“IN the real world,” said Michael Howard in a moment of clarity the other day, “if you screw up, you lose your job. It’s called accountability.” Eric Waugh takes a hard look at the lack of democratic accountability in the previous administration, how incoherent the last Executive was and why the Assembly needs a strong Opposition. What democrat would disagree?
If the long-lost friends in the UUP and SDLP are serious about going into Opposition, I wonder how they will cope with the structures they helped create which ensured that the Opposition was never as strong as it needed to be to hold the Government properly to account…
Waugh writes: Well-organised Oppositions have a coalescing effect on governments.
If ministers faced real scrutiny in the Assembly, it would apply the sort of pressure essential to produce the solidarity missing from the power-sharing administration.
It goes without saying, of course, that this would be a simpler process if the administration was sensibly reduced in size.
But as things stand, Mark Durkan says he is not willing to trust the DUP. If that is the case, are the two parties ripe for partnership in government at all?