Who next for Speaker?

With the current Speaker, Eileen Bell set to retire on 26th March, reader Avalon Sunset emails with an interesting question on:

…the possibilities for Speaker if the assembly ever gets up and running. Alliance don’t want it and most of the major parties will not want to reduce their voting power – could Kieran Deeney be the answer?

I’d only add that the position places huge restrictions on the capacity of an individual member to do solid constituency work, and thus heavily reduces their capacity to be re-elected. It may be time to consider the possibility that the bigger parties may have no choice but to do the ‘heavy-lifting’ this time out. In which case, it may add another layer of complexity to the horse trading.

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  • Realist

    I would like to vote for Michelle Gilderniew, its about time that Sinn Fein was allowed to occupy this position as it has become dominated by unionists over the past number of years. She is highly intelligent, articulate and can command the support of the majority of the MLA’s.

  • slug

    I would also be happy to see a Sinn Féin speaker.

  • Gum

    Deeney was very lucky to scrape through considering the lack of work done in his first term, even with the assembly suspended. I think a SF speaker would be fine as well. Does anyone know whether this would affect the number of ministries a party would get?

  • Gum

    Perhaps the DUP would like to take on the position? It is one good way they could show they can work with republicans.

  • fair_deal

    I wouldn’t rule out an Alliance member being tempted.

  • Yokel

    A SF speaker?

    Won’t fly if the DUP don’t want it. Same vice versa.

    Keep an eye on Purvis or the SDLP though. Alliance may turn it down but they may not.

  • Yokel

    Yeah Gum, by turning down all their requests!

    Fair Deal I think may be right. Alliance may take it and ultimately I’m not an individual actually NEEDS the sanction of their party.

  • Dougal

    Oh dear, 4 pro SF posts in 6 minutes! Is this the direction the Shinners are going to force this thread in?

    “She is highly intelligent, articulate and can command the support of the majority of the MLA’s. ”

    Rubbish.

    Intelligent? Proof?

    Articulate? I have spoken with Michelle and she sounds well “groomed” but far from articulate, merely good at repeating the party line.

    Command support of a majority of MLAs? Hardly. Her public support for the pro-choice movement alne would alienate her from DUP and the Catholic vote.

  • Gum

    Yokel – I know… but it’d be a very positive step if they could take the post and show as much respect to Sinn Fein members elected as to their own colleagues. Too optimistic? It’d be a sad reflection on the DUP if it is.

  • Rubicon

    Gum – it would not affect the number of ministries each party would get – D’Hondt is based on the party strengths as rehistered on the 1st day the Assembly meets.

    What it does affect is the cross-community vote. This time round the DUP and SF are large enough to deliver their community’s part of the cross-community vote without the support of eithre SF or the UUP.

    This opens up the position of Speaker to all parties. However, the Speaker will need the endorsement of the majority of unionists, nationalists and the whole Assembly. This makes it unlikely to be a DUP or SF MLA.

    As things stand though the position is not vacant.

  • Gum

    Dougal, give it a rest mate, would you? I’m not adopting any SF-line here. But why shouldnt they consider it?

  • Realist

    The reality is that its time for a non unionist to have this post and Michelle Gilderniew is the ideal choice. She is an MP and MLA who works hard for her constituency and is concise and articulate. She is well respected within loyalist/unionist circles and would make a strong speaker.

    Its time that this position was held by a nationalist instead of unionist bigots and apologists.

  • Gum

    Cheers Rubicon

  • Rubicon

    Correction! “without the support of eithre SF or the UUP” should read “without the support of either the SDLP or the UUP”.

  • Rubicon

    Kieran Deeney taking the position would completely undermine his reason for standing. As Speaker he could no longer engage in constituency politics. The profile for the next Speaker (when the position is vacant) will probably by an MLA who is approaching the end of their political career and from either the SDLP, UUP or AP.

  • Realist

    The profile for the next Speaker (when the position is vacant) will probably by an MLA who is approaching the end of their political career and from either the SDLP, UUP or AP.

    Reg Empey then Rubicon

  • Yokel

    Look lads, no amount of promition is going to make a difference, it is very unlikely to be a SF speaker.

