« What should replace trial by sherry? | Main | Huhne tops YouGov poll of LibDem members »

Comments

The fact that the Monarch represents the dignified part of the constitution does not change the fact that executive powers are exercised on her behalf and under the authority of the prescriptive constitution.

I repeat that a desire to change the balance the constitution represents is genuinely revolutionary, not a reform.

It's highly significant that very, very few of the regulars on CH support the anti-Monarchist case. One or two (Mark Fulford, William Norton) certainly but there are also obvious wind up comments from never previously seen posters who are, one strongly suspects, leftist interlopers.

The reason why the Oath issue has generated such heat is because both sides know its a stalking horse for republicanism. We can now see that clearly as our 'reform the Oath' friends have been drawn out.

Not for the first time, Gareth wins the award for the most obnoxiously unConservative post. His response to a sincere expression of support for the Monarchy was: "How could one even begin to parody this? Priceless" Gareth obviously has a glittering career ahead of him on the student union 'comedy' circuit alongside his ideological soulmates Mark Steel and Mark Thomas.

So if you are rightwing and republican who do you vote for?

Tory T, Gareth is just another Rick, John Coulson etc. He's not a real Conservative and does not support the party. That much is obvious.

The oath of allegience to the Sovereign must stay, as far as I'm concerned.

This country is a constitutional monarchy and if you want to be a member of Parliament you should recognise this. I'm unsure if removing the oath of allegience to the Sovereign is legal actually. Removing it might change the whole nature of Parliament and affect its relationship with the Crown. As far as I'm concerned, Parliament should continue to be linked to the Crown - governments come and go, but the Crown is an unchanging source of national stability. By changing the oath to allow terrorists who reject the whole idea of our national stability to enter Parliament, we destroy our history and identity.

There's no need to change the oath to accomodate republicans. They have to swear on the status quo, because that is what they have consented to by running for office. If they want to change this once they're an MP, that's fine, but the Queen is a component of Parliament and, in our current constitutional system, it is only fair to swear an oath of allegience to her, no matter what your views are about the monarchy.

For my part, I think the monarchy is an integral part of our identity, history and stability. We should never abolish such a system.

"So if you are rightwing and republican who do you vote for?"

Don't know, don't care. Such a psephologically insignificant demographic that we don't need to worry about them. To be a Conservative is to have a sense of history and tradition. In the British context that is inextricably bound up with our constitutional monarchy - one of the fundamental sources of stability for centuries.

I don't care if you're an ahistorical rationalist or a psychologically wounded nihilist - you're certainly not a Tory and, thank goodness, we don't need your vote.

Well you haven't won an election for 14 years so maybe you do need my vote.

Ming the Merciless is making a fool of himself on Question Time after only the first question!

Perhaps if you are right wing and republican you set up a party that reflects that?

Any state faces the problem of representation of people opposed to the state - there are few which do not demand an oath of loyalty either to the constitution/laws or monarch. Most accept that taking an oath doesn't preclude the person the option of working for change. Tony Benn is a republican, others are republicans but they recognise that the Oath is of loyalty to the UK - the Queen in Parliament - until such time as they can change it.

Liddington's comment is concerning because it doesn't appear thought through; either in terms of a change in the constitutional settlement or in purely political terms as regards the conservative voters. It's like Tony Blair's ban booze on public transport or yobs dragged to cashpoints.

Would we extend the alternative oath offer to new British citizens, to the Armed Forces, Judiciary etc.

It also looks more like giving in to SinnFein/IRA rather than undermining their approach - yet another bribe following the bung thrown at them yesterday. SinnFein view the UK Parliament as a foreign parliament, their loyalty is to the Republic & the Dail - no oath of alegiance to the UK will pass muster.

For Sinn Fein there is also an historical issue like everything in Irish affairs - De Valera & Fianna Fail refused to take the oath of allegiance to the King of the Irish Free State until 1927, but then took it but I think changed it in 1932 when in power, leading to virtual removal of any role for the monarch in the new constitution of Eire in 1937 (still a Kingdom in name until 1948).

I recognise there is an issue in having within the borders of the UK a large native population owing allegiance to a foreign power and how we provide this minority with democratic representation - now that EU citizens as a whole are treated much as are UK citizens (not as in the past just Irish citizens) perhaps within Clarke's remit he could consider oaths of loyalty to our institutions for EU citizens as a whole?

"The Ulster Unionist peer Lord Kilclooney of Armagh (previously John Taylor MP) told The Telegraph that he was "shocked" that a shadow cabinet spokesman could make such a suggestion"
Take it there is no shock that the anti Tory Taylor should seek to make capital out of the misreporting of Lidington's remarks?
Death to the UUP!

Please, please, please! This is not a question of being pro- or anti-monarchy! The only issue is whether there's any point in forcing democratically elected politicians to humiliate their beliefs.

If Gerry Adams crossed his fingers and swore allegiance to the Queen, what would we have won? I don't like Gerry Adams or Sinn Féin, but he has a constituency and, unless we're happy to be a pseudo-democracy, we have to accept him warts-and-all.

