Still making it up as he goes along..

The latest [but probably not the last – Ed] update in the ongoing and unfolding saga of ad hoc decisions on the assembly by the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain. From the NIO statement on the first meeting of the Preparation for Government [PFG] Committee on Monday, and the plenary session of the Assembly on Tuesday, “The Secretary of State will issue a direction on Assembly business in light of discussions at the PFG Committee.” Sounds reasonable.. until you look at the original statement made by Peter Hain on the PFG Committee on May 25th – see below.Full NIO statement issued today 2nd June

Preparation for Government (PFG) Committee to meet on Monday

The Secretary of State, Peter Hain has directed that the first meeting of the Preparation for Government (PFG) Committee will now be on Monday 5th June and that the Assembly will meet on Tuesday 6th June . The Secretary of State will issue a direction on Assembly business in light of discussions at the PFG Committee

And from the NIO statement of 25th May, as noted at the time

Notes to Editors:

The first meeting of the committee will take place on Tuesday 6 June.

The Speaker has agreed to convene the first meeting and the committee will discuss chairing arrangements.

The core membership will comprise up to three members each from the DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and SDLP, and up to two from Alliance.

The initial task of the committee will be “to scope the work which, in the view of the parties, needs to be done in preparation for Government”. The committee may choose to develop this remit by consensus over time or to establish sub-groups to address particular issues.

It would be beneficial for appropriate issues, as they are identified, to be referred by this committee to the Business Committee for debate in the Assembly.

Ah well.. who needs to mess around with unnecessary committees or sub-groups?…

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  • It really does sound like talks about talks, or have I missed a round out?
    p.s have had my fingers crossed for so long now I can’t undo them.

  • joeCanuck

    Sounds as if Mr. Hain does indeed just make it up as he goes along.
    He has no plan; he just has his fingers crossed too.

  • crataegus

    I feel like I have walked in half way through one of those SF movies about temporal distortions in the space time continuum. We 3 dimensional creatures can’t comprehend the ripples in the fourth dimension.

    But at least in the SF movie usually the aliens speak plainly. “scope the work” Who comes up with them? I always thought the purpose of a language was to aid communications. Twisting a language into exotic constructs in a NI political context simply leads to future requirements for clarification and of we go again into the time loop.

  • Pete, you make ad hoc sound like a dirty word. What ‘plan’ would work in such circumstances other than an ad hoc one?

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    Two dirty words surely? 😉

    I’m merely pointing out that whatever plan Peter Hain announces as The Plan is, in fact, not a plan at all.. merely a covering statement to create an impression of movement.. and to relieve the momentary pressure.. on Peter Hain..

    I’d suggest that if the Secretary of State for Wales etc is going to make grandiose announcements of the next step, as he has given the impression of doing.. then he should mean what he says and not change the arrangements at the slightest hint of pressure from one or other of the parties involved – be that the boycotting of assembly debates or the threat of boycotting his, newly beloved, PFG Committee.

  • Pete Baker

    Just to add.. we’re talking about the procedural basis on which this assembly is supposed to operate on. Even though it is only a semi-conscious assembly, it is supposed to be able to function on a stable basis.

    That can’t happen if Peter Hain continues to make ad hoc decisions on those procedures.

  • merely a covering statement to create an impression of movement.. and to relieve the momentary pressure..
    sounds like the toilet poem
    “Here I sit broken-hearted
    spent a penny, but only farted”

  • joeCanuck

    very witty spirit-level

  • Prince Eoghan

    Not for the first time this evening spirit-level, you have made me chuckle. Give us another.

    “No I take that back”, don’t want to put pressure on you.

  • Alan

    *I feel like I have walked in half way through one of those SF movies about temporal distortions in the space time continuum.*

    . . . and then I worked out he meant Sci Fi.

  • English

    Sounds as if Mr. Hain does indeed just make it up as he goes along.
    He has no plan; he just has his fingers crossed too.

    Posted by joeCanuck on Jun 02, 2006 @ 08:42 PM

    Joe,

    What else do you expect him to do? He hass to be flexible in his approach because he is trying to guide agreement between representatives of a society which is founded on sectarianism, bigotry and hatred. Historically nobody has cracked this yet, and most people do not expect him to solve these problems, despite the many positive qualities he has

  • joeCanuck

    English

    I fully appreciate the difficult position he is in and I don’t doubt his sincerity.
    But if he keeps doing u-turns (within days sometimes) his credibility will disappear.

  • Crataegus

    Alan

    Sorry about the(SF) Sci Fi gaff, had been travelling a bit and hadn’t had my chocolate Horlicks. To me SF also means Sad Fact.

    Back when the structures of the Agreement were originally being framed many advised that there needed to be a robust fall back position. In that context some even thought the Civic Forum should have a much greater role, but what we ended up with was another talking shop.

    A consultative Civic Forum will be established. It will comprise representatives of the business, trade union and voluntary sectors, and such other sectors as agreed by the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister. It will act as a consultative mechanism on social, economic and cultural issues. The First Minister and the Deputy First Minister will by agreement provide administrative support for the Civic Forum and establish guidelines for the selection of representatives to the Civic Forum.

    The problems we have were foreseen they are parity of veto, no effective opposition within all inclusive structures, institutionalising sectarianism and no robust fall back position. The structures were badly framed, sound advice ignored and too much credence given to those with narrow self interest.

    I feel that we have been through this that many times that it ceases to interest, in fact it has gone well past that. This bunch of clowns were elected to govern within an agreement flawed but democratically endorsed. But no too simple we have deals and side deals with governments instead of actually taking control and getting on with it. We prefer to negotiate new agreements and “scope the work” rather than doing any real work, what a bunch of losers.