Monday, 8 February 2010

Policing and Justice.....

Last week was a long week and I am reasonably sure that most people have heard enough on Policing and Justice to last them a long time. Bad news I am afraid - politics in Northern Ireland is likely to be dominated by this issue for several months to come.

Today,nominations are being accepted from people who wish to put themselves forward for the post of Justice Minister. Note this is not explicitly restricted to political parties so anyone from Stephen Nolan to yours truly could give it a go!

SF and DUP have stated that they will not take the position. For some strange reason the two big partiers have decided not to run the d'hondt sysyetm by which Ministers are chosen and have pretty much opted for an Alliance Party Minister. This is open to challenge and I am sure that the new SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie will see this as the first test of her leadership.

The Alliance Party leader David Ford is even rumoured to be not happy at the prospect unless more is done to advance a shared future in Northern Ireland. I am all for advancing a shared future but teh Alliance Party do not have a sufficient mandate to hold a ministerial office. I like many others have a few questions

1. Why is d'hondt not being run? If it were the SDLP would be in line for the post.

2. Why have the two main parties abdicated their desire to hold the post. Could it be because the holder of that office could never do a really good job no matter how they were supported?

3. If we cant find an agreed nominee are we back to square one or will we run d'hondt which has been good enough for all the other ministers to date?

These answers will come slowly and painfully over the coming weeks and months. It aint over yet folks and the fat lady is likely to be a lot thinner by the time it does.

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