party lines or party issues, and they and their satellites in the Press do not cease to advise the electors to ignore party cries and elect "good" men, by which they mean "rich" men and reactionaries. Gentlemen, do not forget that every step in advance in the United Kingdom during the past half century has been won by the strength of a united Liberal party, (cheers) and that a Parliament elected without reference to party would be a helpless page 5 conglomeration of undisciplined atoms entirely incapable of exerting the overwhelming political strength necessary to effect great reforms. (Applause.) I would ask you, "Can men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles," and can you expect progressive measures from men whose highest ideal of a prosperous commonwealth is one wherein reigns permanent political torpor? (Hear, hear.)