Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today -100: January 24, 1913: Of coups, suffrage, white gloves, and fear

The Ottoman cabinet and the grand vizier resign, evidently in the face of popular opposition to the humiliating surrender they propose in the Balkan War. And by popular opposition, I mean revolution or coup or putsch or something. Maybe all of the above. The Young Turks and the military are now in charge.

The Franchise Reform Bill is making its way through the British Parliament. It includes universal male suffrage, eliminating plural voting (people owning property in more than one constituency could vote in each of them) and a shorter registration period. But here’s the tricky bit: since both the Liberal and Unionist parties are split on the question of women’s suffrage (Labour is in favor, but doesn’t have many MPs), there will be a free vote on four competing women’s suffrage amendments. If one of the amendments wins, the government is committed to using the Parliament Act to override the inevitable veto in the House of Lords. Militant suffrage organizations have called a truce to the burning of letter boxes and such to deprive Antis of that excuse, but they suspect a trick.

And here it is: the Speaker of the House of Commons, to most people’s surprise, rules that a women’s suffrage amendment would so alter the character of the bill that it would have to start all over as a new bill (kind of a bullshit ruling, and contrary to the precedent of the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884, to both of which women’s suffrage amendments were proposed – and laughed out of the Commons), which there is no time to do. The Liberal government can either proceed with the bill without a vote to include women’s suffrage, or abandon it altogether. Either move would bring great clouds of Pankhurst wrath on it.

Washington DC is now overstocked with white kid gloves, due to the cancellation of the Inaugural Ball.

Headline of the Day -100: “Murderer Dies of Fear.” Of the electric chair, with which he had a February 10th appointment.

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