Dodds slamdunks Cameron at PMQs…

I’m not generally a fan of the mauling match that goes on at Wednesday lunchtime in Westminster, but this is something else… Mark has the detail at Devenport Diaries..

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  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Brilliant, brilliant stuff. And a benchmark for other Unionist MPs to try and live up to.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Was watching it, very well done, got the dig in without being cheap, would be tempted to say he should have just let it hang at the end but maybe you have to make it clear to MPs what your getting at.

  • 6crealist

    It’s more of a slamdunk against Clegg than Cameron.

    Fantastic line though. Watch how Mr Hariett Harmon completely fluffed his lines a few minutes later when attempting to make a very similar joke at Clegg’s expense.

  • james

    classic moment, beautiful deadpan delivery and Cameron the only one laughing at his own joke at the end.

    Who said protestants don’t have a sense of humour, whoops that was me, sorry..

  • South Down Stoop

    Wonder would he have said that to Cameron. . .

  • cynic47

    For just a moment I thought Nigel was talking about the DUP before announcing he was coming over the UUP. He would still be the leader of a Westminster grouping!

  • Nigel was skating on thin ice – but David Cameron turned his fire on the Labour front bench instead. But then again Nigel never looked like a member of the Chuckle Brothers fan club 🙂

  • Anon

    Cameron crapping all over Clegg in his answer also!

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed anon. It was a great political three pronged fork. Cameron, because it so-completely wrong-footed him and then he skewered his mate whilst trying to turn it on Labour.

  • So very often it is pot, kettle, black in politics.

  • George

    I thought he was talking about Stormont for the first few seconds.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Brilliant stuff from Deputy Dodsy, timing and execution perfect.

  • Mick Fealty

    Serious note for a minute:

    Does this make a case that small regional parties should getting rid of double jobbing so that their MPs get their eye in to what’s really going on at Westminster, and make their mark?

    Asymmetrical warfare…?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The problem with Westminster/Stormo is not double jobbing but job doubling – Stormo AMs debating education for Ulster and Ulster MPs debating education for England.

    If there are no boundary changes Deputy Dodsy will lose his seat next time round( he will probably not be returned if there are) giving us 9 Nationalists 6 of whom will stop wasting tax payers money going to London to debate stuff mostly nothing to do with them.

    Hopefully the SDLP will also soon see the folly of their ways or at least Cameron will put MPs from the colonies on reduced hours.

    Cut the job doubling and cut the waste. Those desperate for the missing funny men form Ireland (Ulster)at Westminster can nip inot the comedy store nearby for Darragh et al.

  • All up, Dave had a dismal day. That he misprised Dodd’s neat one to continue the assault already lost (“Once more into the breach of faith, dear friends, once more…) says wonders.

    The clue is to watch Dave’s neck. Once it reddens, he’s losing it. Today it visibly glowed.

    At least, unlike last week, there wasn’t a Tory minister, on the Front Bench for PMQs, using his papers to disguise his efforts to redeem his “flying low”.

  • slug

    I very much agree that the DUP should not double job because of the quality of their rightful contribtion on national issues.

    The DUP have been very effective – Dodds, Wilson, Campbell in particular.

    They should be there focussed 100% and today shows that they can make a real impact.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The problem with Westminster/Stormo is not double jobbing but job doubling – Stormo AMs debating education for Ulster and Ulster MPs debating education for England.

    Google “Barnett consequentials”, Sammy, before you expose yourself as being utterly clueless.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    For matters concering Ulster funding Marty and Robbo use the front door not the backbenches.

    …and quite how long the very tolerant Englezes will tolerate stand up comedians like Deputy Dodsy from the colonies voting on their educational funding etc whilst skipping the worst effect of it ifor themselves remains to be seen.

  • slug

    Comerade Stalin makes a very good point. Westminster sets a lot of the defaults.

    Also, for higher education, the funding systems are so interconnected. A lot of NI students go to GB universities, and funding in GB cannot be divorced from funding in NI. If NI universities have low fees and GB have high, this would create a knock on effect in terms of numbers. So there are a lot of shared interests. The DUP and Alliance and the SDLP are right to vote on this.

    The DUP and SDLP in particular have impressed me with their contributions to the current session of parliament.

  • Carson’s Cat

    Wonder how Naomi felt about her Westminster leader getting slam-dunked.

    And before anyone tries it – she was more than happy to be his woman in Belfast pre-election…..

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    slug,

    ” The DUP and Alliance and the SDLP are right to vote on this. ”

    Not sure Mr-Middle-England-Man who has to both subsidise Ulster and pay more for his kids to go to college would agree with that.

    … and I would guess most British people would prefer the SF approach to Westminster rather than the Unionist (and SDLP) one.

  • Pete Baker

    “Google “Barnett consequentials”, Sammy, before you expose yourself as being utterly clueless.”

    Too late, Comrade.

    “For matters concering Ulster funding Marty and Robbo use the front door not the backbenches.”

    Aye, the front door of Owen Paterson’s office…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    “Google “Barnett consequentials”, Sammy, before you expose yourself as being utterly clueless.”

    Too late, Comrade.

    Try playing the ball perhaps? Are you not familiar with the rules?

    “Aye, the front door of Owen Paterson’s office”

    The debate over whether Ulster politicians speak directly to Davey or Oweney is not really the point here – the fact is the real business is done by the elected leaders of Ulster bypassing Parliament.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “the fact is the real business is done by the elected leaders of Ulster bypassing Parliament.”

    The Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers bringing their arguments to the Northern Ireland Secretary of State is not by-passing Parliament.

    They have no role in the Commons chamber.

    They are merely following the correct constitutional arrangements within the UK.

    Haven’t you been paying attention?

    That’s a rhetorical question, btw…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    You seemed to have avoided the question regarding your familiarity with the rules about man playing. I take that as an indication that you will try to stick to the issue?

    What you are missing (try to concentrate) is that the issue raised is about the nonsense of the “constitutional arrangements” of Ulster politicans for example voting on higher educational charges for English students whilst keeping them low for themselves and the fact that the “constitutional arrangements” actually allow for parliament to be bypassed when discussing Ulster’s funding (something Comrade Stalin seems uaware of )making the presence of the Ulster MPs in Westmister even more of a nonsense.

    The first part of this constiutional nonsense/difficulty is a long established debating point and I recommend some background reading for you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lothian_question

  • Pete Baker

    “For matters concering Ulster funding Marty and Robbo use the front door not the backbenches.”

    Aye, the front door of Owen Paterson’s office…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Pete,

    Ah, you have re-posted without the man-playing, very good.

    Now if you could just have a word with Comrade Stalin about his conduct as well.

  • Driftwood

    Showing where power resides.
    Sammy et al, Stormont, in academic terms is a British ‘University’, albeit not a *real* one.
    It’s like Luton University.
    Some of the dopier students and their families might think it is, and legally it has some substance.
    -BUT- Employers and the real world know it’s a placebo,

    Stormont is ‘University’ of Luton

    Westminster is University of Oxford

    get *REAL*

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy,

    For matters concering Ulster funding Marty and Robbo use the front door not the backbenches.

    I am glad that republicans like yourself are placing their faith in the Tory Secretary of State to put the interests of this place first – but I don’t, and neither do “Marty and Robbo”.

    On “matters of Ulster funding” I’d much rather “Marty and Robbo” focussed on delivering the budget which is already behind schedule.

    What you are missing (try to concentrate) is that the issue raised is about the nonsense of the “constitutional arrangements” of Ulster politicans for example voting on higher educational charges for English students

    Characteristically, you’re running away from the details that render your argument nonsensical. Barnett consequentials are a reality – if this bill passes then there will be a further cut to the NI block grant which will, in turn, force the Executive to make further cuts. That you are trying to ignore this fact shouldn’t really come as a surprise as it’s a matter of public record that Sinn Fein aren’t willing to face problems like this head on, not least when the consequences will be directly felt by everyone hoping to obtain a university education in the near future.

    The first part of this constiutional nonsense/difficulty is a long established debating point and I recommend some background reading for you.

    What part of the West Lothian question applies ?

    Carson’s Cat :

    Wonder how Naomi felt about her Westminster leader getting slam-dunked.

    Naomi doesn’t have a Westminster leader, and never has.

    And before anyone tries it – she was more than happy to be his woman in Belfast pre-election…..

    What do you mean ? Alliance never campaigned on the basis of taking the Lib Dem whip.

    I think people should give some thought to what life is like for a lone MP in Westminster who doesn’t take a party whip. It is an example of a principled decision which comes with consequences. Naomi has to spend a lot more time in the chamber than would otherwise be the case in order to get noticed by the Speaker and ensure she has the inside track on the matters being debated and voted upon. Westminster attendance, unfortunately, doesn’t show up on the usual statistical analysis sites.

    The relationship between Alliance and the Lib Dems is the same as it always has been, but we don’t agree with them on tuition fees, and many of us don’t agree with them on the zealous approach the Tories are taking to the budget cuts. This destructive attitude is going to lead to unnecessary suffering and long-term damage to the UK’s competitiveness, and I’m glad Naomi is able to approach these difficult matters without the unnecessary encumbrance of a whip.

  • Driftwood

    So, Naomi is now taking her lead from Ed Milibean? Why is that so unsurprising?
    Reminds me though to renew my annual subcription to the Guide Dogs for the blind.
    Don’t know why that just came in to my head.

  • Rory Carr

    Nigel Dodds’ well-timed and witty intervention serves well to illustrate the contention of Republican representatives that, as far as effective representation of their constituents is concerned, attendance at Westminster is little more than a performance opportunity for wannabe stand-up comics.

    There are better and more productive ways of using one’s time in the interests of the NI electorate and, entertaining though it may be (and, on this occasion, most certainly was) actual attendance is a waste of time other than as a rare opportunity to preen in public.

    ‘But where is one to preen if not in public ?” do I you hear ask, quite reasonably ? The answer is, ‘Do not preen at all. It demeans one.’

  • james

    “Aye, the front door of Owen Paterson’s office”

    Does anyone know where Owen lives? obviously the leader of the 3rd largest party the UUP nor his party leader and Primeminister don’t have a clue, or indeed Owens phone number as they completely by-passed him recently in sorting out the relationship between the party he represents and the UUP. Poor Own was left believing the Tories would be contesting Assembly elections until he read otherwise in the papers.

    Patersons star is hardly rising, he damaged himself when arranging secret unionist unity meeting and now has been left looking silly by his party leader/Primeminister.

    The Assembly is late delivering their Budget, what has Owen done? possibly still trying to get thro to George or Dave on the phone to offer his input

  • DC

    David Cameron showing himself to be not the sharpest in reply.

  • Comrade Stalin

    So, Naomi is now taking her lead from Ed Milibean?

    Driftwood, I appreciate that basic concepts are difficult from you, but as the general elections show, it is not necessary either for the electorate here or their representatives to take cues from larger parties.

    I am glad to see that the rest of the NI MPs are also opposing these cuts.

    james:

    Poor Own was left believing the Tories would be contesting Assembly elections until he read otherwise in the papers.

    You seem to be mixing up Irwin Armstrong and Owen Patterson.

    The Assembly is late delivering their Budget, what has Owen done? possibly still trying to get thro to George or Dave on the phone to offer his input

    Patterson, correctly, has no role in delivering the NI budget, although he may find himself taking a role if the Executive can’t agree one soon.

  • Man bites dog Clegg.

  • DC

    So, Naomi is now taking her lead from Ed Milibean?

    No no – Naomi takes her lead from an even bigger power – the people of Northern Ireland, never mind 12 MPs, get rid of the lot – even East Belfast, because Naomi is here to steal their thunder.

    Naomi Long the MP for Northern Ireland

    The Daylight Saving Bill Debate:


    David Hamilton: Will the hon. Lady give way?

    “No, I wish to make some progress…

    Sunrise times are critical. Belfast will be less affected than the north coast of Northern Ireland, where the changes would be much more significant. In some places on the north coast, sunrise would be 9.50 am in mid-winter, which would significantly change people’s quality of life…

    To date, I have encountered very few specific references to the Northern Ireland situation in the correspondence and lobbying that I have received, but the Scotland situation has been addressed. The assumption is that the opposition to the change would come purely from Scotland, and little thought has been given to the impact on Northern Ireland.

    …More importantly, there has been surprisingly little debate on this issue in Northern Ireland-it does not come to the minds of many people. In advance of today’s debate, I took it upon myself to write to a small sample of representative groups to ask for their opinion…from which I received a number of responses. None raised huge objections to the proposal, but all indicated that they had given the matter virtually no consideration. I do not believe that daylight saving is on the radar of Northern Ireland political debate.

    …Those who live in the west of Northern Ireland often feel that they are ignored in the Northern Ireland Assembly, which sits in the east, where most of the population is based…

    There is a second issue that is unique to Northern Ireland-our land border with another region. That has to be considered carefully. There are cost and practical implications of the Bill. Many of the farms in Northern Ireland straddle the border-they do not exist entirely on one side or the other-so there are practical issues about time differences. Some people live on one side of the border, but go to school, church or community organisations on the other side. It is a very permeable border. Therefore, the proposal would have a significant impact on those living in the area. One Member said that they found it incredibly irritating to have to change their clocks twice a year, and I think that some people in Northern Ireland might find it irritating to have to do it three or four times a day.

    ..It should also be noted that consideration is being given in the Republic of Ireland to a potential change-consideration that has been largely motivated, I think, by the debate here.”

  • slug

    How annoying that Naiomi likes the dark evenings.

  • DC

    From my reading of the full hansard she supports the bill – but expanded on the concerns of it when implemented – most of it all largely resting outside of east Belfast mind you!

  • This has become surreal and the Angst-Morpork Slugger City Watch (Fabricati Diem, Puncti Agunt Celeriter) would like to comment:

    How in all blistering blazes did a (fairly) light-hearted post get subverted into a series of tirades about Naomi Long and day-light saving time?

    At some point there must have been an off-topic switch. So why wasn’t it switched off?

    Debate Ms Long in a separate thread and DST, if one must. Confuse-a-cat week this definitely has become.

    Dodd’s implied point was valid: the LibDems are exposed as deceiving and self-deceiving. Pity he didn’t go further and expose the Tory “reforms” of Higher Education as another bit of privatising ideology. But that, too, would be off-topic.

    There’s a lot of peripheral stuff here, so more threads, please!

    Now, please rise for the national anthem: We can rule you wholesale.

  • Seymour Major

    It was an enjoyable moment. It may have set light to a new form of political campaigning by NI politicians. With no UUP MPs in Parliament, the DUP has a golden opportunity to use its MPs to gain traction with clever soundbites or jokes, properly delivered at PMQ time.

    In this case, Dodds’ question has scored in the Bel Tel

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/dup-man-compares-lib-dems-to-fifa-15025292.html

    Nice one Nigel.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    CS,

    “Characteristically, you’re running away from the details that render your argument nonsensical. Barnett consequentials are a reality – if this bill passes then there will be a further cut to the NI block grant which will, in turn, force the Executive to make further cuts. That you are trying to ignore this fact shouldn’t really come as a surprise as it’s a matter of public record that Sinn Fein aren’t willing to face problems like this head on, not least when the consequences will be directly felt by everyone hoping to obtain a university education in the near future.”

    SF’s postion on ignoring Westminster is not without it’s difficulties and contradctions in relation to their opting out of debates which can impact on Ulster and to get round this they use either the SOS or the Prime Minister as witnessed with the money promised as part of the STA (Police Transfer) negotiations.

    But there is no denying this is primarily an ideological position and one that a third of MPs (as is there constitutional right) adhere to. The likelyhood is that this percentage is going to continue to increase

    The West Lothian question arises not just in relation to education for England but also to funding for Ulster where the DUP could go and vote in Westminster and then sepaerately( with coalition partners SF) negoatiate a St Andrews style deal seperately for Ulster.

    By way of giving some backing to your arguement can you point to a sinlge instance when the votes of Ulster MPs, in this parliament, or the last, actually would have made a blind bit of difference to the amount of money Ulster receives?

    As a sperate little poser for you – does the Alliance party have, or admit to having, any reliable information which indicates which commnunity background (Catholic/Natioinalist or Protestant Unionist) their voters are coming from in each constituency or in Ulster as a whole.

  • Greenflag

    Mr Clegg did not look comfortable -wincing in fact from Doddsys verbal head butts 🙂 But Cameron pulled a neat bait and switch on Labour . PMQ is something I watch now and again . This was of course more comic and less riveting than Doherty’s Dail demolition on Tuesday .

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    It was actuallya double whammy on Clegg.
    As always at PMQ there is no prior knowledge of a question from across the aisle. And no doubt, Cameron/Clegg were expecting a tale of woe about pensioners in North Belfast (some localised nonsense that could be batted away).
    So as it dawned on Clegg “he means ME” …..Clegg might have thought he would hear a robust defence from Cameron. But he got an extra dig.
    Great stuff.
    I personally have no problem with Double Jobbing. Triple Jobbing (Executive seats) is a step too far for me. But Gregory Campbell gets it right when he says the legislation works against those Parties who can use (say) Campbell, Wilson, McDonnell to headline an Assembly campaign in a constituency.
    If the voters are worried about it they wont vote for the double jobber.

  • I just love it when the Unionist MPs get to pretend that they’re as British as the MP from Finchley or Cloudbottom Upper. They’re such a laugh….

  • It’s Finchley and Golders Green, Concubhar. The current MP and former banker was Private Eye’s ‘Banker of the Year’ winner in the Rotten Boroughs category in 2008. Perhaps Nigel, his parliamentary colleague, can now look forward to a Slugger award 😉

  • How can there be a “Midlothian Question” about Higher Education per se across the UK? There is a “free market” in university places — and encouraging and extending that (pitting our two local universities against Scottish and English institutions) is the small-print of the ConDem proposals.

    Beyond that, if the Assemblies choose to prioritise HE above other social “goods” (and good luck to them and their regional economies), that is an issue of and within the Assemblies.

    The success of ConDem propaganda is that several distinct issues have been conflated and confused. For example:

    ¶ Is HE a critical part of economic development?

    ¶ Should the HE structure be privatised?

    ¶ Is heaping the whole burden of professional qualification on the individual the way to achieve societal progress and equal opportunity? [I do so hope that provokes some defence of the “bursary” scheme: I have a lot of useful numbers there.]

    ¶ Is tripling the cost to the student and the middle-term cost to the Exchequer the best way of “saving money” in times of austerity?

