Ross Hussey: No hiding place for DUPSF coalition

'Marlene'

'Marlene'

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It is interesting to watch the current political comings and goings at Stormont Castle.

I hope those who voted for Arlene Foster based on the begging letter during the election campaign where she pleaded to vote for Arlene for First Minister because it was either her or Martin for the ‘top job’ particularly watched the scene before them.

This last few days clearly illustrated the ‘real’ scenario of First and Deputy First Minister.

They are a double act - you can’t have one without the other. Thursday night’s television news programmes clearly illustrated how close the DUP and SF are in government. Martin McGuinness continually referred to himself and Arlene as ‘we’ as Arlene nodded agreement.

If you ever needed confirmation that the jobs are equal this was it.

The term ‘Marlene’ is now being used to describe the office of First and Deputy First Minister and that is an apt title as you see these two more and more comfortable in their conjoint office.

Arlene and Martin ‘fume’ as the other parties back away from acting as Cinderella to the role of the two ugly sisters they have assumed.

They make comments of the ‘irrelevance’ of the other parties and seem to have assumed that none of the smaller parties would throw away the trappings of government and in this they certainly underestimated the Ulster Unionist Party and more recently the SDLP.

We now have a new type of politics in Northern Ireland with the creation of an official opposition. We have power sharing as has been envisaged for well over 40 years and that government will now be held to account in the chamber by the opposition.

The DUP Sinn Fein coalition squeezed the other parties in the Executive and clearly starved the DRD of funds when it was under the control of my party colleague Danny Kennedy.

The programme for government was to be the backbone for this current term of the Assembly and it looks as if the other parties have ‘got the message’ that Mike Nesbitt read within days of the negotiations starting.

There is no detailed programme for government in place. Others used terms like ‘it was the DUPSF way or the highway’ - so we move onto a new road in Ulster Politics.

The new Assembly will be interesting over the next five years, the DUPSF coalition will now be the ‘only show in town’, there will be no hiding place for Arlene and her colleagues.

The close relationship was again cemented with the DUP members traipsing through the lobbies to give the office of Principal Deputy Speaker to Catriona Ruane - I wonder when she will be made Speaker by the coalition?

Ross M Hussey, MLA West Tyrone