Monday, November 29, 2010

Today -100: November 29, 1910: Of elections

The British Parliament is dissolved, with the second general election of the year to be held in December. It will be fought largely on the issue of the legislative veto of the (overwhelmingly Tory) House of Lords. The king has promised Prime Minister Asquith that if the Liberals win another election and the Lords remain stubborn, he will name as many new peers as are needed to pass the veto – and it could be hundreds. But Asquith is not allowed to tell the public this because of the traditional secrecy of communications between prime ministers and monarchs.

Ireland is also an important election issue, with the Liberals promising Home Rule and the Tories – most of whom call themselves Unionists precisely to highlight this – promising to continue ruling Ireland from London. We’re just beginning to see the notion of a divided Ireland emerge as a response to the imminence of Home Rule. A meeting of delegates from Ulster adopts a resolution to refuse to pay any taxes or obey any laws passed by a parliament in Dublin. It also plans to set up an Ulster militia and purchase arms. (I suspect their definition of Ulster is 9 counties, rather than the 6 that wound up being excluded from the Republic of Ireland).

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