The Justice Ministry, Disillusioned Nationalists and Delivery

A significant part of the reason for the declining nationalist turnout is the growing sense that, through their political class, nationalists have failed to deliver a return at Stormont – and in the post-peace process era in general- which would match the expectations of the broad nationalist community.

If unionism has suffered from a leadership deficit in the post-peace process era, then similarly nationalism would appear to be suffering from a delivery deficit.

The developing dilemma around filling the post of Justice Minister presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Sinn Fein to begin proving to their constituents that the Sinn Fein-DUP led Executive can deliver.

The sense within nationalism that the DUP play the role of senior partner has become increasingly accepted. That is something Sinn Fein must address, and be seen to in the coming mandate.

During the Leaders’ Debates preceding this month’s Assembly election, it was noteworthy that the only time the leading figures in the two main parties exchanged words was when Arlene Foster openly outlined why she was vetoing the Lord Chief Justice’s plans to deal with the backlog of inquests into many controversial killings during the Troubles. Notably, Martin McGuinness didn’t bite back.

There was more of that on Friday morning on BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show, when the senior DUP figure, Simon Hamilton, dismissively rejected the notion of the party supporting an Irish Language Act in return for Sinn Fein acceding to the DUP desire for a Unionist Justice Minister. This comes after the DUP Leader, Arlene Foster, had publicly “ruled out” a Sinn Fein Justice Minister. Again, in response, Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, refused to take the opportunity to robustly highlight how the mutual veto system ensures that Sinn Fein could similarly rule out a DUP Justice Minister.

Part of that is a result of the differing leadership styles and broader political cultures that have defined not just the two political parties, but unionism and nationalism in general.

The brash “I won the election” style embraced by Arlene Foster is consistent with the approach long favoured by unionist leaders, a style which has got them into trouble in the post-singular veto era ushered in by the Good Friday Agreement. Ruling out an Irish Language Act and a Sinn Fein Justice Minister merely leaves the party open to charges of betrayal and sell out when both of those developments eventually happen at some point in our future. At times, it is as if DUP representatives have learnt noting from the devolution of Policing and Justice crisis of yesteryear.

The republican style has allowed room for greater compromises due to a more careful approach to conditioning the community to ensure such concessions can be made without consequences for the political leadership.

Yet the problem that Sinn Fein leaders are increasingly having to come to terms with is that the style and approach could feed the disillusionment within the broad nationalist community, seeming to confirm as it does the belief that the party is playing second fiddle to the DUP.

The news that the Executive Office has confirmed that there can be no joint Justice Ministers, nor appointment of a non-MLA to the post, would suggest that, unless the parties are willing to ask the British Government to intercede to make either of the above option a possibility, they face having to agree either a Sinn Fein or DUP/Independent Unionist Justice Minister in the coming days.

With Arlene Foster having publicly “ruled out” the former, it would be a significant humiliation were Sinn Fein to support a Unionist Justice Minister of any description- not least since the SDLP were denied the Justice Ministry they were rightly entitled to through d’Hondt when it was first devolved on the basis that the DUP did not want any nationalist about the place holding that post.

Given the loud message being sent by northern nationalists to their political class only weeks ago, I can’t envisage Sinn Fein endorsing a Unionist Justice Minister (and, to be clear, that means either Independent Unionist, Clare Sugden, or a DUP MLA) without significant concessions of the very type swiftly and confidently dismissed by Simon Hamilton only 48 hours ago.

Both Sinn Fein and the DUP are playing their cards tightly to their chest (and the show of unity between McGuinness and Foster last week was an impressive demonstration of what is possible in a two-party coalition), but I still think that both would much prefer the scenario of a last-minute deal being reached with Alliance to save them having to resolve a difficult problem.

Ironically, Alliance is emerging from an election in which it failed to distinguish itself, going 0 for 3 on its target seats. Many Alliance representatives and supporters are nervous about taking a course of action which publicly negates the perception they have long cherished of being ‘the glue that binds’ in a divided society- though I accept that many of their newer, younger activists are attracted to an Opposition role which allows them to aggressively articulate an alternative vision not compromised by the restrictions of holding office whilst also opposing the Executive.

The problem with that scenario is that, in the new Opposition era unfolding, Alliance run the risk of being relegated in the public’s eye to a distant third string team, struggling to be heard. Therefore, standing alone as the party inside and outside of the tent may offer Alliance the opportunity to uniquely position itself as challenging the main two parties to deliver on its own agenda throughout the term of the Assembly, with the possibility of Alliance walking at a time of its choosing in the event of party leaders deciding that the Executive route had run its course.

Alliance has a strong hand, but over playing it is not without risk.

We are in for a fascinating few days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Gopher

    Nope I want to find out if compromise is possible and if you dont believe the Irish Republic is real its hard to know exactly what you actually will compromise on. Thank you Declan I think we are now done on this one.

  • Declan Doyle

    I live in Dublin and couldn’t be happier.

  • Gopher

    Marxist intelectuals, yup we are definately in the 19th century.

  • Gopher

    No passenger duty, now that is a policy

  • Glenn

    Lee, you state that there is a problem in republican areas with paramilitarism by so called dissidents, along with gangsterism, criminality and mafia style control. And your answer is more PSNI, NCA and MI5 on the ground. And yet after every murder and rape carried out by shinners/provos on innocents and other shinner/provos there has not been one successful conviction. Who is fooling who and controlling who???

  • Declan Doyle

    Republicans believe the true Irish Republic is yet to be realised. Nationalists believe the Irish Republic exists in the form of the 26 counties but unity is possible. Unionists seem to believe that Ireland stops at the border and the North becomes as British as finchely.

    Republicans are correct if you view the Irish Republic through the prism of the original intent. They are incorrect if you view it in the context of International relations. Nationalists are wrong from a mainstream Republican point of view but are correct from the point of view of the Dublin and London dynamic. Unionists are correct only from a Unionist point of view and are incorrect from every other view.

    So where can compromise be found? Remove the insistence for Iirsh Unity. Remove the insistence that Ulster can only ever be British. Find a third way. The third way offers a compromise which puts everything else to sleep permanently.

  • Glenn

    I agree with your analysis, why would any right thinking FF, FG or any other Dail politico, run to help the shinners/provos out of the current predicament. One they find themselves in due to their own obvious failed promises and policies. After all the shinners/provos are a grown up party with juvenile politicians and policies.

  • eireanne3

    the third way might be the option of allowing people in NI to live under a sort of binary jurisdiction. If we agree the people are more important than holding on to a piece of land of no particular interest to the UK, this is the only way forward that satisfies the demands of national identity by everybody in NI.

    They could choose which state they want to live under – pay tax to, which school curriculum they want to study, which police force they want in their community, and so forth – some of which options could be both , not necessarily either / or

    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/what-does-it-mean-to-be-irish/

  • On the fence!

    Excellent post, strikingly accurate.

    Such a pity then that the SDLP seem too busy falling over themselves due to a complete fixation on what Sinn Fein are doing to offer Nationalist voters a decent alternative.

    Then again, it’s probably more instinctive (and easier) to just blame the Prods.

  • kensei

    Nah in retrospect it was quite weak. I’m happy to roll the dice.

  • Katyusha

    This would be great in theory, but how do you ensure that the DUP will actually follow though on such commitments if they take the office? They don’t have a great track record on following through with their side of a compromise.

  • Katyusha

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a town south of the border choosing to promote itself as a venue for gay/lesbian couples from the north and elsewhere to get married. You would think there would be quite a business opportunity in such a venture, especially since the eyes of the world were on Ireland for the marriage referendum. Would be a nice little line of business in tourism.

    On a side note, one of the things I like about the marriage ref. in the south is that it moves the perception of homosexuality away from the hyper-sexualised gay scene, and towards acceptance of ordinary couples who live happy, normal, somewhat boring lives. It would be great if Ireland could position itself as a leader in such a movement. It would fit in very well with the sense of public decency around sexuality in Ireland that is not replicated overseas.

