At the beginning of the week Environment Minister Sammy Wilson put his foot in it again by censoring a planned UK Government advertisement campaign aimed at educating people about the impacts on climate change. The Minister, whose sceptical views on the impact of humans on climate change are well known, claimed the planned TV campaign was ‘insidious propaganda’.
Never one to shy away from saying what he thinks, the Environment Minister refused back down on his decision and subsequently during the course of the week drew further criticism by weakly attempting to justify his decision.
If the public uproar over this debacle wasn't bad enough for Wilson - it seems he might now be in a considerable spot of bother with the NI Assembly - after the Environment Committee passed a 6-4 vote of ‘No Confidence’ in the Minister earlier today.
Environment Committee member and SDLP Environment Spokesperson Tommy Gallagher MLA proposed the motion of 'No Confidence' in the Minister. The SDLP’s Gallagher said ‘we need to be taking environmental issues much more seriously than the Minister appears to be taking them’.
However fellow Environment Committee member, the DUP’s Peter Weir, criticised the motion and labelled it nothing more than ‘a point scoring exercise’. With considerable pressure on the Minister will Big Sammy live to fight another day?
Wilson it must be said is not normally one to back down and it is extremely doubtful that he will pay much attention to the Committee’s ruling. But with mounting public and political pressure against a Minister that simply won't back down, or doesn't know when to shut up, the DUP may be forced to act.
Interestingly these recent comments from Wilson further add to a general theme of controversy that seems to follow the Minister wherever he goes these days. One could be forgiven for getting the impression that Wilson seems to enjoy being the centre attention and revels in his own sensationalism. Seems like nothing more than a trumped-up ego trip to me.
Last week we had Sammy lambasting local schools for closures, due to the recent snowfall, with Wilson claiming the decision was in appeasement of ‘health and safety nuts’.
The week before that Sammy sparked a backlash - after providing yet another useful insight into the DUP’s rascist mindset - when he suggested that during the economic crisis it should be a case of ‘local jobs for local people’. Although Big Sammy may not live in Royston Vasey, or shop at a ‘local shop for local people’, he certainly is in a League of His Own.
So that makes it an already extremely eventful year for the Environment Minister and it is only February! I wonder who or what will be the next target for Big Sammy...