Nigel Dodds: “Sinn Fein’s problem is that they can’t take a decision within their own party”

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Sometimes it is hard to know whether to laugh or cry when dealing with NI politics. [Might be better if you'd just stick to walking the dogs? - Ed]. Ah, so. Here’s Nigel Dodds riposte to Martin (just remember, there’s a war an election on):

Sinn Fein’s problem is not that they can’t reach agreements with unionists but they can’t take a decision within their own party.

On the introduction of the National Crime Agency to Northern Ireland, there are some within Sinn Fein who see that taking a practical and necessary step to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking is the right thing to do. However they are being held back by other elements within that Party who simply refuse to accept the realities of life in government.

Similarly with the introduction of welfare reform there are some more rational and sensible individuals within Sinn Fein who recognise the policy is not a creation of Stormont, but comes to us from Westminster. Beneficial amendments have been sought and granted thanks to the work of Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland.

However, despite some within Sinn Fein privately making it clear that they know the hugely detrimental impact that not proceeding with welfare reform will have, there are others holding them back because they are not prepared to act like any other normal political party.

It is very clear that for some time dissenting voices within Sinn Fein and within republicanism have been growing louder. The increasingly hysterical comments lashing out at anyone within unionism appears to be Martin McGuinness’s way of reassuring a troubled base that all is well in the project towards a united Ireland.

Instead of directing these tirades at unionism its time that Sinn Fein admitted to their own ranks that decisions on things like welfare reform and the National Crime Agency are the new reality. Unfortunately however, unless a decision has some direct bearing on a small republican clique what little ability there was for some within Sinn Fein to take sensible decisions appears to have been all but removed.

The decision on the Maze centre has been taken and Sinn Fein’s attempts to ‘out-green’ dissident republicans last summer ensured that it could not proceed. It is interesting that the development of the Maze is still the only issue they can point to, but also ironic that it was Sinn Fein’s own actions which ensured that community confidence was eroded and decisive action had to be taken by the First Minister.”

That will no doubt raise a rye smile amongst those who’ve observed the slow progress around Haass. But for all the fevered talk of potential splits and dirty dozens, Sinn Fein, spread now over two jurisdictions, have by far the more complex structure.

Not least in that judging by the lack of any vital signs in the party’s policy life in Stormont, the top man there has difficulty signing up to even the most mundane of joint tasks (click on to 7.55 if you get bored):

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  • Mc Slaggart

    ” lack of any vital signs”

    Stormont the dead parrot of European politics.

    No one could ever make it work. life is change and the culture shock of not only sharing power but with people who was murders (The wrong sort) has been to much for Unionists.

    If that was not bad enough no matter how grand a policy set out in Stormount it faces the reality in implementation that for effective implementation will mean the issue will have to be sorted out in the very least an all Ulster basis.

    I may be wrong so could unionists tell me which areas of our daily life are best sorted out on a Northern Ireland only basis.

  • Raymonds Back

    The Mighty Dodds speaks! … and perhaps the best response to this sort of rubbish is silence.

  • socaire

    a rye smile …………. too much Jack Daniels?

  • Mick Fealty

    If only… :-(

  • BluesJazz

    “I may be wrong so could unionists tell me which areas of our daily life are best sorted out on a Northern Ireland only basis.”

    McSlaggart ; None. It can all be done from the National parliament at Westminster. It has a Northern Ireland select committee and the NIO.

    Stormont simply ‘rubber stamped’ the Tory public sector pensions reform bill which will affect over 30% of the population here in a big way.
    There was a token debate in the Trumpton assembly and everyone approved David Cameron’s policy before their (highly subsidised) lunch. Then off home to (cough) ‘constituency business’. Of the sort their local MP cannot deal with.

    BTW the public sector pension reforms allow an exception. MP’s and MLA’s’ Trebles all round!

  • Dixie Elliott

    Silly Nigel Dodds….

    Doesn’t he know that in SF the Deciders decide while the rest abide?

  • Mick Fealty

    I think he does now Dixie…

  • Dec

    ‘It is very clear that for some time dissenting voices within Sinn Fein and within republicanism have been growing louder. ‘

    Ah the old ‘they’re on the run from dissidents’ line beloved of unemployed loyalists cornerboys everywhere – let’s see how that works out come election time.

    ‘On the introduction of the National Crime Agency to Northern Ireland, there are some within Sinn Fein who see that taking a practical and necessary step to combat drug smuggling and human trafficking is the right thing to do. ‘

    Here we have Soddsy displaying his nuanced understanding of the Nationalist/Republican mindset, no doubt garnered from spending most of his as an MP attempting to march past their houses with UVF-aligned bands.

  • BarneyT

    All that is missing is yet another accusation of “lack of leadership”…

    SF like any party will have their differences and no doubt the wrong progress or lack of progress on the main aim will cause future stirrings, but Dodds is barking up the wrong tree suggesting that SF cannot operate “on message” or bring their followers in line. It seems to me they are quite skilled in that area.

    Given the past, SF should not have the support they have….as they are in government within the UK…with not much sign of the all-Ireland dream materialising. Ok, they infamously play the very long game, but to hold it together this long does not support Dodds implication of disunity within SF. To many SF are annoyingly efficient, streamlined and capable of determining and following a particular line.

    So are the DUP…just look at the Maze project :-)

  • cynic2

    ” It seems to me they are quite skilled in that area.”

    …as the bogs of Ireland can testify

  • Comrade Stalin

    I have to laugh at the DUP giving lectures about leadership. That must explain why they weren’t able to propose any kind of deal or settlement at the Haass talks, and why they keep looking over their shoulder at the non-mandate fruitcake wing.

  • streetlegal

    Dodds is busily positioning himself for a leadership challenge within the DUP later this year. Sammy Wilson is also setting out his stall. Meanwhile Robinson must stagger on through the election campaign – a lame duck leader who has run out of ropel

  • FuturePhysicist

    Dodds should not defend the types of people who would throw a brick at him. This sort of mudslinging doesn’t really have substance, if he really believes a vocal minority of republicans want things like the national crime agency and benefits reform he should try to hurt Sinn Féin were it really hurts, by winning over their vote.

    Some how I doubt it!

  • FuturePhysicist

    *where

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

    “I have to laugh at the DUP giving lectures about leadership. That must explain why they weren’t able to propose any kind of deal or settlement at the Haass talks, and why they keep looking over their shoulder at the non-mandate fruitcake wing.”

    @CS,

    I think Dodd’s statement about Sinn Fein fits into the category that psychologists refer to as projection and what political scientists call mirror imaging. It might be true–I don’t really know enough about the internal politics of the Shinners to be able to make any educated comment, and I also doubt that Dodds and his fellow DUPers are also clueless when it comes to their Republican counterparts.

  • Morpheus

    Deputy Dawds comments about the NCA are hilarious. “Yes please, let’s have an unaccountable secret police force roaming the streets of Northern Ireland – that has worked so well in the past.”

    The man doesn’t know his Haass from his elbow

  • Greenflag

    ‘The man doesn’t know his Haass from his elbow’

    That deserves a 10 Morph seeing as it’s Friday ;) However while I’m no fan of Dodds he does have a point re the SF decision making process which seems Politburo like in it’s opacity. They’ll never become the biggest party on this island if they don’t fix it .

  • Charles_Gould

    Doesn’t know his Haass from his Eames Bradley.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Dec said…

    “Ah the old ‘they’re on the run from dissidents’ line beloved of unemployed loyalists cornerboys everywhere – let’s see how that works out come election time…”

    Come election time people will vote for SF out of fear that should they not then the ‘dissidents’ will think they agree with their armed struggle….

    And out of fear that should they not, the Paisleyites; now the Robinsonites, will take ‘our seats’ sit on them and do nothing, Instead of our lot, the Adamsites sitting doing nothing.

    What would you say Dec when SF eventually out themselves as having already signed up to welfare cuts after the elections?

    Then again I suppose thats a really stupid question…

  • Dixie Elliott

    I meant to add…. People now choose SF instead of the old Stoops because of the same fears and easily pleased shinners think this is some big deal.

    You lot have changed nothing no matter how many votes you get quite simply, because the Brits have you by the goulies and are squeezing hard, while the Unionists pass the time amusing themselves by pointing this out.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Dixie Elliott

    “Come election time people will vote for SF out of fear ”

    Of what?

    The Brits like “Irish people” its the crazy unionists they do not understand.

  • Neil

    Come election time people will vote for SF out of fear that should they not then the ‘dissidents’ will think they agree with their armed struggle….

    What’s your recommendation? Don’t vote at all? Save your ire for the shinner leadership, we voters are just voters, what would you have us do? Give up, stop voting and ensure there was never a referendum on unity? Hmmmm. Nope, fuck that, I’d like at least a shot at success given the sacrifices so many made (yourself included possibly). I’m just saying try not to get too annoyed at the electorate, we’re not the people you suspect of betrayal, we’re just voters.

  • http://whereareyoufrancishutcheson.wordpress.com martyntodd

    I agree with Neil. We should value our vote and have confidence that voting can change things. There is a unique opportunity in four elections in the next two and a half years to progressively show that change is not only possible, but inevitable

    https://whereareyoufrancishutcheson.wordpress.com

  • cynic2

    I do value my vote… that’s why i wont waste it on this lot

  • Charles_Gould

    Who takes over from McG as SF NI leader? Looks like he will not want to be FM post 2016. Perhaps J O ‘D?

