DUP policy promises

Twitter followers may have noticed that I have been asking the DUP and Cllr Clive McFarland precisely HOW the DUP will merge the Human Rights and Equality Commissions (PDF), but both have been strangely reluctant to answer. Clive thinks it can’t be explained in 140 characters, which is strange because “we can’t because the Assembly can’t amend that part of the Northern Ireland Act and we don’t have any friends in Parliament to do it for us” is precisely 139 characters.

  • ABC

    What a reptillian approach Michael.

    You asked Clive a question on his own personal twitter and then you set up a thread about it on Sluigger.

    What a wee fella you are!

    So does the Ulster Unionist Party, or whtever name you are using nowadays, disagree with the DUP policy on the issue or not? Or is it the fact that it was the DUP who proposed it that makes you so hostile? Opposition for opposition’s sake isn’t big and it isn’t clever.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Actually I asked the DUP a question and Clive responded. besides which, Twitter is a public forum like any blog.

  • Carson’s Cat

    You seem to believe that because something is in legislation that it cannot be changed.

    The UUP told us that the arrangements in 1998 were there and couldn’t be changed. They told the DUP that nothing could be moved from the ‘perfect’ arrangements they had negotiated.

    They claimed that no Government would ever negotiate with the DUP and would ever agree to the NI Act being changed. Well then along came St Andrews which already made huge changes to the mess made in 1998. Clearly the end of the road hasn’t been arrived at yet and there are still relics from the past which need improved upon.

    The DUP, UCUNF & others have all said they would support changes and efficiencies in the system of Government including reductions in Assembly Members and Gov’t Departments which are all laid out in the NI Act. That obviously means the UUP are supporting something which they believe can’t be changed.

    Why is Michael Sillyboy so keen to hang on to the NIHRC and the Equality Commission? Why does he believe that Parliament won’t agree to sensible measures put forward to save public money?

    This is a nonsense story from one of the less credible party-hack bloggers dragging slugger downhill. Clearly the issues around a quango-cull would take a little more than 140 twitter characters to discuss – not that Sillyboy appears to have actually wanted a discussion.

    I notice one of the other twitter posts Michael hasn’t chosen to quote makes mention of Sylvia Hermon’s performance on the Nolan Show this morning.

    Now there’s a story….

  • Covert operations

    Yes well most of us have noticed your utter determination to get somebody/anybody to engage you in tweets from the Belfast telegraph to the DUP. Why do you think most people ignore you?

  • ABC

    So perhaps given your fondness for answering questions, you could answer mine?

    I will then infer from your response that everything you say is attributable to the Ulster Unionist Party, and can be a focal point for discussion.

    You Michael, and people like you, are why the Ulster Unionist Party is a desperate joke.

  • ABC

    Sorry I’ve just looked at MJShilliday twitter page. Good grief Michael get a life! Peppering one inidvidual with the same question over and over again. Have you nothing better to do with your time?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Good to see everyone jumping to conclusions. I never said I didn’t think it was a good idea to merge the commissions, what I asked was how the DUP were going to achieve this. And they can’t. The Assembly can’t do it and they’ve spend the last year sucking up to a lame duck government and creating the ire of the opposition.

    So its all well and good promising to streamine your own departments and merge bodies you have no authority over, but actually doing these things would make a nice change. DUP ain’t in opposition any more.

  • Covert operations

    Must be quiet times at UUP HQ, funny though seeing as how there is an election on!

  • Covert operations

    Must be quiet times at UUP HQ, funny though seeing as how there is an election on!

  • fair_deal

    Oh dear. Considering the UUP encouraged people to vote for the Belfast Agreement I would have expected them to know what was in it, more the fool me.

    “27. The Assembly will have authority to legislate in reserved areas with
    the approval of the Secretary of State and subject to Parliamentary
    “32. Role of Secretary of State:
    (b) to approve and lay before the Westminster Parliament any
    Assembly legislation on reserved matters;”

    This is the mechanism under which the Assembly could make such changes. It does the legislative legwork and then the SoS gets it through Westminster.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Like I say FD, friends in Parliament. The difference between reserved and excepted matters is also important. This is excepted not reserved and makes the process much more complicated, for good reason.

    Also, do you believe that a petition of concern would not be laid down? In reality the Assembly cannot make this happen.

  • Neil

    By your rationale then Michael, saying that change will affected should not be allowed unless the mechanisms are in place and affecting change would be easy? Or can politicians suggest changing things that require further legislation? Furthermore, are you suggesting that the UCUNF will in some way prevent measures being taken on this, simply because the UU are allied with the Tories, even if the mandate has been given to SF and the DUP? Bollocks. The Tories in power will do what the DUP and SF ask them to, because they are the only show in town. Between them they represent the vast, vast majority of people in NI.

    That’s obviously taking at face value that the DUP didn’t vote with their conscience in the past, with your suggestion that they were ‘sucking up’ to the Labour Government. Or are you suggesting all their dealings with the government in power at the minute as being an example of ‘sucking up’? I would have thought it were more representing the people who made them the largest Unionist party here.

  • fair_deal


    So what if the process is complicated, it can be done. The SoS is Northern Ireland’s ‘friend in westminter’. It is a one of the raison d’etre’s of the position.

