Talk:Irish Home Rule bills
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Discussion moved from User talk:OwenBlacker
Owen, I think your moving of the various home rule bills is a major mistake. Accuracy in terms of the names of Acts and Bills is a major problem because, with with very rare exceptions, very very few Acts and Bills are known even by their correct short title, let alone official long title. No-one (and I do mean no-one) will recognise the Bills under names that have not been used for a century and which even when they were debated weren't generally used. In teaching history, when it comes to laws historians always use the most common names by which an Act has come to be referred, not a strictly accurate name where the name has long since been forgotten and probably not used by any living person for centuries. I would never dream of talking about an Succession Property Rights and the Matrimonial Home Act if the Bill was universally known as the Succession Act except by law students. If I mentioned to my students about the Executive Authority (External Relations) Act they would not have a clue what I was talking about. They know the Act as, and every history mainstream history book on the planet knows it as, simply the External Relations Act. Similarly I could not tell students about the Executive Powers (Consequential Provisions) Act because no-one, barely even lawyers, calls it that. They all know it simply as the Consequential Provisions Act. They learn about the Amendment No 27 Act, not the Constitution (Amendment No. 27) Act.
If this was a law textbook, it would be OK to repeat the literal original bill name as the name of an article title here. But 100% of people here outside the law won't have a clue about what the Irish Government Bill was, and the last person who would have probably died around 1950. The Bill name is so utterly obscure that there is no point using it as an article name here. Where a literal law name is never ever used, and where the article is not describing the law in legal depth, but describing (as is the case of the Home Rule Bills) the political campaigning, the social contexts, and the constitutional implications etc etc of the Bill it makes no sense to abandon the use as the main heading of a name known or understood by 100% of people for one known and understood by 0%. This is a classic case where the most common name should apply. Otherwise wikipedia will be completely out of step with all historical standards of research and really only suitable for use by lawyers.
I am all for accuracy (I take it very seriously) but there is a distinction between accuracy and absolutely detailed accuracy. The latter is pointless if it obscures the message and context. (BTW I've checked a host of history books (school, undergraduate, post-graduate) this evening. I have not found one that uses those names for the Home Rule Bills. The names are right, but they are not used.) Obscure legal names have to be stated, but where as in these cases they are utterly forgotten they should not be the name of the main article but should stated in the opening of the first paragraph and perhaps used in the text exclusively when describing the Bill or Act, along the lines of
- "The Irish Government Bill, 1893 contained seven sections, describing the proposed function of the executive and legislature. Section 1 provided . . . "
But the overall article is about a Bill predominantly known as the Home Rule Bill then as universally known as that now. The debate was all focused on home rule and it makes logical sense for the article name to reflect the term universally recognised. If at least the official Bill name was close to the name widely known one could then justify the full name's use. Or if the generally used name could cause confusion. But I think using a universally unknown name, with a meaning that won't be obvious, in preference to a universally known name with a clear meaning, is in this case a mistake. (Oh the fun of home rule!!!) FearÉIREANN 23:55, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
- I understand your point about Irish Home Rule Bills (and Acts) entirely.
- However, the Manual of Style says we should name laws by their official titles, even when they're more familiarly known otherwise (hence my move request for Home Rule Act 1914, which I mistakenly renamed a week or so ago).
- I remember discussing with User:ALoan last week (prolly on Talk:Home Rule Act 1914), that Bills should follow the same standard (which makes a logical sense) and that redirects should point from any and all popular names (hence Second Irish Home Rule Bill and even Third Irish Home Rule Bill, despite the latter being an Act).
- Whilst I agree with your point, I think the redirect functionality of MediaWiki means that the sacrifice for the sake of accuracy, as it were, is no great sacrifice. I agree that the bulk of the text of an article should prolly use the popular name (as they do), but I think article titles for Bills should come directly from the short title in the text, so that there's at least some standard (and an encyclopædic one, at that).
- Let's bring this issue here, to this Talk: page, and see what consensus we can come up with… ;o)
- Is mise! OwenBlacker 00:16, Mar 31, 2005 (UTC)
- Hello - to put this in context, the discussion arose in Talk:Home Rule Act 1914 when OwenBlacker reverted my addition of "(officially the Government of Ireland Act 1914)" in the lead section. I entirely accept that the most common name is "Home Rule Bill" but I wanted to make sure that the official short title was mentioned somewhere.
- I don't have particularly strong opinions about where the articles should be, since redirects will take care of all of the references. In the absence of the specific MoS policy, I would go with the general rule, that an article should be at its most common name, in this case Home Rule Bill (or equivalent). However, I can see that it makes good sense for legislation to be located at its official name (which, in this context, is the short title rather than the long title) with appropriate redirects. Having said that, the Parliament Acts are at Parliament Act, not Parliament Act 1911 or Parliament Act 1949. -- ALoan (Talk) 09:08, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I understand totally your point Owen, and have a lot of sympathy with it. There are I think however some important reasons why in these cases the literal name of the bill should not be the name of the article in the case of the first three of the four legislative attempts at home rule for Ireland.
- The legislative measures form a series. While HR IV (1920) is not normally called the Home Rule Act but the Government of Ireland Act, the other three are in practically 100% of cases referred to by lay people, by history readers, by historians and indeed by everyone but lawyers by sequencing them using the words 'home rule' . Without that word the sequencing would be lost, as different official names were used in the different bills.
- Acts of parliament do become known by their short titles. Bills however all too often have their official names completely forgotten as the bills never come into effect. Instead they are remembered by informal references, with their real names all too often utterly forgotten even by lawyers who as they are unenacted don't need to know them. Two of the four home rule bills never got enacted, a third got enacted but never implemented. Only one actually was (partially) implemented.
- If the articles were were just discussing the text of the bills alone, then using the Bill's name as the article name would be sensible. But certainly in two cases, the actual contents of the bills are not a major issue. The important issue to be remembered is the actual context of the bills, the debates they aroused and the political implications surrounding their defeat. In that instance, 100% contextualise that debate around a particular 'home rule bill', not around an obscure official title that was not even widely known during the debates themselves. Historians and the public know about debates by contextualising them around the 'First Home Rule Bill', 'Second home Rule Bill', 'Third Home Rule Act', etc.
The correct short and long titles must feature in the articles in the first line. But I think it is unworkable in this instance (and there are others internationally) to put the article under the long forgotten, unrecognisable title. Using redirects wouldn't solve the problem. If you are a 14 year old student looking about the debate surrounding the second home rule bill, it will hardly make it easier to follow the debate if the story of that debate is under the article name 'Irish Government Bill, 1893', a name you will not have heard of, your teacher will not have heard of, and which the man of woman who wrote your history book may only have a hazy memory of. I'd hate to think that some student might miss reading these good articles because when they see the name of the article, they react by thinking 'what the hell is this? This mustn't be it' and leave the page unread. Where at least the offical title is somewhat used, one can justify going by strict accuracy and using the official name. But where it is never ever used, where no-one will recognise it, where even lawyers won't recognise it, I think the commonsense approach is to pick the generally known, 100% recognisable name over the rarely if ever known, 100% unrecognisable name that was last uttered when people travelled in carriages and Queen Victoria was on the throne. FearÉIREANN
One solution might be to use the official short title and then the common name in brackets afterwards. For example [[Irish Government Bill 1893 (2nd Home Rule Bill)]]. It might seem long but it would keep the sequence clear, so people would see both the official title and the recognisable reference straight off.FearÉIREANN 21:50, 31 Mar 2005 (UTC)
- I'm not quite sure, but I could certainly be convinced by that second option — including the colloquial title alongside the official short title. Does anyone else have any thoughts on the matter? :o) — OwenBlacker 23:06, Mar 31, 2005 (UTC)
I think the articles should be under their common names. I am not sure that the official short title needs to be in the introduction as it adds clutter and is not of immediate interest to most people, but as this is an on-line encyclopaedia, it should be mentioned somewhere in the article, probably with the full title as well, so that it can be found by an external search engine, and because it will be of immediate interest to a minority of readers. For example IMHO the current wording of the "Home Rule Act 1914": The Government of Ireland Act 1914, more generally known as the Third Home Rule Act (or Bill) or the (Irish) Home Rule Act 1914, puts the cart before the horse. Philip Baird Shearer 07:43, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Third Home Rule Bill "never enacted"?
I'm not too hot on British consitutional law, but I presume that if as stated it received royal assent, that means it was enacted, and entered on the statute book. Whether it was commenced or applied may be another question. At any rate, that's how it would work in Irish law. Can anyone clear this up? Palmiro 18:18, 14 August 2005 (UTC)
- You're quite correct. Simplifying things a bit: the 1914 Act was supposed to have gone into effect in May, 1915, but the Suspensory Act 1914 (assented to on the same day as the home rule bill itself) put that into limbo for the duration of the war. Because in British law the war wasn't formally terminated until Aug. 31, 1921, the suspension of home rule was still in force when the Government of Ireland Act 1920 (which repealed the 1914 Act) was passed. Silverhelm 12:30, 20 November 2006 (UTC).