“The administration appears to be facing early paralysis…”

An interesting report from Noel McAdam in the Belfast Telegraph informs us that Executive ministers met informally last week, for five hours, “to hammer out their policy priorities and strategy for the months ahead.” [Did a certain announcement get mentioned? – Ed] The Telegraph also highlights some things to come and there’s a report on the UUP MLA Danny Kennedy’s comments, as chairman of the formerly-Committee of the Centre,

“The administration appears to be facing early paralysis. My committee keeps on writing to ask what is happening, but there are few answers.”

And he also mentions something that has been, in part, noted before

“The Assembly remains at the level of a school debating society, dealing with private members motions rather than real business. I think the difficulty is that the Executive is now at the point where real choices and decisions are having to be made and, frankly, it’s not working. It is the nature of coalition government for there to be constant delays. Each of the parties involved has their own different priorities.”

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  • interested

    This is politically motivated rubbish from Kennedy.

    Devolution took place in May, if you take out July and August then you have less than three months work having took place.

    Lets face it – the implication from Kennedy is to have a pop at the DUP and SF, but what have his own Ministers done to bring forward any proposals? Is he claiming that they have tried to bring things forward but had them blocked? No – he’s not actually saying anything other than casting baseless allegations.

    What did the Executive bring forward in the first three months post 1998?

    As for the Assembly being a ‘school debating society’ – that is undoubtedly true – but again, the Ulster Unionists have done absolutely nothing to raise that level. Indeed they have been putting forward their fair share of motions calling for this, that and the other to be implemented regardless of cost or anything else.

    If Danny wants grown up politics then he’ll have to do the same, and get his party to come along as well – or will all that happen after the UUP decide whether to go into opposition again this week……

    Lets face it – this is the Deputy Leader of a party which said it would go into opposition, not because it opposed anything which was going but would do so if it didn’t get its way when it came to funding from the Finance Minister – basically if Reg and the Undertaker didnt get their sweeties then they’d throw the rattle out of the pram.

    And that’s grown-up politics?

  • Rory

    Kennedy’s analogy with school is interesting. Perhaps he harks back to a glorious 50 years at Stormont School when UUP Lunch Monitors had dictatorial control over doling out the contents of the pork barrel and, unchalenged, parcelling out the tasty loin and succulent chops to their 1st XI pals while the grubby council estate ‘free-lunch oiks’ were left to suck on the gristle of the pig’s trotters.

  • Eddie

    And Danny’s grammar isn’t so hot either. You can’t say: “EACH of the parties involved has THEIR own different priorities” – mixing singular and plural.
    You can say: “EACH of the parties involved has ITS own different priorities”
    Or better still: “Each party has different priorities”
    But now I’m wasting time, same as Danny.

  • Great to see our politicians doing such a great job, eh? Thank god we’ve got rid of those “direct rule” unaccountables and replaced them with local incomprehensibles. Who says devolution isn’t working.

  • Florriebinn

    Well let’s be realistic about the whole thing. Northern Ireland is over-governed and don’t the Assembly mob love their role in ‘government’? Meaningless strategy documents are being mulled over at committee, and doing the ‘houses’ in case that anyone gets offended – or feels left out. The sad thing is that Peter Robinson’s “Lesbians from Lenadoon” quote regarding the whole wide consultation process rings true. Stormont in its glorious hey-day sat famously for three days a week; three weeks a month and three months a year. Be real, this Assembly is just a glorified talking shop – a big girls’ blouse of a City Hall. Just look at the hoo-haa that the ‘Giant’s Causewaygate’caused yesterday.. Heavens above, talk about a storm in a tea cup? The whole BBC and UTV newsroom were on high alert for an afternoon. Give us real politics – real budgets – real politicians and not all this shadow boxing – May Ireland’s / Ulster’s dead rise up and curse us.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s not that powersharing it’s bad, it’s that the current implementation of it is bad. Power isn’t being shared, it’s being divvied up with some kind of weird hidden veto preventing ministers from actually making decisions. And when they do make decisions, the circumstances leading to them seem to be decidedly cloudy.

    The governing parties seem to be operating a strategy of avoiding dissent by avoiding decisions on contentious subjects, in order to preserve the executive. Put more simply, the means has become the end – keeping themselves in power seems to have become more important.

  • Rory

    Why yes, Comrade Stalin, that is exactly how bourgeois democratic government works. It looks a wee bit different with pretend ‘opposition’ parties but really it all revolves around the old principle of “Buggin’s turn’ (English) at the ‘pork barrel'(American). Doncha jest love it?

  • interested

    Power arguably is now much more shared than it was in 1998 – at least you don’t have Ministers completely ignoring what their counterparts in other Departments say and do, they have to work together and work to an agreed programme for Government.

    Ministers have made decisions – the veto hasn’t yet been used and the only issue where the real threat of its use has been the issue of post-primary transfer. Mind you, the Minister there does need to get off her a*se and bring forward something instead of mulling the same issues over for longer.

    What’s wrong here of course is the Steve Nolanisation of politics in Northern Ireland. We shout and demand that Ministers get on with their job and not spend months with nothing to show for it….. then one Minister actually gets on with it and makes an announcement and there’s another crying match because she didn’t run round half the country asking everyone and their dog what they thought about it – despite the fact that Councils, National Trust and every other do gooder in the Country had 7 years to get off their ar*e and do something yet didn’t seem to bother.

    Even after the decision is taken the debate isn’t even on the real issue. Apparently politicians had to grow up and deal with real issues – shame the media hasn’t joined them.

    See the Giants Causeway debate – the whole issue apparently is about public/private ownership and running of a visitors centre. However, there has not been one single article or discussion about the actual merits of public vs private ownership and which would actually do a better job.

    There will be plenty of decisions coming where there will be more than enough dissent so satisfy people.

  • Carol

    School Debating Society? An inept one at that on the part of the UUP, tabling the exact same motion with the exact same wording on fuel poverty just over 3 months after it was previously debated.

    The UUP claims this was done on purpose due to nothing being done by DRD – well minus July and August for recess the DRD has had approximately 6 weeks to have done something – why didn’t the UUP just bring it up in a question if they’re so worried??

    Wish some real governance would start to take place…