At some point today, I hope to blog about the general Bastardy of the Alliance Party.
But just a thought on the issue of Nelson McCausland and the motion of censure which the SDLP has tabled. Love them or hate them, it has to be said that this looks like a good move by the SDLP. They are taking the lead and have forced Sinn Féin into making a decision….to support them.
But what will the Alliance Party do? The “principle” would be to support the motion. But Politics and general Bastardy play a part. David Ford will of course make a speech……a pious one……bemoaning the sectarianism in Norn Iron Politics but rather than supporting the SDLP motion he will claim that it is another piece of sectarian point scoring and his Party will have none of it. On principle. They will abstain.
And I cant help feeling that Sinn Féin will be relieved…….even though they vote for the motion.
But its Politics…….whats in it for Alliance?
Most reasonable people think that eleven “ministries” in the Executive is too many. The threshold for having a Ministry (as of right) is just eight seats……..and it has cost Alliance …or rather it has cost Rowntree £97,000 in “Quaker Money”, “Innocent Money”, “Chocolate Money” (thanks to Quintin Oliver of Stratagem for this reference) since 2007 just to get that one extra Assembly seat.
But thru the good offices of DUP and Sinn Féin, Alliance have a second Ministry…Justice (Minister Ford).
So look on this example of total Bastardy. UUP 16 Assembly seats…..88,000 votes and one Executive seat. SDLP 14 Assembly seats ….95,000 votes and one Executive seat…….and Alliance 8 Assembly seats (52,000 votes) and TWO Executive seats. Curiously the wonderfully fair-minded Alliance Party think this is just peachy.
So limiting the number of Ministries would raise the threshold for getting an Executive seats to around ten Assembly seats and confined to the Belfast suburbs, the Alliance Party and probably Ford’s leadership would be screwed. Of course they cant exactly rely on boundary changes or a lowering of the number of constituencies and MLAs helping them.
What they MAY be able to rely on is a re-think by the DUP and Sinn Féin……and no changes in the current system until after the next Assembly Election.