#sfaf14 Sinn Féin ard fheis motions – universal broadband & 4G; praise for Belfast Lord Mayor; abortion (again), underground power lines; removing FOI charges

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Sinn Féin ard fheis is underway in Wexford’s Opera House.

SFAF14 clarThe party has a long history of streaming its annual conference online, so you’ll be able to follow the business. (Though I do wish the party would stump up the cash top remove the adverts that appear in the middle of speeches.)

The full clár is online, along with up-to-date progress on which motions pass and fail.

Below are some of the motions that caught my eye – not necessarily the most important ones! Unionists will shake their heads in wonder at the all-encompassing gamut of motions that will be debated and decided by the party membership (or those representing them at the conference).

Motion 9 calls upon the Irish Government to explore the possibility of creating a semi-state company that will provide a reliable cloud computing platform hosted in Ireland for indigenous businesses to enjoy an affordable, secure environment in which to operate and grow their enterprises. PASSED – though in the meantime we should note that sinnfein.ie is currently hosted in Pittsburgh, US

Motion 12 wants the introduction of a statutory Universal Broadband Service Obligation to ensure that every home and business across the island of Ireland has access to a fast, reliable and affordable broadband internet connection. Also welcomes the investment by the Six County Agriculture Minister to address ‘not spots’ and calls on the Executive to work together to rectify the imbalance so that rural dwellers and businesses are not disadvantaged. PASSED

Motion 13 notes failure of private mobile phone companies to provide adequate coverage in rural communities; calls for the provision of 100% indoor coverage from 4G mobile phone coverage across the island of Ireland, with any additional funding required to be secured from local councils, the Executive, the Dublin and London governments and the Connecting Europe Facility; and further calls for the abolition of roaming charges across Ireland. PASSED – though no timeframe specified for the over-ambitious 100% indoor 4G coverage target. Three seem to be leading the way with all-island (NI/ROI) (and far beyond) roaming.

Motion 18. A secular motion to revoke the charitable status of religious institutions in the 26 Counties, not give religious institutions should not have a special position within Irish society, and apply the same ROI tax laws to religious institutions as are applied to companies. PASSED

Motion 21 called for the abolishment Zero Hour Contracts and to make such contracts illegal as well as calling on the governments to acknowledge that Zero hour contracts create an unequal balance in term of rights and obligations that seriously disadvantages workers, with a particular impact on women and people with limited formal education, and that acknowledging that conscious exploitation of vulnerable workers extracts a huge cost on people in terms of human dignity and self-esteem, on family life and on entire communities. PASSED – so let’s await statements from Agriculture, Arts, and Education ministers announcing how they’ll enforce this policy across SF-controlled Executive departments and whether they have any response from arms length bodies.

Motion 26 included a call for the re-establishment of the Civic Forum. PASSED – with at least SDLP and SF in favour for this, it’ll still not get any traction in the Executive or Assembly.

Motion 27 commends the great work Mairtin Ó Muilleoir has done while in the office of Mayor of Belfast. Also calls for positive cross-party and cross-community engagement to agree a culture of commemoration which supports reconciliation and contributes to a shared future. PASSED – but the motion failed to note that this is the third year in the row that he hasn’t attended the SF Ard Fheis! [Update - Having spent Friday evening at Ravenhill, Mairtin called down to Wexford for the morning to give a quick speech before heading back to the City Hall.] While he may end up in the Assembly within the next couple of years, he’s more “myself alone” than “ourselves alone”!

Motion 42 calls on the Irish Government to introduce legislation which would once and for all create a truly independent policing authority in the 26 Counties. PASSED

Motion 51 commends existing party activity around gender equality and under-representation of women in organisational structures locally and nationally and reaffirms SF’s target for representation of women in leadership, elected office and membership to reach 40% before 2016 and the full 50% gender parity thereafter. (Female party membership has trebled since January 2012.)

Motion 56 ensures that all buildings used by SF are wheelchair accessible where possible to encourage more people with disabilities to join the party.

Motion 57 encourages responsible environmental behaviour and promotes the use of recycled goods for use in the production of election materials. // Encourages rather than mandates.

Last year’s Ard Fheis had a number of competing motions on abortion. While the pro-choice or pro-voting according to conscience motions failed, there’s another motion this year, now supported by 15 local party groups (including two from Derry and one from Armagh). Support is growing within SF for a change of policy. By the time the party has a new leader, change will surely be inevitable?

Motion 58 This Ard Fheis agrees that all Sinn Féin members be allowed to articulate and vote on the issue of abortion according to their conscience. DEFEATED “by a heavy margin

Motion 59 says it would be inadvisable to enter into coalition with any right-wing party in the 26 Counties. // Inadvisable though not forbidden if politically expedient?

Motion 67 wants regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy to introduce additional rail halts in rural areas on the Derry-Belfast line.

Motion 99 calls on Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry to support St Mary’s in developing measures that will ensure its long-term sustainability in the heart of west Belfast.

Motion 127 opposes new electricity pylons and seeks the “undergrounding” of new major power lines/interconnectors.

Motion 133 calls on the party to examine emerging nuclear technologies with a view to developing policies on these new technologies.

Motion 137 recognises the huge potential for the island of Ireland to become an exporter of energy with the full development of wind, wave and tidal power … but believes that the export of energy should only begin when self-sufficiency in electricity generation from renewable sources has been achieved.

Motion 144 asks Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to work with her officials to further improve the system of Single Farm Payments, especially in relation to inspections, so that farmers can address any penalties in a way that lessens the impact on their business.

Motion 151 calls for all charges associated with accessing Freedom of Information (FoI) requests in ROI be abandoned and that the Fine Gael/Labour Government must ensure that all public instrumentalities (i.e. semi-state businesses including the Central Bank) come under the remit of the FoI Act 2013 and that NAMA be stripped of its special status (Official Secrets Act) and be deemed a public body subject to full disclosure.
A recent report shows that Ireland is the only country in Europe to impose a FoI charge and is one of only three countries worldwide that has such a charge.

Motion 152 welcomes the overwhelming vote by the Constitutional Convention in September 2013 in favour of extending the right to vote for the President of Ireland to citizens in the Six Counties and the Diaspora and calls for the Irish Government to set a date for referendum on the matter during this Dáil term (and want Northern MPs and Assembly members to have speaking and consultative rights in the Houses of the Oireachtas, including Dáil, Seanad and respective statutory committees).

Motion 153 includes a call for online postal/absentee ballot registration and absentee ballots to be available for anyone requesting them for any reason.

Motion 154 calls for the creation of an all-Ireland youth parliament.

Motion 155 (proposed by the National Youth Committee) calls for a youth quota in respect of elections to public office. “While we realise that, similar to gender quotas, this measure will not be the cure-all in tackling under-representation in public and political life, the current age imbalance is so severe that a youth quota is necessary to actively counter the forces in society which deter young people from getting involved in politics.”

Motion 156 proposes the establishment of an all-island Local Government Association to improve co-operation and to promote agreed policies between the local authorities within the island of Ireland.

Motion 160 calls the [ROI] judiciary “elitist” and “created by decades of appointments by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael/Labour governments” and wants a study of the judicial system in relation to how judges are chosen by reviewing best practices in Europe and other parts of the world, and to develop a party position statement on required judiciary reforms.

Motion 161 calls on NI Health Minister Edwin Poots to comply fully with [the judgements on same sex adoption and blood donation from gay men] and his equality obligations as an Executive minister.

And finally …

Motion 162 calls upon all members to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia in light of Russia’s new law criminalising “the promotion of homosexuality” and breaches of human rights against the LGBT community.

Unionists

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  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    so 1970s Soviet.

  • Charles_Gould

    The changing attitude to abortion is welcome.

  • Sp12

    “so 1970s Soviet.”

    Yup, especially the broadband, 4g and FOI bits, it’s hard to monitor the proles thoughts and concerns otherwise.

  • Charles_Gould

    Any signs for when Adams will stand aside for Mary Lou ?

  • son of sam

    Charles
    You do seem obsessed with the coming of Mary Lou to to the leadership.Its unlikely to happen before 2016 for obvious reasons!

  • Charles_Gould

    SOS
    ML has indicated 2016/2017, so that I was just wondering if any AF signs confirmed that.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Does the delegate with the balaclava still pop up to say a few words or are the wooly faces kept in the back pocket these days?

  • Greenflag

    ‘so 1970s Soviet.’

    Having been in the former Soviet Union I can assure you that most of the proponents of these motions would have made it to the Gulags long before they ever reached the podium .

    To give its due it looks like a very long wish list . Some of them are pie in the sky but there are some that make political , economic and social sense .

    Motion 21 called for the abolishment Zero Hour Contracts and to make such contracts illegal.

    Whats the DUP/UUP/SDLP/FG/FF/Lab/AP position on ZHC’s .Have they any ?

    Motion 18. A secular motion to revoke the charitable status of religious institutions in the 26 Counties, religious institutions should not have a special position within Irish society, and apply the same ROI tax laws to religious institutions as are applied to companies. PASSED

    Given the recent news of another Vatican Bank scandal this is hardly surprising . Long overdue .Religion is for the purveyors anyway a business . It’s how they earn their living and as such should be taxed like any other business .

    Motion 133 calls on the party to examine emerging nuclear technologies with a view to developing policies on these new technologies.

    To become energy self sufficient Ireland ( looking at a 50 year time frame ) will need nuclear power plants along with the development of ‘renewable resources ‘ to even get close to energy self sufficiency .

    Motion 137 recognises the huge potential for the island of Ireland to become an exporter of energy with the full development of wind, wave and tidal power … but believes that the export of energy should only begin when self-sufficiency in electricity generation from renewable sources has been achieved.

    This Motion 137 is clearly pie in the sky idealism trumpeting common sense . The proponents seem to forget that the monies for investment in new energy technologies will in part have to come from energy exports .

    But then it’s an Ard Fheis .

    SF at least seem to get most of their motions from the floor /members which is a strong indication of political interest and a desire to face real economic and social /political problems .

    The other parties seem to get most of their ‘motions ‘ from their public service /civil servant advisers suitably watered down of course for public consumption .

    Motion for the day Sat Feb 8th 2014

    Ireland 26 Wales 13 .

  • Greenflag

    @ Alan,

    Thanks for the link .

  • Charles_Gould

    The abortion position preferred by the devout Catholic religious lobby in SF has been defeated today.

  • cynic2

    Motion 9 calls upon the Irish Government to explore the possibility of creating a semi-state company that will provide a reliable cloud computing platform hosted in Ireland for indigenous businesses to enjoy an affordable, secure environment

    Haven’t the CIA already effectively done that?

    Motion 12 wants the introduction of a statutory Universal Broadband Service Obligation to ensure that every home and business across the island of Ireland has access to a fast, reliable and affordable broadband internet connection.

    Again, the CIA

    Motion 13 notes failure of private mobile phone companies to provide adequate coverage in rural communities;

    Its always been very frustrating when you couldn’t detonate those bombs when the signal dropped out

    Motion 21 called for the abolishment Zero Hour Contracts

    whether the workers want them or not

    Motion 26 included a call for the re-establishment of the Civic Forum.

    Subject to an increase in expenses for ‘community workers’ attending No zero hours contracts now!!!

    Motion 27 commends the great work Mairtin Ó Muilleoir has done while in the office of Mayor of Belfast. Also calls for positive cross-party and cross-community engagement to agree a culture of commemoration which supports reconciliation and contributes to a shared future.

    ie no Orangemen need apply

    Motion 42 calls on the Irish Government to introduce legislation which would once and for all create a truly independent policing authority in the 26 Counties.

    until we gain power when we will abolish it so we can rig prosecutions too

    Motion 51 commends existing party activity around gender equality and under-representation of women in organisational structures locally and nationally

    …to make the tea for the male SpAds who dictate what goes on

    Motion 56 ensures that all buildings used by SF are wheelchair accessible where possible to encourage more people with disabilities to join the party.

    …with perhaps the dissers deployed to rearrange the frontages of any that aren’t to facilitate repairs

    Motion 57 encourages responsible environmental behaviour and promotes the use of recycled goods for use in the production of election materials. except i areas controlled by the fuel smuggling wing which may continue the destroy the environment with impunity

    Last year’s Ard Fheis had a number of competing motions on abortion. Support is growing within SF for a change of policy. to maybe

    Motion 58 This Ard Fheis agrees that all Sinn Féin members be allowed to articulate and vote on the issue of abortion according to their conscience. DEFEATED “by a heavy margin”

    No rights to free debate here. Who do these people think they are

    Motion 59 says it would be inadvisable to enter into coalition with any right-wing party in the 26 Counties.

    After our own long history of fascism

    Motion 67 wants regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy to introduce additional rail halts in rural areas on the Derry-Belfast line.

    So the escape from Derry takes even longer

    Motion 99 calls on Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry to support St Mary’s in developing measures that will ensure its long-term sustainability in the heart of west Belfast.

    and keeps the prods out

    Motion 127 opposes new electricity pylons and seeks the “undergrounding” of new major power lines/interconnectors.

    so farmers can extort even higher rents

    Motion 133 calls on the party to examine emerging nuclear technologies with a view to developing policies on these new technologies.

    We need some fissile material; for the next campaign

    Motion 137 recognises the huge potential for the island of Ireland to become an exporter of energy with the full development of wind, wave and tidal power

    which is badly needed by the Aaran isles

    Motion 144 asks Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill to work with her officials to further improve the system of Single Farm Payments,

    to bung them more cash

    Motion 151 calls for all charges associated with accessing Freedom of Information (FoI) requests in ROI be abandoned and that the Fine Gael/Labour Government must ensure that all public instrumentalities (i.e. semi-state businesses including the Central Bank) come under the remit of the FoI Act 2013 and that NAMA be stripped of its special status (Official Secrets Act) and be deemed a public body subject to full disclosure.

    This will not however apply to any SF Controlled Department in the NI Government where all secrets and cocks ups are buried as deeply as possible

    Motion 152 welcomes the overwhelming vote by the Constitutional Convention in September 2013 in favour of extending the right to vote for the President of Ireland to citizens in the Six Counties and the Diaspora

    including those who never knew they were Irish until a postal ballot was filled out for them

    Motion 153 includes a call for online postal/absentee ballot registration and absentee ballots to be available for anyone requesting them for any reason

    or any Cumman asking for one for them to save them the bother of filling it in personally

    Motion 154 calls for the creation of an all-Ireland youth parliament.

    No fleggers of Junior LOL members need apply

    Motion 155 (proposed by the National Youth Committee) calls for a youth quota in respect of elections to public office. “

    creating equality by pushing out all those oul feckers who vote against free WKD for under !6′s

    Motion 156 proposes the establishment of an all-island Local Government Association to improve co-operation and to promote agreed policies between the local authorities within the island of Ireland.

    especially in the area of Southern Irish organised crime fly tipping waste in de Nurth

    Motion 160 calls the [ROI] judiciary “elitist” and “created by decades of appointments by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael/Labour governments” and wants a study of the judicial system in relation to how judges are chosen by reviewing best practices in Europe and other parts of the world, and to develop a party position statement on required judiciary reforms.

    to replace the badly missed party policies on disappearing peeple, kangaroo courts, exiling , murder, kneecapping and tarring and feathering

    Motion 161 calls on NI Health Minister Edwin Poots to comply fully with [the judgements on same sex adoption and blood donation from gay men] and his equality obligations as an Executive minister

    ….provided its good Catholic blood

    And finally …

    Motion 162 calls upon all members to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia in light of Russia’s new law criminalizing “the promotion of homosexuality” and breaches of human rights against the LGBT community.

    while still denying Prods the right to march or fly their fleg

  • socaire

    You’ll want to lie down after that. You must be exhausted.

  • Drumlins Rock

    full coverage would be great… pity SF were at the forefront of getting phone mast pulled down locally. Sheer hypocracy.

  • Drumlins Rock
  • Greenflag

    @ Cynic 2 ,

    They say there’s treatment available for those suffering from a persecution complex .

    As to good Catholic Blood ? I was’nt aware that sectarianism had reached such a low point in NI that even blood has to have a religious denomination ?

    Try and be constructive in your criticism of the SF motions . The they’re just out to get the ‘Prods ‘ is reminiscent of that Chitty Chitty chap who believes the Irish language is a threat to English .

    The good news is my motion was carried
    Ireland 26 Wales 3 . I gave the Welsh 10 points more than they deserved .

    It’s at times like this that one misses Dewi’s analysis ;).

  • Dixie Elliott

    No motions on Tory Welfare Cuts?

    I wonder has this anything to do with the fact that they’ve already signed off on them?

    This could also be the reason they’ve attended the last three Tory party conferences…To learn how it’s done by the experts.

  • BluesJazz

    Laughable.
    I wonder will the public sector workers in the republic notice how SF rubber stamped the Coalition cuts to PS pensions without a whimper. The SDLP at least whimpered.
    The ‘rubber stamp’ NI assembly seems to have a simple clerical assistant role for Westminster . photocopy and file.
    An expensive clerical assistant but the futility of ‘the armed struggle’ shines through the smoke and mirrors.

    Extending broadband and 4G must be worth penning a few new ballads on the next Wolfe Tones album, along with disabled access to the felons club of course.

  • Dixie Elliott

    I heard Declan Kearney took to the podium in his usual role as King’s Herald… With the Gerry walketh on water speeches.

  • Charles_Gould

    MLM got prime mention in leaders speech, her supposedly main rival didn’t.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Laughable.’

    Blues Jazz/CG/Dixie/Cynic 2 will no doubt find even more laughable when SF are the biggest party in the Assembly .

    A carnival of reaction as the man said . The anti anything SF propose noted above is almost visceral . Instead of critiquing any or some of the motions the above simply lash out with the usual spew . Perhaps it was the Wexford venue that upset them .

    Often we read on Slugger that what Northern Ireland needs is real politics . From the above critiques so far one can only deduce that some anti SF folks above would much prefer SF to exit politics and find some other way to achieve their political objectives .

    Well we all know how that worked :(

  • Son of Strongbow

    It is of course fairly laughable how some are so easily seduced by Sinn Fein aping civilised politics. The contradictions are simply ignored as frenzied adulation takes hold – witness the reaction to Dear Leader’s arrival on the podium (thirty, or is it forty, years in charge and taking the salute, despite, ahem, others “vilification”?).

    Thus SF campaigns against telecoms masts in NI is married to demands for an all-island 4g network (the signal carried perhaps on the Shinner green mist that some allow to tear-up their eyes).

    Concerns about the environment do not stretch to challenging their pals spreading the toxic waste from fuel laundering plants across the countryside.

    It is on the southern economy (and SF in the south was the focus of the gang’s get together) that the fun really starts. Didn’t the Shinners support the Bank Guarantee Scheme, something that played a central role in neutering the Celtic Tiger?

    Then again maybe it is the location. I’m sure the gang must have made it down to Scullabogue to raise a jar to the good old days?

    It does seem that for some on this thread the old whiff of Shinner cordite remains a heady smell.

    No, predictably, for some any critique of Sinn Fein falls way beyond the pale and they focus themselves on mirroring the wild applause by the Faithful in the opera house. Surely abundant material for a Puccini tragedy itself?

  • cynic2

    “They say there’s treatment available for those suffering from a persecution complex .”

    I cant agree that. SF have copyright on MOPEry

    It was actually like those Monty Python sketch from the 70s. What did the Romans ever do for us etc and very Citizen Smith / Tooting Liberation Front

  • cynic2

    “when SF are the biggest party in the Assembly”

    What difference will that make? Just cement their backsides more firmly to their chairs as British Ministers in a British Government.

    By the way I missed the motion for using Hungerstrikers whirring in their graves to generate green (in all senses of the phrase) energy

  • cynic2

    “Instead of critiquing any or some of the motions”

    Critique? mots of them are beyond parody – like a Lib Dem Conference in the 1970s. – all open toed sandals and lentils and mung beans

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alan,

    There are a few remarks peppered throughout your reporting concerning resolutions, referring to what the timeframes could be, and what SF ministers in each jurisidiction will do, etc etc.

    You should be aware that, as with most parties, getting a resolution passed at the party conference is not binding on the party’s governing bodies. It’s up to the party’s authorities/leadership to decide what to take on board from the conference and whether or not to apply it as policy.

    In the case of Alliance, policy decisions are made by the party’s Executive (which has various committees) and the wider Party Council. There are resolutions passed every year at conference, some of which can be a bit far out, which never make it as policy.

  • BluesJazz

    To put in context,,

    Westminster governs and applies statute.

    Stormont huffs and puffs like the placebo parish council it is.
    A clerical assistant somewhere duly rubber stamps the order in council.
    And we all pretend that the *108* well paid MLA’s and the huge gravy train that follows has some say in the matter.
    At least we have the 5p tax on bags, even though ‘lifetime’ bags are 6p.
    And we still have the liberty to smoke in cars with children in them. Unlike the Saxon foe.

  • Comrade Stalin

    BluesJazz,

    You think Stormont is a county council. We get it. You don’t need to keep repeating it. Please stop spamming all the threads you participate in with the same comments.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “Motion 127 opposes new electricity pylons and seeks the “undergrounding” of new major power lines/interconnectors.”

    Was this motion passed? just there is two massive interconnectors planned for this area, I have heard very little SF opposition to date, one is the North South Interconnector, the other is to better link the forest of windfarms into the grid. If passed I presume with SF clout these scheme will both be underground now?

  • Greenflag

    @ Cynic 2

    Motion 21 called for the abolishment Zero Hour Contracts
    whether the workers want them or not.

    Can you name any Trade Union or even group of workers who are in favour of ZHC’s ? This labour cost reduction technique is a direct descendant of the Japanese invented JIT system for inventory control in manufacturing businesses and started out in the car manufacturing industry . ZHC is the ultimate ‘materialisation ‘ of human labour on a ( LCHB) least cost hourly basis ) . It’s modern slavery to put it bluntly dressed up by neo cons as an innovative breakthrough to profit enhancement . I can imagine it being introduced to the public sector in relation to MLA and civil servant pay levels with great savings for the British taxpayer -Not to worry it won’t be .But it’s ok for the plebs in West and East Belfast eh ;)?

    It’s recent application to labour cost reduction has become practical due to modern communications /big data technologies which can predict for businesses especially retail and distributive exactly when their businesses require labour in specific numbers . From the business perspective it makes obvious economic sense at least short term which seems to be the only consideration . From a worker perspective ZHC is a horror story yet to be told . Most people need to work 40 hours a week to earn a decent enough income and that becomes logistically and practically impossible under ZHC conditions. ZHC exists because of mass unemployment or underemployment and because of the lack /dearth of high paying jobs in the NI economy. This is also a problem beyond NI -in Britain and the USA .

    So SF alone of all the NI parties have at least recognised this issue which has also been recognised by the British Labour party.

    Motion 154 calls for the creation of an all-Ireland youth parliament.

    No fleggers of Junior LOL members need apply.

    I don’t believe anybody /group would be excluded but given the oft stated attitude to things Irish or on an all Ireland basis by the OO or the fleggers I can’t imagine any of the latter having any interest .

    I’d have preferred a motion calling for a more adult and productive NI Assembly which would be role model for the youth of Northern Ireland instead of being a Punch & Judy Sectarian dogfight .

    Motion 162 calls upon all members to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia in light of Russia’s new law criminalizing “the promotion of homosexuality” and breaches of human rights against the LGBT community.

    while still denying Prods the right to march or fly their fleg

    Prods in NI have the same rights to fly their flag as the rest of the UK i.e on designated days and on non contested parades (Some 97% of the 2,500 annual marches ) . So you are factually incorrect on this one .

    Motion 58 .This Ard Fheis agrees that all Sinn Féin members be allowed to articulate and vote on the issue of abortion according to their conscience. DEFEATED “by a heavy margin”

    No rights to free debate here. Who do these people think they are

    This is about the only item on your list with which I can agree . An issue like this should be left to individual conscience . That’s the only way it will be carried at referendum anyway . Every political party in Ireland has reformers within it and also those who prefer the current imo hypocritical status quo .

  • Greenflag

    @ Blues Jazz,

    “And we still have the liberty to smoke in cars with children in them.’

    Try and look on the positive side .Now that most children in NI are of catholic background at least more of them will be succumbing to early deaths, lung disease , respiratory probllems , shortened life spans and stunted growth from second hand smoking than the proddy children ?

    ‘Unlike the Saxon foe’

    The Saxon always preferred dogs to children thats why to have to import all those former colonials to keep the population from falling ;)

    Shure if it was’nt for them -the immigrants -London would be half empty no?

    As to your disparaging remarks re the Assembly /Council shure we all know the reality and we keep up the pretense because thats the name of the game .In a way it always was in NI -The Fenians never existed -Northern Ireland is a country -a Protestant State for a Protestant people etc etc .

    Some day Humpty Dumpty will fall off his make believe wall and then the people of NI can put away the pretense and have a real parliament – even then it will have it’s limitations of course -just as all parliaments worldwide have now become the puppeteers for the financial elites of international finance :(

    Oh dear .

    Unlike the Saxon foe.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Comrade Stalin

    “You think Stormont is a county council. ”

    More like Belfast city council. Some of the county council’s can get things agreed.

  • Old Mortality

    Greenflag
    “Instead of critiquing any or some of the motions…”

    …or even just criticising them.

  • Greenflag

    @ OM ,

    Indeed.

  • Charles_Gould

    What is the issue with pylons?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Greenflag

    “Blues Jazz/CG/Dixie/Cynic 2 will no doubt find even more laughable when SF are the biggest party in the Assembly .”

    But they’ll still be taking orders from London as we’ll see when they push through the Tory party cuts.

    Any votes they get will be down to those who can’t see that armed struggle is feeding the shinners election-wise.

  • Greenflag

    Dixie Elliot,

    ‘But they’ll still be taking orders from London ‘

    Of course .That’s the GFA

    ‘as we’ll see when they push through the Tory party cuts’

    As I understand it the Tories /LIb Dems are the lawfully elected government of the UK at this time and that is their policy . What do expect SF or for that matter the DUP to do ? They need that subvention so they have to toe that line be it Tory/Lib Dem or Labour .

    SF’s stated policy is of course for London to remove itself from Northern Ireland but it seems the DUP/UUP would rather have London rule .

    ‘Any votes they get will be—-”

    The same or slightly more than at the last election unless there is an overall reduced turnout in which case their votes will drop about the same as the other parties . They’ll do better in the Republic at the expense of the Irish Labour Party or so it would seem at this stage .

  • Barnshee

    they left out motherhood and apple pie

    “SF’s stated policy is of course for London to remove itself from Northern Ireland ”

    Only if they leave their cheque book behind -without it the future for SF is too horrible to contemplate

  • Charles_Gould

    I couldn’t detect a narrative or theme. Usually in party leader speeches they set out a theme, and repeat a phrase that sums up that theme, I didn’t get any such theme/messaging/narrative from GA’s speech this year.

  • Charles_Gould

    The phrase is “Putting Ireland first” but that begs the question: what does this mean? Is it a Eurosceptical message?

  • Greenflag

    I would think it’s a bit like that slogan -can’t remember whether it was Tory or Labour a couple of years back that wanted to put Britain back at the centre of Europe . Gibberish of course .

    Nothing wrong with being Eurosceptical now that several other nations have joined the Euro Zone andd more are applying and you’ve probably noticed by their absence all those headlines of a year or more back that were predicting the imminent demise of the Euro in a matter of weeks/three months etc .

    They seem to have all gone away ? Where to I wonder . I guess there’s money now to be made in speculating against the Turkish Lire or Argentinian Peso and Indonesian Rupiah no doubt :(

  • Charles_Gould

    Greenflag: what is your point, in a sentence?

  • Charles_Gould

    GF: In particular I don’t get this sentence:

    “Nothing wrong with being Eurosceptical now that several other nations have joined the Euro Zone andd more are applying and you’ve probably noticed by their absence all those headlines of a year or more back that were predicting the imminent demise of the Euro in a matter of weeks/three months etc .”

    Do you mean that Euroscepticism is acceptable in a context where the EZ is larger and more stable?

  • Greenflag

    Chares Gould ,

    ‘what is your point, in a sentence?’

    What’s yours ?

    Yes that paragraph was poorly worded -time pressure sorry .
    Eurosceptism should always be acceptable regardless of the number of countries . UKsceptism is also acceptable and so is a UIsceptism . NI Assembly sceptism is endemic on Slugger and elsewhere as it deserves to be . Nonetheless they (the MLA’s can only work the script they’ve accepted so perhaps some of the critics of SF and other parties should’nt expect too much from them.

    Sceptics of the world should unite .They have nothing to lose but their uncertainties ;)

    But I do wonder where all the Alias’es & Neo Con addicts have gone re the Eurozone and it’s imminent demise etc ..
    Not that I’m too concerned or anything but it’s all quiet on the anti Eurozone front these days .

  • Greenflag

    Barnshee ,

    ‘they left out motherhood and apple pie’

    I noted that too -very observant of you for once ;). I can understand the apple pie omission as it’s not for everybody however the lack of reference to motherhood seems like a major error . I mean where are all those future SF votes going to come from if not from SF mothers . I’d have thought that there might be an exhortation from the podium to increase productivity on the motherhood front but that kind of talk is frowned on quite rightly in these days of political correctness .

    Anyway it’s only the odd barking paranoid Orange loyalist preacher who can get away with referring to themuns as breeding like rats etc . Helps to increase the SF vote anyway so perhaps that kind of barking should be encouraged no?

  • Charles_Gould

    Greenflag

    I think that the sceptics on Eurozone can point to the high levels of cost that the austerity is imposing, especially in terms of youth unemployment in peripheral countries; these problems are still there even if imminent speculative attack has receeded.

  • sectarianheadcount

    No motions on British withdrawal then? That thing that nearly 4,000 people died over? Thought not.

  • Greenflag

    Charles Gould ,

    ‘the sceptics on Eurozone can point to the high levels of cost that the austerity is imposing, ‘

    Indeed and I agree with them on that issue . But it’s not just that . The current restructuring of the world economy via globalisation, technological innovation , robotics , communications etc is also adding to the problem . And all of the above are contributing to the slowdown in consumer demand which is the result of stagnant wage and income levels and growing inequality of incomes throughout the EU and USA , which is then added to by stealthflation (hidden inflation .

    All of the above plus currency instability in some of the emerging economies such as Turkey, Thailand , Indonesia , Argentina etc are all creating financial uncertainty in capital markets . Sounds like a lot of multi million dollar financial gain opportunities for the bond traders and hedge fund -currency speculators .

    And sadly Governments everywhere are paralyzed by inaction .They havent the power to act independently -not even the USA, and collectively they can’t agree among themselves as to how to restore some semblance of international currency stability .

    Neither SF nor the Tories nor Mr Obama are proposing solutions to that problem either as you are no doubt aware .
    .

  • Charles_Gould

    sectarian head count

    The issue of a UI is determined by a referendum, there isn’t much more one can do on that issue other than to call for a referendum, and SF have already called for that.

  • Greenflag

    ‘No motions on British withdrawal then? ‘

    Having accepted that a British political and military withdrawal from Northern Ireland can only take place if a majority of the people of Northern Ireland vote for a UI in a referendum .

    Why would they call for a British withdrawal given they have accepted the terms of the GFA. ?

    Pointless .

    Just like the 4,000 dead in the troubles and the 20 million dead in World War I a century ago . Neither need have happened but they did . Lets try to ensure they don’t happen again i.e give up the stupid hatred and bigotry for a start .

  • Dixie Elliott

    Ah Greenflag, just as I thought, you lot aren’t even embarrassed these days that you’ve not only replaced the stoops you’ve become the stoops.

    Greenflag’s point in a sentence, Charles_Gould, is that until the Brits decide to leave we’ll just have to do as we’re told.

    A long way away from Bobby Sands’ they will not ‘depoliticize us, churn us out as systemized, institutionalized, decent law-abiding robots…’

    Anyone using the above quote within earshot of the wrong shinners these days would be shown the door…Better to use the save quotes.

  • Greenflag

    Dixie Elliot ,

    ‘you lot aren’t even embarrassed these days that you’ve not only replaced the stoops you’ve become the stoops.’

    Which lot would that be ?. I’m neither a member of SF or the SDLP nor of any political party so what are you on about ? Would that be playing the man now .?

    “Greenflag’s point in a sentence, Charles_Gould, is that until the Brits decide to leave we’ll just have to do as we’re told.’

    I see English comprehension is not one of your strengths . Until the people of Northern Ireland decide to tell HMG to go they’ll just have to accept the limitations imposed on them by the GFA and whatever policy decisions HMG decides for them ,

    You may be succumbing to Michael Gillespies’s influence -where did he go to then ? – 1981 was 33 years ago- things as they say have moved on -for some anyway-others have yet to adapt to the 20th century never mind the 21st .

  • Barnshee

    “. Until the people of Northern Ireland decide to tell HMG to go they’ll just have to accept the limitations imposed on them by the GFA and whatever policy decisions HMG decides for them ,

    The piper plays the tune called.

    The saviour on SF et al is the fact that It took HMG far too long to actually call the tune and even as it has begun to do so its still not calling loud enough.

  • Greenflag

    Barnshee,

    ‘It took HMG far too long to actually call the tune’

    Indeed .They should have sent in the British Army to get rid of Stormont in the 1950′s or earlier instead of waiting until 1974.

    ‘even as it has begun to do so its still not calling loud enough.’

    Be careful what you wish for -you might get it and see NI reduced to a wasteland :(

    The interest is not there BS -there are other more critical issues facing HMG and there always will be . Policy is basically keep the lid on until they tired of being ignored and they’ll eventually go away of their volition -or so it seems .

  • Dixie Elliott

    greenflag its hard to tell with you lot, like sean tracey you defend Adamsism to the hilt but we don’t really know who you are because you are to embarrassed too let us know.

    As for the moving on shite just where have we moved on to that wasn’t there in 1973 and Sunningdale?

    Just what have Sinn Fein changed since they took over from the stoops? West Belfast has the 3rd highest rate of unemployment in the whole of the UK never mind the North. Derry has the 4th.

    In Derry according to Barnados child poverty stands at 2 thirds in the main Nationalist electoral areas.

    Sinn Fein still can’t get an Irish Language Act nor a so called Peace Center…

    So what are they actually doing in the 21 century to challenge the Tories?

    For example why have no shinners challenged the Tories as to the billions being spent on corrupt wars while they suck the life from the unemployed, sick and health etc?

    Shouting about moving on is just a smokescreen which covers up the failures of those who shout it loudest.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Away Greenflag reading your posts confirms that Adamism has turned stoop in its acceptance of partition.

    Waiting for a border poll is another way of telling the gullible that it’ll happen when someone called Godot shows up.

  • Dixie Elliott

    *Anyway Greenflag….*

  • Barnshee

    “For example why have no shinners challenged the Tories as to the billions being spent on corrupt wars while they suck the life from the unemployed, sick and health etc?”

    What difference would it make ?

