SDLP getting down to business

After several requests we bring you coverage of what will be the SDLP’s first bit of parliamentary business:

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  • robertemmett

    it would appear that only thing holding the shinners out of the brit parliament is the wording of the Oath. perhaps if the brits change the wording then the shinners will be able to take thier seats afterall. then all that expenses money for London pied a’terre will have been justified

  • Mark McGregor

    Don’t see what SF have to do with this. Its the oath the SDLP have taken for decades.

    They either stand by it or tell lies.

  • Zzzzzzzz

    Wow slugger has hit a new low. Thought the wee anagrams were bad but if this is what passes for political commentry.

    Mick, your brand is being shot to fluffy duck with this kind of inane partisan nonsense. Take a hand, will you?

  • Michaelhenry

    fair play mark, another first for slugger o toole.

  • Mark McGregor


    Remember there is always the option to request a guest blog spot (send a draft to Mick, I’ve facilitated a few too) and forward content for bloggers to work from. Both have more chance of getting a result than just complaining a topic you are interested in hasn’t been covered.

  • Alias

    The oath actually combines the three old oaths into one, covering allegiance, supremacy and abjuration so the queen is simply the personification of the UK’s unwritten constitution. Folks who take the oath are taking an oath to uphold that constitution, the nation and the state rather than taking an oath to an individual. In reality, the monarchy is symbolic and the UK is a de facto republic. There really is no legitimacy even among those English republican MPs who want to amend the oath to remove the reference to the Queen since that status quo is a function of self-determination and they should properly abide by the will of the majority. Likewise, there would be no legitimacy among monarchists refusing to take an oath of allegiance to the UK constitution, nation and state, if that was the status quo and a function of self-determination.

    In regard to the Stoops, they were always “constitutional” but the constitution they upheld was the British constitution which declared that Northern Ireland had a separate right to self-determination (the Unionist Veto) and not the Irish constitution which rejected that declaration. They were never, of course, Irish nationalists within NI since they rejected the right of the Irish nation in that region to self-determination and a nation-state. The Shinners now share that position in regard to self-determination and a nation-state, also declaring that they have no inalienable right to these. While the Irish state also now shares that position, it only shares it in regard to the Irish nation in NI.

    So why shouldn’t the Shinners take an oath of allegiance to the British state when they are serving the interests of that state anyway? The answer, of course, is that the muppets that vote for them do so under the fabricated illusion that the Shinners are serving Irish national interests rather than the interests of their paymasters and handlers, and taking an oath at this time would unduly frighten the sheep. They will be required to complete that part of the normalisation/reintegration process in due course, and you can see the ground being tested/prepared for that part of the process (hence the media-led, state-supplied focus on it). It is more likely to be finessed by tweaking the wording of the oath with the reference to the queen removed but the effect of the oath remaining the exact same.

    That’s not the correct wording, by the way.

  • Michaelhenry

    you read it here first, ALIAS said that the monarchy is symbolic and republican, who says elections do not work.

  • Mark McGregor

    Think that was low? I near called the post ‘Stoops – exactly what it says on the tin’

  • Brian Walker

    And I thought they were good Catholics who swore the oath not made affirmation!

    ” I swear BY ALMIGHTY GOD that I will be faithful etc…2″

  • They could do what all England supporters do: God Save Our Gracious Team…And no team needs divine help more…

  • Is it me or is MarkMcG a bit more of a crankypants since we moved to the new website?

  • Mark McGregor


    I was being generous and assuming if they did tell a lie it wasn’t one to a god.

  • Mark McGregor

    Nope. I was never full of the joys. Problem is I’ve contributed post-electoral blogs on the SDLP, SF, Alliance and dissenting Republicans that their fans won’t appreciate, while noting the UCUNF and DUP had a disaster. That means everyone is bound to think I’m having a go at their particular favoured cock.

    I’m actually dead happy at the moment, more on that later.

  • Klu Klux

    My understanding is that there is an alternative oath that SDLP members swear.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Nope. I was never full of the joys.

    Another exclusive scoop there.

  • White Horse

    Surely this is the blog of the immature.

  • Granni Trixie

    MarK: you hint at something but can you say what it is RIGHT NOW? You wouldnt believe what I’m thinking.

  • Michaelhenry

    whats the words to this mystery oath, do the stoops sell out the G.A.A as well as there religion.

  • Are there ‘shock horror’ headlines in the offing? Do tell I have college in the morning.

  • Jean Meslier

    It was always the little stoop-isms that tickled me . You know the way on the mouth of an election they say “the north” with only a barely distinguishable stammer. Or when they push a nervous Dominic Bradley onto an election broadcast for the traditional cupla focal, – and the man hardly able to talk English.

    I think they (SDLP) should grab the bull by the horns and openly portray the oath to Liz Windsor on their election literature. This will remove all the ambiguity and prove their meticulous Irish Republican credentials.

    Then all we have to do is sit back and watch their handsomely improved fortunes.

  • ‘All we have to do is sit back and watch their handsomely improved fortunes…’ Some of us have been doing that for years, but the recipients of ‘good fortune’ were not the SDLP…Funny that…

  • Lionel Hutz

    As I read someone else say:

    1982 just called, they want their burning issue back

  • Big deal, the oath is meaningless archaic nonsense that no one believes anyway. Tony Benn took the oath and he is a republican. Sinn Féin obviously care more about this irrelevant garbage than representing all their constituents equally- a perfect example of a tactic elevated to the status of a principle. How come the Northern Ireland Assembly and British local authorities are legitimate enough for Sinn Féin to grace them with their presence but the House of Commons, from which the Assembly derives its powers, is out of bounds?

  • Solitude

    exactly; the real “policy” is abstentionism, not the red herring oath, which isn’t the stumbling block, only a stick to wack SDLP wtih. Abstentionism is a bit of a hook on which SF are caught: it took a decade or more for them to get off the armed struggle hook, but there’s no great imperative for them to reevaluate abstentionism

    What might trigger an internal SF push to drop the Westminster phobia? They view a General Election as a headline grabber to maintain their dominant position in the bloc; they would argue that there’s nothing additional to be gained inside the Commons chamber which can’t be gained from outside.

  • Alias

    Tony Benn is a British nationalist who has no difficulty swearing allegiance to his nation and its state. Tony Benn’s actual concern is that there is no oath by which members of parliament swear an oath to uphold democracy.

    The Stoops, likewise being British and not Irish nationalists have no difficulty swearing an oath of allegiance to the British state.

    Tony Benn, being a man of principle and a British patriot, would not swear allegiance to a foreign state.

    So the issue for those who profess to be Irish nationalists is that they must swear a solemn oath of allegiance to a foreign state, and not an issue about how that state is constituted. That’s just a red herring.

    Benn’s concern is that circumstances could arise where that lack of an oath by public representatives to uphold democracy could come disastrously into play. Unlike the Stoops, he doesn’t disregard such oaths “as just an empty formula of words” but fully understands their constitutional importance. That position is rooted in principle – which is in stark contrast to the quisling expediency and disregard for first principles of the Stoops. The Stoops encourage their nation to repudiate their rights under the pretext that the solemn oaths and agreements wherein they repudiated them are of no consequence, and that those rights themselves are of no importance.

    The Stoops could have, like the Scottish nats, prefaced their swearing of an oath of allegiance to the British state with a declaration that their first loyalty was to the people of Scotland, but that would have required them to express a preference for loyalty to the people of Ireland and they have no such preference – hence they declare no such preference.

