It’s the job of McGuinness and McDonnell to reach agreement with unionists…

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Stinging riposte from Peter Robinson on the huge volume of criticism he’s got for not sign up to the agreement that wasn’t agreed…

“It says an awful lot if the two nationalist parties are jumping up and down ready to sign up to a deal but no unionist is prepared to go with it,” said Northern Ireland’s first minister.

“That indicates that it wasn’t a balanced final output, but there are many elements of the Haass proposals that are acceptable.

“We accept the broad architecture that’s laid down there but some of the detail needs to be resolved.”

Mr Robinson added: “The job of Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein or Alasdair McDonnell and the SDLP is not to reach an agreement with Richard Haass, it’s to reach an agreement with unionists.

Ouch! Notice the lack of talk these days of the ‘indigenous deal’ brought to us by none other than, erm, the DUP and Sinn Fein… At what point do they become accountable for their own failure to actually work said deal?

Chancerism, much?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Well, he’s clearly right that there is no agreement – and it is odd to see people insisting that there is some kind of duty upon unionists to agree to nationalist demands. You could say the same the other way around. All a bit absurd. They all need to shut up and get back to negotiating.

  • sherdy

    The fact that the nationalist parties were prepared to sign up to the proposals, and the refusal of the unionist parties to do so and instead follow the TUV-OO-fleggers in their race to the past says a lot, but not what Robinson would like to think.
    Since the inception of the NI state the unionists only had to run crying to Westminster and they were given everything they wanted.
    During this time the nationalists had no-one to listen to them and so had to learn the art of negotiation, with that terrible idea of ‘compromise’.
    Unionists choke at the very thought of it, its a total culture shock to them. But the fact that Westminster will no longer dry their tears and give them all the sweeties is something taking very long to get used to.
    They never had to negotiate, and they still have it in their heads they only have to shout: no, no, no, and never, never, never, and they will get their results.
    Welcome to the present, unionists, the bountiful past is dead and gone. You will have to live with it!

  • cynic2

    “Why three in particular were not prepared to endorse this agreement that quite honestly, I and we feel, gave them more than enough to go out and defend it, not to just the general public but to their own particular constituencies,”

    Clearly because you failed and they didn’t get enough from it. You think they should. They think they shouldn’t. The electorate will decide

  • Charles_Gould

    Under the GFA an aspect of the arrangement people voted for was mutual veto on devolved matters.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Confident unionism.

  • BarneyT

    Can we consider any of the recent Paisley statements, yet to be televised…to represent compromise? Looking at some of the headline articles, he condemned Bloody Sunday as anyone would and talked of the blatant discrimination towards Catholics. That’s new and I must say, refreshing. It must be a shift.

    Ok he went on to say other things….Monaghan bombing etc…. but I read it and thought….I see a glimmer of hope.

    You can recognise the truth and the imbalance in historical NI without being labelled a provo supporter. If we take the decimation he spoke off….can we argue that we now might have some shared thinking in NI? Can the godfather of loyal unionism be wrong?

  • BarneyT

    discrimination*

  • tacapall

    Who to believe – The two independent facilitators who chaired the talks who both point the finger at unionists for being obstinate or the DUP who are pointing the finger at nationalists for being too willing to reach compromise.

  • Zig70

    Maybe I’m wrong but it seems to me the shinners were far more prepared for the talks and that got haass on side. The current situation suits the nats and Robbo can’t look good in this. We are into a decade of political roundabouts. The outcome doesn’t matter as we will be back soon for more.

  • Neil

    Like a petulant child in the playground Unionism stamps it’s feet and squeals ‘I don’t need any friends anyway’. But do try and bear in mind, it’s not us you’ve to worry about we’ve had to deal with you for years, we’re used to you. It’s the governments elsewhere I’d be worrying about if I were you. As things stand you’re liable to be held responsible for your failure to compromise by the US and more importantly the UK government. And they’re just about the last friend you have.

  • SK

    Two objective, unbiased negotiators have determined that this deal is an absolutely fair one. It’s a deal couched in conciliatory, scrupulously benign, vanilla-flavoured, prosaicism. It’s harmless to the point being dull and that’s why the “No” men won’t even tell us what it is they’re saying “no” to. Maybe they don’t even know themselves. Maybe the word is so engrained in Unionist DNA at this point that it comes as naturally as breathing.

    The “No” men and their cheerleaders (have you even read the thing, lads?) will spin and spin, but the reality is that these negotiations are a casualty of unionist intransigence. That’s as plain as the document itself.

  • Charles_Gould

    What would unionists get from the agreement?

  • SK

    “The two independent facilitators who chaired the talks who both point the finger at unionists for being obstinate or the DUP who are pointing the finger at nationalists for being too willing to reach compromise.”

    _____

    The Robinson Paradox: any agreement that nationalists approve, cannot be agreed to.

  • Bishops Finger

    CG, surely it’s about what the people will get.

  • Alias

    “The job of Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein or Alasdair McDonnell and the SDLP is not to reach an agreement with Richard Haass, it’s to reach an agreement with unionists.”

    That’s exactly the case. And when the SDLP/Shinners/Haass and sidekick are tired of pointing an indignant finger at the DUP/UUP/Alliance for refusing to agree with them, that will remain the case.

    It’s up to the SDLP/Shinners to get down to the business of reaching an agreement with unionists on the contentious issues rather than reaching an agreement with each other.

  • tacapall

    “What would unionists get from the agreement”

    The same thing that nationalism would get – Not everything they wanted.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    It seems that Haass is disappointed that this wasn’t a labor negotiation and he an arbitrator whose word was final. He was a mediator. The parties did not reach an agreement–funny that Haass doesn’t understand the basic distinction between a proposal and an agreement.

  • Dec

    Perhaps somebody could Robinson a link to that segment of the Haass interview where he helpfully defines ‘Compromise’.

  • Mick Fealty

    Neil,

    Interesting you should say this…

    ‘I don’t need any friends anyway’

    Someone in the BBC put a headline on that same linked article saying that Robinson had said that “Unionists need to agree with Nationalists…” which is a similarly ‘nice’ twist on what the FM actually said…

  • Charles_Gould

    What do nationalists get from the Haass plan?

  • Charles_Gould

    I read a lot of people scoring points and playing blame game.

    But I have noticed something ***strange*** about Haass, namely that nobody seems to be discussing any of the issues in the document. (The flags part of the document is blank so the discussions on flags don’t relate to what is in the document).

    It leads to the impression that people don’t really care about what is actually at stake here in the so-called difficult issues in Haass.

    I almost get the impression people are more interested in complaining about the other side, than in the issues at hand.

  • tacapall

    “What do nationalists get from the Haass plan”

    You should really be asking Sinn Fein and the SDLP that or even the DUP but ordinary joe blogs like myself and the majority of people on both sides of the political divide will get sweet FA from any agreement.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick,

    I agree with you. I don’t think Robinson was saying “nationalists need to give us something” I think he was pointing out that the negotiation was between unionists and nationalists, and not between unionists and Richard Haass.

  • Charles_Gould

    tacapall: you make an astute point; personally I as another Joe Bloggs don’t have any idea what these gains — that Haass tells us exist for both sides — actually are.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    The strangeness in this whole process was the way it was run. Waiting until two weeks to go to produce a first draft was crazy. There were only middle of the night negotiations that were face to face in the last week. He should have had them in the room discussing this stuff together from september to December and dispensed with the need to write drafts for them to accept or reject – they should have been formulated by the negotiators themselves.

    The best leverage he had was the willing commitment (and indeed procurement) of the process by OFMDFM. It means people were not there by invite. This is what could have been used to get results – but instead Robinson has used the 14 day return policy after Christmas to send the goods back with the receipt. Unwanted gift!

  • cynic2

    Neil

    You forget one thing. The last 20 years have taught them all one thing. The more you risk bringing the process down the more the Governments bend to accommodate you. That’s the politically logical outcome of appeasement

  • Charles_Gould

    Naomi Long struck a chord with me: she said her issue with the document was not what was in it but what was not in it.

