Why Margaret Ritchie has bigger balls than the DUP…

AFTER the cracks in the Executive finally split on Tuesday, political commentator David Adams made some astute comments on Talkback on the lack of joint responsibility in the enforced coalition. While I don’t have a copy of his script, he noted the lack of clear lines between ministerial autonomy and collective responsibility. For example, Sinn Fein seemed to have no idea in advance of the DUP Culture Minister’s ‘decision’ to bin the Irish language bill. But did Poots even make a decision? Well, despite the hype, no, he didn’t, as yesterday’s statement from the Executive makes clear, he merely “signalled his own intentions in relation to the making of legislation”. When Poots said “I remain unpersuaded that there is a compelling case for progressing legislation, at this time” it is stating a mere opinion, in the same way the DUP Environment Minister was only “minded” to grant permission to Seymour Sweeney’s Causeway plans. So why are DUP ministers only indicating their personal views? Adams suggests it allows them to let their supporters know that what they want in advance of any collective Executive decision, which might be different. Hence, no Maze stadium decision, no Causeway decision, no victim’s commissioner. In other words, it allows the DUP ministers to be seen not to be part of the collective decision-making process – which is exactly what they are accusing Margaret Ritchie of. The difference is, Ritchie seems to have asked the other ministers for their views and then had the balls to make an actual decision, instead of fudging it.

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