Accountability still under discussion…

A SIZEABLE chunk of the discussions in Stormont have continued to focus on the issue of ministerial accountability. Accountability is not necessarily a ministerial straitjacket. Proper accountability is a democratic norm in most liberal democracies, but the Agreement precludes liberal democracy. What we ended up with was a system whereby ministerial sanctions were completely ineffective.

The Agreement states that

  • peteb

    Is it just me or is anyone else getting the impression that the increasingly narrow focus of these discussions is as likely to find a concensus of opinion, at this particular time, as a debate on the number of angels dancing on a needle point?

  • Davros

    Pete, Pete …everybody knows angels don’t dance !
    It’s sinful. ( Thoughts of Chairman Ian, p 7)

  • peteb

    Yeah, Davros, we can always trust the ‘Doctor’ to over-complicate any debate.

  • Keith M

    Given the nonsense that went on with the previous executive, I find it encouraging that this level of intensity of debate is going on. One of the several lessons of the failure of the original Belfast Agreement is that when you set deadlines and rush to put something to paper, you end up with something that doesn’t work, especially when the parties don’t trust one another. Any executive and ministry has to be accountable not only to itself but to the assembly. Otherwise those not in the executive become nodding donkeys (if their party is in the executive) or completly redundant (if they are not). Seeing as APNI ar always likely to be in the second category, this is one of the reasons hy APNI are so keen for change.

  • Warm Storage

    How about this for an idea to sort out the accountability issue?

    The DUP goes back into the Assembly with the blessed Good Friday Agreement intact, takes up its five seats on the Executive (or four if d’Hondt is run for the 12 Executive posts, or 3.5637 under the divisor system that is the D’Saster formula, currently being proposed at an inter-party meeting near you… probably). It then lets its Ministers off the leash to establish the Derry/Londonderry Transport Regeneration Strategy, with trams envisaged running through Mark Durkan’s living room, implement MLA-specific water charges set at a base rate of 70% of their salaries and, having cunningly accepted the CAL portfolio, outlaw the Irish language and install Ulster-Scots as the official language of the North. Such agreement-friendly policies will doubtlessly impress the SDLP, the spirit of the agreement remains, the checks and balances already in place will be seen to be working and… hold on. There’s a problem here somewhere. But I’m sure the SDLP’ll have a solution to it.