Stormont Spin Watch: who exactly is “protesting too much”?

This may be exceedingly tedious compared to what’s happening out there in the big bad world, but someone’s got to do it. This afternoon Ian Paisley Junior has lambasted Margaret Ritchie. Here’s the cleverly (too cleverly) worded Presser:

Mr. Paisley compared the comments of Ms. Ritchie with the SDLP’s Older Persons Spokeswoman Mary Bradley who said concerning the announcement regarding fuel poverty:

“This is good news for 100,000 households and I hope it will help take some pressure off the most vulnerable at this difficult financial time.”

Speaking today Ian Paisley Junior said:

“It is for Margaret Ritchie to explain the dichotomy of her party colleague welcoming the Monitoring Round whilst she seeks to denigrate it.”

Hmmm, Notice the shift from fuel poverty to whole Departmental Heist Monitoring Round? This is what the Minister had to say yesterday:

“First of all Jim I would like to welcome the £15 million for the fuel poverty initiative. Away back in May I anticipated the crisis. I set up the fuel poverty task force. I presented proposals to my Executive colleagues. Sadly there were no Executive meetings for 150 days. If there had been, these proposals would have been through we would have had legislation in place; payments being made. In that respect I am glad that at last my proposals have been accepted, and those people in receipt of income support and pensions credit will start to get benefit early in the New Year.”

You can see the rest of her interview here:

Hmmm… it’s not the first time that members of the Executive have allowed matters to become vague and curiously unproductive for the SDLP’s only Minister in the Executive.

In effect, the Minister has just lost control of a nice little PR gig (that was nevertheless integral to the provenance of her department) to the growing and increasingly amorphous power of the one department at the centre of government that appears to count: the joint office for the protection of local interest the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

So, remind me again why we have a legislative Assembly and a de Hondt mechanism for deciding who the scapegoats will be controls Ministerial departments/budgets?

Or was this simply Robo’s rather heavy handed revenge for CTI (Part One)?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty