DUP and Sinn Fein vote down Jim Allister’s SPAD bill

Jim Allister is back with a SPAD bill (not that one) this piece of legislation would have placed a cap on pay and the number of SPADs that can be employed. Northern Ireland currently spends over £2 million per year on SPADs which is double the cost of Scotland and three times that of Wales.

A few months ago Jim Allister wrote for Slugger setting out his case for reform of the system.

Alas it appears that business as usual returned to the chamber today to defeat the bill. The DUP and Sinn Fein voted down Jim Allister’s bill 52-33. The SDLP, Alliance and UUP backed the bill.

The entire farce of this situation was captured by the SDLP today who tweeted

Another day in Gotham City……

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  • aquifer

    SPADs having higher salaries than the MLAs is weird. Who is in charge here?

  • Gaygael

    I haven’t been able to find anywhere why Sinn Fein voted against this.
    Anyone help?

  • Deke Thornton
  • Deke Thornton

    See above

  • Thomas Girvan

    I heard Raymond McCartney talking about it.
    He didn’t give any reason for Sinn Fein vetoing the bill.
    The only thing he said referred to the previous Bill of Jim Allister’s, which was about employing terrorists with long sentences served for offences from being employed as SPADs.
    So it seemed that it was pay back time against Jim Allister.
    There was no reference to the validity of the bill, or the cost to the public purse.
    I suppose it is not unexpected that Sinn Fein would vote against the Bill seeing as it how it would cut their income from the SPADS passing on their excess income to Sinn Fein.
    Sure, what the hell about austerity, it’s off a broad back.
    (The problem is, it is mine and your backs!).

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “Another day in Gotham City ……….” Funny enough I thought I seen these two up on the hill yesterday !

  • Zig70

    How on earth can Cameron tell us austerity is required when there is plenty of money in the system for those with no guilt.

  • Granni Trixie

    Fair play to SDLP – juxtapposing two pictures says more than a 1000 words.
    No discipline of the SPAD and RED SKY also makes the case for why performance as well as salaries needs reforming.

  • Reader

    Cameron says how much money there is, DUP and SF decide what to spend it on. That’s devolution.

  • chrisjones2

    Why did SF vote against it? Well if the SPADs are paid say £90k each and donate the amount over the £25K alleged salary to the Party that’s a take for the Party of perhaps £500k pa. So thats 500000 reasons

    By the way did the SF MLAs who voted declare any interest in the outcome? If not, why not

    MLA Code of Conduct Rule 81 and 69

    81. Members should declare any relevant interest financial or otherwise or benefit of whatever nature, whether direct or indirect, in debate, or other proceedings

    69. Members should register here any financial interests which might reasonably be thought by others to influence a Member’s actions, speeches or votes in the Assembly, or actions taken in his or her capacity as a Member of the Assembly

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think it was obvious SF would vote against this, the big question is how they’d spin it. Playing the man rather than the issue and the usual yah-boo nonsense deflects from the fact that one department has as many special advisors as eight … and it’s not health, education, finance or justice … it’s the business trip, executive chairing (and cover my posterior allegedly) OFMDFM one. Jim was particularly after these.

    If that doesn’t show the public a bad impression of what a SPAD is, I don’t know what would. Add high salaries (almost as high as a minister), no mandate and no accountability outside of bringing them to a court.

    Sinn Féin na bPhoblacht are banging on about cronyism and gombeenism in the South, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael two sides of the same coin … seems that coin is exchangeable with the coin with the DUP on one side and Sinn Féin (na dTuaiscairt) on the other.

  • Greenflag 2

    Those who can -DO
    Those who can’t – TEACH
    Those who can’t do and can’t teach – SPAD

  • Greenflag 2

    They need the advisers because they are learning the basics of democracy and they can’t afford to fall flat on their faeces too many times . They have finished the basic introductory course and are having severe difficulties at second level . Assuming they get past second level and advance to third level ‘democracy ‘ then SPADS may no longer be needed .

    At that point they will hire the master spinners , image consultants , clothing and make up advisers , how to smile for photo op courses etc just like New Labour and the Tories ,

    The short answer to who’s in charge is as ever these days – Money/Mammon /Cash -Financial sector led capitalism and its Westminster led muppeteers .

    Be grateful . Without the dosh they’ll all start shooting /eating each other again and we don’t need that do we?

  • chrisjones2

    Well, think of them as the Cromwell to Marty and Peters Henry VIII

  • Gaygael


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Having worked with some of the major British advertising agencies, I’d feel that their money would be much better spent on someone like John Hegerty:


    rather than the amateurs they employ as SPADS. Peter would be unlikely to make his “McConnell” style gaffs if properly advised by someone who really understands the effect of what is said on the general public. At times I wonder if the advisors let him say these things simply as a form of performance art.

  • Greenflag 2

    The First Law in business is – If you can’t sell it , don’t make it . The Second Law – if you want to sell it you better advertise , Third law (easier said than done ) make sure your advertising is effective .

    There are some brands however which are beyond the creative marketing skills of the professional subliminal persuasion maestros . Political unionism I’d suggest is one of them -the brand being confined to a small and diminishing market with zero growth potential beyond it’s present niche .
    It’s the Ford Edsel of British and Irish politics 😉

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, Greenflag, John Hegerty could sell anything to anyone, he’s the most imaginative creative director I’ve ever come across, but I suspect “they couldn’t afford him”………and he might have problems getting the client to accept some of the problems any marketing professional would have with marketing the brand.

    The real problem is how these people present to the outside world, something that SF have long realised is perhaps even more important than simply selling to the home market.
    Unfortunately the Unionist brand as it now stands is plagued with structural problems. There is an utter inability within most Unionism to empathise with how others in the world beyond perceive Unionism, something akin to the attempts to sell the Vauxhall “Nova” to a Latin market which did not take into account that its name told the potential buyer that the car actually “did not go”. The “retro look” mindset they seem married to needs a serious revamping, but if this was done with the required thoroughness, little would be left that now marks Unionism.

    Perhaps if they concentrated on what marks contemporary Britishness, as defined in the Citizenship Tests, they might begin to get somewhere, but this obsession with the high point of Empire is simply too demode. You get the impression that if you tried to explain that Queen Victoria and her age was long dead, someone would mutter “poor Albert……”

  • Greenflag 2

    They got ‘bogged ” down in the Irish Mist which BTW is not a brand of liqueur that sells easily in the German speaking world .. Mist in German means dung/manure . However it does better as a paint shade in the USA under the name Irish Mist Behr .

    Political unionism is much less flexible /marketable -it has long gone beyond remediation by merely changing its shade;)

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Greenflag, it is interesting to consider just how a revitalised UUP entirely composed on men with some honesty, such as Danny Kinahan displays, could alter this:

    “You must be able to debate and argue and accept each others differences, but be able to sit down afterwards and carry on amicably……” would certainly make for a change in what we are currently compelled to watch up on the Hill.

    That this would in essence reflect many of the characteristics of political Conservatism would still present problems for an old leftist such as myself, it would at least present amore mature version of support for the Union with “themuns” over the water.