    I have to say that I agree.

    The deal doesn’t really appeal to me as it is. I have a hard time seeing the gains that Dr Haass believes is in the document.

  • Mick Fealty

    Spot on Michael. The whole episode makes little sense, even down to Haass’s own post op rearguard…

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    That bit smacks of expertise or believing he had something of the star dust about him. Grand for trying to apply theoretical processes to big issues but it means he was experimenting in real time. That might be the influence of the academic nature of the process – O Sullivan being a high profile Harvard star.

    In group dynamics and systems change it’s well proven that you don’t do it with experts driving the process. He lost trust because he became embroiled in the content. He created an authority figure – a teacher or parent dynamic that was easy to scapegoat, and is growing this by his demands for explanations. Far too classroom. The only way systems change can happen is with face to face dialogue between the protagonists. I don’t get the use of bilaterals in post conflict work – its a legacy of conflict resolution – which this wasn’t.

  • Charles_Gould

    Good, we’ll thought through post, Michael.

  • BarneyT

    There Haass to be a solution to this somewhere. :-)

  • ayeYerMa

    The dishonest talk from nationalists and much of the media conveniently ignores the different dynamic concerning the differing objectives of Unionism and Republicanism. Republicans can afford to only obtain small concessions from each set of negotiation and work towards their utopia step by step, one distortion at a time. Unionists cannot and any agreement requires more perfect detail to ensure sustainability.

  • ayeYerMa

    BarneyT, I did not see anything in the Paisley quotes supporting “blatant discrimination towards Catholics”

    The voting system which was mentioned did not specify anything to do with Catholics. Rather the change to the business vote and proportional representation – - things which affected Paisley ‘s party just as much as any other (though dubious they affected the outcome on any an election much, if at all) . The fact that today Nationalists still make everything out to simply be about “Catholics” indicates that they still haven’t learnt the lessons from why their sectarianising of the Civil Rights Movement ended in total disaster.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, there has been some airbrushing out of the leftist placards on NICRA demos such as “British Rights for British Citizens”. Some of those cross community relationships forged in the heat of those times endure to this day (though they get very little airtime in the media).

    But we should not discount that Catholics suffered disproportionally if only since most forms of public and private patronage were vested with a Protestant dominant establishment.

    You see similar patterns in modern day Nigeria, where employment law is weak to non existent, people prefer to employ their owns since they’re a known quantity.

  • Gopher

    Mick, I don’t for one second discount how power was abused in the past by the political establishment, but with regards employment abuse “Catholic” owned firms invariably payed substantially less wages and operated poorer working conditions for the exact same jobs than those owned by “Protestants”. I worked in a firm that specialized in facilitating takeovers and this was invariably the case. It wernt just some Stormont elite exploiting people

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    ” the negotiation was between unionists and nationalists”

    If that was the case what the hell was Alliance doing at the negotiation?

    It was between political parties.

  • babyface finlayson

    Charles_Gould
    “I almost get the impression people are more interested in complaining about the other side, than in the issues at hand.”
    Agreed. It is time for someone to take action.
    timeforaction

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “some kind of duty upon unionists to agree to nationalist demands”

    The sad thing is that in Tyrone sf and even more the sdlp spend their time telling everyone to be supportive of orange culture.

    I honestly do not think a deal is possible with unionists on things like flags and marching. Its a sort of cultural anxiety disorder. The union flag is a cultural cross won’t work unless the holder is faithful and believes in the truth the symbol represents to fend of evil nationalist.

    Castlederg is filled with union flags and has constant orange incanting processions virtually every week. Yet when republicans want to march Unionists go crazy.

    Veneration of the dead is a difficult thing. It is our religion from the first primitive men. I did not want the republican parade for personal reasons but I honestly do not know on what grounds unionists could object. They did and more interestingly still carried on parading every week

  • Mc Slaggart

    Charles_Gould

    “What do nationalists get from the Haass plan?”

