THE Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott last week floated the idea that mandatory coalition government is perhaps not the best way forward.
In a speech to business leaders he floated the idea of a formal opposition in the Assembly chamber and other assorted ideas such as reduced numbers of constituencies.
We, have to wonder, has Mr Elliott thought this through.
First of all – under the current system and most people’s guesstimates over the May election results this would mean no seat in Government for the UUP or SDLP.
Second – the whole committee system would need to be over-hauled.
And then we – the public – would have to cough up for the ‘opposition’ parties. That’s not even to mention the confusion this would create for the Alliance Party.
But, as a party with no MPs, it may have escaped the notice of the UUP that at Westminster – even with the new fangled Conservative and Lib Dem Government, opposition parties rarely, if at all change policy, law or practice of governments. They do get soundbites on the news headlines, but we wonder if that will be sufficient comfort at passing on ministerial and committee chair salaries.
And that’s not to mention the changes to election boundaries – a tricky issue, which can lead to accusations on all parts of gerrymandering; and look where that has landed us!