Sunday, 5 June 2011

I am a Citizen not a Subject.

 Good for Leanne Wood who has announced that she is once again boycotting the State Opening of the Assembly  because of her Republican beliefs.

I expected the usual claptrap from the forelock tuggers in support of their Queen  but as usual the most ridiculous criticism has come from Peter Black.

In his Blog Peter makes a claim to be a republican but  he claims that  Leanne and those joining he in a boycott.

"However, that did not stop them taking the oath of allegiance to the Queen, nor does it prevent them serving as a member of a body that constitutionally takes its authority from the crown and whose laws have to be approved by the monarch, no matter how academic that approval may be.
Nor can they deny that the monarchy enjoys majority support amongst Welsh people, who expect their elected politicians to represent them at events such as this. Irrespective of my personal views my duty on Tuesday is to be in the Assembly representing my constituents at the official opening and celebrating the birth of a new phase of Welsh democracy"

Excuse me?How can you celebrate a democracy that forces people to swear an oath to

... be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.  
And claim that this a democracy?

It's the heirs bit that really gets me I'm perfectly willing (until we decide otherwise to to accept ) Elizabeth 11  as head of state even of an Interdependent Wales but I am not willing to accept this should be forever and certainly  to any heirs .This is undemocratic and makes a nonsense of Peter's position and those  who claim to be  republican bit do nothing about it...

 I remind Peter and others that

"Those elected to the House of Commons, to the Scottish Parliament, or to the Welsh Assembly who refuse to take the oath or affirmation are barred from participating in any proceedings, and from receiving their salaries. They could also be fined £500 and, have their seat declared vacant “as if they were dead” if they attempt to do so. ] Under the Parliamentary Oaths Act 1855, any peer voting, or sitting in the House of Lords without having taken the oath, was subject, for every such offence, to a penalty of £500".

So if you are a Republican in order to take you seat you must  lie under oath or in Peter's case simply accept the situation and say and do nothing about it.

In the Northern Ireland Assembly however there is no requirement for members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to take an oath of allegiance, or any other oath, nor is there any form of voluntary oath prescribed for those who may wish to swear one. However, members are required to sign the Assembly's roll of membership, designate their identity as "Nationalist", "Unionist" or "Other", and take a Pledge of Office. Ministers can be removed from office if the responsibilities of the pledge are not met. Members pledge to...

(a) discharge in good faith all the duties of office; 

(b) commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means;

(c) to serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally, and to act in accordance with the general obligations on government to promote equality and prevent discrimination;

(ca) to promote the interests of the whole community represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly towards the goal of a shared future;

(cb) to participate fully in the Executive Committee, the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council;

(cc) to observe the joint nature of the offices of First Minister and deputy First Minister;

(cd) to uphold the rule of law based as it is on the fundamental principles of fairness, impartiality and democratic accountability, including support for policing and the courts;

(d) to participate with colleagues in the preparation of a programme for government;

(e) to operate within the framework of that programme when agreed within the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Assembly;

(f) to support, and to act in accordance with, all decisions of the Executive Committee and Assembly;

(g) to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

So in order to bring in to mainstream politics Republicans who in the past advocated violence against the state  they are not required  to swear an oath.

Peter Black is right in one sense there is a Republican Dilemma  but its whether to speak out  and campaign for the Democratic right to advocate the end of the Monarchy and face the wrath of the establishment and media or to remain silent.

But how can anyone who claims to be a republican as Peter does remain silent and accept this situation and criticise those who have the courage to make even a modest stand on principal.

If Peter wants to "celebrating the birth of a new phase of Welsh democracy  " let him be the first to propose that the Welsh Assembly adopt the same form of oath as their colleagues do in Northern Ireland .

2 comments:

  1. maen_tramgwydd5 June 2011 at 11:55

    Surely democratic institutions must draw their authority from the people - the electorate.

    It's a constitutional contradiction that sovereignty resides in 'the Crown in Parliament' which effectively gives politicians and the Establishment all the power and then pretend that it is a democracy.

    The reality is that the system as it is exists for the political and privileged ruling classes. It's evident that it has failed the people in just about every way imaginable, as the UK is a mess.

    Do we see and hear that in the media and press? No, because they are controlled by the very people who stand to lose the most by changing the system.

    The sooner Wales achieves independence the better it will be for its people. It can rid itself of the malign unwritten constitution which has bedevilled England (and Wales) for so long. The monarchy is a central pillar of the Establishment.

    England is stuck with it in perpetuity (short of a revolution) but Wales can achieve it by a simple Yes vote in a referendum.

    Le's have a republic on Ireland's lines, with a non-political head of state, to whom people don't have to scrape, bow and show deference simply because of birth.

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  2. Totally agree maen_tramgwydd Though. I accept at the present time we are in a minority in Wales as well (at. But it is the peoples right to say what type of government they have and it is the right of a minority to argue for an alternative.

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