Monday, 30 March 2009

Making a joke of accountable government.

If there were no Democratic Unionist Party to rebut and ridicule where would Northern Ireland blogs find material?

Actually, given the extra space the Dupes absence might create, in which proper local and national politics could flourish, I’m sure we’d do alright. Fewer instances of nutterdom to discuss would allow more space for serious, reasoned debate.

Still, it’s rather futile pondering the counterfactual. The DUP will be with us for the foreseeable future.

At the tail end of last week, Jeffrey Donaldson decided the best way to defend the Act of Settlement was to invoke some turn of the eighteenth century, anti-Catholic propaganda. This week begins with his party employing a cross community mechanism in order to protect its infamous Environment Minister from the censure of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

It is an absurd situation that a topic as universal as climate change should be subject to a cross community vote. And it demonstrates how ineffective are the mechanisms by which the Assembly is expected to hold the executive to account, when the best it can do is introduce impotent motions which are in any case subsequently blocked by a minority of MLAs.

Like Caitriona Ruane, Wilson does not command the confidence of any party in the Assembly other than his own. But until Peter Robinson decides a DUP reshuffle is necessary, we are stuck with him. Meanwhile Sammy Wilson can continue to embarrass Northern Ireland with his eccentric views on climate change, just as Ruane can plunge our education system into chaos as long as she retains the support of her party hierarchy.

That is what passes for politics in this country.


Anonymous said...

Well, if you don't like petitions of concern, maybe the party you support shouldn't have allowed for them when they were setting up Stormont.

Furthermore, the UUP motion was nothing more than a cheap and pathetic stunt and you know it.

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