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?


Unsworth said...


"Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

But Adams and McGuinness are too afraid of losing total control over their environment and position to appear and subject themselves to Parliament's scrutiny and customs. So, like so many others, they just take the money and run.

Stephen Morris said...

I thought you were pretty harsh on him yesterday. You treated him as though he was officially representing Sinn Fein, although he is representing himself only and is not associated with IRA violence or with Sinn Fein MPs' policy of not sitting in parliament. It seems unlikely that he was acting on the instruction of the Sinn Fein leadership.

His comments in Gaelic were deferential to the House and the Speaker, so it was hardly a political act aimed at undermining the authority of parliament.

Anyway, it seemed wrong to me to target this 18 year-old as though he was responsible for, or supported, the various murders you recounted. I don't know what his views are but I won't assume the worst about him.

Certainly there was no excuse to publish embarrassing items from his facebook page. If he was standing for the real parliament it would be different, but he isn't.

Paul Burgin said...

If he had to take an Oath of Allegiance, then yesterday would not have happened. That is the difference

SadButMadLad said...

Actually the clapping makes the debates sound more civilised and formal. Traditionalist or not, the noise that MPs make during their debates sound like a load of apes wooping. It just doesn't sound right for the top people of the land to be making a load of attrocious noise.

Tom said...

I can think of a very good reason why I'd rather see this younger generation of Sinn Fein representing voters than the older one... if we have to have Sinn Fein politicians at all...

Glyn Davies said...

I spoke in the Welsh Language in my maiden speech, and translated into English. Absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of Irish, which my daughter-in-law speaks. Its a nice language to listen to.

Unknown said...

When Shinners try to speak Gaelic, they make fools of themselves and only escape complete humiliation because most of their listeners know even less of the language than they themselves do.

Ask any Gaelic speaker, Irish or Scots, and he'll tell you that Irish nationalists,trying to speak Gaelic take an English-Irish dictionary and try to construct Gaelic speech by applying what little they understand of English grammar. (For giggles, ask a Gaelic speaker what he thinks of the IRA's motto "tiocfaidh ar la". They'll tell you it's not even close to grammatical Gaelic.)

Apart from that, I note with tremendous amusement that the father of modern Ireland, Michael Collins, famously dismissed the Gaelic language as the single greatest obstacle to Irish nationalism. He repeatedly said that an independent Ireland would only be possible if it were English-speaking and predicted that Gaelic would die in Ireland. And, funnily enough, most of the Gaelic-speaking communities of the Irish Gaeltacht are actually descended from Cromwell's soldiers.

The beauty of Irish history, language and culture is how little the so-called Irish nationalists know about any of it. When you hear the words "Irish nationalism", understand that it's nothing but a euphemism for the grand crusade to stop Protestants wearing condoms.

johnpaul said...

Adam printed this on the previous post,but it was so good I thought I'd repeat it, what he objects to is the normalisation of Fascsim,by having a political spokesperson for a fascist organsiation not doing what someone in aprliament shoudl do ,Accept that the Queen is teh Head of Northern Ireland

Rex P said...

Actually i happen to know Connor quite well, and he had never intended to do his whole speech in Irish, so im afraid you are incorrect there, infact i had seen the early draft of his speech about 2 weeks ago, and it was exactly what he spoke in the chamber. Well done Connor you have made alot of people proud, and it was good to see Iain acknowledge this

Kateyo said...

Iain you made it into the Irish news today and may have gotten it wrong yesterday as SF in todays same paper say he is not a card carrying member of the party.
Here read it for yourself I've scanned it up for you.

Click on image to enlarge and read.

Weygand said...

Yesterday, you gave the impression that the speech would be in Gaelic, ie entirely in Gaelic, which would have been an absurd provocation - not least because it would have meant that, by design, the majority of the country's citizens would have had no idea what was being said in their own Parliament - even if it was a student gig.

Now we learn "I understand that he was dissuaded by Mr Speaker from making his whole speech in Gaelic".

On what basis did you originally 'understand' it was all to be in Gaelic and how have you now understood that it did not happen like that?

That is the real story and the one that this blog has (deliberately) missed.

Were you done up like a kipper or did commonsense prevail? Explain what you know.

To understand what was really going on would be far more interesting than what the speech actually contained - and a rather obvious point on which you are strangely silent.

Unsworth said...

@ Stephen Morris

"Certainly there was no excuse to publish embarrassing items from his facebook page. If he was standing for the real parliament it would be different, but he isn't."

Crass. If the boy chooses to put his stuff into the public domain - then that's what he chooses. 'Embarrassing'? Well I wasn't embarrassed at all.

At what age does he become responsible for his own actions?

Unsworth said...

@ Glyn Davies

"Its a nice language to listen to."

As is the tweeting of the birds.

Anonymous said...

If people ,like Adams were to stand up in parliament they would open themselves to public scrutiny and to accusations about their activities under privilege.

But may I say I regard this whole thing of a 'youth parliament' as a gimmick. Why not a pensioners parliament - or indeed a 'gingers' parliament'?
And sitting in the chamber - ? An even bigger gimmick.

Mirtha Tidville said...

A youth Parliament.....for God`s sake...leave the kids to grow up and stop these stupid gimmicks...ridiculous

Owen Polley said...

Fairly stilted delivery of the Irish portion of his speech, as you'd expect from a Shinner. Just for a laugh he should have been permitted to give the whole thing in the language, which he clearly speaks so fluently.