“it is vital that we act with renewed vigour…”

The DUP/Sinn Féin “agreed” programme for “Cohesion, Sharing and Integration” is apparently sufficient for the Alliance Party Council to “almost” unanimously agree to nominate for the position of Northern Ireland Justice Minister. As for what has been resolved? Well, there’s the small matter of that “agreed” programme being “presented to the OFMDFM committee before being submitted to the Executive”, followed by a period of “public consultation”. But don’t let mere details get in the way. As David Ford says, “This did not happen when the UUP and SDLP were in charge.” Indeed. Welcome to the semi-detached polit-bureau, David…

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  • Pete Baker

    Pining for the good old days when everybody knew their place and the Official Unionists ran the show with the “Stoops” as their lap dogs?

    Meanwhile not one word on this site (as far as I can see) about the “dissident” murder of a man, with his body dumped on the outskirts of Derry.

  • joeCanuck

    Is almost unanimous akin to being a little bit pregnant?

  • iluvni

    I was intrigued enough to go look up the Allaince Party’s Good Relations, Shared Future and Equality strategy…
    After the waffle, comes to meat of the core themes for action…

    Core Themes for Action
    Alliance is advocating action to help create a shared future in a number of areas:

    ■Screening for all government policies for their impact on sharing versus separation
    ■Mainstreaming community relations issues throughout the work of government and civil society
    ■Tackling the costs of division
    ■Respect for all forms of individual and collective identity
    ■Support for shared cultural expressions
    ■Protection, maintenance and development of shared space
    ■Greater integration of shared future considerations into planning and urban regeneration
    ■Promotion of shared education, including both integrated education, and other forms of shared education
    ■Development of mixed and integrated housing
    ■Tackling impediments to labour market mobility
    ■Support and funding of a regional community relations body

    http://www.allianceparty.org/pages/policy-summary-equality.html

    Lovely, very nice…more tea, Vicar?

    Was David Ford really holding out on the big job he’s been tempted with (well pretending to hold out) so that he could get this wishy washy ballix into some ‘agreed programme’ at Executive level?

  • Rory Carr

    “DUP and Sinn Fein announced that they had agreed the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration policy……I believe that progress this week is due to Alliance pressure.” – David Ford

    Well that’s all right, David, a man needs a wee bit of self-delusion every now and then just to keep himself bobbing along with the current while keeping his head above water. Just don’t expect anybody else to believe it, please.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete,

    I know you’re Slugger’s Mr Grumpy, but the condition that Alliance set was that there would be progress on this matter. OFMDFM agreeing a document, something they have failed to do for many years, counts as progress. It is that progress, by itself, which is creating the conditions for Alliance to proceed – in good faith – with the nomination for the justice ministry.

    Contrary to a comment I’d made a day or two ago, Alliance has not, in fact, seen the document. Speaking to a few people yesterday I think there is consensus in the party that the document won’t be ideal from an Alliance perspective. But at least it will be progress in the right direction.

    iluvni:

    Was David Ford really holding out on the big job he’s been tempted with (well pretending to hold out) so that he could get this wishy washy ballix into some ‘agreed programme’ at Executive level?

    Before we debate whether or not Alliance’s stuff is wishy washy ballix, can you show me a couple of examples of policy positions (preferably on the same subject area) which is not “wishy washy” ? I’d like to get a handle on what “wishy washy” means before we go any further.

    Well that’s all right, David, a man needs a wee bit of self-delusion every now and then just to keep himself bobbing along with the current while keeping his head above water. Just don’t expect anybody else to believe it, please.

    Rory, the process to create a shared future strategy has been on the books for the past, ohhh, about nine years. The SDLP/UUP executive failed to do it, the DUP/SF executive failed to do it.

    Do you therefore think it’s pure coincidence that they have now managed to do so after Alliance insisted that progress on it was a necessary precondition in exchange for participation in the justice ministry ?

  • Rory Carr

    No, Comrade, I do not at all think that it was pure coincidence it was merely a condition that Alliance felt safe in “demanding” once they knew that agrrement on the presentation of a shared future strategy had been finally agreed between the DUP and SF.