    Rubicon has laid out the procedures and that pretty much spells it out.

  • idunnomeself

    Alliance have provided the last two, they shouldn’t do it again, a single MLA party would be mad to take it on, wave goodbye to ALL your local profile..

    From memeory if no one takes it on the ‘father of the house’ has to stand in, which is of course the Rev Dr. So does this mean that the DUP will bite this particular bullet if no one else is forthcoming, could the first Minister also be the speaker?

  • Rubicon

    idunnomeself – the ‘father of the house’ provision applies if the position of Speaker is vacant. As I’ve said – it is not vacant. If it was vacant at this point then the election for Speaker would need to be completed before the election of F & DFM.

    Realist – don’t joke – it could well come to pass!

  • Dougal

    Gum,

    I think a SF speaker would be fine as well.
    No?

    Rubicon is right to point out that as the position of Spesker of the House is based on a D’Hondt system based on party strengths. I think speculation about who it WILL be is entirey superfluous and serves little pupose. Speculation about who we think it should be, now that’s a diferent matter!

  • Do Alliance want to be saddled with a reputation for supplying a source of appointments for posts that would otherwise be awkward to give to Unionists or Nationalists?

  • Yokel

    Sounds good to me Tim….

  • pam

    The DUP might feel they could afford to take it in terms of voting power, and put forward someone like Willie Hay. Being a Derry City Councillor means he has always been used to working with Sinn Fein, and might get their support.

    Also, having flown the flag in Derry in difficult circumstances for them over the years might mean that he is felt to deserve it. He was mentioned as a potential DUP Peer at the time the others were appointed.

    The difficulty for him might be the sidestep from party politics required.

  • Mick Fealty

    Probably less difficult for him in the short term at least Pam, since there is only one Unionist quota in Derry and he looks very safe.

  • sometimesneutralobserver

    Alban Maginness would be the obvious SDLP choice as his career must surely be over given his limping home last Friday?

    How would Gildernew have time to be Speaker, MP and MLA?!!!!

  • JohnFarrell

    Much as I find it hard to say a good word for Deeney, accepting the position would not rule him out of “constituency politics”.
    Previous House of Commons speakers (I am thinking here of Bernard Weatherill (sp) ) have written that being Speaker is actually an advantage in dealing with Ministers on constituency issues.

    so theres no reason why Deeney could not be as effective or ineffective in Speakers Chair.
    I think Alliance have indicated that they wont accept the post as it ties up one of their forceful thrusting MLAs.
    And far be it from me to suggest that they would be tempted by a salary equivalant of a Ministerial salary..were we here before in 1998 with the Aldernice and Close debacle.

    A SF Speaker would not be acceptable to the DUP.
    and I cant see any of the DUP having the broad base acceptability which points to SDLP or UUP.
    and probably to one with a legal background.
    In UUPs case I think McClarty from Coleraine is a solicitor type person.
    But with UUP taking two ministerial cars and salaries and SDLP just one then Id guess that the next speaker will be from the SDLP.

    So a man or woman with a legal background who loses out on a ministerail post suggests Alex Attwood or Alban Magennis.
    If either of them speaks Gaelic it would be a help.

    Speakers panel should include Francie Molloy who did same kind of thing before.
    DUP rep..Nelson McCausland in the unlikely event of anyone speaking Ulster Scots.

    In some ways Magennis or Attwood would solve the SDLP problem of hierachy (ignoring McGrady)

    1 Durkan MP
    2 McDonnell MP
    3 Attwood or Magennis in Ministerial role
    4 ditto in Speaker role.

  • pam

    I know the DUP seat there is safe, and there are plenty of good people there to take on the mantle – and to carry on the constituency work. I’m not sure that Willie would want to give that bit up though. A seat in the Lords next time round might be more appealing.

    Of course there is nowt to say he couldn’t do both, after all the first speakers of all three new devolved institutions were Lords !

    Agree that if the SDLP did take it Alban would be the natural choice, with Pat Convery being thrown the challenge of holding an SDLP seat next time

    Pam

  • sometimesneutralobserver

    As I say, Maginess probably best for SDLP. The post could be useful to build profile ahead of the SDLP selection convention for their EUROPEAN candidate. That is in Autumn 2008.

