THE TEMPERANCE REFORM: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN last month's issue of the Outlook I reviewed the political action of the Temperance party during the past half-century, and showed what had been the practical result so far as the legal, political, and financial position of the Trade was concerned. I propose to supplement that record by proceeding to consider- What should be done? What should be the policy of those who realise that the desire and need of the country is definite, practical and prompt reform, some- thing that can be put into operation at once so that we may be able to face the critical and difficult problems with which we shall have to grapple immediately the War is over? The experience of the past clearly shows that the first condition of success is that the community should make its control of the liquor trade real and complete. Prior to 1904 the theory of the law was that a public-house licence was granted for one year and no longer," and that at the end of each year for which the licence had been granted it should not be renewed if the justices were of opinion that it was desirable in the public interest that it should not be continued. The exercise of this power as it was intended to be exercised would have given the licensing authorities very far reaching powers of restriction and control but experience showed that in this matter, as in many others, theory and intention on the one hand, and practice and result on the other were very different things. The truth is the position was an inconsistent, and was regarded by many as being, in some respects, an unreasonable and unfair one. It was contended that men could not be expected to enter upon a business, take premises and fit them up and stock them if there was any reasonable expectation that, without any fault on their part, they might be forbidden to continue the trade at the end of twelve months and would not be permitted to resume it elsewhere. If it was urged that the law and the licence were perfectly plain, and that if they were not pre- pared to accept the licence on these conditions they should not have applied for and taken it, the reply was that in practice, licences were renewed unless misconduct occurred, that refusals to renew on grounds of redundancy were few, and they relied on the well established practice as the recognised interpretation of the law. Broadly speaking licensing justices took this view and acted upon it, and refused to deprive men of their livelihood and to depreciate the value of property unless misconduct or unsuitability of premises was proved. Governments endorsed this attitude by proposing time notices and commuted com- pensation, and eventually altered the law by the Act of 1904. Another consideration which impressed thoughtful students of this problem was the inconsistency and hopelessness of permitting people to embark large amounts of capital in a trade which they were licensed to carry on, and upon which heavy licence and excise and customs duties were levied, and then expecting them to acquiesce in and facilitate restrictions and regulations the object of which was to restrict their trade, reduce their sales and diminish their profits. It was and is inevitable that brewers, distillers and publicans should resist and always endeavour to avoid and evade the restrictions to which their trade is subjected. They are in business to sell drink, and it is only natural that they should resent everything that interferes with them in so doing. Those being the facts and that being the experience what would be likely to happen if the power which the justices had prior to 1904 should be restored to them? What reason is there to suppose that the other conditions which obtained prior to 1904 would not revive and the justices and the public be unwilling to abolish licences against which misconduct could not be proved? Would not the then existing difficulties be increased by the contention that owners of licensed houses had had a legal vested interest since 1904, and had purchased their right to continue by being compelled to pay compensation to get rid of competitors ? Should we not simply be back in the old quagmire and be faced with the old deadlock? Further, in view of the unsuccessful 14 years' notice pro- posals of the Bill of 1908, and the added strength of the case for notice which the length of time which will have elapsed since 1904 before any legislation on that basis could be carried will give, how long would it be before the control which in practice proved to be so defective then, could be restored? What is needed is a power and a remedy that will come into operation at once, and not a generation hence, and be of doubtful efficacy then The next few years will be crucial in the history of our country. It is then that, more than ever, we shall need all our thrift, efficiency, and sobriety of judgment. The continued squandering of scores of millions a year on drink with its accompanying evil consequences would at any time be deplorable, but just when those who have been risking their lives for us are returning, and the very foundations of our economic, social and political structure are being challenged and tested, it would be a calamity. In last month's article I said that the financial and the resulting political and social power of the trade is the key to position. It is the great obstacle in the way of legisla- tion, and it paralyses the administration of such laws as are enacted. In this connection I may quote from a statement issued by the United Kingdom Alliance in February, 1887 It is a really portentous fact that this huge Drink interest is in fact and substance a great political Drink Party. The ground of union of this party is the defence of the privileges and monopolies of the trade. It boasts that it can make and unmake govern- ments. This party commands enormous wealth, and has besides under its control the most powerful and efficient engine of corruption in existence-the public-house. Self-interest is probably the most powerful and persistent in its operations of all the motives which determine the conduct of average men. The traffic has the strongest possible interest in the perpetuation of the superstitions respecting the usefulness of alcoholic liquors, which are the most pernicious superstitions still existing among men. It has also an interest in neutralizing all such legislation as really restricts the sale and consumption of intoxicants and the full development of the liquor business. The prodigious