Why are we funding enemies of our country?

Why are we funding enemies of our country?

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Tuesday 21, November, 2017

FEW PEOPLE in European politics are as absurd as Leo Vadakar. The current Taoiseach has been very busy overplaying a weak hand badly.

I can't remember any Dublin politician being so divisive and unhelpful. On Sky News he talked of there being a 100 year struggle to bring people together and that he would not accept a hard border on "our island".

Of course Varadkar is not elected. Not by the people anyway. He's a fudge and he knows it. If people think the UK government hangs by a thread how to we describe the Irish one? So much of Leo's dribbling comes from electioneering particularly against Sinn Féin. They are now a well funded machine and of course we are paying.

The extent of the Danegeld paid to Shinners is a disgrace. We pay them salary and ‘Short Money’ equivalent, for what?

1. They don't turn up.
2. They deny representation to Unionists in Ulster.
3. They swing Dublin politics ever more back to irredentism and nationalist chauvinism.

Can I humbly suggest we stop this idiocy? We never used to pay them Danegeld. It started in 2006 with Labour deciding to pay Shinners Short Money.

Although the 1999 Resolution on Short Money does not specifically state this, Short Money is not available to parties whose Members have not sworn the oath, because it was introduced to offer assistance for parliamentary duties. 

Paragraph 1 of the original Short Money Resolution in 1975 provided that financial assistance was available to parties “to assist that party in carrying out its parliamentary business” and paragraph 6 required parties to certify “that the expenses in respect of which assistance is claimed have been incurred exclusively in relation to that party’s parliamentary business”. 

These terms are repeated in the current resolution of 26 May 1999. However, on 8 February 2006, the House of Commons agreed to a motion that created a similar scheme solely for an opposition party “represented by Members who have chosen not to take their seats”.

 The motion provided for “expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the employment of staff and related support to Members designated as that party’s spokesman in relation to the party’s representative business.” There is no definition of “representative business” in the motion, and, hitherto, the term has not been used in parliamentary procedure. 

The terms of the motion would appear to allow Sinn Féin to use funds calculated on the same terms as Short Money for different types of expenditure, such as for press and publicity and other representative functions. Other opposition parties have access to Short Money to support parliamentary business only and no equivalent extension for representative work has been announced for them. 

As an example Sinn Féin’s allocation under the scheme for the 2014/15 year was: Main budget (£) 112,076.00 and Travel budget (£) 3,207. [Source: House of Commons, Department of HR and Change.]

In June 2011, Nigel Dodds asked again about the future arrangements for this allowance:

Mr Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) (DUP): "May we have a statement about what the Government are going to do about the treatment of the two classes of Members in this House—those who turn up and do their work here in Parliament, and those who refuse to take their seats, but who, scandalously, will still get paid an estimated £3 million to £4 million over the course of this Parliament, not only in constituency money, but in Short money, which they, unlike us, can use for non-parliamentary, political party activities? When will the Government deliver on their promise that it would be inconceivable that MPs would continue to allow that to happen in this Parliament? 

Sir George Young: I understand the right hon. Gentleman’s concern. The Government’s view is quite clear: those who are elected to the House should take their seats in the House like everybody else. As he may know, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is discussing this very issue with the political parties, and I will remind him of the continuing need to find an appropriate solution.

Nigel Dodds has continued to raise questions on this issue. On 14 September 2011, the Prime Minister told him that the issue “needs addressing”: 

Mr Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) (DUP): Now that the Prime Minister has committed himself fully to backing the boundary changes will reduce the number of MPs in this House, and to ensure that Prime Minister’s Questions reflects the subject that has been most debated in the corridors of Westminster over the past number of days, will he now also commit to delivering on the other pledge that he and his colleagues made before the election, which was to deal with the scandal of people who are elected to this House, do not take their seats, and yet continue to be paid millions of pounds in allowances, including the equivalent of Short Money, which they can use for party political purposes while we have to use it for parliamentary purposes? Please give us a vote to deal with that scandal. 

The Prime Minister: On the boundary review, we are trying to ensure a basic fairness, which is that every seat in the House of Commons should be the same size. Today, some seats have as many as 90,000 voters and some seats, including some in Wales, have as few as 40,000 voters. How can that possibly be fair? On Northern Ireland and the issue that the right hon. Gentleman raises, I have not changed my view about that one bit, and I do think it is an issue that needs addressing."

There is absolutely reason to continue this charade. Let us change the oath of allegiance so it is read out to the Returning Officer on election night instead of in the House of Commons. If the winner of the count fails to swear it, then the seat should go the next candidate who will.

If only we had 13 unionist MPs in Scotland that would dare motion such an idea in Westminster...

Picture: Jeremy Corbyn with Francie Molloy, the current MP for Mid-Ulster who refuses to take his seat but takes the British shilling (Photo Jim James/PA Archive).

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