    Although Margaret Ritchie could be a good Speaker she would be more effective as a committee chair.

    Attwood not up to be Speaker. He wants to be leader/deputy.

  • idunnomeself

    “As I’ve said – it is not vacant. If it was vacant at this point then the election for Speaker would need to be completed before the election of F & DFM”

    Rubicon, I’m afraid you’ll have to explain this, the speaker is Eileen Bell, who didn’t stand for re-election. When the new Assembly first comes together they will surely have to pick a new speaker from among the MLAs?

    I’m not sure what the Speakers role is in the formation of the executive (if any)

  • Yokel

    These guys are civil servants in way right?

    In the true recent tradition of the NICS we should have an open public tender for it and contract it out.

    BT will probably win it……

  • URQUHART

    sometimesneutralobserver:

    Not so neutral today though?

  • Dougal

    Surely, it would be a good profile for either the SDLP or the UUP to have?

    My bet, for what it’s worth, is on the UUP tasking up this position.. I think the Duppers will like to see it as them having thrown a bone to the UUP. Given the high levels of animosity by the Shinners towards the SDLP, I doubt they could bring themselves to even concede that position and so the UUP would win their support over the SDLP.

  • gram

    Rubicon:The profile for the next Speaker (when the position is vacant) will probably by an MLA who is approaching the end of their political career and from either the SDLP, UUP or AP.<< That leaves all of them still in the race. Deeney should take it and only allow the chamber to debate health services (or lack of) in Tyrone.

  • dealornodeal?

    Speaker will be Alban: given his age, his ambitions for Europe and his scholarly lawyers training he’d be perfect for the job.

    SDLP Minister will be Ritchie, with Patsy McGlone as Chair, and a newly appointed Deeney and O’Loan as Committe Vice Chairs.

  • pam

    If Alban has ambitions to be the SDLP european candidate, he will not be Speaker, as it would preclude him from doing it.

  • Eoin Bairéad

    Hi

    I said it in a different forum, but my comments were drowned out by a row over United Ireland and such related matters.

    The DUP, if they can count on the support of the UUP & PUP, can command 55 seats in the Assembly.

    That means that the Nationalists (44) and Others (9) have 53.

    The two smart choices for Speaker are Kieran Deeny (who could get far better access to real power as Speaker) or someone from the UUP (who would then put considerable pressure on the DUP, ’cause if the Speaker is one of the 55, then if Dawn (or any UUP MLA) decides NOT to support the First Minister, the big man’s banjaxed.

    Eoin

  • It will not be a Sinn Féin member and it will not be Michelle as she might be a Minister. From what our people tell me the DUP don’t want it either so it will be from one of the other smaller parties.

  • Realist

    To rule Sinn Fein out is dicrimination of the highest order and shows that in the background there are still those working to an anti republican agenda.

  • Digger

    Give it to Willy Mcrea and he will be able to break out into songs of Praise !!!!

  • URQUHART

    Calm down realist – chris Gaskin has just ruled out Sinn Fein.

    The ‘800 YEARS OF OPPRESSION’ cry isn’t credible against such opponents.

  • sometimesneutralobserver

    “If Alban has ambitions to be the SDLP european candidate, he will not be Speaker, as it would preclude him from doing it”……

    No. He needs profile and fast. He would do a very good job as Speaker and would remind the internal SDLP audience (membership) of this – keeping ythe house in order etc.

    The SDLP have no one else to run for Europe. Their MPs are ruled out. Attwood not strong enough.

    Of course if Westminster comes early and Durkan or McDonnell lost their seat they could have a stab.

    Though given recent elections, SF are bound to hold the MEP seat.

  • Michael

    Not sure about the Willie Hay suggestion. He may sit with Sinn Féin on Derry City Council but in practise that mean that he opposes every motion put forward by them.
    He is not the best speaker in the world either and has a terrible tendency to whistle when he speaks.

  • Padraig

    Alban McGuinness is better placed as a minister. I admit he is more than up to the job of speaker, but really it’d be a bit of a waste. A while back now, I remember seeing him put Gerry Adam’s in his place on the TV. Even Gerry’s smug, almost painted, smile wasn’t able to help as Alban ran rings round him. Definately not Alban for Speaker!

    This is man who is clever, articulate and has a well established record as an accomplished public servant. A rare breed here! Oh yeah, and he doesn’t whistle when he speaks!

  • sometimesneutralobserver

    Padraig,

    Your comments on his ability are right. However the politics of it means he will not be a minister.

    The SDLP place will be taken either by Durkan or Ritchie.

    Alban is down the peckinhg order. Let him be speaker!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    And far be it from me to suggest that they would be tempted by a salary equivalant of a Ministerial salary..were we here before in 1998 with the Aldernice and Close debacle.

    John,

    Alderdice is a psychiatrist with a cushy practice and a swanky big house in East Belfast. Do you really think he took the job for an extra few quid on the side ? The parties will all agree with you that he was the best man for the job and nobody objected to his selection for the role.

    I doubt there is anyone in the assembly who will be able to do a better job than Alderdice did (Bell didn’t come close). The DUP and SF should be ruled out, considering they will both dominate the administration. There must be an SDLP or UUP figure, if not Alliance, who everyone could agree with. I don’t think Alban Maginness will be particularly good at it but he should at least attract cross-party support.

    Eoin:

    The DUP, if they can count on the support of the UUP & PUP, can command 55 seats in the Assembly.

    That means that the Nationalists (44) and Others (9) have 53.

    It sounds like you badly misunderstand how things work in the Assembly. The number of prods vs. the number of taigs does not count. Having an absolute majority of either prods or taigs is also not necessary, or sufficient, to sustain a government (the executive is drawn from the assembly as a whole). What counts during a vote is that there must be a majority of both. That means that if there are 106 taigs and 3 prods, if two prods vote against it the motion falls.

  • Padraig

    sometimesneutralobserver

    “…the politics of it means he will not be a minister…”

    How’s that? And what makes you think Ritchie, I know she regained her seat but she’s relatively new on the block isn’t she? Also, isn’t she Eddie’s girl for Westminister?

    I think Alban is way too good for that role and I would even place him higher up the pecking order than Durkan or Ritchie (each for different reasons. IMO, he is a better speaker for the SDLP than their leader!

  • stathead

    Surely Deeney could be classed as part of the nationaist bloc even though he didnt declare as such? Hard to envisage him voting with the Unionists with his background and community support. Doubtful he would be re-elected if he did vote with the Unionists.

  • Surely Deeney could be classed as part of the nationaist bloc even though he didnt declare as such?

    It’s up to him, and last time he designated as ‘cross-community’.

    Slán.

  • Also, isn’t she Eddie’s girl for Westminister?

    She is but I couldn’t see PJ Bradley liking it if she got the Ministerial position. After all he believes he has a chance when the selection convention comes about.

  • Curious

    Since they’re carving everything else up on a party basis why can’t they alternate it with each of the parties taking the role on for a year?

  • Gerry & the peacemakers

    Alban Magennis is a good bet and Im sure it would appeal to him as this will be his last stint as an MLA.

    Sean Neeson would also jump at the chance but my belief is it will be either SDLP or UUP.

    If it is UUP better than fair chance it could be Reg if he feels he should resign as leader.

  • Alban has the right degree of pomposity to do the job well. And deserves it.

  • Padraig

    “I couldn’t see PJ Bradley liking it if she got the Ministerial position.

    Why wouldn’t he want to see Ritchie get it? (It’s not as if he needs the promotion for other things is it?)

    “After all he believes he has a chance when the selection convention comes about.”

    Explain.

  • It’s an open secret in South Down that PJ has eyed the MP position for years. He and Ms Ritchie have come to blows on more than one occassion. The current issue surronds the proposed Mourne National park.

    Ritchie is O’Grady’s choice but PJ has made rumblings that he wants the nod.

    It’s going to make for fun viewing

  • Diluted Orange

    Sure if Gildernew really wants to become speaker all she has to do is rig the vote, just like in 1997.

