Do you know what the BIC does?

At the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly this morning, the first point raised in debate (really just fielding Q&As for Peter Hain speaking on behalf of the British Irish Council from the parliamentarians in the body of the hall) came from one of the few Tory MPs, Bob Walter… (Bob’s in a safe Tory seat that just got marginally safer after boundary changes) most of his colleagues are busy conjuring up next years…

I wanted to ask an intelligent question about the BIC, but when I looked at the website there is note telling us that it was last updated 26/09/2008… It appears that it conducts its affairs in secret… We need to know what it is talking about… If we knew what was on the agenda, then people could make representations in advance of their meetings…

Actually the BIPA is hosted under it’s old url:… Much of the debate this morning was about how these new institutions can be made more useful to the parliamentary institutions who ultimately pay for it… Labour peer Alf Dubbs suggested the proceedings of both bodies should be synchronised to fall at the same time…

, , ,

  • Greenflag

    So the BIP is like Stormont except the former actually conducts it’s affairs in secret whereas the latter attempts to conduct it’s affairs on secret ?

    While I’m not opposed to the work of the BIP one has to ask the hard question –

    ‘What’s it for ‘ ? Is it just another talking shop or has it a relevant purpose now that Stormont is in business and local NI politicians have a local forum where they can ignore each other instead of crossing the pond to do the same at the expense of both British and Irish Governments ?

    Has this BIP ever achieved anything other than burgeoning waste lines and beer bellies for those attending ?

  • Greenflag

    error above

    ‘burgeoning waste lines’

    should read ‘burgeoning WAIST lines .

    repeat must use preview -must use preview -must use preview 🙁

  • BIP? Greenflag, are you confusing BIC and BIPA?

  • Drumlins Rock

    all Sponsored by BUPA

    or would Sean approve…

  • Greenflag

    Nevin-neither my first or last typo 🙁 It was the announced draw against France in the world cup play off which distracted me 😉

    Nevertheless the burgeoning waist lines apply in all cases .

    As to how these ‘institutions’ whatever their acronym’s can be made more useful to the parliamentary institutions who pay for them I would be more keen on the ‘parliamentary ‘ institutions proving their ‘usefulness’ before lashing out taxpayer’s monies on other institutions whose role it would appear is to make our current institutions look less useless than appears to be the case 🙁

    If the politicians at Westminster , Stormont and the Dail were to be paid based on performance and understanding of how the world economy actually works in practice as opposed to in theory half of them would be on minimum wage and the other half would be fired for failure to comprehend basic economics 🙁

    And I was so looking forward to a trip to South Africa . And no I don’t believe in miracles 🙁

  • Big Bad Bob

    ITS not IT’S Mick.

  • Glen Touran

    FG have proposed abolishing the Senate and reducing the number of TD’s at the Dail.

    DUP have proposed reducing the number of MLA’s at Stormont.

    Suggestion: Do all of the above and have two unicameral houses proportionate to each other.

    Take population as a proxy for electors and if you have a 54 MLA Stormont you’ll need a 137 seat Dail.

    That’s plenty for both jurisdictions and 191 altogether would be only slightly more efficient than the Danish legislature (179 for 5.5M people).

    Then you can run joint sessions in the same room (use a lecture theatre if either assembly chamber is too contentious for now) with everyone having equal mandate. Use these to scrutinise or democratically endorse any North-Southery. No need for panic amongst Unionists provided any motion proposed needs the approval of both houses for passage.

  • Western Approaches

    Abolish Seanad Eireann and invite Stormont to become the Republic’s second chamber. Ba-boom.

  • BIPA: Passports please .. Irish Times Oct 20

    THE BRITISH Home Office is to make a renewed effort to impose passport controls on travel into Great Britain from the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. …

    Mr O’Keeffe said members of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly would meet next month with representatives from the UK Borders Agency.

    Conservative MP Andrew MacKinlay said Ireland and the UK should “agree robust common external rules”.

    “The answer is not to put in place internal passport rules. That’s the old Soviet Union answer.”

    Isle of Man deputy Stephen Rodan was deeply critical of the British government’s repeated efforts. “One doesn’t require a passport to travel from London to Edinburgh, and it shouldn’t be needed from the Isle of Man.”

    Conservative MP Robert Walter said the Republic’s immigration authorities were already ignoring the 80-year-old Common Travel Area by demanding passports from passengers arriving from the UK.

  • BIPA: Bill of Rights advice presented to British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly

    19 October 2009 .. Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

    2. The 39th Plenary session of the British- Irish Parliamentary Assembly will take place from Monday 19 – Tuesday 20 October in Swansea. The session will also hear addresses from President of the Irish Human Rights Commission, Dr Maurice Manning and the leaders of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams MP MLA and the SDLP, Mark Durkan MP MLA.

  • Conservative MP Andrew MacKinlay said Ireland and the UK should “agree robust common external rules”.

    There’s already an agreement just like that: Schengen. Even the Swiss have signed up. It’s high time the UK and Ireland bit that bullet.

  • Pigeon Toes

    BIC, don’t they make pens?

  • “Do you know what the bic does?”

    Apart from wasting taxpayers money and indulging preening political egos, nothing.

  • Sarah Lavender

    “Do you know what the bic does?”

    Nobody in England knows, cos none of us gets to go.