“a peculiar species of pseudo-parliamentary government”

The particular, and peculiar, form of government we face, should an Executive actually be formed, has come up for discussion on numerous occasions here on Slugger. In Today’s Belfast Telegraph, as pointed to by commenter parcifal, Eric Waugh points to the elephant in the room. It’s an elephant that even our own Secretary of State for Wales etc, identified previously.. only in Wales, though.. natch.From the Belfast Telegraph

Deepening the chill, of course, is the elephant in the room: the fact that the nationalist parties who would share Government have as their prime aim its destruction! Holding this view is no more remarkable than a similar view held by the SNP in the Edinburgh Parliament and Plaid Cymru in the Cardiff Assembly. The key difference is that neither of these parties is in Government. They are members of the opposition.

Stormont, though, has spawned its own diluted brand of democracy: a peculiar species of pseudo-parliamentary government without an opposition, invented by an obscure Belgian. Having ministers inside Government, privy to all its secrets, those whose wish is to destroy that Government and who, whatever their misdeeds or sheer incompetence, themselves cannot be dismissed by the First Minister has, unsurprisingly, never been tried anywhere else before.

The First Minister does not, as would be normal in a democracy, appoint his ministers, or even have the right to express an opinion to those who do. In fact, his new ministers owe him absolutely nothing. Accordingly, at a stroke, the vital cement has been chipped away which normally secures the structure of Cabinet government. It is going to take a special dedication and a very principled loyalty – by each party – to make this strange construct work.

If that dedication and loyalty is denied, the new experiment will fail. One hopes for success, but the system has loaded the dice heavily the other way.