“Suppose the party leader doesn’t want to remove the minister..”

With Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, talking of the need for negotiations between the parties in the Executive to resolve the deadlock over post-primary education, in the Belfast Telegraph Malachi O’Doherty raises an interesting point about the semi-detached nature of the relationship between the president of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The separation of the roles of party leader and Deputy First Minister in Sinn Fein creates the potential for every crisis on the Executive to compromise the authority of the party leader or the Deputy First Minister. And the party must be aware of that vulnerability, must ultimately want what every other government has got, the power for the removal and appointment of ministers to reside within the Executive.

How would Gordon Brown or Brian Cowan like it if senior party officials could veto their ministerial appointments? They would not accept it. Theoretically, Gerry Adams can even remove Martin McGuinness. It is inconceviable that he would try. And a further uneasy thought occurs to anyone reflecting on this problem. Surely, Gerry Adams’s political career is entirely oppositional and subversive. So can he be trusted outside the Executive to make decisions which are in the best interests of the Executive?

, ,

  • Henry94

    Surely, Gerry Adams’s political career is entirely oppositional and subversive.

    If anything the main objective of Gerry Adams’ political career for the last twenty years has been to maintain unity within Sinn Fein.

  • heck

    a few minor edits to make the comment clearer.

    “How would Gordon Brown or Brian Cowan like it if another government could veto the very existence of their government? They would not accept it. Theoretically, Gordon Brown can dissolve the executive and assembly. It is inconceivable that he would try. And a further uneasy thought occurs to anyone reflecting on this problem. Surely the British society’s existence has been entirely about invading other people’s countries and, oppressing and exploiting them. So can he be trusted outside the Executive to make decisions which are in the best interests of the Executive?”

  • nice one, heck.

  • Wee slabber

    Heck, are you trying to blow poor Malachi’s grey cells! They aren’t capable of processing that kind of logic. Good one!

  • George
    Could someone tell O’Doherty and the sub-editing staff of the Belfast Telegraph that the Taoiseach’s name is Cowen not Cowan. Pretty big mistake to let slip through.
  • T.Ruth

    CVowan/Cowen same difference-sounds like an Ulster Scot-more Planter than Gael. In any event Gerry should step off the stage and do the book tour /lecture thing. His failure to score down south was a set back. His quest for truth has been hampered by his memory loss about his time in the IRA.He could of course stand against bertie in the next Presidential election in the Republic.
    We can better develop a new Northern Ireland without having people in the system like former terrorists who are unrepentant about the crimes against humanity perpetrated on innocent people by the organisation in which they had leadership positions.
    T.Ruth

  • Rory

    This guy was surely stuck for ideas to come up with this mularkey. He attempts to alarm us by discovering a “theoretical possibility” that “Gerry Adams can even remove Martin McGuiness” and then immediately reassures us by telling us that “It is inconceviable that he would try”.

    “Gerry Adams’s political career is entirely oppositional and subversive” he tells us. Strange indeed – a Northern Ireland political columnist who seems totally unaware of the GFA and its “mini me” successor the StAA.

    Still you got to feel a little bit sorry for the man, he did need some polyfilla for his column and the alternative to this tosh was even worse tosh – commenting upon the International Liberal Conference.

  • Pete Baker

    Time for a reminder of why it’s preferable to use rational argument.

    Let someone state a view, and let the view be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, no holds barred, and no pleas of offence, hurt feelings, self-proclaimed sensitivities, “sacredness” or any other excuse allowed to stand in the way. But with a strictly governed exception, namely, an office-holder speaking ex-officio, let no individual be the target of attack, and even then neither abuse nor ad hominem attack.

    There is no excuse for ill manners and insults, though of course there is an explanation: usually, the impotence and weakness of the insulter and his or her case. Insult an idea or an institution, by all means, if you have serious grounds to do so; but not individuals: that is the bottom line.

    If you disagree that there is a semi-detached relationship between Adams and the Assembly, or if you believe that such a detachment isn’t a potential problem, then argue it.

    But do so after reading the whole thing.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,
    Adams presumably (or so I have always assumed ) did not take/want to be first minister in order to emphasise the all Ireland nature of the party – and rightly so. If you want to make a comparison with the Labour party or Fianna Fail then the more accurate one would be suggesting that it was a also problem that the SOS for Non Iron could be dismissed by Gordon Brown or the foreign minister ( surely a minister for Norther afairs would be more appropriate) of the ROI could be dismissed by Brian Cowan.

  • Dave

    The excellent Malachi O’Doherty makes some sharp observations about how the division of roles into leader of the party outside of the Executive and leader of the party inside of the Executive can create separate agendas that can conflict with each other where the executive power remains with the leader of the party and not with the leader of the Executive. I’m just not convinced that he has found any areas where the private or party agendas of Mr Adams have taken priority over the agenda of the Executive. Other potential conflicts – such as what Mr McGuinness wants – are ones that are easily manageable by a simple reminder of who the boss is. It’s pretty obvious that the Deputy First Minister has a criminal past (as have more than half of the Sinn Fein MLAs) which he does not want to be investigated by a Truth Commission. Clearly there is a conflict between the interests of the victims (the citizens) of the violence and their victimizers (members of the Executive). These conflicts are fundamentally more important yet people are quite happy for the interests of the victimizers to take precedence over the interests of the victims. If they will accept that affront to humanity with ready ease then I doubt they’ll worry about whether or not Mr Adams will give priority to his (now defunct) presidential ambitions over the best interests of this fundamentally corrupt Executive.

    That aside, there are other conflicting agendas within Sinn Fein that should serve to make voters who support Irish unity wary of them. The preeminent one being that Sinn Fein has an agenda to increase support for its party, and it does that among that section of voters who support that agenda by posing as a party that supports Irish unity. However, Irish unity would simply serve to make Sinn Fein redundant as a political party. Ergo, Irish unity would be a disastrous outcome for Sinn Fein, and it is an outcome, according to their conflicting self-serving agenda, that they should seek to avoid at all costs. A political party can only resolve these conflicting agendas by securing support on both sides of the border, thereby ensuring its prosperity irrespective of the outcome. A party that fails to do this is a party that must ensure that the border remains in place in order to ensure that its preeminent agenda (its own survival) takes priority over the conflicting unity agenda. Sinn Fein, ergo, is a truly partitionist party. Indeed, as Ed Maloney pointed out, Sinn Fein made not one single mention of Irish unity in their contacts with the incoming British Prime Minister Tony Blair through their intermediary Prof. Brendan O’Leary as a condition of securing the second IRA ceasefire in 1997. The only thing they insisted on was a place in the negotiations as laid out in the Downing Street Declaration wherein the conditions of an internal settlement were already agreed. Irish unity is the last thing that they wanted – turkeys voting for Christmas and all that.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dave,

    I think the reasonable man on the Omagh omnibus would reasonably assume that the Provos knew that they were not going to get Irish unity – and that’s why they didnt ask for it – if that indeed is the case. They opted for an Irish solution for Non Iron – after all from a Republican perspective Unionists are Irish not British – with the hollowing out of the union from the inside and other items on their shopping list such removal of the RUC, the release of prisoners etc and ministerial constitutional links with ROI i.e. not an internal settlement.

    Of course the charge of self interest is easy to lay against all politicians but probably less so against those who are not career politicians but have actually fought for their beliefs – which I think you will find the majority of the SF leadership have done.

  • Dave

    [i]”I think the reasonable man on the Omagh omnibus would reasonably assume that the Provos knew that they were not going to get Irish unity – and that’s why they didnt ask for it – if that indeed is the case.”[/i]

    At what point did this realisation occur to them? Because if they knew that their murder campaign would not secure independence then they cannot claim that the violence had that aim, can they? So what aim did the murder campaign have? Well, that is answered in the leaked memorandum from Brendan O’Leary: it was a murder campaign that was aimed at promoting the political advancement of Sinn Fein. I suggest you go look up the meaning of fascism.

    http://irelandsown.net/77sellout.html

    [i]”They opted for an Irish solution for Non Iron – after all from a Republican perspective Unionists are Irish not British – with the hollowing out of the union from the inside and other items on their shopping list such removal of the RUC, the release of prisoners etc and ministerial constitutional links with ROI i.e. not an internal settlement.”[/i]

    They opted for what they were given in the Downing Street Declaration, which was a consolidation of the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom. The other item on that itinerary, the release of prisoners, is related to serving the interests of Sinn Fein and has nothing whatsoever to do with advancing Irish unity or serving the interests of society. Of course, in order to get their own gang members out of jail, they also had to concede, contrary to their previous protestations, that IRA murder gang members they were on the same moral and legal level as Loyalist murder gang members and that all should be released. I guess the loyalists weren’t just common criminals who committed murders compared to the ‘freedom-fighters’ who merely killed, eh?

    In regard to the constitutional issue, what was given was merely a renaming of Unionist Veto as the Principle of Consent that was amended in the Ireland Act 1949 (in response to Ireland declaring itself to be a Republic). That Act stated that Northern Ireland could remain part of the United Kingdom for as long the Northern Ireland parliament decided otherwise. All that Sinn Fein actually did is accept the legitimacy of what was formerly dismissed as the Unionist Veto with the only change being that the majority would be by referendum rather than by parliament. However, whether or not a referendum will ever be held is wholly at the discretion of the British government. By accepting the legitimacy of de jure British sovereignty they de facto accepted that the legitimate claim to self-determination resided with those who are British. Game over – their supporters just don’t know it yet.

    Still, isn’t it nice to those that those who were supposed so vehemently opposed to British rule in Ireland that they would murder thousands and maim tens of thousands to end it could actually be persuaded to administer British rule in Ireland, eh? Or perhaps they were just a bunch of fascist thugs on the make who saw an opportunity to enpower themselves at the direct expense of others during the Civil Rights squabbles and seized it for all it was worth. As old time republican observed about the Provisional PIRA, “Those fellows aren’t republicans – they’re just fighting for control of the streets.”

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    [i]”Of course the charge of self interest is easy to lay against all politicians but probably less so against those who are not career politicians but have actually fought for their beliefs – which I think you will find the majority of the SF leadership have done.”[/i]

    What beliefs are those? The ones they have 100% reversed when presented with a choice of oblivion or political survival? The belief that Her Majesty’s government has no place in Ireland is reversed to ‘Her Majesty’s government has a place in Ireland if we can be her ministers.’ The belief that Her Majesty’s “forces of occupation” should be violently opposed is reversed to ‘The citizens should support the forces of law and order.’ The belief that Irish people have an inalienable right to national self-determination is reversed to ‘Irish people have no right to self-determination unless those who are British decide to join the Republic on terms that mandate the dissolution of national self-determination for all of the island.’ etc, etc.

    They, of course, did not fight for their ‘beliefs.’ They lurked behind bushes and murdered others as they returned to their wife and kids and then quickly scrambled away before the “forces of occupation” confronted them, forcing them to fight. They planted bombs in crowded shopping streets and departed the scene long before their victims were forced to fight for their survival. They are utter and abject scum who did nothing but bring disgrace and shame upon Ireland for the best part of four decades.

    Thanks to these ‘patriots’ there is no prospect whatsoever of cross-community support for Irish unity. They succeeded only in polarising protestants, and were it not for the remarkable Christianity of the citizens of Northern Ireland, those murdering scumbags would have driven the whole province into a bloody civil war instead of just bombing it back to the economic Stone Age and ensuring that only the undertakers expereinced prosperity and the burns unit at Victoria Hospital learned world class facial reconstruction skills.

  • Dave

    Typo: “That Act stated that Northern Ireland could remain part of the United Kingdom [b]until[/b] the Northern Ireland parliament decided otherwise.”

  • “Surely, Gerry Adams’s political career is entirely oppositional and subversive. So can he be trusted outside the Executive to make decisions which are in the best interests of the Executive?”
    Malachi”

    Keep it up boys the more you howl the more solidly Caitriona Ruane’s bottom will stick to the ‘ministry’ of education. I just wish the gal would come out fighting instead of soaking up all the abusive self interested nonsense.

    It is pretty obvious why Gerry has taken a back seat in the north’s ‘government,’ his party is already seen in the south as a northern beast and were its leader to lead the SF southern general election campaign as deputy dog he would be all but confirming it.

    The quote from Malachi’s piece above says a great deal about how different people view politics, Malachi seems to be saying that a politicians first responsibility is to the institution they have been elected to etc, whereas republicans [hopefully] see things differently, believing their loyalty should be to the Irish people.

    This is not a small point, not least because a great many nationalist are yet to be convinced that they are actually stake holders in the Stormont Assembly, many still understandably fear that it may well turn out to be a blast from the past.

  • Dave

    Incidently, Sammy, I suggest that you read this section (39 to 42) from the White Paper on Northern Ireland by the former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, in 1972:

    39.First there are issues of sovereignty and citizenship concerned with Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom and its relationship with the rest of Ireland. United Kingdom policy on this matter is governed by the solemn and binding pledges given by successive governments since the decision of what is now the Irish Republic to sever its connections with the Crown and Commonwealth. The pledge was originally expressed by Mr. Attlee as Prime Minister on 28 October 1948 in the words:

    ‘The view of HM Government has always been that no change should be made in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland without Northern Ireland’s free agreement.’

    The pledge was given the form of a statutory declaration by Section 1(2) of the Ireland Act, 1949:

    ‘It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.’

    This commitment has since been repeated by all successive Governments and as already noted was incorporated in the Downing Street Declaration of 20 August 1969. On 15 November 1971 speaking at the Mansion House in London the present Prime Minister [Harold Wilson] used the following words:

    ‘Many Catholics in Northern Ireland would like to see Northern Ireland unified with the South. That is understandable. It is legitimate that they should seek to further that aim by democratic and constitutional means. If at some future date the majority of the people in Northern Ireland want unification and express that desire in the appropriate constitutional manner, I do not believe any British Government would stand in the way. But that is not what the majority want today’.

    40.It has been argued that consideration might be given to a partial or incomplete transfer of sovereignty either in geographical terms (ie by transferring to the Irish Republic those parts of Northern Ireland where a majority in favour of such a transfer exists) or in jurisdictional terms (eg, by adopting a pattern of joint sovereign responsibility for Northern Ireland as recommended by the Social Democratic and Labour Party or by a scheme of condominium for which there are such precedents as the New Hebrides and Andorra). However neither of these courses if adopted without consent, would be compatible with the express wording of Section 1(2) of the Ireland Act, 1949. Moreover the exponents of a united Ireland all demand a unity of the whole island and show no sign of settling for less: they might well regard the establishment of a predominantly Protestant state as an obstacle to unity.

    41.In announcing Direct Rule the Prime Minister stated that in the future periodic plebiscites would be held to allow the people of Northern Ireland to declare their views on the Border issue. Within the context of this general decision, specific decisions will have to be made as to how frequent the plebiscites are to be; what should be asked; and what procedures are to be followed in the event of a majority vote at a future plebiscite in favour of constitutional change.

    42.Such then is the present position. The United Kingdom Government is bound both by statute and by clear and repeated pledges to the people of Northern Ireland.

    The only change from the Ireland Act, 1949 to the 1998 is that the decision on the constitutional issue will be made by plebiscite rather than by Northern Ireland’s parliment. That is arguably a worse situation for those who favour Irish unity because it is far easier to get a majority in parliment to agree to constitutional change than it is to get the majority of the people to agree to it – which, of course, is why the EU prefers to constitutional changes ratified by parliment rather than by plebiscite. It is also a worse situation because under the new arrangement only the British government can initiate a plebiscite on constitutional issue, whereas before the power to change the constitutional status lay with the people of Northern Ireland via their parliment. So well done on getter a worse deal for Irish nationalists than the deal that was in effect from 1949. That sure was worth 4,000 murders, wasn’t it?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Dave,

    this is what is called compromise. The Provos get into governement, the British change the constitutional position of Non Iron to include a role for the ROI they agree to let the Provos jointly run the criminal justice system etc. and
    cajole the Unionists into agreement ( threatened with Plan B) and the British get to have no more bombs in London.

    Of course it did take the British a good while to realise that trying to criminalise the Provos was not going to work but I suppose as most of the violence was not on their doorstep they could stick to their principles ( no compromise with terrorists) until it arrived more dangerously in the city of London.

    Without this tardy realisiation by the British that they were dealing with people of principle who were fighting over principle ( supported by Nationalsits as the hunger strike illustrated ) there was never going to be even this long over due settlement. It is also fair to point out that without someone with Adams’s (para) military past and undoubted leadership to move republicans away from violence there also would never have been a ceasefire.

    p.s. For a few pointers on principle and politics it might be an idea for you to catch the film below when it’s on release

    http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/10804139/year/2008.html

  • kensei

    Gordon Brown became effectively unsackable from Labour’s Government. Now that undoubtedly affected the decisions made by the government to some extend, but acceptable solutions were generally thrashed out. It seemed to me it was a bigger problem for the Labour Party, rather than the government.

    I suspect if there is a problem, it’ll mostly affect SF rather than everyone else.

  • truth and justice

    Private polling from the SDLP is showing Sinn Fein losing votes on the education stance, Sinn Fein seem to think by have a battle with Unionism on this one is a great winner but the reality by playing games with the every day persons childrens futures is in reality a vote loser, there may have to be a compromise that those schools who wish to have acedemic selection can do so and those who want to go down the education ministers route do so.To replace the Education Minister with some one with a bit more common sense is the right way to go, lets face the facts she aint go to take South Down after all this.

  • “by playing games with the every day persons childrens futures’

    truth and justice,

    What games, SF has a policy and it is the duty of their minister to stick to it, what you mean by playing games is that she is denying the unionist the right to set the agenda over education. I will put this very bluntly, the unionist claim allegiance to the UK, why the hell do you not then support comprehensive education?

    Or is you allegiance simply based on your own middle class self interest. Hey we will keep selective education, run that word by yourself again ‘selective’. In reality almost all of the middle class unionists supporters here understand that this will mean that their children will [hopefully] attend half decent schools, whilst their unionist working class fellow subjects will have to continue to send their kids to sink schools. You do not give a toss about Catholic children, what ever class they are.

    What is up with you lot you are very selfish people, or are you just demanding the right to keep the unionist working classes within sink schools, incase the cropies get uppity again and you will need the likes of ill educated violent morons like John Adair again.

    I have debated this subject on slugger with middle class unionists on a number of occasions, and not once has a single one made a suggestion of how we can make the education of northern unionist working class kids better, it has always been about their own offspring.

    At least Caitriona is attempting to deal with this problem. Is it any wonder that when the unionist middle classes last had political power in their statelet, they made such a bloody mess of it.

  • McKelvey

    “That aside, there are other conflicting agendas within Sinn Fein that should serve to make voters who support Irish unity wary of them. The preeminent one being that Sinn Fein has an agenda to increase support for its party, and it does that among that section of voters who support that agenda by posing as a party that supports Irish unity. However, Irish unity would simply serve to make Sinn Fein redundant as a political party. Ergo, Irish unity would be a disastrous outcome for Sinn Fein, and it is an outcome, according to their conflicting self-serving agenda, that they should seek to avoid at all costs.”

    Irish unity would make Sinn Fein redundant only if it were a single issue political party. If that were true, how many people would actually vote for them in any constituency?

    If one were to take your logic to its full conclusion, no political party would support Irish unity because the outcome for any party (in the absence of massive realignment) would be a significant reduction in relative support.

  • McKelvey

    “Thanks to these ‘patriots’ there is no prospect whatsoever of cross-community support for Irish unity. They succeeded only in polarising protestants, and were it not for the remarkable Christianity of the citizens of Northern Ireland, those murdering scumbags would have driven the whole province into a bloody civil war instead of just bombing it back to the economic Stone Age and ensuring that only the undertakers expereinced prosperity and the burns unit at Victoria Hospital learned world class facial reconstruction skills.”
    —–

    This is absurd. There a no prospect for “cross-community support for Irish unity” because 55% of Northern Ireland’s population is not interested in Irish unity nor have they ever been interested in it.
    But by all means pretend that partition’s continuance is the fault of republicans and keep pretending that unionists don’t exist and that they would now be nationalists if it weren’t for the Provos.
    Call it what you will – but, the 30 years of the “Troubles” were 30 years of Civil War.

  • qubol

    SINN FEIN IN SECRET PLAN TO INCREASE SUPPORT!

    Dave “…there are other conflicting agendas within Sinn Fein that should serve to make voters who support Irish unity wary of them. The preeminent one being that Sinn Fein has an agenda to increase support for its party…”

    Really Dave, don’t you have anything better to do.

  • Gregory

    “Irish unity would make Sinn Fein redundant only if it were a single issue political party. If that were true, how many people would actually vote for them in any constituency? ”

    They’re a canny party, they’ll grab issues of bins, just about anything, gay stuff, what they can’t do is join it together in a way that will convince people in the 26 that they’re competent.

    Because they’re eejits. They’re very good at PR, that suits people at the BBC right down to the ground, let the presser, write the story.

    look at it another way, name me one gay IRA cvolunteer who blew himself up or got shot or was etc. Where is this gay patriot?

    They went from homophobia to pro-gay activism without any intervening period of adjustment.

    They even asked me to explain it to them as they didn’t understand Caitriona! I being the resident Queer Theory expert for West Belfast.

    Ms Ruane may talk a good game on gaydom, but she hasn’t got a clue about that either. I can only assume she knows a bit about tennis and is real good at doing festivals etc.

    That latter aspect should be enough to get her a job with Stonewall.

    She may need it.

    G.

  • Gregory

    “no political party would support Irish unity because the outcome for any party (in the absence of massive realignment) would be a significant reduction in relative support. ”

    The UUP would see their share of the vote, err, stay more or less on the near-empty mark. So they could take that gamble perhaps.

    They’d have to dress it up as an expansion of Ulster. “Our immigrants need more room”, I think that might work or “they have bog and we want it”

    Give it to us or else.

