“and tell the people so, together”

A Belfast Telegraph Viewpoint picks up on the absence of statements of support from other NI Executive ministers for the Social Development minister’s ultimatum to the UDA – although it does notes the apparent support from the NI Secretary of State. It’s not an issue on which all of the Executive have been completely silent though. And neither have some commentators. The article goes on to ask a few questions about the Executive, collectiveness, and what happens next in our consociational administration – questions that might not be answered by referring to the ministerial code… assuming that Executive can stop ““struggling with its own internal contradictions”

Is this an indication of the way decisions are to be taken in the power-sharing executive, where ministers are solely responsible for their own departments, and the others declare no interest, even in controversial matters? It might be difficult obtaining a consensus on deadlines for decommissioning, but the public would expect some discussion to take place, at least, and opinions aired.

The executive is still bedding down, with no major decisions taken, but the aim must be to provide the leadership and the joined-up government which has been sorely lacking under direct rule. Under power-sharing, the DUP and Sinn Fein must find accommodation on as many policies as possible – and tell the people so, together – or the benefits of devolution will not be realised.

  • Rubicon

    Pete – I have to say – some of the points you raise here you make overly complex. At times I think I’m signing up to a course of study before commenting on one of your threads. I sure you’ve your reasons and suspect the need to avoid (or at least not feed) “whataboutery” is there somewhere.

    On topic – you raise a fundamental issue with the consociational form of government that comes from the GFA. I agree, it will present serious difficulties and (eventually) lead to the electorate requiring its revision. How it should be revised is really the strategic game that is being played out – that most don’t care to heed right now.

    In this context, what Richie does (or doesn’t do) is small beer – except that her decision may profoundly influence whether the SDLP remain in the game.

  • Pete Baker


    “the need to avoid (or at least feed) “whataboutery”” wasn’t actually part of my thinking when posting.

    It was a late post and I had many thoughts on the subject which I wanted to refer to.

    But it is a complex issue with lots of ripples – many of which have a long way to go before hitting the shoreline.

    Look at it as a post noting where those ripples are now and indicating where they could lead.. and not necessarily a post predicting their final destination.

  • Ian

    Pete, do you think the recent article in yesterday’s Newsletter (“No ‘feud’ in Carrick says McDonald”), with its references to a “third party” stirring up trouble between the ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ UDAs, merits its own thread? (A suggested title: “The ‘Ugly’ UDA”??)