  • Declan Doyle

    They have far more seats simply by virtue of the fact that the constituencies they are stronger in are over represented demographically. They return more MLAs from a smaller constituency population. It is not gerrymandering, it is simply a result of uneven demographic growth.

    Unionism too have to be aware that many of their co-religionists do not vote for Unionist parties or individuals. 53% Protestant electorate, 48% Unionist vote.

    there is no evidence anywhere to suggest that nationalists (middle class or other) have any objection to working class kids getting a seat ahead of them in local schools, nor is there any evidence that these same nationalists have any objection to Irish Medium schools wherever they are located. In fact, the growth in demand for Irish language educations turns your argument on its head.

    So many of Unionist problems are of their own making. Falling to just 48% of the electorate in this last contest. They are fixated on big totemic issues designed to show how big their orange balls are when the electorate increasingly have other problems, apart from bonfires, parades and out Britishing each other.

    And when welfare reform kicks in and Billy in Bangor finds a big hole in his pocket where there should be a few quid, the voters will realise they have been DUPed again….

  • kensei

    Aye, you’re a master strategist alright. A master debater maybe.

    You didn’t get from anywhere. You floated violence. I never did. There is no particular emotion about stating that if SF or Nationalism aren’t getting anything from the deal, they should quit it and seek a better one.

    Unionism isn’t particularly keen on it either; all Unionist parties hate the mandatory coalition and hate to work with SF. So there may be room for a deal. I doubt Unionism could stomach greater Southern involvement for a chance at more majoritian government but it would be a starting point for a negotiations.

    Present arrangements have the advantage if allowing Nationalism to veto the worst of Unionism. But it does not really allow for much positive change, as Unionism holds a corresponding veto. And as pointed out, thus favours the status quo – Unionism – more than Nationalism.

    I dont even mean constitutionally here. Gay marriage or ending selection in education can’t get through. There is a deadening hand of the most conservative elements in society. It might be better if Nationalism has more power for a shorter period – numbers are close enough that a majority might be possible if people were motivated enough – than limited power all the time. But its a risk, and not one I’m giving away for free.

    I’m not wedded to present arrangements. I’m not wedded to ANY 6 county arrangement. And its not like anyone can see present arrangements are working.

    But sure, go on, make some hilarious crack about the guys and how smart you are. You’re fabulous.

  • Ryan

    I have been deeply unimpressed with Sinn Fein over the past few years, they appear weak and too willing to compromise with political Unionism, so much so that I have voted SDLP this time round, it was more of a protest vote than anything else. The impression I’m getting from Sinn Fein is that they are content with the status quo, the fact is they haven’t delivered on their ultimate objective and Stormont is nothing more than “Jobs for the Boys”. Martin McGuinness is more concerned with acting the Irish version of Mahatma Ghandi than actually delivering on SF promises, indeed so far they appear to be empty promises. If SF don’t want to lose votes then inevitably MLA’s to other republicans, including potentially dissidents, then they need to pull up their socks and get real. No republican I know ever agreed to signing up to be Junior partner to the bigots in the DUP. (BTW, voting for an Alliance Justice Minister is as good as voting for a DUP/UUP, since the vast majority in Alliance are Unionists).

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    WHY is there no train halt at city airport?!

  • Brendan Heading

    I doubt Unionism could stomach greater Southern involvement for a chance at more majoritian government but it would be a starting point for a negotiations.

    I know you’re just floating ideas here, but this is one of those “be careful what you wish for” things. As you know the Irish government is openly hostile to SF. They could pretty much be counted on to act in a way that undermines SF’s electoral credibility within the RoI.

    A period in opposition for SF is a more serious idea, but I think it’s too soon at this point. The government up at Stormont has to have consent to govern, and I’m not sure SF can deliver this with themselves in opposition.

    On the other bit, it’s been clear for some time there is no appetite within nationalism to return to violence.

  • kensei

    I can live without an ILA in principle. But I can live with what the lack of it means much less.

