No taxation without representation…

Des Wilson inveighs against the lack of local representation that still persists after nine years of iterative negotiations. His particular target is London, which is looking to charge ever more of the direct cost of cleaning up Northern Ireland’s infrastructure:

So, no surprise that we are being told now we have to pay for the London government messing up – literally messing up – of raw sewage and general infrastructure. And for the Lord only knows what else. No surprise either that Irish people will pay for new roads which should have been built by London anyway, pay for the absence or decay of infrastructure which suffered decades of neglect. They will pay for water of which nature presents us with more than enough, and for renewing water delivery systems which, like the political system, are sadly out of date.

And while doing all this they will be forever unrepresented in any effective government, they will enjoy the status of the servant or slave – forced to obey laws which they are forbidden to have any hand in making. Every law is oppressive if the people it governs have not the power to make or unmake it. That is the difference between oppression and freedom.

If Mr Blair and Mr Ahern keep the DUP veto and thus nudge the rest of us out of managing our own affairs we shall then be ruled by another assembly – in London – but as remote from our realities as a Chinese provincial committee. And as much concerned for our welfare and development.

But he reserves a sting in the tail for the DUP:

If the DUP does not want to be in government it is undemocratic to force them into it. Just as undemocratic as forcing the rest of us out of it. The choice about government is not just ours, then – it is also the choice of Mr Ahern and Mr Blair. If it were only ours we would know what to do because we are not afraid of responsibility and self-rule. We should never have to give in to those who are.

Except, as things stand, even Mr Blair is prevented from making such a move for fear of moving everyone into the now infamous (if only on Slugger) territory of constitutional nonsense.

  • Crataegus

    Hard to fault the logic of the article, but brings us back to the stupidity of the structures up at Stormont, parity of esteem, equal veto, sectarian designation and all that repulsive nonsense that the SDLP were so keen on in times past.

    We need to rewrite the rules some day but perhaps not just now.

  • Nevin

    Does Fr Des really want the Labour Party to field candidates here?

  • aquifer

    Removing sectarian vetoes could also leave SF/PIRA army council out of the loop. Is that really what you want Des?

  • SouperSoupy

    I find his restaurant analogy interesting. At first some Unionists would have a snack rather than meal at Stormont so they won’t have to share a room with SF.

    After a while those extremists decided on proper food and sat in the same room.

    Despite the ridiculous nature of the initial boycott of dinner, it just shows they’ll make sure they are fed.

  • Pete Baker

    “If the DUP does not want to be in government it is undemocratic to force them into it. Just as undemocratic as forcing the rest of us out of it.”

    There is an interesting implication which follows from Des Wilson’s suggestion.

    Namely, the DUP not taking their ministerial posts under d’Hondt and therefore not sitting in government with SF.. while others do.

    That, however, would rule out the possibility of any confirmed date for the devolution of policing and justice powers.. which SF have stated is a condition for their support of the rule of law.. i.e. before any of their ministers would take the ministerial oath of office.

    In short, the voluntary coalition that he seems to be suggesting may already have been ruled out.. and, as I seem to recall, explicitly by most of the parties who supported the Belfast Agreement.. and implicitly by more recent decisions. Isn’t there a requirement of a vote in the Assembly on the Executive, by the way?

    Wouldn’t what Des Wilson is suggesting require an abandonment of the 1998 Agreement? I can just see certain parties arguing for that..

    Although.. it’s also important to note that the conditionality on SF’s support on the rule of law may very well be abandoned, regardless of how that would be seen by the party membership.

  • George

    There’s an article that clearly shows partition is working and working well.

    As for the restaurant analogy, I like it too. Makes me wonder how many high-principled unionists will be paying money into the fearful GAA coffers on their rugby weekend?

    Have any made clear they won’t be eating in this particular sporting restaurant?

    Will Ken Maginnis be there? I hope he brings a few Irish flags to throw in the canal to let the fans know his views.