Virtual Executive

The Sunday Life is in a hopeful mood with its predictions for the 10 ministries in an Executive. With more big names than seats available its stuck its neck out for who will get the positions. It expects it to be a 4-2-2-2 split with two women taking seats. So the faces they are saying to look out for our – Robinson, Dodds, Foster, Campbell, Murphy, Gildernew, Durkan, Maginness, Empey and Birnie. (Hat tip to D)The Foster prediction will raise the most eyebrows on the DUP end. Her legal background makes her a good candidate for a shared policing and justice ministry. However, she is very capable and on geographical and gender representation it does make sense. On the UUP front there is a major question mark over Esmond Birnie. He by no means lacks the ability but the UUP’s electoral chances in south Belfast make it unlikely that he will be in a new Assembly. On the Sinn Fein end, the exclusion of someone from Belfast is interesting. Murphy’s inclusion would contribute to speculation he is a future leader. The Murphy and Gildernew pairing would also be seen as a gift to the backwoods were unease appears to have been greatest. The SDLP names go for a Belfast and Londonderry split.

  • Crataegus

    What ever the line up let’s hope they actually do a good job.

  • Bemused

    “….many of the brightest and most articulate minds and voices in unionism…the Rev William McCrea, Sammy Wilson and Jeffrey Donaldson…”

    Huh…????

  • Bemused

    “The word within the tightly-knit party is that Arlene Foster has taken Paisley’s eye of late, too.”

    Please – I’ve just had my breakfast.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    “Murphy’s inclusion would contribute to speculation he is a future leader.”

    A good representative for South Armagh but Mary Lou is more probably the next leader.

  • mickhall

    “Mary Lou is more probably the next leader.”

    If it is to be yet another 95% shoo in maybe, but if it were a secret ballot, which is normally how most democrats do things these days, even old trade unionists like myself, who in the past got many a contentious issue through on a show of hands.

    Mary Lou as far as I can see has no power base within the party beyond Adams leadership cadre, indeed, she is in all probability the least liked of the leadership bunch. So I would be interested as to the reasons why anyone believes she would replace GA as leader and just how she might attain that position.

  • slug

    The thing I found most interesting is that Ian Junior would be a junior minister in the First Minister office. It makes a lot of sense given that Ian Paisley will not want to be taking on too much and it seems to be an arrangement that could work well.

    The idea of Foster being a minister seems good. In some ways I think the MPs should leave these jobs to MLAs. MPs have important Westminster duties.

  • dublinsfsupporter

    Mary Lou has a significant and growing powerbase in Dublin, will be effective leader in the Dail shortly, and is already National Chair, replacing Mitchel McLaughlin. She handled the policing debate very effectively and represents a good option for maximizing the vote in the Dail elections.

  • Henry94

    dublinsfsupporter

    Let’s hope she takes a seat. She, like any other possible contender will have plenty of time to prove themselves as it is far to early to contemplate a change.

  • Oh please!! not another thread ruined by dublinsfsupporter and his/her ridicilious suggestion that Mary Lou will be the next leader.

    There is not going to be an opening for a while yet, so there is no need for speculation.

    If you are going to speculate at least keep it sensible.

    Mary Lou is an able representative and competent party chair but she will never sway the membership to vote for her as leader.

    The world and more importantly the party membership is bigger than Dublin

    On the issue of the thread

    Michelle and Conor would make excellent Ministers.

  • Ah yes, Esmond’s ministerial career-to-be. That’s going to make for a long entry in the DNB one day.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris Gaskin is a hair’s breadth away from complaining about Dublin interference. I love it. 🙂

  • Not at all Comrade, just pointing out that as a party Sinn Féin is bigger than just Dublin or indeed Belfast for that matter.

    As an All Ireland party it’s the Culchies that count 😉

  • Shamrock

    If the Ministerial positions were based upon the make up of the assembly now then how many positions are available for each party then and if the mandate of these parties changed in the March election then how much would it have to change to alter the positions based on today’s mandate?

    Does anyone know?

  • Observer

    “Oh please!! not another thread ruined by dublinsfsupporter and his/her ridicilious suggestion that Mary Lou will be the next leader.

    There is not going to be an opening for a while yet, so there is no need for speculation.

    If you are going to speculate at least keep it sensible.

    Mary Lou is an able representative and competent party chair but she will never sway the membership to vote for her as leader.

    The world and more importantly the party membership is bigger than Dublin

    On the issue of the thread

    Michelle and Conor would make excellent Ministers.

    Posted by Chris Gaskin on Feb 04, 2007 @ 01:49 PM”

    A NORTH-SOUTH SF SPLIT?

  • Stormont_is_a_sham

    So these are the ten village idiots predicted to head up the new Stromont village forum.

    Will they be in charge of how the pocket money from Britain is distributed? Or will they just be the people licking the envelopes?

    Doesn’t anybody recognize that Stormont is a British tool to placate the natives? A totally meaningless and neutered body with zero power.

  • A NORTH-SOUTH SF SPLIT?

    No, just a split between reality and fantasy.

  • As an All Ireland party it’s the Culchies that count 😉

    That’s what worries some of us, Chris, that’s what worries us. 😉

  • Comrade Stalin

    Not at all Comrade, just pointing out that as a party Sinn Féin is bigger than just Dublin or indeed Belfast for that matter.

    Sure. I think the idea that Mary Lou would be the next SF leader is ridiculous. In terms of NI, I don’t know outside of SF’s immediate cadre of supporters/activists who would know anything about her except her name.

    SIAS:

    So these are the ten village idiots predicted to head up the new Stromont village forum.

    Unfortunately they were the people who got elected. If you don’t like them, blame the electorate.

    Will they be n charge of how the pocket money from Britain is distributed? Or will they just be the people licking the envelopes?

    Yes, there will be a Finance Minister in the executive who will determine departmental budgets. As with regional governments throughout the world (including state governments in the USA), Stormont’s power is restricted to operating within UK law. For example, it can’t stop water charges without being penalized by the UK exchequer.

    Doesn’t anybody recognize that Stormont is a British tool to placate the natives?

    Placating the natives is the whole point here. We’re supposed to share power so that we respect each other and stop killing each other. Do try to keep up. If it’s successful and you want to give the credit to the Brits, fair enough, but I don’t think that would be entirely accurate.

    totally meaningless and neutered body with zero power.

    Nonsense, the parameters of power at Stormont are very well defined, in the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

  • Mac

    At last someone speaks sense in exposing Stormont for what it really is – pointless.

    How long must the Irish and British people see copious amount of their hard earned money to prop up these bandits (sorry ‘mandated’ politicians) for the sake of a ‘working government’. Laughable. Political principles have been abandoned in abundance by both sovereign governments and the North’s political parties! Enough is enough. Grow up and move on with your poxy lives.

  • That’s what worries some of us, Chris, that’s what worries us. 😉

    It’s also what allows most of us to sleep easy at night 😉

  • dublinsfsupporter

    “Sure. I think the idea that Mary Lou would be the next SF leader is ridiculous. In terms of NI, I don’t know outside of SF’s immediate cadre of supporters/activists who would know anything about her except her name.”

    More widely she is very well known, in Dublin for example where her support base is getting bigger. Lets not forget that she is already an MEP, soon most pundits agree to be a TD for Dublin Central. Her Party Chair work has been handeled very well. In terms of the six counties, she often goes there of course.

    It would be wrong to assume that the next leader will be from the six counties and although Murphy is a competent local representative I stand by what I say about Mary Lou being a more probable next leader.

    Though I agree there is no vacancy for many years.

  • It would be wrong to assume that the next leader will be from the six counties

    It would also be wrong to assume that they won’t

    Murphy is a competent local representative

    Conor is a member of the leadership, the MP for Newry and Armagh and a senior member of the negotiations team.

    He is also a former POW and a has been a member of the Republican movement for almost 30 years.

    A little bit more than just a “local representative”

    Get out of dublin once in a while, it will do you good.