  • kensei

    So? It was in the deal. If you can kill bits of the deal you don’t want, you get no deals going forward.

    What did the last Assembly term look like?

  • Reader

    I’m not sure the island has a legal status, it’s just a geographical entity.
    The official name of the 26 county state is “Ireland”, according to its constitution. I have been advised that it’s rude of me not to accept that label wholeheartedly, though your constitution has no hold over me.
    But if you defy your own constitution, that makes you a bit unpatriotic, doesn’t it? Or at least a bit of a rebel.

  • Ciaran O’Connor

    I insist upon calling the statelet Northern Ireland. Why?

    Unionists fought home rule and lost.
    In this defeat they forced the partition of Ireland at the end of a gun, threatening a full scale civil war, which they had already armed and mobilised for. In such a war they openly stated that they would take up the arms they had illegally imported and use them to attack crown forces. In doing so they demonstrated that they were both treasonous and traitorous in the same breath. Their threat of violence worked and they were offered partition. However the partition they were offered was all NINE counties of the province of Ulster. However Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan contained just too many Catholics and hence they threatened violence again. They forced the removal of said three counties to south of the line of partition so that they could have their own protestant hegemonic statelet. Not Ireland in the UK, not Ulster but the statelet Northern Ireland. In doing so Unionists with that act cast-off all Protestant Ulstermen in the 3 counties named. Many of the people they abandoned for their Protestant state had fought in the trenches in France and the other theaters of war. Many of those people joined the war effort to demonstrate their loyalty to the crown and ensure Ulsters place in the UK. This did not prevent however their betrayal by their Unionist brethren. So I say Northern Ireland every time as a reminder to Unionists. Its not Ulster, but the Judas state of Northern Ireland. Stand up for the Ulstermen, NOT.

    Its also quite ironic that the same Unionists who insist on all saying “Northern Ireland” or “Londonderry” are the same people who just can’t bring themselves to say “Sinn Fein”, without adding some reference to the IRA/Provos. This is 20 years after the war is over.

  • chrisjones2

    …and the reality is if he did deliver the SF promise what good would it do for you personally or voters (other than a coterie of old Comrades promised jobs in a shrine)

  • Gopher

    As ever whatever your grievance real or imagined around history is made irrevelant by the infinite wisdom of the electorate in Ireland agreeing to a new relationship in 1998. As per that agreement it is infact “Northern Ireland” so insistence does not come into it. As for Londonderry whilst there is a pedantry around saying it just as there is around Derry, thankfully I am inflicted by neither and can interchange freely.

  • kensei

    I don’t care about SF’s electoral credibility anywhere. It sometimes overlaps with the politics I care about, and sometimes doesn’t. In any case, messing about in that fashion carries a high risk of backfiring.

    If it raws the other Southern parties North to contest elections, great.

  • kensei

    I don’t think SF has had the appetite for a more serious confrontation with the DUP, potentially because of the optics in the South.

    There is very rarely nothing that can be done.

  • Ciaran O’Connor

    You clearly take great comfort that history stopped for you in 1998 and that the Northern Ireland state will now live forever. Next time you go to Yugoslavia can you ask them for directions to Craigavon?

  • Skibo

    The Irish constitution came into being in 1937 when articles 2 and 3 defined Ireland as 32 counties. Not sure where you want to go with this?

  • Croiteir

    SF should take it no matter what. Thus sending out a strong message to the DUP and unionism that their electorate will not be denied anything. If that means the collapse of Stormont then let it. And the SDLP should agree producing a united nationalist polity. No elections run until this is agreed. Let direct begin. It would prove that the place is a failed political entity. In the face of a growing Catholic demograph it is an unstable and unsustainable solution. Let it go.

  • Skibo

    I always have alot of time for Chris. He seems to have a vision of where Nationalism should be going.
    I think SF should stand up to the DUP on the issue of the Justice Minister. If DUP are not willing to either share the ministry on a 50/50 time basis or introduce joint minister, they should demand a further place at the table and leave the Executive balanced on 4 Nationalist ministers and 4 Unionist ministers.

