“It’s just get dug into the trench and refuse to move on anything.”

With the Northern Ireland Commission for Catholic Education approving the use of academic selection by Catholic grammar schools, in the absence of a regulated system of post-primary transfer, the NI Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Cáitríona Ruane, was unusually keen to be first into the Stormont Live studio to point out that the Catholic Church still wanted to see an end to academic selection. As she’s, apparently, still ignoring the political reality that conversation is below the fold. Also on the programme, the SDLP’s Dominic Bradley noted a rider on the bishop’s statement promising more detailed commentary on the proposals later and the UUP’s Basil McCrea made the following observation.

“I think it’s classic Sinn Féin negotiating tactics, if you like. It’s just get dug into the trench and refuse to move on anything. Maybe at the eleventh hour there’ll be a deal done. Actually, I think education is too complicated to do that and, unlike other times, Sinn Féin are not negotiating with the government, they’re negotiating with the people. And Gerry Adams has got a lot to answer for because he put this woman in here, he’s sticking by her. It’s his failure of leadership just as much as her’s.”


And here is the Northern Ireland Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Cáitríona Ruane, on Stormont Live.

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  • Kensei

    put this woman in here

    I don’t normally buy the sexism stuff levelled at Ruane, but this phrasing makes me uncomfortable.

  • Pete Baker

    ken

    Before you take offence at that particular phrasing, you need to take account of the decision making process which saw Cáitríona Ruane nominated as the Northern Ireland Education Minister..

  • Kensei

    Pete

    Before you take offence at that particular phrasing, you need to take account of the decision making process which saw Cáitríona Ruane nominated as the Northern Ireland Education Minister.

    No, Pete, I really don’t. I don’t care what excuse you put up, do not refer to people like objects.

  • Pete Baker

    “I don’t care what excuse you put up, do not refer to people like objects.”

    Whatever, Ken.

    You still need to take account of the decision making process which saw Cáitríona Ruane nominated as the Northern Ireland Education Minister..

    Where is the democratic accountabiity in that decision, for example?

  • Kensei

    Pete

    Whatever, Ken.

    You still need to take account of the decision making process which saw Cáitríona Ruane nominated as the Northern Ireland Education Minister..

    Where is the democratic accountabiity in that decision, for example?

    No Pete, you fucking whatever. The democratic accountability or otherwise is utterly, utterly irrelevant to the language used here. Anything else is completely unworthy of you.

    The system used here was agreed by referendum. The parties were voted by an electorate that knew how they were chosen. Ruane was nominated in the same fashion as all the other ministers, and had to receive the same support. Everyone knew the rules before we started. They are at this juncture unlikely to change in the short term. Deal with it.

  • Pete Baker

    “No Pete, you fucking whatever. The democratic accountability or otherwise is utterly, utterly irrelevant to the language used here. Anything else is completely unworthy of you. The system used here was agreed by referendum.”

    Indeed, Ken. That’s why the “utterly, utterly” democratic decision by Gerry Adams to anoint Cáitríona Ruane is being called into question.

  • Kensei

    Pete

    Indeed, Ken. That’s why the “utterly, utterly” democratic decision by Gerry Adams to anoint Cáitríona Ruane is being called into question.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/vote2007/nielection/html/202.stm

    Catriona Ruane topped the poll in South Down; she was chosen for a ministry by her party leader under the agreed rules, the same as anyone else. If the electorate wish to have a different choice they can change their vote patterns accordingly and ti make it very hard for SF to get the education Ministry. If they really dislike it, you may not Alliance have no ministries.

    You will find even under the UK or US systems it very hard to get rid of a minister that is backed by a party of government. Basil isn’t criticising the system in any case, not least because it would be a nonsense with the UUP Minster in post on the same rules. He is criticising his choice and his sticking by it, and there is a difference.

    I have no problem with people criticising her: she’s played a weak hand quite badly. But the manner in which Basil McCrea has done so is in a fashion that for the first time I have detected the nasty undercurrent that others have claimed. It’s a valid point and worth noting, because in the liong run it’ll only weaken the arguments.

  • Fair Deal

    Pretty good summation soundbyte by Basil

  • The Raven

    “The system used here was agreed by referendum. The parties were voted by an electorate that knew how they were chosen.”

    ….really….?

    “If the electorate wish to have a different choice they can change their vote patterns accordingly and ti make it very hard for SF to get the education Ministry.”

    ….really, REALLY? While I would never be one to comment on mass voting patterns, even I think that you are imbuing the blinded and sheep-like bulk of the electorate with a voting intelligence that just isn’t there…

  • Kensei

    The Raven

    ….really….?

    Yes. Unless you want to go down the St Andrews is not the GFA route, which I will be happy to dismiss for the nonsense it is.

    ….really, REALLY? While I would never be one to comment on mass voting patterns, even I think that you are imbuing the blinded and sheep-like bulk of the electorate with a voting intelligence that just isn’t there…

    See, I don’t disparage the electorate with descriptions such as “sheep-like”. If the electorate wants rid of Ms Ruane badly enough, there are mechanisms there to do so. The people of South Down could of course refuse to elect her if she is the issue. Is the system perfect? No. Is it OMG THE WORLD IS ENDING BAD as Pete likes to constant go on about? No.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Ken

    What is wrong with the phrasing? Ruane is a woman.

    If he had said ‘man’ about Robinson or Empey for example would you have objected?

  • willis

    Surely this argument is beside the point. C Ruane is Gerry Adam’s proxy. To see her operate is to see him operate. True or false?

  • The Raven

    Kensei, come off it. The majority of the electorate (and you will note that I used “bulk of” in my post) here vote with the conscience their parents gave them.

    If the majority of the electorate here voted with anything other than a nationalist/unionist agenda, we’d have an assembly full of independents, and a whole host of colours other than orange or green (with apologies to Brian Wilson).

    I don’t want to get into whatever spat you’re having with Pete, but to suggest that the greater part of the electorate here vote with anything other than them ‘uns on their mind, is frankly foolhardy.

    As for Agreements? Well done to Tony’s spin machine on full cycle.