  • IJP

    I’ve no time for his party, but Birnie would make an outstanding minister.

    The only problem I foresee is that to be a minister he needs a seat, and I’m far from certain he’ll have one on 9 March.

    Cluttered with MPs, and many of the brightest and most articulate minds and voices in unionism, some of the party’s top echelon are set for disappointment…

    … Rev William McCrea

    I don’t wish to play the man, and I understand he’s a decent enough constituency MP, but “one of the brightest minds in unionism”? Well, I guess the competition’s not the hottest…

  • IJP

    Now I reach the end of the article… Gildernew??? Are you *sure*???

    Then, political analysis never was the Tele’s/Sunday Life’s strong point, was it?

  • IJP

    [Murphy is] a good representative for South Armagh but Mary Lou is more probably the next leader.

    If that’s the case, we’ve nothing to fear long-term from SF.

  • BonarLaw

    “Former minister de Bruin has all but faded from the limelight”

    Indeed, but as an MEP she cannot hold a dual mandate in either a national or regional legislature. Sometimes the quality of the local press is piss poor.

    BTW Sam Foster is Arlenes’ uncle-in-law (a small but important point around that particular dining table).

  • IJP

    Michelle is an MP and has done some excellent work on Agriculture. She has Pat Toal doing cartwheels at the prospect of her being Minister of Agriculture.

  • BonarLaw

    “Sir Reg Empey is the most likely Ulster Unionist minister”

    As our American visitors would say “No shit Sherlock!”

    “with Alan McFarlane in North Down a possibility if he retains his Assembly seat”

    As I said earlier… piss poor.

  • pragmatist

    I never cease to be amazed at how highly people rate Mary Lou McDonald, 7 years ago no one would have heard of her, she is a little south dublin princess, she cannot seriously be considered as a future leader of Sinn Fein which seems to be fast becoming the largest party in Ireland. Ok she is easy on the eye but lets get a sense of perspective here.

  • graduate

    Slug
    Gotta agree with you totally

    Mac
    since when have the Irish contributed anything to NI except talk absolute shite?

    IJP
    if you’re the fella from North Down- get back in your box!

    For what it’s worht that sounds like a reasonably good line-up but as has been pointed out Sunday life isn’t the best predictor. Now if it was the Sunday World we’d all be out putting money on it instead of sitting here …. wouldn’t we?

  • Diluted Orange

    CG

    It amuses me a great deal to hear you extol the virtues of Conor Murphy and Michelle Gildernew in their roles as MPs for their constituencies when considering their abstentionist tactics regarding Westminster they do very little for their constituents and cannot effect any change whatsoever on a national (British) basis. The impotence of Pat Doherty in trying to stop the closure of the South Tyrone hospital only serves to highlight the failures of such a policy and shows the real cost of Votaíl Sinn Fein.

  • DO

    If you seriously believe that the Irish MP’s from the six counties that choose to sit in Westminster have any say whatsoever then you are deluded beyond belief.

    They have never had any say and will never have any say in that foreign parliament.

    Sinn Féin has an excellent constituency work record, even our enemies will admit that.

    In Newry and Armagh we have four offices that are open to the public in order for them to seek our assistance.

    They do that every day of the week, be it a problem with their benefits, anti-social behaviour, school buses…whatever.

  • BonarLaw

    Chris Gaskin

    I don’t know about the Irish MP’s (those that go) but the British ones we return seem to do the job.

    “They have never had any say and will never have any say in that foreign parliament.”

    Especially if they don’t go 🙂

    “be it a problem with their benefits…”

    I have a problem with benefits- the fact abstentionist MP’s get any.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It amuses me a great deal to hear you extol the virtues of Conor Murphy and Michelle Gildernew in their roles as MPs for their constituencies when considering their abstentionist tactics regarding Westminster they do very little for their constituents and cannot effect any change whatsoever on a national (British) basis.

    DO,

    I do not agree with SF’s abstention policy. Several people who are sympathetic to SF (I’m not one of them) such as Tony Benn have recently suggested that SF should overturn it. I don’t believe SF ever will – it allows them to hold onto some of their longer standing principles while costing them very little politically. Given that they now have offices at Westminster, not actually walking into the Commons is a technicality; I’d be very surprised if the abstention policy impeded their daily work at all.

    Equally, I can’t name any significant legislation that Northern Ireland MPs have brought in which effects us in any significant way. Sure, they sit on the select committee, but it hardly amounts to much. The real power is wielded by the Secretary of State, nominally supervised by the NI Select Committee. That Committee is dominated by MPs who are not from NI.

    BTW if good elected representatives faithfully represented their constituents interests at Westminster, it’s a damn shame the UUP MPs seldom ever turned up. UUP MPs had among the lowest attendance rates in the whole house, and the Stoops didn’t do too well from what I remember either. They certainly claimed their salary and expenses though.

  • Diluted Orange

    CG

    “Sinn Féin has an excellent constituency work record, even our enemies will admit that.”

    Yes sterling work all round, I won’t digress into paramilitary activities but the work of Sinn Fein MLAs in Londonderry/Derry/Doire/Stroke City/Maiden City/Foyle/ … etc in wasting tax payer’s money to try and get the name of the city changed just illustrates their pettiness.

    I’ve already pointed out the futile attempts of Pat Doherty to stop the South Tyrone hospital from being closed – the Lagan Valley in Lisburn was threatened with closure but this was successfully averted. Would the contrasting tactics of the incumbent MPs in those 2 places have anything to do with those decisions? (Aside from the obvious sectarian bias factor which you’ll no doubt try to point out)

    At the end of the day, whether it be DUP or Sinn Fein, the electorate in Northern Ireland will one day (soon hopefully) come to realise that you get what you vote for. However, at least the DUP represent their constituents in the most important parliament there is whilst Sinn Fein sit back and watch whilst everything goes tits up.

  • Diluted Orange

    CS

    “BTW if good elected representatives faithfully represented their constituents interests at Westminster, it’s a damn shame the UUP MPs seldom ever turned up. UUP MPs had among the lowest attendance rates in the whole house, and the Stoops didn’t do too well from what I remember either. They certainly claimed their salary and expenses though.”

    I completely agree – that the politicians we have here are a waste of space. But if a major issue was to take place in a UUP/SDLP/DUP constituency at least the MP in that area could take the argument to the biggest parliamentary stage there is to argue their case. It’s very easy for a Health Secretary or whoever to close a hospital when you know you aren’t going to receive any flak about it whatsoever on the stage that matters most.

  • Lamaria

    Michelle Gildernew has been gradually pushed away from the central echelons of SF in the last couple of years – partly it seems because she has decided to have children – so much for a female friendly party. The SF ministers will be Conor Murphy and Caitriona Ruane. Ruane has gradually been pushed to the fore lately in Gildernew’s place. She is now constantly flanking Adams is press statements and is the new female voice in the northern part of the party – ironically enough given she was parachuted in from the south. She like Gildernew is very able, but doesnt have the problems of family baggage.

  • Red Mist

    dublinsfsupporter,

    I totally agree with you that Mary Lou would be a great future leader for Sinn Fein. sure with the direction their politics are going it would seem most fitting that a Fianna Fail candidate should them up.

    Onwards to History!

  • BonarLaw

    Lamaria

    “Michelle Gildernew has been gradually pushed away from the central echelons of SF in the last couple of years – partly it seems because she has decided to have children”

    That nicely takes us back on topic. Compare Mrs Fosters’ prospects with three children to those of her current MP.

    I would have thought that given the only hope for a united Ireland is for Republicans to win the demographic war (let’s be honest, they’re not converting Unionists) Ms Gildernews’ fertility would have been celebrated not held against her.

