You’re not on the list…

The BBC reports that the leader of the Alliance Party, David Ford, has stated that he has been informed that, unlike Hain’s the Preparation for Government Committee – which they have been participating in throughout the summer – the Alliance Party are not to be invited to take part in Hain’s the Programme for Government Committee set up under the auspices of the St Andrews Agreement [that isn’t an agreement – Ed] Hmm.. Doesn’t seem to be any much logic to that particular decision.. Added edit

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  • DK

    That’s because there are only 2 parties that matter: Sinn Fein who might start shooting people; and the DUP who might give them the excuse.

  • Pete Baker

    They’re not the only parties who will be in that government, DK – assuming it actually emerges.

  • joeCanuck

    I assume it’s an attempt to force the DUP to talk directly to SF

  • If Alliance got an invite then so too should every other party represented in the Assembly.
    I believe everyone should be in but I can’t help gloating because the Alliance Party is full of the most self-important, pompous politicians I have ever met.
    Sometimes it helps to take people down a peg or two.

  • Pete Baker


    Not one of Hain’s cavalier decisions?.. again..

    On a more serious note, it does make a mockery of the Committee’s supposed function.

  • Tiny

    Seems all that sucking up to the DUP was a waste of time

  • joeCanuck

    Sure Pete.

    None of this has been pretty.
    At the same time, don’t you think that it’s somewhat incongruous that the DUP, having said that the SAA is a basis for completion, won’t even talk to their future partners one week before a certain deadline.
    To repeat your mantra:

  • Pete Baker

    You’re missing the DUP’s stated sticking point, Joe, the issue of support for policing.

    SF have yet to even attempt to debate that.

    If that doesn’t happen ahead of the supposed election expect fireworks.

  • joeCanuck

    No Pete

    I beg to differ. You’re missing my point. What hope is there if they can’t even sit down and talk face to face.

  • joeCanuck

    The USA will be sitting down face to face with their sworn “axis of evil empires” within a few short months.

  • Pete Baker


    I know that’s the refrain from SF but it isn’t reflected in reality.. see the minutes of the Preparation for Government Committee.

  • joeCanuck


    We both know that there isn’t going to be any devolved government if SF doesn’t fully accept policing. I think we both can recognise also that SF are hungry for power. So the conclusion isn’t hard to draw.

    BTW, what are you doing up so late on a Friday night?
    Go to the pub or to bed.

  • Pete Baker

    The conclusion isn’t hard to draw, joe.. but we’ve yet to actually see it.

  • Dr Snuggles

    I assume that the Alliance has not been invited to participate in formulating a programme for government because they would not be part of the Executive respsonsible for implementing that programme – not with its current level of representation at any rate.

    The Preparation for Government Committee was somewhat different in that its remit included examining mechanics of the operation of the Assembly that impacted on all parties. Preparation for Devolution Committee would have been a more accurate name. Understandably, Hain directed that the Preparation for Government Committee would include only representatives of parties with two or more Assembly members.

    However, it is certainly odd that the Alliance was apparently invited to the abortive first meeting of the Programme for Government Committee. That’s probably down to the fact that that meeting was scheduled only one working day after the St Andrews Agreement was unveiled, and the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing.

    That said, I’m not at all surprised that only the presumptive governing parties are part of the Programme for Government Committee. The St Andrews Agreement states that the Committee’s purpose is to “agree priorities for a new Executive”. For the moment, that isn’t really a matter for a party with only 6 MLAS out of 108.

  • David Ford

    Dr Snuggles is largely correct. When Alliance was invited to the first meeting of the Programme for Government Committee, we did point out our position. At that stage, it was reasonable to assume an Executive composed of ten Ministers, appointed under d’Hondt, from the current Assembly, ie 3-3-2-2 only.

    The current position is that the Executive will not be composed until after an election on 7 March and nobody, not even the Secretary of State for Wales etc, can predict which parties will be in an Executive with how many seats. Logically, therefore, the membership of the committee should be more open, not less than originally planned.

    It appears to me entirely correct that the NIO’s inside left hand doesn’t know what its outside left hand is doing. Not to mention the long arms of Downing Street.

    Look at the context of post-St Andrews, with parties in a mandatory coalition which have never yet officially spoken to each other. Yet they are expected to lead a Government on the basis of power ‘sharing’ in four months. It is no disappointment to be excluded and free to campaign for what we believe in.

    Alliance will continue to work for lasting and stable power-sharing. The current side deals between Downing Street and the two big parties amount to even more power division than we witnessed between 1998 and 2002.

  • the other one

    One cannot avoid the view that the committee as now constituted represents a shadow executive with all qualifying parties sitting round the table in their respective strengths

  • BeardyBoy

    Why would you bother – they are politically pigmies – who cares what they say -they are an irrelevance