Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DUP motion attracts Commons majority

It is a curious anomaly of the UK devolution settlement that when the British Prime Minister attends a meeting of the European Council, he does so on behalf of the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but is not constitutionally obliged to consult with any of them. Foreign policy is not, of course, a devolved competence. Yet it is a further anomaly that EU matters continue to fall under the aegis of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when they are concerned neither with matters foreign nor those affecting the Commonwealth. Indeed, since the EU has entered us, is at work within us, and we are consubstantial with it, EU policy is now manifestly domestic policy, and so ought more properly to fall under the aegis of the Home Secretary. Then, at least, the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland might be able to veto whatever IGC veto or summit ‘effective veto’ the Prime Minister chooses to wield.

Yet even then, it is not likely that the constituent nations of the United Kingdom will be united. In Scotland, Alex Salmond MSP (SNP) has made it known that the Prime Minister made a ‘blundering’ decision. In Wales, Carwyn Jones AM (Labour) says David Cameron has left the principality ‘sidelined’ in Europe. But in Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson MLA (DUP) is praising Mr Cameron to the skies. So ecstatic are these proud Prods that yesterday they introduced a motion praising the Prime Minister for his recent stance. The motion ‘commends the Prime Minister on his refusal at the European Council to sign up to a treaty without safeguards for the United Kingdom’. The wording also states that the use of a veto is a ‘a vital means of defending the national interests of the UK’.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds led the debate (Mr Robinson being no longer an MP), and explained that Britain’s ‘relationship with the EU’ (His Grace is increasingly irritated by that phrase) needs further assessment. Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme on Monday, Mr Dodds said: "Now we have a situation where, for instance, the Irish Republic has been told, you are only going to borrow so much and you might have to do away with your corporation tax. I don't think in the long run that kind of approach, one-size-fits-all in Europe, is going to actually lead to the kind of growth economically that all countries need in order to make their economies prosperous and work well."

He’s not wrong there.

Mr Dodds' parliamentary colleagues queued to speak in the three-hour debate, and they were unanimous in their adulation of the Prime Minister. Jim Shannon raised the plight of the County Down fishing industry; David Simpson mentioned the agri-food sector; Willie McCrea said the Prime Minister 'did what was right and that is not always easy'. Jeffrey Donaldson aluded to the Empire of Charlemagne, observing a 'bandwagon driven by Germany and France to take us to a European super-state'.

Responding for the Government, the Europe Minister David Lidington welcomed the DUP's kind comments. Henry Bellingham returned the kindness, describing the DUP as 'true allies' who were 'consistent and reliable'. (His Grace won't say he told you so...).

But we've come to a sorry pass when the leadership of the DUP is lauding the Prime Minister while the leadership of the Liberal Democrats – the Coalition partners – are absenting themselves from the Chamber and/or voting against a motion commending the Prime Minister for defending the national interest.

One wonders what clout we will have in the EU when it is no longer the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom attending European Council meetings, but the disparate and divided representatives from London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. United we stand.

40 Comments:

Blogger dmcl01 said...

I surprised Sinn Fein didn't sends their thanks, as they are just as much anti-EU as the DUP.

14 December 2011 at 11:57  
Blogger Jon said...

If the coalition fell and a snap election with a concurrent in/ out EU referendum were called in spring, it would be tremendous to watch the apoplexy of the SNP.

Of course, it would have far greater costs elsewhere, but I'm just looking for silver linings on clouds on the horizon...

14 December 2011 at 14:07  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Northern Ireland has benefited from membership of the EU more than any other region of the UK.
The EU is an important source of inward investment vital to its economy.

14 December 2011 at 14:33  
Blogger Greystead said...

It would certainly be interesting to see how a Sinn Fein First Minister would interact with a supposedly Eurosceptic Prime Minister over these issues, given Sinn Fein's very strong Little Irelander, Ourselves Alone mentality.

Listening to Alec Samon on the Today programme this morning, it was clear that his position is simply more of the same political posturing on how badly Scotland is treated by Westminster. Has David Cameron gone along with the other 26 last week, we would no doubt have heard similar protestations, only this time rather than talking about amage to the fishing industry, he would have complained about the potential damage to the Scottish finance industry.

