“I want to represent their views.”

So said 18-year-old Connor Morgan as he became the first member of Sinn Féin to speak in the House of Commons.  The event was the annual sitting of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons – Mr Morgan being a representative for County Londonderry.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Morgan insisted his Sinn Fein membership was “completely irrelevant” as members of the Youth Parliament do not have party loyalties.

“This event is not party political,” he said. “I’m here today just for the young people of my area. I want to represent their views.”

Hardly irrevelant, given that, despite the Independent’s last line, it’s not the oath Sinn Féin object to so much as “the claim of that parliament to jurisdiction in Ireland.”

Isn’t that still right, Gerry?

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  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    “Mr Morgan being a representative for County Londonderry.”

    Is he the same one the Independent is reporting “as the representative for Co Derry ” ?

    The question on abstensionism needs to be directed to the SDLP rather than SF i.e. when they are going to get into line with the majority of Nationalists MPs and stop attending Westminster?

  • lover not a fighter

    Don’t get carried away with this Peter and others.

    While it would apparently make sense for Sinn Féin to take their place in Westminister and become “wreckers” it is the principal of not legitamising the absolute sovereignity of this London parliament in a part of Ireland that lies behind Sinn Féin boycott of taking their seats in the said parliamant.

    While this may bedifficult to reconcile with taking part in a powersharing administration in Belfast it is the symbolism that is the signicant decider.

    A country that has a monarchy as its head of state should need no enlightenment from me on the importance of symbolism.

  • White Horse

    I must say that I despair at this “dib-dib-dib dob-dob-dob” boy scout style rivalries between two dead ideologies, unionism and republicanism. Have they really anything to offer?

  • Paul

    Good lad:

    “It is a great honour to stand here before you and to have the opportunity to address you in Irish,”

    The adverse reaction amongst the Conservative commentators on the mainland seems fixated on the fact that he addressed the UKYP in Irish…wood and trees. A Shinner, finally, speaking in the HOC on behalf of his constituents should be the focus here and whether he speaks in English, Irish or Albanian is neither here nor there.

    Sammy Mac

    “The question on abstensionism needs to be directed to the SDLP rather than SF i.e. when they are going to get into line with the majority of Nationalists MPs and stop attending Westminster”

    Even a *Unionist* MP, Lady Sylvia is following the SF abstentionist line better than the SDLP… she hasn’t managed to find her way to the nation’s parliament for over 100 votes now.
    OurselvesNorth Down Alone”

  • Alan Maskey

    I just hope for this young kid’s sake that he got permission to attend the gig from the PSF leadership. I also hope he followed PSF’s policies and views while representing the people of Co Derry and that he did not actually speak to any Unionists, Protestants or SDLPites in the process of divining what they thought.
    I say this out of concern for Mr Morgan’s health. Better men than him, as they say, have killed themselves or been killed by others for speaking out of turn. Safety first and whatever you say, say nothing.
    Why, incidentally, is Mr Morgan studying at Leeds? Is he getting a bolt hole ready for himself in case his words displease the PSF’s leader? Or is he just another PSF thicko?

    As regards the symbolism: Give me a break. Sinn Fein The Republican Party are aping Fianna Fail the Republican Party and, though they may be more loyal to the half crown than the crown, they still see the connection between the two.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I dont actually think Mr Morgan, much admired by Bakery thought he was representing “Co Londonderry”. …comforting as the thought is for some.

  • John East Belfast

    Well unionism offers this man a seat in this forum for a start.

    But I agree with you Irish Republicanism has nothing to offer – even TDs are recognising that in advance of the Queen’s visit next year.

  • Lover and a Fighter

    Fair play to him.

  • 6crealist

    Sammy/Moderate Unionist

    The vast majority of people in the north want their political representatives to attend Westminster and speak up for our interests there. In fact, the vast majority of nationalists in Derry, south Down and south Belfast feel that way: deal with it.

    Your arrogance and lack of political acumen know no bounds: “when they are [sic] going to get into line”. Bloody hell. Get a grip.

  • pippakin

    I think Mr Morgan may be attending Leeds (if he is) because it has, or had last time I checked, a very good reputation and was in fact quite trendy.

    For the rest well done him. SF sent a boy to do a mans job but at least they sent someone. I don’t care if he spoke to them in Irish or English.

    I like the idea it may have been a ‘testing of the waters’.

    Pete Baker

    You couldn’t resist it could you. County London Derry! talk about whataboutery.

  • 6crealist

    Sammy/Moderate Unionist

    Even by your miserable standards, your argument badly lacks cogency. Your contribution is sub-amateurish at best.

    The vast majority of people in the north – including the vast majority of people in Derry, south Belfast and south Down – have clearly exprsesed a preference for their political representatives to take Westminster seats.

    “when they are [sic] going to get into line” – how about when the electorate send the party such a message and not because “uncle” Gerry demands it?

  • Paul McMahon

    Of course this young lad has got the blessing of the party leadership. This is the Ard Chomhairle testing the waters to see what party activists reaction is before they cross the Rubicon.

  • Was his speech translated? Because as you all know knowledge of Irish among English speakers is nil. He could have said all Protestants can burn in hell for all anyone knew.

  • Alan Maskey

    Wolf: Reading your comment, I thpought it was going to read: Was his speech translated? Because as you all know knowledge of Irish among Republicans is virtually nil. He could have said all Protestants can burn in hell for all anyone knew

  • Granni Trixie

    In the name of G***. What would it take to bring home to SF the practicalities of our dire economic situation – why opt out of the opportunity at Westminster to exert influence, trying for instance to ensure that the poorest do not suffer unduly from the cutts?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    GT,

    Most Nationlaists agree with the SF policy and dont agree with Unionist parties, like Alliance, in their approach to the British parliament.

    Apart from the fat that there is absoultely no evidence to back any suggested benefit from a change of policy there is a matter of principle involved – presumably you understand that?

  • Granni Trixie

    I understand the rationale is said to be “principle” but if I had a pound for every time principle is used to cover other motives…. I think by now it is more a received wisdom that ought to be revisited. As I said, in these conditions it is just ridiculous….could be they are on the cusp of changing – if so you will find the ‘principle’ is conveniently overlooked (but Ive no problem with that if they show leadership and contribute rather than criticising from outside.

  • http://tinyurl.com/37s8sha

    see his speech here

  • pippakin

    Principle has nothing to do with it. It took them decades to recognise the Dail but doing so has been good for SF.

    It is right to go to HOP because the voice will be loudest there and the effect greater. it is also right to go there to fully represent all their constituents, and of course to play havoc amongst the coalition. I want to see Gerry Adams asking questions on PMQs. And just think of the advantage he would have. No one there would be able to call him a liar…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    pippakin, GT

    It is often the case, as seems to be reflected here, that when a principle is not shared it often denied.

    It is plainly an (ideological) nonsense to suggest that SF dont in principle object to taking their seats at Westminster.

    ..and the SDLP should join SF in their abstensionist policy before the lose out further electorally.

  • pippakin

    IwSMw

    If SF want to do things the democratic way and thanks be they say they do, then they should go to parliament to do it!

    I believe those who cling to the old delay the future. MPs Michelle Gildernew, Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams could give anyone a run for their money in a debate and its high time they did just that.

    It is a unique and welcome fact that SF have representatives in both the Dail and Westminster, they need to make more of that and their supporters should welcome the opportunity it gives them.

    If it were me I would hardly let a question go by without mentioning the Famine, Cromwell and so on. Ireland loses because they won’t go there.

  • G O’Neill

    SFs biggest fan Mr Baker strikes again with yet another article about abstentionsim – we must be into the 100th this year. How many times do we have to trudge over the same subject.

    Are we supposed to believe that because a student who happens to be some way affliated to SF has spoken at a Youth event SF have now given up on abstentionism. It is what some people including the author of this article would love to happen but if they read any of the responses from SF they would realise its never going to happen.

    Why would SF even consider changing a policy that their electorate would clearly not agree with. They don’t consider it a legitimate parliament for Ireland nor should they. Its time some people actually realised that they can write the same article countless times however its not coming to have any bearing on reality.

  • G O’Neill

    Tell me one relevant question that Margerat Ritche has asked in the HOP that has had any bearing or impact on Ireland. Go on just one….

  • Archie Noble

    “While it would apparently make sense for Sinn Féin to take their place in Westminister and become “wreckers”

    It would not be appropriate or effective.

  • pippakin

    G O’Neill

    I could have googled it but sure I’m no liar. I pay very little attention to anything the SDLP do.

    If however you are telling me that neither GA or MMcG could give a better performance than Ms Ritchie I may look again.

    It’s not about the SDLP and the status quo, it’s about moving Ireland forward. Do whatever it takes without hurting anyone and that includes making sure they are there to ask the right questions. In Irish first would be good.

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: Most Nationlaists agree with the SF policy and dont agree with Unionist parties, like Alliance, in their approach to the British parliament.
    How can you tell? It’s not as though this is the only difference between the SF and SDLP manifestos, or delivery.

  • dodrade

    The first, and probably not the last either.

  • Stephen Ferguson

    “Why, incidentally, is Mr Morgan studying at Leeds? Is he getting a bolt hole ready for himself in case his words displease the PSF’s leader? Or is he just another PSF thicko?”

    Haven’t you heard?

    It’s all the rage these days for teenagers from Nationalist areas to head over to University in England or Scotland.

    Like their Unionist counterparts a hefty percentage choose not to return when they complete their education.

  • iluvni

    Its long past time for legislation to kick out those who refuse to take their seats, to be replaced by the candidate with the next highest vote….and if they fail to bother their arse voting in the Commons (Hermon) they should be kicked out too.

    Good for Morgan too.

  • 6crealist

    “Most Nationlaists agree with the SF policy….”

    Not in south Belfast, south Down or Derry, Sammy/Moderate Unionist.

  • SDLP Man

    Re G. O’Neill

    “Tell me one relevant question that Margerat Ritche has asked in the HOP that has had any bearing or impact on Ireland. Go on just one….”

    Message for G. O’Neill: see the following 17 questions for the current month of October 2010 alone and, if you have any honesty or integrity, submit your apology,

    1. (26 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effects of the proposed reforms to the benefits system on the disadvantaged and vulnerable in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

    2. (25 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 11 October 2010, Official Report, column 516W, on the intelligence services, on what date each meeting at ministerial level was held in the last 12 months; and who attended each such meeting

    3. (25 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what correspondence he received from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on future reductions in spending on employment and support allowance between April 2011 and March 2015; and if he will make a statement; (2) what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on future budgetary allocations.

    4. (20 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which service has responsibility for (a) directing and (b) leading intelligence policy in Northern Ireland.

    5.(20 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what funding he has allocated to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement.

    6.(18 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of arrangements for (a) intelligence gathering for security purposes in Northern Ireland and (b) contacts between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Security Service.

    7. (18 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will guarantee the Government’s undertaking to provide £18 billion to the Northern Ireland Executive for political institutions and infrastructure development and renewal; and if he will make a statement; (2) to ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Prime Minister…etc

    8. Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment he has made of the security threat from paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

    9. (18 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions (a) he and (b) his Ministerial colleagues have had with the Northern Ireland Executive on (i) proposed changes to the benefit and welfare system and (ii) the level of employment in Northern Ireland.

    10. (18 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what benefit schemes he plans to (a) end and (b) retain under his proposed changes to the benefits and welfare system.

    11. (18 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the implementation of his proposals to change the welfare and benefit system; and from what budgets that cost will be met.

    12. (18 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he took into account in formulating his policy on the reform of child benefit.

    13. (13 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: Given the success of the global development engagement fund, what steps will the Secretary of State take to reinstate that fund to ensure that the good work done in schools and communities throughout Britain and Northern Ireland can be continued?

    14. (11 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provisions of the St. Andrews Agreement govern the transfer of intelligence material to the Northern Ireland Executive.

    16. (11 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the remit is of the funding review of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; how the review will carry out its work; and if he will make a statement.

    16. (11 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent progress has been made towards a resolution for savers affected by the current situation of the Presbyterian Mutual Society.

    17. (4 Oct 2010)
    Margaret Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, columns 84-85W, on the Independent Living Fund, whether he plans to re-open the Independent Living Fund to new applicants.

  • Arty Renny

    Proof positive for an abstentionist policy. An inconsequential belief that a litany begets a prayer.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Why would SF even consider changing a policy that their electorate would clearly not agree with.’

    What like unilateral decommissioning, signing up to continued partition or endorsing the police service of Northern Ireland?
    SF’s electorate have amply approved that they’ll agree with whatever they’re told to.

  • Maccers

    Indeed, monolingualism is a common disease in Britain. By contrast, I know very few young people from other European countries who aren’t competent in two languages, at least. But that’s hardly Mr Morgan’s fault.

    (It was translated, by the way. It mentions that in black and white in the Independent report. In English.)

  • USA

    It’s their own personal war reparations.
    Let London pay. Well done kids.

  • zzzzzzzz

  • Obelisk

    What does Unionism offer besides the illusion our concerns are listened to at Westminster?

    The Corporation Tax saga should demonstrate just how effective Norn Iron politicians are when the desire is for something concrete to help the economy.

    And one TD with a sharp tongue does not a consensus make.

  • John East Belfast

    Arty

    You show contempt for the political process anywhere.

    What impact do you think a SF TD has in the Dail at present ?
    Why bother going there ?

    The same could be said of most elected representatives -even those who have a Party in Govt.
    It is their job to hold the Govt to account and raise issues and force responses. it is their job to speak up for their own constituents and the overall good of society. It is called democracy.

    Every now and again come along important votes on conscience matters such as abortion and euthanasia – these are matters where every vote counts.

    SF’s abstentionist policy is totally dishonest – if they dont want to go to Westminster then they should abstain from Westninster elections and leave it to the parties and indivduals who do, If SF voters dont believe in Westminster then they too should abstain from voting – if all they are interetsed in is making a point then abstention form the election will have the same effect. They have other electoral forums in which they do participate to show their strength.

    It is outrageous for people to accept a job and not fulfill it and equally outtrageous that NI constituencies have no one representing them at the centre of Govt where the laws that govern their lives are being formulated.

    Margaret Ritchie is clearly doing a good job for the position she has been elected to. She sees it as a great honour to be an elected official which carries a great burden of responsibility.

    If I was a unionist in a nationalist majority seat in a FPTP election I would struggle with not voting for the likes of her. In an AV system UUP 1 and SDLP 2 in a nationalist constituency where SF are less than 50% would be a no brainer for me.

  • tacapall

    We could bring that a tad further John and suggest why do Unionists put up candidates in Nationalist areas when they know they have no chance of winning, a waste of time and effort would you say for those Unionists – if all they are interetsed in is making a point then abstention from the election will have the same effect.

  • John East Belfast

    tacapall

    I think it is the job of every political party to put up candidtates for positions on which they are prepared to serve – whether they think they can win or not. However that doenst translate into a justification for taking the job when you can win it and not doing it.

    It is up to the voters if they want to vote strategically or towards party loyalties. However that equally doesnt justify voters foisting on others candidates who wont do their job.

    It is bad faith to take a job and not do it – they have been elected for the entire constituency not just their own voters.

    SF position on Westminster is intolerable – they and their voters can boycott the election – not the job

  • Halfer

    Sinn fein would gain no influence in Westminster. Read up on the British political system. Legislative agenda is tightly controlled by a cabal around the PM.

  • Halfer

    If someone stands on an abstentionist ticket then it is their democratic right to fulfill that. Your line of thought while earnest is trading to a dangerous place.

  • joan

    remember what the late john kelly said about the leadership of sinn fein, gerry adams in particular: ‘not a sparrow should fall from a tree that he doesn’t know about it.’ mr morgan going to the house of commons would, of course, be approved and endorsed by mr adams et al.

  • Kevin Barry

    I imagine that’s why he said ‘most’ and not ‘all’

  • Henry94

    The youth parliament doesn’t claim any jurisdiction and requires no oath. Nobody has any objection to the Commons chamber itself. If it was rented out for birthday parties I assume no Sinn Fein member would have a problem about attending one there.

  • 6crealist

    His statement remains incorrect or, at best, lacks any hint of evidence in support. What of nationalists in the south? Has Sammy/Moderate Unionist conducted an investigation to demonstrate their thoughts on the matter?

  • dodrade

    I suspect most SF voters are not principled abstentionists, but are pretty cynical about politics so don’t care whether they take their seats or not. The only reason they still don’t is as a last fig leaf to cover their other U-turns, in much the same way the pupil premium does for the Lib Dems.

  • Kevin Barry

    And you have evidence that the Nationalists of South Belfast, South Down and Derry do support having representation sit in Westminster? Last time I checked the SDLP is something more than a one issue party.

    It may be incorrect, it may not. It certainly lacks evidence.

  • sam

    Why do so many Shinners and IRA members who profess their undying hatred of everything British spend so much of their time in England?

  • slug

    It is somewhat symbolic however – after all its called parliament.

  • slug

    Putting petty points to one side, I thought that Connor spoke very well and it is to be hoped that an intelligent, well educated person such as he will enter politics and make politics work better.

  • Frank Ryan

    He is testing the water for Gerry etc to see the reaction. He is the litmus test. That is the way Adams etc work. Just take your seats and get it done with Gerry et al.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    6crealist,

    The conventional way that parties test the popularity/acceptability of their policies is to put them forward at elections.

    Now, instead of being abusive, you should ponder on the fact that the only ‘evidence’ we have is that a majority of Nationlaists prefer SFs policies (including abstensionism) rather than the SDLP’s.

    As I mentioned previoulsy, it is therfore a good working assumption, that most Nationalists prefer abstensionism and hopefully the SDLP will have a litle ponder (like you youself) before getting into line – and before they lose the rest of their seats to (the abstensionist) SF.

  • Malmesbury

    Leeds University is one of the Russell Group of universities, by the way. If you haven’t come across the Russell Group before, it is generally regarded as the association of the top universities in the UK.

  • Bullitt

    Hard to take your point regarding abstentionism seriously, Sammy, when you can’t even spell it…