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.