Stop messing around and get back to work!

If I woke up tomorrow and decided I couldn’t get on with my colleagues nor did I want to strike an agreement on a direction for a project we were working on – I’d be in trouble.

Worse still if I just simply decided not to turn up to my job, I’d no doubt be sacked and someone else would be found to replace me.

As the talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive seem to be stuck in a Groundhog Day-like fiasco I, like many other people across the country, have been getting increasingly irritated by the lack of progress.

You would think we’d be used to this diabolical behaviour by now – but sadly too many of us live in hope and are therefore still shocked and disappointed by the actions of our politicians.

Public services, schools, our local NHS, the arts and the voluntary and community sector are being starved of resources, before long the doors will be closing and redundancies announced.

Come November the reality of there being no money to fund Northern Ireland’s services will be here. If there’s no agreement by then the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, will have the difficult choice of calling an election or implementing Direct Rule.

Let’s be honest the UK Government and Opposition are more interested in the complexities of Brexit and their internal squabbling than the problems our wee thorn in their side brings.

It’s highly doubtful they intend to prioritise the need for bringing forward legislation to allow even limited Direct Rule for the release of funds.

If such a piece of legislation was to come into force it may allow a small amount of cash to filter through the economy in order to alleviate the budgetary crisis. But it’s not a solution, nor is it really an effective stopgap.

In the meantime, our two major parties continue to play table tennis with our lives with a standalone Irish Language Act being the main sticking point.

Shockingly the current running costs of the Assembly – that isn’t sitting in any manner at all – is set to hit around £4m since the election.

Our health and social care trusts are talking about multi-million-pound reductions to operations and nursing home services…this isn’t fiction…it’s our reality.

Of course, the MLAs aren’t about to hand over their wages. Both the DUP and SinnFéin have backed themselves so far into a corner neither are willing to compromise a way out.

And it doesn’t seem to be doing either much harm. Why?

They’re busier thinking of ways to save face than to save the lives of those being failed by our dwindling health service. They’ve decided green and orange politics is more important than the education and wellbeing of our children.

On World Peace Day I think Patricia Murtagh, principal of Hazelwood Integrated Primary School in Newtownabbey, had a good point. She said:

It is perhaps pertinent to look at the local impasse at Stormont – peaceful resolution requires compromise, conversation, trust and humility – skills we are teaching our children at this moment in Hazelwood Integrated Primary.

It is not about who is the strongest or the bravest or the most powerful but about the bigger picture – a good quality of life for every citizen.

Meanwhile, as operations are cancelled, schools are forced into making harsh cuts, economic development uncertain and social care stretched there is nothing to indicate any member of the DUP or Sinn Féin will demonstrate responsibility in any shape or form.

So the question is are people, who would normally stand on opposite sides of the divide at the ballot box, ready to unite. As Patricia says we’re already equipping some of our children for an integrated future.

The reality is the real enemy to the people of Northern Ireland is the politicians who would rather keep us divided – it helps to cover up those Nama, RHI and other scandals. By starving society of resources they retain and maintain their power and control over us?

If they refuse to are we willing to compromise a way out?

Even if we don’t want to do it for ourselves maybe we could see that we have no choice but to stand up for those who are vulnerable and disenfranchised and who are being failed by the entire political system here in Northern Ireland.

Follow Tina Calder on Twitter @TinaCalder or connect with her on Facebook Facebook.com/TinaCalder

, ,

  • Brendan Heading

    Worse still if I just simply decided not to turn up to my job, I’d no doubt be sacked and someone else would be found to replace me.

    Yeah, but imagine you had a job where you refused to turn up, you phoned your boss and told him you couldn’t work with the conditions, and he enthusiastically reappointed you anyway. That’s the gig a lot of our MLAs have.

    The assembly is in the state it is in because that’s what most people want. A majority of the MLAs are there because they won’t do a deal that will enable government to resume.

  • Mister_Joe

    Nothing concentrates the mind more wonderfully
    than the knowledge that you are to be hanged in the morning lose your job (and wages) in the morning.

  • Alvin Straight

    I think people put too much faith in our Politicians to sort these problems out. Stormont is a glorified county council. The Tories are the real problem, continuing to plunder the Health Service and Education. Under Labour the waiting lists were approx 6 months and now? 2-3 years. And Arlene’s magic billion? Once the capital projects in Belfast swallow that its sticking plasters all round.

  • sparrow

    Politics here is a zero sum sectarian headcount. That’s how the state was set up in the first place, that’s what it has been for 90 years, that’s what it will remain into the future. There is only one issue here in every single election and that issue is the border. Instead of throwing our hands up in despair and blaming the politicians we’ve elected, we need to change the context in which elections take place. Partition has failed. Let’s end it.

  • Granni Trixie

    As in the case of those who voted Leave, now that the reality has kicked in, it is very risky for parties to take it for granted that people will vote the same way in a new election.
    O I was forgetting in NI they still have the sectarian card at their disposal so likely to be the same old,same old result. Lemmings we are.

  • Granni Trixie

    So the answer is for politicians to take the money and opt out of responsibility?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Oh for God’s sake! Did you even read Tina’s piece? There are more pressing, urgent and crucial (if something can be more crucial) needs to be addressed first.
    It’s brilliant for you to have armchair ambition but you’re not showing much connection to any immediate reality. Undoing partition can only come about through constructive diligence and the unification of the population not through pie in the sky opportunism that has been seized on by you from reckless decisions to bring the whole house down.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And that is where the analogy of ‘MLAs not doing their jobs’ unravels. MLAs are delegated to the position by large numbers of the electorate. It is their voters who appointed them and it is to their voters that they are answerable. In short, a large percentage of the voting public prefer the current stalemate to actual progress. Instead of ‘we get the Government we deserve’, NI gets the recurrent deadlock some of it prefers.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Hey, Granni, it couldn’t get any more absurd could it? All the unpalatable reality is staring people in the face, nay more than that: it’s as unavoidable as having 3d gaming visors on all our heads and reality and its causes are all that’s visible. But still they say ‘No, no, no! Themmuns dun it’.

  • Easóg

    You say lemmings we are but you don’t really include the sniffy, elitist AP in your criticism,do you?

  • sparrow

    Calm down, Ben. On the one hand you blast me for ignoring the immediate reality, yet in a separate post you acknowledge that the current deadlock is due to voting patterns rather than the calibre of our politicians. Voting patterns. By that you mean our habit of voting orange and green above all else, which we’ve done consistently since the foundation of the state. There’s your immediate reality, Ben. How are you going to change that then?

  • Georgie Best

    I’ll bet you £10 that the Hazelwood ‘Integrated’ Primary school hadn’t a word of Irish about the place, nor any trace of Gaelic games.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Acknowledge that the party system is never going to provide a solution in NI and replace it:

    http://www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol9/iss1/art11/

  • Georgie Best

    If people vote for the DUP to block progress then this is what you get. Not an inch, no surrender, Ulster will be right, Ulster says No, and so forth for 450 years.

  • Ruairi Murphy

    The comparison of the Stormont institutuons with everyday employment in an office is tired and lazy.

  • Granni Trixie

    I am referring to parties who got power by playing up the sectarian card. Now they appear not willing to take responsibility for exercising that power and look what it’s costing? No devolved government!

  • Easóg

    Integrated here means integrated with the ‘British mainland’ as closely as possible. The education version of the AP who are too naice to dip their toes in the cesspool that the rest of us have to live in. Why would they promote Irish?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6534ad8df8f6a711a1c3b7abb135577a3d4f9c4f12d08ce8054a9a67f9826c4.jpg Hazelwood School at the Gaelic Football Blitz held at Carryduff GAC also Extra Weekly Curricular Activities Thursday – Gaelic Football 3pm – 4pm ! Any chance of throwing that Tenner Bet into NI Children in Need Charity Collection soon ?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    And if people vote for Sinn Fein …?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Well, she’s sensibly more in favour of survival of the fittest, i.e., the inevitable supremacy of those most adaptable to an ever changing environment.
    Maybe the most adaptable appear sniffy and elitist to those that are left behind. I really don’t know.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Living in a cesspool suggests choice but having to live in one suggests lack of will to transform the cesspool.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I already have changed that with the only person I have control over.
    Brilliant as I believe myself to be I am powerless to change the self destructive behaviour of others. Because other people’s self destructive tendencies have impact on me I am free to express my views on them. There’s a quote from the Mahatma that springs to mind: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I’d love to see some contributors’ to Slugger involvement in the responsibility of sortition.

  • epg_ie

    The real problem may be the perception that “NI political labour” => “free money for nice things”.

  • Jeff

    Georgie please research and think about your contributions, they come across and ill informed and lazy leaving a reader such as myself rolling my eyes I’m sorry to say.

  • Jeff

    We’re the DUP around 450 years ago?

  • Mike the First

    Maybe instead of completely speculative “bets” that are way off the mark, Georgie could try a bit of looking for actual facts first in future…?

  • Easóg

    The choice is live here or leave. It’s more like a primordial swamp and we’re used to it – maybe even like it.

  • Georgie Best

    When I underestimate someone or something and are proven wrong then I am happy to admit it. £10 on its way to charity.

  • Easóg

    Still no evidence of Irish about the school. You should only have donated. £5.

  • Mike the First

    No, integrationism as a political tendency meant integration with GB.
    Integrated education meant and means integrating Catholics, Protestants and others together.
    Different concepts, similar words. Surely not beyond your ken.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Good man

  • Jeff

    Well done

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Here’s their prospectus. http://online.fliphtml5.com/sfmw/eatp/#p=24
    Sure tame teagues don’t know what’s good for them and as for self hating lundies.
    Georgie ask the charity for 50% of your donation back! Who cares how it looks. The voice of Eire Nua has spoken.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Hmmm, is it filth of your own making?

  • Easóg

    Who’s left behind? The people vote for who they want – the bastards!

  • Easóg

    Hah!

  • Easóg

    Integrated education meant and means integrating Catholics, Protestants and others together to be nice little British citizens in the hope that they will vote thus sometime in the future. Different concepts,similar words. Surely not beyond your ken.

  • Easóg

    Give him a gentle nudge about his spelling too, why don’t you?

  • Croiteir

    Still they witter on about the fact that the north is not a sustainable political unit, they just cannot accept that the shoddy deal forced on Ireland has not been stable and never shall. All this is futile howling at the moon.

  • Mike the First

    Two things:

    1. You’ve only discussed one concept there, no evidently “different concepts, similar words” is beyond your ken.

    2. That’s just your own makey-uppy definition. One with nothing provided to back it up.

  • John

    Sadly we can only blame ourselves. We chose to elect a clatter of posers incapable of doing anything but posing for photos to be stuck high on lamp posts and move their mouths emitting mostly meaningless words. Unfortunately anyone remotely useful is to busy creating wealth for themselves and everyone they employ and who supplies them with what ever they need to do what they do. These people do these this in spite of our “great leaders” not because of them. Martin McGuinness must be spinning in his grave looking at this nonsense.

  • Jeff

    Easog I would but mine can be found wanting😕

  • Easóg

    Your concept and my concept = two concepts. And it’s not a definition, it’s how I feel about two communities and integrated education. I presume you feel different and look upon it as the answer to all our problems. Good luck to you.

  • Easóg

    No matter. You do your best, bless you. (Eyes roll)

  • Easóg

    Lighten up, Mr Ben. The world and his wife know the value of Integrated Education á la Six Counties.

  • Zig70

    Good plan, only male locals should have the vote.

  • Zig70

    I’d agree that we only have ourselves to blame but it is too easy to dismiss the efforts of politicians in a fairly risk adverse ham strung situation. I wouldn’t do it. RHI has shown that it isn’t just the politicians on the take. Possibly the way our kids are ghetto’d leads to a perpetuation of ghetto politics. You aren’t going to solve it by educating the kids and the failure of integrated education shows this.

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Or possibly only lassies over 50 ?

  • Georgie Best

    I could. But you’ll always be corrected here and T.E.Lawrence did the job for me!

  • eamoncorbett

    Even if both parties did agree a formula to go back in , the storm clouds of a hard Brexit linger on the horizon and the possibility of another breakdown at Stormont. Sinn Fein’s gripe is not just with the DUP , they detest the Conservative government in equal measure.
    The above article is all about what should happen in a modern democracy but the truth is Northern Ireland has a long way to travel before normal politics pertains .
    There is no over arching body with authority to oversee the workings of Stormont, that has now become apparent as one of the shortcomings of the GFA . The agreement was essentially a peace deal , never a political deal . The politics was supposed to look after itself in the evolving situation but alas that didn’t happen . The Irish government can only advise and convene then their authority finishes.
    The British government can only suspend but can’t abolish because of the treaty they signed. The situation I’ve outlined leaves a vacuum which allows the 2 most stubborn political parties on these islands to engage in an never ending standoff for as long as they wish.

  • Nap McCourt

    Our politicians are a reflection of our society. It is easy to criticise their inactivity and intransigence but it is us, the electorate, who put them forward. If there was another election tomorrow, how many of us would be flexible and progressive enough to change our voting pattern. I would hazard a guess very few. We cannot blame OUR politicians. All parties put forward their manifestos, and we select to vote for the extremes in both communities. We then get stalemate, so why are we shocked, surprised and critical.

  • Nap McCourt

    What about the wishes of the majority of the electorate who voted for DUP/Sinn Fein to take the stances they are currently taking. The solution is not to scrap the politicians jobs, but to replace them through the democratic process with politicians with a more progressive and inclusive vision.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Lighten up? That’s my sense of humour but yeah it’s at the expense of clichés like … some people.

  • Mister_Joe

    I admire your optimism, Nap. But who you think is going to do that? It might happen in say 50 years time when everyone is too busy building seawalls to worry about anything else. Working together, of course.

  • John

    I think you may be missing the point. RHI as we know it was created by politicians, specifically by the DUP. It was a scheme with no enforceable limits. It was a rouges charter to plunder the public purse.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    You where just unlucky in the speculative bet Georgie as I had a bit of insider information. I have a nephew who attends the school and believe it or not he is one of the young prods within the school who loves playing Gaelic Football. As a recent Birthday present he asked me to buy him a pair of football boots which I agreed to as long as they where the new fancy Designer Orange Colour Type to represent his good old Orangeman Uncle and the Apple County where our family bloodline come from ! Now that was such a mistake – He comes back to me and says he needs 130 quid to buy the new Orange Puma Boots ? I near s— myself, that’s what I get for being so smart. Look at the picture there are a lot of the Kids wearing them ! So cheer up you only can done for a tenner I got done for a ton plus !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    I think Clare Bailey South Belfast Green MLA went to Hazelwood ? Now I know a few people in Government Circles who would not call Ms Bailey a nice little British citizen, I thing more a thorn in their side they would say ?

  • Granni Trixie

    Though ofcourse it was not the DUP alone – didn’t SF play their part in the passage of RHI?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    It’s interesting that many overlook this. Michelle O’Neill oversaw the implementation of this ceiling free scheme within her agricultural remit. She can hardly claim ignorance.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    The people who are left behind are those who, at best, drag their feet. It’s their choice I guess.

  • George

    They have Gaelic Football every Thursday. Give the £10 to charity.

  • Tina Calder

    Actually when I went to Hazelwood “back in the day” I remember going to an Irish after schools club – I was crap at languages so I can barely say “hello”….they have an amazing way of embracing both cultures…

  • Georgie Best

    £10 for the Gaelic Football and £10 for the Irish.