  • aquifer

    This ‘hungry nursing of differences’ has gone too far already.

    By joining loyalism to extreme protestantism paramilitarism and street politics to its own marginal political advantage, the DUP has ensured that Unionism has ceased recruitment and must fail. That is if it still exists at all, in terms of a live political relationship with the rest of the Kingdom, across the cultural divide widened by Paisleyism.

    If this is just Nigel going to the extreme to harvest a few votes for a leadership contest, or even defending against challenges from loonier loyalists, this cynical sectarian baiting is still a dangerous waste of time.

    The DUP may simply be unfit to govern.

    And the UUP still follow in their footsteps.

    It may fall to the electorate to sort this out, and with Alliance plus the rest, the numbers may soon stack up to have the Union surviving Union-ism.

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

    “The Brits like “Irish people” its the crazy unionists they do not understand.”

    @McSlaggart,

    It has been my experience that Brits don’t distinguish between nationalists and unionists, so that if they like the Irish it is the inhabitants of the Republic that they are referring to.

  • CoisteBodhar

    It had been my experience that English folk don’t see a difference between Irish people; North or South. We’re either Irish or not.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Neil you know what I’m referring to. And its not about spoiling your vote…

    I’m referring to the Adamsite obsession with elections and how strong their vote is. What I’ve pointed out is the reasoning behind their vote.

    Of course you cling desperately to the only hope left to you by your leadership, a referendum on unity. This in despite of the fact that Marty and other lesser leaders have made it acceptable for nationalists to openly see themselves as British, whereas in the past it would have been too embarrassing. The old UK City of Culture being one fine example in that the city once known world-wide as Free Derry is now known as Derry~Londonderry, Legenderry and other names which avoid the Derry word.

    Another being that, at the same time shinners in Derry were being told that commemorations for IRA volunteers would be phased out, the lesser leaders like O’Muilleoir were attending commemorations for British war dead.

    Neil accept this fact, the Brits are pumping millions into SF controlled community groups so that some day the shinners might have them voted out… that really makes me LOL.

    And we’ll say nothing about them having already signed up to Tory Welfare Cuts…

    Apparently Leo Green isn’t too pleased in that regard?

    But thats another story.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Oooops *Neil accept this fact, the Brits are NOT pumping millions into SF controlled community groups so that some day the shinners might have them voted out…

  • Mc Slaggart

    tmitch57
    “my experience that Brits don’t distinguish between nationalists and unionists”

    ????

    its the things that people do that matter for example in London ie

    St patricks day, London gaa, and london Irish…..

    Compare that to

    unionist band parades,….. anyone with suggestions?

  • Neil

    McS.,

    there are a lot of Vicky Pollards and Loadsamonies in England (as many proportionally as smicks in Belfast say), the average English person is not up to speed with the political nuances of what they may consider as the 3% of GB that lies across the sea. Beyond the particularly intelligent (probably less than 10% of any nation) and the politically aware (and there’s likely overlap with the previous category), the vast majority couldn’t give a shit about us. And quite right they are too. So I reckon the vastest majority see the action on the news and write us all off as mad ‘paddies’, not even slightly relevant to them. My encounters with English people have bourne this out. There is literally no reason for English people to invest any time trying to work us out, so they haven’t bothered, mostly.

  • Charles_Gould

    I would prefer if people in NI didn’t distinguish so much either, especially people on Slugger.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Neil

    “mad ‘paddies’” should that should be the new slogan broadcast to the protesters at Twaddell.

    mad paddies you are suffering from “repetition compulsion” stop marching its bad for your health.1

    1
    Freud thought that the aim of repetition was to gain mastery, but clinical experience has shown that this rarely happens; instead, repetition causes further suffering for the victims or for people in their surroundings.

  • fordprefect

    I really had to laugh at this one. The “Mighty Dodds” and his party couldn’t make a decision about anything during the Haass/O’Sullivan talks, otherwise known as a monumental waste of time, unless they deferred to Willie Frazer and Jamie Bryson.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Raymonds Back[10.53] The old line about ‘better remaining silent and being thought a fool than to open mouth once…..’ springs to mind. Dodds was hit by a brick recently from his own side, so allowances made. Dodds can’t seriously expect nationalists never mind shinners to believe McCausland is looking after their rights against the treasury regarding benefits when NMcC is only slightly to the left of atilla the Hun.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Aqifier[1.57] Of course the union, [as in the inclusion of NI in it]will survive political unionism, the latter has a bleak future, but if you asked any politician from the DUP or UUP on air, if they were confident of their electoral strength in the first half of this century, they would insist it was good simply so as not to give any satifasction to ‘themmuns’ but privately they must know the electorate of the DUP is two thirds over 60 and SF voting base I the mirror opposite of that.