Tuesday, 8 September 2009

If you can't beat em join em?

Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson, has delivered a speech entitled ‘Making Devolution Work’ at the Ulster Hall in Belfast. ‘Hand of History’ has the full transcript.

At first inspection it appears that Robinson has elected to counter his opponents’ arguments on the dysfunctional nature of the current Executive by conceding some of their core points.

Thus we have a section which the DUP clearly intends to be interpreted as its commitment to bring the SDLP and UUP ‘in from the cold’.

The Democratic Unionists’ leader also states his preference for weighted majority voting, whereby a requirement for 65% support in the Assembly would replace the cross community voting mechanism.

This would effectively end the mutual veto exercised by the DUP and Sinn Féin, which was negotiated at St Andrews. It would also supersede requirements for community designation which presently entrench formally the communal basis of power sharing.

Is Robinson floating such ideas merely because he knows they are undeliverable, or will there be further developments as policing and justice comes to fruition?

Certainly the notion that a chat with the First Minister, prior to Executive meetings, would address the issue of UUP and SDLP participation is fanciful. The speech requires thorough examination, but my immediate instinct is that the DUP is engaged in some repositioning, with an eye particularly keenly trained on the Ulster Unionists.

1 comment:

Follow Follow said...

"I am also delighted that Tom has been able to secure the attendance of the former First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell. I am looking forward to hearing what he has to say and I’m quite sure that we have much to learn from the experience in Scotland."

Groan.....

Didn't Jack McConnell loose power because he explicitly said nothing about the development of devolution during Scotland's 2007 Election campaign?