    The implication of your post is that if the Assembly passed it a Conservative government might not because it doesn’t like the DUP. Unlikely.

    “Also, do you believe that a petition of concern would not be laid down? In reality the Assembly cannot make this happen.”

    Defeatist twaddle. Something won’t be easy so we won’t even suit up for the battle. Show some ambition and balls. If something is worth doing (which you seem to accept it is) then set the goal and work towards it rather than a poor man’s private jock frazer impersonation.

  • CRE and a number of ‘rights’ groups were combined under leadership of Trevor Phillips in 2007 as the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Despite the warnings and forebodings of the ‘rights’ industry it functions perfectly well http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/Pages/default.aspx for England, Scotland and Wales. One simple way to reduce costs is to extend its brief to Northern Ireland, unless we need to have a particular body through which to have our own peculiar whinge. That’s just one way to do it.

    Point is, there is no need for a multiplicity of bodies in the field of ‘rights’. Personally, with what we have, should they all be sacked tomorrow no-one would much notice.

  • Michael Shilliday

    With the DUP abiusing the system of petitions of concern to protect their own ministers from criticism, its easy to become cynical about that system FD.

    Also, there is no such implication in what I said.

  • fair_deal

    “With the DUP abiusing the system of petitions of concern to protect their own ministers from criticism, its easy to become cynical about that system FD.”

    Yawn tangential leap to get away from the topic at hand. The thread is not a display of cynicism it slipped beyond that into defeatism.

    The statement “we don’t have any friends in Parliament to do it for us” has implications.

  • Michael Shilliday

    If it does, you’re certainly taking the wrong end of the stick.

  • fair_deal


    “taking the wrong end of the stick”

    On that fair enough your word is enough

  • fair_deal


    FYI The NI Act lays down the same procedure applies for excepted and reserved matters

    “Consent of Secretary of State required in certain cases .The consent of the Secretary of State shall be required in relation to a Bill which contains—
    a provision which deals with an excepted matter and is ancillary to other provisions (whether in the Bill or previously enacted) dealing with reserved or transferred matters; or
    a provision which deals with a reserved matter.”

  • ABC

    “Good to see everyone jumping to conclusions. I never said I didn’t think it was a good idea to merge the commissions”

    S instead of welcoming it as a good idea and saying “let’s work together to get this through” you pepper Clive McFarland repeatedly with stupid twitter postings. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t approach that sums up your approach to fellow-Unionists. Very silly.

  • elvis parker

    So the DUP put forward a range of policy proposals that they dont have the power to implement while simultaneously releasing press releases attacking the Conservatives – the only possible alternative government that would have the powerand inclination to introduce those policies.
    Seems the DUP still dont know how to react to the idea that Northern Ireland attempts to integrate into UK politics.
    Their instinctive ‘ourselves alone’ ‘little Ulster’ mentality leads them in one direction but increasingly they are waking up and smellng the coffee.

  • It is naive of the DUP to release a document calling for “efficiency measures” without considering how these can be put in place. After attempting to get positive press out of these proposals they can only expect that some will ask whether the proposals are serious or just hot air. If I went to the press proposing an end to the conflict in Darfur and an end to global warming, I would certainly expect to be asked how I would bring this about and would have outlined my plan. Surely if Clive McFarland and the DUP were confident in their proposals they would use any opportunity (including twitter) to outline them.

  • DC

    This is just shallow electioneering by the DUP given that he, Robinson, most of all needs the agreement of dFM side i.e. Sinn Fein before requesting such change.

    But Michael you have helped to highlight this in terms of the gap between lip service and action.

  • A 3xA4 glossy fold-out has just arrived in my post-box: “40 years at your service”. Papa Doc looks to be in robust health.

    “This brochure has been funded by the House of Commons communications allowance”

    “In the past year £100,000 was paid out to constituents after they brought welfare, benefit and other claims to my constituency centre. This is a free service given to any and all constituents in need”

    Well, perhaps not quite free.

    He can be contacted at that expensive suite of offices in Ballymena.

  • alan56

    If DUP are so concerned about efficiency and savings can anyone tell me why ‘raging robbo’ forgot to mention that we have THREE vicitms commissioners? (or was there a cosy little deal with SF on that one?)

  • fair_deal

    Yesterday party of change today party of nothing can happen you know.

  • Can someone please pull #24. I’m posting it to another thread. Thanks.

  • Dave

    fair_deal –

    your reading of the NI Act provisions either completely ignore or completely misunderstand the importance of the ‘ancillary to…’wording that you quoted.

    Slightly worrying that you would miss something so basic.

  • fair_deal


    “‘ancillary to…‘”

    OFMDFM has an oversight role for the EC
    The Assembly has powers to pass equality legislation transferred to it.
    Are these not sufficient to satisfy the ancillary clause?

  • ABC

    Still no answer from Shillers or the other UCUNF hacks on here. Do they support the DUP policy or not? If so, hows about using all those squillions of bags of influence they have with the Tories (smirk….) to get their backing for the idea?

  • ??

    Do the tories support reducing these bodies and if so will they legislate to do so ???

  • Junior Apparatchik

    As opposed to the UUP who, in their opposition to Policing devolution, persuaded their friends in the Tories… oh, no, wait, the Tories voted in favour of devolution…