Politics as unusual May 12, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
The news this evening that the UUP are going into opposition in Stormont and the SDLP is considering doing likewise (though I wouldn’t put money on that happening) is interesting. How does that work in terms of ministerial portfolio allocations? Mind you, this voluntary exclusion seems a bit couched in caveats, for example:
Mr Nesbitt had said his party’s return to the executive table would depend on a number of factors, among them the need for a “progressive” programme for government and a commitment from parties to work collaboratively across departments.
He said his party’s Assembly group had voted unanimously to form an opposition.
“This heralds a new era for devolved politics at Stormont, and a big, bold step forward to normal democracy for Northern Ireland,” he said.
But does it really represent what he says? Given the strength of the communal political blocs that seems unlikely (and as noted during the week if there is any slight weakening of same it appears to be occurring marginally within the Nationalist/Republican bloc, not the Unionists one). How does it work anyhow? The UUP and SDLP operating as an informal alliance against the de facto government alliance of DUP and SF? Would that really be a massive step forward and would it mean that the blocs themselves were beginning to break apart or would it simply be a new twist on the current story of forced cohabitation, albeit now with two layers of cohabitation (i.e. SF/DUP, UUP/SDLP) rather than a single governing layer?