NI Water: The current state of play…

The position of the sacked NEDs, in my view, is utterly beyond dispute. They were turned over for not responding a report they were not permitted to see by the Priestly/McKenzie crew. Game over.

This is not party politics. It is government. And unlike street politics, the means matters. In this case, the bare facts are compounded by the corruption of the oversight process. The extent of which will become painfully obvious over the next few days.

In short, lots people are going to be out of a job or find their careers badly curtailed as a result of what happened to the NEDs. Sacking the NEDs demonstrated just how unfit for use the whole system has become.

There are only a limited number of trusted sources on this. In the Media: UTV and the News Letter (and ourselves). To be fair the BBC with money and resources are catching up fast (though having run this course at a slower pace before, them it must be a pretty painful dash).

Politically it breaks down this this:

SF are desperately trying to protect their second most talented Ministers (who, IMHO, himself is a victim of this corruption of process). It would be better for all concerned i they just turned everything over to the PAC and the RDC to go over with a fine tooth comb.

DUP after months of conveniently looking the other way, has finally woken up and are flailing around trying find something to hit SF with. Jim Allister has already easily outpaced them and made them look like flatfoots.

Alliance, who wonk laden as they are perfectly understand this issue but are ducking the fight and backing the Minister (and will quietly and obediently follow him when he changes his mind).

UUP, er, no leader. So we should probably put them in the Conflicted or Don’t Know column.

SDLP, are the only party which has any credibility on this issue. McGlone and Dallat are the only ones worth listening to (though IMHO, they should as far as possible adopt a leadership role here rather than use it to lacerate the Minister). They stuck to their guns despite implausible attacks from a number of areas.

Dawn Purvis, should be given a lead role in the PAC. If the world was not driven by the political Id, she ought to be Chair. The rest of us could then rest easy with assurance that someone who was up the job would provide leadership in one of the toughest jobs at Stormont. It would grant SF Kudos to make such a move.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty