Assembly notes

Couple of things stand out from yesterday on the Hill.

First was the umpteenth defeat of the Minister for Education on the 11plus. It’s a bad situation when a Minister is continuously defeated, has lost the confidence of the house (on both sides) and is still able to continue on regardless.

Second was the language directed at Martin McGuinness by the DUP during question time – he was described As ‘the Deputy’. Is it right that members should be allowed use terms which are loaded and have such obviously sectarian undertones in a place that is meant to respect mandates, and tolerate difference? This might be something the Speaker should return to with a firm ruling on what is and is not appropriate.

I was blogging about the generation gap between our MLAs and the rest of the population yesterday. The events of yesterday will do little to convince ordinary people that this is an Assembly for everyone in the North of Ireland.

  • barnshee

    ” The events of yesterday will do little to convince ordinary people that this is an Assembly for everyone in the North of Ireland. ”

    Ah –you must mean Innishowen

  • Brian Walker

    Quite right to make the point about ” the deputy.” While I don’t get worked up about it myself, might not the same sensitivity apply to
    ” the north of Ireland?”

  • Renny

    Now, now only Nationalists are allowed to get offended (I expect it’s in some obscure passage in the GFA), Unionists in the ‘North’ are expected to take it on the chin.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Childish behaviour by that Unionist brat.
    He is a brat whether he be catholic, protestant or anyone else. Just down right bad manners.

  • Martin ‘Don’t you ever forget it!!’ McGuinness was addressed as joint** First Minister by Martina Anderson. Martina went on to say, “.. including the Minister from the First Minister Peter Trimble or or Peter Robinson I should say’s party [laughter] … BBC iPlayer 7.35 in

    ** giggle weed? gunney? Bogside black? Mary and Johnny? Roaring meggie?

  • well those in his party sitting behind “The Deputy” were able to smile at the comment. Maybe “The Deputy” has just used up all his chuckles over the last few years?

  • Greenbot

    It is blatantly sectarian to refer to the Deputy First Minister as the ‘Deputy’. Although the designation ‘Deputy First Minister’ was part of the Good Friday Agreement it was never intended to be actually used when talking about the actual Deputy First Minister.

    The GFA meant there to be two ‘First’ Ministers, and I know all you nay-sayers will comment that it’s impossible to have two firsts but that’s beside the point.

  • michael

    Just change it to First Minister and Co-First Minister!

    Descriptive and easy to remember!

  • Freddie

    What about Dick-Head and Head-Dick? Even easier to remember and more accurate.

  • Yani

    Your Excellency for Robinson and Generalissimo for McGuinness. It befits the mockery of democracy that is the Assembly and probably speaks to how they fantasize about themselves.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Marty should not have made any fuss at all, it was a fairly minor tease, or he simply should have joked that there is every chance the positions may be reversed next time out.

  • fin

    “First was the umpteenth defeat of the Minister for Education on the 11plus. It’s a bad situation when a Minister is continuously defeated, has lost the confidence of the house (on both sides) and is still able to continue on regardless.”

    Conall, its not that long ago since you tried to do a puff piece for the SDLP on education and although you only listed a few very very vague pointers on what should be done your blog descended into arguement within a couple of posts.

    Lets hear the SDLPs arguement for the future of education again, if you dare!

  • Joe

    Fin (post 12)
    Maybe you should correct your own punctuation (“SDLPs”) and spelling (“arguement”) before challenging the SDLP’s position on the future of education.

    Yeah, cheap shot, I know, but with the Shinners I just can’t resist it!

  • Fin.

    For the record (and not the first or that last time) here is what I believe should happen to get conversation on education going.

    There are a series of principles which could be discussed and which might form the basis of some common ground. Amongst them could be:

    Agreement that 14 is a better age at which to exercise pupil and parental choice about possible transfer for the final four years of education;

    Agreement to further develop thinking about a collegiate based system;

    Agreement to guarantee parents and pupils access faith based education;

    Agreement that an early intervention strategy should be developed to support children from deprived socio economic backgrounds during primary and early second level education;

    Agreement to consider and draw on international best practice when developing these proposals;

    Agreement that the system must be based on a commitment to social equity and educational excellence at every level;

    Agreement that the change programme would be rolled out over at least a five year period, allowing up to ten years for any institutional realignments to take place;

    Agreement that an interim regulated system should be introduced immediately.

