Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Women, Assange and the damage done.

When the dust eventually settles on the Wikileaks affair and an assessment of just what actual damage the release of confidential cables inflicted, I feel it will likely conclude that in the end, the damage was minimal and mostly there was just an abundance of embarrassment. Unfortunately, right now Assange is, for me, doing far more damage to the fight against sexual abuse than he ever could against the suppression of truth.

Assange and his supporters have really gone all out to discredit his accusers, trivialising the charges, claiming political motivation and belittling the character of the women involved. All of this has been allowed to take place almost unchecked within the mainstream media.

I don't know if Assange is guilty but neither do his supporters. I'm not suggesting they abandon him or even that they're wrong about the whole thing being a little too suspicious. Until they know cold hard facts though, they should refrain from speculation and stop smearing his accusers immediately.

Just about anyone involved with the fight against sex crimes knows that getting victims to testify is the biggest challenge. Now, thanks to the actions of Assange & Co over the last few days, women worldwide will know what awaits them should they ever be unfortunate enough to be attacked by someone with money, power and influence.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Opting in to Porn?

First of all this isn't a post about Porn or my feelings on it in particular. No, this is about what I perceive as one of the best examples of hypocrisy from small state advocates. I'm no big state advocate, I prefer to look at each case of state involvement on it's own merit, but there are those who are determined that the state should just keep it's noses out of our lives. Unless of course, they want the state to ban something they don't like. Like Porn.

Parents should be responsible for the online content their children have access to, not the state. In the same way that I don't want the government to tell me how to discipline my child, I don't expect them to do my job for me when it is convenient for me to have them  do so. It's not a hard task to set parental controls. Schools manage it. Yes, there will always be ways around it but schoolchildren have been finding ways to get hold of porn long before the internet was around. 

You can't have it both ways. The state has a role to play in all our lives but we have to try and aim for some consistency. 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A lack of community spirit

There has been no end of coverage in the local media of the failure of local councils to grit and clear footpaths. Whilst I think councils should have had a plan in place I also think far too much is being asked of them.

When I arrived at work on Friday I knew the path outside our office on High Street would require clearing. On the way in, I stopped and bought a stiff broom and when I arrived I set to work clearing the snow and ice. Unfortunately I was one of only 3 on Bangor's High Street that seemed to bother. Had each shop or office taken the same action as we had then the paths would have been cleared and it wouldn't require action from the council.

Now obviously that doesn't solve the whole problem but it would show that people were prepared to make an effort of their own to help. If you're not prepared to help yourself, then why expect others to do it for you?

For me it represents a wider issue: that of a lack of community spirit amongst businesses and residents alike. It's all very well forming community associations and indeed, there are no shortages of them, but it's evident that many of them are not coming up to the mark. What is the point of an association to benefit the community if it does not take the initiative itself and instead relies on others?

If I was on Council, I would be writing to each local community group to begin consultations on a plan for next year. People know that council can not treat and clear every path but if they know a community group is prepared to clear their own patch, then council can prepare a plan that coordinates that. What we would then have is a comprehensive plan to treat the majority of our pavements that is based largely on the efforts of the local community.

Personally, that's the kind of plan I like. It's somewhat cliche to quote JFK, but he was on the money with 'ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country'. We just need to remember that country and community are interchangeable.

Repeal of DADT

The news that the US Senate has finally repealed the disgrace and shame that is 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is fantastic. It never fails to astound me how one of the most liberal countries in the world can still be so backward in some of it's attitudes to homosexuality. I actually like John McCain as an individual, he is one of those rare breeds - a high profile republican that's not utterly detestable. On this issue however, he was completely in the wrong. His arguments were complete nonsense and not capable of standing up to scrutiny and so I was left wondering whether his opposition was really based on his fears of a significant negative impact on the military or the rather more unsavoury one of simple homosexuality.

I don't like to throw that term around when it's not warranted because it ends up weakening the impact of it. Unfortunately, when an intelligent man continues to make unintelligent arguments in favour of enforcing prejudiced laws then what choice are we left with?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

SDLP to run Polish Candidate

It's great news that the SDLP have selected a Polish woman as candidate for council in Craigavon. It shows that for at least one political party, where come from is less important than what you intend to do for the area you now live in and the people you live amongst.

Hopefully, as more people are attracted to and settle in Northern Ireland, our political landscape can shift towards one that is genuinely focused on the future and not rooted in expired conflicts of the past.

Freed from his shackles, MP speaks the truth.

Bob Ainsworth, the former Defence Secretary is coming under fire from the 3 main parties press machines this morning for his comments about the legalisation of drugs. You can read the story here.

Bob Ainsworth makes some very good points, most notably about the reaction he received. He knew he couldn't say anything like this while a minister and would have been sacked from the shadow cabinet were he a member. Therein lies the problem with our policy on drugs. It is not at all  formed by scientific fact or even the mountains of research into the effects of drug abuse on society. It is formed by pubic opinion. Politicians of office are scared of being perceived to be soft on drugs and so, despite being often confronted with overwhelming evidence that the policy must be reviewed, take a firm line and the debate never even happens.

I'm not convinced about whether drugs should be entirely legalised and regulated, mainly because I don't know enough about it to comment properly but I am continually disappointed that it is not something that can be discussed in the public domain by our politicians. I lay the blame for that squarely with the press and the public. Too many of our mainstream press have become little more than opinion papers often mounting their own single issue campaigns and the public have gone along with this shift. The papers move this way because they know it sells.

If we are to ever get politicians talking about the issues that are important, they need to know that the public will respect them for telling the truth. Currently, that crime usually leads to a resignation.

Tuition Fees is not the right argument to have about Higher Education

I am completely opposed to the Coalition plans to raise tuition fees. Unlike many of the most vocal opposition voices however, I don't feel it's because the Tories want to price poorer students out of University, because, frankly, I don't think it will. No, my opposition is based on the ideology behind it and what seems to me, the poorly thought through approach to it.

Firstly, I don't really understand how this is in any way meant to reduce the deficit. The cost of HE will not fall, and will continue to rise in the next year as predicted. It is unlikely that the burden will even ease off after that. So  it's fair to say it's not a measure of austerity for these difficult times which means it is a policy based on ideology rather than immediate necessity. The ideology isn't that poor people should know their place, but rather that as the Student is the principle benefactor of the education, the Student should bear at least some, if not most of the cost. I don't mind people holding that view, I just disagree with it.

Secondary School students are the principle benefactors of their education but they are not asked to meet any of that cost. Why? Because society understands that it is undoubtedly better off if children are educated. So why do we not feel it is as important for our young adults to be as well educated as possible? In truth, we do, but recognise that whilst we can reasonably expect all children to be able to reach a certain level of education, anything beyond that is for the academically elite. Now we get to what the debate should have been about - who goes to university, not who pays for it. If the debate had been shaped around this issue, I feel the country as a whole would have been better off.

Labour were wrong to set a target of 50% of school leavers progressing to higher education. It is a fact of life that some people are suited to academic study and some are not and we shouldn't treat higher education as something everyone should do because they shouldn't, it should be for the elite. It has become the norm children of lower middle class parents to go to University and is treated almost as an entitlement. Consequently, graduate schemes are flooded with applicants and jobs that previously asked for 5 GCSE's now demand a 2:1 minimum.

There is nothing wrong with NOT going to university. There are thousands and thousands of fantastic vocational courses available from local colleges which will provide many students with a much better chance of a successful career than a poor degree in an irrelevant subject from a bad university.

It is a tragedy that the big debate of this generation about higher education is based on the cost and not the entry criteria. Until that debate takes place, there will be little improvement.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Let's get down to the nitty gritty.

I have avoided commenting on the issue of gritting so far because every time I try I end up going off on a tangent about the multiple failures of local government which leads me on to the ineffectiveness of Stormont and I completely forget about Gritting. Which is what our councils seem to do every Spring.

Let's be honest, the best time to talk about how to deal with adverse weather is when the weather is nice and calm and tempers and frustrations aren't as raised. I'm sure everyone knows this, particularly those in government, so why has it not happened? Well, it's just not interesting. I mean, it's not really that interesting now is it? Yes, it's important and an issue of public safety but it's not exactly sexy politics. If it's hard to get excited about the subject now, when it's on the news and being talked about all over the country then it's not exactly going to light anyone's fire in April or May.

The problem for our politicians is that the electorate don't elect them to only get involved with the big issues, they want them to fix the small ones too. I spent years running stores and managing supply chains. The items that always cause the biggest headache are the little everyday things that get ignored, forgotten or taken for granted and when that happens the whole show comes to a stop. It is the same principle with government.

I have many ideas for how to solve the issue of gritting but i'm not going to go into them in detail here, at least not yet anyway, but I wanted to make the point that politicians need to learn that a sign of good government is that everything just works, without fanfare or show. You may not get in the April papers for agreeing a strategy for gritting the paths but come winter when your constituents go about their business unhindered, you can be proud that you are doing what you were elected to do.

Muslims are not inherently evil, their governments are.

There will no doubt be a lot of Islam bashing on many right wing blogs this week because of the Suicide bomb in Sweden and the subsequent revelation that the bomber was educated at a British University. Indeed, the well known moderate voice of David Vance has applied his usual considered and reasoned perspective in this post.

My problem with this is that as with so many other problems, the main focus is on the symptoms of the disease and not the cause. Muslims are not born thinking their religion is superior to everyone else's and they are not born with a belief that religious governance is the only correct form of governance. It is taught. It is the tolerance and in some cases, promotions of such teachings that, in my opinion, make a government evil. Whilst we have suffered homegrown islamic terror attacks here, make no mistake; those attacks are intrinsically linked with the Islamic regimes that govern certain countries. The conditions that led to 7/7 and the bombings in Madrid were not created in Europe but in the Middle East. 

Islam is not all that far removed from Christianity, it's just that Islam has failed to reform and move on. Those who have been charged with it's protection have done a fantastic job. When vast swathes of the world were fighting for the right to democratic governance free from religious influence, Muslim states stayed well out of it. Unrest was quickly put down and those at the top made sure their subjects stayed poor and ill educated, always the key to maintaining power. 

Little has changed today. The most powerful and rich Muslim state, Saudi Arabia, is also one of the most brutal in it's application of Islam. It is no coincidence that the majority of Islamic terror receives it's funding from within Saudi. It may not be direct but there is little doubt about the origin of the money. That's not to say that the Saudi Government are funding terrorists but they don't and won't do enough to prevent it, and for good reason. They have spent so long enforcing the teachings of Islam to their people that it has backfired on them. They have created a nation of fanatical muslims who, with little to lose, could easily overrun and take down the ruling classes should they displease them too much. Any crackdown on islamic terror in Saudi is a fine balancing act for the authorities.

So, in order to keep a hold of power, Saudi Arabia continue to allow the teaching and promotion of fanatical Islam and other Muslim countries follow their lead. Of course, the West can do little to stop it. We will never attack Saudi Arabia. It was a Saudi who masterminded 9/11 and the majority of hijackers were Saudis. If that isn't enough to provoke the West into action then I can't imagine what will. 

I'm a big fan of the West Wing and there is a great line from Leo McGarry when discussing this particular problem - "It's that I don't know what winning looks like. What does it look like? Is it...I mean is it honestly the U.S. flag flying over Mecca? Is that what's gonna straighten this out? And if that's the case, why are we postponing that? What are we hoping's gonna happen in the meantime?"

I think that accurately sums up the problem of Islamic terror. There is no simple solution or answer, but to focus almost solely on the symptoms means we are unlikely to ever find that elusive cure.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Sinn Fein's voters have a case to answer.

The whole row over tuition fees highlighted for me (though not for the mainstream press) that those who have elected Sinn Fein candidates to Westminister have condemmned the rest of the Northern Ireland electorate. Had Sinn Fein taken their seats at Westminister it is fair to say that that would have been another 5 no votes on Thursday night. Lookng back it wouldn't have been enough to prevent the legislation passing but prior to the vote it sure would have given the government a mighty headache. Governments do not like to be defeated and will negotiiate to the death to ensure they get the right result. 

We will never know what concessions Northern Ireland may have been able to secure had all 18 of our MP's been able to present a united front. It may have been nothing on this occasion but there will be others and once again, our position will be weakend by Sinn Fein.

I respect the right of Sinn Fein to exist and fight elections and also to sit in government. I also respect Sinn Fein's position of not taking up their seats at Westminister. They have been honest about that and the electorate decided that was acceptable to them. As such it is Sinn Fein's voters I hold to account. It is a selfish and spiteful vote to elect a representative that not only is entirely ineffective in that office but also condemns the rest of Northern Ireland to suffer a weakend negotiating position. Politicians will not often turn on the electorate but it's about time someone did.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Is violent protest ever acceptable?

Watching the news last night, there were no shortage of politicians, police and commentators all keen to condemn the violence that broke out, while equally keen to stress that the people have a right to protest. It's an easy line to trot out and it's also so predictable I wonder why they bother posing the question. However, I think if you consider it properly then surely the correct answer must be 'at some point, violent protests are not just acceptable but required'. What is war, if not the ultimate violent protest?

I am certainly not convinced that the current issue of Tuition Fees warrants a violent reaction from the public but I can certainly understand why some may feel otherwise. After all, a Coalition government that was not wanted has proposed, and now passed, incredibly unpopular legislation by tiny majority. The conditions are ripe for unrest and many will feel that as non violent mass protest has not worked, they have little choice left. The reality, of course, is that they do have and always have had another choice.

If the protesters genuinely feel that they have enough support they should either join a party that offers them the politics they need or form a new political grouping of their own. There are Local Government elections next year. They can put their case to the people and go from there. That's how it works within our democratic state. There is recourse through elections. Now, I understand that doesn't offer an immediate solution and even should they get the political office needed, it is harder to overturn legislation already in place, but i'm afraid that's they way it works.

Had the protesters organised themselves in such numbers before the general election the political landscape would most likely be completely different today. I'm afraid this is the price of apathy - those that show up get to make the decisions. So whilst there may be occasions when violent protest is acceptable, this certainly isn't one and whilst the ability to peacefully overthrow the government remains, it is unlikey a situation will arise where genuienly, there are no other options left.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Councillors Cancelling Public Meetings.

I went to attend a public meeting in Bangor tonight. It was called by Andrew Muir, the Alliance Councillor in Holywood. Unfortunately, the meeting had to be cancelled because the car park was covered in snow. There must have been a good 1cm of the white stuff.

Now, what annoys me is that a lady from the council told me Cllr Muir had cancelled the meeting 3 hours beforehand. I checked his Facebook page, Twitter Timeline and on his blog and there was no mention of him cancelling the meeting. I can understand that it's not practical or possible to get the message out to everyone but for someone who clearly understands the benefits of such social network tools, it's a pretty poor show to make no effort whatsoever to prevent people venturing out unnecessarily.

Aaron Sorkin takes Sarah Palin on.

I'm a big fan of Aaron Sorkin and I detest Sarah Palin so this article in the Huffington Post really appealed to me.

I follow Sarah Palin on twitter. It really is not good for my health. Very few politicians make me angry but she manages to push all my buttons. Whilst I may get frustrated with UK and NI politics I am very thankful for not living in America and having her and her ilk so powerfully placed within the system.

Christian B&B Owners & Gay Guests

Forgive me for linking The Daily Mail but I wanted to comment on this story about a Christian couple, who as hotel owners are facing legal action for refusing to allow a gay couple to guest at their hotel. It seems the basis of their defence is that the Hotel is also their home and as such they should be allowed to refuse entry to any guests on any grounds. 

I have thought about how best I could frame my own views on their position and in the end could only come up with - what a load of shit.

Firstly, lets take the Christian aspect out of the equation. It is entirely irrelevant. Whilst Christians deserve protection in the law for their beliefs, it doesn't mean they can break the law. In this case their definition is not that of Christians, but of business owners. 

Secondly, the issue of whether they can allow who they want in their home is also irrelevant because in this case it is a question of their business and not their home. They advertise their home as business premises and the gay couple sought to do business there.

So, once you remove those 2 things from the equation what you are left with is a business that refused to trade with 2 people based on their sexuality. Those that try and argue otherwise are just trying to find a nicer and more palatable way of saying that they don't like gay people.

UUP maintaining link with the Tories

It was announced today that the UUP are going to maintain a link up with the Tories. The UUP get a clear run at the Assembly but NI Conservatives are free to run for council. Well, lucky them. 

What a stitch up. How does this promote national politics in Northern Ireland? How on earth are they meant to recruit activists when the very best they can offer is a council candidacy? Tom Elliot has done well to keep the link, no doubt, but I can now fully understand the frustration of Ian Parsley and why he left the party. NI Conservatives have been completely let down and it is a real shame. With the NI Labour Party not fielding any candidates of their own next year we are left, once again out of the national political landscape.

UUP defectors and Alliance

Whilst Harry Hamilton is yet to decide where he goes next, it wouldn't be a surprise if he ended up in the ranks of the Alliance Party. They seem to be a good fit though there is one niggly little political position that doesn't quite square up. Harry is a Unionist and the Alliance Party are not. 

It didn't stop Paula Bradshaw heading that way and may yet see Ian Parsley return to the fold. It gives cause to stop and wonder whether the issue of being a Unionist in a party that remains agnostic on the subject matters at all. For me, I think it will prove unworkable in the end for both Alliance and it's new recruits from the UUP. Does anyone believe that had the UUP actually provided the right platform of secular, inclusive and moderate unionist politics, that Alliance would have looked attractive? They are the only option available, nothing more and nothing less. 

It could be argued that it shows that the big issue that has dominated Northern Irish politics for generations is now less of an issue for today's politicos who place the rest of their political make up above it.  At first that seems a welcome development but the fact remains - the people of Northern Ireland have demonstrated time and time again that it is still an issue important to them and one that to a certain extent still defines them. Were it not the case, Alliance would already have wiped the floor with the UUP and SDLP, given that their ideology would appeal widely to voters of those 2 parties. 

With that being the case, Politicians who choose to compromise on the issue in order to focus on other political ideology are taking a risk. It will come to the fore again. I hope that in Alliance they find their ideology can be accomodated but I somehow think that eventually, they will clash and at that point the jump from being a Unionist to being agnostic will be regretted.

For the Alliance party, I don't know how long they can continue to pass themselves off as a cross community party while happily accepting high profile Unionists into their ranks.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A lack of Black Students at Oxbridge?

An article by the Labour MP David Lammy, The Oxbridge Whitewash has highlighted what at first appears to be a shocking case of institutionalised racism from our top 2 universities. On closer inspection though, what it actually demonstrates is that the vast majority of black students fall into the group of students that would never make it to Oxford and Cambridge regardless of race. In other words, they grow up in disadvantaged areas, they attend below average schools and achieve below average grades. It is not Oxford and Cambridge being racist as such, it is just that they have a lack of black students that meet the criteria.

That isn't the fault of the universities, it is the result of generations of underfunding in inner city areas, it is the result of a bloated welfare state and a legacy of the racism that once existed, a legacy that will take many, many years to finally disappear.

The article is interesting and raises some valid questions. However, David Lammy has shot himself in the foot. By writing this, all he has done is to highlight that New Labour failed black school children. Had they done more for them, Oxbridge may have been welcoming more and more to their colleges this year.

Monday, 6 December 2010


I have tried and tried but have so far failed to find anything released by Wikileaks that I think needed to be in the public domain.

There are some things that need to be leaked; government corruption or complicity in crime, military plots to overthrow the government and other such things. Other than that, most things are classified and confidential for good reason. All this has done is cause embarrassment for many countries and with no good reason that I can find. Indeed, some things which are being leaked are positively irresponsible - which sites America feels are vulnerable to attack is a good example. I can think if no one in the public arena who benefits from that info other than those who wish to use it in the wrong way.

Julian Assange is not a terrorist and he doesn't deserve to be executed (Sarah Palin and her chums really are a worry) but he should expect to be prosecuted and I will have little sympathy for him if and when that happens.

Title Banner

Apologies for the frequent change in title banner. I keep experimenting until I finally settle on one I like. Hopefully will get there soon.

Paul Maskey really is a nasty piece of work.

Whilst watching the X Factor last night (I won't deny it, it's good TV) and browsing Twitter on my phone, I came across this charming Tweet from Paul Maskey, Sinn Fein MLA in West Belfast:

"Not only did Mary let herself down she let the many innocent afghan people down who have been murdered by the so called troops"

For those that don't watch the X Factor, Mary Byrne, a contestant on the show had been voted off. When asked to recall her highlights of the experience, she said that meeting the troops who had recently returned from Afghanistan was her best. Clearly, this offended Mr Maskey greatly. He has every right to be offended, of course, but I just want to establish what it was that so offended him.

I have had a quick trawl through Google but can't seem to find anything from Mr Maskey that seems to demonstrate his condemnation of troops in Afghanistan extends from British troops to those of France, Germany, Poland Spain or any of the other coalition forces currently engaged in that particular theatre. For sure, I can't find any condemnation of American troops but then I can't imagine SF's American supporters would be happy with that (in the same way that most of Sinn Fein's American friends are blissfully ignorant of their socialist credentials). It leads me to assume that his problem isn't primarily the conflict in Afghanistan, but with British Forces.

This is not an altogether surprising view for a Shinner to hold, obviously, but it doesn't make it right. Lets consider that of the troops fighting in Afghanistan right now, the overwhelming majority were still in school when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. Most of them have never served or even been to Northern Ireland and if they have it was most likely as tourists. So it is fair to say that these individuals have never done anything to Paul Maskey or his constituents.  That makes his attack one based on the institution they belong to. 

The problem for Mr Maskey is that they belong to a perfectly legitimate institution and one that nearly every country in the world boasts, including the Republic of Ireland. Does he have the same opinion of the 7 Irish Troops in Afghanistan? I doubt that even if he did, he would voice it. It takes courage to voice an opinion unpopular with your electorate. 

Mr Maskey's comments are based almost entirely on his dislike for the British Army but unfortunately for him his dislike is outdated, irrelevant and bigoted. He fits in well in Stormont because of it.

Tax Avoidance - Legal, but utterly immoral.

Following the very high profile protests at Topshops Flagship store in London, organised by the group UKUncut, there has been much written on various blogs about the protest and the larger issue it deals with. With one or two exceptions, support for the action seems to come largely from those who sit on the left and/or liberal side of the political spectrum and those who disagree are almost exclusively known as being on the right.

What I genuinely don't understand is why this is a left or right issue. Tax avoidance of the kind Philip Green has undertaken is, to all intents and purposes, a criminal act. He has just managed to get away with it in the same way that money launderers get away with their crimes - by playing the law to their advantage. As if any other evidence was needed that HMRC have been completely hoodwinked, how many times have you ever heard of the Arcadia group being owned and managed by Tina Green? Was it Tina Green asked to help the government review working practices? Is Tina Green the name you generally associate with Topshop? No, of course not. So why are we expected to believe that Tina Green is the one who earns all the money from Arcadia? It is a con, pure and simple. There is no left or right angle to this. We, as a country have been denied the revenue that is rightfully ours.

Some will argue the position from a point of greater good. In other words, Philip Green has created thousands of jobs and paid millions in tax already. Well, at what point do you have to stop paying tax? If you have already paid £100m do you get a by ball for anything over that amount? It's a nonsense argument. Some will argue that aggressive reform of tax laws to prevent such avoidance will drive businesses like Arcadia away. Well, I don't buy that for a second. Britain is, and will remain one of the best places to grow a high street based brand. It is, and will remain a major economic player. It is, and will remain a place where businesses of all kinds can grow into international players. Closing loopholes in our tax laws will not change that.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Councils & Planning - Who pays?

With the announcement that the Planning Process is now going to be managed by Local Councils, can someone who knows more about it than me explain what this means financially for rate payers?

I understand that the staff cost will be met by the council so I assume that this cost will be transferred out of the NI Budget where it is currently met? If so, how is this going to work? Surely this only works if the costs are met entirely and continually, otherwise won't Council have to raise rates to cover the increase in cost?

3rd Prisoner Released in Error.

So a third prisoner has been wrongfully released. Lord Morrow has called for David Ford to consider his position. If I were David Ford, I would tell Lord Morrow to catch himself on. I'm not an expert on the prison service and it's inner workings, nor do I know the full extent of any problems it may currently suffer. However, I do know that to enact significant reforms and bring about a sea change in thinking in an institution like that is not something that can be done in a matter of months.

Errors will occur. Some are more significant than others and obviously, letting prisoners out when they're supposed to remain in custody is one of the more serious ones. However, it is blindingly obvious this is a procedural error and as such, a review of the procedure needs to happen to ensure the required changes are made that will no doubt include certain fail safes. What will likely happen is that when reviewing that procedure other problems come to light and need to be addressed. The whole review starts to snowball until you have a fairly large task of reform ahead of you. While this review takes place, the service still has to operate and they will operate as they always have.

David Ford does need to get on top of the situation and he needs to do it fast, but for Lord Morrow to all but call for his resignation is simply ridiculous. Were David Ford to do such a thing, the necessary reforms would take even longer.

This is blatant political point scoring.