Ford: what's wrong with accountable Ministers?

The Alliance party leader David Ford has just spoken about progress and the lack of it at Leeds Castle. He’s attending the Liberal Democrat conference, just down the road from Slugger Central in Bournemouth:

“I am bemused that some people are suggesting that creating greater accountability and collective responsibility in the institutions is inconsistent with power-sharing or the Agreement. What we have at the moment is a political carve-up, with Ministers exercising majority-rule within their own domains. By contrast, power-sharing is about representatives from all sections of the community having some degree of say over how decisions are made”.

  • peteb

    It’s a reasonable point, but the problem remains of balancing the mechanisms of accountability with mechanisms to prevent the introduction of a party political veto.

    BTW Are you blogging from the Lib-Dem conference Mick? Go on, we won’t tell anyone!

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry to disappoint Pete. Too busy trying to earn a crust!

  • Mark McGregor

    Or an alliance veto? They’ve played that joker time and time again when the opportunity arose.

  • Henry94

    The Alliance are working hard for those DUP transfers. Maybe we should call for fresh Assembly elections in the event of any change to the system. That should put manners on them.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ford struggling for relevance, yet again. It was all so much better during the Brooke Talks when the media charade led to them being called one of the Big Four parties.
    Just like Vance, Ford has found out that the voters has a terrible trait of using the democrat process to sideline cranks and knaves.

  • Davros

    ” the voters has a terrible trait of using the democrat process to sideline cranks and knaves.”

    That’s some endorsement of the DUP Pat !

  • willowfield

    Interesting that Mark McGregor, Henry94 and Pat McLarnon don’t deal with Ford’s point, but resort to slagging him off.

    Ford’s comments are perfectly reasonable. I agree with them.

    In response to peteb –

    It’s a reasonable point, but the problem remains of balancing the mechanisms of accountability with mechanisms to prevent the introduction of a party political veto.

    – the current arrangements include a party political veto since ministers are primarily accountable to their party.

    What’s the difference between a minister doing what he likes, with only his own party to stop him, and a minister being prevented from doing what he likes by another party?

    I don’t see that it’s much of a problem to balance the mechanisms of accountability with mechanisms to prevent the introduction of a party political veto: introduce a degree of ministerial accountability to the Assembly, but use a weighted majority for any vote to overturn a ministerial decision.

  • peteb

    As I believe my comment suggested, Willow, I think accountability of ministers to the Assembly is a reasonable point to raise.

    However, it obviously is a problem to balance those mechanisms – perhaps one area of contention would be the “degree of ministerial accountability to the Assembly”?

  • willowfield

    Not a problem that couldn’t be overcome.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    I slag him off simply because he is irrelevant and I find his posturing pathetic.

  • David Vance

    Pat McLarnon,

    Your wit is a wonder to behold. As for those morally bankrupt voters who touchingly put their support in parties such as Sinn Fein/IRA well…the kindest thing one could hope for is that eventually grow up.

    Willowfield is right – rather than deal with the substantive issue of an undemocratic Executive, republicans run away like little children and blow raspberries at those who raise the point in the first instance. Of course, some of us agued back in 1997 that the basis for Ministerial power was hopelessly wrong – glad to see that the DUP have now elevated this as an issue.

  • Mick Fealty

    Pat,

    It makes for better reading if you stick the ball not man principle. Ford’s standing at the polls is as relevant as the standing of any of us at the polls. The point he makes is substantive, and deserves addressing.

    Of course, if you prefer not to address it that’s entirely a matter for your own perogative.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Pat McLarnon,

    Your wit is a wonder to behold.

    As wondrous as your electoral performances MR Vance.

    Mick.

    I take your point on Ford

  • Davros

    Have you stood for election Pat ?
    I may not agree with David on many things, but I respect that his convictions are only political and that he had the courage to stand for election.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,
    e-mail me privately giving your full name and address. Until you have the courage to do the basics, requests from you of that nature will of course be ignored.

  • Davros

    Why would I give my name and address to someone who tells Lies Pat ?

  • willowfield

    If Pat McLarnon has stood for election you should be able to find out relatively easily.

  • willowfield

    If Pat McLarnon has stood for election, why would he be reluctant to tell people?

    Very odd.

  • Davros

    Pat tells porkies ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Do whatever you feel like Davros,just don’t ask for details of others when you skulk in anonymity with willowfield.

    “If Pat McLarnon has stood for election, why would he be reluctant to tell people?

    Very odd.

    Not odd or reluctant, just asking for transparency from others rather than the usual cowardice.

    Why are some posters still afraid to post under their own names? Is it because of their jobs or neighbours? Liberal to their face and extreme unionist in anonymity. Strange given that one particular poster has no problem given name and location on the letters page of the Irish News.

  • Mick Fealty

    Can I just remind people again about the ball not man rule. I’m not singling individuals out because name calling has a tendency to produce its own momentum, which people often involutariliy get drawn into.

    My only criteria for making such interventions as this is to limit the damage the endless reptition of personal remarks have on the readablity of the site. And I don’t want to have to resort to yellow cards!

    In my experience the best way of getting even is to outgun (no pun intended) your opponent’s argument. So concentrate on winning the ball!

  • Davros

    I’m not asking for details pat … I’m asking if you have had the courage of your political convictions and stoofd for election. No details needed , a simple yes or no will enable me to decide if you have a right to make sarcastic remarks about Mr Vance’s electoral support.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ahem.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    Why are some posters still afraid to post under their own names? Is it because of their jobs or neighbours? Liberal to their face and extreme unionist in anonymity. Strange given that one particular poster has no problem given name and location on the letters page of the Irish News.

    Please answer.

  • willowfield

    As a former anonymous poster (Chico), Pat McLarnon is full of the zeal of the convert to transparency.

    Of course, no-one knows whether Pat McLarnon is his real name. For all we know, he could be anonymous.

    But who, apart from Pat, cares?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Ha ha ha, the coward strikes back.

  • IJP

    The fact that the opposition to David F on this issue has resorted exclusively to name-calling and subject-changing vindicates David F’s and Alliance’s position entirely.

    Thank you.

    If the other parties showed even an ounce of the responsibility shown by Alliance – the only Assembly party determined to strike a deal that genuinely *works* and that works for *everyone* – this place would be in a lot better state.