I note that Manfarang states that Northern Ireland has benifited greatly from EU funding. It's true that NI has received monies from EU sources, as have other areas of the UK with economic and socail problems. However, as the UK is a net contributor to the EU, the second largest contributor after Germany) this is really only a very inefficient way of allocating monies from the Exchequer to UK regions. I am sure that central government would not have funded all of these projects, or possibly the same projects, or it might have funded other equally deserving, or frivolous projects. But,it our money, that has gone to these projects, albeit by a circuitous route with a large percentage creamed of the top and paid out elsewhere.

14 December 2011 at 15:11  
Blogger ECusick said...

I live in Northern Ireland and Believe the majority consensus is very much against the EU. The common agricultural policy is so haphazard and fraught with problems I would rather have policies enacted in Belfast than Brussels. Northern Irish agricultural has always been at the forefront of environmental concerns and research.As for European human rights...
BTW the DUP do not have much support amongst young educated and middle classes precisely because they are so religious about politics and the UUP got into bed with the bloody Tories.. that pretty much destroyed their credibility. I voted alliance at the last election.... don't ask why but it was either them or the BNP....

14 December 2011 at 15:12  
Blogger Greystead said...

Oops. Note to self - must use spell check.

14 December 2011 at 15:12  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Greystead
The divided NI society comes at a high financial cost.

14 December 2011 at 15:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

And when each one of us devolves sufficiently, and refuses to be a part of anything that answers to the euSSR --- then we won't even worry whether we have any clout there or not.

If they choose to take that fragmentation to its natural corollary, so be it. Life's lived their way is no life.

Meanwhile, maybe we can practice a few Christmas carols.

14 December 2011 at 15:29  
Blogger non mouse said...

sorry ...'life lived'

14 December 2011 at 16:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Come now Archbishop, we all know the DUP’s secret agenda. They are terrified that the forthcoming United States of Europe will see the end of the North of Ireland as a political entity. It will be returned to the governance of Dublin, ‘a nation once again’ as the song goes. And when it happens, the successors to the UK, the provinces of England, Scotland and Wales will be powerless to stop it.

When the Southern Irish ‘relinquished’ its territorial claim to the North, it knew what it was doing. Twas always a contentious issue. They fought a civil war over it early on. Ever wondered why the Irish Governments have always been good Europeans ?

Unless we get out of the EU and now, the Inspector gives that northern state another 20 years, before ‘redefining’ of it starts…

14 December 2011 at 18:39  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Of course the protestant north would support action against what they see as a Catholic conspiracy to reestablish the 'Holy Roman Empire'. A ridiculous fantasy, I know, but strangely common amongst the protestant inclined throughout the United Kingdom.

Inspector

As you know I reside in Scotland. From today the singing of 'sectarian' songs at football matches carries a possible 5 year prison sentence. So does interner use inciting religious bigotry and hatred. Presumably the law applies to those directing comments at those residing in Scotland. Where is English Viking and I trust he pays heed to this!

Is "A Nation Once Again" a sectarian song that sows relgious hatred? Written to inspire Irish nationalism it quickly became a rallying call for the movement.

In 2002 it was voted the world's most popular song according to a BBC World Service global poll of listeners.

14 December 2011 at 20:52  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

A Nation Once Again

When boyhood's fire was in my blood
I read of ancient freemen,
For Greece and Rome who bravely stood,
Three hundred men and three men;
And then I prayed I yet might see
Our fetters rent in twain,
And Ireland, long a province, be,
A Nation once again!

A Nation once again,
A Nation once again,
And lreland, long a province, be
A Nation once again!

And from that time, through wildest woe,
That hope has shone a far light,
Nor could love's brightest summer glow
Outshine that solemn starlight;
It seemed to watch above my head
In forum, field and fane,
Its angel voice sang round my bed,
A Nation once again!

It whisper'd too, that freedom's ark
And service high and holy,
Would be profaned by feelings dark
And passions vain or lowly;
For, Freedom comes from God's right hand,
And needs a Godly train;
And righteous men must make our land,
A Nation once again!

So, as I grew from boy to man,
I bent me to that bidding
My spirit of each selfish plan
And cruel passion ridding;
For, thus I hoped some day to aid,
Oh, can such hope be vain ?
When my dear country shall be made,
A Nation once again!

14 December 2011 at 20:56  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

When Britain first, at Heaven's command,Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall;
While thou shalt flourish great and free,The dread and envy of them all.
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful, from each foreign stroke;As the loud blast that tears the skies,Serves but to root thy native oak.
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame:
All their attempts to bend thee down,
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine:
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair;
Blest Isle! With matchless beauty crown'd,And manly hearts to guard the fair.
"Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
"Britons never will be slaves."

14 December 2011 at 21:11  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Dodo-2 can play at that game (see above).

14 December 2011 at 21:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Begorrah - If it's a nationalist song contest you be after that young Paul Twigg

O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's goin' round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!
No more Saint Patrick's Day we'll keep, his color can't be seen
For there's a cruel law ag'in the Wearin' o' the Green."
I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand
And he said, "How's poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?"
"She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they're hanging men and women there for the Wearin' o' the Green."

"So if the color we must wear be England's cruel red
Let it remind us of the blood that Irishmen have shed
And pull the shamrock from your hat, and throw it on the sod
But never fear, 'twill take root there, though underfoot 'tis trod.

When laws can stop the blades of grass from growin' as they grow
And when the leaves in summer-time their color dare not show
Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen
But till that day, please God, I'll stick to the Wearin' o' the Green.

14 December 2011 at 21:48  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Mr Twigg

I was making a point about the new Scottish anti-sectarian legislation - now awaiting a knock on the door.

Ah, the old Jacobite song. Great tune and a super chorus most suitable for cricket matches against the colonials. (Pleased to see you didn't include an 's' on the end of 'rule'.)

Britannia most certainly doesn't rule the air waves!

The World's Top Ten Songs

1. A Nation Once Again - Wolfe Tones

2. Vande Mataram - various artists

3. Dil Dil Pakistan - Vital Signs

4. Rakkamma Kaiya Thattu - Ilayaraja

5. Poovum Nadakkuthu Pinchum Nadakkuthu - Thirumalia Chandran

6. Ana wa Laila - Kazem El Saher

7. Reetu Haruma Timi - Arun Thapa

8. Believe - Cher

9. Chaiyya Chaiyya - A R Rahman

10. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

14 December 2011 at 21:56  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Off to Dublin in the Green

I am a merry ploughboy and I ploughed the fields all day,
'Till a sudden thought came to my mind that I should roam away.
For I'm sick and tired of slavery since the day that I was born
And I'm off to join the I.R.A. and I'm off tomorrow morn.

And we're off to Dublin in the green, in the green
Where the helmets glisten in the sun
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles crash
To the echo of the Thompson Gun.

I'll leave aside my pick and spade and I'll leave aside my plough.
I'll leave aside my old grey mare for no more I'll need them now.
And I'll take my short revolver and my bandoleer of lead.
I'll do or die I can try to avenge my country's dead.

I'll leave aside my Mary she's the girl I do adore.
And I wonder will she think of me when she hears the rifles roar.
And when the war is over and old Ireland she is free,
I will take her to the church to wed and a rebels wife she'll be.

And we're off to Dublin in the green, in the green.
Where the helmets glisten in the sun.
Where the bayonets flash and the rifles crash
To the echo of the Thompson Gun.

(Now there will be a knock on the door from the 'sectarian Police. Will our host save the day and deletes my post? If not I'm looking at 5 years.)

14 December 2011 at 22:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. The Inspector has indeed heard of this ridiculous proposed legislation, taking us even nearer to ‘thought crime’. With the football supporters, the easiest way to keep several thousand in custody for 5 years is not to open the gates for that length of time !

Postscript. you beat him to it on 'The gren and the Green'

14 December 2011 at 22:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Or even 'The Green and the Grey'

14 December 2011 at 22:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

By Jez. You can take the Inspector out of Ireland, but you can't take Ireland out of the Inspector...