  • chrisjones2

    “In the face of a growing Catholic demograph” who dont vote for nationalist parties

    Bring on the referendum. Lets see just how far Republicanism has utterly failed

  • chrisjones2

    Awwww poor thing…he should get out more and speak to some unionists but that is what happens when a language is weaponised and used to exclude others

  • Gopher

    Until the majority agree otherwise I believe was the compromise. Whether that is in perpetuity I cannot say but it makes any arguement about the foundation of this default position null and void. As for violence or the threat of violence when such an agreement exists that commands the support of the overwhelming majority one could only suggest that would be a mistake.

  • Skibo

    Too bad you don’t have the final decision on this!

  • Skibo

    As before, a language can not be weaponised by its use, only by preventing its use. Why do you think the Irish language is in such a precarious position?

  • chrisjones2

    It is indeed as both the DUP and SF rely on this as the Bogeyman to keep the voters in their pens

  • Reader

    The Irish constitution has been updated since then – notably following the GFA, when Article 2 dropped the claim of the whole island as national territory; and Article 3 acknowledged that there are two jurisdictions on the island, and that a United Ireland doesn’t currently exist. But Article 4 still says that the name of the State is Ireland.
    So, when some officious person tells us all that the name of the 26 county state is “Ireland”, according to your constitution, I’m the one at liberty to ignore him, whereas you have to deflect with a reference to the name of the island that we all share. Do you accept the constitution of the state to which you belong?

  • chrisjones2

    I disagree. In Wales for example the zealots continually argue that Welsh must be compulsory for some public sector jobs – as in many cases that is the only way some candidates can compete for them

  • chrisjones2

    What choice had they?

  • chrisjones2

    So you want to spend money on something you see as next to useless in advancing people’s lives when so many other areas eg health and education are desperate for funding

  • chrisjones2

    “it could be appreciated by the many in the future.”

    Better health education and jobs might be appreciated sooner

  • chrisjones2

    I do…I doubt that she has the experience and ability to do it

  • chrisjones2

    The difference is that ILA is expensive the other two arent and benefit far more people!

  • chrisjones2

    Didnt he allegedly once give a line on it…?

  • chrisjones2

    One dimensional stereotyped view

  • Ciaran O’Connor

    The GFA doesn’t seem to be enough of a security blanket to keep Unionists warm in their beds at night. It’s a cold house, or so we’re told…

  • chrisjones2

    Yeah right …like their performance on the Policing Board for example

    As with the DUP the fundamental issue is that so many of those we elect just aren’t very competent

  • Skibo

    And in alot of ways that is the only way to positively promote the language. We are not talking about making it compulsory in NI. What we are asking for is recognition that it is the native tongue of the island and should be promoted. Allow people who are fluent to accept that the have the right to use it. Give it its position beside English on road signs and allow speakers to use it in law.

  • chrisjones2

    Are you volunteering to pay?

    And what do you do when Lodge A wants to walk down a road and Group B objects?

    Or A wants to divorce B under Irish law while B wants it dealt with under British?

    Or A murders B and the two police forces disagree on jurisdiction? Do both investigate until they find out who done it?

    What about the poor sods who are not from either community?

    And all to accommodate minorities on both sides who dont want to recognise that the other exists

  • chrisjones2

    No its not …its two jurisdictions

  • chrisjones2

    You just spoiled his day by dragging him into the 21st Century

  • chrisjones2

    I always understood that Carson didnt want the separate state but was forced into that option by the tide of events and the Civil War then solidified everything?

  • chrisjones2

    Not really fair. A better analogy is in the pen. They can do what they want in the pen with their own sheep – naked trampolining is an example – so long as they stay in the pen

    SFs problem is that increasing numbers of sheep keep jumping the fence…a few for greener pastures but many for the clear blue sky of NI in the UK where the grass is sweet

  • chrisjones2

    “the constituencies they are stronger in are over represented demographically. ”

    Ah thats the problem. Too many prods.