    Reality check –Dependency NI– population levels held up by UK benefits Paid to go away and shut up.

    In Poverty? Jobless ? Poor housing? Its all those unionists fault –what it might be my fault— how dare you !

  • Greenflag

    @ dixie elliot,

    ‘greenflag its hard to tell with you lot, like sean tracey you defend Adamsism to the hilt”

    Again I must insist I’m not a lot whoever or wherever that is . As to defending Adams ? He’s an individual like Paisley who obviously creates vicarious emotions across the sectarian divide but like Paisley and McGuinness has somehow managed to stay the course .

    ‘ but we don’t really know who you are because you are to embarrassed too let us know.’

    Embarrassment ? Hardly . My defence for retaining anonymity is the same as Turgon’s . Many moons ago I did use my name on a blog and was subjected to vitriolic hate mail by a shower of ultra loyalist and dissident republican thugs for my pains . Personally I could have handled any of these thugs one on one in the ring any day of the week but I would not subject close family and friends to exposure from those cowardly bast***s!. My profile tells you all you need to know about my politics and general views on matters political and economic both in Ireland , North/South / the UK /USA /EU etc.

    As to your other points re deprivation/unemployment ?Child poverty etc in West Belfast , Derry and elsewhere including parts of East Belfast and rural areas here I can’t argue with you . But I don’t see this situation as just an SF or an SDLP/DUP/UUP failure . It’s a failure of governance in NI going back decades and of the UK Goverment effectively turning it’s back to NI until they were forced to turn bck and look at the place in the late 1960′s and 70′s .

    It’s also a failure of the political left and right and centre to devise policies which would create employment and improve educational standards in marginal areas or regions where there has been endemic high unemployment and poverty for decades .

    Politicians don’t create jobs .If they create jobs in the public sector these jobs have to be paid for usually by extra taxation on the ‘real ‘ economy . NI is as you are aware very much dependent on the public sector which consumes something above 60 % of the local economy . Reducing that dependency will be tough in particular given the conditions prevalent in the current world economy and those particularly in the rest of the UK and Ireland .

    The above also takes place /exists alongside worldwide trends in economies which are showing ever increasing inequality in incomes and increasing gaps in both income and wealth between the top 1% to 20% of earners and the rest . Most of any productivity gains of the past 30 years has gone to corporations and the financial . Labour’s share has reduced to the point where in the western economies there is now insufficient demand to create the growth necessary for economic recovery .

    If you have a chance and I’d recommend it to anyone reading slugger who is interested in the nitty gritty of why ‘downwardly mobile ‘ is becoming the latest trend for those who formerly aspired to middle class incomes/jobs and lifestyles . In todays WSJ (Wall St Journal ) there’s an excellent article at the bottom of the opinion page (A13) titled ‘The US Needs a New Social Contract ‘ and why the gap which has been increasing for the past 30 years -must be closed between productivity and compensation ‘(wage and salary levels) The writer is a William A .Galston . It’s as short and comprehensive overview of the current situation and what has led to it . It’s applicable to the UK / NI/ROI/EU etc .

    The writer’s conclusion is that neither American political party has come anywhere close to proposing any such new social contract in the USA and it’s the same in the UK , Ireland , Germany etc .

    He hints that the American people know how utterly idealess and powerless are their politicians in attacking the root causes of middle class emisseration in their society . I feel very much the same re all our politicians on this side of the ocean.

    I enjoyed reading Galston’s perspective particularly so fter I watched a video of the CEO of Barclays explaining why he needed to pay out millions in bonuses to his executives as he could’nt afford to lose them to the competition / The fact that Barclays had reduced profits over the previous year apparently had nothing to do with the ‘bonuses . In fact as I listened to this idiot I came to the conclusion if Barclays had lost even more profits they would have had to increase bonuses for the top executives even more ? It now appears that Barclays are going to lay off some 12,000 employees in the UK so that they can increase productivity even more and pay even more bonuses to those happy few who will benefit from the shedding of their fellow employees blood as it were .
    If the people of Britain had any gumption left they would boycott Barclays and the other major banks who via their Libor and currency scandals and insider trading and hedge fund machinations have turned the City into Gordon Gecko Central :( Ditto for Ireland and the USA . Waiting for our elected governments to do something is it would appear as useful as waiting for Godot :(

  • Greenflag

    Dixie Elliot ,

    ” Greenflag reading your posts confirms that Adamism has turned stoop in its acceptance of partition.’

    SF is not the SDLP nor vice versa . Both parties accept the present partition as part of the GFA . What else can they do ? Camp out on Twaddle Avenue until theres a UI and keep the fleggers company ?

    ‘Waiting for a border poll is another way of telling the gullible that it’ll happen when someone called Godot shows up.’

    There won’t be any referendum until such time as the demographics have changed enough in nationalist favour or until SF and the SDLP have a majority over all Unionist parties . So it’ll be a while yet .In the meantime steady as she goes Captain -don’t mind those jagged reefs near the shore etc “

  • Charles_Gould

    The SDLP are out campaigning arguing for a UI on the DOORSTEP.

  • Greenflag

    In Newry probably CG- Probably not in Newtownards or Carrickfergus .