Think Tank argues direct rule is only option

Democratic Dialogue has argued in a new report that the gulf between Sinn Fein and the DUP is too wide, and with none of the secondary being prepared to ante up for a compromise voluntary coalition it sees little alternative to prolonged direct rule.

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17 thoughts on “Think Tank argues direct rule is only option”

  1. So, in other words, unionists would prefer , indefinite, unaccountable British rule to democratic government, involving all the area’s population.

    Looks like Charles Haughey was on the money when he said Northern Ireland was a failed political entity.

  2. The problem for unionism is that it cannot afford the inevitable split. Either they go into a powersharing arrangement with republicans and split, or they refuse powersharing and devolution which will also mean a split.

    Either option means that Sinn Fein becomes the largest political party in NI.

  3. George, it may be inadaquate, but it isn’t unaccountable. NI MPs sit in the Commons and the Ministers are answerable to them.

    Obviously all the area’s (adult) population can vote in elections to that Parliament

  4. idunnomyself,
    how many SDLP, UUP, DUP motions have been passed by the Westminster parliament since the collapse of Stormont in 1972?

    I know of none in 33 years. How many can you think of.

    What was that you said about answerable?

  5. I am inclined to think that Direct Rule will continue for a while, and that will continue to impliment tough sensible but unpopular things like Student Tuition Fees and Water Charges, things that increase user charges. There will nonetheless be opportunities to explore the establishment of a powersharing assembly in due course.

  6. motions don’t have much to do with accountability

    They can ask questions, demand meetings with ministers, vote on motions that set policy, participate in committees, scrutinise legislation etc

  7. The idea that Democratic Dialogue can be recognised as a Think Tank shows how far Northern Ireland has to go before a functioning democracy can emerge.

  8. I said answerable idunnomyself,
    the UUP, DUP, SDLP sit there and tell the folks at Westminster what they want and need and the British polity politely ignores them.

    The only thing I know of in the history of NI is the opt-out of the 1967 Abortion Act. Unionists were against the NHS and 1946 Education Act but they were forced through, fortunately.

    The British government is accountable to the entire British people, not to the people of NI, who make up a tiny percentage, and the people of the UK couldn’t give a toss about what the British government does or doesn’t do there.

    If they are accountable, tell me why water charging is coming in even though every party in NI is against it?

  9. “If they are accountable, tell me why water charging is coming in even though every party in NI is against it?”

    Because water charges are paid in the rest of the UK and because the government voted in via “democracy” says so– the population is being held accountable by the government-thats how it works.

    Ask all the whingers how they expect the services to be funded?

  10. Barnshee,
    you know my views on how NI has been totally protected when it comes to pulling its weight economically and that, apart from not paying its way, there are over 100,000 superfluous public sector jobs there that need to go. Through natural wastage of course before I offend these people.

    I think you’ll get your wish over the next decade as the British government makes the area more accountable for its economic actions, or lack of them.

    The only problem with NI at the moment is that it has huge structural flaws throughout its economy and it is already one of the poorest parts of the of the UK and the gap hasn’t closed in the last seven years of supposed record growth.

    What a cod that line being trotted out by the NIO is but the whole thing about restructuring NI and making it some kind of dynamic place, the envy of the rest of the union, is just one big charade.

    Do you know how many events Invest NI has planned for 2005? A grand total of 2, according to its website.

    And where are they being held? London. They’re not stupid you know. No point bringing them to NI.

    I take it you don’t think NI needs a separate parliament as its democratic needs are fully met by Westminster.

    Maybe the cost of Stormont could be used instead to offset the cost of water charges and to reduce them?

  11. George,

    You should also be aware that Rev. Martin Smyth pushed through the Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act (1989) as a Private Members Bill ( which was a significant and progressive development) at Westminster – to give the Unionists their due.

    The blanket statement that Westminster is not representative is tendentious. You may feel that you want to be represented elsewhere or otherwise, but that has little to do with the ability of Westminster to be representative. Any politician worth their salt will want to use the opportunities that exist. Devolution is a much preferable arrangement, but, while we await its return, Westminster is what there is.

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