  • fin

    Joe, apologies for been busy with my day job and not taking the time to craft a grammatically correct post.

    Conall, I broadly agree with your points, I don’t think your wishlist is hugely different from what the minister actually wants (correct me if I’m wrong – I’ve not gotten overly involved in following it)

    However is the key arguement over testing at 11 or 14, why not put everything aside and achieve a decision on that point first.

    Apart from that your points seem (and I could be wrong) to broadly follow the system in Ireland and GB. Hardly asking Stormont to accept anything new and radical.

    But Conall these are the same points you blogged on before and I remember the response, my point was does the minister stand any chance of achieving anything while parties are allowed to use education as a battleground.

  • i see the main theme of your plan appears to be ‘agreement’

    hmmmm

    anyway – re Deputy

    he is Deputy so what’s his problem? Did he not accuse the First Minister of being in disney land a few weeks ago…. even stevens

  • Driftwood

    Agreement to guarantee parents and pupils access faith based education

    As opposed to evidence based education?

    Faith is belief without evidence. Though as an SDLP supporter I expect you understand that concept only too well.

  • Eleanor Bull

    Martin McGuinness…was described As ‘the Deputy’.

    There’s just a Wild West (Bank of the Foyle) gun law joke in there, begging to be released.

  • igor

    ” The events of yesterday will do little to convince ordinary people that this is an Assembly for everyone in the North of Ireland. “

    Quite true.The vast majority of parents on both sides wanted to retain selection and were ignored for doctrinaire reasons

  • igor

    “The GFA meant there to be two ‘First’ Ministers, ”

    …. where does it say that? Or is just that Gerry told you that?

    I have just re-read the text and it simply doesn’t say what you allege or what the Deputy implied.

  • exile

    [i]Faith is belief without evidence. Though as an SDLP supporter I expect you understand that concept only too well. [/i]

    Genius.

    Anyways, it’s nice to see Conall taking the time to respond to the comments made in response to his blogs: such a pity he couldn’t do the same after his risible Lisbon post over the weekend.

  • oisineire

    Conall,

    Everything you say is basically what Ruane has been continually repeating for the last…God only knows how long!
    But you are right, agreement is the issue.

    So with that in mind why is the SDLP, who broadly agrees with the SF/Ruane proposals, using those same proposals as canon fodder against their rival party??

  • Big Bopper

    What is sectarian about ‘The Deputy’? Isn’t that what dail members are called? Though it would be nice to see the DFM with a wee six pointed star badge on his waistcoat. Whatever happened to the milky bar kid?

  • Big Bopper
  • Ellie, you also throw in a Deputy Dawg joke for good measure.

  • Fin, Oisineire.
    I think you should put your questions to the Minister. When the SDLP tabled a motion in the Assembly outlining them SF voted against it. When the Belfast Tel started a campaign calling for dialogue, SF opposed it. In fact even yesterday it was the Minister who said there would be no more discussion.

    I have never said SF had the wrong policy, what I say is that the minister has failed politically and the real tragedy is that her party seem unwilling to accept this.

  • exile.

    With the greatest of respect the people gave you their answer on Lisbon.

  • exile

    [i]With the greatest of respect the people gave you their answer on Lisbon. [/i]

    Which time: last June or last weekend? Yes, the people spoke (again). They gave their answer (again). And that must, and will, be respected (well this time at least).

    Nevertheles, and as you very well know, your response is entirely disengenuous as I did not refer to the legitimacy of the vote: rather, in the piece I refer to, “over on O’Connell St”, you lazily asserted that

    a)the result of Lisbon II allows “Ireland to remain at the centre of the European project”

    b)and rather bizarrely, that the vote was “good news for the North too as the region remains highly dependant on EU support and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future”

    without substantiating either assertion with any hint of evidence or argument.

    Truly parrotry of the highest order.

  • exile

    *disingenuous

  • Driftwood

    Conall
    Why should we (agnostic taxpayers)continue to fund ‘faith’-i.e. Catholic schools instead of evidence based schools, which promote learning based on facts rather than any particular creation myth?
    I assume that any school which promotes Thor, Zeus, or the flying spaghetti monster should also get funding from the (South-East English)taxpayer.

  • Bemused

    Can’t see what all of the fuss is about. Ulster is in fine fettle and our young people are a credit to the province…

  • mwmcd

    It’s not sectarian its a reminder of the numerical majority the shinners keep forgeting.

  • exile

    Nice one Conall: keep running.