Wilford’s snap-shot of Assembly performance

Willie Graham in the Irish News has done a fascinating little round-up of opinion on Assembly performance after two years, headed by a very diplomatic Rick Wilford, professor of politics at Queen’s and probably the leading academic analyst. Rick plumps for an Executive of 7, including Alliance for J&P, thus opening the door to the designation “other” for seats round the table. Wouldn’t it be great if…?? Wilford extracts.

The same kind of unity of purpose ( shown after the Army and PSNI murders) has not yet been fully tested at executive level and the real challenge for it now is whether the ministers are up to the economic crisis.

On the party share-out, he confirms

If it was six in the first instance it would be 2 DUP, 2 SF, 1 UUP and 1 SDLP. So you would still have the four parties there. If we had seven it is my understanding this would go to Alliance – the policing and justice ministry – if they want to take it. But the balance then between unionists and nationalists (given the first and deputy first minister as well) would be four-four.Currently, it is seven-five, unionist-nationalist. It would make some sort of difference in terms of communal designation of ministers. The difference would be if Alliance took on policing and justice you would have an ‘other’ [designation] around the cabinet table. So it does not mean it would exclude the UUP or SDLP, but they would have only one ministry each.?

It is estimated that cutting the departments could save up to £60 million per year.

  • I think the quote at the end sums it up in a very simplistic way

    “Dr Stephen Farry, Alliance

    “Where issues fall down the cracks between unionist and nationalist lines then deadlock often ensues.

    “Where the issue lends itself to some sort of consensus across the divide then progress is made. The result of that is that you get patchy progress.”

  • If we had seven it is my understanding this would go to Alliance

    Where does he get that from? It does not follow from the working of D’Hondt.

  • J Kelly

    Alex Attwood is like a broken down record…no wonder the sdlp are in such decline over the past ten years. People do not like bad news and whingers. Under John Hume the SDLP always seen the glass half full and took credit for it but under Durkan and particularily Attwood they see the glass half empty. He just seems to be a bitter wee man… did someone do something on him.

  • YelloSmurf


    Oh, Horseman, no it wouldn’t work on D’Hont because the DUP don’t want SF to get it, SF don’t want the DUP, nor do the DUP want the UUP just as SF don’t want the SDLP. So that leaves the PUP (who we can rule out because of thier associates), the indpendant republican(s) (ditto PUP) or the United Community group, the majority of whom are Alliance. Not so perfect but seemingly the only way.

  • granni trixie

    YelloSmurf:you are right ofcourse – such an appointment is likely to be made on pragmatic grounds. But I like to think the public would welcome such an appointment because J&P is a sensitive and important area and Alliance actually have some politicans with intelligence and moral fibre.Dont forget if Alliance were offered and decided to accept this role (and it is by no means a foregone conclusion), they would be taking a calculated risk vis a vis their own party (rocking the boat – their members take various views).