    Not a lot from my reading of it.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Only reform of the British Constitution will resolve the issue of flags et al in Ireland. Haas O’Sullivan type talks with fascist local politicians in the Dup and Sinn Fein will fail.

    FLAGS OF IRELAND
    The first constitutional reform of the Kingdom came about in 1177 when the Pope conferred on the English King Henry II the title of Lord of Ireland. The Flag of this reformed constitutional epoch in Ireland was a triple gold Crown on a blue field and was called the Irish Banner
    This flag lasted from 1177 to 1542 when the Protestant Irish parliament reformed the constitution by making Henry VIII the King of Ireland and the kingdom federal in modern terms. The flag of this reformed constitutional epoch was a gold Celtic harp on a blue field. This flag was known as the Royal Standard of Ireland and still exists in the modern British Royal Standard.
    This constitutional epoch of the Royal Standard lasted from 1542 until 1801 when the kingdom was again reformed and ceased to be federal and became united.
    Within this federal epoch a new constitutional reform attempt came into existence thus, symbolised by a gold Celtic Harp on a green field

    This was the flag of the reforming Irish Confederates of 1642 and was called The Green Flag and symbolised the fascist demand for a Catholic parliament for Ireland and the expulsion of Protestants from the island. The Irish Confederates and their flag were defeated by Cromwell.

    After the Act of Union in 1801 there came into existence another reformed constitutional epoch in Ireland symbolised by the Union Jack.
    This flag symbolised the reform that the kingdom was now constitutionally unitary and not federal and was governed from Westminster and all citizens were British. This was resisted by Federalists in the 19th and 20th centuries who demanded a returned government to Dublin under the Crown by such people as O’ Connell, the early Young Irelanders, the early Fenians, Isaac Butt, Arthur Griffiths in Early Sinn Fein and John Redmond. This Federalist movement was eventually defeated by the Republican fanatic De Valera in Late Sinn Fein in 1918 with the ballot box in one hand and a revolver in the other.

    After this defeat another reforming constitutional epoch in Ireland came into being symbolised by the Irish Tricolour which became identified with the fascist demand for a Republican Catholic Parliament in Dublin where Irish Republican rule was Catholic. Protestant Ireland clung to the Union Jack and with it the counter fascism that in Ireland British rule is Protestant. Thus yet another reformed constitutional epoch came into being in Ireland and in this epoch the historic fascist imbroglio indicated, scuppered the Haas talks in Belfast.

    But yet another reformed constitutional epoch arrived with New Labour’s decision to devolve governments to Scotland and Wales in the 1990ties. This is the New British Constitution. This has brought into existence the possibility of the reform of a new federal arrangement for these islands which have the potential for unity and peace in N Ireland/Ireland. This new constitutional epoch needs a new Royal Flag of all Ireland thus, a redesign of the Irish tricolour with the Irish saltire along with a central modern Crown on the white field, a flag for all.
    In my book the nature of this Royal flag and its implications for a new reformed federal kingdom of Ireland within the Confederation of the Isles of the North Atlantic defined in the National Government of Ireland Act are examined in depth. The Book is titled The Theoretical Solution to the British/Irish Problem Using the General Theory of a Federal Kingdom — available at Amazon ISBN 9781491882047. The Royal Flag of Ireland is ideally the national Flag of a United Federal Kingdom of All Ireland or it can be the National Flag of N Ireland if that is the democratic wish of the Irish people. Read be informed and enjoy.

    Michael Gillespie Teacher and Author

  • DC

    @tacapall

    Why should anyone believe America’s political elites generally (Spy Masters of the Universe?) and in particular it should be known that both facilitators are biased as their government wants NI to be a ‘foreign policy’ success going back to the Clinton days, who himself was biased. As unlike in Britain with there being ‘no votes in Ireland’, less so America.

    America is a complete disgrace and the state of its economy reflects the state of its statesmen and women and how it is piss poor at governing itself.

    So get real.

  • Charles_Gould

    Why is the status quo not an option for the UUP? What do they seek from these talks?

  • Charles_Gould

    Why do SF like these proposals, what specifically are they achieving?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Charles_Gould

    “Why do SF like these proposals, what specifically are they achieving?”

    They don’t. Its the best proposals that could be put together.

    Showing everyone that they can compromise on what they want for the greater good.

  • cynic2

    Sherdy

    The fact that the nationalist parties were prepared to sign up to the proposals, and the refusal of the unionist parties to do sot, but not what Nationalists would like to think.

    Since the Good Friday Agreement the Nationalists only had to run crying to Washington / Dublin / London and they were given everything they wanted.

    During this time the Unionists had no-one to listen to them and so had to learn the art of negotiation, with that terrible idea of ‘compromise’.Nationalists choke at the very thought of it, its a total culture shock to them. But the fact that Washington and Dublin will no longer dry their tears and give them all the sweeties is something taking very long to get used to.

    They never had to negotiate, and they still have it in their heads they only have to shout:”Brits Out”, and they will get their results.

    Welcome to the present, Nationalists , the bountiful past of utter appeasement is dead and gone. You will have to live with it and the fact that the Prods exist and the Brits you want out live here and aren’t going anywhere!

  • cynic2

    “Its the best proposals that could be put together.”

    Still not good enough as the Unionists wont agree. If thats so hard for them, tough. They need to negotiate more and work harder to sell it to the sheep

  • Mc Slaggart

    cynic2

    “During this time the Unionists had no-one to listen to them”

    True

  • cynic2

    Is it just me but more and more as I listedn to Haass after the collapse I don’t see him as anywhere near impartial or as someone withthe ability to fully understand what he had to do to achieve success?

    His document was devoid of the detail that would make things work and give Guarantees to both sides. There was nothing to induce Unionists to sign. It was a blancmange that hadn’t set

  • Mc Slaggart

    cynic2

    “Still not good enough as the Unionists wont agree. ”

    Honestly not getting agreement makes things worse for everyone. That said the people who need the deal the most are Unionists.

    Some examples:

    Flags: The people most hurt by not getting an agreement on this issue are Unionists. Nationalists in most areas have taken their own flags down.

    Marching: Unionists are being arrested and convicted because they cannot accept the current arrangements.

  • David Crookes

    In the meantime…..

    Let’s not worry about imposing a code of conduct on paraders or protesters.

    We already have a code of conduct.

    It’s called THE LAW, and it includes decisions made by the parades commission.

    Let’s start to apply it. Rigorously. If people break the law, arraign them. Hundreds of them if necessary. As we did with rioters last year.

  • Morpheus

    “Welcome to the present, Nationalists , the bountiful past of utter appeasement is dead and gone. You will have to live with it and the fact that the Prods exist and the Brits you want out live here and aren’t going anywhere!”

    Christ almighty, CHANGE THE RECORD. No one denies that “Prods exist” and no one wants anyone to go anywhere, that is just paranoid BS and it’s really, really tired and boring. This is 2014 ffs.

  • tacapall

    DC maybe you should ask the DUP just why they invited Haass and O’Sullivan to chair the talks as independent arbitrators, obviously they dont think like yourself or maybe they do and just went through the whole expensive charade in the belief that they could fool the world into believing unionist mindsets had evolved into something more modern like treating their fellow countrymen as equals.

    Your having a laugh suggesting the British government is unbiased regarding its position in Ireland. If that was truely the case we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  • Mick Fealty

    On that very topic Tac, Pete’s latest is well worth reading [much of the serious implicature in the links]: http://goo.gl/S80y0n

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart,

    If that was the case what the hell was Alliance doing at the negotiation?

    It was between political parties.

    In your desperation to catch me out you missed the fact that I was quoting Robinson’s perspective, and not my own.

  • Comrade Stalin

    McSlaggart

    Showing everyone that they can compromise on what they want for the greater good.

    But they didn’t. The deal doesn’t include any compromises of note on the issue of flags or parades. And I don’t sense that SF made any compromises with respect to the past at all.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “I think he was pointing out that the negotiation was between unionists and nationalists, and not between unionists and Richard Haass.”

    ?

    As Alliance are neither nationalists or unionists who allowed them at the talks?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “But they didn’t.”

    lets be clear you think the document draw up which the sdlp and sf signed up for did require compromises from them.

  • Charles_Gould

    What aspect of Haass do SF fans like most?

  • redstar2011

    I genuinely dont get it re unionists and the flag esp at Bcc.

    FACT-You dont have the numbers in Bcc to get anything better than desig days.

    FACT- Within 2 more council elections BCC could well have an overall Nat majority- so at that point you may not even have desig days.

    Can some Unionist or someone who understands them please explain to me, given the above 2 facts what more can really be done re the flag at Bcc?

    Thanks

  • cynic2

    ” the people who need the deal the most are Unionists.”

    I would agree that it hurts us all

    “Nationalists in most areas have taken their own flags down.” Ok – but they will be up again by Easter

    “Marching: Unionists are being arrested and convicted because they cannot accept the current arrangements.”

    Agreed – I think they are mad but it shows the depth of feeling that Nationalists are tramping over their civil rights

  • cynic2

    “Can some Unionist or someone who understands them please explain to me, given the above 2 facts what more can really be done re the flag at Bcc?”

    Vote Alliance out wholesale next time and gain control of the council to change the rules. Unlikely but not impossible

  • redstar2011

    Cynic have a go at an answer to my question at 7:50.

    Genuinely want to know. Am not trying to be smart. Just want to know beyond desig days what more can be done at Bcc. Thanks

  • redstar2011

    Oops sorry cynic I posted at same time you answered

  • Morpheus

    “Vote Alliance out wholesale next time and gain control of the council to change the rules. Unlikely but not impossible”

    And then what? Go back to flying it 365? Council getting sued?

    (“…in the absence of some good reason (which to date has not been articulated) there is a degree of risk that the flying of the Union flag at the City Hall on days other than designated flag days and at other premises even on designated days only, could be held to infringe the concept of a neutral working environment for those who work in those buildings.”
    Senior Counsel

    What do you think happens then when the nationalist majority kicks in?

    Political Unionism needs to start thinking about the Union 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 50 years from now and how their behavior now will impact on it.

  • redstar2011

    Morpheus to be fair to cynic he said the scenario he described was unlikely but not impossible

  • Charles_Gould

    Could a nationalist clarify what they see as the key “take away” item that SF have in this package?

  • Charles_Gould

    Could a unionist clarify what the DUP did not like about the contents of the Haass proposals?

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    “The strangeness in this whole process was the way it was run. Waiting until two weeks to go to produce a first draft was crazy.”

    @Michael, Mick,

    In the Belfast negotiations there was a talking shop from June 1996 until the end of March 1998. The actual bargaining phase in which drafts were being inked was only two weeks long. Maybe Haass thought that this process would work again? But maybe that worked because the DUP wasn’t present and Sinn Fein effectively restricted itself to security issues by only discussing a united Ireland during Strand One negotiations.

  • Rory Carr

    I am sure that other readers, like me, are grateful to Michael Gillespie for revealing the hitherto unknown knowledge of the part Fascism played in Ireland from 1642.

    Roll over Mussolini ! The paddies bate ye to it. And they did it all without the need for a corporate state.

    As my family in South Wales would say, “There’s clever !”

  • Mc Slaggart

    @ cynic2

    What ever flags go up for Easter the majority of them will be taken down shortly. (very few places put them up in the first place)

    I know you think that nationalists are trampling over unionist rights. The truth is they for the most part do not care what unionists do. SF agreed to fly the union flag on designed days in Belfast.

  • Charles_Gould

    Tmitch57

    I think the miscalculation that a lot of people are making is that typical members of the electorate care about Haass issues. It’s hard even to get slugger readers to demonstrate an interest the sticking points.

  • Neil

    CG,

    a lot of the electorate, especially those based in Belfast, would like to see fewer occasions in which the are prevented from getting to work, or are stuck in an hour traffic jam because of a smick with a fleg. My own workplace lost a couple of hours over the flegs dispute. Small beer eh? Maybe not when the company has well over 1,000 employees, I’d like it if my non UK based employer didn’t have to factor flegs into whether or not the Belfast office offers value because they can send work to India as easily as Belfast. People may not care much in Ballymena or whatever, but then there’s been zero disruption to contend with so that’s understandable. Belfast not so much.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Sherdy[5.52] You’d have thought the signing by the ‘blessed Margaret/traitor of unionism’ of the reviled AngloIrish agreement, would have shocked unionists out of their notion that the Brits were on their side. The sole reason they were able to get away with 45 years of blatant discrimination is because the Brits had disowned this place and wanted the world to think it had nothing to do with London after 1921.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “The sole reason they were able to get away with 45 years of blatant discrimination is because the Brits had disowned this place and wanted the world to think it had nothing to do with London after 1921.”

    Hmmmmmm

    I always had a hunch that after 45 (well, probably the early 30′s) they (daddy England) had too much on their colonial plate.

    The empire was disintegrating, the upper class ‘Big House’ way of life was in a tailspin and they really had no reason to think anything was afoot because NI was still run by ‘the Big house’.

    WESTMINSTER: “I say, Terry old bean! What’s the cricket with you old boy?”

    STORMONT: “Bingo! Nothing amiss here old bird, a few malcontents here and there but isn’t that always the way since the advent of this newfangled TV contraption”

    WESTMINSTER: “I’ll bally well say so! It’s like having Uncle Joe in the living room what! Anyway, must dash, another one of the ruddy colonies has declared independence and I have to go and extract the polo team from the ruddy capital. Let us know if anything turns a bit sour. Toodle pip!”

    STORMONT: “Chin chin!”

    ———-

    I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the above conversation but is it beyond the realms of possibility that the relationship between London and Belfast was like that at one point?

  • Starviking

    “The sole reason they were able to get away with 45 years of blatant discrimination is because the Brits had disowned this place and wanted the world to think it had nothing to do with London after 1921.”

    I think it was more to do with the fact that we had Home Rule, and there was nothing making the headlines in London. Of course, things should have been making the headlines – but that’s another story.

  • David Crookes

    WHAT PARIS HILTON AND CLAUDIA SCHIFFER THINK ABOUT SLUGGER O’TOOLE

    Sorry. Mick, that was done merely to catch your attention. Concubhar put up a great post on Irish-language matters on Thursday, but it won’t accept comments. Is that by his desire?

  • sherdy

    Good thinking, David.
    If Paris and Claudia had been at the talks no one would have left the table, and a smile from either of the lovelies would have melted some hearts the owners didn’t even know they had.
    The only problem would have been their reluctance, despite an agreement all would have been very happy with, to get up from the table and leave the room to return to a humdrum life without such inspirational company.
    But could we have coped with the party delegates smiling permanently afterwards?
    Ah well, like them, we can but dream!

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    WHAT PARIS HILTON AND CLAUDIA SCHIFFER THINK ABOUT SLUGGER O’TOOLE

    And what does Kate Bush have to say?

  • arsetopple

    All three lovely girls in their ways but I fear unable to change the stoney face of our Jeffery. It may take a different type of film star altogether.
    I will get my coat

  • David Crookes

    Brilliant, sherdy. A reduction in the number of earnest male scowlers would be an improvement.

    Mister_Joe’s question is serious enough when you think of the attention that is paid to the opinions of WF and JB.

  • http://www.selfhatinggentile.blogger.com tmitch57

    ‘DC maybe you should ask the DUP just why they invited Haass and O’Sullivan to chair the talks as independent arbitrators,’

    @Tacapail,

    They weren’t arbitrators–they were mediators or facilitators. If they had been arbitrators the proposals would have been imposed and we would have a ruling, if not quite an actual agreement.