    It’s like that old shibboleth of a good lawyer never asking a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer (which is bollocks really, lawyers would never ask questions if they were so hamstrung, but that is by-the-bye) – you can safely demand what you already know is forthcoming and if your elders and betters (in this case DUP/SF) are kind they will be indulgent and let you believe it was your idea all along for a wee bit of dignity.

    Let’s face it, Alliance are politically innumerate – they simply don’t count!

  • joeCanuck

    politically innumerate – they simply don’t count!

    Great turn of phrase, Rory, not that I necessarily agree.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No, Comrade, I do not at all think that it was pure coincidence it was merely a condition that Alliance felt safe in “demanding” once they knew that agrrement on the presentation of a shared future strategy had been finally agreed between the DUP and SF.

    Agreed. So why did you describe Ford’s comment that the progress had been achieved due to Alliance pressure as “self-delusion” ?

    It’s like that old shibboleth of a good lawyer never asking a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer (which is bollocks really, lawyers would never ask questions if they were so hamstrung, but that is by-the-bye) – you can safely demand what you already know is forthcoming and if your elders and betters (in this case DUP/SF) are kind they will be indulgent and let you believe it was your idea all along for a wee bit of dignity.

    Given that there has been no progress on CSI for the past nine years, can you explain to me how you or anyone else were able to divine that it was “forthcoming” ?

    Let’s face it, Alliance are politically innumerate – they simply don’t count!

    The fact is that if Alliance wasn’t here, you’d have no justice minister and, as a result, no agreement, no executive, and no assembly. It’s also fitting that Alliance is being granted the very same ministry which itself resulted in Stormont’s downfall in 1972. Maybe none of that stuff counts to you, but to me it shows the party, right now, is playing a critical role in the current process.

  • Henry94

    I think we are lucky to have somebody of David Ford’s stature to take up the job. I only know his public persona but he has always impressed me not just for his integrity which is obvious but for his analytical abilities. I have noticed that his interventions always seemed to be for the good of the process rather than for any party advantage.

    It’s going to be a very difficult job and I hope the four bigger parties will back him 100% and encourage their supporters to do the same.

  • DerTer

    offworld
    “Meanwhile not one word on this site (as far as I can see) about the “dissident” murder of a man, with his body dumped on the outskirts of Derry.”
    I think there is very little to be said about this tragedy that hasn’t been said already in other media – appalling and abhorrent, and too close for comfort to what passed as acceptable in what I suppose I should call ‘mainstream’ republican quarters only very few years ago.

  • Sammy Morse

    it was merely a condition that Alliance felt safe in “demanding” once they knew that agrrement on the presentation of a shared future strategy had been finally agreed between the DUP and SF.

    Except that agreement on the presentation of a shared future strategy wasn’t agreed between the DUP and SF when Alliance presented it as a condition. Unless you think the DUP and Sinn Féin agreed all this about this time last year and just sat on it for ages to make Alliance look good at an appropriate time?

    Screening for all government policies for their impact on sharing versus separation

    This is about making section 75.2 of the Northern Ireland Act actually work, and drive changes to public policy parallel to those 75.1 has driven through equality screening.

    Tackling the costs of division

    £1.5bn annually – not our figures, but PWCs.

    Respect for all forms of individual and collective identity

    The lack of which was one of the proximate causes of The Troubles.

    Protection, maintenance and development of shared space

    Like not facilitating people being bussed out of their homes because a couple of teenage spides have decided they don’t want any Catholics living in their street. Or Roma.

    Greater integration of shared future considerations into planning and urban regeneration

    You have followed the debates about Girdwood, the Sirocco Works site, Titanic Quarter, Ebrington Barracks, etc., etc.?

    Promotion of shared education, including both integrated education, and other forms of shared education

    You’re seriously trying to tell me this is wishy washy?

    Development of mixed and integrated housing

    So wishy-washy it has been virtually impossible to achieve in public housing in large swathes of NI for the past four decades.

    Tackling impediments to labour market mobility

    Like people being afraid to take up jobs because of personal security concerns.

    Do you actually engage with policy or do you just shout “wishy washy” at anything the Alliance Party says because its easy?

  • coconnor

    Alliance haven’t even seen the document? This is progress?

    If Alliance were confident in their ability to apply pressure to DUP/SF then I suspect they could have managed to get a look at any document before rubber stamping the Justice Ministry debacle.