Three points I would make…
- The major issue most clearly identified is the lack of accountability within the post-St Andrews Agreement system. The fact Mrs Foster didn’t read legislation is embarrassing (as a solicitor), but how did the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 make it into law without any of these flaws being spotted in the first place?
- Ironically it was Timothy Johnson who said that they as Spads had got far too comfortable in their own unassailable (and unaccountable) positions of power over elected holders of the ministerial office. That Sinn Fein, in its own particular way also subjected their own elected officials (such as the former Minister of Finance) to the power of party appointees underlines a joint drift from democratic norms.
- Thirdly, a word for the civil servants (who in fact get off lightly in the piece). Jim Allister argues (correctly) that we should expect better from public servants than to pander to the pampered (and anti-democratic) instincts of the DUP/SF regime. But since St Andrews removed the likelihood that they would ever serve under anyone else, what’s a boy/girl to do but to give them everything they want?
I’ve maintained from the start, that the real truth of the story will lie in the detail. That will come from Coghlin himself. Spotlight shows the price to be paid for our inability to punish poor policy, poor government and poor politicians after we binned the electorate’s right to kick the bums out.
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