Blissful agreement blowing in the wind (again)…

Tonight, on Hearts and Minds:

“has the gossamer optimism spun by St Andrews been blown away by the cold winds of reality. With a week to go for the parties to give their verdict, agreement seems light years way. And the question of how to heal the wounds of the troubles continues to exercise minds. Will the latest proposals help make peace with the past”.

  • aquifer

    We need a veto-proof settlement. Just let the biggest group of politicians who show up including 25% of the other persuasion form an executive and be done with it.

  • joeCanuck

    Aquifer

    I think you have a thin grasp of what democracy is.
    It certainly isn’t a simple majority of 50% + 1 as some people would have you believe.. Democracy only works if there is a general agreement ( much more than 50%)that the system of government is fair to everyone and that all votes have equal value. Even more important, I think, is that there is a reasonably equal split between alternate viewpoints and there is some chance of a government being changed. Anything else is a recipe for permanent dissent, leading as we have found out to all our costs, to social disruption and possibly street violence.

  • 2050

    Options are running out for all concerned. Agreement may be years away but certainly not light years away.

    Most people are thinking Fn get on with it!. The big one, (constitutional issue) is settled for a generation so you can dip your toes in the pool of normality and move on.

    It seems the DUP see cooperation and an agreement no matter how small as a step to unification. Perhaps the money on offer today might make a difference. It usually talks but we won’t know until (the last minute) March 07.

    The DUP need to move on from being stuck in the past and ask itself what are the risk here? It’s your turn to do something, show responsibility and leadership. So far you’ve done nothing but it’s not too late to let all our children and our children’s children down.

    The days of division and reasons are going and in fact nearly gone! There was never any need for the division anyway.

    Feel a referendum coming on.

  • barcas

    This discussion illustrates the diverse interpretation of the all important word “democracy”.

    The classical definition was something like “Government of the people, by the people for the people.”

    Paisley’s definition would seem to mean Government by the first party past the post, no matter what the size of the minority vote.

    JoeC speaks of 50% + 1 but I believe all governments in the UK since the WW II (except, possibly, one) have been minority governments, no where near the 50% mark.

    Government in NI has historically been the result of elections, most of them more or less corrupt, which led to the present impasse. One-party government in a society dominated by such a movement as the Unionist party, particularly one dominated by the leader of the “Democratic” Unionist Party, is a travesty of democracy, hence the attempt at proportional representation currently on offer.

  • mnob

    You’re all wrong 🙂

    What keeps democracy working is that those in opposition beleive they have a chance at overturning the government. That is what was missing in NI – and alas I dont think the new arrangements will make a difference !

    As has been pointed out all the principles here that have made up on the fly 50% + 1 etc etc have not been applied to perfectly functioning democracies.

    Note its the perception that you can overturn the status quo that matters not the actuality – e.g. the house of representatives has only changed hands once in the last 50 years and the US seems to be a fully functioning democracy (cough).

  • T.Ruth

    I think Aquifer is looking forward to a day when we are governed by a voluntary coalition. This would indicate that we lived in a genuine democracy and not the kind that gives,in the search for a more peaceful future,a special position in the Executive level of government to a party that has a long association with terrorism.
    I hope that if any party in the present situation can not meet its obligations under the requirements of the STA ,the other parties will be permitted to move forward to form a coalition assembly, with the recalcitrant party admitted (on the basis of its mandate) to the Assembly but excluded frrom the Executive.
    As for Barcas I am sure he will acknowledge that all Stormont and Westminster elections have always accorded equal voting rights to all citizens of Northern Ireland.Protestants and Catholics have enjoyed exactly the same voting rights. Northern Ireland remains within the UK because that is the wish of the majority of the community,including many Catholics, and that wish is reflected in every election.
    T.Ruth

  • Greenflag

    You’re all wrong 🙂 including mnob .

    The most important factor is not the possibility of changing government although that is very important. The critical factor is the acceptance by the vast majority of people of the constitution of the State and it’s continued longer term existence as a State

    By vast majority I mean 90% plus, not 50% plus 1 or 66% . As the 6 county Northern State has never had that degree of ‘acceptance’ (90% plus) then it can never have been said to have been a true democracy no matter what it’s Unionist leaders tried or still try to maintain .

    A smaller predominantly Unionist (90%) NI State in the north east could however meet the standard for a normal democracy in that the vast majority in such a State would I assume favour it’s continued existence .

  • kensei

    “I think Aquifer is looking forward to a day when we are governed by a voluntary coalition. This would indicate that we lived in a genuine democracy and not the kind that gives,in the search for a more peaceful future,a special position in the Executive level of government to a party that has a long association with terrorism. ”

    Actually, SF don’t get any special protection. They just get enough votes to ensure they have Executive seats under rules ratified by referendum.

    Glad I could clear up the confusion.

  • Mike

    Then again Kensei, it could be said the whole reason the d’Hondt system was picked by the government(s?) back in 1997-98 was precisely because it would guarantee SF seats in the Executive…

  • “has the gossamer optimism spun by St Andrews been blown away by the cold winds of reality”

    Wherin lies the heart of the Irish Problem.

    Dueling metaphors.

  • Alan

    Greenflag – lets accommodate your position. If a pprox 90% of the populace are needed to have a democracy.

    “The critical factor is the acceptance by the vast majority of people of the constitution of the State and it’s continued longer term existence as a State”

    Are we then doomed to never have a democracy and live in never never land.

    Or – what are the alternatives to achieve this magic 90%. If it is achievable I will be very pleased indeed.

    How do you think this 90% is achievable?