Wednesday, 19 August 2009

McGuinness defends DUP / SF 'ourselves alone' coalition

Describing the content of an interview with Peter Robinson’s First Ministerial partner, Martin McGuinness, Belfast Telegraph journalist Noel McAdam writes,

“the senior Sinn Fein politician repeatedly attacked his other Executive co-parties, Ulster Unionists and the SDLP, but talked up what he argues is the increasing proven ability of his party and the DUP to reach difficult decisions.”

The interview is just the latest evidence that the relationship between Sinn Féin and the DUP bears all the characteristics of a genuine, as well as a de facto, coalition, between two parties whose outlooks are surprisingly similar.

The two parties’ leaders each view government as an exercise in horse trading between two communities. Both believe that other, smaller parties’ roles should be confined to assuming collective responsibility for anything the larger pair decides between them.

Neither likes being held to account by the Assembly or even submitting to meaningful scrutiny by members of the executive. Both are inveterate centralisers, devoted to concentrating power at the top, preferably in the ‘semi detached politburo’ of the First Minister’s Office.

It infuriates McGuinness and Robinson alike, that the Ulster Unionists and SDLP, whilst taking up ministerial positions, insist on pointing out where they have had no input and where they disagree with the ‘ourselves alone’ coalition.

It begins to look too much like politics and democracy, rather than sectarian carve-up, when executive members demand to have a debate, or scrutinise legislation, or have a say in decision making.

If the two parties were a little more honest and a little less Stalinist, perhaps they would admit their meeting of minds. The people of Northern Ireland could choose whether they wanted the carve-up coalition in government and an official opposition could hold it to account.

Of course, come election time, each of these easy bedfellows has to claim that it will ‘smash’ the other.


Loki said...

I swear Noel MacAdam is paid by the press office at OFMDFM. The stance of the Bel Tel that they must support at all times the GFA/StAA is quite worrying. Surely someone other than David Gordon has a bit of wit? As to cosy partnership- yep, in many ways they both fall very comfortably into the Animal Farm mode- wasn't Orwell prescient?
Time for SDLP

Anonymous said...

Ìt is time for a voluntary coalition, but the DUP and SF will not vote for it as it means they would have an opposition to point out their short comings and at the same time the DUP would lose cover for their close partnership with SF.

The Telegraph has lost any ability to examine the facts of an issue and write about it on its merits, it seems to go dowm the line if it was agreed by the DUP/SF at St. A. we will support it come hell or high water.


Loki said...

Got sidetracked last night- meant to add that it's time for SDLP and UUP to go into opposition. Sorry 'bout that.

Chekov said...

Got sidetracked last night

So long as it wasn't be a group of randy Russian sailors.