Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Westminster is not 'the mother'

Arlene Foster tells us she has ambitions for Wesminster because, for her, "the Mother of Parliaments is the ultimate if you like".

In fact, the Quaker reformer John Bright actually said that "England is the Mother of Parliaments". This was in a speech arguing for votes for "the men of no property". This campaign was followed by the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1868 which doubled the number of working-class males entitled to vote.

There are a few candidates for the real Mother of Parliaments. Perhaps Arlene should offer herself to the voters of Iceland, the Isle of Man or Greece? The first parliaments to allow mothers the vote were in New Zealand and Australia. Maybe Westminster might claim surrogacy?

POL CALLAGHAN

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