As I was walking down the road
A feeling fine and larky oh
A recruiting sergeant came up to me
Says he, you'd look fine in khaki oh
For the King he is in need of men
Come read this proclamation oh
A life in Flanders for you then
Would be a fine vacation oh

That may be so says I to him
But tell me sergeant dearie-oh
If I had a pack stuck upon my back
Would I look fine and cheerie oh
For they'd have you train and drill until
They had you one of the Frenchies oh
It may be warm in Flanders
But it's draughty in the trenches oh

The sergeant smiled and winked his eye
His smile was most provoking oh
He twiddled and twirled his wee mustache
Says he, I know you're only joking oh
For the sandbags are so warm and high
The wind you won't feel blowing oh
Well I winked at a cailin passing by
Says I, what if it's snowing oh

Come rain or hail or wind or snow
I'm not going out to Flanders oh
There's fighting in Dublin to be done
Let your sergeants and your commanders go
Let Englishmen fight English wars
It's nearly time they started oh
I saluted the sergeant a very good night
And there and then we parted oh

14 December 2011 at 22:15  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

The Bill was passed today.

One last one before I'm carted away:

Shall My Soul Pass Thru Old Ireland?

In a dreary British prison where an Irish rebel lay.
By his side a priest waits standing were his soul to pass away.
As he gently murmurs father, the priest takes him by the hand.
Father tell me if I die shall my soul pass through Ireland.

Shall my soul pass thru old Ireland pass thru Cork city grand.
Shall I see the old Cathedral where Saint Patrick made his stand.
Shall I see the little chapel where I placed my heart in hand.
Father tell me when I die shall my soul pass through Ireland.

Was for loving dear old Ireland in this prison cell I lie.
Was for loving dear old Ireland in this foriegn land I die.
When you see my little daughter won't you make her understand.
Father tell me if I die shall my soul pass through Ireland.

With his soul pure as a lily and his body sanctified.
In that dreary British prison our brave Irish rebel died.
Prayed the priest his wish be granted as his blessing he did give.
Father grant this brave man's wish may his soul pass through Ireland.

14 December 2011 at 22:19  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Dodo,

To be sure there's nothing like a good old song contest! Thankfully there is no Klingons about or else we'd be suffering one of their many songs (perhaps they have one about crushing the Dodo's?).

Looks like its a tot of Jameson's all round then!

14 December 2011 at 22:22  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Rath Dé ort!

Éirinn go Brách!

Céad míle fáilte romhat!

14 December 2011 at 22:30  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Dodo- are you and the Inspector having a Mel Gibson moment- I am sure that the beastly, dispicable and imperialistic, evil English, will grant you asylum from the Bonnie European Scotch Republic of Scotland, should you fall foul of your homeland's law.

14 December 2011 at 22:30  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Now, how do I change my fish into a tricolour?

14 December 2011 at 22:31  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Ah, Dodo is speaking Celtic Martian (A dialect only spoken around the Olympus Mons area).

My Martian is a little rusty :

"Har'rit, Mc'pit, uri, fun, sri, tunsdec, ratyri, gu, umnw
??"

14 December 2011 at 22:33  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Dodo- you are a changeling!

14 December 2011 at 22:35  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Mr Twigg

Not at all, simply a man for all seasons!

The Irish language, Sir, is poetry. It Is the language of the Angels. Keep your brutish Anglo-Germanic-Latin words.

If only the Bible had been written in Irish-Gaelic ....

14 December 2011 at 22:43  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

To be fair, I do enjoy roaring along to this at Rugby matches - unless England are playing Ireland.

Land of Hope and Glory

Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned,
God make thee mightier yet !
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long ;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide :
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride ;
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won ;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.

Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned,
God make thee mightier yet !
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long ;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

14 December 2011 at 22:53  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Mr Dodo, I was writing in the neo-classical Martian language and not Brutish Anglo-German-Latin words. (I thought you'd like latin, though, being a good old Catholic chap?!).

Incidentally the first non-Earther Pope, Cardinal Jin Sin, came from Mars.

14 December 2011 at 22:58  
Blogger Paul Twigg said...

Dodo.

Jolly good show.

Over?

14 December 2011 at 22:59  
Blogger Plainly Speaking said...

Office of Inspector General said:
"They are terrified that the forthcoming United States of Europe will see the end of the North of Ireland as a political entity. It will be returned to the governance of Dublin"

Returned? Did I miss that period of history when Dublin "governed" the North of Ireland??

That's as huge a myth as the notion that Ireland was ever united, except as part of the United Kingdom.

There's a growing havering in the Republic for reintegration with the UK. There's as much chance of that happening as the North uniting with the South; in other words, not very likely at all.

As a 19th century British general in India once said, "so perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another".

14 December 2011 at 23:27  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Mr Twigg

Not 'til the fat lady sings - in Gaelic.

Ps
I never have liked Latin.
Learned:

amo,
amas,
amat,
amamus,
amatis,
amant.

What else is there - really?

14 December 2011 at 23:33  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Apart from:

Deus Caritas Est.

14 December 2011 at 23:35  
Blogger IanCad said...

THE PROTESTANT BOYS

To the tune of "Lilliburlero"

The Protestant Boys are Loyal and True,
Stout-hearted in battle and stout-handed too;
The Protestant Boys are true to the last,
And faithful and peaceful when danger has passed.
And oh! they bear
And proudly wear
The colours that floated o'er many a fray,
Where cannons were flashing
And sabres were clashing,
And Protestant boys still carried the day.

When James half a bigot, and more of a knave,
With masses and Frenchmen and land would enslave;
The Protestant boys for liberty drew
And showed with the Orange their Banner of Blue.
And Derry well
Their might can tell,
Who first in their ranks did the Orange display;
The Boyne had no shyers,
And Aughrim no flyers,
And Protestant boys still carried the day.

When treason was rampant and traitors were strong,
And law was defied by a vile rebel throng,
When thousands were banded the throne to cast down,
The Protestants rallied and stood by the Crown.
And oft in fight,
By day and night,
They 'countered the rebels in many a fray,
Where red pikes were bristling,
And bullets were whistling,
And Protestant boys still carried the day.

And still does the fame of their glory remain,
Unclouded by age and undimmed by a stain;
And ever and ever their cause we'll uphold -
The cause of the true and the trusted and bold.
And scorn to yield,
Or quit the field,
While over our heads the old colours play,
And traitors shall tremble
Whene'er we assemble,
For Protestant boys shall carry the day.

The Protestant boys are loyal and true,
Though fashions are changed and the loyal are few,
The Protestant boys are true to the last,
Though cowards belie them when danger has past.
Aye! still we stand,
A loyal band,
And reck not the liars whatever they say;
For let the drums rattle
The summons to battle,
The Protestant boys must carry the day.

This tune was played regularly on the BBC.

15 December 2011 at 10:08  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

You have to agree it just lacks the poetry of the South! Fighting spirit but no evidence of soul or love for Ireland. Its a religious song, not a truely patriotic song.

By the way, just one small point of clarification, the 'Orange Boys' were traitors against the legitimate Monarch of England, Ireland and Scotland to whom solumn oaths of allegiance had been sworn. They supported a foreign invasion.

15 December 2011 at 14:15  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dodo,

Having, years ago, spent many a roaring night at The Black Horse on Kilburn High Road I will admit the poetry and also, perhaps, the passion.
However, be mindful of restoration poet Edmund Waller's response when called on the carpet by Charles 2nd.

"Poets, sire, succeed better in fiction than in truth."

15 December 2011 at 15:21  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

IanCad

Maybe, but the best songs are poetic and passionate. They inspire us to reach beyond our grasp.

"The Impossible Dream"

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

15 December 2011 at 16:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Plainly Speaking. From Wiki..

The Parliament of Ireland (Irish: Parlaimint na hÉireann) was a legislature that existed in Dublin from 1297 until 1800.

(…that will be for 32 counties of course, not 26…)

15 December 2011 at 18:39  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Plainly Speaking

If I may speak plainly - you are a historical goon and an imperialist fool. Have you no idea what forms an ethnic and communal identity?

15 December 2011 at 23:23  

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