New Parades Commissioner revealed

The declared open competition for the vacant position on the Parades Commsision, created by the resignation of Donald MacKay in May last year, has ended with the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain appointing the co-leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Kelly Andrews.. Let’s hope Peter Hain and the NIO have taken onboard the lessons of previous experiences.. [and that any references have been checked – Ed]

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  • Yokel

    Bit of a looker, i wonder will that confuse the Orange Order guys

  • Bono

    Green is good. I reckon she’ll be an even-handed member, which is more than could be said for Mr MacKay.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Sad to see she won’t be running in the Assembly election, she could have won at seat.
    But fair play to her, it will be valuable experience.

  • BonarLaw

    good to see a woman appointed but how does replacing an Orangeman with a centrist maintain the balance of the original Commission which the SoS is bound by statute to ensure?

    Either the original Commission in its’ entirity was imbalanced or this new appointments makes it so to the detriment of unionists.

    Surely there was a “safe” unionst appointable?

  • darth rumsfeld

    an eminently well qualified anti-Agreement non-Orange lawyer was overlooked BL. Had the DUP been more on message I bet Hain would have found him very suitable

  • BonarLaw

    Darth

    how was she/he overlooked? Was this a merit appointment or in the gift of SoS?

  • Rubicon

    Perhaps it’s her experience of poisons entering the atmosphere that makes her eminently qualified for the post!

  • BonarLaw

    Rubicon

    I agree, but the law says the make up of the Commission has to be “representative”. So if the original Commission was “representative” I would have expected an appointment with the same political colour as the outgoing member. Appointing from the Green Party means either:

    a) the original Commission was not “representative” and now is or

    b) the original Commission was “representative” and now is not.

    Perhaps we shall be back on “High Court Watch” with this one.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The Green Party in Northern Ireland is now a Nationalist party. To quote from their web site: “It is now clear that the British will not side with them [Unionists] against catholics or nationalists, rendering Unionism obsolete as a vehicle for political domination.”

    It’s a pity they don’t stick to their tree hugging activities.

  • David

    Fair play to her.

    The SOS is certainly doing his best to ensure Unionists are black balled from all public bodies……..P. Lewsley as Children’s Commissioner and now the Nationalist Green Party on parades. An interesting strategy by the SoS. Next goes our soccer team and finally we will be funded by Dublin. Meanwhile Paisley fiddles.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Individual candidates standing in the Assembly election for the Green Party have the freedom to designate themselves as Unionist, Nationalist or Other.
    This is an Executive decision.
    The party is not British or Irish nationalist, it is Green.

  • Somuch

    So much for the DUP trying to get action on equality and confidence building measures. NIO are doing squat and DUP seem to be taking it.

  • BonarLaw

    Somuch

    all quite on the DUP website about this. Have they gone into pre-election purdah?

  • PeaceandJustice

    “Pete Whitcroft – The party is not British or Irish nationalist, it is Green.”

    As Northern Ireland is British and as the party is called the The Green Party in Northern Ireland, to say that the party is not British says everything. If the Greens are pretending to be neutral they should remove the offensive ‘Abominable No-men’ article from their web site
    http://www.greens-in.org/HomePage
    To quote from it “Protestant Unionism … is a perfect caricature of unreasonable bigotry …” while they in general compare all Protestant Unionists with Sinn Fein-IRA. Hardly the stuff to have Protestants queueing up to vote for them. The real truth about the Greens in NI is that while the name of the party suggests they are a NI party, they are now a regional council of the Irish Green Party in the Republic of Ireland. Definitely not neutral players. It’s a pity Protestant Unionists don’t have a real NORTHERN IRELAND UK Green party to support. I for one would consider supporting such a party. But I definitely would not vote for a party which styles itself as the Green Party in Northern Ireland but which is in fact a regional council of a foreign party.

  • pete Whitcroft

    PeaceandJustice

    Is a class name.

    Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland and part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    Britain is our neighbouring island.
    Northern Ireland is UKish in my opinion ( some would say emphasis on the ish ).
    I am a prod, I am from Northern Ireland, I regard myself as Northern Irish and you I guess are British.

    The new arrangement with the south was carried forward in order to give the local party a leg up, they don’t and can’t control the operation of the party here, due to electoral laws relating to 2 separate jurisdictions.

    Scotland and England & Wales Greens don’t want to be forced to work together within a UK wide central command, despite our best efforts to date ( Scots and English aren’t always best pals),but have signed a Memorandum of understanding with us, to work closely together as much as possible.
    It’s not as good as I wanted, but it’s a start and will develop organically in the spirit of the east west aspect of the GFA.

    As for the website article, I don’t think Kelly wrote that one but I take your point.

  • BonarLaw

    pete Whitcroft

    According to their constitution Ireland is our neighbouring state.

    Northern Irish is an identity we share and I embrace but not a nationality.

  • pete Whitcroft

    We have a national football and other teams.
    I and many others choose Northern Irish to be our nationality.
    Like Irishness or Britishness.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Do the Greens accept that Northern Ireland is British? If not, they are failing to accept the facts.

    Saying “Northern Ireland is UKish in my opinion ( some would say emphasis on the ish )” says everything about the Greens. It is part of the UK – fact. How individuals feel, that’s up to them. But stop mixing up facts with aspirations.

    I think the Northern Ireland public needs to be made more aware of the anti-Unionist feelings in the ‘Green Party in Northern Ireland’ and their position as a regional council of the Greens in Eire.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Northern Ireland is part of the UK – fact.
    Northern Ireland is not in Britain, many who live here are British – facts.
    No party is perfect, as you have said you would vote Green if certain things changed, what do nyou propose?

  • PeaceandJustice

    “Pete Whitcroft – Northern Ireland is not in Britain, many who live here are British”. You could also say that many who live in England are British but by no means all. However, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as countries which make up the UK are British.

    I would vote Green if there was a proper Northern Ireland UK Green Party which fully accepted Northern Ireland’s position as being part of the UK. I don’t want to vote for a Green candidate who then decides to designate as a Nationalist in the Assembly. But I think Green issues are important.

  • BonarLaw

    pete Witcroft

    this might help your terminology issuse.

    That aside, is it safe to assume that the new Green Party parades commissioner is of a different hue than the outgoing Orangeman? If that is that case how has the original balance of the Commission been maintained?

  • pete Whitcroft

    BonarLaw
    Helpful info,Northern Ireland is very British because lots of people who are British live here, it is also Irish and Northern Irish too.
    As for geographical text book definitions, it depends who is writing the book and what their political view is.

    Parades commission balance wise, Kelly is not an orangeman, but will I believe do a good job.
    Time will tell.

    PeaceandJustice

    You may, depending on where you live have the opportunity to vote for a Green candidate who matches your criterion. It will be made clear pre-election how each candidate proposes to designate.
    Although, let’s be honest, the designation system is a bit of a sick joke.
    It does however provide Unionists with some comfort regarding the United Ireland by salami slicer effect.

  • BonarLaw

    pete Whitcroft

    geo-political terminology, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder!

    The balance of the Commission may indeed by wise, but it has been changed with Kellys’ appointment either correcting a previous imbalance or creating a new one. I suspect the latter and wonder how this fits with the new dispensation which allegedly is a “Fair Deal”.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Fair deals are in the eye of the beholder too!

  • Crataegus

    Good to see a different face from a different source being appointed. I assume this is the Lady that took a considerable number of votes from Alliance’s Stephen Farry in Abbey. I hope the appointment goes well for her and Alliance at times seem as complacent as ever and have even make Farry the candidate for N. Down. Some things never change.

    Peace & Justice

    I would vote Green if there was a proper Northern Ireland UK Green Party which fully accepted Northern Ireland’s position as being part of the UK.

    On other threads some have been trying to ascertain what exactly the structures of the NI Green Party actually are. I found this bit below in a press release in the English Green Party site

    The Northern Ireland Greens are now a regional council of the Irish Green Party with the benefit of additional organisational and logistical resources. Reflecting the structure and reality of political decision-making in Northern Ireland following the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Greens will also benefit from closer links with other Green parties in the UK, with whom they will work to promote Green policies in relevant UK and European legislation. A number of European Green politicians also sent messages of support.

    To my way of thinking this indicates that they are organised as a region of Comhaontas Glas with some token affiliations on the East West side of the coin. Also the entry in Wikipedia would tend to reinforce this view.

    In 2005 at their Annual Convention and again in a postal ballot in March 2006, its members voted to become a Region of the Irish Green Party and also have established organisational links with the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party of England and Wales.

    What exactly are organisational links, same party, different party what?? Is it the same party as Comhaontas Glas or have I got this wrong? Is it the same party as in the rest of Britain? The way it looks at present is that there is certainly a tilt in its structures towards a Nationalist agenda and it would appear no parity of esteem for anyone from a Unionist background. Is this the case?

    Could someone please clarify as it is as clear as mud and I think deliberately so. If that is your position fine, but please a bit of honesty.

    Also where are you fielding candidates and who are they? I don’t see it on your website. Have they been selected?

  • pete Whitcroft

    Crataegus
    My posting No 15 attempts to explain the current situation, I am not an expert on this aspect but needless to say am seeking balance.
    To add to what I posted at No15, the most recent UK wide party decision was re. selection of a House of Lords nominee. The party throughout the UK voted by STV, one member one vote.

    A North and South Down encirclement appears to be the election plan. 8 seats I think.
    Final ratification some time this week.

  • Crataegus

    Pete

    I assume you are a member of the Green Party?

    Sorry your post No.15 does not answer the questions. I was referring specifically to the structures of the Green Party and not perceptions of identity. The Green Party doesn’t get the same amount of press as other parties so for us on the outside what is obvious to you may not be to us. As far as I can see there are the following Green Parties in these islands.

    Comhaontas Glas
    The Scottish Green Party
    The Green Party of England & Wales.

    So the question is where does the Green Party of NI fit in?

    Is the Green party of NI and independent self governing body?

    If I join the Green Party of NI can I go to the conferences of the Green Party of England and Wales and be equal with all other members of that party, with voting rights etc.?

    If I join the Green Party of NI can I go to the conferences of the Scottish Green Party and be equal with all other members of that party, with voting rights etc.?

    If I join the Green Party of NI can I go to the conferences of Comhaontas Glas and be equal with all other members of that party, with voting rights etc.?

    Please some straight answers it would be a great assistance it trying to evaluate your position and work out likely transfer patterns.

  • Crataegus

    >b>Peace & Justice

    Greens are pretending to be neutral

    I think you are right on that assumption I have had a look through some of their articles and can see none that I would regard as Unionist. The flavour is decidedly Nationalist if not Republican.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that position but the problem is they seem to be trying to conceal their true opinion and identity from the electorate and that I do dislike.

    Alliance = Unionist lite
    SF = SDLP lite
    Now Greens are attempting to be SF lite, its like political musical chairs.

    Well past bedtime here, spent too long on the marginal.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Crataegus

    Admittedly many of the articles currently online are written by those who are neither unionist or other.

    As far as transfer patterns go, in North Down nationalist transfers at full value will be more likely to come to us regardless of the designation of our candidate.

    This I think will apply in any other predominantly unionist areas where we can get ahead of nationalist parties.

    In predominantly nationalist areas unionists will probably give us more transfers than they give to SDLP.

    As for your questions

    1 Yes

    2 Not yet

    3 Not yet

    4 Not yet

    As far as pretending to be neutral goes , each selected candidate can designate as they see fit ie. its a free vote issue.

    The Green thing is what unites us primarily.

    If your union 1st or united ireland or bust, it’s not your kind of party.

  • BonarLaw

    pete Whitcroft

    “If your union 1st or united ireland or bust, it’s not your kind of party”

    But you have to accept that the party structure and web presence leans heavily towards the latter.