  • John Joe

    Alias – if the SDLP decided to publicly declare their allegiance to the British state as you have stated, or articulate it in some form that would in effect mean the same thing, (a) they would have completely blurred any distinction between them and the Alliance rendering the separation even more pointless, and (b) any pretence to a residual nationalist policy base would see them collapse at the polls in a number of constituencies, such as Foyle and probably South Down.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Mr McGregor, those who took employment in local or Stormont Govt (eg librarians, clerical jobs etc) prior to around 1974, took a similar oath, affirmation.
    Including at least one very senior member of Sinn Féin……answers on a postcard.
    Good luck to the three SDLP members.
    Nobody takes the Oath seriously. I didnt.
    And Mr Walker no good Catholic (or I suspect good Protestant) invokes God in an oath they dont give a toss about.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Scottish MSPs reguarly take the Oath without any embarrassment. Its a simple enough device, some adding the wording that they do so to facilitate the representation of their constituents.
    Dennis Skinner takes the oath. No reason why Margaret, Big Al and Mark cant (as exclusively reported by Mr McGregor).
    Indeed if it was a requirement for claiming social benefits, like Job Seekers Allowance or Invalidity Benefit 99.99% of republican dissidents would babble their way thru it….wouldnt they?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The real point about SDLP getting down to business is the fast tracking/over promotion (delete as applicable) of Conall McDevitt to the Chair of the Enterprise Committee.
    A few months back I suggested that the SDLP was obviously in need of internal reform but seemed enthralled by “New Labour” methodology.
    Quite rightly it was pointed out to me that “New Labour” wasnt a complete disaster.
    Yet McDevitt strikes me as the Lord Mandelson (Miliband and Balls) of the new SDLP and the present furore over his selection ahead of such go getters as PJ Bradley, Dolores Kelly and Tommy Gallagher seems to mirror a rift between old and new.
    I might also point out that McDevitt is unelected….just like Mandy.
    McDevitts background is not local councils. Its PR. and God knows SDLP needs a good publicity machine but it would be a shame if it lost its roots in the community. South Belfast is of course the most “rootless” constituency anyway.
    Ive taken most opportunities on this Site to say that Alban Magennis will be Lord Chief Justice (or similar big law job) and eventually I will be right……but it would be a shame if he was overlooked for McDevitt.
    Likewise Declan O’Loan and Dominic Bradley, for whom I have respect.
    Yet it strikes me that TWO people are fast tracking McDevitt. Margaret Ritchie and McDevitt himself. To his credit he was the only SDLP rank and filer at the recent Workers Memorial Day (the first occasion on which Ive actually spoken to him). Seemed a nice guy but too anxious to make an impression.

  • Anna

    This actually constitutes a story?
    Creative juices clearly not flowing today. Is it supposed to be “witty”? Or is it a homework IT project?

    Get some new material, this is boring.

    Mick why do you even let this rubbish make this website?

  • snowstorm

    FJH – I made this comment yesterday on the Alex Attwood thread.

    “It couldn’t have been Conall – he is not yet elected and not even Margaret Ritchie would have the political stupidity to promote an unelected new kid over the heads of the longer serving MLAs, some of whom are proven vote winners. Conall may be good on the blogs but he needs to get some votes to his name.”

    Turns out I was wrong, if Martina Purdy is right then Margaret IS that politically stupid…..

  • daisy

    Just as SF voters know they won’t take their seats SDLP voters know they will take their seats. Seems to work for both parties so what’s the big deal?

  • Eurocrat

    What an inane article- truly a new low for articulate journalism on Slugger. Mark McGregor hang your head in shame at some a trivial piece of work. Oath or no oath – if you pay your taxes in the UK you are a “collaborator” with the British state. You are a cog in the machine so to speak. Your taxes are paying for the Queen to be propped up in Buckingham Palace and for the war in Afghanistan. What’s the difference between taking an oath to the Queen and putting all your hopes and dreams in a piece of currency with her head on it? Nothing.

  • snowstorm

    Have to agree – it is an inane thread from Mark. A new, and disappointing, low.

  • Wabbits

    This is a disgraceful use of Slugger for the bloggers (McGregor) own masturbatory purposes. So he can show everybody just how cleaver he is.

    It doesn’t add anything to the debate and merely serves to demean Slugger as an independent vehicle for debate. It is not the first time that Mr McGregor has used this site for his own petty point scoring excersises.

    If he wished to initiate the debate then surely there could not have been a less juvenile way of doing it.

    It makes me question why I would want to contribute to any debates on Slugger when McGregor is allowed to post this kind of shite with impunity.

  • This really is a new low for Slugger.

  • Rory Carr

    Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
    But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
    Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
    Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
    But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

    This is Christ’s view on the swearing of oaths (at least according to St Matthew). It seems clear that Christ was not in favour of them so why a monarch who is also head of the established christian church in her kingdom should permit one to be sworn to affirm allegiance to her has always struck me as a bit odd.

    Perhaps it was this warning from Matthew that informed the IRA’s
    decision to require a simple declaration from volunteers on enlistment rather than any oath – although somehow popular misconception, spurred by yellow journalism would have volunteers swearing the most blood-curdling oaths.

  • Michaelhenry

    this was before the good friday agreement in which among other matters the people of the 32 counties voted fof equality, any IRISH person who takes the oath now a days is opposed to the agreement.

  • Anna

    Ah prescriptive identity from Michaelhenry who now has a monopoly on what constitutes Irishness. The arrogance of those who think they decide what “Irish” is is laughable.

  • Michaelhenry

    there is no oath in the assembly, time for some to read the agreement that the 32 counties voted for.

  • Michaelhenry

    i am just a good friday agreement person, if you have a different argument but it to the people of the 32 counties.

  • Anna

    And I am just a realist who gets why the SDLP are in there in the first place. The Ireland we should aspire to will not fit the 1916 shaped mould, nor should it. Times have changed since then and we need to rethink what a new Ireland will look like. This banging on about the oath is pointless, and I think that any right-thinking person does not honestly think that taking seats is selling out. It is where we are at the minute and serves to represent people in the North, whether we like it or not – it retains fiscal responsibility. If we are serious about moving forward we need to work with and not against the system. The GFA is the most compelling evidence of this and so until the time comes when we can start seriously talking about unification and the practicalities of this we need to ensure the people here are represented and issues such as jobs, the bread and butter things which affect us all, are not abandoned for the sake of anachronistic values.

  • Michaelhenry

    anachronistic values, the oath has anti christ values, S.D.L.P members have to go to confession after taking the oath.

  • Anna

    Ah if only the SDLP were as good Catholics as their counterparts in Sinn Féin.

  • Michaelhenry

    SINN FIEN are equal, S.D.L.P are subjects, thats there own choice, live with it.

  • Anna

    FYI – its spelt Sinn Féin. Just for future info.

  • Lionel Hutz

    But some are more equal than others. Are Sinn Fein the only party in Ireland to have a President

  • snowstorm

    Actually yes – this is the straw etc,

    I am out of here,

  • Oh dear, really?
    Has Slugger now become a bulletin board for frantic shinner graffiti?
    What a load of steaming log this post is.
    Time for Mick to up the quality threshold back above the gutter, urgently.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yes it is a new low for Slugger…and there have been many lately.
    Anybody who puts in a lot of time around law courts knows that Oaths (whether merely of Allegiance or to tell the truth……so help me God) are meaningless in a lot of peoples mouths….whether criminal cases or insurance cases.
    Sadly thats true of police witnesses, defence witnesses and the defendants themselves.
    As many of these defendants and witnesses have in fact been ……er…….republicans, youd think that someone as qualified to speak for republicans as Mr McGregor would not get so worked up about Ritchie, MacDonnell and Durkan playing fast and loose with Oaths.
    Ah but its “different. Dont change the thread”.
    Rubbish of course.
    Republican dissidents in court say what they have to say.
    So do SDLP in Westminster.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I daresay Mr Fealty is aware of the lowering of the tone. This is not the kinda thing that wins awards for Slugger and makes it the darling of the Guardian Media page.
    But…….and not my intention to second guess Mr Fealty…..he probably reckons that Mr McGregors is the only voice of dissident republicanism and Mr Fealty likes a “balanced” ticket.
    If Mr McGregors efforts were censored we can only imagine the fal out……another cause celebre of dissident victimhood.

    But the key surely is the quality of the many comments which make Mr McGregors posts increasingly ludicrous and his attitude more testy.
    Congrats all round.

  • Michaelhenry

    GERRY ADAMS is equal, unlike the subjects, do you know what anna is on about.

  • Lionel Hutz

    You spell your parties name. Adams is no equal. He gets business class escorts, helicopters and PRESIDES over his empire.

    Why is the SF leader called a president?

  • Anna

    How confusing. Sinn Féin are apparently the party of equality according to much of their literature. Now they are superior to the SDLP according to Michaelhenry. Does that make an SDLP vote 2nd class?

    Again the superiority and arrogance shining through.

    Anyway, I’m off to wash my hair.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Is there no-one who knows what is going on in the SDLP today? No-one with an inside scoop?

  • Jean Meslier

    The oath story was collateral which emerged out of the knee jerk reaction from the anti – shinner league to the fact that 170,000+ people voted for SF despite their best efforts at vilification.

    People, like myself, have stated on previous threads that abstentionism is a non story.
    But no. Some political bloggers still think abstentionism needs to be explained to the nationalist electorate in the north of Ireland. They also think abstentionism is linked to non-representation of constituants. How wrong they are. All this nonsense shows is how out of touch these lazy stoops actually are.

