By the EARL OF WICKLOW Before the by-elections were held, Mr. de Valera declared that if the Government should lose any of the three seats, he would go to the country; he has been true to his word, and we are to have a General Election in the New Year, presumably in January. party can supply this need remains A statement has been issued, in which he says:—" A Government whose position has been weakened and might be questioned could not hope to deal effectively with the conditions whicb may confront the country in the coming year. An opportunity must be given to the people to indicate their will and to give their judgment."
The statement shows a fine sense of democratic responsibility.
It would not, however, be altogether cynical to observe that a particularly able politician. which Mr. de Valera undoubtedly is, will realise that ;he new party's chances of success are likely to be less at an early General Elation than in 18 months titne when the statutory lifetime of the Dail will come to an end.
This is, however, mere speculation; the fact is that what has just happened shows that the Government now have to face a more determined and aggressive opposition than at any time since the Fianna Fail party first came into power.
Mr. Sean MacBride and his party, the Clann na Poblachta, are a political force to be reckoned with. Two out of the three constituencies. Co. Dublin and Tipperary, have returned a Clann na Poblachta candidate, thus dpfeating the Fiana Fail (Gov eminent) candidates; in the third constituency, Waterford. there was a fairly easy win for the Fianna Fail candidate, and the Clann on Poblachta were at the bottom of the poll.
THE REASON WHY Electorates, like racehorses, are independent creatures, and it is often hard to tell why political swings do take place. The great attraction of the new party probably is that it is both new and young, while its policy, which has nothing very original about it, is most remarkable for being a synthesis of the programmes of the other established parties.
It should also be pointed out that in each case Mr. MacBride and his colleague won owing to the system of proportional representation which we follow in this country: in first preference votes they came second to the Fianna Fail candidate, but gained their majority' on the second preference. There is no doubt that Mr. de Valera remains an extremely popular figure in the country, but it is unlikely that the same could be said of his party; it seems that, especially among the younger generation, there is an increasing sense that fresh blood is needed in the political world, and more drastic measures for dealing with the difficulties of modern life. Whether the new