Jim Fitzpatrick: “let’s call it local madness for ease”

In his weekly Politics Show dispatch, Jim Fitzpatrick picks up on the new Foreign Secretary William Hague’s comparison between the workings of the voluntary coalition at Westminster and the mandatory one at Stormont.

Asked on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme if the arrangement at Downing Street would work something like the one in Stormont Castle with mutual vetoes, he was very keen to stress the differences.

“I don’t think in practice that is how… this is rational people who will work together, so I don’t think vetoes come into it,” he said.

Rational people? Is that opposed to irrational ones?

Indeed.

And Jim makes another valid point on political ‘debate’ here.

No matter how hard they kick and scream at each other, they know they’ll all be standing at the end – and still be in government together.

There’s no penalty – except to their own credibility and the collective credibility of the Executive. [added emphasis]

And here’s where the local parties might pause to reflect.

The turnout at last week’s General Election across Northern Ireland was below the UK average, and by a considerable margin.

With just 57% of the electorate turning out in Northern Ireland compared to a UK average of 65%, it’s clear politics isn’t connecting with vast swathes of the population.

Anecdotally, there appears to be a generation of younger voters who are entirely switched off by politics in Northern Ireland.