    Tripe

  • chrisjones2

    Surely everything the Assembly hadn’t done

  • Tochais Siorai

    Is that the best you can do, Chris? Maybe try reading what Declan is actually saying. ‘Uneven demographic growth’ is actually ‘too many taigs’ in certain constituencies.

    If you believe that his thesis is incorrect maybe you could show us why.

  • Skibo

    I have a solution that is fully compliant with the Irish constitution. Anyone born on the island of Ireland has a right to be part of the Irish Nation. The State is anyone governed by the Dail.
    My solution, when talking about the Island of Ireland, I will call it Ireland i.e. the home of the Irish Nation.
    When talking about the 26 counties, I will call it Eire as per my National language and noted Article 4.

  • Skibo

    Chris you my boy are still living up to an unconstitutional and terrorist forced action from 1921 for the creation of a sectarian state and have no right to lecture anyone about the 21st century.

  • Croiteir

    What referendum. You mistake me for a SF supporter. There should not be a referendum.

  • Skibo

    Two jurisdictions but one Nation. Ireland

  • Skibo

    Competency is not a criteria to get elected, otherwise how did the USA elect the G W Bush!

  • Skibo

    Carson did what Craig told him. I believe he was a united Ireland man. Just his idea of united Ireland was inside the UK.

  • mac tire

    Or Cameron. Or Osborne.

  • Skibo

    Why is there any need of confrontation? The simplest move at the moment is work the system and show they are capable of government. That is the gameplan as far as I can see.
    Unionism has to see that they have nothing to fear from SF run government ministries.
    If they can see that then what is the fear of a UI other than financial.
    That is the next step in the plan for reunification. Show what it will look like, what it will cost and finally what it is worth to each household.
    Other than the Olympics what is there to actually unify the nations of the UK?

  • eireanne3

    Are you volunteering to pay?
    Why should I pay?
    Why do you presume it will be a costly scheme? Several areas of massive savings can be envisaged.

    And what do you do when Lodge A wants to walk down a road and Group B objects?
    Depends which jurisdiction the road is under. Each will deal with the issue as it sees fit

    Or A wants to divorce B under Irish law while B wants it dealt with under British?
    if each has chosen a different jurisdiction – with legal help and advice they will be able to weigh up the pros and cons of each and choose the best option.
    if each has chosen the same jurisdiction then divorce under the law of that state.

    Or A murders B and the two police forces disagree on jurisdiction? Do both investigate until they find out who done it?
    What’s the objection to a joint investigation?

    What about the poor sods who are not from either community?
    Who are they in this context?
    At present everyone in NI is under UK jurisdiction.
    People who want to remain under it will do so.
    People who prefer to live under ROI jurisdiction will do so.
    What’s the problem?

  • Declan Doyle

    You misunderstand. If anything it’s too little prods

  • colmh

    That’s a bit rich coming from you quite frankly. How many times in this thread have you referred to sheep?

  • Glenn

    Here is another republican viewpoint on the election results for the shinners/provos.
    http://thepensivequill.am/2016/05/mandate-what-mandate.html

  • Gopher

    He did, like I said unfortunately its not just the DUP who are against abortion.

  • kensei

    The Prisoner’s dilemma. If the other party is betraying then you must too, or you get owned. The best long term strategy is tit for tat with forgiveness. The DUP *has* to know they cannot fail to deliver on deals and it’s much better if both sides wind in the rhetoric too.

    You say deliver in government. Deliver what? If it is simply Tory policy or DUP policy without touching on any of SFs core aims it is of limited value.

    The model is the SNP – build trust in government. But while there is definitely much to br learned that’s a problematic comparispm for a number of reasons. But they built trust on their own manifestoes not anyone else’s.

  • submariner

    If you have a well thought out counter argument to my viewpoint backed up with evidence then im all ears

  • Declan Doyle

    It doesn’t matter if there are ten jurisdictions, the Island is still called Ireland.

  • Brendan Heading

    The short term problem is that if they don’t appoint a minister on Wednesday there’s an automatic general election. So there is no time to introduce a shared ministry at this stage.

    Longer term, SF have no leverage, positive or negative, to use against the DUP to persuade it to make any of these reforms.

  • Brendan Heading

    an ILA actually wouldn’t be expensive. The cost isn’t the problem.

  • Brendan Heading

    kensei’s judgement of the thinking within nationalism would far outrank mine, but are nationalists really likely to support SF bargaining its role in government in exchange for, say, tokenism on the Irish language ?

    If so, the DUP should support the ILA. It allows them to draw SF into a death embrace. It’s far easier to throw up a few Irish street signs and issue government documents in Irish than it is to solve systemic underemployment and deprivation in nationalist neighbourhoods. If SF are for sale that cheaply …

  • Skibo

    If SF can achieve parity within the Executive then that will be well earned if the cost is a DUP Justice Minister. The one thing it will do is kill any reformation of the abortion legislation dead. That might not be a bad thing for SF either is it is a damaging subject
    DUP has to ask itself is it in their interest to have a weak SF and really it is not. A weak SF will result in no need of a strong Unionist voice and a return of voters to UUP.

  • Lee

    This may or may not be a fair point. One which any new justice minister has to grab by the balls, otherwise NI working class society is stuck in the vicious cycle of having public money go through it in various ways with much reduced chance of sustainable outcomes.
    Perhaps that we have normalized our political system to a significant degree this should reflect more into our expectations for public money outcomes. And in turn this means a new Justice minister targeting the gangsters for they are destroying the success rates of public money spent in certain districts. And if this means the Justice Minster going to the Prime Minister, Taosioch, MI5, NCA and demanding any necessary operational changes on their part and getting them onside then so be it. And the Justice Minister should make clear his or her intention to resign if this is not done satisfactorly, otherewise the Justice Minister is in effect colluding in the farce.
    Part of me knows it wont happen. The system is about spinning plates.

  • kensei

    I didn’t say I see it as next to useless. You said that. That’s a bad habit you should watch.

    I said I could live without it; it’s not sine qua non. You can apply the “Won’t someone think of the children” logic to many areas and it remains a stupid argument governments need to be able to do lots of things at once.

    As far the nature of that Act, I doubt I’d be on the same page as SF. Heavy official state backing hasn’t stopped decline in the South. I’d like the language to survive. I’d like it to be a bit more visible. I think we need new thinking on how to concentrated resources and link people to achieve that.

  • kensei

    I am just an idiot on the internet.

    Systematic deprivation anywhere will not be solved easily, and it’s not even clear the Assembly has much of the levers to do it. It doesn’t quite rank with “SF has had WB for years and it it is still deprived” stupidity but it’s a meaningless argument, just designed to block.

    This is about the optics and what it means going forward. SF need to be able to deliver somethings they support, or it is meaningless. If the DUP want to lay pronouncements about what the can and can’t accept, it needs to be shown that they have to pay a price for it – that’s how coalition works. If they can’t it means if SF have ideas about how to help education or deprivation that the DUP don’t like, they won’t even get a hearing.

    It really depends on the overall terms of the deal. It’s not a s simple as Justice for ILA; it’s the overall balance of the package and whether SF are acquiescing to no Justice permanently or temporarily. Personally, too much is made of it – should have mad e standard ministry, forced the DUP to take it and got Finance. That’s all the win you need. Likely the SDLP would support blocking anything too bad.

  • Reader

    Declan Doyle: They have far more seats simply by virtue of the fact that the constituencies they are stronger in are over represented demographically.
    Well, not really. It’s 38 seats vs.29 seats. On strict proportionality on first preferences it would be 35 vs. 29 using SF seats as the baseline, which is not that big a difference.
    However, remember that (1) Even STV in 6 member seats isn’t strictly proportional – favouring larger parties, and (2) DUP is probably a bit more transfer friendly than SF. So it would not be wise to pin too many hopes on imminent boundary changes.

  • Declan Doyle

    The reduction in seat numbers fro 6 to 5, will that not have a further impact?