    G.

  • McKelvey

    “They’re a canny party, they’ll grab issues of bins, just about anything, gay stuff, what they can’t do is join it together in a way that will convince people in the 26 that they’re competent.
    Because they’re eejits. They’re very good at PR, that suits people at the BBC right down to the ground, let the presser, write the story.
    look at it another way, name me one gay IRA cvolunteer who blew himself up or got shot or was etc. Where is this gay patriot?
    They went from homophobia to pro-gay activism without any intervening period of adjustment.”
    ———–

    So, Gregory, they’re canny, good at PR, and yet they’re eejits all simultaneously? That doesn’t really make any sense.
    That still doesn’t answer the question – if they’re a single issue party, why would anyone vote for them?

    As far as homosexual IRA volunteers, I tend not to ask such questions of people because I am of the opinion that a person’s sexual preferences isn’t really any of my business.

  • McKelvey

    “(If one were to take your logic to its full conclusion) no political party would support Irish unity because the outcome for any party (in the absence of massive realignment) would be a significant reduction in relative support. “
    ——-
    (Gregory) The UUP would see their share of the vote, err, stay more or less on the near-empty mark. So they could take that gamble perhaps.
    —–

    Well, they would see there vote share fall from roughly 15% to 5%, which would be the difference for them of being a secondary partner with some executive power to likely irrelevance.

  • Gregory

    SF are good at PR.

    Voting SF would make sense (in the north) if more of ‘now’ was thought desirable.

    Does that make sense?

    G.

  • Dave

    “Really Dave, don’t you have anything better to do.” – qubol

    Okay, that’s funny… and I sort of agree with the sentiment. BfB delivered a great one-liner to somebody called ‘Resolve’ on another thread:

    “Don’t hurt yourselves wailing, screaming, ranting, looking over at all the other poor sods in this world, and wondering WHYYYYYYYY they don’t listen to YOU.” – BfB

    He’s right, of course. It’s like trying to explain the geometry and colour of a Picasso painting to the blind. If Sinn Fein can persuade folks to endorse the Unionist Veto by rebranding it as the Principle of Consent and telling them that it is entirely new and an advance for Irish nationalists instead of a variation of the Ireland Act 1949 then there is a form of logic in operation here that is completely unknown to me. As Greg said, they’re great at PR and self-promotion, but nothing else. There is no point in singing lullabies to the deaf.

  • McKelvey

    SF are good at PR.
    Voting SF would make sense (in the north) if more of ‘now’ was thought desirable.
    Does that make sense?

    G.
    —–
    No.

  • Reader

    Mick Hall: I have debated this subject on slugger with middle class unionists on a number of occasions, and not once has a single one made a suggestion of how we can make the education of northern unionist working class kids better, it has always been about their own offspring.
    The revised curriculum, being rolled out right now, is an attempt to reach out to children who have been missing out. It follows the piloting of the same approach in the enriched curriculum, which has been rattling along for several years now.
    Guess what – the middle classes benefitted even more from the enriched curriculum than their counterparts. There just isn’t any substitute for parental and community commitment to education.
    Neither your suggestions, nor English Comprehensives, nor Ruane’s chaos, is going to solve a problem that is seemingly set in stone by the age of 10 or 11. It’s just too late. Tell me what you want to do with the primary schools. Tell me what Ruane wants to do. Saying that 100% of Shankill children should go on to comprehensives, instead of 95% going to secondary schools, isn’t going to fix anything. What will the comprehensives be like? How will the 5% fare? What are you offering?

  • I’m traveling today but will try to answer you post more fully later in the week. I agree 100 percent with your point about there being no real substitute for parental and community commitment to education.

    However in most cases working class parents love their kids and want the best for them, just as most middle class parents do, however they and then their children are at a disadvantage as they neither know how the educational system works, especially from 11 upwards due to their own lack of a decent education, if you get my drift.

    As to comprehensives in England, despite all there faults, the record speaks for itself and proves they are clearly a step up from the old system of selection and sink secondary moderns.

    Best regards

  • BonarLaw

    Mick Hall

    “As to comprehensives in England, despite all there faults, the record speaks for itself ”

    Indeed it does hence the opposition to a similar system here.

  • interested

    Not to blow a hole in Malachy’s theory, but Gerry Adams can’t remove McGuinness or anyone else.

    Pat Doherty is the SF returning officer in the Assembly – mind you, that makes things worse. Marty could get the boot on the whim of the Quartermaster.