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Old 06-09-2017, 09:51 AM
Elendil's Heir is offline
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Sinn Fein's refusal to take its seats in the British House of Commons


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinn_F%C3%A9in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstentionism

A previous related thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=562304

Even given the narrow general election results yesterday, Sinn Fein will again not take its seats (seven this time, it looks like) in the new House. I think I understand the point the Irish party is trying to make, but wonder why the rest of Parliament continues to let them stand for election, win seats and then refuse to take part in governance.

Has there ever been a serious proposal to bar from the British parliamentary ballot any party which was unwilling to take its seats, or to automatically award any such seat to whichever party was the runner-up in that particular election?
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:29 AM
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Not as far as I know.

I presume the theory is... if the populace know Sinn Fein won't take their seats, but vote for them anyway, then so be it.
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Has there ever been a serious proposal to bar from the British parliamentary ballot any party which was unwilling to take its seats, or to automatically award any such seat to whichever party was the runner-up in that particular election?
On what grounds would they be banned? I know we tend to make the constitution up as we go along here, but reversing the result of an election because you don't like it seems a bit extreme.
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:51 AM
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On what grounds would they be banned? I know we tend to make the constitution up as we go along here, but reversing the result of an election because you don't like it seems a bit extreme.
I think the Argument is "Politics is about grown-ups participating, not toddler tantrums, so if you know beforehand you are not going to take any part, you're just wasting time by going up in the election."

I remember, back when in High School we had elections for the class Speaker, the teacher always stressed before we wrote the names on the Slips of paper and then a second time after the counting was done, that nobody was required to accept the result, they were allowed to refuse, and then we would have to do-over. (And the teacher deliberatly asked the winning candidate to clearly confirm that he was accepting the win and Position of class Speaker).
I always understood (along with the rest of the class I believe) that accepting the candidacy, but not the Position in case of win, was a dick move just wasting everybody's time.

In this case, People voted for them in order to represent them. If they don't take their seats, how can they represent their voters / constitutencies?

I think re-doing the election in the affected districts until the elected politicans agree to participate would be more fair to the voters.
However, if they have been doing that for some time now - so the voters knew ahead of the election that this would be the outcome - then I think the People have spoken and don't want to be represented.

Last edited by constanze; 06-09-2017 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:54 AM
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It's tradition, damn it ! The Code, and the Code made the Empire !


I despise their cause, but honour their adherence to Ritual and keeping to the Old Ways. Such permanent refusal is now as part of political culture as Black Rod, or the Regalia being brought to the Commons in their own horse drawn carriage.
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Old 06-09-2017, 10:57 AM
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However, if they have been doing that for some time now - so the voters knew ahead of the election that this would be the outcome - then I think the People have spoken and don't want to be represented.
Yep, that's basically exactly what's happened. And even if they don't formally take their seats, it doesn't follow that they can't do any work for their constituents. I don't know if they do or not, but there's a lot more to an MP's job than voting in the Commons.
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:05 AM
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And even if they don't formally take their seats, it doesn't follow that they can't do any work for their constituents. I don't know if they do or not, but there's a lot more to an MP's job than voting in the Commons.
Why would they be successful in doing work for their constituents? Now government departments are responsive to request from legislators because they vote on bills affecting those departments. But if they don't vote where is the leverage?
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:08 AM
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Yep, that's basically exactly what's happened. And even if they don't formally take their seats, it doesn't follow that they can't do any work for their constituents. I don't know if they do or not, but there's a lot more to an MP's job than voting in the Commons.
They can't get any cabinet or Minister Posts, either, if they aren't sitting, right?

I know that MPs don't only sit around in Parliament all day - they meet with experts and draft legislation and talk to their voters.
But if they don't sit, they can't introduce drafts, either, right?
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:09 AM
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Why would they be successful in doing work for their constituents? Now government departments are responsive to request from legislators because they vote on bills affecting those departments. But if they don't vote where is the leverage?
Most of an MPs work is local, and it's possible that they have the same access locally as any other MP would have. I don't know this, but I don't know that it's not true either.

There's obviously some reason they still get elected, and I doubt it's purely partisanship. But again, I could be wrong.
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:14 AM
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They can't get any cabinet or Minister Posts, either, if they aren't sitting, right?
They wouldn't anyway, they're a tiny minority party.

Quote:
I know that MPs don't only sit around in Parliament all day - they meet with experts and draft legislation and talk to their voters.
But if they don't sit, they can't introduce drafts, either, right?
A normal MP will spend a lot of time in their constituency dealing with local issues, often in informal or semi-formal discussions with various groups. Whether that's helping to arrange funding for local charities, raising issues with large companies that their constituents disagree with, providing a link between local and central Government, and many other things. Most MPs won't touch any legislation directly.
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:02 PM
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Has there ever been a serious proposal to bar from the British parliamentary ballot any party which was unwilling to take its seats, or to automatically award any such seat to whichever party was the runner-up in that particular election?
Would it matter?

Presumably they would just accomplish their protest by taking their seats and abstaining from all votes.
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:35 PM
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Has there ever been a serious proposal to bar from the British parliamentary ballot any party which was unwilling to take its seats, or to automatically award any such seat to whichever party was the runner-up in that particular election?
They already are banned. All MP's swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Monarch. Sinn Fein refuses to take the oath, since they deny the British Crown's authority in Ireland.

Refusal to take the Oath can lead to a member having their seat declared vacant. Wich could certainly be done with Sinn Fein (and IIRC has been done for a member or so at times). However, since Sinn Fein represents extremely Catholic Constituencies, what will happen is that the resulting by-election will see Sinn Fein candidate returned again and the process continues.

For most of the previous century this arrangement suited the UK Government just fine, the number of seats was pretty less compared to the rest of the House and N Ireland was enough of a powder keg that no one was interested in making it an issue, and N Ireland seats typically were irrelevant in Westminster.

With the GFA 1998 and Sinn Fein joining the power-sharing executive and devolved legislature in Stormont (there is no requirement to take an Oath of Allegiance in N Ireland as a result of the GFA 1998, members take a pledge to undertake their responsibilities instead) the situation has changed.

Two out of the last three UK Election have resulted in no party having a majority. As anyone not under a rock now knows, May is forming a Government with support from Ulster Unionists. Already after 2010 Election, there was an attempt to get Sinn Fein to join by asking them to write what Oath they would be comfortable with.
. They refused then.

If N Ireland seats start becoming important in deciding who rules in Westminster then I think there is a significant possibility that London could start demanding the Sinn Fein start attending and take coercive action to get compliance; although they probably would agree to reasonable accommodations as tp avoid hurting Nationalist sentiments,
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Old 06-09-2017, 03:57 PM
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But they are representing their electorate. In a vast, one-issue protest. It might be logically incoherent (if you don't believe in the legitimacy of government, why play any of the government game at all) and self-defeating, but the electors voted for this form of protest.
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:26 PM
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I think I understand the point the Irish party is trying to make, but wonder why the rest of Parliament continues to let them stand for election, win seats and then refuse to take part in governance.
Because it's a very strong form of peaceful political protest. In a democracy we want to protect the right of the people to make political protests, by whatever peaceful means they see fit.

The hard-core of the Sinn Féin and their supporters view the British as a foreign occupying force. Why should they be forced to collaborate with the political system of the occupying foreign oppressor? (Note: not saying I agree with that characterization, but that's my understanding of it.) By standing for election but refusing to take their seats, they're making a very powerful statement that the British Parliament has no legitimacy in Northern Ireland. Denying them the right to make that statement is contrary to general principles of free expression and free political choices.

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Has there ever been a serious proposal to bar from the British parliamentary ballot any party which was unwilling to take its seats, or to automatically award any such seat to whichever party was the runner-up in that particular election?
That would be anti-democratic. Since Sinn Féin again started to stand for election in 1982, they've steadily increased their share of the popular vote and the number of MPs elected. Their supporters obviously agree with the Sinn Féin strategy, since they have been given Sinn Féin more and more support, even knowing that the MPs they elect will never take their seats in the Commons.

On what basis should the British government overrule the democratic choices of Sinn Féin's supporters?

And then there's the practical difficulty of trying to enforce it. If the government bans Sinn Féin, then you'll just have "Real Sinn Féin" popping up in the next election to contest the seats. Same people, of course, just another name. And when "Real Sinn Féin" is banned, then there'll be the "Sinn Féin Loyalists", and so on.

And since the candidates only want to win the polls, not take their seats, the normal political principle that elected officials want power doesn't work. If you ban Billy O'Toole this election because he refused to take his seat last time, then his brother Danny O'Toole will stand instead. And Billy's supporters will vote Danny in. And if the British government then bans Danny, Billy's other brother Danny will stand the next time.

As for putting the runner-up candidate into Parliament, I think there's a good argument that would violate Article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights:

Quote:
ARTICLE 3

Right to free elections


The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.
If the Government overrides the choice of the people in composition of the Legislature, for a political reason, that looks like a breach of this article to me. (Willing to be corrected, of course, since i'm just noodling around.)

Last edited by Northern Piper; 06-09-2017 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:31 PM
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Thanks, all, and especially AK84 for some very interesting historical and political context. Didn't know they'd been given the opportunity to write their own oaths and had refused.
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:07 AM
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On what grounds would they be banned? I know we tend to make the constitution up as we go along here, but reversing the result of an election because you don't like it seems a bit extreme.
Tell it to John Wilkes.

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If the Government overrides the choice of the people in composition of the Legislature, for a political reason, that looks like a breach of this article to me. (Willing to be corrected, of course, since i'm just noodling around.)
"under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature."

They're not choosing the legislature if they're choosing someone to refuse to take part in it.
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:07 AM
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Sinn Fein's refusal to take its seats in the British House of Commons


A similar issue has arisen in Canada. When the Bloc québéois had a large caucus, they had to take an oath to Her Majesty to take their seat. They would take it, but under protest and with no ceremony, then cross the river to Gatineau and have a very public oath-renunciation ceremony.
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Old 06-10-2017, 10:13 AM
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Sinn Fein's refusal to take its seats in the British House of Commons


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"under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature."



They're not choosing the legislature if they're choosing someone to refuse to take part in it.

No, they are. They are stating that the Westminster Parliament is illegitimate and should not have any Irish sitting in it. That is a statement about the choice of the legislature. They want to choose representatives to the Dáil Éireann. By refusing to take their seats in Westminster, they are making a public statement about their choice of the legislature. And their voters are supporting that choice.
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Old 06-10-2017, 11:15 AM
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Sinn Fein also thinks that the Republic of Ireland is illegitimate. They don't practice abstentionism in the Dail Eireann though. Which has annoyed some Irish commentators.

Last edited by AK84; 06-10-2017 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 11:23 AM
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(if you don't believe in the legitimacy of government, why play any of the government game at all) and self-defeating, but the electors voted for this form of protest.
Well, there is an alternative, another form of protest against the occupying force, one they persisted with for quite a long time.

Most people rather prefer this one.
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Old 06-10-2017, 11:42 AM
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Does anyone think Sinn Fein might rethink this policy considering the DUP is going to be propping up the government? Of course, a surprise like that would be more splashy if the Tories were relying on slightly less than 325 and were counting on their absence.

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Old 06-10-2017, 12:41 PM
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Unless a party approaches Sinn Fein to form a coalition government, what's the point?

They are a tiny minority party.

I guess they could say to the Tories "Form a coaltion with us instead of the DUP".

But that would only work if the DUP were going to be more of a pain in the ass to deal with than Sinn Fein. Something tells me Sinn Fein would be a major pain in the ass for any coalition partner. Just a feeling.
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Old 06-10-2017, 12:48 PM
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Why would the Conservative and Union party ask a separatist party to join them? Fundamental difference in ideology.
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Old 06-10-2017, 12:53 PM
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Unless a party approaches Sinn Fein to form a coalition government, what's the point?

They are a tiny minority party.
The DUP is a tiny minority party too. The point would be more obvious if, as I suggested, the Tory/DUP coalition added up to 324 and counted on the Sinn Fein abstentions to govern.
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Old 06-10-2017, 01:00 PM
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Why would the Conservative and Union party ask a separatist party to join them? Fundamental difference in ideology.
They wouldn't, of course. I think Lemur was just suggesting a wild scenario. But as far as I can tell, asking the DUP to join was almost as unthinkable before this week.
Quote:
It [the DUP] campaigned against the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974, the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. In the 1980s, the party was involved in attempts to create a paramilitary movement, which culminated in Ulster Resistance.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demo...Unionist_Party
And then look at their position on social issues today. This is a rather insane alliance.

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Old 06-10-2017, 01:06 PM
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Why would they be successful in doing work for their constituents? Now government departments are responsive to request from legislators because they vote on bills affecting those departments. But if they don't vote where is the leverage?
Why is "leverage" required? An elected representative is just that and it's the civil service's job to deal with the issues they raise on behalf of their constituents. Why should Mrs McGinty not get an answer to the problem she's having with her pension or Mr. Mendoza with some immigration problem just because they've sent it via the person elected to be their MP (whom they might not have voted for) but who chooses not to take the oath?
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Old 06-10-2017, 01:24 PM
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Why would they be successful in doing work for their constituents? Now government departments are responsive to request from legislators because they vote on bills affecting those departments. But if they don't vote where is the leverage?
Sinn Fein members work as councillors and, until it was recently closed for business, as members of the NI Assembly, where they could effect some actual change for their electorate.

An MP's office provides them with the opportunity to show their constituents some symbolism (sticking it to the Brits) and deny their opponents both Unionist and Nationalist back home the chance to take that office themselves. They get expenses for their effort too.

Leverage in Parliament came from IRA actions until that started becoming counterproductive and then some grand speeches and gestures.

Having said that, I do remember a doctor aiming to be an MP on a platform that would keep an A&E Department in Tyrone County Hospital and being reasonably successful for an outsider despite losing. Members of the Assembly from both "sides" have had many opportunities to improve health services but haven't really bothered to act on them.
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Old 06-10-2017, 05:27 PM
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But as far as I can tell, asking the DUP to join was almost as unthinkable before this week.
Yes and no. The Unionist parties have always voted with the Tories, and there's very little chance they would abandon that to join a progressive coalition with a chum of the IRA. The formal agreement, such as it is, is unusual, but not particularly problematic. What is a problem is that it looks bloody awful and hypocritical, even if the reality is rather more mundane.
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Old 06-10-2017, 05:41 PM
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I guess I'm missing something here. Of course there is more to being a member of parliament than voting. But if someone refuses to take the seat, then that person is not an MP, so how can they do any of the other things an MP is supposed to do?
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Old 06-10-2017, 05:58 PM
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Why would they be successful in doing work for their constituents? Now government departments are responsive to request from legislators because they vote on bills affecting those departments. But if they don't vote where is the leverage?
Nah, it's not like that. A constituent issue raised by an elected Member is treated seriously by the Civil Service at all levels (there's a certain amount of quality control, obviously), and cascaded further down to local government, if that's more appropriate to deal with it (it's usually about bins). There's no distinction whether the Member's sworn an oath or not, and the current crop* of Sinn Fein MPs, and their constituency offices, do this work routinely. Even the Prime Minister does constituency work sometimes.

* Some previous Sinn Fein MPs maybe didn't, I dunno
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:02 PM
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I guess I'm missing something here. Of course there is more to being a member of parliament than voting. But if someone refuses to take the seat, then that person is not an MP, so how can they do any of the other things an MP is supposed to do?
No, their constituency returned them as the duly elected Member for <wherever>. After that it's up to the Member, and the constituency is free to vote otherwise at the next election.
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:17 PM
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Yes and no. The Unionist parties have always voted with the Tories, and there's very little chance they would abandon that to join a progressive coalition with a chum of the IRA. The formal agreement, such as it is, is unusual, but not particularly problematic. What is a problem is that it looks bloody awful and hypocritical, even if the reality is rather more mundane.
But then why make any formal agreement at all? Just go minority gov and let the DUP vote how they normally would. I can only suspect that there's a couple issues the DUP wants to wrangle on and an agreement beforehand is to keep that wrangling private.
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:03 PM
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...Something tells me Sinn Fein would be a major pain in the ass for any coalition partner. Just a feeling.
Not to mention that Baron Tebbit's head would explode if it was the Tories who asked.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:07 AM
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Sinn Fein also thinks that the Republic of Ireland is illegitimate. They don't practice abstentionism in the Dail Eireann though. Which has annoyed some Irish commentators.


Interesting article - thanks!
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:12 AM
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I guess I'm missing something here. Of course there is more to being a member of parliament than voting. But if someone refuses to take the seat, then that person is not an MP, so how can they do any of the other things an MP is supposed to do?


No, it's a bit fuzzier. Once the returning officer certifies the election in a constituency, the winner of the poll is the Member for that constituency.

The oath is necessary to take the seat in the Commons, but it doesn't make the person a member.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:05 AM
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But then why make any formal agreement at all? Just go minority gov and let the DUP vote how they normally would. I can only suspect that there's a couple issues the DUP wants to wrangle on and an agreement beforehand is to keep that wrangling private.
Whatever the reason, like the rest of this election, May has handled it terribly. Private discussion and an attempt to form a minority government would have probably been the way forward - but then, people would probably have asked what kind of agreement had been made behind closed doors, and criticised the Tories for that. Perhaps correctly.

This is overall about the worst possible result. May will struggle to form a government that anyone views as legitimate, and unless the Scottish Tories defect Corbyn can't form a government. Really, another election, and soon, is the only possibility.
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Old 06-11-2017, 02:47 PM
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I guess I'm missing something here. Of course there is more to being a member of parliament than voting. But if someone refuses to take the seat, then that person is not an MP, so how can they do any of the other things an MP is supposed to do?
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No, it's a bit fuzzier. Once the returning officer certifies the election in a constituency, the winner of the poll is the Member for that constituency.

The oath is necessary to take the seat in the Commons, but it doesn't make the person a member.
Following up on this point, here's an extract from a briefing paper prepared by the Parliamentary Library:

Quote:
What happens if an MP does not take the oath?

An MP who has not taken the oath or made the affirmation cannot participate in any formal proceedings of the House and may not sit in the Chamber or vote in divisions. In addition to not being able to take part in proceedings, Members of the House of Commons are not paid their salary until they have taken the oath or affirmed.

There is no obligation for MPs elected to take their seat in the House of Commons, and the practice of abstentionism has been adopted by certain Irish MPs as a matter of policy for nearly a century. However, penalties are applicable to MPs who participate in proceedings before they have formally taken up their seat in the House (that is, if they participate before having taken the oath or affirmed).

What are the penalties for not taking the oath?

The Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866 states that:
if any member of the House of Commons votes as such in the said House, or sits during any debate after the Speaker has been chosen, without having made and subscribed the oath hereby appointed, he shall be subject to a like penalty for every such offence, and in addition to such penalty his seat shall be vacated in the same manner as if he were dead.
The legislation is clear therefore that any Member who participates in proceedings before having sworn in will be liable to a financial penalty (£500—the same level as was first set in 1701) and they will cease to be the Member. Subsequently a Writ would be moved to declare the seat vacant and a by-election would be held—at which the same Member could, at least in theory, stand again for election.
In summary, the winner of the election in a constituency is a Member of Parliament, but cannot sit or vote the House of Commons until swearing the oath.

Note that the penalty for sitting or voting without taking the oath is that the seat is declared vacant. That's another indication that the person is a Member of Parliament, even without taking the oath. There is a member in that seat, it's just that they can't participate in the Commons until they've taken the oath.

So as long as a Sinn Féin candidate has been duly elected, there is a member for that constituency. There can't be a by-election on the grounds of vacancy in the seat just because the member does not take the oath.
  #38  
Old 06-11-2017, 08:02 PM
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I think the Argument is "Politics is about grown-ups participating, not toddler tantrums, so if you know beforehand you are not going to take any part, you're just wasting time by going up in the election."
The counter-argument is obvious; if you deliberately exclude from the democratic process those whose central platform is the illegitimacy of British rule in Ireland, you leave them no option but to advance their cause by undemocratic means, and you can hardly disclaim all responsiblity when they do that.

Sinn Fein is not really interested in who governs the UK, a question which they regard as basically none of their business. Sinn Fein is interested in who governs Ireland.

I'm not saying that nothing would ever induce them to abandon their principle/strategy of abstention from Westminster, but they only thing that might conceivably do so would be a realistic opportunity of advancing their fundamental goad of Irish unity and independence. If their participation in Westminster would result in a party committed to delivering Irish unity and independence taking power in the UK, then they might take their seats. Anything short of that, they're not really interested.
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:29 AM
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The counter-argument is obvious; if you deliberately exclude from the democratic process those whose central platform is the illegitimacy of British rule in Ireland, you leave them no option but to advance their cause by undemocratic means, and you can hardly disclaim all responsiblity when they do that.
Yes, and the circumstances - the platform of illegitimacy, and the voters knowing beforehand - are Special in this case (I didn't know about this before this thread, only Sinn Fein as legitmate Party for Irish parliament), so I was talking generally.

On the Weekend, the Left Party here had their Party Meeting, deciding on what platform to run in autumn, and the left-wing ideologues decided (once again) to stay pure by badmouthing potential ally SPD and esp. by making impossible demands (the SPD might agree with them on the two social issues, those are important, but no Military? Not as NATO et al members), and while they pulled this shit before, I'm still frustrated: just when we Need a strong Opposition on the left side, we get a small Party of pure pie-in-the-sky never compromise Party, and a big Party who tries to copy the consies.

At least I won't have to consider the left when voting: if they are Content to criticize and make impossible promises without taking responsibility like grown-ups, then I'm Content to not give them any votes.
  #40  
Old 06-12-2017, 02:03 AM
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Sure, and not voting for Sinn Fein is a perfectly rational response to their policy of abstentionism.

But there's a huge difference between not voting for them and not allowing them to participate in elections, which was the suggestion in the OP.
  #41  
Old 06-12-2017, 12:42 PM
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Sinn Fein also thinks that the Republic of Ireland is illegitimate. They don't practice abstentionism in the Dail Eireann though. Which has annoyed some Irish commentators.
They used to, but got rid of that policy in 1986 (which led to a split in the ranks and the creation of Republican Sinn Féin by former party leader Ruairí Ó Bradaigh).

That article is a bit misleading, talking about how SF rejects the term "Republic of Ireland" as the "formal" or "correct" name for the southern state. The Republic of Ireland isn't the formal name for anything except the football team. As the Constitution says: The name of the State is Éire, or in the English language, Ireland.
  #42  
Old 06-12-2017, 08:09 PM
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Sinn Fein also thinks that the Republic of Ireland is illegitimate. They don't practice abstentionism in the Dail Eireann though. Which has annoyed some Irish commentators.
There's a distinction, as far as Sinn Fein is concerned. Just as they consider that the British have no legitimate claim to rule in Ireland, so they would argue that the Irish have no legitimate claim to rule in Britain; therefore it would be inappropriate for them to take their seats at Westminster.

The same thinking doesn't apply in Ireland, where Republican legitimist thinking has focussed on the legitimacy of the particular political institutions in place in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. But there's nothing fundamentally illegitimate about Irish representatives involving themselves in the government of Ireland.
  #43  
Old 06-14-2017, 02:49 PM
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From a British friend of mine:

Par for the course, but childish and silly. Scots and Welsh Nationalists both take up their seats in the Commons and at least some of them have separatism in mind. As far as I can tell Sinn Fein just want to make a mockery of the system. I don't know whether any attempt has been made to sign them up to something along the lines of "While it is acknowledged that we seek to remove the Northern Counties from British rule and integrate them into a united Ireland, we shall faithfully discharge our duties to the democratic government in the interim", or if they're just flat-out not interested. It's not as if there wasn't plenty of Parliamentary business that has sod-all to do with Irish nationalism, and it would be only reasonable for them to attend and put their views since the DUP does. Or, you know, just admit that they're not interested in British democracy, and not stand for election.
  #44  
Old 06-14-2017, 03:20 PM
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Charles Bradlaugh repeatedly refused to swear the Oath, on atheistic grounds, and was repeatedly disqualified and re-elected again.
  #45  
Old 06-14-2017, 09:58 PM
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From a British friend of mine:

Par for the course, but childish and silly. Scots and Welsh Nationalists both take up their seats in the Commons and at least some of them have separatism in mind. As far as I can tell Sinn Fein just want to make a mockery of the system. I don't know whether any attempt has been made to sign them up to something along the lines of "While it is acknowledged that we seek to remove the Northern Counties from British rule and integrate them into a united Ireland, we shall faithfully discharge our duties to the democratic government in the interim", or if they're just flat-out not interested. It's not as if there wasn't plenty of Parliamentary business that has sod-all to do with Irish nationalism, and it would be only reasonable for them to attend and put their views since the DUP does. Or, you know, just admit that they're not interested in British democracy, and not stand for election.
They're not interested in British democracy. There's no "admitting" about it; it's pretty much their whole point. Their sole interest is in Irish democracy.

Which is why arguments about attending to deal with "Parliamentary business that has sod-all to do with Irish nationalism" will have zero traction with them. Why would they want to deal with anything that is unconnected to Ireland? Not only have they no interest in this; their view is that as a matter of principle the British should be deciding these things for themselves, and Irish representatives have no right to be involved. If they were ever to change their policy at take part in the Westminster parliament, it would not be with a view to addressing matters that have no Irish aspect; it would more likely be to address only matters concerning Ireland.

And if, as your friend's thoughts imply, the response is to exclude Sinn Feinif they won't agree to take their seats, that kind of makes their point for them. If the UK finds that it has to reject or limit the choices of Irish voters to prevent them from returning Sinn Fein members, doesn't that undermine the legitimacy of its claim to rule in Ireland?
  #46  
Old 08-02-2019, 12:06 PM
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Bumped.

With thanks to Baron Greenback, who posted it in the Boris Johnson thread, here's an essay on how Sinn Fein might stop a no-deal Brexit: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/f...-how-1.3972121
  #47  
Old 08-08-2019, 10:11 AM
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Bumped.

With thanks to Baron Greenback, who posted it in the Boris Johnson thread, here's an essay on how Sinn Fein might stop a no-deal Brexit: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/f...-how-1.3972121
This assumes that Sinn Fein has any interest in stopping Brexit at all. They may see the Border issues and possible meltdown of the Northern Irish economy as positive results that might foster Irish reunification, and if not - sucks to those Ulster bastards, anyway.
  #48  
Old 08-08-2019, 01:51 PM
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There's no way Sinn Fein is gonna take up those seats. Completely reading their intentions the wrong way.
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  #49  
Old 08-09-2019, 01:31 AM
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I think re-doing the election in the affected districts until the elected politicans agree to participate would be more fair to the voters.
And more expensive than just paying the salary and letting them do the constituency casework (which usually takes up more of an MP's time than debating and voting at Westminster).
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