|Stormont houses the NI Assembly|
Northern Ireland is a political catastrophe, a falling leaf from a tree in Autumn time - with the stability of an elephant on a tricycle. The power sharing assembly of Northern Ireland is frail, with a deliberately inefficient political system flawed from the bottom right to the top. Martin McGuinness, the former leader of the notorious IRA – apparently turned peacemaker, quit this week as deputy first minister, over a petty row concerning what is being called a ‘botched green energy scheme’ and thus igniting anarchy and sparking an election in early March.
Due to the nature of a compromised electoral system, the First Minister of Northern Ireland is the leader of the party with the the majority of votes, and the deputy First Minister is the leader of the party that finished second. This is a completely inadequate method of governing and put bluntly it is no surprise there are issues. Imagine this, the two pilots of a plane, both of which are wholly responsible for the direction in which the plane travels. But also the safety and well being of all the passengers and crew on board – who have been entrusted by these people with their lives. This is, essentially the roles the First and deputy First Minster of Northern Ireland and what they have a mandate to do. Now, however, consider that one of the pilots is blind, and the other is deaf. Put into perspective that one is grossly dependant on all his senses but his eyesight, and the other on all but his hearing; both have a totally different persuasion on the direction of how the plane should fly, both are essentially stripped of their communication of one and other. And, arguably the most important of them all – are they even qualified to be in control of such a crucial and responsible role?
The plane analogy is certainly one that reasonably translates into the Northern Ireland scenario;the plane consists of two men whose outlooks on life are starkly different with different understandings of life and who quite frankly are not up to the task. The Northern Ireland issue similarly consists of two completely different leaders, with two utterly different political ideas, wanting to direct the country in two polar opposite directions – and not least that one of them used to encourage hate, violence and crime against the very government and people he now serves – or at least used to serve.
Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party leader and the First Minister of Northern Ireland, had no choice but to step down when Mr McGuinness resigned. There will be further elections, but for what? Another two, starkly contrasting leaders who profusely oppose each other to interlock horns and battle it out for petty political point scoring? The real issue for me, is the system in which the Northern Irish Assembly members are appointed. Until the they can overcome this, I cannot foresee a time under a Northern Ireland Assembly that that region will enjoy political stability, and believe until such times as the issues are resolved, power must return to the sovereign of Westminster.
In conclusion, this recent debacle all but confirms to me the fragility of political devolution in the UK. In addition to this fiasco, Scotland have stirred intensely in recent years demanding more and more – rightly or wrongly, not least nearly breaking up the marriage between The UK and Scotland. Tony Blair and his administration enforced these constitutional changes in 1997, yet to the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this is not enough. As the famous saying goes ‘if you give them an inch, they will take a mile’ and this is true to this case. The rest of the U.K. Have their assemblies and parliaments, but I fear in the current climate of increased nationalism and a demand for more power – I feel it inevitable that the United Kingdom’s days are numbered. Especially in light of the EU referendum, the attraction for remaining in this unified train wreck of a union has somewhat disappeared, and that the arrogance of Westminster will lead to the demise of a great nation that has stood a global power for several centuries.
What will follow the elections in March is yet to be seen, however there is a very likely chance if the politicians from the DUP or Sinn Fein do not play ball, power being withdrawn – devolution being reversed, is a very probable outcome. And therefore I implore the politicians and civil servants who are stirring up trouble, for their own sake, to get their act together, or they run the real risk of losing all that the people of Northern Ireland fought for.
NI Assembly incompetence could end Northern Ireland | James Spencer-Boyce Reviewed by Student Voices on 19:11 Rating: