Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

“they demonstrate clearly their disdain for the democratic process”

Thu 19 July 2012, 5:06pm

The semi-detached polit-bureau are at it again.  Whatever ‘it’ is…  [Headline-grabbing? - Ed]  Possibly…  There’s certainly a lack of detail. 

In the absence of a sitting Northern Ireland Assembly to question them, and with no NI Executive meeting for them to jointly chair until September, the NI First and deputy First Ministers issued a statement last night[It's a Queens' Speech! - Ed]  Indeed.

From the OFMDFM statement

Commenting, Ministers said: “We are pleased to be able to give some detail on a range of policy decisions that we have taken during the course of the last number of days. We have reached a series of wide ranging agreements that will be to the benefit of people across the community and will deliver further progress in the Autumn on the reform agenda we have set out as part of our Programme for Government commitments.” [added emphasis]

As advertised, they have agreed the appointment of a single Victims Commissioner.  No name, yet.

And, again, as advertised, they have agreed the appointment and composition of a Chair and Board of the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation.  No names, yet.

As for the “Investment Strategy”, no details.  But £4.88billion net capital investment was already planned for 2011-15.  Plus whatever has been delayed up to now.

They’ve also backed down on the threat to the DEL Minister’s position, Alliance’s Stephen Farry.  [Was it something they said? - Ed]

But the futuring on a Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy, and the announcing of a conclusion to discussions on Bills that have yet to be seen by the rest of the NI Executive, have brought a political reaction from the UUP.

UUP Deputy Leader John McCallister said: “The timing and manner of the announcement by the First and deputy first minister demonstrates clearly the contempt they hold for the political process. [added emphasis]

“They are not interested in inclusive politics, they have forgotten the hard lessons of the peace process and they have demonstrated that their approach to a shared future is disingenuous.

“There is no point in carrying on discussions in such an environment.

“Only if all parties are actively engaged can genuine agreement be reached.

“By announcing their statement in the middle of the holiday season they demonstrate clearly their disdain for the democratic process and the rather low value they place on the opinion of others.”

And his party colleague, Basil McCrea, has a theory on DEL

Basil McCrea also said in the statement he was “outraged” at the lack of urgency given to issues surrounding the Department for Employment and Learning, which is at risk of being scrapped.

The Lagan Valley MLA is chairman for the DEL Assembly committee.

“Their decision to wait a little suggests they are more concerned about internal party politics than tackling the real issues facing our economy,” he said.

“They cannot carve up the department to their satisfaction, so they do nothing. Meanwhile, youth unemployment is soaring, profitable long term industries are held back through lack of skills and those without education or skills are consigned to the dustbin.”

Mr McCrea said the ministers’ statement detailed decisions which “individually and collectively demonstrate breathtaking arrogance and complacency.”

[So much for "working in the spirit of co-operation..." - Ed]  Indeed.

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Comments (35)

  1. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    “It’s a Queens’ Speech! – Ed”

    Now that fits the headline:

    “they demonstrate clearly their disdain for the democratic process”

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  2. The Lodger (profile) black spot says:

    Taggart,

    “It’s a Queens’ Speech! – Ed”

    Now that fits the headline:

    “they demonstrate clearly their disdain for the democratic process”

    Please stop.

    Advice nothing more.

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  3. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    Why Lodger? The British Queen is not part of any democratic process?

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  4. The Lodger (profile) black spot says:

    Taggart,

    I think that you will find that Her majesty the Queen is the head of a Constitutional Monarchy and does so with the support and love of the vast majority of the British people. If a democratic majority wished otherwise then her position would be untenable.

    Therefore you are talking gibberish.

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  5. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    The Lodger

    “If a democratic majority wished otherwise then her position would be untenable.”

    You need to explain to me how they could change things?

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  6. The Lodger (profile) black spot says:

    Taggart,

    I do not ‘need’ to do anything my friend. I’ve already explained to you why you are talking gibberish. The best advice I can give you is to refrain from basing your online arguments on articles/cartoons that you have read in An Phoblacht.

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  7. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    The Lodger

    ” “

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  8. The Lodger (profile) black spot says:

    Pete,

    It certainly appears that the Sinners and the DUP are continuing to sew things up amongst themselves. The quid pro quos will be fascinating and will give us an inkling into who holds the upper hand between the two.

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  9. Nevin (profile) says:

    Italics

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  10. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Italics fixed.

    Lodger

    Well, perhaps…

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  11. Mister_Joe (profile) says:

    Well, perhaps…

    We’ll have to guess and read between the lines because they’ll never let on.
    [edited - moderator]

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  12. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    I like John McCallister but people in the UUP should not talk about “inclusive politics,” and “approach to a shared future is disingenuous.” When they jump at every chance to join pacts with the DUP to get more power.

    DUP’s move to form a pact in Castleragh Council with the UUP::
    “Castlereagh Alliance Group Leader Geraldine Rice has condemned the DUP’s move to form a pact in Castleragh Council with the UUP after the DUP lost their overall majority on the council.”
    http://allianceparty.org/article/2011/005717/dup-pact-move-in-castlereagh-shows-panic-at-alliance-success

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  13. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    For the person who thought that “The Lodger” had made a good point could they explain to me how they would make the following occur?

    “If a democratic majority wished otherwise then her position would be untenable.”

    The British Parliament cannot remove the head of state against their will. They have the power to withhold royal assent to legislation passed by the Houses of Parliament

    No Bill can become a legally binding Act of Parliament unless and until it receives the royal assent.

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  14. Reader (profile) says:

    tyrone_taggart: The British Parliament cannot remove the head of state against their will. They have the power to withhold royal assent to legislation passed by the Houses of Parliament
    They have done it before, twice. Bringing in Cromwell and King Billy to replace them. Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer to keep Lizzie?
    No-one but the wierdest Monarchists and Republicans thinks the monarchy could survive these days if Parliament voted to be rid of them.

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  15. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    Reader

    “thinks the monarchy could survive these days if Parliament voted to be rid of them.”

    How? Parliament would not be able to pass the legislation?

    NB: They have done it before, twice.

    William:
    “William had come ashore with approximately 11,000-foot and 4,000 horse soldiers.”

    It could be said he was a “foreign invader”.

    Cromwell:
    Who do you see acting like him? A man of principle in parliament?

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  16. quality (profile) says:

    Jesus, how did a thread about lack of political transparency and leadership in the north turn into a thread about the Queen? How dull.

    Really, the UUP need to put up or shut up (or lobby for the mechanisms to be able to do so). Surely they can’t remain part of an Executive which treats them with such contempt? The SDLP seem wedded to the GFA structures, despite how they continue to be sidelined by Sinn Féin, so god knows what they’ll do.

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  17. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    quality
    “a thread about lack of political transparency and leadership”

    “about the Queen” its not about the “Queen” its about having an undetected head of state with which there is no transparency.

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  18. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    “Surely they can’t (UUP) remain part of an Executive which treats them with such contempt?”

    Of course they can!

    The UUP love to form pacts when it suits them ie an agreed candidate for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

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  19. quality (profile) says:

    But the thread is about something very specific – the idea of DUP/Sinn Féin pacts, a lack of inclusiveness in the Executive. The Queen is an irrelevance (in more ways than one).

    I agree they can… but surely they can’t? It’s moving towards breaking point no? And, for the UUP in particular, there is a wealth of difference in approach at Assembly and Council level – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take divergent approaches.

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  20. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    “The Queen is an irrelevance”

    I find it hard to take the line people like the ” secretary of state” 1 have on this issue in regard to the political set up in Northern Ireland. He should sort out Westminister and its head of state before telling us how to be properly democratic.

    1: secretary of state:
    “The secretary of state also said he would bring forward details on how the political institutions at Stormont might evolve in the years ahead.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18914932

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  21. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    “there is a wealth of difference in approach at Assembly and Council level – so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take divergent approaches”

    What are they?

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  22. quality (profile) says:

    What you’ve pointed out in its essence. They’re happy to work closely with the DUP at Council level, given the even more parochial nature of local councils here (perhaps even given the age demographic or calibre of councillors as well), but at Assembly level they seem to be moving towards an opposition (certainly more so than any other party).

    I would suggest there is a fundamental disconnect between the Council and Assembly levels, more so than any other party in the north – the councillors aren’t on the Assembly team’s message.

    All references to the Queen and Secretary of State aside, what are your opinions on OFMDFM’s actions?

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  23. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    “what are your opinions on OFMDFM’s actions?”

    I think the DUP and SF have the UUP and sdlp on the ropes and are going to batter away at them.

    Not nice, not fair then its politics.

    If the UUP could form a pact with the DUP and run the place I think they would. The UUP are the most hurt by this as they think it should be them in power.

    Next up will be the UUP and the Conservatives explaining how we need proper British politics.

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  24. Barnshee (profile) says:

    tt
    “The British Parliament cannot remove the head of state against their will”

    er try explaining that one to Charles I I seem to remember some such physical act.

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  25. alex gray (profile) says:

    It would appear John McCallister and Basil McCrea are now running the UUP. Is Mike Nesbitt on holiday ? I think Peter Robinson was on the money with the first broadcast on this yesterday. He said this was typical of McCallister who waited until Nesbitt was on holiday and then got up his usual tricks. Now that McCrea has pitched in as well, it looks as though Peter Robinson was right. At least the OFMDFM announcement means that they are actually DOING something. The penny will never drop with McCrea and McCallister that the unionist voters do not like one unionist party attacking another unionist party. When the UUP go down to single figures in the Assembly, they might realise.

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  26. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “The UUP are the most hurt by this as they think it should be them in power.”

    ” power” ??? you mean who gets to divvy out the British taxpayers funds hardly power– more “remittance men”

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  27. Reader (profile) says:

    tyrone_taggart: Who do you see acting like him? A man of principle in parliament?
    Since you’re imagining a republican majority in Parliament, you might as well imagine a few dozen Cromwells among them.

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  28. Framer (profile) says:

    It is all about putting money into the DUP fiefdom of Lisburn.
    Bugger the despoiled countryside or unionist vctims.

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  29. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    Reader

    “Since you’re imagining a republican majority in Parliament, you might as well imagine a few dozen Cromwells among them.”

    Cromwell wanted a constitutional settlement with the king. I don’t think he would have voted to get rid of the current set up? Hell he could be in Labour joining up Tories to sabotage the timetable for Lords reform :-)

    British democracy, “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the government, for the government, shall not perish from the earth,” (sorry Abraham Lincoln)

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  30. In the absence of a sitting Northern Ireland Assembly to question them, and with no NI Executive meeting for them to jointly chair until September, the NI First and deputy First Ministers issued a statement last night.

    That is the sort of bravado which identifies the empty headed coward with no constructive mandate/novel policies to justify their positions. That are as cuckoos and cuckolds in the nest, methinks.

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  31. Oops… darn it …. They are as cuckoos and cuckolds in the nest, methinks.

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  32. Nevin (profile) says:

    “The semi-detached polit-bureau are at it again. Whatever ‘it’ is… [Headline-grabbing? - Ed] Possibly… There’s certainly a lack of detail.”

    Well, Peter and Martin may have been stung into action by Owen Paterson’s speech in Dublin the same day:

    There is a fully functioning, inclusive Executive and Assembly at Stormont. .. [ :) :) ]

    Northern Ireland’s constitutional and political stability provides us with an opportunity to move on, beyond the politics of the peace process to the issues that really matter to people in their daily lives. ..

    I hope shortly to publish a consultation paper covering a number of areas which might be covered by legislation in the current Parliament.

    These include the size of the Assembly, the length of Assembly terms and ending dual mandates. ..

    It is profoundly disappointing that we are still awaiting publication of the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration strategy from the Executive.

    For all the progress in recent years Northern Ireland remains at many levels a deeply divided society. ..

    We cannot have a Northern Ireland in which everything is carved up on sectarian grounds.

    In the Prime Minister’s words we need a shared future not a shared out future. ..

    The Coalition Government has maintained public spending in Northern Ireland . In fact it is 25 per cent per head higher than in England .

    In the 2010 Spending Review Northern Ireland faced reductions of only 6.9 per cent over four years, as opposed to an average 19 per cent across most of Whitehall .

    But against a backdrop of the continuing need to bring down the record deficit we inherited and unprecedented pressures on public finances across Europe I cannot predict what future settlements will bring.

    There may have been a UK-Ireland love-in in Dublin but Owen has failed to grasp the significance of the tug-of-war constitutional settlement in the 1998 Agreement being at odds with the agreement’s overall co-operative spirit.

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  33. alex gray (profile) says:

    A man from Mars has got it right. It has now emerged that McCallister took UUP out of process without consulting Nesbitt and that the statement was issued through Basil McCrea’s office. McCallisetr only contacted Nesbitt the next day and from what the News letter reports, Nesbitt’s comment was at a tangent to what McCallisetr had actually done in withdrawing from the process. In fact, it sounded more like and endorsement of Robinson and McGuinness’s moving the process to Party Leaders. McCalliser and McCrea really are cuckoos in Nesbitt’s nest as they were in Elliott’s beforehand. This shows them to be nothing more than a couple of self-interested conspirators pushing their own agenda which is clearly against the wishes of the majority of the UUP, as was shown by McCallister’s poor showing in the recent leadership election. Why should McCallister and McCrea not be disciplined? If McNarry was disciplined why should they NOT be disciplined? They clearly acted without the Leader’s authority on their own admission.

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  34. Alex,

    The penny will never drop with McCrea and McCallister that the unionist voters do not like one unionist party attacking another unionist party.

    So why do we have separate parties then?

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  35. quality (profile) says:

    Andrew Gallagher

    Indeed, and how did the DUP make traction on the UUP? And how did Jim Allister get elected? etc.

    Perhaps unionist voters do not like one unionist party outflanking another from the ‘left’.

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