Is anybody listening?

DOES the Government follow or lead public opinion in Northern Ireland? Mark Devenport wonders if we are being consulted too much by Ministers who are supposed to be taking decisions as well as finding out what every special interest group, lobbyist and crank thinks. Is the electorate just a big focus group for the Direct Misrulers… or do they even listen anyway? Leave your considered views below – someone might be reading…

  • IJP

    As usual an outstanding article by Mr Devenport.

    His only mistake comes at the very end:

    even if the cynics believe that ministers and civil servants always find a way of pressing ahead with the policies they had in mind before launching their consultation exercises.

    No. Civil Servants always find a way of pressing ahead with the policy of doing nothing, on the basis that they can’t do something because somebody somewhere objects to each possible option.

    The whole objective is to avoid acting at all.

  • Everything Ulster (formerly Beano)

    Judging by the football supporters and the Ulster Rugby supporters responses to plans for a new stadium at the Maze, they don’t listen at all.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Sometimes it does seem like a farce, like consultation on water charges when we all know the Government will push it through anyway as a means of softening up the industry for privatisation. It’s a joke.

    And you’re right about the stadium – sure I did a story on Slugger months ago that it was going to the Maze site.

    Consultation is only carried out if it suits the NIO’s plans. I’m surprised anyone still takes it seriously.

  • Everything Ulster (formerly Beano)

    I know gonzo, I read it. It was around then I originally heard of the plans first (since the assembly was dissolved anyway).

    Officially the stadium isn’t going anywhere yet, in fact with the pulling out of Ulster Rugby, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ground to a halt.

    But the government have said they’re weighing up 3 sites, and I think the public should challenge them and take them at their word. Perhaps if/when the stadium goes to the Maze it will be a good example to illustrate what a farce this crop of direct misrule ministers are.

  • PS

    Officially the stadium isn’t going anywhere yet, in fact with the pulling out of Ulster Rugby, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ground to a halt.

    Are Rugby officially pulling out? As far as GAA are concerned, I don’t know of anybody with any enthusiasm for the project. The GAA have enough stadia of their own and I don’t see how this project will benefit the organisation in any way, shape or form.

  • Everything Ulster (formerly Beano)

    This is going way OT…

    Belfast Telegraph report: Officially they are still behind it, but while saying “we need to maintain our home for rugby football in Ulster, which is Ravenhill.”

    A rugby fan poster at OWC said “It would now appear that the Government have to accept that Ulster Rugby are unable to play their 10 Celtic League games anywhere but Ravenhill and indeed of the European Cup Ulster have confirmed it would only be a big Q-F that would see them take advantage of the National Stadium.”

    Without rugby, there is no way of getting the magic 30 games/year.

    The Direct Misrulers haven’t come out and said anything regarding this yet, and what it means for the stadium. No big surprise there. It would seem, as IJP said, inaction is always preferable to action.

  • IJP

    PS

    Officially the stadium isn’t going anywhere yet, in fact with the pulling out of Ulster Rugby, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ground to a halt.

    Correct.

    That was the plan all along.

    Beano

    It would seem, as IJP said, inaction is always preferable to action.

    Correct. As I warned, the whole plan all along with the stadium was to offer it in an unacceptable location, get people like yourself to oppose it, and then not build it at all.

    Mark my words.

  • PS

    Does it really need 30 games? Well from what I remember the GAA only promised 3, and even that would be a stretch so the soccer lads better get the Home Nations Championship reformed quick sharp!

  • factfinder

    Will the new stadium be the NI version of the ‘Millenium Dome”.

  • joedavis

    Getting back to “Is Anybody Listening” I’d suggest that Northerners shouldn’t feel too special. I’m sure American, European, mainland Britsh, and definitely voters down South in the Irish Republic have been drawing the same conclusions for quite a long time now. What took Mark Davenport so long?

  • IJP

    factfinder

    No, they actually built the Millennium Dome.

    A properly thought-out stadium would be more like Millennium Stadium than Millennium Dome. But we in NI don’t do ‘properly thought-out’.

    Joe

    Hardly. The Irish Republic has seen fundamental and progressive changes to social policy, the development of a vast motorway network, and an advanced mixed economic policy. NI could get none of this, because no one, at least no one elected, is doing any thinking.

  • Alan

    Too cynical, Mr Devenport.

    I’m not sure whether I represent a special interest group, am simply a lobbyist or am merely a crank ( probably all three), but there is an inbuilt need for people to have their say on all those 61 issues. It is unfortunate that the assembly is not up and running, because those issues are real political issues for real people.

    You can only make a difference by getting involved in the process. The recent decision to review our draft Disability Discrimination Order in the light of substantial amendments to the GB legislation is a case in point. I also understand that progressive changes to the Accessible Transport Strategy are on their way. These are the fruits of involvement in consultation and lobbying.

    Now to get back to the importance of having just 7 Councils . . .