On Last Laughs…..

Given the sense of giddiness which seems to have prevailed on the site since it was incorrectly reported that Gerry Adams had accepted a Crown title earlier in the day, I think it’s only fair to start the umpteenth thread on this topic by noting the apology given to Gerry Adams by Downing Street.

Those casting a more analytical eye over proceedings will note that an issue pitting Sinn Fein against the British Establishment was never going to be a losing ticket for the former. Indeed, all the better that it’s political opponents have made the running on this one. Spare a thought, however, for any SDLP MPs who may have been squirming on the backbenches in Westminster when the British Prime Minister connected with the ball set up for him by the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, provoking a rapturous response in the chamber.

  • dennis the menace

    for peole who arent apparently bothered by this whole thing, it seems republicans are in a right tiz about it, this thread just being an example

  • Ulsterman

    It would seem that Adams, through writing his letter of resignation actually accepted the constitutional position of accepting a crown title. As an elected MP, regardless of whether he takes his seat in Westminster, he is governed by the constitution to which he signed up to by putting himself forward as a candidate for Westminster. He has legally positioned himself as an MP. This means that if he wants to leave, he should have been aware that the only way he can do so without being institutionalised is to accept a crown title. His letter of resignation therefore is his acceptance.
    If he says he was unaware, then he is accepting that he is ignorant of the constitution and the legislation, and we all know that ignorance is no excuse.

    What a farce, what a debacle and what an own goal by SF, especially Adams.

    If he does nothing, which at present seems to be what he is doing, he cannot avoid holding the crown title. He cannot resign or refuse to accept it. The only real option he has is to withdraw his resignation.

    This is getting really interesting…..

  • redhugh78

    Aye Dennis, ‘Republicans are in a right tiz’, lol.

    Have been perusing the previous threads on Gerry Adams and I have to say there have been some contributors who have been exposed as SF haters in their haste to lambast Adams for taking the Qeens shilling’ for it then to be proven that it was all ‘cock n bull’.

    Must feel like right tits now.

    Mick, question for you.
    What is the blogging equivalent for a ‘premature ejaculator’?
    hee hee hee.

  • Pete Baker
  • joeCanuck

    Umpteenth thread and, due to the recent site reorganization, not a single one filed under humour where they all should be.
    As for things getting interesting, some people must lead pretty boring lives (sorry if I have played the man).

  • DC

    In the House of Commons tonight the Speaker confirmed that Gerry Adams didn’t accept the post, but that the Chancellor appointed him to the post -after Adams gave in his resignation.

    I find procedural things tedious especially around Sinn Fein and the House of Commons as these things can be tantamount to a constitutional nonsense, but it is SF after all – what do some people expect, specially as the House of Commons operates to outdated conventions?

    The House of Commons should amend its procedures to stop these irregularities from happening in future and to accommodate diverse nationalist parties like SF. While the letter of the law has not been followed the spirit has today and will continue to be in terms of allowances and other office costs and travel.

    If no changes happen, then we will continue to have what we had tonight – an embarrassing talk around by the British government of how they facilitated Adams’ resignation by bending the rules somewhat and doing things in a contrived way – by having the Chancellor appoint Adams despite him not accepting or applying for the role or ‘office for profit’ or whatever.

  • Could someone complain that the post of the Steward of Northolt was not advertised, or a proper appointment process followed?

  • joeCanuck

    Could someone complain that the post of the Steward of Northolt was not advertised, or a proper appointment process followed?

    Yes, if we want to leave the world of the sublime and enter the world of the ridiculous.
    I assume you’re having a chuckle, Dave.

  • sdelaneys

    The fact that Gerry , when asked by a TV journo outside Leinster House, did not know the rate of vat in the Republic nor the current rates of child benefit is probably a bigger problem for him than Northstead.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Its nice that Downing Street apologised to Mr Adams for the distress caused.
    It would be nice if those who published inaccurate posts on Slugger did the same.

  • Red Rob

    Much ado about nothing if you ask me. What does it matter if Adams accepted this nominal British title or was appointed to it by the Treasury?

    His resignation can now proceed and West Belfast can look for a new MP. Catriona Ruane is my tip, good way to remove her from the Executive where she has been a spectacular failure.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    It would seem that Unionists good day out has turned into a bit of mare – instead of some perceived humiliation for Grizzly we now have irate Unionists berating the Tories for subverting the process wherby a resignation takes place -and we appear to have the PM trying to obscure this – if we take the unfortunate Unioinsts at their word.

    Questions remain for the PM and the Chancellor whilst the boul Grizzly concentrates on matters which concern the Irish people.

  • stewart1

    Still think this sums up Slugger’s latest political bias and pro-union ethos.

    http://img526.imageshack.us/img526/9850/66134619.png

  • Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline and West Fife) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that at lunchtime the Prime Minister informed the House that the Member for Belfast West (Mr Adams) had resigned his seat. After checking my copy of “Erskine May”, I have discovered that it states on page 57 that

    “a Member…cannot relinquish his seat”

    and must therefore accept

    “office under the Crown, which legally vacates his seat and obliges the House to order a new writ.”

    It continues:

    “These offices are…purely nominal and are ordinarily given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to any Member who applies for them.”

    It is my understanding from press releases by Mr Adams that he neither applied for nor has accepted either of those two offices of the Crown. Can you confirm therefore that no such resignation is in order and that the Prime Minister has—inadvertently, I am sure—misled the House?

    Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me advance notice of his point of order.

    I can inform the House that I have received formal notification from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Gerard Adams has been appointed to be steward and bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. Under the terms of section 4 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, for the purposes of the provisions of this Act relating to the vacation of the seat of a Member of the House of Commons who becomes disqualified by that Act from membership of that House, the office of steward or bailiff of Her Majesty’s three Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, or of the Manor of Northstead, shall be treated as included among the offices described in part III of schedule 1 to the Act.

    The hon. Member for Belfast West is therefore disqualified from membership of the House by virtue of section 1 of that Act. The hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife, in referring to pages 57 and 58 of “Erskine May”, causes me to comment on the matter to which he referred. “Erskine May” describes the course of events in cases in the past, but as I have ruled, the law is clear. Appointment to one of the two offices to which I have referred, under section 4 of the Act, results in disqualification. With reference to the observation that the hon. Gentleman made about the comments of the Prime Minister, I am sure that the Prime Minister would never intentionally mislead the House, but the point has been heard on the Treasury Bench and perhaps the Leader of the House will wish to reply.

    The Leader of the House of Commons (Sir George Young): May I reiterate what you have just said, Mr Speaker? Of course my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister would never intentionally mislead the House. The House will be aware that the only way to enact a resignation is to appoint the person to one of the relevant positions. The Prime Minister was aware of the process to appoint Gerry Adams to be steward and bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. It might have been better for my right hon. Friend to have said “is being appointed” instead of “has accepted”, and I am happy to make that clarification for the record.

    Mr Speaker: I am extremely grateful to the Leader of the House.

    Mr Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) (DUP): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. No doubt the fact that Gerry Adams has now departed this place will be greatly welcomed, given that he will no longer be able to claim the large amounts of money that the Government said he would not be allowed to claim, but that he nevertheless went on claiming as a result of being in office here.

    A Treasury statement today says that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken the public statement by Gerry Adams that he is resigning from Parliament as a request to be appointed as steward and bailiff of the Manor of Northstead and granted him that office. As a result, there arises a question about in what circumstances the Chancellor may take a statement or other indication of resignation as an excuse or reason to make such an appointment—[ Interruption. ] These are serious matters, because the normal procedures have not been followed, in that Mr Adams did not apply in the normal way and did not accept in the normal way. Can you, Mr Speaker, investigate the role of the Northern Ireland Office and other agencies in this matter?

    Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has exercised his responsibilities, and I do not think that it is either necessary or seemly to dilate upon how he has done so. He has done so in an entirely orderly way. I would simply say to the right hon. Gentleman that I think that the House will want to rest content with the thrust of what has been said to it. It is not necessary to get ahead of ourselves and engage in hypothetical scenarios. We do not need to do that. However, I have listened to the right hon. Gentleman with the care and respect with which I always listen to him.

    Thomas Docherty: Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. On the specific issue of whether Mr Adams has accepted an office of the Crown, can you confirm that this is the case? As of late this afternoon, Mr Adams was still claiming that he had not accepted the office, which was so graciously offered to him by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    Mr Speaker: I have ruled on the matter. The appointment has been made; the disqualification is a fact. Beyond that, I do not think that I can realistically or reasonably be expected to elaborate.

    Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. There is quite an important issue here about the nature of an application, because if, for the sake of argument, a Member were to express the view that they might feel like resigning from the House, the Chancellor might then appoint them and they would find themselves disqualified. Surely there must be a clear procedure for making it transparent that the Member in question has applied for the Chiltern Hundreds. The question that is being asked—a question to which the House would like an answer—is: was an application made in this case specifically for the Chiltern Hundreds which then led the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make the appointment, and was it accepted?

    Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the shadow Leader of the House for his point of order, but the matter to which he has just referred—whether an application for the Chiltern Hundreds has been made—is, I am afraid, not a matter for me. The matter has been addressed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the execution of his responsibilities, and this is one of those occasions on which it is right for me to communicate the facts of the situation, but not to wallow in the realms of metaphysical abstraction, if I can put it that way.

    Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. “Erskine May” makes it quite clear that someone should apply for an office under the Crown. Should I, as the Member for East Antrim, in a fit of despair when I see who will replace Gerry Adams, express publicly the view that I wished that I was not a Member of a House that contained such a person, would the Chancellor take that as an indication that I should no longer be a Member of this House and therefore appoint me to an office of the Crown? That seems to be the implication of the ruling that you have made.

    Mr Speaker: Once again—I fear that I am being repetitive, but it is necessary for me to be so—let me say that I have made the factual and legal position clear. The hon. Gentleman has raised a point of order, and it seems to me that the matter that he has raised—a matter relating to what could or could not now ensue—is essentially a hypothetical matter upon which it is neither necessary nor possible for a ruling to be made this evening. I believe that the position is clear: the disqualification has happened. If there are Members who are dissatisfied with the procedure—a very senior Member and others have indicated some level of dissatisfaction—it is perfectly open to them further to pursue the matter through other quarters, on other occasions, but I do not think that there is profit in dwelling further on them this evening.

    Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Much has been said in the past 12 months and more about modernising the House of Commons. You made great reference to this yourself in your campaign speech. I hope that this will not seem too revolutionary, but would it not be appropriate for the Procedure Committee to look into these matters? Why should it be necessary, in the 21st century, to apply for an office of profit under the Crown? Why should not it be possible for an hon. Member to resign his seat? I suggest that there is a case for this matter to be looked at. People watching this might consider it rather farcical.

    Mr Speaker: I note what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I hope that he will understand that I respect what he has said, but that it is not for me to speculate from the Chair on what the future position might be. It is absolutely open to the hon. Gentleman and to any other hon. Member to request that the Procedure Committee study this issue and make recommendations. I am not in any sense dying in the ditch as a matter of principle in favour of the status quo; nor am I arguing for a change to it. I am exercising my rather limited responsibility to report to the House what has happened and the facts of the situation. I hope that that is helpful.

    Mr Winnick rose—

    Mr Speaker: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who is indicating that he wishes further to pursue the matter; I respect that.

    Mr Winnick: I shall write to the Procedure Committee.

    Mr Speaker: I note what the hon. Gentleman has said from a sedentary position.

    Sammy Wilson: Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. You are absolutely correct to say that, whatever the future might be, things could be different. Can you confirm to the House now, given the shabby way in which this has been handled in order to avoid the embarrassment of Sinn Fein, that it is now no longer necessary for a Member to apply for an office under the Crown if they wish to resign?

    Mr Speaker: The short answer is no, I am not confirming that at all. What I have done, and what I am doing again, is reporting the facts of the situation and the appointment that has been made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of which I was, perfectly courteously, notified.

    Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. It appears that a major constitutional change is taking place, and I feel sure that the House would welcome a statement tomorrow from a Minister, so that we can question them about this matter.

    Mr Speaker: I note the point of order. It will have been heard by those on the Treasury Bench and it is a matter for any Minister to make a statement if he or she so wishes.

    Mr Richard Bacon (South Norfolk) (Con): Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. The House will have heard with respect everything that you have said, and will have been interested to hear your view that you are neither defending the status quo nor advocating a change from it. I know that people, including my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), will say that a constitutional change has occurred to the point at which people will roll their eyes and smile, but this is a very serious matter. The eminent father of the shadow Leader of the House, the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), used to say that people thought procedure was boring but that it is not; it is our safeguard. If what appears to have happened today is confirmed as being an acceptable way forward, that would mean that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could decide whether someone should be a Member of Parliament or not, without their say-so. That is not acceptable.

    Mr Speaker: I do not think that I should make any further comment beyond what I have said about the appointment that has been made, the communication of it by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to me, and my communication of the reality of the matters to the House of Commons. The hon. Gentleman is as articulate a spokesman for his point of view as can be found, and he has given further evidence of that this evening. We are grateful to him for that, and he might even wish to join in making representations to the Procedure Committee. That is a matter for him. I really do feel that these matters have been exhausted this evening—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] I am grateful for that sedentary assent to that proposition.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    You have to feel for the poor disspirited Unionists MPs making their way back to Ireland – and that after such a promising start to events.

    Are conferring funny tittles the latest British (Tory) weapon against Irish republicans – perhaps the Queen will make a Grizzly a knight in her honours list.

  • edgeoftheunion

    “and this is one of those occasions on which it is right for me to communicate the facts of the situation, but not to wallow in the realms of metaphysical abstraction, if I can put it that way.”

    Dear God

    I bet Bercow enjuyed that.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sinn Fein against the British Establishment was never going to be a losing ticket for the former.

    Pitting Sinn Fein against the Irish establishment, on the other hand, is a more difficult matter. Perhaps Gerry might be disposed to doing a few more radio interviews.

    Sammy Wilson’s point is interesting. Can’t the Treasury now simply expel anyone from the House on a whim by merely making an appointment ?

  • edgeoftheunion

    How entirely appropriate that Hilary Benn is taking part in this.

    It only took his Da 2 years to sort out another bit of nonsense in the UK/British/English Constitution (of sorts).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Benn#Peerage_reform

  • Comrade Stalin

    Still think this sums up Slugger’s latest political bias and pro-union ethos.

    Don’t hit your ass on the door on the way out.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    JoeCanuck

    “Umpteenth thread and, due to the recent site reorganization, not a single one filed under humour where they all should be”

    On the whole, I agree with you – this is pretty laughable.

    However, although I personally have little time for SF and Adams, I think it’s understandable why their supporters are posting here.

    Pete Baker and his acolytes who can’t wait to knock all things SF (but frequently overlook the numerous failings of Unionists in the laughable assembly) have devoted a lot of time and effort to this trivial issue in an attempt to attack the bearded one – (there is actually a big wide world out there!).

    Given that they, despite their pathetic squirming, have been proved wrong to the extent of 10 Downing street issuing a formal apology, I think it’s understandable that supporters of Gerry Adams and/or SF have a right to reply.

    Perhaps it may lead to some contributors on here being a bit less smug but I doubt it.

    Off-hand I can only think of a few hundred more pressing issues.

    With any luck, we can forget this nonsense and focus on things that really matter.

  • Sammy Wilson has been having a laugh too at Gerry’s disqualification; he might be next 🙂

    Should I, as the Member for East Antrim, in a fit of despair when I see who will replace Gerry Adams, express publicly the view that I wished that I was not a Member of a House that contained such a person, would the Chancellor take that as an indication that I should no longer be a Member of this House and therefore appoint me to an office of the Crown?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    To be fair to Unionists what appears like paranoia in their questioning of the speaker is actually well grounded in experience – they simply cannot trust those Brittishers.

  • ThomasMourne

    PIty that the sham democrats who sit in the Commons do not have the courage to exclude MPs who refuse to take their seats [as well as those MPs who have abused parliamentary privileges such as expenses].

  • DC

    Stewart1 – I saw that pic earlier and meant to congratulate you then on your good use of wit and imagery.

    SammyMcNally – I flicked over on freeview between the news channels and caught the debate on it – the house was pretty full and some good points were raised, nonetheless eating of words did happen by the government and the speaker did squirm a little. Sammy Wilson comedy gold as ever.

  • Pete Baker

    “Pete Baker and his acolytes who can’t wait to knock all things SF (but frequently overlook the numerous failings of Unionists in the laughable assembly)”

    I have acolytes?!

    Who knew?!!

    As for “frequently overlook the numerous failings of Unionists in the laughable assembly”…

    The archive is there for a reason…

    In the meantime, a reminder of “fair gaming”

  • Drumlins Rock

    As a Unionist can I just say, I find the whole thing rather amusing and a great chance to take the piss out of the Bearded one, it has a few more serious points, and will apologize for falling for the red herring that the Dail would not let him sit in both Parliaments. But have enjoyed arguing the technicalities of the British Constitution, and will continue to play along for a while , because this is far from over… I will state here and now I still think Gerry remains MP for West Belfast.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    DC,

    This whole Tory-SF-conspircay as Sammy and DeputyDodsy are claiming it is will rumble on tomorrow whilst Gerry is trapsing round Dun Dealgan. Lets hope it has some seriously good legs.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    DrumlinsRock,

    “I will state here and now I still think Gerry remains MP for West Belfast.”

    I see you have not followed DeputyDodsy lead of a conspiracy theory and have opted for denial instead.

  • DC

    I will state here and now I still think Gerry remains MP for West Belfast.

    I doubt it, the powers delegated to the Cabinet and Chancellor and PM in particular on the Queen’s behalf to govern probably trump procedural convention such as what is being cited.

  • This was always going to end one way. The appointment made and Gerry moving on to pastures different. Gerry knew it, Osbourne et al knew it and, lets be honest, we all knew it. It has been fun and has kept us amused for the past day or two. Now over to the Irish Parliament which has not given Gerry permission to accept the honour. http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie/6650534/the-bailiff-of-the-manor-of-northstead-and-the-irish-constitution.thtml Of course Gerry could declare that he has not accepted the honour (which he specifically has avoided saying) , in which case he remains an MP. And this arises because of a written constitution, so no ambiguity there?

  • “I still think Gerry remains MP for West Belfast.”

    DR, it would appear that Gerry Adams has been disqualified. Perhaps Adams’ acolytes are a bit discommoded because the Chancellor pinned a title on him – tail on a donkey style.

  • “knock all things SF”

    Monk, McDevitt, McGlone and Dallatt have certainly ruffled Murphy’s feathers but that doesn’t make them Unionists or anyone’s acolyte.

  • George

    The Dissenter,
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie/6650534/the-bailiff-of-the-manor-of-northstead-and-the-irish-constitution.thtml Of course Gerry could declare that he has not accepted the honour (which he specifically has avoided saying) , in which case he remains an MP. And this arises because of a written constitution, so no ambiguity there?

    The spectator is wrong, it’s not a title rather an executive appointment so any Constitutional provision dealing with nobility doesn’t apply.

    Also, even if it was or say Adams had been declared Lord Adams of Lough Neagh or some such, this would not preclude him from sitting in Dáil Éireann as this provision deals with nobility and not a person’s right to run for the national parilament.

    They are completely separate constitutional issues and are numbered differently and must be read accordingly.

    It seems that many British media outlets are unable to get their heads around the Irish Constitution or the idea of a Republican government as a concept.

    They either read it but don’t understand the implications of having the supreme law lying in such a document rather than edicts of Parliament or don’t read it and publish rubbish.

  • “The spectator is wrong”

    George, the piece was composed by Alex Massie, a freelance journalist living on the Borders with an interest in American, British and Scottish politics. Perhaps his knowledge of the Irish Constitution is a bit limited.

  • Munsterview

    DrumlinR : ” As a Unionist can I just say, I find the whole thing rather amusing and a great chance to take the piss out of the Bearded one,……”

    You can safely take it that your amusement on this issue is not just a sole Unionist perogrative !

    Good day for me, I got it right with Martin and now Gerry, pity there were no current Welsh threads, I may have managed a hat trick.

