Saturday, October 30, 2010
Connor Morgan's Speech to the House of Commons
Readers will recall that yesterday I wrote about Connor Morgan, the young Sinn Fein supporter, who spoke yesterday in the House of Commons UK Youth Parliament debates. Someone has just posted his speech on YouTube. It's a good speech, eloquently delivered and spoken with passion. And I agree with some of what he said about tuition fees.
There was quite a lot of reaction to what I wrote yesterday. I tried to put both sides of the argument but made clear that I was uncomfortable with him speaking. But I didn't actually say he should be banned from doing so contrary to what most people seemed to think. I think it's another case of people reading what they thought I was writing, rather than what I actually wrote. But I'm used to that.
I understand that he was dissuaded by Mr Speaker from making his whole speech in Irish Gaelic. Instead, he said about three sentences and then translated them into English.
As an aside, it was very odd to see people clapping in the chamber of the House of Commons. I have to say the traditionalist in me didn't like it at all. What is the point of the UK Youth Parliament sitting in the chamber of the House of Commons if those participating in the debates don't follow the same rules of the chamber as normal MPs? They might as well hold their proceedings in the QEII Conference Centre.
But back to Mr Morgan. I hope he doesn't suffer adverse reaction from his more diehard Sinn Fein colleagues, some of whom would have been very angry indeed at seeing one of their own speak at the Dispatch Box of the House of Commons. Connor has put his head over the political parapet and will know, as I know to my cost, that if you do that you must be prepared for some people to want to cut it off. The critique I offered yesterday, I suspect, may be very tame compared to what he may face next time he goes home.
But it would be churlish not to admit thay yesterday he put in an impressive performance. If he can help bring his party into national British mainstream politics he will achieve something. If he can speak in the House of Commons, why can't Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness?