Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Panto season underway for the boys at Stormont

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday accused Alliance leader David Ford of playing "pantomime" politics.

Oh yes, he did.

As Mr Ford launched a blistering attack on the DUP and Sinn Fein-dominated Executive for failing to listen to the smaller parties, MLAs may have been tempted to warn Mr McGuinness: "He's behind you!"

Or, rather, he's not behind you.

With the Panto season underway, MLAs seemed full of the emotions of the Season: stubborn, short-tempered and ungenerous.

Taking a break from the pantomime horse trading of the Programme for Government debate, for Question Time, Mr McGuinness accused Alliance of "punching above its weight" and told Mr Ford he was not interested in "wee games".

The DFM said he always noted that when Mr Ford sat down after speaking "he smiles to himself as if he is involved in a pantomime. "None of us in the Executive are involved in pantomimes.

"I am interested in working with serious political parties, which I believe we have in terms of the four parties that make up the Executive, to build a better future, to make a difference for the people we represent," he said.

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan played the sympathy card, saying he felt sorry that Mr McGuinness felt so (not for the first time) narked and, to laughter from the stalls, urged people not to be hard on him.

Mr McGuinness said he thought Mr Ford was the only person in the building who had found Mr O'Loan's remarks very funny.

Who needs May Mc- Fetridge?

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk