“Plodding through a script shows you’re not thinking”

Our nascent parliamentarians have a lot to learn. Not least to make speeches they actually understand, and using langauge (whether Ulster Scots or Irish) to the full, rather than in tokenistic phrases. Though the cause, Brian Feeney surmises, may lie in the very lack of distinction between various parties’s opinions.

Surprisingly the assembly has adopted the practice of the Dail of allowing members to read in a monotone from a script.

In Westminster anyone trying to do that would immediately be faced with a barrage of shouts of ‘reading!’ Plodding through a script shows you’re not thinking.

True, in the case of many assembly members we know that would be an impossible requirement, but a requirement to speak from a few notes would not only demonstrate the ability to think, or not, as the case may be, it would also dramatically shorten the contributions and liven them up.

A couple of sessions in June on health matters produced a mind-numbing set of readings followed by a response from the health minister in his trademark sepulchral tones. By the end it was obvious some officials had lost the will to live.

The assembly members are all so dull, self-important and obsequious that the assembly has been as lively as a morgue or a waxworks like the US Senate where humanoids can read the Washington phone directory into the record. If it wasn’t for Sinn Féin’s cupla focal how could you tell they were not all in the same party?

Is that the real reason they do it?

Welcome to Consociational Northern Ireland!

  • Rory

    What a contrast with an earlier NI parliamentarian whose “dramatic entry into politics was like a rude noise in a church.” and who “for a brief moment combined the strong and emerging revolutionary feelings outside Parliament with the status of an elected MP” and who “outside Parliament…drew enormous crowds….a brilliant public speaker (who had) the most extraordinary knack of plucking the appropriate words from the thin air and, apparently without preparation or strain, forming them into perfect sentences and enriching the result with an invigorating intensity and passion.”

    Who was speaking of whom?

    A prize of an intimate dinner for two* with Herself for the first correct response (leaving me free to my own devices).

    *(Winner pays.)

  • Mick Fealty

    Some deal Rory!! Can’t see many takers…

  • Rory

    I do hope, Mick, that you are not impugning Herself’s manifest charms (or at least, woe betide, the she doesn’t get to hear about it).

  • jone

    Wee Bernie?

  • wild turkey

    Rory

    um ah elected MEP?

    I’ll go with Dana (or Rosemary to those who know and love her)

    If I lose, does that mean you pay?

  • Cruimh

    “I’ll go with Dana ”

    There’s a keeper!

  • Frank Sinistra

    Hume of Bernadette Devlin?

  • Rory

    Jone was the first (and first correct) response. It was Paul Foot in his final book The Vote – How it was won and how it was undermined (Viking 2005 £25.oo) on our very own Jeanne d’Arc, Bernadette Devlin. And never a religious or politically sectarian remark ever issued from her mouth but only truth and courage. I will further spare her blushes.

    Unfortunately, Jone, following the recent scandals at ITV and the BBC over phone-in “competitions”, Slugger has prudently decided that no prizes may be offered. So I am afraid your much anticipated date with Herself must be postponed.

    However, I am avaialble if you wish instead to spend the readies on a foursome at Mlles. Trixi and Lulabelles’s Therapeutic Massage (for the discerning mature gentleman). Mlle. Fifi sometimes pops in as well (to lend a hand as it were).

  • willowfield

    Does the lack of eloquence among our elected representatives while debating issues in the Assembly have anything to do with:

    1. The fact that we don’t have a proper government and opposition?

    2. The fact that most entered politics to pursue the “constitutional issue”, and really don’t have much knowledge or interest in normal political issues like health, education, the economy, etc.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    I suspect the lack of eloquence among our elected representatives while debating issues in the Assembly is due to them being, by and large, a bit wick.

  • jpeters

    I think alot of assemblies the world over have a very poor standard of debate quality, some of this would be be down to lack of knowledge though not as much as people would like to think, (i would expect the ministers at least to be comprehensively briefed)

    some would say poor debate is symtomatic of ‘younger democracies’ such as US and ROI were the parliament was set up to represent the will of the people and was fully aware of its own importance.

    The UK parliament wasnt set up in this way and only evolved in to a representative body gradually. perhaps the debating club/lads night out atmosphere is in fact a hangover from the days when it wasnt taken so seriously by its members

  • jone

    ‘However, I am avaialble if you wish instead to spend the readies on a foursome at Mlles. Trixi and Lulabelles’s Therapeutic Massage (for the discerning mature gentleman). Mlle. Fifi sometimes pops in as well (to lend a hand as it were).’

    I think I know it – just off the Dublin Road?