“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?

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Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty