“I’m hoping the Minister’s answer will help me understand the question…”

Anyone who knows Francie Brolly, also knows he is his own man. Was he gently poking fun at the party machine which had provided him with a near unintelligible question to ask his own party’s Minster of Agriculture? Some of his colleagues at the front clearly got the joke (including the Minister herself), the back bench boys (including Francie Molloy, just out of shot) remained fairly stoney-faced throughout. Which raises another question: are our MLAs being allowed by their parties to be independent legislators? It’s a question of particular concern regarding Sinn Fein MLAs, who alone are paid ‘an industrial wage’ by their party rather than the state. As a footnote, I’ve played the clip several times, and I’m still none the wiser. I hope Francie fared better!