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Gerry Adams, fighter, activist, agent of the Crown...
January 26, 2011 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Gerry Adams, irish republican and candidate for a seat in the Dail [the Irish Parliament, usually sounds a bit like 'doyle'], is an MP in the UK Parliament at Westminster. Or is he? No - I resigned! "Oh - but you can't! You have to take a position under the Crown, say the Brits". Oh, no I don't... Till this constitutional crisis is resolved Gerry Adams, may be paid by both states as an MP...
posted by dash_slot- (37 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 


Adams has no one left to pay his salary.
posted by parmanparman at 4:05 PM on January 26, 2011


I love this. I also love this: Erskine May, the bible of parliamentary procedure, says that if such a member [i.e. one who refuses to take the oath of allegiance] attempts to take their seat, they will be disqualified and "treated as though they were dead".
posted by doublehappy at 4:06 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bit unfair from the Mail (in a massive surprise); Sinn Fein MPS aren't paid a salary, but it was agreed to give them expense as they do constituency work. I hold no political brief from them but my understanding is that no-one faults them on the latter.
One of those instances where traditions that seem quaint run up against issues that are still live politics. Looked up to see if Tam Dalyell, who was noted for his republicanism, gritted his teeth and took the oath and it seems he did, but wasn't on a list of stewards of the Chiltern Hundreds or the Manor of Northstead - is that because he stood down at election time?
posted by Abiezer at 4:28 PM on January 26, 2011


What are they going to do, arrest him for resigning? Never understood how the UK can still rule a place they conquered 400 years ago.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:45 PM on January 26, 2011


Bit unfair from the Mail (in a massive surprise)

Oh come on, the Daily Mail's fulmination was the best part! It's kind of nice to see the House of Commons hung up on its own procedures for dealing with Adams, since historically Parliamentary procedures and regulations were designed to screw over guys like him.
posted by immlass at 4:53 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


800 years of oppression, thank you very much.
posted by Abiezer at 4:53 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Check out Gerry Adams' blog--its well written:

This blog’s big achievement is to use the laptop in the back of the car while your man just about manages to keep us between the ditches as we wind our way through the highways and byways of Donegal South West in pursuit of a Dáil seat and the only candidate capable of taking it off the government, Senator Pearse Doherty.

And my kind of people. There is great spirit here. Especially in the Gaeltacht. That’s the good thing about elections. This blog gets to meet all kinds of inspiring people in the course of my work. But during an election and the compressed days of hyper activity that this involves, good and wonderful people seem to pop up at every turn of the road.

Quiet people and sometimes not so quiet people, working away within their communities giving leadership and setting an example to the rest of us. It’s the same all over Ireland. And everywhere else in the world. Citizens always rise to the challenges created by bad systems, bad governments and bad leaders. And that is why the people will win out. Because the human spirit always aspires to greater things.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:00 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Merry Adams always was a clever fox.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:01 PM on January 26, 2011


*Jerry Adams
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:03 PM on January 26, 2011


OH MY GOD HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE THE CHILTERN HUNDREDS

You don't understand how incredibly fucking exciting this is for Trollope readers. It's like if you were a Star Wars fan and the Death Star suddenly landed in downtown Chicago.

IT'S SO PHINEAS FINN
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:10 PM on January 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Who else was disappointed when they finally heard Gerry Adams's real voice after so many years of hearing his words read by actors?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:10 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Downing Street apology for Gerry Adams

"Downing Street has apologised to Gerry Adams after the prime minister said he had accepted a Crown title.

David Cameron told the House of Commons Mr Adams had accepted the title in order to resign his Westminster seat.

This was disputed by the Sinn Fein President who said he had not applied and had received an apology from the PM's office."


I used to work for Sinn Fein's main electoral rival, and have no particular like for the party or Gerry Adams (it's a bit weird getting into the lift at work with politicians you know have shot people in the head or planted bombs - of course, Gerry 'was never in the IRA', ahem), but I do love it when they occasionally shove two fingers up at some archaic British ritual or another.
posted by knapah at 5:11 PM on January 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Could someone explain to me how he is eligible to be a member of either government? I didn't realize that was possible.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:44 PM on January 26, 2011


Ocherdraco: Mr Adams is not in any government per se. He is an opposition MP. It appears that neither parliament has made it illegal to be a member in each others parliament. So, what is not expressly forbidden is allowed.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:03 PM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I wasn't using terms properly. By government, I didn't mean the government formed by the ruling party or coalition of parties. A better wording of my question (I think) might be how is it possible for Adams to be an elected representative in both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland? And how can anyone from Northern Ireland, for that matter, be an elected representative in the Republic of Ireland? Does the Republic of Ireland consider those living in Northern Ireland to be its citizens (which would be news to me), or is it because of some sort of more prosaic dual citizenship?
posted by ocherdraco at 6:10 PM on January 26, 2011


Does the Republic of Ireland consider those living in Northern Ireland to be its citizens

It does, or, at least, it allows anyone born in Northern Ireland to take up Irish citizenship if they want, so as not to force it on anyone who wouldn't want it.
posted by dng at 6:27 PM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Didn't Seamus Heaney take them up on that? (and retorted to being called a British poet with 'be advised / My passport's green. / No glass of ours was ever raised / To toast The Queen')
posted by Abiezer at 6:46 PM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, cool historical note, the first FEMALE M.P. was Constance Georgina Gore-Booth. She was also aSinn Fein M.P. In thise days Sinn Fein had the Abstention policy so she never attended parliment.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:03 PM on January 26, 2011


Never understood how the UK can still rule a place they conquered 400 years ago.

Meanwhile, in Wales and Scotland...

