Coming up roses or weeds?

Denis Bradley thinks the new attempts at devolution are going pretty well with ambuiguity receding but Alliance’s David Ford is doom and gloom about

  • Nevin

    “The ambiguity of the Good Friday Agreement has served its purpose and is being replaced by the healthiest political dynamic that any of us have seen in the last 40 years.”

    Poor Denis, sometime close associate of Martin McGuinness – more commonly associated with dynamite than dynamic. Perhaps the whiff of sleaze from the Causeway Coast is weaker than other whiffs in the Derry air.

    As for David Ford, the leader of the Opposition, can he land a telling blow in the planning process debacle? Will he pull the plug from the owl and the pussy cats’ boat?

  • Dewi

    “The ambiguity of the Good Friday Agreement has served its purpose and is being replaced by the healthiest political dynamic that any of us have seen in the last 40 years.”

    From Bradley – this dynamic will IMHO lead to the first “Unionist” calls for a United Ireland since……a longtime ago.

  • Bias as I am I can’t find any fault in what David said. The Programme for Goverment is a complete joke with no punchline. At under 20 pages the PfG doesn’t have the space to address much of anything, feck in recent days I’ve read more complicated dinner menus. The Chuckle Brothers show is simply a nice shiney venere on a what is a corupt and rotting hull of the good ship Stormont. While Paisley and Maguinness run arround appearing at everything their PR gets sniff of there is a country floundering. The Seagate harddrive factory closes and all the goverment does is release a statment saying they’ll find those people new jobs, like the PfG, they are ofcourse short on information on how they’ll do this.

    David Ford is the leader of the opposition and people in this country need to start listening to him and actually asking the overpaid ministers what they are actually doing to improve this country. The goverment are feckless and rudderless, but they wouldn’t be of more people held them to account. IIRC from my night classes this is called cabinet responsibility.

  • 0b101010

    David Ford is the leader of the opposition and people in this country need to start listening to him and actually asking the overpaid ministers what they are actually doing to improve this country.

    Sadly, no offense to the man himself, you’ve just pointed out why David Ford is a leader of noone. (I had also hoped the politics of arrogance had disappeared with Robert McCartney’s electoral support.)

    An effective opposition has to deliver with the swagger and self-confidence of a party in power and, historically, Alliance (or the Lib Dems across the water for that matter) just haven’t been able to produce that. Being a non-sectarian party is admirable, but campaigning on that trait alone is safe, lazy and dull. Ending the defensive campaign would be promising, but there has to be a lot more to the party than what it isn’t. Biting at the heels of the other parties just emphasises how big they are.

    Who knows, but if SDLP do become FF and UUP, say, become the Conservatives, then Alliance would find their current incarnation on very shakey ground indeed.

  • But if you actually listened to what the Alliance Party said instead of only half listening you’d see that non-sectarianism is only the start of what we’re about, we’re more involved in bread and butter politics than any other party in this country. Who was it that got the ball on Environmental Protection Agency running, the environment minister or David Ford? Who was the only other party to back Margaret Ritchie 100% from the start? Who was the party that pressured the chuckle brothers into comissioning a, since then supressed, Deloite report into the cost of maintaining a segregated state? People are starting to get out message, in every area we have an MLA none of them snuck in on the last count out 7 MLA’s succeeded comfortably, in perticular Noami Long coming within less than just over 50 votes of Peter Robinson.

  • Nevin

    Pounder, just over 3% of the electorate voted for AP in the 2007 Assembly elections whereas just over 35% voted CB. The CB don’t have much of a mandate and the AP lacks punch.

    PS Here’s a ball for David to run with. Was the information supplied to the planners and the rate collectors accurate? What steps did the planners and the rate collectors take to check the information supplied? How could lobbyists not spot the existence of only one dwelling?

  • fair_deal

    “Who was the party that pressured the chuckle brothers into comissioning a, since then supressed, Deloite report into the cost of maintaining a segregated state?”

    Surely that report was commissioned during direct rule?

  • Possibly so, if I’m wrong I’ll hold my hands up. But it’s definately this devolved goverment that is doing it’s best to supress it to the point where the Alliance Assembly teams required a freedom of information request just to get a copy.

  • Granni Trixie

    I know its a cliche, but many people joined the Alliance Party originally to address problems connected with the conflict ie “work for peace”.
    It was possible that after the ceasefires it would have difficulty in appearing relevant.De Facto it seems to be thriving – the Anna Lo factor for instance is not in isolation from other signs such as its support from younger people.

  • It’s also in interesting wee factoid that in our conference on Saturday we managed more attendees than the SDLP and UUP conference. Neither is it a coincidence that our thriving youth wing where the driving force behind many of the motions.

  • fair_deal

    “it’s definately this devolved goverment that is doing it’s best to supress it”

    No suppression just some issues that will never been agreed, some that will take a long time to resolve and some that people don’t not how to address.
    1. The elephant in the room, education, is not going to be slain, even Alliance cops out on that one. (AFAIK It is official DUP policy it should be slain but they don’t like to talk about it as them raising it is the best way to ensure it never happens – “The DUP bigots are coming for our Catholic schools etc”.)
    2. Physical changes in infrastructure and estate will take years possibly decades to overhaul not six months. The significant efficiency savings from departments will mean they have to look at such issues for some of the savings.
    3. The issue that needs resolved to enable increased sharing is low level sectarianism especially attacks which none of the parties have an answer to other than moral outrage, sympathy and an unspoken hope it will reduce in time.

  • The Deloitte report is available on David Ford’s web site, fair play to him, and worth a read:

    http://www.davidford.org/resources/sites/82.165.40.25-43aa88c1df0134.01281797/Cost+of+Segregation+Report.pdf

    It’s the context in which to judge any moves towards issue-based politics, even if things seem a little shaky at times.

  • 0b101010

    But if you actually listened to what the Alliance Party said instead of only half listening

    Again, not a way to win votes…

  • Dec

    The elephant in the room, education, is not going to be slain, even Alliance cops out on that one. (AFAIK It is official DUP policy it should be slain but they don’t like to talk about it as them raising it is the best way to ensure it never happens – “The DUP bigots are coming for our Catholic schools etc”.)

    I’m assuming Michelle McIlveen didn’t get that memo?

  • Nevin

    Papa Doc has been on his travels:

    Mr Paisley was special guest at an international conference on dispute resolution organised by the Irish branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

    While he could have chosen not to go into government until all issues were resolved, he had decided to focus on those of “absolute necessity” including acceptance of the police service and support for the rule of law.

    “I agreed I would move and we did move.

    “I didn’t think we were going to move at such speed but we did.

    “I don’t know what happened,” he said.

    “I believe we have got the proper foundation, the foundation stones are being laid and I believe that one day the building will be completed.”

    If he does, he’s not gonna tell all. I thought he said he was, er, forced.

    PS I presume he’s not talking about his developer friend’s building at the Giant’s Causeway ..

  • interested

    Pounder
    “The Seagate harddrive factory closes and all the goverment does is release a statment saying they’ll find those people new jobs, like the PfG, they are ofcourse short on information on how they’ll do this.”

    Pounder, exactly what do you propose the Executive should have done in the face of a factory closure?
    What does the Alliance suggest? That the Government nationalise the factory and ignore global economic pressures? Northern Ireland must be the only bloody place in the world where i’ve heard people complain about the promise to bring in new jobs. Yes the Executive might fail on its target, but save the criticism to then at least.

    The Programme For Government might be ‘simplistic’ – however surely that makes it easier to actually pick up on what has or hasn’t been achieved by it. Compare it to the previous one which was pages and pages of garbage, nicely worded so that no-one could ever tell if they passed or failed their own tests.

    Alliance need to get off their sanctimonious high horse. It was only the other week you had one Alliance Assembly Member proudly spouting on the Nolan show about water charges – completely oblivious to the fact that he was talking out of somewhere other than his mouth. It didn’t matter at all that he misled the public with his stuttering nonsense – he got the Alliance Party a headline.

    What really p*sses them off of course is that no-one gives them enough praise. In the past they were the peacemakers and everyone loved them. They felt a bit special because they believed that they really brought about the Belfast Agreement. Now when there’s something there which they didn’t have a hand in they throw the dummy out of the pram. They never worried about a lack of opposition when they were involved in bringing about structures which didn’t allow for it. They never bothered supporting people like the DUP when they were calling for changes to the Belfast Agreement – because that little mess was their baby and they felt some ownership of it.

    Mind you – at least the Alliance party do their whinging with a little more class and subtlety than the Ulster Unionists. That’s about the only compliment I can give them!

  • Turgon

    interested,

    I tend to regard pounder as one of the least irritating Alliance types on this web site. Your attack on the Alliance party is, however, merited and fair. Alliance do seem to spend a lot of tme complaining about a system that they were involved in up to their necks.

    Part of the irritation must be the failure to get power. Alliance members once upon a time got some nice jobs on quangos. Indeed I remember it once being alledged in jest that that was the main motivation for joining the Alliance party (a little harsh but quite amusing). Now with a sort of democracy Alliance are left carping at the side lines. Even worse if the UUP +/- the SDLP went into opposition Ford would not even be able to be leader of the opposition (is it just me or does he rather like that title he seems to have given himself?).

    The annoyance of the Alliance party does lead me to suggest, however, that there is another as yet not formally constituted political grouping opposed to the current dispensation. It is of course the prodiban.

    Pounder, I have always quite liked and admired your style and views even if I do not always agree with them. Come join the prodiban. I may well be able to find you a spare cave and if I ever get to meet the great leader Osama Bin Allister I will bring you with me.

  • [b]Interested[/b]

    [i]Pounder, exactly what do you propose the Executive should have done in the face of a factory closure?
    What does the Alliance suggest? That the Government nationalise the factory and ignore global economic pressures? Northern Ireland must be the only bloody place in the world where i’ve heard people complain about the promise to bring in new jobs. Yes the Executive might fail on its target, but save the criticism to then at least.[/i]

    My point is at the time Peter Robinson simply stated that he’d ind those workers new jobs, I can remember him and other parties saying similar things to the local workers of the shipyard and we all know how that worked out.

    [i]The Programme For Government might be ‘simplistic’ – however surely that makes it easier to actually pick up on what has or hasn’t been achieved by it. Compare it to the previous one which was pages and pages of garbage, nicely worded so that no-one could ever tell if they passed or failed their own tests.[/i]

    Interested, at 17 pages the Programme for Government doesn’t have the time to be simplistic. It completely skips over the real problems this country faces from housing shortages. The Trimble/Durkin administration was able to produce 144 pages and at the time I thought that was skimpy on details

    [i]Alliance need to get off their sanctimonious high horse. It was only the other week you had one Alliance Assembly Member proudly spouting on the Nolan show about water charges – completely oblivious to the fact that he was talking out of somewhere other than his mouth. It didn’t matter at all that he misled the public with his stuttering nonsense – he got the Alliance Party a headline.[/i]

    Please post what exactly he got wrong, I actually missed the Nolan show and no offence but I’d rather not just take your word for it.

    Funny how you mention the Belfast Agreement, in the aftermath of that when as you put it “Everyone loved us” we barely scraped in to our MLA seats, yet this time in the aftermath of St Andrews we picked up a seat and our other 6 were decided somewhat more comfortably.

  • interested

    Pounder,
    The issue was on water charges and it was the fella from North Down. IIRC he was slapped down either that day or the next by Conor Murphy over the nonsense he was spouting.

    Re your election resuts – that might have more to do with the absolutely terrible status of the Ulster Unionist Party. Were they to even bother putting up a fight then those seats mightn’t be quite so comfortable.

  • To be fair I feel that the major change in the Alliance Party’s position stems from people like myself who have only recently joined the party within the last year and are shaping the party in the way they want.

  • DC

    “Surely that report was commissioned during direct rule?”

    The Deloitte report was likely sprung off the back of ‘A Shared Future’ policy which created triennial action plans in response to the direct rule policy. The Deloitte report was likely an action point to examine, as best possible, the extent of division and costs of segregated living based on perceived ethnic-alignment, a juicy big stereotype in itself.

    There is many a hard choice to be made from that policy document but in saying that there seems to be alot more easier steps that can be taken to tackle clear manifestations of sectarian behaviour much of which can be done at an agency come executive body level, in terms of Housing Executive, DRD, and so on.

    What remains unclear is the level of money required to meet much of the policy’s objectives and how much of this has now been diverted away for other priorities. Alliance’s stance indicates a strong diversion.

    Nonetheless the action plans will still run? Wont they…? They should of themselves draw down money in order to complete what has been agreed.

    It is, therefore, unclear what shortcomings there are as a result of this PfG.

    But of interest, and as Chris Donnelly often states, apparently N Ireland is to expect more mixed accommodation in newly designated areas for public housing.

    So just how much of this policy has been affected by the Executive’s apparent abandoning of it in the recent PfG.

    It would be interesting to know whether the money for such action plans is ring-fenced or whether this PfG has overridden what was previously agreed or whether money has now been stopped in support of this particular policy.

  • Turgon

    Pounder,
    Stop ignoring my offer of a cave and prodiban membership.

  • Tried the protestant thing Turgon, I prefer guilt free sex.

  • Turgon

    A good answer.
    This is maybe not the blog to discuss sex and fundamentalism. Another time perhaps.
    Regards