Agreement too 'fluffy' for NI politics?

Eric Waugh focuses his direct criticism on Martin McGuinness. But what’s really interesting in his reading of the Belfast Agreement, is that whilst we may have a unique form of consociational government that theoretically enfranchises all sides of the community, the combative nature of competitive democracy may mean it just cannot work in practice.

“One of the signal failures of the Agreement has been its utter inability to inspire its brainchild, the power-sharing Executive, with even the semblance of cohesion. Ministers regularly have traded insults in public. They used to meet with suspicious infrequency.”

“Democratic administrations of a more routine nature can hobble along with scant sign of collective responsibility. But the Agreement we have imposes a different situation entirely. The Executive it spawned is a tender plant. To survive, it requires a climate of consideration, a little live-and-let-live. Those things upon which its members agree require to be magnified; and those other things, upon which they do not, require to be subdued.”

More: Paul A Fitzsimmons explores this territory in more detail on the Blanket.

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