  • Bruce101

    Taking a break from the Super Bowl.
    Just one thing that might have a bearing on the composition of an Executive. Ian Paisley might just decide to show Dodds and Campbell that the shafting can be a two-way process.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Two Dodds seats equals 1 Dodds minister.
    Conor Murphy, if they see off Hyland is hard to overlook.
    Birnie very unlikely.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I completely agree – that the politicians we have here are a waste of space. But if a major issue was to take place in a UUP/SDLP/DUP constituency at least the MP in that area could take the argument to the biggest parliamentary stage there is to argue their case. It’s very easy for a Health Secretary or whoever to close a hospital when you know you aren’t going to receive any flak about it whatsoever on the stage that matters most.

    If you think that the ministers in the UK government really give a damn about NI MPs calling them bastards while inside the commons, you’ve got a bit more thinking to do. If making life hard for a minister is the priority, you’ll do a much better job by going to the media.

    BTW, didn’t unionist MPs refuse to take their seats following the by-elections which came out of the Anglo Irish Agreement businss. The Anglo Irish Agreement was a pretty good demonstration of how impotent NI MPs are; and their refusal to take their seats afterwards kind of undermines your argument. On the SDLP side, I think Mark Durkan recently defended his crap attendance record by talking belligerently about not spending a lot of time inside a British parliament.

  • Diluted Orange

    [i]If you think that the ministers in the UK government really give a damn about NI MPs calling them bastards while inside the commons, you’ve got a bit more thinking to do. If making life hard for a minister is the priority, you’ll do a much better job by going to the media.[/i]

    At least the other MPs are able to give criticism to the government on that stage. Sinn Fein choose to exclude themselves from the biggest platform there is to air their views, whether the government gives a toss or not is irrelevant – that’s democracy for you. The fact is that 5 out of 18 constituencies in NI have absolutely no voice in the largest and most important forum there is to highlight their problems and concerns.

    If SF think publishing their views in the Andytown News is going to make a government minister’s job more difficult rather than if they actually bothered trying to argue with them face to face then they probably shouldn’t waste their time going to the House of Commons anyway. Yet perversely they argued vehemently to have access to offices in the Commons – so they go all the way there but won’t take the extra inch and vote in the chamber.

    [i]Mark Durkan recently defended his crap attendance record by talking belligerently about not spending a lot of time inside a British parliament.[/i]

    Cringeworthy from Durkan – he really is trying to play the Republican now because support of SF has overtaken the SDLP amongst the Nationalist electorate. It’s reminiscent of Trimble’s last few years in the UUP

  • bootman

    If its true that Martina Anderson will run in Derry then she has to be in with a chance of a minstry

  • The Big Man

    Foster will need to win seat in FST

    It may be a different FOSTER who will win in
    FST BIG IANS EX FRIEND FROM THE FPC IN THE AREA

  • BonarLaw

    The Big Man

    “It may be a different FOSTER who will win in
    FST”

    No, it won’t be.

  • The Big Man

    BonarLaw

    DO YOU HAVE A CRYSTAL BALL?

  • BonarLaw

    The Big Man

    Please don’t shout.

    I, like you, do not have a crystal ball. However, I do have some experience in NI elections and as far as one can tell, based on trends, there are two DUP seats in FST even with an Ivan Foster candidacy.

  • The UKUP had a surprisingly large amount of support in both 98 and 01. If Ivan Foster did stand, unlikely though, then there would be a guaranteed DUP loss.

    There were only 1500 votes between the UU and DUP last time…

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1707172557

    The acceptance in principle by some FPs of
    a political coalition between the DUP and Sinn
    Fein/IRA murderers.
    All of these attitudes and positions would have
    been utterly abhorred by the leadership and membership
    of the FPC just a few short years ago.
    How has this come about?

    “We do pray for Dr Paisley and I never thought I would see the day that I would stand in this pulpit and say I think him wrong entirely and say I could never support what he is doing, but that day has come.”

    He’s not happy…

  • The Big Man

    BonarLaw

    you have some experince of ni elections

    i have a lot going back to “o neill must go”
    fuu is correct ivan will pervent the dup from
    taking a second seat in FST
    AT LEAST IVAN WILL NOT HAVE TO SIGN THE CONTRICK

  • BonarLaw

    The Big Man

    Please don’t shout.