While I hear what Mick is saying about the DUP and SF preferring to play their cards close to their chests, the pressure is already telling on some. SF’s Mitchel McLaughlin is quoted by Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor – “the proposal that the entire executive be elected in a block vote… [is] a proposal that is not going to cause Sinn Féin too much heartache”. That was yesterday. Today, SF to press Blair to change government proposals.In between times, and completely unrelated to the shift in emphasis by SF, of course, the SDLP’s Mark Durkan made a speech at University College Dublin in which he claimed that the changes to the voting mechanism for the Executive gives a political veto on that Executive to the DUP – “[it]means that the DUP have a veto over any nationalist minister appointed to the executive. When the SDLP negotiated the Agreement, we ensured that no party could veto any other party’s ministerial appointments. Now the DUP can politically vet the lot. Nationalists won’t have the last say on who they appoint as ministers. The DUP will.”
The Alliance party’s David Ford may have hinted at similar thoughts when he said “that any new beginning for the Assembly will be on a very fragile basis”.
The reality is that such a veto on the make up of an Executive is a recipe for further political stalemate, even if the Assembly is resurrected.
And let’s not even start on how ‘humiliating’ it would be for the IRA if the public were to see photographs of decommissioning. Except to say that, if Mitchel’s line is correct, some people seem prepared to accept anything to avoid that particular ‘humiliation’.