The trouble with Stormont’s MLAs is that they are not real politicians…

Well, the Irish News yesterday went fairly big on the possible abandonment of the ESA (Education and Skills Authority) that was supposed to streamline the running of schools in Northern Ireland by amalgamating a whole bunch of organisations, not least the many of the executive of the Department and the five Education and Library Boards.

Brian Feeney is pretty sharp in his attack on the lack of any political nous amongst the political parties at Stormont.

One minute they are telling us the likely reforms would save £13 Million in 2010-11 and £20 million in 2011-2012, next minute it is cut because of what Feeney calls “spurious concerns” by the DUP “about controlled, by which they mean Protestant, schools and the role of the Protestant clergy on the ESA”.

The problem, according to Feeney, is that:

the MLAs aren’t politicians. Politicians always disagree but real politicians do deals. People are entitled to expect politician to cut a deal. That’s what they are for.

Last week, after a lot of shouting in the House of Commons David Cameron and Ed Milliband cut a deal on an inquiry into the Libor fixing scandal. Labour doesn’t like it they got enough concessions to satisfy them.

The guys at Stomont don’t do this sort of thing. They prefere 100 per cent of nothing to 50% of nothing.

Harsh, but probably fair…

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  • People are entitled to expect politician to cut a deal. That’s what they are for.

    Not in NI they’re not. For as long as NI has existed, its politicians have been elected on the basis of who shouts loudest against themmuns. Doing deals is a sign of weakness – three thousand people had to die before they finally got around to doing the last one.

    The only thing that has changed since is that there is now less incentive to do deals. The vast bulk of ordinary opinion that came out in force to vote through a political deal (the GFA) has retreated back into its garden centres and left the political ground to the same old non-politicians.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Here we have a one sided sectarian account of the ESA fiasco from Mr Feeney, the body was originally meant to take over from most of the current diverse education bodies, but SF chickened out when the CCMS refused to come on board, as a result the ESA as propsed has some influence over Catholic Schools, but complete control over mainly Protestant Controled Schools. At present the three main protestant denominations nominate Education Board members & Schools governors, a mix of clergy and local represenatives usually, from what I understand this will disappear in the ESA, giving almost complete control to the Department, and its SF minister. In other words its one set of rules for Catholics but another for Protestants, the sectarian face of SF reveals itself again in another department. Thankfully for once the DUP hasn’t did a tacky back room deal and backed down on this one yet….

  • lover not a fighter

    Is there not an Art to getting the Public to pay you good wages and expenses.

    So they may be Artists.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I think Feeney pays too much respect for politicians being real politicians outside the Assembly, there’s plenty to fudge in every other parliament.

    Reality is there’s very few “real politicians” anywhere.

  • Jack2

    lover not a fighter (profile)
    10 July 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Is there not an Art to getting the Public to pay you good wages and expenses.

    So they may be Artists.

    They are even better. Not real worries about job security, if you spawn a slightly dim child get them up to speed of kicking the others. Bingo another guaranteed job for life for nothing other than falling from their mothers crotch.

    Saying they are artists is akin to saying John Lennon was a bit handy at writing songs.

  • What is the difference between 100% of nothing and 50% of nothing?

  • SDLP supporter

    Brian Feeney, being a very smart guy, should know that in Irish politics whoever is thickest/most thran/obdurate/instransigent comes out on top and scoops the pool. It’s an iron law.

    -Dev, who fought a civil war, which wrecked the country, over an innocuous oath to King George V, accepted it a few years later and went on to enjoy nearly fifty years of electoral success;
    -Paisley, who said no to everything, destroyed successive unionist leaders who moved even a millimetre towards accommodation, and settled for a mess of pottage and a few seats in the Lords and “honoured” by the establishment (though not by me, who will raise a glass when he passes over to the other side, assuming I’m still above the ground myself);
    -the Provos, who similarly wrecked all initiatives since Sunningdale up to the GFA, then sent out McGuinness to parrot speeches and insights coined by John Hume a generation ago.

    It’s true: people get the politicians they deserve.

  • SDLP supporter, perhaps this is a peculiarly Irish form of Bigmanism:

    Generally associated with neopatrimonial states, where there is a framework of formal law and administration but the state is informally captured by patronage networks. The distribution of the spoils of office takes precedence over the formal functions of the state, severely limiting the ability of public officials to make policies in the general interest. While neopatrimonialism may be considered the norm where a modern state is constructed in a preindustrial context, however, the African variants often result in bigmanism in the form of a strongly presidentialist political system.[1]

    Sound familiar?

  • Mac

    Apparently the dog is named after Lennox Robinson the playwright, definitely not Lennox Lewis the boxer.

  • FuturePhysicist

    What is the difference between 100% of nothing and 50% of nothing?

    Not only two divide by zero errors but a subtraction between two divide by zero errors???

    My head hurts!

  • FP,

    Who’s dividing by zero? I see two instances of multiplying by zero though.

  • FuturePhysicist

    Ah … thanks Andrew! Next time I’ll work with exponentials.