    I am however intrigued and engaged by the House Of Commons, legal implications and procedures arising from the issues concerned. It would seem that while ‘Officialdom’ followed the expediences as I set out in an earlier post, the desired outcome at all times depended on the proverbial blind eye being turned.

    Now that the procedures will be subjected to rigorous legal scrutiny, examination of precedent etc, we may indeed find that Gerry is in fact and in law, still an MP.

    The spirit or intent of the Law do not matter here, it is the letter of the Law that counts.

    The start of the process was instituted by Gerry Adams MP giving notification of resignation. Did that notification comply with the rules of notification ? That is the first link of the legal chain.

    The second, did the recipient Official have the ‘De Jura’ right to act in the ‘De Facto’ way that they did. As there was apparently no explicit request for any Crown Office, was that official who dealt with the notification acting ‘ultra vires’ in assuming that implicit in that notification, there was a request for Crown Office ?

    Was the official who conferred the Crown Office also acting ‘Ultra Vires’ ? Assuming the ‘Bona Fedis’ of their action, this official must have been convinced of the correctness of the processes carried out.

    If Gerry’s application was not procedurally correct and the conferring of Crown Office on him was correctly done by the official concerned, then it would seem that there is an invalidation somewhere in the intervening processes.

    Parliamentary Enquiry anyone ?

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Nevin

    I am not claiming that SF shouldn’t be knocked – same as anyone else. You won’t find a bigger critic than me of Ruane and SF’s ruinous education “policy”. I’d say that it was laughable except for the detrimental effect it is having on the school children of the North.

    I was merely pointing out that some people here have a fixation with anything that can be used to criticize SF and the bearded one in particular – even to the point of this ludicrous stuff and an obstinate refusal to admit when they’re wrong – even when Number 10 Downing Street issues an apology to that effect.

    However, they are not always so quick to criticise the stupidity of Unionist or even SDLP “ministers” – it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of ammunition.

    To be frank, I would expect the SDLP to attack SF as much as possible and Conor Murphy has certainly got questions to answer. Although, Ritchie’s record as a minister had plenty of flaws and Attwood is hardly setting the place ablaze.

    I have some time for John Dallatt and I take your point that it isn’t only Unionists who criticize SF.

    To be frank, I wouldn’t really use McDevitt and/or McGlone to back up any argument.

    To call those two lightweights is a real insult – to lightweights.

  • Brian

    The last laugh is on all of us for giving a rat’s a$$ about this minutiae.

    BTW can someone give me the cliff notes of what happened?

  • slappymcgroundout

    “What a farce, what a debacle and what an own goal by SF, especially Adams.”

    Nice try. The one soul from Labor pretty much summed up what the outside world is thinking right now:

    “I hope that this will not seem too revolutionary, but would it not be appropriate for the Procedure Committee to look into these matters? Why should it be necessary, in the 21st century, to apply for an office of profit under the Crown? Why should not it be possible for an hon. Member to resign his seat? I suggest that there is a case for this matter to be looked at. People watching this might consider it rather farcical.”

    Amen, brother.

    Lastly, so our man Ulsterman appreciates the supreme irony of the moment, simply recall when Big Ian, Peter Robinson, Ken Maginnis, etc., walked out in protest of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They too couldn’t resign from a “treacherous” government. They had to be appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead in order to work not their resignation but their disqualification. If they debased themselves by truly applying to a “treacherous” govt for the office, then it was their bad (since they should have simply resigned).

  • pippakin

    So whether Gerry Adams likes it or not the British have been and gorn and done it, there’s a surprise. His republican *cough* honour *cough* is upheld, anyone who believed a word he said before his resignation can carry on doing so.

    Would it be too much to ask that he now turn his attention, such as it is, to the south?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Off-hand I can only think of a few hundred more pressing issues.

    With any luck, we can forget this nonsense and focus on things that really matter.

    Great. When are you going to start ? Mick has thrown open the Slugger blogroll to the great unhosed. Here’s your chance to correct the bias problem.

  • Secret Squirrel

    Chris,
    Do you think it might be a bit too early for me to stop sniggering and start laughing ? ( I enjoy a good long laugh.)

  • Pete Baker

    Clarification in the Irish Times on that ‘apology’

    A Downing Street spokesman said last night Mr Cameron was standing by remarks he made during prime minister’s questions yesterday regarding Mr Adams’s status.

    But he said Mr Cameron’s private secretary had apologised to Mr Adams for the fact that news of the appointment had been made public without his foreknowledge.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    How jolly ungentelmanly of Davey easier for him if he just admitted he hadnt followed the detail closely enoough.

  • George, you are right. Steward or Bailiff is hardly nobility and I was wrong to read the Massie article as relevant to Gerry being an MP or not.

    Mick, admin or whoever, can we please have the reply thread returned as conversation is impossible unless glued to Slugger and this post is so past the relevant point that it is probably missed. Happy to be wrong, but all the better to be seen where it is most relevant.

  • MV, perhaps the Procedure Committee will now review the position of ‘semi-detached’ members.

  • “to criticize SF and the bearded one in particular”

    Monk, you may have overlooked the possibility that some folks will have issues with Adams because of his probable role in the ‘legitimate government of Ireland’ ie the Army Council. There will be a lot of bitterness out there across the Unionist and Nationalist spectrum.

    Sadly, we seem to have elected a lot of Ministers and MLAs who are indeed lightweight. Friends of mine who have been victims of bureaucratic misdemeanours and/or dubious actions have sought support from elected representatives and been mostly left disappointed and frustrated.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Comrade

    None of us is without prejudice. I am a moderate Nationalist and I’ve never hidden that fact.

    However, in my defence, I have had plenty of criticisms of both SF and the SDLP – particularly the SDLP of Ritchie and McDonnell.

    I certainly have plenty of bad things to say about certain Unionists like Campbell, McCrea or Frazer. However, I’m an admirer of David Trimble and even Peter Robinson in the risks they (particularly the former) took for peace.

    I’m not an Alliance Party supporter (I truly despise John Cushnahan) but I was delighted to see Naomi Long get elected and think she’ll will be a great MP for all of the people of her constituency.

    All I was doing was pointing out that there are people here (on both sides) who are only interested in attacking one person or political party while ignoring the same (or worse) behaviour from the people or parties they favour.

    Sometimes, as in this case, it is just ridiculous. I’m not a Gerry Adams supporter but the fact is that he has resigned as an abstentionist MP (as is his right). This pathetic attempt at trying to label him as having accepted some office of the crown is laughable – the sort of behaviour one would expect in a children’s playground.

    Like I said, I’m not claiming to be free of bias. However, I make an honest attempt at giving praise where it’s due and also criticism – as do many others on this site.

    I think that those who dragged this rubbish up to attack GA need to get a life. There is a hell of a lot that he can be criticized for (economic literacy to be topical) – this nonsense is just pathetic.

  • 241934 john brennan

    The rate of VAT? Would that be Vat 69?

    Baron Northstead? For pantomine polictics is that not Baron Hardup?

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    Nevin

    I fully accept that many people have issues (deservedly) with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

    Frankly, people could have had the same issues with David Ervine or a number of prominent Ünionist policians whose ambiguous ( to put it mildly!) attitude to “loyalist” terrorism is legendary.

    However, as I pointed out above – if someone is really obsessed (as some clearly are) with attacking Gerry Adams and/or SF – there are a load of topical and important issues on which to do so – education, water supplies, the economy etc.

    Making a big deal out of this non-issue doesn’t make Gerry Adams or SF look bad – it makes those who are trying to make something out of it look pathetic – they need to get out more!.

  • Fionn

    I wonder if those who managed to accommodate this little shimmy around 400 years of constituational procedure are available to be the new parades body for NI, they may well be able to convince the OO they have actually marched up Drumcree on the 12th while at the same time reassuring residents the OO have not been there.

  • Munsterview

    Monk….. : ” I think that those who dragged this rubbish up to attack GA need to get a life. There is a hell of a lot that he can be criticized for (economic literacy to be topical) – this nonsense is just pathetic…..”

    I cannot agree with you !

    My cousin DD Sheehan MP. ( Labour left politics ) was accused by the sectarian bastard Wee Joe Devlin of having ‘stolen the Nationalist seat’. He applied for paid crown office, left parliament and challenged the Wee Joe Faction to oppose him, they did not and he was re elected unopposed. I was intrigued by the concept and had researched details of it some twenty five years ago.

    There are issues raised here that are neither pedantic or esoteric, even if prima facia, that is how they may seem. Gerry Adams MP resigned simplicitar as I understand it. I would be very surprised indeed if Gerry or his advisors gave too many pr hostages to political opponents or political enemies on that letter.

    We now come to constitutional issues, be they ‘unwritten’ or otherwise where the strict letter of the law apply with precision…. or at least it should.

    The first legal question to answer here since Gerry Adams MP did not explicitly apply for Crown Office, did the Speaker then act ultra vires in concluding that he was also implicitly applying for Crown Office ?

    Hopefully slappy will run his legal eye over this. The circumstances where a inference may be drawn from a statement or act prima faci, when subjected to legal evaluation and assessment, may very well reveal that the person coming to the conclusions they did, acted erroneously, or were not correct in beliefs even if their bona fedis are not subject to question.

    To again return to points already made, this charade depended it seems on a certain amount of expediency and the proverbial blind eye being turned and the public kept in the dark about the whole exercise. Sleeping Dogs could have been let lie.

    Nigel Dodds MP kicked them awake. Now that ‘Mad dogs and English Men are out in the mid-day sun’ etc, the legal and constitutional issues raised cannot avoid detailed examination. Gerry Adama may or may not be still an MP, ( my guess as a former experienced para-legal is that he is) this will have to be determined.

    From here on in we will be dealing with the strict letter of the law. When the chain of process from the receipt of Gerry Adams MP letter of resignation to the unasked conferring of Crown office on him is examined, and any aspect of this process is found not to conform with procedure, practice or common law, then the Crown office will have been found to have been unlawfully conferred on Gerry Adams MP.

    That being so, if the Crown Office was unlawfully conferred, then all further acts that flowed from that, including depriving the sitting MP for West Belfast of his elected office were unlawful also.

    I am really enjoying this as I will the outworking of the issues raised. It seems Dods and Co may have indulged in a bit of foot shooting that they will have plenty of cause to regret. However it would not the first time that the Unionist causes a constitutional consternation in ‘Mainland’ politics. This resignation issue have now raised other issues that a wide cross section of interests including parliamentary proceedurelists, will persue because of the issues raised per se with the fact that they relate to Sinn Fein or Gerry Adams secondary.

    This puppy will run for some time yet !

  • “a load of topical and important issues on which to do so”

    Monk, there’s one issue which I think is suitable for UK & Ireland consideration: the retention of the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre in Bangor. Michael McGimpsey has a remit for public safety but it doesn’t extend to the coastguard. As many of these services interact perhaps its time that there was a measure of overall coordination and regulation. This would include ‘freelance’ operations which currently may not be regulated.

  • Mike the First

    “Those casting a more analytical eye over proceedings will note that an issue pitting Sinn Fein against the British Establishment was never going to be a losing ticket for the former.”

    Really, Chris? So presumably Northern Ireland isn’t part of the UK any more then?

  • Mike the First

    Munsterview

    “My cousin DD Sheehan MP. ( Labour left politics ) was accused by the sectarian bastard Wee Joe Devlin of having ‘stolen the Nationalist seat’. ”

    Interesting you call Joe Devlin a “sectarian bastard”,

    What’s you view of Gerry Adams’s comment on losing the West Belfast seat to Joe Hendron – that it has actually been “stolen from the people of West Belfast”? (presumably since some Prods had had the temerity to vote for Hendron)

    Evidently for Adams, “the people of West Belfast” didn’t include Protestants/unionists, nor even SDLP voters for that matter.

  • “any SDLP MPs who may have been squirming”

    Chris, did you detect any such squirming – or are just indulging in a diversionary manoeuvre? 😉

    It seems that neither Dave nor Gerry were familiar with the customary resignation arrangements.

    Can SF not find southern constituencies for Ruane, Murphy and Gildernew too? At least, as TDs, they could do less damage than if they were ministers.