  • I’m not so sure about ‘free market’, Malcolm. I remember a visit to Edinburgh University about 30 years ago when I queried the fairness of the medical school’s quota system. I don’t recall the exact figures but IIRC 80-90% of places were set aside for Scottish students.

    I think education in all its myriad forms should be looked upon as a form of economic as well as social investment. Governments need money and they should be able to acquire more taxes from a well educated and highly skilled population.

  • Reader

    DC (Quoting Naomi Long in Parliament): …from which I received a number of responses. None raised huge objections to the proposal, but all indicated that they had given the matter virtually no consideration.
    So there wasn’t a lot of point her standing up, then. And her point about changing clocks several times a day on the border was just silly.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: There is a “free market” in university places — and encouraging and extending that (pitting our two local universities against Scottish and English institutions) is the small-print of the ConDem proposals.
    The plus, of course, is that one of our local universities isn’t going to be charging 9000 p.a. fees, and might still represent a damn good time for 3 years at a phenomenally low interest rate.
    Malcolm Redfellow: Is tripling the cost to the student and the middle-term cost to the Exchequer the best way of “saving money” in times of austerity?
    The other main costs – accommodation and maintenance – aren’t tripling. The bigger deal is the opportunity cost of students staying out of employement for three years. That’s unchanged.

  • Reader, perhaps the UK and Ireland could sign an international agreement on a shared British, Irish and Other time zone. This would make it so much easier for Peter and Martin to schedule OFMDFM meetings – and Naomi wouldn’t have to wear two watches.

  • Reader @ 4:54 pm:

    at a phenomenally low interest rate

    Lest we forget: the current Student Loan Rate is RPI or BoE Bank rate + 1%, whichever is lower. However, for loans from before 1998, it is 4.4% and variable. The “phenomenally low” late is just that: a phenomenon, and one variable at government and free-market direction.

    other main costs – accommodation and maintenance – aren’t tripling

    Well, perhaps not quite, and not yet. I think you will find it depends on your time-scale: costs are certainly doubled over the last decade. I have figures here which indicate that accommodation costs have risen steadily: up 22% in three academic years. That’s why buy-to-rent in university towns has been a booming business for many years.

    The bigger deal is the opportunity cost of students staying out of employement for three years. [sic]

    As opposed to the present 9% of unemployed graduates. The Daily Telegraph [1 July 2010] was reporting there were as many as 270 applications for each graduate job; and that graduate unemployment could reach 25% with the proposed cuts in public-sector employment.

  • Anon

    He’s in good form.

    He skewered Naomi in the debate today.

    “Are you still glad to have the endorsement of the Rt. Hon. Member for Sheffield Hallam?”

    Ha ha! Gotcha!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Malcolm Redfellow

    How can there be a “Midlothian Question” about Higher Education per se across the UK? There is a “free market” in university places

    Ulster MPs can help decide the level of fees in England and also in Ulster – English MPs dont get to do the same.

    If fees are payble basen on ‘domicile’, as in Wales for example, travelling ‘abroad’ to England to study still means you pay the subsidised rate.

    I genunely cant see how Middle-England-Man will be happy subsidising the colonies to send their kids to university cheaper than he can send his own.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit @ 5:44 pm:

    Ulster MPs can help decide the level of fees in England and also in Ulster – English MPs dont get to do the same.

    Well, I’ve just watched hundreds of Tory (and a few disreputable LibDem) English MPs do just that. The “Middle Wallop Question” perhaps?

    The rest is your hypothesis.

  • slug

    “Ulster MPs can help decide the level of fees in England and also in Ulster – English MPs dont get to do the same. ”

    They do very much via the Barnet consequentials.

  • slug

    Speaking as someone who works at a top university I welcome the independence from government funding that these reforms bring along. We will have to offer students a better education – as they are the paying customer. And our finance is now established and not under threat of government budget pressure like the European and US state system. We can therefore pay the salaries that will retain top scientists.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    slug,

    It is clealry a constitutional nonsense with Unionists clearly in denial about it.

  • slug

    Vernon Bogdanor who I recently discussed this with over dinner does not regard it as a nonsense.

  • Fingal’s Cave

    Slug – I am tantalised by the quality of your dinner companions – any chance I can come and wash the dishes?

  • slug

    You can join us Fingal’s.

    Anyway he thinks that the UK constitution has evolevd quite considerably and after House of Lords reform it should all be set out in a written constitution. He thinks West Lothian isn’t an issue because of the enormous dominance of England, all the other countries of the UK have a real democratic interest in England’s arrangements – not just Barnet consequentials but also the whole reference point that it sets – whereas Englands MPs have no such reciprical strategic interest,

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy:

    SF’s postion on ignoring Westminster is not without it’s difficulties and contradctions in relation to their opting out of debates which can impact on Ulster and to get round this they use either the SOS or the Prime Minister.

    You do recall that the government have rescinded on the promises made by the previous administration with a rather sneaky, Tory-esque sleight of hand ?

    as witnessed with the money promised as part of the STA (Police Transfer) negotiations.

    I’m glad you mentioned it. You don’t think it’s possible that this was Peter Robinson cashing in on a favour after supporting Labour during the 42-day detention debate ?

    But there is no denying this is primarily an ideological position and one that a third of MPs (as is there constitutional right) adhere to. The likelyhood is that this percentage is going to continue to increase

    It will be interesting to see what will happen when the party takes on a wider all-Ireland focus, as we would both agree is likely in the early part of next year. But it would be a very long shot to bet that SF will lose seats.

    The West Lothian question arises not just in relation to education for England

    Wrong. Read the article you kindly provided earlier. The West Lothian question concerns matters that are only related to England. Since this vote effects Barnett consequentials, it is not exclusively related to England. Why is this so difficult to understand ?

    but also to funding for Ulster where the DUP could go and vote in Westminster and then sepaerately( with coalition partners SF) negoatiate a St Andrews style deal seperately for Ulster.

    What do they have to negotiate with ? About the best argument you can use against the Brits is to shame them into coughing up to pay for decades of structural underinvestment. That argument is going to get harder to make considering Stormont’s fiscal profligacy and duplication of services.

    The reason why the British were previously keen to hand over cash was so that people like Tony Blair could cement their historical role as peacemakers. Now that the peace is largely secured, and we can’t use the Blazing Saddles argument anymore (“give us the money or NI gets it”), it’s hard to see how this will work.

    By way of giving some backing to your arguement can you point to a sinlge instance when the votes of Ulster MPs, in this parliament, or the last, actually would have made a blind bit of difference to the amount of money Ulster receives?

    Yes.

    Wheeling and dealing aside, this is a pure straw man. Why did SF bother to turn up to vote against the budget the other day in the Dail ? When have SF votes in the Dail ever been a deciding factor ? Why did SF bother supporting Alban Maginness as justice minister given that they knew the vote would not proceed ?

    The argument that you’re making here is that there is no point in turning up to debate a government with a majority where the whip is being deployed. That’s kind of, um, bad for the whole idea of parliamentary democracy upon which both modern Ireland and the UK are built on.

    And I would argue that there was a good chance that the vote today was going to be tighter than it eventually turned out to be. We were 14 Lib Dem votes away from being at the point where the SF votes would have been able to stop the tuition fee changes.

    As a sperate little poser for you – does the Alliance party have, or admit to having, any reliable information which indicates which commnunity background (Catholic/Natioinalist or Protestant Unionist) their voters are coming from in each constituency or in Ulster as a whole.

    No. How on earth would anyone know that ? And why would anyone want to ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    On one level Sammy is right. The DEL Minister decides what tuition fees will be, in the same way that the Health Minister decides what prescription charges are.

    Where Sammy is wrong is when he uses the West Lothian Question – because this vote will have direct consequences for the NI block grant.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: As opposed to the present 9% of unemployed graduates. The Daily Telegraph [1 July 2010] was reporting there were as many as 270 applications for each graduate job; and that graduate unemployment could reach 25% with the proposed cuts in public-sector employment.
    I suspect that the Telegraph’s point might have been that there are too many graduates. Or that the bottom 9% (or 25%) were utterly useless. But what is *your* purpose in repeating those figures? Anyway, I actually know several people who got jobs without having got degrees first!

  • slug @ 8:11 PM:

    I welcome the independence from government funding that these reforms bring along. We will have to offer students a better education – as they are the paying customer.

    Long before I made it to “a top university” I had to make pronouns agree with their antecedents.

    That said, accepting directed from some “hidden hand” shows how far educators at “top universities” have lost confidence in themselves and their disciplines, if they allow their students to dictate what education is about. Contemporary students will be still professing three, four or more decades from today. If such sweet innocence — let alone old and wizened experience — can anticipate what would be relevant knowledge and education in the mid-century, I’d like to hear this week’s lottery numbers.

    At the time of the Big Bang in the City it was calculated, as trends were going, by 2020 every single graduate would enter accountancy. Similarly, we currently are harvesting a glut of under-educated “computer science” graduates. Private-sector (and expensive) degree-mills churn out thousands of law graduates competing for a very restricted number of professional places as trainee solicitors or pupil-barristers (while many chambers consider a first degree in something other than law to be a positive factor).

    The present reforms are explicitly intended to expose higher education to those market forces. What must inevitably ensue is that academic disciplines slide in and out of student favour as fast as tastes in lager or hem-lines. Is that anything like “liberal education”?

    We need to consider the consequence of unrestricted “customer choice”. Perhaps we may then recognise that some amount of direction, to maintain a balanced provision of places across disciplines, is a good restraint. Governments certainly don’t get future provision “right”, but they have the wider vision not to get it grossly out-of-balance.

  • Reader @ 10:29 pm:

    My tee-shirt from Salinas quotes Steinbeck: “You never can have too many books.” Similarly, I never appreciated why society can have too many educated members. Nor would I want my brain operated on by someone who’s got the job but not a surgical qualification. Or my nuclear power plant operated by someone who walked in off the beach. Or my highly-advanced car’s engine serviced solely by anyone learning one end of a spanner from the other.

    To help you with the other point, those unemployed graduates were applicants for university three years before; and were encouraged to undertake long-term financial commitments to get where they are now. That the government decided to generate additional unemployment (a record 286,000 more in the trimester to September) is not their fault, or their choice.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Comrade Stalin,

    “direct consequences for the NI block grant”

    There is a major difference between having ‘direct consequences’ for something and determining it exactly.

    Whatever pinhead dancing is employed on the head of ‘Barnett consequentials’ (clealry adopted as a Unionist mantra to defend this West Lothian constitutional nonsense) it does not change the simple fact as in the example that Ulster MPs vote on what the actual level of fees the English will pay but English MPs dont get to vote on the level that Norn Ironers will pay.

    You have also confirmed the irrelevance of Ulster MPs in Westminster in any vote and their major impact appears to have been in running up eating-for-Ulster foodbills and other expenses.

    In relation to who votes for the Alliance party, is there some sort of political correctness at work here that prevents a political party from knowing the demograpics of it’s own supporters? It is obviously important in order to understand voting trends in Ulster and if it can be asked on a census it can be asked of a voter.

  • Reader

    Malcolm Redfellow: My tee-shirt from Salinas quotes Steinbeck: “You never can have too many books.” Similarly, I never appreciated why society can have too many educated members.
    I am quite a fan of a liberal education too. However, are you sure that a full time three year degree course undertaken immediately after secondary education is the only way to provide this? I don’t even think it’s a good way to do it. Don’t you remember the old days when the WEA did more than basket weaving and stained glass?
    Malcolm Redfellow: Nor would I want my brain operated on by someone who’s got the job but not a surgical qualification. Or my nuclear power plant operated by someone who walked in off the beach. Or my highly-advanced car’s engine serviced solely by anyone learning one end of a spanner from the other.
    I hadn’t pegged you as the vocational education type!
    And I’m not convinced that *all* of those jobs are best learned in a 3 (5? 7?) year degree course. But that’s a distraction from the point – the 9% unemployed graduates was the point. That’s a clue that there may be too many graduates. The evidence doesn’t suggest there are too few. Even if there is a problem recruiting brain surgeons (and if the problem isn’t best attributed to the consultant scam), the unemployed graduates aren’t ready to do the job.
    Separate issue: I also wonder, you being from the arty branch of education, if you think that scientists should take an additional arts degree. Do you feel scientists are missing out on the real meaning of education?

  • Well, Reader @ 8:59 am, you obviously have not paid attention to my persistent postings, here and elsewhere, on the chronic failure of English technical education.

    There’s a long history of such failure. One could start anywhere: perhaps with the Whiskey Tax of 1890 which financed 90% of local government expense under the Technical Instruction Act of 1889.

    I ‘m inclined to kick off with George Bernard Shaw in “Man and Superman”. Shaw was as relevant in 1903 (when Balfour had just repealed the Whiskey Act) as he remains today:

    TANNER: … this chap [indicating his chauffeur, “Enry” Straker] has been educated. What’s more, he knows that we havn’t. What was that Board School of yours, Straker?
    STRAKER: Sherbrooke Road.
    TANNER: Sherbrooke Road! Would any of us say Rugby! Harrow! Eton! in that tone of intellectual snobbery? Sherbrooke Road is a place where boys learn something: Eton is a boy farm where we are sent because we are nuisances at home, and because in after life, whenever a Duke is mentioned, we can claim him as an old school-fellow.
    STRAKER: You dont know nothing about it, Mr Tanner. It’s not the Board School that does it: it’s the Polytechnic.
    TANNER: His university, Octavius. Not Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Dublin, or Glasgow. Not even those Non-conformist holes in Wales. No, Tavy. Regent Street! Chelsea! the Borough!—I dont know half their confounded names: these are his universities, not mere shops for selling class limitations like ours. You despise Oxford, Enry, dont you?
    STRAKER: No, I don’t. Very nice sort of place, Oxford, I should think, for people that like that sort of place. They teach you to be a gentleman there. In the Polytechnic they teach you to be an engineer or such like. See?

    What is significant is that every time a progressive government (I’d include David Eccles’s 1956 White Paper in there) has tried to do something to improve technological education, a subsequent Tory reactionary government has reversed it. That is as true of the present abandonment of Labour’s apprenticeship scheme as it was of the Geddes Axe, the choking of the 1944 tripartitie system, the Thatcherites killing off the ITBs and the Training Commission, the proliferation of bureaucracy and lack of clarity under Heath, etc., etc.

    Perhaps nowhere else is it so clear that those who ignore the lessons of history are forced to re-live them. On the eve of WW1, the whole UK was producing just 2,000 technologists a year, while Germany managed 25,000 (the consequence was that post-War Vickers-Armstrong had to pay off Krupp for breaching German patents). Does that sound vaguely familiar (with only the comparator changed) from recent rhetoric?

    Now we really are off-topic. New thread, please?

  • slug

    Malcolm

    “educators at “top universities” have lost confidence in themselves and their disciplines, if they allow their students to dictate what education is about.”

    First of all, the students we get are very smart. Second of all, they may not know the subject like the academics, but they can tell good and bad teaching when they see it. And it is in the quality of teaching that I expect to see a difference of expectation.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Whatever pinhead dancing is employed on the head of ‘Barnett consequentials’ (clealry adopted as a Unionist mantra to defend this West Lothian constitutional nonsense

    So the SDLP (who also turned up to vote against) are unionists now too, are they ? You really are incorrigible.

    it does not change the simple fact as in the example that Ulster MPs vote on what the actual level of fees the English will pay but English MPs dont get to vote on the level that Norn Ironers will pay.

    I will concede you’re right on that, if you will concede that – setting republican ideology on the right of the British to legislate on NI matters – that it is appropriate to vote in Westminster on any bill which will have consequences in NI. Deal ?

    You have also confirmed the irrelevance of Ulster MPs in Westminster in any vote and their major impact appears to have been in running up eating-for-Ulster foodbills and other expenses.

    I will concede that, if you will agree that SF, Fine Gael and Labour TDs are irrelevant in the Dail and that they should not bother to turn up because they have no way of influencing proceedings. Agreed ?

    In relation to who votes for the Alliance party, is there some sort of political correctness at work here that prevents a political party from knowing the demograpics of it’s own supporters?

    There are two things at work :

    – commissioning surveys like this is expensive and beyond the budget of parties in NI, even the big ones

    – wouldn’t it seem a bit out of place if a party which is supposed to be not about giving a stuff whether people are prods, taigs or other, is keeping some sort of a scorecard on that question ?

    It is obviously important in order to understand voting trends in Ulster and if it can be asked on a census it can be asked of a voter.

    I know that religious affiliation is important to you and the other bigots who think that people here should be categorized in accordance with their professed faith, but it isn’t important to me.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Comrade Stalin,

    Referring to me as a bigot is an offensive remark and one you need to be able to back up.

    Lets hear it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You’re suggesting we categorize people in accordance with their religious beliefs. That’s being a bigot.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Comrade Stalin,

    “You’re suggesting we categorize people in accordance with their religious beliefs. That’s being a bigot.”

    Have you also informed the people who organise the census that they are bigots as well?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m referring to the motivation behind the question, Sammy, not the question itself.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Comrade Stalin,

    “I’m referring to the motivation behind the question, Sammy, not the question itself”

    More pinhead dancing.

    You made an offensive remark based on a misunderstanding as I have zero religious beliefs but like those that conduct the census realise that ‘community background’ is an important demographic that is useful to be measured.

    I suggest you withdraw the remark and continue the discussion?

  • Reader

    Itwas Sammy: You made an offensive remark based on a misunderstanding as I have zero religious beliefs but like those that conduct the census realise that ‘community background’ is an important demographic that is useful to be measured.
    I would suggest that it would be ‘interesting’, rather than ‘useful’ in this context – this is Alliance you guys are discussing, after all.
    But, if you’re sure – does your party – SF – have this sort of ‘useful’ information about its own voters?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Damn right I won’t Sammy, you are obsessed with counting up prods and taigs and I find it very unhealthy at best. But sure, any old excuse to run away from the point.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Reader,

    I suspect the reason SF doesn’t try to count those from a Prod/unionist background who vote for them is that there would be very little to count.

    The only parties that attract cross community votes (tactical voting aside) in sizable numbers (perhaps excepting the SDLP in south Belfast) are the Alliance and the Greens. Hence my interest in the Alliance.

    UCUNF did indulge in what has been referred to above as ‘bigoted’ behaviour in trying to identify Catholics/soft Nationalists for its aspiring failed ‘non tribal’ project – but this did not go down well with many in the UUP.

    Comrade Stalin,

    Having failed to gain advantage through discussion you have reverted again to manplaying/offensive remarks – in my opinion your comments should be subject to moderation.

  • Comrade Stalin

    How beastly of me.