What is new on the Hill? Press photo opportunities are back for the members of the Northern Ireland Executive, MLAs return to full pay, and things go back to normal on the Hill; whatever normal is?.
The document released to the media preceding statements by the five largest Parties that they were all intending to nominate someone for the Executive ‘team’ was greeted mostly with, “about time’.
That document, however, seemed to fade into the background as the whole process of setting up the Executive and MLAs getting allocated roles became the focus of attention.
Partly this may have been due to significantly different interpretations of the words within the document – wording that was constructed to the very best of NIO ambiguity. Everyone can’t be right in what they think they’re reading, and in due course Stormont will again be in crisis, because the stability that many had hoped would be embedded into any new process simply isn’t there. Nor, it would seem, is the money.
The lack of certainty on future funding of an expansive wish list that might accompany a restored Executive is astonishing. The podcast below references this recent article from Sam McBride on that point which is a good summary of how the start to this new Executive seems unsteady. Hard choices are on the way? Probably not a great worry of the DUP that it will be a Sinn Fein Minister of Finance who will be expected to present balanced books to the Executive.
Chatting with @3000Versts below on all of this and more. Have a listen.