Page:The English Constitution (1894).djvu/237

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
157
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

rules it, while ninety-nine ministers in the hundred are ruled by it, so here one noted man would rule his electors, but the electors would rule all the others.

Thus, the members for a good voluntary constituency would be hopelessly enslaved, because of its goodness; but the members for a bad voluntary constituency would be yet more enslaved because of its badness. The makers of these constituencies would keep the despotism in their own hands. In America there is a division of politicians into wire-pullers and blowers; under the voluntary system the member of Parliament would be the only momentary mouth-piece—the impotent blower; while the constituency-maker would be the latent wire-puller—the constant autocrat. He would write to gentlemen in Parliament, and say, “You were elected upon ‘the Liberal ticket;’ and if you deviate from that ticket you cannot be chosen again.” And there would be no appeal for a common-minded man. He is no more likely to make a constituency for himself than a mole is likely to make a planet.

It may indeed be said that against a septennial Parliament such machinations would be powerless; that a member elected for seven years might defy the remonstrances of an earnest constituency, or the imprecations of the latent manipulators. But after the voluntary composition of constituencies, there would soon be but short-lived Parliaments. Earnest constituencies would exact frequent elections; they would not like to part with their virtue for a long period; it would anger them to see it used contrary to their wishes, amid circumstances