Over-taxation and local expenditure in Ireland
Citation:Synnott, Nicholas J. 'Over-taxation and local expenditure in Ireland'. - Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland,Vol. X Part LXXIX, 1898/1899, pp404-432
The speech delivered by Mr. Arthur Balfour in the House of Commons on the 5th July, 1898, has evidently been considered a particularly effective and unanswerable reply to the financial demands of Ireland, for it was not only greeted with a chorus of plaudits at the time, but it has since been reprinted and published in pamphlet form by the Conservative Central Office, with an appendix containing tables of figures, now appearing for the first time. As this statement of the case has received a quasi-official sanction, and to many has appeared final and conclusive, it seems the proper subject of special criticism. Nobody can deny the effectiveness of the speech as a debating effort, but as a permanent justification for the attitude of the Government it will, I venture to predict, be as ineffectual as Mr. Gladstone's plausible justification for the imposition of the Income Tax on Ireland in 1853. We may re-affirm of Mr. Balfour's speech what the author of the well-known article in the Edinburgh Review said of Mr. Gladstone's reasoning: "It is true also that he had a good debating answer - when has he not had one - but a good debating answer is one thing, and sound ground of policy quite another." The jugglery of Mr. Gladstone in dealing with the Consolidated Annuities was all sufficient for the House of Commons for the time being, and is now universally condemned; and it may be that Mr. Balfour's startling arithmetical results do not carry the argument one point further, inasmuch as they are worked out on a principle that assumes the main point at issue.
Act of Union
Publisher:Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Series/Report no:Journal of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Vol. X Part LXXIX 1898/1899
Description:Read Tuesday, 27th January, 1899