    Does it matter who becomes speaker? It’s all going to collapse in a few months anyway.

  • Padraig

    Chris, people I know who are closely connected with the the SDLP in South Down have never mentioned this. Do you know something they don’t? If you’re right, it’s certainly no “open secret”. At the very least it’s a well guarded one! Surely age must be against him as he and Mcgrady are the same era aren’t they?

    South Down is a good place for the them (the SDLP). Bradley polls well up against Ruane but I don’t see him in Westminister – he’s an “on the ground” type of politician, not a “photo ops” type like Ritchie. She worked for McGrady before running for the Assembly. I’m almost sure it’ll be the yunger Ritchie and not the older Bradley. Definately one to watch as I can’t see McGrady running next time round?

  • Mick Fealty

    That would Mc rather than O’ Chris.

  • patty

    Ruane’s name is on the seat if, as expected, McGrady retires.

    Just check the figures over the last number of years, down to an odd percentage point.

  • Diluted Orange

    Realist

    [i]”She is well respected within loyalist/unionist circles and would make a strong speaker.

    Its time that this position was held by a nationalist instead of unionist bigots and apologists. “[/i]

    STOP PRESS: A person who labels Unionists as bigots claims to have an insight into how a SF candidate is respected by said community!

    Yes Unionists are all head over heels about Michelle Gildernew:

    – A woman who only won her Westminster seat first time around after polling stations in F&ST were held up by IRA activists who, true to form, “voted often” but didn’t “vote early”.

    – The same woman who is currently shouting from the roof tops because the PSNI had the audacity to arrest 2 dissident Republicans for attempted murder! Yet her party claims to support the police.

    – The same woman who famously quipped, “Our day has come!” – a clear reference to the IRA (true Unionist heroes after all) when she topped the poll for her Westminster seat.

    Actually having said all that – give her the job; anything to keep her away from a government departmental position.

    P.S. I would suggest an alternative moniker for your next post; somehow it doesn’t suit you.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I reckon it might be Alban; he was certainly mentioned in the recent past.

  • mickey joe

    Alban, not a chance, well maybe if he didn’t have to do it on a Monday, afterall he is known as Monday club Alban.

    Na it is likely to be John Dallat, a far more able performer, getting squeezed in East Derry, will never be MP, and it would increase his profile for next Assembly campaign.

  • I reckon it might be Alban; he was certainly mentioned in the recent past.

    People seem to be ignoring the need for a Speaker who has the capacity to do the job well, including the capacity to tell the NIO to get screwed when needs be. I don’t see many people rivalling Alban on that score.

  • That would Mc rather than O’ Chris

    Sorry Mick but it’s late. Any chance I could have that in english this time? 😉

  • North Belfast voter

    Sammy, Alban’s campaign in North Belfast was woeful. While that obviously has no bearing on whether he gets this post, his record as a public servant is hardly stellar either. He’s been around for years, sure, but he hasn’t been particularly impressive. His vote has slipped over the last decade, but it has as much to do with the harder work of other parties on the ground as it does the general shift away from the SDLP. Alban has rested on his laurels and its hurt his party badly.

  • Rubicon

    When it comes to the Assembly electing its own Speaker it will be the first time. Alderdice and Bell were appointed by the British government. Alderdice was a lick-spittle and has continued to be exactly that. He’s admired by those with brown tongues. Bell has done a good job and will bow out when the parties want a replacement.

    It’s not impossible for a DUP or SF MLA to take the post – but only 2 candidates are likely to be considered. The 2 Deputy Speakers did a good job – Jim Wells and Francie Molloy. Jim wouldn’t speak with SF members directly and will suffer their veto because of it. Francie will get the DUP veto because of that.

    Ford – if offered the Speaker’s job – would likely take it. It’d be good for Alliance if he did – but bad for the Assembly. The Alliance party with Niaomi leading might progress – but David is considered a joke outside his party. If this will be the MLA’s choosing their Speaker – Ford is best sticking to his position of “I’m not interested”,

    I’d not write off Jim Wells – but he was appointed Deputy Speaker to keep him off the development programme the DUP wanted advanced. Jim was the DUP nominee and got the position because of that. But Jim stuck to the party line and used procedure to protect himself from actually talking to Shinners. Pity, but this is true and he’ll likely pay the price with no return.

    Francie Molloy was nominated by SF for similar reasons. Like Jim he did a good job – but with political sensitivity to his post. He performed in a manner that included all MLAs – but he’s a member of SF. The DUP and SF will eliminate their the next Speaker coming from their ranks. Quite right too – the leader of the house should not be in the pay of the executive. But – the Alliance say they don’t want the job. If you believe Ford – then who else?

    It’s either Alban McGuiness or Reg Empey. For Allban he’ll be accepting defeat against Atwood for the criminal justice portfolio. He’ll also need to adapt to the notion of retirement. North Belfast isn’t going well for him. Taking the Speaker’s role will be the end of his worries – but he has held this seat and doesn’t strike me as a girl’s blouse ready to run away. Albam taking the Speaker’s role will be done with the knowledge of handing North Belfast to the Shinners and the C&J portfolio to Atwood.

    Reg seems a more likely prospect. It would be an honourable bow out. My doubt is that Reg is a failure as a leader and failed to understand Assembly procedure (remember the UUP/PUP pact). But – political memories are short. Politics can be a cruel business and if the UUP look for a new leader – they’ll soften the blow.

    BUT – I’m shite at predicting NI politics!

  • rural deweller

    I think Billy Armstrong from the UUP would make a great speaker.After all he is used to talking to the animals on his farm so talking to SF/IRA would make no difference to him.Although if he has to use words with more than four syllables he would be lost.

  • Rubicon

    RD – Billy may not be Einstein but he is an honest man who has better skills of nogotiation than most in his party. Billy CAN horse-trade. I can’t see him being interested in being Speaker.

  • Brendan,belfast

    its Alban. the NIO have Already been cosying up to him and Alban is unlikely to resist.

    If I could start a new thread on this website it would have the headline: DEENEY TO JOIN SDLP?

  • North Belfast voter

    Alban’s campaign in North Belfast was woeful

    I’m from North Belfast too. I know. But that’s a very different skillset to the one needed to be Speaker, and that one Alban has in spades.

    Rubicon

    Ford – if offered the Speaker’s job – would likely take it. It’d be good for Alliance if he did – but bad for the Assembly.

    Wrong on all three counts!

    David is considered a joke outside his party

    Except by the electorate.

  • digger

    The best person for Speaker is someone who can speak english, ulster-scots and irish, – and will he/she also have to speak mandarin-chinese? So perhaps the best person for this would be Wilson, from the Green Party (north down) as they are used talking to trees and plants to help them grow. – so maybe he can help the Assembly grow into a body that we can all be proud of and not the shambles that it has been over the past 9 years! Anyway, the position of speaker is only hypothetic at present as we have a speaker, and will we really need one after 26th March?

  • and will he/she also have to speak mandarin-chinese?

    Anna is from Hong Kong so it would have to be Cantonese!!!

  • slug

    “David [Ford] is considered a joke outside his party”

    Not by me, I think he talks a lot of sense. Also I have friends in South Antrim who consider him very good on local issues they care about, consistently.

  • digger

    Sammy,
    Anna is from Hong Kong so it would have to be Cantonese!!!

    mandarin, cantonese, all sound good to me at 1.30 am on Sat night/Sun morning, pork/duck/beef all taste like chicken !!!!!!

    But seriously, Alliance have had the position for the past 2 Assemblies, it would be nice to see some of the larger parties take on this important position.

  • Alliance have had the position for the past 2 Assemblies

    And we don’t want it in this one.

  • George

    Rubicon,

    “Reg seems a more likely prospect. It would be an honourable bow out.”

    This is nothing honourable in seeing your political career in ruins and ending up as a speaker in an assembly dominated by your victors. Handed a bone from your master’s table.

    It would be the ultimate ignomy. This job is for capable but uninspiring people who never got a good run and likely never will, not leaders who failed in their posts.

    SDLP and UUP should refuse to offer someone and let SF and the DUP find the referee for the upcoming battle a day.

    As for Alliance, they all of all parties shouldn’t touch it with a bargepole.

