So much for failing better..

Another day, another failed attempt to agree on who should chair Hain’s Committee the Preparation for Government Committee. The options noted yesterday appear to have fallen through, including the one whereby the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, would appoint someone himself. Update NIO Statement from Peter Hain [Peter Hain or Pontius Pilate? – Ed] Other reports here and hereWhile the other parties are blaming the DUP for the deadlock, it’s worth pointing out that the announcement of the Committee followed Sinn Féin’s decision to boycott the assembly debates.. it was constructed on the direction of Peter Hain and, as the name suggests, seemed to be intended to take over the remit originally envisaged for the assembly itself.. i.e. preparing for government.

From Peter Hain’s statement to the Commons, 18 April:

The Assembly will also have opportunities to prepare for Government by considering issues crucial to the future of Northern Ireland, such as the economy, and reforms to education, water charges and public administration.

Peter Hain was, of course, deliberately vague about what the preparation, by the Committee, would cover… apart from specifically ruling out any forced negotiations.

And he retains the ability to set assembly business as he sees fit.. personally, the suggested justification for the Preparation for Government Committee’s existence in the first place is, to me, distinctly unconvincing.

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.

In short, there shouldn’t really be that much surprise at this Committee running aground.. even if that may have happened sooner than some expected.


  • joeCanuck

    I agree with McGuiness. If they cannot even agree on a chairperson for a committee, this farce should be brought to an end sooner rather than later.

  • Greenflag

    Indeed Canuck . McGuinness is right . Hain should bring forward the curtain drop on this farce. SF and the SDLP need to focus on Dublin for political representation for their voters in the 6 counties.

    Trying to deal with the DUP is a nonsense . Paisley is first and foremost a fundamentalist religious zealot . There is no room in Paisley’s closed mind for anything other than SF surrender to DUP terms. And that might someday happen in another universe but not in this one !

    Save the money Mr Hain and be done with the charade .

  • Pete Baker

    All very well to agree with McGuinness, guys.. but it doesn’t alter certain realities.

    Namely that the committee itself is Hain’s creation.. brought about in large part, as I indicated, because SF were boycotting the assembly debates.

    Add to that the fact that Hain has already ruled out any changes to the legislation.. which enshrined the deadline of 24th November.. and Martin’s statement is nothing more than posturing for the cameras.

    Of more interest is the suggestion that, following the expected failure to elect an executive at the end of June – a vote that would have taken place regardless of Sinn Féin’s announcement of their demand btw – Sinn Féin may not participate at all in the second run at the assembly in September.

  • aquifer

    These sectarian Turkeys will never vote for Happy Powersharing Christmas. Bring labour, UDP, PUP, and the women’s coalition back in. Don’t laugh, it worked last time.

  • Greenflag

    SF were boycotting the assembly debates.

    What debate ? There is no debate .The DUP do not talk to SF except through an intermediary and even then only an intermediary of the DUP’s choosing . That is not debate . That is nonsense.

    As Canuck says why bother with deadlines in November . The time to bury the Stormont corpse is now . Hain is obviously hoping that by November some other hapless Labour MP will be seated in the most thankless job that any UK politician can aspire to .

  • Greenflag

    ‘Sinn Féin may not participate at all in the second run at the assembly in September. ‘

    A wise move for SF. There is no point anyway . The NI Assembly was a nonsense anyway from the beginning . A pretense of power without any fiscal responsibility . A mere revolving door to pretend to the outside world and the rest of the UK that NI is capable ‘governing’ itself.

  • joeCanuck


    It’s just too painful to watch this poor dead horse being flogged needlessly.

  • Pete Baker

    Hain’s Committee, joe?

    I agree.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes Pete

  • Steve

    McGuiness is throwing the ball back into the DUP court, it is his party that are at fault and causing the deadlock in the current process.

  • Greenflag

    ‘McGuiness is throwing the ball back into the DUP court, it is his party that are at fault ‘

    Of course Steve . The DUP have never refused to negotiate with any political party since Paisley founded his club of troglodytes at the beginning of the troubles . Ian Paisley has never refused to negotiate with SF or the SDLP or even said NO in his entire political career.

    And once upon a time there were three bears etc etc etc .