    So when one of the reasons for SF’s abstentionist principle (The oath) is given a thread we hear the cries of foul play.
    As I said before – dry your eyes
    wise up
    turn the computer off and get out more

  • StarHound

    My Goodness, that’s the Stoops well and truly wound up for today – ‘a new low for Slugger’, this is the straw'(sic), ‘inane’….that sounds like a few cappuchinos dropped across South Belfast, though in fairness, Conall ‘I am the new SDLP’ McDevittgate may have already put the cat among the croissants earlier today.

    I have a feeling that this oath business may run and run though – imagine Sinn Féin taking the text round the houses to wavering SDLP voters…no wonder it’s the SDLP’s dirty secret.

  • Anna

    StarHound the point is there is no issue. This is a thread without a point as it is just a couple of rubbish photos.

    Don’t see that it has anything to do with South Belfast whatsoever, just some people looking for a higher standard of contributions and something to actually talk about.

  • Yes, all those voters who will be saying: “I’ve just lost my child tax credits, my housing benefit has been cut and now I can’t afford to work anymore because of the plans for a two-tier system of nursery provision. My son is now facing an adulthood of debt because the cap on tuition fees has been lifted and to top it all off, the fact that I had to divorce my husband means I will be discriminated against in the tax system. But it’s ok, as long as Sinn Féin don’t swear an oath to a foreign Queen everything is fine.” Or not.

  • StarHound

    I don’t recall seeing a text of the oath posted on here before – that and self-declared Nationalists swearing such an explicit oath is the point of the thread. Many Nationalists will shudder as they read through that text – thus my point about how effective it would if used as a campaigning tool.

    I also don’t see the problem with the point being presented in a graphical way, this seems like an excuse for those who don’t like the content. If you want it all in Times New Roman, take the next left to go back to 2002.

    It is relevant to South Belfast as it is one the three constituencies where the SDLP currently matter. Whether he likes it or not, at the last election as well as the one before that, Alasdair Mc Donnell was elected by many Nationalists who plain don’t like him, holding their noses and voting for him as well as many borrowed Sinn Féin votes, clearly more this time. The oath is one more thing that could shave votes off the SDLP.

  • Jean Meslier


    Your expectations of the possible influence of 5 SF MP’s in Westminister is heartwarming if somewhat fantastical.
    But it is so reassuring to think the Robbo-less DUP, Naomi, Sylvia and the South Down & Londondrey party will save us in our hour of most need from the Tory establishment.
    Please pass on my condolances to the leafy suburbs of S Belfast as they await there fate.

    “…as long as Sinn Féin don’t swear an oath to a foreign Queen everything is fine…”

    You got it in one

  • Co. Down man

    fair play to ye Mark! Expose them for what them are!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well it would be surprising if Sinn Féin in South Belfast did not know the text of the oath and rather than shudder they tried to give SDLP a clear run.
    Bizarre also if the dissident republicans did not know the text of the oath and not used it.
    But like I said earlier they arent overly concerned with the substance of sworn oaths themselves. Bit hypocritical of them to mention it……although to be fair Hypocrisy is what dissidents do best.

    Bizarre also if the text of the oath was news to the informed readership of blogs like Slugger O’Toole.
    Having written the political obituary of the SDLP for so long, it comes as a surprise to bot dissidents, Sinn Féin members and of course the journalistic Overclass to find they are still very much alive.
    Fair play to them.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “Are Sinn Fein the only party in Ireland to have a President”

    Brian Cowen is An Uachtaráin Fhianna Fáil, or President of Fianna Fáil.

    The Ulster Unionist Party and Labour have presidents, though the presidency and the leadership are not the same in those parties. There may be other examples of this.

    “Why is the SF leader called a president?”

    I assume it’s because the “president” has specifically republican connotations.

    “Leader” is more commonplace – though that word has rather unfortunate fascist connotations.

    But of course, this really is reading too much into it.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Should read:

    I assume it’s because the word “president” has specifically republican connotations.

  • Liberal Unionist

    BBC reporting SDLP leader is facing rebellion over her assembly reshuffle according to internal party sources.
    Well that taka long time didn’t it! HeHe

  • any of the rest of them make any sense?

  • Did I say the 5 SF MPs (without the possessive apostrophe) could influence things? No. Was my point that the electorate will be worried about issues which are actually important? Yes, it was.

    Interesting fact that the Higher Education Bill that introduced tuition fees passed by only 5 votes though.

  • and by extension we can assume you believe an individual’s vote doesn’t matter either.

    I mean really, what’s the point?

