We were contemplating writing a provocative note on what the Government wouid do when faced with almost universal opposition to the main plank of its new Prime Minister's budget. Was bureaucracy to get away with it and force a tax on the country which nobody, least of all its own followers, wanted, and thus prove for ever that Parliament and people arc powerless counters in " democracy," or would ii give way? Before we could write Mr. Chamberlain gracefully yielded and dropped the tax. It remains to he seen whether the gesture is as candid as it appears to he, or whether he will not yet get his revenge on the City with a new tax of impeccable orthodoxy but even more unpleasant consequences.
It is a pity that the trial of strength should have been over a tax, the opposition to which was led by the financial interests upon which even Mr. Chamberlain so greatly depends. The threat to discontinue party subscriptions can make even a modern " democratic " ruler blench for its source is the ruler of us all, big money. The trial seemed scarcely a fair one. With Mr. Chamberlain's intentions everybody has sincerely or hypocritically sympathised, hut one of the lessons of the whole business is that the economic system today is so much of a piece that the attempt to distinguish between " clean" and " unclean " money and to tax the latter and not the former is well nigh hopeless.