  • Crataegus

    Pete W

    Your reply above does not correlate with the information on any Green Party site that I can see. So is the information on the sites wrong?

    1 Is the Northern Ireland Green Party a region of Comhaontas Glas?

    2 Did it vote to become such?

    3 Did Comhaontas Glas vote to accept such a merger if merger it were?

    From the information and language used on the NI Green Party site and that of Conhaontas Glas it would appear that one is indeed a region of the other. If that is wrong then you really should publically correct the incorrect impression created. Also Wikipedia states

    The Green Party in Northern Ireland is a political party operating in Northern Ireland. In 2005 at their Annual Convention and again in a postal ballot in March 2006, its members voted to become a Region of the Irish Green Party and also have established organisational links with the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party of England and Wales.

    I assume that a member of your party made this entry, is it correct or does it need correction?

    Following on if you are indeed a region of Comhaontas Glas what exactly are the relationships with the Green Parties in Britain? Are they comparable and of equal standing?

    Sorry to persist but one really does like clarity. What exactly are organisational links?

    On voting in N Down, on another thread I did state that the last seat could be decided on SDLP transfers but in that constituency being an Irish political entity could on balance be a negative. However in S Down it could be an asset especially given the discontent in SF (again on another thread) but there isn’t a hope in hell of taking a seat in S Down but there is in N Down. So your position becomes important and if the impression given is indeed incorrect you need to clarify on the various outlets available to you or it could cost you a potential breakthrough especially given Sammy Morse’s account of what transpired in Holywood in the last council elections. (yet another thread)

  • pete Whitcroft

    Crataegus

    North and South Down will have green MLAs.

  • Crataegus

    Pete W

    North and South Down will have green MLAs.

    I hope you are right on that, but I read somewhere that South Belfast a target seat? Don’t tell me you have conceded that one to Alliance already?

    I would like to see Alliance, Greens, Conservatives, Labour, Independents anyone do well other than the four political parties of the apocalypse; Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.

    But back to the original question what exactly is the constitutional position of the Northern Ireland Green Party and what exactly are its links with the other Green Parties in Britain and Ireland?

    Also who are your candidates and where are they standing? Have they been selected?

  • pete Whitcroft

    crataegus

    South belfast is not impossible, there is a bit a reshuffle of the deck, due to the story of the parades commission appointments.

    Ann Lo will be hard to beat, I suggested running her, repeatedly when I was an Alliance party member.

    The north south east west thing is still on going and will take time to evolve.

    I agree that the ‘Lib Dem style’ approach of being one thing in one area and another else where is problematic.

    The long the short of it is” Who cares where national borders lie, Who cares whose laws your governed by, Who cares what name you call a town,
    Who’ll care when you’re six feet beneath the ground” Not me.

    Sunrise – Divine Comedy.

  • Crataegus

    Pete W

    Thanks for the reply

    South belfast is not impossible, there is a bit a reshuffle of the deck, due to the story of the parades commission appointments.

    Not impossible! You have to say that after all nothing is impossible in elections.

    Reshuffle well fair enough I could see the implications of the appointment and if she got an effective team supporting her and a solid canvass she could take a very respectable vote and certainly put a mark down for future council elections.

    Ann Lo will be hard to beat, I suggested running her, repeatedly when I was an Alliance party member.

    It was a good move unlike Farry in N Down.

    The north south east west thing is still on going and will take time to evolve. I agree that the ‘Lib Dem style’ approach of being one thing in one area and another else where is problematic. The long the short of it is” Who cares where national borders lie, Who cares whose laws your governed by, Who cares what name you call a town,
    Who’ll care when you’re six feet beneath the ground” Not me.

    This had me at a loss for a bit then I realised that you were referring to your own internal structures.

    Borders do not matter to me, but getting people to accept a border, existing or revised, is important. How do you bring people with you, how do you encourage people to move from their position of upbringing, how do you build trust and cooperation?

    I therefore disagree it does matter, you see the problems in NI are not uncommon and many of us have pondered if it is possible to accommodate people of different ‘tribal’ backgrounds with different national aspirations in the same political organisation, but all making progress on issues of common concern. Basically why do people split on the National question before they a split based on say class politics? I merely want to know how they can all be accommodated so that their views on the national question are of equal standing within an organisation. If that has been achieved I would like to know how, it is very, very important.

    However judging by your response and what is on your website, the Holy Grail is not to be found in the Green Party. I can’t see how being a region of Comhaontas Glas, and therefore accountable to that body, could ever allow people from a Unionist background equal opportunity within your organisation, because you couldn’t possibly have a similar relationship with the Green Party or Parties of Britain as being subservient, ie a region, you cannot have two masters? Therefore the views of people of Unionist affiliation would be of lesser standing. I understand the geographic rational but there is more than an inferred political implication.

    It appears to me that you chose to hide your true identity and that is politically problematic as your opponents will use it to damage and you yourself cannot accrue any of the potential advantage.

    If your structures are of the Nationalist elk then make the most of it there are 2000 SDLP votes in N Down and many more in South Belfast and South Down.

    I wish you well you may get a transfer. To me it is important that parties other than the main 4 get out and make a good go of it and hopefully increase the middle ground vote. Your transfers could well see the Alliance candidate in in South Belfast and SF out. In North Down there is just the possibility of 2 non Unionist seats. It has happened in the past. In South Down you may pick up a disaffected SF votes and you could get over half a quota but I don’t see where the transfers can come from to keep you in the race as the Unionist seats are safe but there is no real surplus . You need to take SDLP and SF votes and that means you need to highlight your all Ireland structures.

    Why hide what you are you may as well come out! Better than being outed!

  • pete Whitcroft

    As I said before, it’s an evolving situation, we are not being controlled from the south , east is still cautious and in the long term having strong links north, south, east and west is the way things will be for all of us. No matter what flag we run up the pole on the front of our house.

    As for North Down

    I suspect Wilson could designate as unionist.
    5 Unionists, 1 Other.

  • Crataegus

    Pete W

    Sorry difficult to have any sensible dialogue as I am in a very different time zone and can only post when I connect back to base to check mail.

    As I said before, it’s an evolving situation, we are not being controlled from the south ,

    The question is not if you are controlled from the south, the question is did you vote to become a region of Comhaontas Glas and did they do whatever was necessary to accept such a merger. Did the Northern Ireland Green Party decide to become a region of Comhaontas Glas. Simple question! ?

    east is still cautious and in the long term having strong links north, south, east and west is the way things will be for all of us. No matter what flag we run up the pole on the front of our house.

    I take this to mean that there has been no meaningful structure of equal substance proposed or agreed with the Green Parties in Britain and that that leaves you in a position that is decidedly lopsided. I still cannot see how the east links could be of equal standing if you are indeed a region of Comhaontas Glas. How can that be done?

    I would imagine that there was an overall vision, or framework, a constitutional structure in mind before you embarked on this course could you possibly outline what it was and what parts are in place? If there is a workable model I would be very interested to know even if somewhere along the road it has hit the sand. It really is important.

    As for North Down I suspect Wilson could designate as unionist. 5 Unionists, 1 Other.

    I would find that disappointing myself.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Yes we north and south did vote yes.
    Glasgow very SNP hence not particularly unionist, NI and England not very appealing to such folk.

    England and Wales very accommodating.

    Trevor Sergeant in south very understanding of situation and will not impliment total structure til all is agreed.

    What time zone are you in and what constituency will you cast your vote in?

    As for North Down, I can see 1DUP, 1UUP, 1UKUP, 1 Alliance, 1 Con, 1 Green.
    Cree missing out sub-quota.
    Very cosmo.

  • Crataegus

    Pete W

    Thanks

    I am back end of no where in Western Australia then have to go to India and maybe then back to London. Australia is a great place could do with some rain though.

    Have reconciled myself to being away for some time and will be voting by post.