Fianna Fail took the oath because it was made illegal for MPs not to take their seats. They got around it by saying that the oath was just a form of words and not holding the bible when they swore it.

Mark
- but it's not the Oath to the Queen, it's an oath of loyalty to the UK. The SDLP was able to take the oath and remain committed to the republican cause.
Aside from anything else it's too early to discuss changing how our legislature operates for Sinn Fein/IRA. I think first we need to see considerably more evidence of goodwill from them, a meaningful period without criminal activity, certainty they have disarmed. We have contorted the Northern Irish provisional constitution, public offices etc. to fit them - to the disadvantage of the SDLP and Ulster Unionists. Then perhaps, without threats or fears we can look at how to accomodate them - but also look at what that means as regards the position of the monarchy.

Ted, all versions of the oath explicitly state allegiance to Queen Elizabeth. An oath of allegiance to the UK would be more easy to defend.

I am tempted to back DL because of all the above rants and hysterical postings.

Perhaps David Liddington, as suggested, wants to call their bluffs. Forgive me if this point has already been made but isn't the Queen Head of the Church of England? Non-Anglicans may feel uncomfortable swearing an oath of allegiance to the head of another domination/religion. And of course there are the non-believers....

The Ulster Unionist Party's MPs behaved like prostitutes during the Major government - always demanding unrealistic policies in return for votes. Lord Taylor, then John Taylor, MP, was incredibly anti-Conservative. The UUP was more than happy to share power with Sinn Fein at Storemont until the people of Northern Ireland kicked them out. Lady Hermmon, their sole MP at Westminster, has far more in common with Old Labour than us.

The reality is most people on the mainland couldn't give two hoots about Northern Ireland - and it is questionable whether the Queen would be too upset if it sunk under water!

"The reality is most people on the mainland couldn't give two hoots about Northern Ireland - and it is questionable whether the Queen would be too upset if it sunk under water!"

A pity seeing as they get better exam results than us and (at least in the case of the Loyalist Community) are very patriotic.

Because they kept the Grammar Schs (DC, take note!).


What unrealistic policies were these Justin?

The UUP had to deal with a government that was determined to bend over backwards to Sinn Fein. Naturally, they sought to strike the best deal they could.

I have no time for Lady Hermon, but the fact that the UUP has now been wiped out (along with the Northern Ireland Conservatives) owes something to our party's willingness to appease our country's enemies (but much more to Labour's determination to go further in grovelling to them).

By opposing the Good Friday Agreement - without putting forward any positive alternatives. The members of the NI Conservative Party were... I'm keeping quiet on that one!

"The reality is most people on the mainland couldn't give two hoots about Northern Ireland"

I don't think that's fair. The reality is that most people couldn't give two hoots about anyone.

On a slightly different subject, has anyone seen the EDMs the DUP's MPs have signed? They seem to sign every socialist cause going and, sometimes, sign EDMs that contradict each other. Perhaps they should be known as the DUSP - Democratic Unionist and Socialist Party.

"By opposing the Good Friday Agreement - without putting forward any positive alternatives."

How about fully integrating Northern Ireland into the UK and refusing to make deals with terrorists when we are capable of finishing them off?

Richard, Sinn Féin has seats in Parliament as a result of decisions made by Parliament. We shouldn't use the oath as a device to fudge that decision and prevent Sinn Féin MPs taking their seats.

I'm a member of the Saviour Sect and I insist on swearing an oath to Bin Laden. If I get elected in Bethnal Green then the logic of Mr Fulford's position is that my 'sincere' beliefs should be respected.

If you don't like the fact that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our monarch then stand for election on a republican platform. If you and 330 other like minded creeps win then you can change the system and THEN change the Oath. Until then, forget it.

Once again members are mocked by the usual brigade such as Gareth, who often fall into the 'we need to do anything to be elected' camp.

Given the 'hysterical postings' would probably be quite reflective of public opinion (somebody has already made a post with support for monarchy stats), as well as tory opinion, then maybe Gareth should take a leaf out of his own book. This suggestion is not only wrong in the eyes of many Conservatives, but it woudn't even be popular.

"If you are Republican, you should stick by your oath and work within our law to change the system."

"If you and 330 other like minded creeps win then you can change the system and THEN change the Oath. Until then, forget it."

Remember, the oath is to the Queen AND to "her heirs and successors according to law." Theoretically at least, a republic could be one of those lawful successors, if it came about by lawful means. Therefore, this is an an oath that law-abiding republicans CAN swear in good conscience. To argue that Britain SHOULD be a republic is a fair and legitimate argument (even if it's one I'd disagree with), but to change the oath now seems to argue that Britain already IS a republic, which is, as best I can put it, insane, because it simply ignores reality.

Tory Thug, calling republicans creeps reveals the intellectual depth of your argument.

"I'm a member of the Saviour Sect and I insist on swearing an oath to Bin Laden. If I get elected in Bethnal Green then the logic of Mr Fulford's position is that my 'sincere' beliefs should be respected"

Al Qaeda is an outlawed organisation, so let's take the BNP as a better example. I despise their views but yes, if BNP MPs were democratically elected to Parliament, we'd have to allow them to take their seats.

