The Alliance Party opposes Sectarianism in Norn Iron ……while managing to do rather well out of it. It presents intself as a non-sectarian alternative to the tribal politics of Unionism and Nationalism but is actually the leading player in the third tribe in Norn Iron……….Letsgetalongerism.
The Alliance Party got just 8 seats (51,000 votes) in the Norn Iron Assembly Elections in May 2011.
The Ulster Unionist Party got 16 seats (87,000 votes) and the SDLP 14 seats (94,000 votes). So by any calculation. So pretty clear then that the Alliance Party came FIFTH in the Election.
But when the ten Executive seats were handed out after the Election, the DUP and SF took four and three respectively……the UUP and SDLP took one each……..and the Alliance Party took two.
In Norn Iron 181,000 votes (UUP plus SDLP) gets you two Ministries. And the 51,000 Alliance votes gets you two Ministries. This degrades votes for UUP and SDLP because simply put Alliance votes are worth more. And this is because……..well they are the Alliance Party, non sectarian and obviously “nice” people and certainly better than the likes of ordinary people.
Under the peculiar carve-up required to get the alleged mortal enemies in the DUP and Sinn Féin to lead a coalition, the Justice Ministry was deemed to sensitive to be handled by a unionist or nationalist……and Alliance selflessly (!!!) stepped forward. And as they gained the threshold of seats in May’s Election……hey presto they became entitled to a second seat.
It is of course not sustainable in a democracy, even one as flawed as Norn Iron. It was never going to last. And Alliance Party is about to pay a heavy price exacted by their allies/puppetmasters in DUP and Sinn Féin.
It has now been decreed that the number of ministeries will be cut from ten to nine………..which means in the summer, Alliance will lose that second seat. The Ministry chosen to be integrated into other Departments (Enterprise and Education) is the Department of Employment & Learning (ie Universities) and the Alliance Party have no option but to accept. Theoretically they could collapse the Executive by withdrawing from the Justice Department but it seems a nuclear option.
I have little sympathy for them…….well actually I have no sympathy…….especially as Stephen Farry (the second AP Minister) says the Party is being unfairly targetted by the DUP and Sinn Féin. It is unlikely the UUP or SDLP will be sympathetic to charges of foul play.
Yet I wonder if the Alliance Party hold on to “Justice” will Party Leader David Ford still be the Minister for Justice in a few months. His performance in a difficult role (police, prisons, courts) has been pathetic. Ford might do himself a favour and hand the keys of his office to Farry.
Stll…………karma is a bitch.