NI Executive: “Never mind the quality, feel the width…”

An interesting analogy from BBC NI’s Jim Fitzpatrick in an accurate depiction of the dysfunctional nature of our ‘indigenous’ arrangements.  From Jim Fitzpatrick’s article

It would be unfair to criticise the parties for a lack of delivery, whenever all they were expected to deliver was “themselves” to the finishing line.

But as they head into an election seeking a mandate for a new term in office, it will be interesting to see what expectations are for the new term. And a question they will have to address is whether the current structures actually allow for good government.

A number of issues this week highlighted the dysfunctional nature of an Executive where power is distributed less by coalition, than by contested carve-up. The ministers around the Executive table have the leadership style of mafia bosses representing five different families, each with their own territory and each with their own power base.

They work together because they have accepted the basic ground rules, but getting agreement is a constant game of trade-offs. The smaller families feel they are not getting a fair slice of the action, but they remain at the table because they fear annihilation from the bigger families should they leave.

It is a structure which does not encourage strategic oversight, or shared common objectives.

Read the whole thing.  As Jim Fitzpatrick says

…when it comes to election time, expect our politicians to trumpet how good it has been to have had four years of government, but perhaps they could tell us how good a government the next one will be.