  • Observer

    Alban certainly has the attributes necessary – arrogance, pomposity and declining electoral support.
    I reckon Deeney would seriously consider the job, given that he is unlikely to make much of an impression otherwise.

  • Rubicon

    George – I can’t disagree with you if the world worked in terms of right and wrong / deserved and undeserved. It doesn’t and it most certainly doesn’t in NI politics!

    Sammy – you don’t want it? Why just this time? Alderdice jumped at it and didn’t consult his party before saying “yes Massa!” Ford bitched about Bell getting it and even released a bad mannered press release about it. Ford is only upset because he wasn’t given the job and – is now trying to make a principle out of it. I’m not buying it Sammy.

    Ford is sitting on the wave of Alliance votes returned from bolstering the UUP. Ford is a bystander and if the AP want to exploit the opportunity that is clearly there – get rid of Ford and put in a leader – Naomi. But – I’m sure you wont, you’ll congratulate Ford (without knowing really why) be ever so polite and send the party back to where it has just been,

    This is off thread – but I’ll make it relevant. Keep Ford and ANY other AP MLA will take the Speaker’s position if offered it.

    It’s called voting with one’s feet!

  • Ford is only upset because he wasn’t given the job

    And your evidence for this is… zero. Ford does not want it, has never expressed any interest in it and was very happy with Party Council passing a motion saying that Alliance weren’t going to take it.

  • Rubicon

    Sammy – Alliance not taking the role will probably occur without the need for the Party Council passing a motion – none of the 4 larger parties have anything to loose by taking the role. I think the front runners for each party are:

    DUP – Jim Wells
    SF – Francie Molloy
    UUP – Reg Empey
    SDLP – Alban McG.
    AP – David Ford

    Dawn Purvis, Wilson and Deeney can be safely ruled out.

  • AP – David Ford

    Rubicon, why are you persisting in spreading this shit? And, trust me, it is absolute shit. Is it just to wind me up or do you like making yourself look stupid in public?

  • Rubicon

    Sammy – I’m not trying to wind you up – it’s just a list of hte front-runners in each party. If you believe AP won’t take the role – fine – you’re free to do so. I’ve already said you’re probably right – one of the big 4 will more likely take it.

  • Dougal

    Rubicon,

    What is the pre-occupation with Alban McG’ for the SDLP? I suspect the Shinners are fearful of him after he put Gerry in his place on TV a while back. I can see why the dirty Shinners would like to see him out of the picture. He is way too good and over-qualified for this position. Someone else on here proposed John Dallat. IU think somone like him would be more appropriate for the SDLP.

    Having said all that though, I’m predicting the UUP will end up wih this. It would serve as an exit route for nice guy Reg.

  • Rubicon

    Dougal – for a change – I don’t disagree with most of what you say. I do disagree about your view of the Speaker’s position being beneath Alban – it is an extremely responsible position that requires more talent than a ministerial position.

    It’s not a pre-occupation with Alban. I posted on another thread that I thought Alban may hold out in the hope of getting the criminal justice ministry. Against this, Alban is the SDLP nominee on the Assembly Commission – which shows he at least has an interest in the role.

    As for Dallat – I don’t think so. I like the man – but there’s a rogue in him and the antics he gets up to would need to stop. I can’t see John being interested – the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee would suit him better.

    You’re right about Reg – he’s the dark horse in this. However – I can’t see him taking it – the MLAs would constantly take the Mick out of him and his knowledge of House procedure is very poor; eg UUP/PUP pact.

    Personally, I’d like to see Francie Molloy get the post. He did an excellent job of Chairing the PfG Committee and even the DUP were happy with him. Unfortunately, if the DUP propose Jim Wells SF are likely to veto him – Jim wouldn’t talk to SF MLA’s. Once that happens the DUP will return the veto on Francie. Pity – Francie is well able for the role.

    If neither the DUP or SF can get their man in – it’s then down to the SDLP, UUP and AP. I don’t want to annoy Sammy – he tells us that it won’t be a AP MLA. I think he’s right – but for different reasons.

    If Alban doesn’t want the job the options are getting more than frightening.