nothing more than a talking shop

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams’ address to his party’s MLAs today contained the headline-grabbing line that he would nominate the DUP leader Ian Paisley as First Minister when the Assembly reconvenes, headlines which the BBC and RTÉ dutifully provided – he’s not proposing himself for the Deputy First Minister’s post though. Ian Paisley Jnr described it, accurately imo, as gimmick politics on TalkBack, and the DUP leader predicted any such attempt would be ruled out of order by the Speaker. As a consequence the more important content has been pushed down [or out of] the reports – “It has been suggested that the Peter Hain Assembly will provide the opportunity for discussion of important issues, like education reform, water charges, health and rates increases. This would be pointless. In reality the Peter Hain Assembly is powerless on all these issues. It would be nothing more than a talking shop.”From the SF transcript of the speech by Gerry Adams

We will also participate in a Business Committee to ensure that the election of the First and Deputy First Minster, and any business for the urgent preparation of the restoration of government is discussed by the Assembly.

It has been suggested that the Peter Hain Assembly will provide the opportunity for discussion of important issues, like education reform, water charges, health and rates increases. This would be pointless. In reality the Peter Hain Assembly is powerless on all these issues. It would be nothing more than a talking shop.

Of course, there is a way to effectively tackle these matters but that depends on local politicians taking up their responsibilities. We have an opportunity to send British Ministers home and for local politicians, who know the issues, to take responsibility for deciding the future direction of Health and Education, the Environment, Policing and Justice and much more.

Local politicians deciding the future direction of Policing and Justice is, of course, still some way off.