  • Easóg

    I think the extent of Michelle’s involvement was to publicise the scheme as requested by another department. She may have been slightly naive in that she didn’t get the Fraud Squad to go over every jot and tittle but who would have thought that such carry on was afoot. The media also publicised the scheme and the Internet. Are all to be tarred with Arlene’s departmental brush. Was the Alliance Party aware of the scheme?

  • Easóg

    Passage? Was this not a departmental scheme? I was unaware of it being ‘passaged’ through the Assembly. If this is true, why was it not nipped in the bud by the hurlers on the ditch?

  • John

    Sadly yes our SF brethren certainly seem to have swallowed whatever line they were fed. However RHI (in Norn Iron) was and is a DUP construct. Our Sammy, unfortunately, did not read the small print which capped the Westminster donation, so when he, his buddies and spads removed any caps for their RHI version and then pushed uptake of the con, the over-spend problem got bigger and biggger and bigggger. Greed, stupidity, arrogance and a culture of DUP dishonesty has got us to the present day.

  • Are MLAs guilty of benefits fraud and virtual theft from the public purse?

    Do they claim their wages/expenses or is their all too convenient excuse that their payment is being given to them by the system?

  • Granni Trixie

    Passage was the wrong word to use – what I meant to indicate was that Sf had played their part in overseeing as when MON was involved in the implemendation of RHI etc. Those who had knowledge about the scheme were involved.

  • Granni Trixie

    Which is why it is surprising that the ILA is the only show in town and not reforms to governance such as POC, greater transparency etc.

  • Easóg

    Had the Alliance Party knowledge of the scheme?

  • Easóg

    I would venture to say that the ILA is the tangible part of the attempt to see if the unionists can see their way to tossing aside their old sneery, disrespectful treatment of all things native. It is relatively cheap, non- interfering and potentially inclusive. I think if it had been supported without any meanness we would be in a different place today. Perhaps that window is now closed. That this is a type of kite being flown is demonstrated by the broad support it has garnered from speakers and non speakers alike.

  • Granni Trixie

    I honestly don’t know. Personally I only knew of it when it hit the headlines for all the wrong reason so presumably I am not in the circles tipped off about its “benefits”. Anyway, preumably we’ll know further about who knew what when the investigation report comes out. Already we can see potential connections from the published list of who bought into the scheme but that is only a bit of the story.

  • Granni Trixie

    Im inclined to agree with you about the negative impact of meanness in dealing with Things Irish and would add that if there is any hope for the future lessons have to be learned.
    Where I disagree with you is the assertion that an ILA would be “relatively cheap” for that is something we just don’t know.

  • Easóg

    I would like to think,granni, that the ‘private’ talks going on behind the scenes would have been presented with a sensible, costed Act by now. Most people would settle for the basics and it should be capped from year to year or aligned with other culture spending.

  • Granni Trixie

    I hope you are right. By this stage hope has been knocked out of me.

  • Mark Petticrew

    She did indeed go to an integrated school TE, but it was Lagan College up there by Fourwinds; former pupil of it myself. Interestingly, she was one of the school’s first 28 pupils in its inception year of 1981.

  • Zig70

    Was that part of Athenian democracy?

  • babyface finlayson

    Granni
    I am pretty sure it was scrutinised by committee at the time, a committee of which SF was part..
    I can’t remember which one now but no doubt it is a matter of record.

  • John

    You have lost me. I have no idea what ILA or POC is.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sorry.
    Irish Language Act:ILA. (Sorry it’s not written in Irish but I don’t know any Irish despite being taught it for 5 years).

    Petition of Concern: POC
    I think POC was intended as a safeguard of cross community support for proposed legislation which would only pass if supported by weighted majority (60per cent).

    Many believe the DUP in particular exercises a veto by usImg POC on a range of issues eg gay marriage because its number of MLas plus fellow travellers such as Jim Allister.
    (Hope my understandings are accurate, if not try Wikipedia).

  • Jeremy Cooke

    Baby steps baby steps

    slightly tongue in cheek Ziggy