Childish behaviour?

Whether it’s a reaction to the UUP’s weekend conference – and the appearance there of the NI Minister for Social Development [RealPlayer file] – or whether it’s a reaction to previous events within the Assembly and the Executive [or even somewhere else? – Ed], the statements from Sinn Féin and the DUP criticising their smaller partners in the Executive, the UUP and the SDLP, should make interesting reading for anyone contemplating the role of the opposition in this “indigenous” deal. Firstly from SF’s John O’Dowd

“This is politics being made to work. People would prefer the SDLP and UUP to swallow their pride and get on with the job of playing a constructive role in the delivering for our communities through the Executive rather than behaving like small children in a huff.”

And from the DUP’s Michelle McIlveen, in a statement titled “Yes – Stranglehold on Executive exactly what DUP want.”

It may not suit the SDLP but we established Government in Northern Ireland to see the province succeed and strengthen the Union. That’s why we were determined to introduce accountability to the institutions and bring an end to the ability of freelance Ministers to act in defiance of Executive colleagues or the Assembly.

[That makes some recent Assembly decisions even more watchable – Ed]

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  • URQUHART

    Glad to see McIlveen confirm that Margaret Ritchie was stopping funding to the UDA ‘in defiance of Executive colleagues”.

  • al

    Glad to see McIlveen confirm that Margaret Ritchie was stopping funding to the UDA ‘in defiance of Executive colleagues”.
    Posted by URQUHART on Oct 29, 2007 @ 06:24 PM

    That is interesting isn’t it.

  • sam

    Hope we’re not going to have to go over all that old ground again- the defiance was over how she was acting not the ultimate objective which very few unionists disagree with

  • Snaz

    Thats the whole point the DUP cant spin their way out of. She did freelance and the only thing that might stop her is the law not her Executive colleagues straight jacket. Same as the Irish Language act and scrapping of the 11+. You tell me which of these ministerial descisions has found its way onto the floor of the assembly for a cross community vote? So much for triple locks etc,etc.

  • ulsterfan

    The DUP are very proud of promoting the principle of accountability.
    They have exercised power less than 6 months—–lets see how they try to avoid accountability in a few years time when the birds come home to roost and their broken promises are held up to public scrutiny.

  • snod

    Triple lock was about devolving policing powers

  • joeCanuck

    The only thing that McIlveen can confirm is what her colleagues tell her. She is not a member of the Executive.

  • joeCanuck

    Pete,
    Perhaps you should have added something to your blog along the lines of:
    “..or draw attention away from what their freelance Ministers have done or are minded to do…

  • pith

    joe canuck,

    “The only thing that McIlveen can confirm is what her colleagues tell her. She is not a member of the Executive.”

    Interesting that the DUP members who are in the Executive put these comments out under the name of an unknown MLA rather than their own names.

  • spiritof07

    Big O’Dowds statement is a classic. In the last week alone the Executive has delivered a budget, a PfG and an Investment Strategy. Nice going – a promise to completely overhaul theplanning service within 5 YEARS? these documents and their targets are laughably abject.

    the foxes are in the hen house, but they’ve calmed down an awful lot.

  • Son Of Satan

    Big John O’Dowd is a million percent correct, the SDLP are behaving very badly indeed, the next thing you’ll know them SDLP’ers will be wanting a United Ireland or something awful like democracy.
    That’s the problem with them Durkan people they just aren’t thankful enough for a NIO jackboot on their neck.

  • Turgon

    I doubt these comments were deliberately put out at about the same time by the DUP and SF.

    What is interesting, though is that the “love in” although on different topics seems to be continuing. I would have thought that the apparent continuation of the “love in” would be considered a political liability by the DUP at least (clearly I am in no position to comment on the SF position).

    I may be very wrong on this but I do suspect that being seen to be close to SF is a major danger for the DUP. Whilst they may not have splits and the UUP still seem weak despite a fairly good last few weeks, I still suspect that the DUP will be in danger of loosing support by a slow steady drip.

    A number of DUP supporting commentors have said on this site that they feel the DUP need to stop looking so close to SF. I begin to wonder if the DUP leadership might be developing a bit of a blind spot for the thinking of the unionist grass roots just like the UUP did before. It may be time for the prodiban to consider coming out of our caves in Ballymenastan and moving gingerly towards the ultimnate goal, the capital of Kabulfast.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The UUP/SDLP aren’t the only ones behaving like children. During Paisley’s Q&A session last week, Naomi Long bullishly asked :

    In the document, I cannot find any substantive reference to many issues, such as a shared future, good relations, community relations, post-primary transfer, sustainable schools policy, free personal care or the environmental protection agency — amongst others. How long do the First Minister and deputy First Minister intend to dine out on the feel-good factor created on 8 May 2007? When will they back it up with substantive action to deliver on a shared future and make that hope a reality?

    To which Paisley wittily replied :

    I am sure that the honourable lady enjoys dining out herself.

    and went on to not bother answering the question.

  • Turgon

    Comrade Stalin,
    I am in no way defending Paisley here (not being a supporter) but as someone who has heard him speak and preach a few times you must remember a few things about him.

    He is a very old man and old dogs have trouble learning new tricks. Also he has rarely been brilliant at the cut and thrust of debate, for example on television interviews.

    He was a brilliant orator and preacher and remains not bad at all. His skill is in the quite long speech which i suspect he prepares very carefully.

    The Prime Minister’s questions type of format is one I suspect he has relatively little experience of and I suspect that helps explain his frequently rather poor performance.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Comrade,

    You quote stopped after the quip. Paisley gave her an answer of sorts:

    The First Minister: I am sure that the honourable lady enjoys dining out herself.

    She should read from page 3 of the document:

    “our approach to delivering our priorities will be underpinned by the two cross-cutting key themes:

    A better future: fairness, inclusion and equality of opportunity will be watchwords for all our policies and programmes.

    This places an overarching responsibility on the Executive to proactively change the existing patterns of social disadvantage by using increased prosperity and economic growth to tackle ongoing priority.”

    I am sorry that the lady does not read more carefully before making such statements.

    Not that I believe a word of it but still no excuse for snipping his reply.

  • mmmmmm

    This is getting ludicrous, the UUP and SDLP while not acting like children are obviously keen to point out their independence from the DUP/SF alliance and will take any opportunity to do so even if it is a little childish at times.

    But they have a reasonable point in that the DUP and SF are extremely protective and paranoid about their new found power and are extreme in their bullishness. Robinson is definitely attempting to control the executive and is attempting to bully ‘the opposition’ on the executive.

    What is the most ludicrous is that this axis has developed at all, they must think people are stupid, they may well turn out to be right but they will have to stand by their actions and decisions……no more smash sinn fein come election time – in fact they cant even play the ‘make us the biggest party or get sinn fein’ line as the way they are working it makes little difference who is number 1 as they are so hog tied to each other.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The similarities between the DUP and Sinn Fein statements are unnerving…

  • veritas

    I thought “Lurch” was chairman of the public accounts committee,imagine that,I should have thought that he would be all for accountability-just as long as it is not the sinn fein/dup politburo

  • veritas

    Remember the first one bucharin ,Kamenev,Zinoviev trotsky -all fell foul of Robo oops sorry I meant Stalin

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    Paisley’s reply was an ad-hominem remark that would probably get you a yellow card on Slugger. There’s no excuse for that. It’s what little kids do in playgrounds.

    Frank,

    I was highlighting the ad hominem remark which is why I snipped the rest, but nonetheless Paisley did fail to answer the question. There isn’t a single word of Paisley’s reply which explains how the executive plan to deal with the core problem of community relations.

    Veritas,

    You are sullying the good name of Slugger by mentioning the names of those bourgeois counter-revolutionary pay-lackeys of capitalism. At least in the Kremlin there were several well-stocked drinks cabinets.

  • oh yeah

    speaking of childish, surely william humphreys’ attempt to censor parts of the internets that he dosent agree with could also be deemed childish. but then what does one expect from a party that embraced billy wright and his murder of many catholics

  • joeCanuck

    Competition time.

    What name does oh yeah normally blog under?

  • J Kelly

    Are we seeing the emergence of new Norn Ireland party…what about a new name the Alliance Party

  • oh yeah

    arent there enough conspiracy theories to deal with rather that that joe, lol, you have too much time on your hands lad pmsl

  • URQUHART

    Turgon: “I doubt these comments were deliberately put out at about the same time by the DUP and SF.”

    Doubt all you like, it isn’t the first time. Do you not remember the co-ordinated response to Ritchie’s whistle blowing on Hearts & Minds? In case you’ve forgotten, McGuinness and Dodds attacked Ritchie with the very same weasel words.

  • Nevin

    “The similarities between the DUP and Sinn Fein statements are unnerving…”

    BG, perhaps you could get us the relevant quote from the Orange and Green Book. And I thought the legitimate government of Norn Iron should have seven members, not nine – or don’t/can’t the Chuckle Brothers count.

    “Ein volk! ein riech! eine anzeige! zwei fuerers” – Tower of Babel lobster

    PS What colour is the beret?

  • Nevin

    Urguhart, who leads Her Majesty’s Opposition? David Ford? Reg Empey? Margaret Ritchie?

  • Snaz

    Nevin,
    David Cameron leads HM Opposition. The current set up at Stormont is pedicated on a 4 x party state. Untill there is legislative change (which will have to come through Westminster) the UUP and SDLP will have to do what the DUP and the Shinners did for the previous Executive. Claim credit for the achievments of their ministeries, say “it wasnt me” for anything unpopular that happens on theirs or anyone elses ministeries. Its called having your cake and eating it and whilst in not natural UUP behaviour I for one think now after so much lies, spin and hypocrisy thats what good for the goose…..

  • observer

    he current set up at Stormont is pedicated on a 4 x party state. –

    desgined by the SDLP and UUP who, now there are the minority partys, dont want to play by their own rules

  • Snaz

    Designed to have collective responsibility making sure everyones views are respected not a cynical secterian carve up feeding of each other to remain dominant in each others community. This is nearly Secterian apparthaid. No sour garpes, I believe we stay in and get stuck in but still expose the many, many failings of this most unlikely of voluntary coalition governments. What about the South Armagh murder, Jeffrey and Arlene??

  • BonarLaw

    Snaz

    the current dogs’ dinner that passes for devolution is a UUP/ SDLP construct, or rather an SDLP construct to which the UUP caved. I remember telling fellow UUP members (and anyone else who would listen) during the referendum campaign that we had created sectarian appartheid. I was brande d disloyal and a fith columnist with an anti leadership axe to grind.

    Just remember who was the key UUP figure in 1997/98 who pressed the negotiations to their conclusion and got a knighthood for his trouble. Reg wasn’t calling the Strand One outcome a carve up when he thought he would inherit the First Ministers’ post.

  • mmmmmmmmm

    Snaz

    I suppose you a right to a point, this is largely an SDLP/UUP/PUP/Womens Coalition/Alliance Party creation.

    My objection is not the system (although some form of coherent opposition would be nice (but it could be done if you play the system)

    My objection is how it is being down, there is no obligation on the DUP and Sinn Fein to constantly hold hands and make decisions behind closed doors as one sectarian carve up and trade off after another – with no public disagreement between the two (what is that about!)

    There is also no obligation on the personalities within those two parties (but especially robinson) to bully and dominate those not part of his new axis….I am far far far from an SDLP voter but I think Ritchie got it right…there is one thing you do to a bully 🙂

  • Nevin

    Snaz, I was referring to HM Opposition at Stormont. The clues are in the names 🙂

  • Nevin

    “rather an SDLP construct to which the UUP caved”

    The SDLP gave us the three sets of relationships but I felt the UUP did its best to insert the unionist aspiration. In the SDLP 3 we had NI, the island of Ireland and Dublin speaking for the island in strand 3.

  • veritas

    McGimpsey,Ritchie,Empey better start doing what they are told or they will be sent to the Gulags for re-education

  • sam

    I love this criticism of Robinson for seeking to dominate the Executive. Of course that’s what’s he going to do. It’s what any half decent politician should be trying to do. A lot of this criticism comes from the fact that UUP and SDLP Ministers are struggling to come to terms with no longer just doing what they like in their departments and having to behave like a government.

  • veritas

    opposition ? no one will be permitted to oppose the politburo

  • BonarLaw

    Nevin

    the SDLP gave us d’Hondt and the sectarian community designation of MLAs- exactly the two things that Trimble said would be disastrous.

  • BonarLaw

    and no mechanism to remove those not “committed to peaceful and democratic means”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm:

    I suppose you a right to a point, this is largely an SDLP/UUP/PUP/Womens Coalition/Alliance Party creation.

    Nope, the Alliance Party opposed it from the very start. I’m pretty sure has always favoured a weighted majority executive, elected by STV.

    d’Hondt was the SDLP’s idea. They were told repeatedly how stupid and moronic it was and still is, but they wouldn’t budge, probably because Saint John was dreaming of his Prod/Taig tribal fantasy. Sinn Fein never took part seriously in the negotiations for the GFA.

    My objection is not the system (although some form of coherent opposition would be nice (but it could be done if you play the system)

    My objection is how it is being down, there is no obligation on the DUP and Sinn Fein to constantly hold hands and make decisions behind closed doors as one sectarian carve up and trade off after another – with no public disagreement between the two (what is that about!)

    Your objection is the system, the same as my objection. The system cannot provide a serious opposition, at least when it is implemented the way it is conceived (there would be opposition if more parties stayed out of the executive). It also implies carve-ups when a proportion of the parties are large enough to dominate the executive. It needs to be thrown out and replaced.

  • Comrade Stalin

    BonarLaw:

    and no mechanism to remove those not “committed to peaceful and democratic means”.

    It’s just as well, otherwise it would be an executive consisting of only the SDLP.

  • BonarLaw

    Comrade Stalin

    LOL!