Friday, 4 June 2010

The glorified debating society meets in special session.

The Assembly can meet in special session if 30 MLAs demand it.  Today it has taken such a step.  Why?

Is it to finally clear up the mess in education?

Is it to demand answers after the Department of Agriculture allowed £60 million of European funds to be awarded to farmers in error, a mistake which will now be corrected at taxpayers expense?

Is it to discuss anything at all within the Assembly's remit?

Is it hell!

The Assembly is meeting to discuss foreign policy, a matter over which it has no jurisdiction whatsoever.  To be precise it is to discuss events in the Mediterranean Sea, surrounding the Gaza flotilla.

The only thing guaranteed to start a row in Northern Ireland quicker than a debate about our history and current affairs is a discussion about Israel’s history and current affairs.  It’s scarcely because we have an enormous population of knowledgeable ex-pat Israelis or Palestinians eager to contribute.

On both sides of the political divide, people in Northern Ireland simply can’t resist conflating our own troubles with conflict in the Middle East.

When deaths on the disputed aid convoy were reported, on Monday, our politicians couldn’t wait to rush out statements. Sinn Féin, predictably, was first out of the blocks.  The last time I checked (Tuesday evening) it had no fewer than eight hysterical press releases on its website, condemning Israel for murder.  I really can't be bothered to tot the latest tally.  The DUP, equally predictably, called for unequivocal support for Britain‘s ally and the ‘only democracy in the Middle East‘.

The parties didn’t wait for the fog of confusion surrounding events to clear, of course.  Because they’d decided which side was always in the wrong long ago, based on a deeply simplistic belief that Israel and Palestine‘s quarrel shares a template with their own.

No doubt Stormont's vital business today (if it goes ahead) will be argued in similarly rational fashion.

This is another example of the ridiculous, powerless irrelevant nature of the Stormont Assembly.  Add it to Danny Kennedy's World Cup motion.  Except this has made it to the floor of the chamber, thanks to 30+ idiots.

1 comment:

Andy Wilson said...

"If it goes ahead"
Actually the DUP's motion of concern makes this even more farcical.

This device is meant to used as a safegard against decisions being made 'against' the interests of one 'community' or the other.

What it means is that any pointless motion with is put forward can only be passed with a majority of designated unionists and a majority of designated nationalists. Otherwise the motion will not be passed.

Whoppie do.

I am hoing that some UU MLA will have the gumption to ask for the Speaker to rule this out of order in that it is a reserved matter for Westminster, then walk out loudly stating that he has constituents with housing/ benefit problems waiting for him in his office.