Remember, the oath is to the Queen AND to "her heirs and successors according to law."

Dave J - the republican is still having to swear allegiance to the Queen. The fact that they also swear allegiance to successors doesn't diminish the first part.

"Tory T, Gareth is just another Rick, John Coulson etc. He's not a real Conservative and does not support the party. That much is obvious."

Chris, I've been out 3 nights this week delivering leaflets and canvassing for this party and will be out all day tomorrow doing the same. I've spent 8 years cooped up in a London Town Hall representing the tory party and have fought more elections than I care to remember. So, please, don't tell me I don't care about our party. I just disagree with you and, believe it or not, that's not the same thing.

Some of the posters on this site are clearly highly intelligent, politically aware and sophisticated people. Unfortunately, many of them post as if addressing a YC rally circa 1983. The only response to grand-standing is to mock it, and this debate has seen more than it's fair share of grand-standing. I'm afraid I find all this wet-dream stuff about the monarchy hilariously, laugh-out-loud funny. That doesn't make me a republican - far from it, I'm a staunch monarchist.

Mark, as ever, has made intelligent and well argued points. I happen to disagree with him, but with a few honourable exceptions, the 'Queen and Country' brigade have made a very poor defence of their position.

The present situation is preventing democratically elected representatives taking their seats in Parliament. That is a problem and it is a problem that needs to be resolved. Mr Lidington is actually attempting to put forward some intelligent ideas to deal with the present problem. Predictably, those ideas have been served with a barrage of illogical abuse on this board. I am a monarchist who believes in a strong representative democracy - which means that barriers preventing democratically elected representatives representing their constituents in the Commons chamber should be reconsidered or removed.

The problem isn't that we have a parliamentary oath which is inimicable to republicans/old-fashioned/panders to the Merrie England view of the world. The problem is that a fair-sized chunk of the UK population votes for the political front organisation of a terrorist group, in sufficient numbers to elect representatives to a parliament they have (until very recently) wanted to blow up. Those representatives have shirked their democratic responsibilities (to put it mildly) and have used the wording of the oath as an excuse.

So, it seems to me, all Liddington is saying is: let's call their bluff and see if changing the wording does anything. You can argue about this as a piece of tactics - propaganda win for the Provos; you'll just get tied up in interminable committees in Clinton-style arguments about the meaning of words; could have been put more tactfully given Unionist feelings. It's not something I would have done, but I can see where he's coming from.

It would make more sense as a move if it were combined with scrapping monetary allowances to the Fenians until they agree a form of oath and applying the criminal law with a little more diligence in Ulster, to concentrate their minds on the issue. If any one was concerned about either the integrity of the British state or the quality of its democracy, those last two are better places to concentrate attention than the wording of the parliamentary oath.

Ultimately, this isn't the final ditch I'd pick in which to die. Historically, the oath has changed before for perfectly acceptable reasons, and the wording of more fundamental oaths such as the sovereign's own coronation oath, has been changed more frequently.

William - as a matter of democracy (ignoring the Sinn Féin issue), I think there should be a variation of the oath that republicans can swear in good conscience.

MPs' benefits are linked to taking their seats, not to swearing the oath. On the Sinn Féin issue, they won’t take their seats for two separate objections: 1) they are republicans and 2) they don’t recognise the authority of Westminster over NI. You’re right that a new oath does call Sinn Féin’s bluff. Instead of allowing them to look reasonable behind defensible republican arguments, we’d fully expose the indefensible side.

"Unfortunately, many of them post as if addressing a YC rally circa 1983."

I agree that some of the language coming from "my side" (The Q&C brigade) does come across as rather out of date. But that might just be a generational thing. Like it or not, people are not as deferential as they used to be. We have become a nation of cynics. Heck, even I'm one.

"it's not the Oath to the Queen, it's an oath of loyalty to the UK. The SDLP was able to take the oath and remain committed to the republican cause."

Here's what the the SDLP said after the last election:

"No SDLP MP is taking an oath. What we are taking is an affirmation. It is, as de Valera said, an empty formula. It would be wrong for us to put an empty formula ahead of the needs of the people who elect us - especially at a time when our institutions are suspended and Westminster is the only place where we can hold the Direct Rulers to account."
http://www.sdlp.ie/prmcdonnellmpstakeseats.shtm

Given that Sinn Fein won't sit in the Commons anyway, the SDLP might well be the primary beneficiaries of any change.

Speaking admittedly as a 'left-wing interloper', it's worth bearing in mind that there is a significant Irish community in this country, many of whom would be natural Conservatives in many ways, and might appreciate gestures like this.

The present oath of allegiance is undemocratic nonsense. Have a look at the British Military oath which is absurd and the truly democratic German one. Ironic that we have Elizabeth Saxe unt Goodness Knows Vot else (certainly not Windsor i.e. the convenient name change in 1917 when we were at war with Germany!!)to serve, and yet the Germans swear allegiance to its people!!!

The comments to this entry are closed.

#####here####

Categories

ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:
      Name:
      Email:
      Subscribe    
      Unsubscribe 

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker