August 30, 2019

Does Northern Ireland really hold the world record for the longest period without a sitting government?

I just read a thread on Micro.Blog that I started to reply to and then it got too long - so decided to publish it as a post - and then it got even longer! Sorry.

The conversation was started by @patrickrhone and responded to by @dazeend

It was a short thread. A nice thread. Started by Patrick about Northern Ireland, where Patrick posted this.

Later, in a replied comment to Charles, he referenced a piece from The Independent in the UK … and so to my response referenced at the start.

”Northern Ireland has now been without a government for two years.

Ben Kelly

”The devolved executive and assembly which have powers over the region collapsed in January 2017 owing to ongoing disagreements between the DUP and Sinn Féin, and all attempts to restore power-sharing have since failed.

Ben Kelly

and concluded that :

”The region currently holds the world record for the longest period without a sitting government, which it passed after 589 days.

Ben Kelly

I am bound to ask what Ben Kelly thinks about England.

Northern Ireland is actually governed by the British Parliament, just like England - BUT - unlike Northern Ireland was not granted its own assembly / parliament in 1999/the early ‘oughts’ when Scotland, Ireland and Wales each found themselves with some kind of autonomous government.

In fact …

”There has not been a government of England since 1707, when the Kingdom of England ceased to exist as a sovereign state.”

… which beats a couple of years quite significantly.

But There’s More

As of 2017, the House of Commons comprises 650 constituencies. Just 533 of those are English. To put it another way, 18% of the government that control the laws of England are MPs from a foreign country. (At least if you use the logic of Ben Kelly.

In fact between 2007 and 2010, the Prime Minister was a ‘foreign national’ - again according to the logic Ben uses.

I wonder if that is what the Brexit calm of ’taking back out country really means?

And Then The Irish Question

According to Ben …

”Mr McGuinness then resigned in January 2017 and Sinn Féin announced they would not be replacing him. This stripped Ms Foster of her title as First Minister and collapsed the executive.”

To remind Ben what is own newspaper has to say about Sinn Féin in the past (and yes - one person’s ‘freedom fighter’ is another’s ‘terrorist’ ) - have a read of this

Meanwhile - The Washington Post in 2005 …

”I am talking about the sympathy for the Irish Republican Army that persisted for decades in some Irish American communities and is only now fading away. Like British Muslim support for Muslim extremist terrorism, Irish American support for Irish terrorism came in many forms. There were Irish Americans who waved the Irish flag once a year on St. Patrick’s Day and admired the IRA’s cause but felt queasy about the methods. There were Irish Americans who collected money for Catholic charities in Northern Ireland without condoning the IRA at all. There were also Irish Americans who, while claiming to be “aiding the families of political prisoners,” were in fact helping to arm IRA terrorists. Throughout the 1970s, until Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asked President Ronald Reagan to stop them, they were the IRA’s primary source of funding. And even after that they were widely tolerated.

”I concede there is one major difference: The Irish terrorists were setting off their bombs across the ocean and not in New York or Boston, which somehow made the whole thing seem less real. But in Britain the explosions were real enough.

American’s funding terrorists on the other side of the world? I wondered where that idea came from?

But let’s just get back to the DUP and Sinn Fein a moment. (The two parties that squabbled causing the devolution of the Northern Ireland assembly).

The DUP is of course the reason the Conservatives even have a majority in the British House of Commons.

Sinn Fein also have elected officials who are in their rights to assume positions in the Houses of Parliament. But they choose not to because to do so they would need to swear allegiance to the Queen. Something of course that doesn’t exactly sit well with them.

They are also opposed to the UK leaving Europe. DUP seem to be all for it - why else would they continue to support a Prime Minister hell bent on exiting the EU?

And yet - should the UK leave the EU - I think it is highly likely that Northern Ireland will exit the UK and so Éire will be united once more.

Previously pieces by yours truly that relate …

Happy St. George’s Day and Brexit - It’s About Freedom Choice and Democracy.

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