Murphy would have stuck to 11 to 15 councils

The former Secretary of State for NI, Paul Murphy, seems to be making it clear that he is not in complete agreement with the current Secretary of State Peter Hain on the two big issues of the week. During the debate on the Northern Ireland [Offences] Bill, he recommended the goverment seriously consider amendments to the Bill [Hansard has his comments here] and, today, the BBC are reporting his comments on the Review of Public Administration – “I’m absolutely sure I would have stuck to that sort of number [the 11 to 15 council model] before.” Unlike other examples of dissenting from official party lines, disciplinary proceedings are not expected..

  • Noticed that this morning. Is there anyone other than Hain and most of SF who thought that 7 councils was a good idea?

    If most of the savings are coming from the Quangos, would it have made much difference to have a couple of extra councils with some sort of geographical cohesion?

    I can’t help but wonder what Hain thinks of Mr Murphy’s honest, if unhelpful (to Hain), comments… It can’t be a good feeling that your predecessor thinks you c**ked up.

  • Crataegus

    Neither have been thought through properly and critical comment ignored.

    On the councils the big mistake was trying to make all the super councils the same size. Geography is more important than maths in this instance.

    Let us face it there have been better administrations here and for some reasons governments in their third term seem to develop a death wish. Perhaps arrogance sets in and an assumption that you are there by some divine right.

  • Cahal

    “Perhaps arrogance sets in and an assumption that you are there by some divine right.”

    When it comes to NI why would it matter what term an administration is in?

    They get zero votes from NI so they are (no matter what people want to think) acting in a purely colonial fashion.

    Face it, our overlords in Britain could impose a law banning trousers in NI and there isn’t a single thing any Northern Irish person could do to prevent it entering the statute books.

    Our destiny is in the hands of others because of our own failures.

  • Ballymoney Man

    Its also interesting to note that Mr Murphy spoke against the British government’s OTR proposals as well. Could he be speaking out on both issues because Sinn Féin are saying the opposite? I think so.

    He justifies his proposal of 11-15 parties by saying that it was to “ensure nationalists and unionists can work together!” The numbers of councils don’t make a difference in this regard, regardless of 7,11 or 15 councils all of them would have been split nationalist/unionist roughly along the Bann. Thats not a ‘sectarian carve-up’ – thats demographics.

    If Mr Murphy really wants to ensure co-operation between nationalists and unionists then he should speak out about checks and balances and making sure that Unionist Cllrs in Ballymoney and Lisburn do not freeze out nationalist politicians and abuse their position. But this isn’t an anti-republican point so I doubt if we’ll hear any words about this from him.

  • If Mr Murphy really wants to ensure co-operation between nationalists and unionists then he should speak out about checks and balances and making sure that Unionist Cllrs in Ballymoney and Lisburn do not freeze out nationalist politicians and abuse their position. But this isn’t an anti-republican point so I doubt if we’ll hear any words about this from him

    Likewise are we going to see Hain ensuring that Unionist cllrs will have a say in the new highly republican Fermanagh-Cookstown area??

    No I don’t think so! So stop your complaining!

  • crataegus

    Cahal

    “our overlords in Britain could impose a law banning trousers”

    I know but that is not the point. The point I was trying to make is that there comes a stage in all governments’ lives when they start to fall apart. They get lazy, sloppy and the legislation that we are suffering here is merely a symptom of a wider malaise.

    PS I look awesome in a kilt.

  • Cahal

    “PS I look awesome in a kilt.”

    I’ll take your word for it.

    If you think New ‘the free market will save us all’ Labour are sloppy now, wait until they get back in for a fourth term.

  • Brian Boru

    It’s a bit rich for Unionists to criticise these boundaries when they could have blocked them if devolution was restored.

  • crataegus

    Cahal

    I agree: – hoping for a hung parliament.

    Boru

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. I am not sure that trying to force Unionists into the Assembly is a sound policy, may even be counterproductive. Earlier today I was round a run down Unionist area in Belfast. New houses border up, aging population, utterly depressing place and by no means unique. Right now I can’t think of a Nationalist equivalent. I don’t think threatening Unionists is either wise or the right thing to do, the problems they have are just as valid as the problems SF & PIRA had. It took long enough on that quarter to get progress and indeed that is part of the reason for the problems we are now encountering. The Unionists will eventually find some way back to the Assembly we just have to go through this tedious mating ritual first.

  • Ballymoney man

    Likewise are we going to see Hain ensuring that Unionist cllrs will have a say in the new highly republican Fermanagh-Cookstown area??

    No I don’t think so! So stop your complaining!

    Theres no need for Peter Hain to ensure this as republicans already know how to share power as is presently demonstrated in Fermanagh and Cookstown – unlike every single Unionist council in the north. So stop your complaining!