Something went unreported (understandably) this week, and yet it’s amazing.
Yes, before all that, and while we all stared into the depths of the abyss yet again, the Northern Ireland Assembly hosted the International Parliamentary Conference on Peacebuilding. It’s subject matter – ‘Tackling State Fragility’.
I kid you not. The Northern Ireland Assembly, this Northern Ireland Assembly which progressed no Executive business for 160-odd days, and which has been the institutional watchword for dysfunction and disharmony, somehow allowed this conference to go ahead. We, apparently, are a case study in tackling fragility.
- when 14 of the DUP’s Assembly Group rejected the deal on Monday and Robinson’s leadership hung by a thread, this conference was coming.
- when the PM and Taoiseach imposed deadlines last week, tried to guillotine the talks and were all but left standing on the runway, this conference was coming.
- when Peter Robinson stepped down from the FM job to address allegations that he’s breached the Ministerial code, this conference was coming.
- when Peter Robinson’s wife was revealed to have had an affair with someone young enough to be her grandson and the police began an investigation, this conference was coming.
And these are just four events of the many that occured in the past few weeks (cast your mind back to some of the other stuff eg. Denis Donaldson; Northern Bank; Robert McCartney) . This assembly has been dysfunctional and chaotic for months. Look at what has happened here in education. Look at what she has done. And behind all of that, this conference was coming.
This is how Willie Hay welcomed delegates:
“Northern Ireland’s experience shows the importance of robust parliamentary structures and mechanisms which strengthen democracy and engage the people in creating a better future for all . This conference will give delegates the opportunity to examine and discuss many of the lessons learnt in Northern Ireland. There will be participation and input by parliamentarians, the media and members of civil society, all of whom will be able to contribute their experiences and views of the journey that our community has travelled, as well as the opportunities and challenges that still remain.”
The press release helpfully adds:
A cross-party panel of MLAs will share their individual and party experiences of the Northern Ireland peace process and the ongoing work to build public confidence in the political system.
Public confidence? Has anyone heard the Nolan Show recently / read the newspapers / talked to other human beings here? This stuff is beyond satire. This is where you bite your lip to check you’re still awake. Total piffle.
Check out the headline of the press release again:
INTERNATIONAL PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE ON PEACEBUILDING LOOKS AT NORTHERN IRELAND AS A CASE STUDY
A case study of what? How not to…etc??
I’m annoyed. Kidding ourselves is one thing, but bringing statesmen from overseas and kidding them too is just fraudulent behaviour. It’s an artless con job.
Sure, I will accept that to bring such disparate opinions to an Executive table requires a certain narrative fiction, a hyper-extension of credible truth, but Willie Hay and this bloody conference has snapped that beyond toleration. Look at this again:
Northern Ireland’s experience shows the importance of robust parliamentary structures and mechanisms which strengthen democracy and engage the people in creating a better future for all.
How could that press release be issued when it was? How could the conference be held here when it was? How could this fraud take place? How can anyone think we’re all so f*****g stupid as to belief this?
I believe in devolution, but not in a Kafkaesque form of government that’s happy to trade on untruth and elevate its corporate defence ahead of democratic function. There’s no way Jim Allistair will persuade me to vote TUV, but another conference and assorted bollocks like that just might.
Tackling State Fragility? Stop treating me like I’m a fool. Ah heck… stop the world, I’ve had enough, I want off.
PS. I’d like to know who attended and what they learned. What were our delegates able to tell world statesmen about tackling fragility? What was our pitch? If we are a case study, what does it say?