Ok not really, but the NI Executive is going “ga ga” to get a Programme for Government (PfG) produced at all costs this evening. Terrific, they don’t produce one for six months and then cram it into one night – sounds eerily familiar to some of your essay production 🙂 …Speaking of which, the Ministers must have got wind that you are writing an essay on executive performance for Tuesday and they are trying to ensure that you have something positive to say by that stage!!
According to the BBC this evening, Ministers are expected to work late to reach agreement ahead of a special assembly session tomorrow (Thursday). Agreement has now been reached on the establishment of the Education and Skills Authority (ESA). Another key issue is the number of councils there should be as a result of the Review of Public Administration. Environment Minister Alex Attwood of the SDLP is holding out for 15, but it is understood the DUP and Sinn Fein have decided to force through the 11 council model and it is that which will appear in the final document.
ESA and RPA were two glaring criticisms of executive failure to take action e.g. ESA has been discussed since 2005. Speedy work then! Oh and I should say how surprising it is that the DUP & SF Afghan Warlords…er I mean parties, got their way on RPA whilst wee Alex Attwood (SDLP) was left fighting his corner alone with Alex Maskey (SF) calling him “obstructive”. Heaven forbid other parties in the executive having a say…cue Alisdair McDonnell? 😐
An early draft of the programme, leaked to the BBC, indicated jobs and economic recovery were top of the agenda.
The BBC website: There have been several drafts of the programme for government one of which was seen by the BBC and which, fairly predictably, put job creation at the top of the agenda. We would imagine that will be the case in the final document not least because it will be accompanied by separate economic and investment strategies. We will have to look at what kind of targets they set because these are the parameters by which you judge a government in the future. The executive delivered its budget in the spring, but the programme for government that sets out its priorities has taken longer. The investment strategy is being adjusted following the Irish government’s decision to postpone the £400m it had promised to build the A5 dual carriageway. On Wednesday afternoon, the first and deputy first minister welcomed an agreement that the ESA should go ahead by July next year. It will replace eight different education authorities. BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said it would be interesting to see if “particular targets are set” in the programme for government “which are directly in contravention of what particular ministers want”.
Mark Devenport is, of course, correct. Surely we shouldn’t light the fireworks and get the champagne out because the Executive has agreed the PfG – isn’t that what they get bloomin paid for? We should really judge them on delivery of the Programme. I hope for their sake the targets they set aren’t too ambitious – if ESA and RPA are anything to go by the new Assembly motto should be “slow and steady wins the race” (don’t quote me on that in your essay 🙂 )
- DUP & SF clash…tut tut, just when Dr McDonnell was accusing you of a “carve up…like Afghan Warlords”! (jmgpolitics.wordpress.com)
- NI Assembly performance… (jmgpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Sinn Féin MP: government must increase employment in West Belfast and Derry (politics.ie)
- New SDLP = New direction? (jmgpolitics.wordpress.com)