Meet the new regime; same plans as the old one…

THE cracks in the Executive continue to widen by the day, and earlier tonight an Alliance amendment expressing concern at the Programme for Government re-opened the faultline between the DUP-Sinn Fein axis and the two minor partners. It was the second time in a week that UUP and SDLP members voted against their colleagues in the cabinet. Leading the charge against the Programme for Government’s lack of ambition, David Ford described the ‘coalition’ executive as “yet again in crisis”, adding: “This is the second time in a week that the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP have voted against their executive colleagues… The PfG is a massive missed opportunity and the public are now seeing how directionless the executive is.” Finance Minister Peter Robinson expressed concern: “The basis upon which any coalition government can move forward is on the basis for a programme for government. And so that there is no doubt at a later stage, without an agreed programme for government, there cannot be government.” If the UUP and SDLP wanted to show they are fed up being pushed around the cabinet table by the DUP and SF, perhaps this response suggests that the message is getting through.

  • By making their voices heard are the SDLP and UUP just alienating themselves or is there a possibility that changes be made to the programme in order to satisfy everyone. On the Mark Davenport show someone said that the programme for government is what a party has to go back to the electorate with as having supported and be measured against that. Is there a way to make this document something that all parties can gloat about to their respective communities? Perhaps voting against their own coalition wasn’t the best way to assert their presence but was that their last resort?

  • steve48

    The DUP have made it clear for years that they do not accept a mandatory coalition as a long term option for Government. What they fear is that they will be left in a voluntary coalition with Sinn Fein. The PfG is a good example of where negotiations prior to the formation of an Executive would have ensured that everyone is singing of the same hymn sheet.

  • Hogan


    As an SDLP supporter i have always been of the view that what is bad for the duppers is good for the stoops!

    Bring it on.

  • ulsterfan

    A DUP spokesman accused the UU of riding two horses at the same time .
    I could not stop laughing because the DUP have been doing this for 30 years and are world champions.
    Now that they can exercise real power and authority they look around for others to give support. No chance. They and SF who are no better must stand on their own two feet.
    Alliance SDLP and UU will make them work for respect and support.
    DUP and SF have a long way to go.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Why don’t SDLP UUP and Alliance form an opposition and stop the fiasco that is the current executive.

    DUP and SF have the most votes, let them take the decisions and be prepared to defend them against the ‘opposition’.

    Then at least everyone will have an alternative at the next election, including probably the opportunity to vote for the Allister ‘new old party’, can’t see the DUP liking that a lot.

    Enough is enough………

  • Alan

    Yes, but would the SDLP be happy to do away with the sectarian voting procedures that would prevent the Alliance and any other similarly designating party at Stormont – now or in the future – playing a full part in democratic decisions.

    What would be the point of, say, having Alliance in the executive if their votes would not count in contentious divisions?

    Behind every shibboleth there stands the ghost of compromise.

  • Risen Belfast
  • lib2016

    Risen Belfast,

    unfortunately the electorate have a say in who gets elected (the bastards!). Britain is a very rightwing country under the overlordship of an even more rightwing one. The first job is to build stability and support for a British departure. While Westminster rule exists here socialism has no chance of being accepted.

    Hopefully we can then move on to building a more decent and fair society.

  • ulsterfan


    Is there a political party in Ireland which is socialist?
    If you want to create a socialist society where do you start?
    I think you will spend the rest of your days dreaming of what may have been.

  • saveus

    Lib a very dangerous strategy you are proposing there, could even be deemed to be stageist.Although The fundamental problem with it this how do you propose to build support for a UI by implemententing right wing neo-conservative policies? How can socialists and republicans differentiate between what SF are doing while in power now ( to some extent) in the north and what they might do if they were in power in an All Ireland context? I dont want social democratic or right wing republic, its has to be the real deal or else the war was about becoming Fianna Fail

  • lib2016


    Better dead than not red? It seems to me that I’ve heard similar sentiments elsewhere.

    I didn’t believe in any war and have no intention of trying to justify one, here or elsewhere.

    The biggest and most urgent problem facing this country is reunification. What strategies favour that is the important point, not what a lot of dead heroes did.

    In case you haven’t noticed the two largest parties down south are both rightwing. This is a rightwing country unfortunately.

    It’s going to be hard enough changing ourselves without trying to change Britain as well.

    Northern Ireland needs stability if the British are ever going to leave. There is no possibility of them leaving a vacuum or worse still a civil war behind them.

  • Outstanding in my field


    This is an interesting suggestion – stability leading to change. As opposed to the left orthodoxy – and Marxist dogma about how social change is achieved.

    There is a different debate underlying some of this about the differences between transition and management.

  • saveus

    Lib,”The biggest and most urgent problem facing this country is reunification” I would beg to differ, Its not about reunification its about the type of Ireland we want to live in once unified, PFIs, Double Taxes and neo-con claptrap are not the way to build an Ireland of equals,

    If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.