  • you’ve changed the anonymous cover from moderate, why? Liberal more right wing these days?

  • Alias

    “It notes that the requirement in the respondent State that elected representatives take an oath of allegiance to the monarch is incorporated in a legal rule dating back to 1866. This rule forms part of the constitutional system of the respondent State, which, it is to be observed, is based on a monarchical model of government. For the Court, the requirement that elected representatives to the House of Commons take an oath of allegiance to the reigning monarch can be reasonably viewed as an affirmation of loyalty to the constitutional principles which support, inter alia, the workings of representative democracy in the respondent State …. In the Court’s view it must be open to the respondent State to attach such a condition, which is an integral part of its constitutional order, to membership of Parliament and to make access to the institution’s facilities dependent on compliance with the condition.” – McGuinness v United Kingdom, European Court of Human Rights

    That was the European Court of Human Rights declaring that the Oath of Allegiance did not violate the rights of Marty and ilk on the grounds claimed (Article 10 of the ECHR) because “this term must equally extend to the protection of the constitutional principles which underpin a democracy.” So, as the Court confirms, the “requirement that elected representatives to the House of Commons take an oath of allegiance to the reigning monarch can be reasonably viewed as an affirmation of loyalty to the constitutional principles which support, inter alia, the workings of representative democracy…”

    In other words, the oath of allegiance is given to the British state – its constitution and people – as personified by that state’s monarch. The issue then is not that allegiance should be given to a queen but that it should be given to another state.

    In presenting the issue as one of allegiance to a monarch the Shinners and the Stoops are able to deflect the focus from the oath to a foreign state, presenting it to their supporters as being acceptable to swear allegiance to the British state if the reference to the monarch was removed. Although it is more accurate to say that there would be no mention by them of swearing an oath/affirmation to the British state if that reference was removed, with their swearing of such an oath to a foreign state then presented as a victory for nationalists rather than a further defeat for them.

    That con trick is much like ‘closing a sale’ wherein the seller talks to the potential buyer about delivery dates, assuming that the seller has already agreed to buy. If the potential buyer can then be led to discuss such dates, he will have been led to by-pass his decision to buy. So the puppets of the British state in NI will talk about changing the wording of an oath of allegiance to the British state, thereby by-passing the decision about whether or not it is right for them to swear an oath to a foreign state at all. It is simply to be assumed that it is right for the Irish nation in NI to be loyal to the British state, and to normalise their new legitimised status as a non-sovereign nation within it.

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: don’t know about “similiar big law job”, but have to correct you on same point of info as before (keep up) whcih is that – due to the sysem of appointment operating, Alban is not qualified to be Lord Chief Justice so he could not be appointed. Sorry to appear pedantic, just keeping you right.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh I am used to women keeping me right. right shoe. left shoe kinda thing. But I still think Albans heart is not actually in the nitty gritty of local politics and think his Euro attempt and 2010 Westminster campaign were a bit lack lustre.
    I have a lot of respect for him.
    Civilised kinda man.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, FJH. I had to do so. It was meaningless to me then and equally meaningless when I had to do it to obtain Canadian Citizenship. There are lies and there are lies and that was a pretty small one.

  • Michaelhenry

    is westminister breaking any equality laws, are the M.Ps who take the oath breaking any equality laws, is the crown breaking any equality laws, the queen can not be took to court, english law, another argument, but the others could be kicked into court, can we all sue, what about legal aid.

  • socaire

    It may be puerile humour but it certainly rattled the blue rinse brigade, didn’t it, Mark? Maith thú!

  • Jean Meslier

    Can’t wait for Ms Ritchie’s maiden speech. – Move over Winston!

  • fin

    I see Martin had his first chat with the new Primeminister on Wednesday, and I hear Magaret hopes to speak with the new SoS sometime soon, so yes its down to business for the SDLP, it might take her mind off the internal strife

  • redhugh78

    Have to agree, double standards and all that.

  • socaire

    Margaret is a little bit more animated than Winston. Be fair!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    She will probably be more sober also.

  • Mark McGregor

    Seems numerous people (I’m sure some not SDLP members and one or two not using an Assembly computer?) think this pictorial representation, of what Ritchie, Durkan & McDonnell say out loud in order to take their seats at Westminster, is possibly the worst post ever on Slugger.

    One sensitive soul thinks it enough to consider leaving the site forever, poor wee lamb and a few think it spells the end of Slugger if I’m not dealt with by Mick.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve contributed much worse but as my email is down for complaints maybe you want to set up a vote on and I’ll give any outcome the consideration it deserves.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im not sure that anyone would actually have changed their minds and not voted SDLP if the shock horror revelation that Ritchie, Durkan and MacDonnell would take “oaths of allegiance” in order to sit in Westminster…and as they see it fulfil the minimal requirement to facilitate representing those who sent them.
    Yet there is a paradox. “The Queen” hands out honours every year (actually twice a year) to various political time servers and those she (ie the Honours Office) deems worthy to receive one.
    No doubt the various district nurses, school crossing patrol people in Norn Iron are drawn from both communities although understandably a marked relunctance in some quarters to accept one…….either on political, national or egalitarian principles.
    As I recall in the 1980s a SDLP MLA (Mrs McSorley was I believe the name) accepted an OBE or some other bauble for tourism or some such local government stuff in Mid Ulster. And she was kinda blackballed by other SDLP people and eventually sat as an Independent.
    SDLP people an indeed their voters actually care more about OBEs and the like than they do about oaths of allegiance.
    Are there any MBEs or OBEs in the SDLP benches at Stormot. Alas “The Queen” has not deemed ANY of them worthy over 40 years………or more likely that they refuse to accept them.
    The House of Lords…….we have Lords Trimble….Rogan, Taylor, Maurice Morrow, Wallace Brown, Alderdice, Eileen Paisley.
    And of course a few others.
    Perhaps soon Lady Robinson. Or Lord Empey.

    But none from the SDLP …ever. Not worthy. Not accepting.
    No……NOT Gerry Fitt the Socialist.
    No ……NOT Nuala O’Loan the English wife of a SDLP MLA.
    My point is that SDLP voters and members dont actually care about the “necessary” oath of allegiance in Commons but would be shocked to the core if any retired politician…Hendron, Mallon, Hume had taken a seat in the Lords.
    And no doubt it was theirs for the asking.
    Likewise probably Alban Magennis (not retired) or Bríd Rodgers.
    Can I see the Ms Rodgers in the Lords? NO.
    But what about Eddie McGrady.
    Admittedly Ive not much cared for him and his retirement gymnastics over the past year.
    No doubt he could “justify” it on the grounds of being another parliamentary voice, bringing vast experience.
    Perhaps Conal McDevitt is already working on that spin.
    But I hope for SDLPs sake another polite refusal wont inconvenience “Her Majesty” too much.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Just to add that (presumably) we will have some elevations to the Lords in the next few weeks.
    Has there been any resignation honours announced.
    Would Ritchie dare put forward McGradys name?

  • slug

    It is true that Lords are political appointments so parties get them by right – it is not like the other honours such as Sir etc.

    The Upper House is to be reformed and I expect SDLP will take seats there when they are made elected-one of the promises of the new government.

  • slug

    There is a difference between being appointed to House of Lords – that is a job of work in terms of a legislature rather than an “honour”.

  • redhugh

    and watch Margaret sell her soul….

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Thats the point slug.
    APPOINTED to a legislature is undemocratic and while any SDLP person can argue successfully that taking the oath is done so as the minimal requirement to represent a constituency, the same cannot be said for the House of Lords membership.
    As the role is for life it is NOT actually a job of work, is it?
    Perhaps you have some inside info that McGrady would take a role in Lords and are preparing the ground for him.

    History will rightly be kind to the SDLP.
    There is absolutely no reason why MPs canot take a worthless minimalist oath in the COMMONS.
    The LORDS is clearly a different issue.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Sorry……didnt see your more recent point.
    An elected Lords would indeed be different….but dependant on the form it takes.

  • The House of Lords is all about retirement, anyone looked at their perks? If your only pension is what you’ve paid for, and assuming no banks were robbed, the Lords is a tempting option for anyone.

  • redhugh

    and the rest

  • Neil

    Worzel Gummidge at his best that. Nationalist voters would do well to remember this: how can someone pledge unflinching allegiance to the Queen of England, her heirs and successors, while at the same time claim to be working in the interests of Nationalists in Ireland.

  • Stephen, South Down

    There is no EXPLICIT oath in the Assembly. But the Assembly exists by virtue of the will of the Commons. By taking their seats there Sinn Fein are implicitly – but definitively – accepting NI’s status within the Union.