Northern Ireland was first to get devolution and has, arguably, done the least with it… Particularly in comparison with Scotland, but even the advisory Welsh Assembly seems to making more legislative headway than our lot… There’s now a new public policy forum called Evolve… it’s a play on idea devolution with the clear implication that they think things need to move on, if organically… Their first public event takes place at 12.15pm in the Ulster Hall on 8th September with Jack McConnell, Scotlands longest serving First Minister as inaugural speaker. The Presser notes that:
Mr. McConnell, who was Scottish First Minister for six years, will give an address on the theme of How can Devolution Deliver? Scotlands experience of Holyrood is often cited as example of what devolution can deliver and close links already exist between the administrations in Belfast and Edinburgh.
And McConnell himself:
I believe that Scotlands young parliament has changed our country for the better, with an increased population, better schools, more jobs as well as improvements in services and our legal system. And we have forged a new, stronger relationship with the rest of Europe and elsewhere in the world.
This is the real test of devolution and its institutions not whether the process of government works for politicians and civil servants, but whether it delivers for the people. I have no doubt that devolution has been good for Scotland and will be good for Northern Ireland.
As it happens, Slugger will be there on the day, and we’ll do what we can to grab a few words from the former Scottish First Minister…. If you’re on LinkedIn, see also our ‘nascent’ Politics and Public Affairs group…
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