OFMdFM panic move was “like a funding application where the Secretary of State had cracked the whip”

Well, here’s a bit of a YouTube Smorgasbord of comment on OFMdFM’s Towards a United Community… It’s telling that the joint tactics of the representatives of the OFMdFM parties used a lot of shouting, jeering and intervention to smother what was in aggregate a decent three pointed challenge from Alliance, the UUP and the SDLP…

First word to the two boys, starting with the history of this document going right back to Des Brown’s launch of the Shared Future consultation back in 2005:

Here’s what it sounds like with most of the shouting removed (including John O’Dowd’s ‘so what’ retort to complaints from Danny Kennedy that no other Executive colleagues were informed before publication:

Interesting to note that although David Ford’s own Department of
Justice had already advised OFMdFM that some of its proposals were inadvisable, his department was slated in for some of the projects without him (of the International Fund for Ireland) having been consulted.

Four days later on Stormont Today, John O’Dowd finally gave a revealing interview in which he seemed to utterly contradict his own position on pre consulting before presentation:

It certainly doesn’t matter if you haven’t consulted the Minister for Education and Learning about his considerable input into your plan if that plan (as Conall McDevitt notes, in the second clip above) is merely an artefact intended to dupe the wider public into thinking that something is actually being done at the top table…

Finally, it’s well worth watching the First Minister with a needlessly aggressive performance at the Ministerial pulpit (because of his job share with the dFM, he only has to do this once a month):

In particular (in case you missed it) look out for ‘nose tells’ of the type Pete identified from Mr Adams a few years ago in interview with Noel Thompson. They start remarkably quickly after he begins speaking, with the first grand claim for what remains an uncosted and unconsulted upon [after seven years? – Ed]

And finally, and tellingly, Sam McBride reveals why the haste on the part of OFMdFM… It was all very last minute he says, like “like a funding application where the Secretary of State had cracked the whip and said you need to do something on a shared future if you are unlock this money”.

And here’s the kicker, why convene an all party working group as McBride points out, we already have an all party working group called the Executive, “on some days the Executive does not have enough business to have a full meeting. It’s odd that you would push that away from the Executive to all party working group”.

Unless of course you were just playing the optics and trying to spread the blame around when, as Conall McDevitt puts it, the whole thing falls flat on its face again.. by, as Pete notes here, retaining the capacity to kibosh any thing useful that might come out of it by loading the bases with junior ministers

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