‘Dry run’ throws up new Ministerial team…

Whilst it is true that d’Hondt is not to run until the deadline of 8th May, Peter Hain has facilitated a ‘dry run’ so that we now know who’s got what in terms of Executive responsibility. No bad thing, perhaps, considering the amount of review work they will all have to catch up with.

DUP – finance, enterprise, environment and culture

Sinn Fein – education, regional development, agriculture

UUP – health, employment and learning

SDLP – social development

  • Two Nations

    Which DUPer will get the enterprise brief?

  • Glensman

    I don’t see the link between environment and culture?

  • Rubicon

    No link? You jest surely!

    “No environment”
    “No culture” (or no Irish Language Act anyway).

  • Skintown Lad

    having DUP in charge of culture doesn’t exactly bode well for the arts

  • smcgiff

    “No culture” (or no Irish Language Act anyway).

    With SF having education you’ll see a compromise between Irish Language act and selection.

  • Butterknife

    All of the DUPs’ MLAs will become ministers in the Executive. That is how they got their MPs elected in the last election: by show-casing the MLAs in rotating ministries. Proof if it was needed that cival servants do all the work.

  • Token Dissent

    I agree with Skintown Lad that the DUP’s attitude toward culture and the arts does not bode well. Prominent figures in the party have in the past highlighted their opposition to the cinema, contemporary music, and just about every sphere of cultural activity…other than gospel singing and Orangeism.

    Could their willingness to take this post be related to the sports stadium issue?

    Or is this part of some devious plan to make ‘The Big Man – The Movie’ a state sponsored enterprise?

  • Greenflag

    Hermann Goering :

    ‘When I hear the word culture I go for my gun ‘

    DUP :

    ‘When I hear the word culture I go for my drum’

    I can already imagine a DUP /Free P Minister agonising over questions as deep as ‘Is line dancing immoral and thus only legal for Papists and Anglican Romanists ‘ Is park swings culture or is they not ?

    Jesus wept well he would if he could 🙁

  • Token Dissent

    Accepting that culture exists – another in the long list of sell-outs by the DUPers!

    By this time next year expect to see Paisley dirty dancing with Mary Lou, on a Sunday, smoking a joint.

  • OK, let me put this on the table for anyone who wants to pour mayonnaise on it. Just a rough guess at how things look to be shaping up.

    First Minister – Paisley
    Deputy First Minister – McGuinness

    Finance – Robinson
    Education – Murphy
    Enterprise – Dodds
    Employment – Empey or Kennedy
    Social Development – Ritchie
    Environment – Foster
    Regional Development – Ruane
    Agriculture – Gildernew
    Culture – Paisley Jr or Poots
    Health Empey or Kennedy

    Office of First Minister – Paisley Jr or Poots
    Office of Deputy First Minister Gerry Kelly

  • Inspector Clouseau

    DUP Sports, Arts and Culture Minister will ensure extra funding for the NW200 and appear at Orange Order Festivals. But the Arts will suffer.

    Will they ban line-dancing?

  • Fraggle

    Sinn Fein get education, appropriate because catholics comprise a majority of children in schools.

    DUP get health, appropriate because protestants comprise a majority of the elderly.

  • jaffa

    Who gets Policing & Justice if/when they’re devolved? Who’s next in line in this d’Hondt business or will there be a shuffling up of the positions into 10 again?

  • slug

    “Sinn Fein get education, appropriate because catholics comprise a majority of children in schools.”

    Why does that make is appropriate?

  • assemblywatchman

    If Poots gets DCAL the Maze gets the stadium and we all get screwed. s’ppose thats democracy.

  • jaffa

    Will they ban line-dancing?

    Isn’t that an authentic Appalachian Blue Grass Scots-Irish art form? I’d expect it to be compulsory.


  • GavBelfast

    Sinn Fein get education, appropriate because catholics comprise a majority of children in schools.

    DUP get health, appropriate because protestants comprise a majority of the elderly.

    Posted by Fraggle on Apr 02, 2007 @ 07:14 PM

    If you’re gonna troll, at least get your facts right.

    Kindergartens are off for Easter, I forgot!


  • heck

    why did’nt the DUP take agriculture? I seem to remember from my days at queens (some 30 years ago!) that most of the DUP activists were studying either law or agriculture.

  • Rubicon

    Heck – Agriculture may be of interest to the DUPs – but not as much as culture; partcularly when this fiendish Irish language could be foisted on the Ulster Scots – who – afterall – have yet to learn to speak English! ;).

  • Samwise

    Why are the DUPs so fond of Edwin Poots? He never struck me as particularly promising – is this part of a plan to piss wee Jeffrey off?!

    The DUP taking environment is also a surprise and not a good one as the ONLY party who actually do not support the formation of an environmental protection agency and after they sacked Jim Wells a committed environmentalist from being spokesperson, replacing him with, er, Willie McCrea….there could be trouble ahead…

  • willis

    I am gutted!

    Why oh why has the DUP passed over the most obvious culture minister we could have? – Sammy Wilson. Ian Og is but a pale imitation.

  • rural deweller

    Well done to the Dup.Once again they have let terrorists take charge of Education
    The new stadium and IRA shrine will now be at the maze with the dup in charge of Dcal
    Well done Ian!!!

  • Rusty Nails


  • Dave

    The DUP has made disaterous selections, it should have taken Agriculture as many of its voters are from farming backgrounds.

    The DUP will get Arlene Foster and Spratt to become ministers in preperation for the Westminster elections. They will also want to keep a number of its ranks happy so expect them to rotate with Campbell and Donaldson brought in at some stage.

  • Comrade Stalin

    These selections make no sense. Finance gives the DUP leverage over the other ministries so that make sense, but they have banged on more about education (and selection) than anything else, I thought Sammy Wilson would have been right in there. Paisley’s relationship with the farmers is one of the things he is famous for so I’m surprised he hasn’t gone for agriculture. What do they want with culture ?

    I guess that an (overly?) optimistic way of looking at this is that they have made agreements in advance with Sinn Fein to ensure there is plenty of give and take within the administration..

  • Rubicon

    Comrade S. – is there much of a policy difference between SF and the DUP on farming? Both parties have rural constituencies and the EU determines much of the cash flow.

    I was more surprised by SF not going for ETI – if for no other reason than for cross-border presence. It would have fitted well with DRD. Education on the other hand is a declining industry due to well known birth rate decline. Managing an industry in decline can be unpopular. If the DUP had refused it twice then SF would have had to take education – but it was SF’s first pick.

  • It looks like to me like the parties have simply run D’Hondt between themselves the same way as in the assembly.

    Once the DUP took finance for the first pick, the the way was clear for Sinn Fein to take education for the second, which was what both parties have been saying they would do. The DUP would then have had the third pick and taken Enterprise, not a bad choice I would have thought.

    I seem to remember the UUP were up for the fourth and tenth picks. The interesting question is which one was Health?

    Did they take a brave decision to go for a high-profile high-risk ministry or simply draw the short straw?

  • slug

    Tom – Reg Empey said that he took health number 1, beingkeen not to give the impression that nobody wanted to tackle the difficult but important issues, as he admitted was why health was passed over the last time this exercise was run.

  • Thanks Slug – On reflection, I suppose it would have been difficult for the other parties to let it drop quite as far down the list as no 10.

  • Fraggle

    My bad – UUP got health, not DUP.

    GavBelfast, my sides split! Kindergarten, fantastic joke!

  • Comrade Stalin

    It looks like to me like the parties have simply run D’Hondt between themselves the same way as in the assembly.

    Tom, that’s exactly what they’ve done. It means there are no big surprises on the day.

    What’s more interesting is that you could interpret this scenario as a element of voluntary coalition. Rather than gambling on what ministries the other guys are going to take, everyone agrees them up front, and presumably deals are done whereby co-operation between ministries will be guaranteed. Sounds quite optimistic.

  • Allister

    Speculation that Poots could be a Minister should come as no suprise. He got elected back in 1996 to the forum and has been an MLA ever since. Those that know Lisburn will also know his dad has been in the DUP since its foundation so has strong connections with Paisley. It seems the DUP are keen to keep a strong team at Westminister which may work against other MP’s and given the DUP have ten new comers to the Assembly it puts Poots in the frame. DCAL would make since given his role in the Maze development.

  • delta omega

    It is interesting to note that if the DUP lose a single MLA seat then the batting order in d’Hondt changes. Currently the batting order is DUP, SF, DUP, UUP, SDLP, SF, DUP, SF, DUP, UUP. However if a DUP MLA leaves the party and becomes independent then the batting order is DUP, SF, UUP, DUP, SDLP, SF, DUP, SF, UUP, DUP.

    This would mean that Sir Reg would have 3rd and 9th picks rather than 4 and 10. Would he therefore choose DETI ahead of health? If a DUP MLA resigns before the 8th May then the backroom deal from yesterday will be null and void.

    It will take 5 DUP MLAs to resign (assuming they remain independent as I don’t see a home for them anywhere else) before the numbre of seats change, in which case SDLP would pick up a second ministerial post leaving 3 DUP, 3 SF, 2 UU and 2 SDLP ministers. Can’t see that happening though.

    Don’t you just love D’Hondt

  • Rubicon

    Delta – I think you need to familiarise yourself with the legislation. Party strengths were measured at the first meeting of the Transitional Assembly following the March 7th election. A DUP MLA leaving the party now will have no affect on d’Hondt.

  • Pam

    No Delta, D’hondt is run on the basis of the seats when you sign in, and they have already signed in as DUP, so it would make no difference.

    Last time the three defectors to the DUP would have made a difference because they defected before the Assembly sat and they signed the register.

  • delta omega

    Rubicon / Pam

    Thanks for the correction – I learn something new every day.

  • Dave

    Along with Reg who is the other UUP minister going to be, I have heard Tom Elliott mentioned but I’m not so sure.