    I would be delighted if your prediction for N Down came about but have a feeling we will be disappointed

    The structures issue is just an interest, I have often pondered how any party could effectively and evenly work across borders.

    In NI if you join with the South and your nationalist, be part of a British party and your Unionist. Try to do both and all of a sudden there are problems with structures and who is responsible. The only way I could see it working is with a party in NI that is virtually independent but with very strong affiliations which could extend to reciprocal joint membership working groups etc. Indeed enactment of any one part of the equation could be stronger than another provided that part does not exclude an equal opportunity elsewhere. The structure and opportunity must be balanced and the enactment can be as the members want. In that way the opportunities are not limited by structure, but it may be the case that for reasons of geography the N-S part of the equation is stronger or because NI is governed from Westminster the Eastern link is more important. It would depend on circumstance and the interest of members, but needs to be fair and flexible. I would have thought the Scots would have welcomed cooperation Celtic fringe mentality. Interesting that they have not.

    The Labour movement in NI has become totally fragmented because of this issue.

    I have never seen a constitution where a group could be a region of 2 or 3 parties at one time for some party has to be responsible for the region. Whose policy would one adopt or if there is misconduct who disaplines etc. The only way it can work is if primacy for NI resides in NI if it is other than that then I would suggest that people of a Nationalist background may have been driving the proposal and just don’t see the problem in the same way that Unionists see belonging to a British party as the natural order of things. One would need to read the overall constitutional proposals of your party in detail to see if what you propose is workable or balanced, but to my eyes your set up appears very unbalanced and in the long run will cause difficulty and loss of support. Is the constitution available on line?

    I am for lunch and a busy afternoon and evening ahead.

  • IJP

    Back to the subject – congratulations to Kelly, but the first few posts kind of give the game away. The assumption is that these are political appointments, when they are supposed to be public appointments.

    Party affiliation and religious background are supposed to have nothing to do with it. Yet it is patently obvious that they do.

    I don’t see what being a Centrist female with a Southern accent has to do with being able to arbitrate on complex parades issues on the back of a raft of EU and UK legislation. Perhaps she would have been appointed purely on merit and on the basis of understanding such issues, but the assumption is that it is her background that lies behind Kelly’s appointment.

    If the assumption is wrong, the NIO needs to explain itself and clarify.

    If the assumption is right, it appears we have made precisely no progress in the past decade.

    And yes, you can say precisely the same about McWilliams, McDougall, Lewsley etc.

    Peace and Justice

    It is now clear that the British will not side with them [Unionists] against catholics or nationalists, rendering Unionism obsolete as a vehicle for political domination.

    What precisely is incorrect about that statement?

    Are you suggesting that you seek “political domination”?

  • Crataegus

    IJP

    Party affiliation and religious background are supposed to have nothing to do with it. Yet it is patently obvious that they do.

    Interesting point and in that corrupted system the reputations of those involved are besmirched by association for no matter what their background and suitability it is assumed the appointment is purely political.

    You know my views on quango land by now and of the political parties represented there I doubt if the Greens have many if any other appointments. The SDLP seem well represented in this area. It always amazes me how you political types focus on appointments and not on say the government and council awarding of contracts. An area that may be worth looking at! Also with the increased value of development land and scarcity the issues around the creation of a restricted market make a few appointees pail into insignificance, but take your point and agree.

  • PeaceandJustice

    “It is now clear that the British will not side with them [Unionists] against catholics or nationalists”

    IJP – the whole tone of the article is very anti-Unionist and anti-Protestant.

    The worst part of it is:
    “Protestant Unionism … is a perfect caricature of unreasonable bigotry.” Saying this about all Protestant Unionists is very sectarian. From a so-called non-sectarian party. They should be ashamed of it. Many Protestant Unionists would vote for a Green Party. But definitely not the Green Party in Northern Ireland. Fight sectarianism – don’t vote Green!

  • URQUHART

    Sorry to intrude on the Green / Alliance thing, but it’s worth bringing y’all back to the first post.

    She’s a bit of a looker.