Honestly the number of countries that do not contain some amount of conquered territory is going to be pretty small, isn't it?
posted by the christopher hundreds at 7:37 PM on January 26, 2011


Meanwhile, in Wales and Scotland...

In fairness only Wales was conquered. Scotland and England were united more or less peacefully under the Scottish King James VI and then parliamentary united in the Act of Union to form Great Britain. Of course, when Wales was put firmly under boot the English monarchy still thought itself rather French. As you said christopher hundreds, all countries seem to have been conquered or conquered others at some point.
posted by boubelium at 8:05 PM on January 26, 2011


The only thing I find shocking here is that anybody, in any constituency (never mind in two different ones) would vote for that nasty piece of work (not sectarian at all, mind you: I feel exactly the same about Paisley).
posted by Skeptic at 11:37 PM on January 26, 2011


What are they going to do, arrest him for resigning? Never understood how the UK can still rule a place they conquered 400 years ago.

Is my irony meter going overtime, or did you mean that seriously?
posted by MuffinMan at 12:47 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looked up to see if Tam Dalyell, who was noted for his republicanism, gritted his teeth and took the oath

I remember Tony Banks crossing his fingers when he took the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:38 AM on January 27, 2011


My main question is if this was a North Ireland-specific thing or could it apply to all Commonwealth citizens?

As I recall, it is apparently possible for Commonwealth citizens legally resident in the British Isles but without British passports to vote and stand in elections to the House of Commons (at least), although they won't be allowed to become, say, the PM or something. So plausibly, could, say, an Australian national who became an MP in some London borough also stand for elections in the Australian parliament as well, if Australia has no specific policy contrary to such an arrangement?
posted by the cydonian at 2:18 AM on January 27, 2011


"I remember Tony Banks crossing his fingers when he took the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen"

Tony Banks, and also Tony Benn's wriggle, along with other interesting bits of Oath info are documented by the House of Commons Library here.
posted by edd at 2:33 AM on January 27, 2011


That BBC story headlined "Downing Street apology..." is a little misleading - Adams claims that the PM's PPS has apologised for "the day's events", which may or may not mean his appointment to the Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead (not the same thing as the Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds). Adams may not like the rules, but nobody forced him to run for parliament. The speaker says he was appointed, and is therefore disqualified.
posted by nja at 3:37 AM on January 27, 2011


Someone elsewhere pointed out that it does smack a bit of royal prerogative if Her Maj can appoint you to a job you don't want and didn't apply for. Maybe one of us will wake up tomorrow as Keeper of the Privy Stool, without so much as a by-your-leave.
posted by Abiezer at 4:23 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Her Maj" didn't appoint Adams to the job - the Chancellor of the Exchequer did, after Adams wrote a rather scrappy resignation letter. The Speaker seems to have created a minor constitutional precedent by deciding that an MP doesn't have to accept the appointment in order for it to disqualify them.
posted by nja at 4:41 AM on January 27, 2011


Thanks for that essential clarification of my obviously serious post.
posted by Abiezer at 4:54 AM on January 27, 2011


the cydonian: I suspect whatever you read may have been using "Commonwealth" in it's more historical sense "The Commonwealth of England" - meaning hte local british isles.


I know as a Canadian I have no automatic right to reside or work in either Australia or the UK, and vice-versa.
posted by TravellingDen at 6:36 AM on January 27, 2011


This is a refreshing reminder that politics outside, say, the U.S. Senate are also bizarre, unpractical and attached to byzantine procedural nonsense. At least here people can resign when they want to.

The tension inherent in being a constitutional monarchy is really fascinating. It must be an odd feeling to remember every once in a while that technically you're still the Queen's subject and you have to take your meaningless ceremonial appointment and smile.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:01 AM on January 27, 2011


Never understood how the UK can still rule a place they conquered 400 years ago.

I'm not a huge fan of the Empire, and I'm for a united Ireland, but I have to ask what the hell does this mean? I mean do you also ask why the US contains Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California etc. or Hawaii? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm actually asking.
posted by ob at 8:40 AM on January 27, 2011


The Speaker seems to have created a minor constitutional precedent by deciding that an MP doesn't have to accept the appointment in order for it to disqualify them.

Nothing could possibly go wrong with that logic.
posted by Talez at 2:57 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which point was raised this very day in Westminster, Talez, before they were heavily assured by the Speaker that it would of course not be remotely OK unless (as in this case) someone had unambiguously asserted his intention to resign.

On another note,

"Constance Georgina Gore-Booth" is normally referred to by her married name and title of 'Countess Markiewicz', in case anybody wanted to go look her up.
posted by genghis at 3:42 PM on January 27, 2011


It must be an odd feeling to remember every once in a while that technically you're still the Queen's subject and you have to take your meaningless ceremonial appointment and smile.

The Queen hasn't been involved in any of this - it is a good example of parliament sorting out its own affairs without reference to the sovereign (and, in typical British style, making a sensible constitutional adjustment with the minimum of fuss). The "resignation posts" are appointed by the Chancellor (who is a member of the Commons), and the disqualification is decided by the Speaker (ditto).

Adams's real objection is to the legitimacy of parliament per se, not to the way the British constitution divides sovereignty and political power. He has been saying that he ought to be able to resign in the way that anyone can from a "normal job" (as if being an MP is a normal job), but he would have objected just as strongly if parliament had tried to insist on a notice period, an exit interview, or any of the other provisions that most of us in "normal jobs" might expect on resigning.
posted by nja at 2:12 AM on January 28, 2011


He's got his seat in the Dáil.
posted by Abiezer at 12:58 PM on February 26, 2011


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