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.

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  • Up the IRRA

  • joeCanuck

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

    Who can blame them?

  • redhugh78

    A rather general and sweeping analysis.
    I suspect that may well be the case apart from those from a more republican outlook.

  • Mr Brightside

    Why should younger voters engage in an entrenched sectarian carve up at Stormont? For anyone under the age of 30, their political paradigm is post Agreement, yet our politicians still seem to think as if it’s the 1980s. Also, you look across the water and see politicians who are articulate, educated, have a grasp of issues, and then you look at our lot…

  • I actually find it heartening that young people in the north take one look at whats on offer and decide to give it a miss…

    As to Mr Hague: Out of the mouths of babes and fools…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Any conclusion about the turnout and interest in politics will have to until the Assembly elections.

    On the Nationalist side of the fence whatever SF may admit publically it is impossible for them to both argue that the Westminster elections are important but that they will not take their seats – the Westminsters are clearly not nearly as important as the assembly elections and safe Nationalist seats understandably showed a fall off in turnout. In the 2 constituencies where SF did give it a lash in the Westminsters FST and NB their total number of votes and %’s went up significiantly.

    The ongoing tripartite civil war within Unionism kept the generally lower Unionist turnout from falling as much as the Nationalist turnout.

  • lamhdearg

    Young voters here and in Britian may soon have the name of Hague on there tongues joined to a curse word. He will support israel if it attacks iran and they (the young) will suffer the pain. I know this is not what this post is about but i cannot start one and would like to point out our new F.O. is a true friend of israel.

  • Lamhdearg

    The problem is they are all friends of Israel. Look at Blliar, what kind of ‘peace envoy’ is that?

    In almost every country in Europe, the huge anti Israeli lobby is totally ignored.

  • lamhdearg

    Pip look again at Hague, He owes the zionists big time.

  • lamhdearg

    And they will make sure he pays…

  • joeCanuck

    Pippikin,
    I wonder are you a bit careless with your terminology. For 40 years I have had more sympathy with the Palestinians than with the Israelis yet I firmly believe that Israel has the right to exist and to co-exist peacefully. with their neighbors. Yes, some Israeli governments have treated the Palestinians atrociously, none more than Netanyahu administrations including the present one. But it’s going to take some sort of two state solution to bring these more than 60 years of turmoil and hurt to an end..

  • joeCanuck

    No not careless: observant. The anti Israeli faction in Europe is probably greater than any other group. It is also the most restrained and the most ignored.

    You are right, the only solution at this stage is the two state solution, and provided the state the Palestinians are ‘given’ is actually viable, we may even get peace.

  • lover not a fighter

    Has Hague apologised to the Irrational Irish or does he believe that he has nothing to apologise for.

  • It should not be necessary, but these are the times we live in…

    When I say anti Israel I am NOT saying anti Jewish.

    When I say the Anti Israeli lobby I am not referring to fascist nut jobs who burn synagogues etc.

  • Reader

    lover not a fighter: Has Hague apologised to the Irrational Irish or does he believe that he has nothing to apologise for.
    If the Irish are rational, how come we are always on two different sides?
    But, if you are inclined to mope over it, why not assume he was talking about us lot, and not your lot.

  • kells

    The Foreign Office has and always will be Pro Arab!

  • kells

    Sorry this reply is late. You’re right the British FO always sounds pro Palestinian. So it’s unfortunate their actions are always pro Israeli.

    I suspect the truth is the many groups and political parties across Europe who support the Palestinians are not, as yet, sufficiently powerful. It was pleasing to see a Sinn Fein rep condemning the Israelis earlier this year.

  • lover not a fighter

    I think William Hague was painting with a broad brush. Further questioning of Hague the rational would be desirable.

    Has he other rational views that are of interest.

  • Bulmer

    Noone. Look at the offer…
    The Swish
    We hate taigs (TUV)
    We want to be spanked hard by mummy (UU)
    We aren’t sure about anything (SDLP & Alliance)
    we hate the Brits (SF)

    The rest of Europe is wondering if they’ll have a job at Xmas, this lot are bickering as if it was 1973. The reality is that they are utterly irrelevant to most people’s lives. There does need to be a cleansing of the leadership and realisation that the generation that pointlessly prolonged the ‘Troubles’ for 20 years isn’t fit for purpose for the future.

  • Reader

    lover not a fighter: I think William Hague was painting with a broad brush. Further questioning of Hague the rational would be desirable.
    Then he would know for sure that we are a load of self-obsessed MOPEs. So, instead, how’s this for a plan: we demonstrate that we can manage a voluntary coalition, and he then happily eats his words.