Thursday, 14 January 2010
Why not get shirty about Irish?
The two largest parties in the Assembly are currently engaged in negotiations regarding the devolution of policing and justice. Should that fail to occur, Sinn Féin has threatened to collapse the institutions. The Blether Region is surely not alone in wondering why a relatively esoteric issue that is of little practical significance on the ground has become a deal-breaker, while a DUP Minister was able to ignore the settled will of the people as expressed in two separate consultation processes when he decided to torpedo an Irish language Bill.
It should be obvious to most people that the key changes to policing necessary for the peace process happened years ago when a) Nationalists decided to accept the police and b) 50:50 recruitment ensured a more representative force.
Much has been made of the coalition at the heart of the DUP between evangelicals and more secular hardliners. In Sinn Féin too there appears to be a coalition, between cultural nationalists — anoraks, if you like — and constitutional buffs / bores. At the moment the latter seem to have the upper hand.
Where would you place the emphasis — on a language Act or on the right to replace Shaun Woodward with David Ford?