'Historic deal' fallen or prorogued?

So the polaroid gambit was a phase (or phrase) too far. The BBC’s Kevin Connolly probably summed it up this morning as well as anyone when he talked of the gap not being wide but deep. On Morning Ireland Tommie Gorman talked of neither party having quite developed the cattle market ability to close a good deal.

That is, he explaned, one which leaves both parties feeling that they got something out of the transaction. He went on to suggest that both parties have had baggage. In the case of the DUP a tendency to walk away at crunch moments, and Sinn Fein and the IRA a consistent reputation for coming up short and offering ‘post dated cheques’.

It will not be clear where any of this leaves the two parties until the Governments’ documents are published – widely expected this afternoon. The various position papers delivered by the parties are also expected to be made public.

After months (yes it is that long since Leeds Castle kicked this phase off) of a phoney war, journalists will finally get to examiine the substance of the negotiations and what is or isn’t actually in the the government’s deal outline.

It should make a pleasant change from having to the interpret the increasing runic utterances of party press offices and public statements.

  • willowfield

    The DUP failed.

  • Mick Fealty

    In what way precisely?

  • willowfield

    By not getting a “fair deal”.

  • jonty

    also by agreeing to the release of the killers of the Garda McCabe and the unprecedented demilitarition programme and the reduction of the peace time garrison here to 1,500 troops from 5,000

    some may say maybe its good they failed

  • Mick Fealty

    Willow,

    I’m more interested in your reasoning rather than a simple re-assertion.

  • willowfield

    Mick

    Isn’t the reasoning clear?

    DUP’s promise: get a “fair deal”.
    DUP’s achievement: no deal, “fair” or otherwise.

    By the most basic logic, this is a failure.

  • Mick Fealty

    That is, but I wasn’t sure if you were implying that they did something specific wrongly or badly?

  • Henry94

    I think the failure is in accepting that David Trimble got as good a deal as possible but risking the lot by not being prepared to admit it in public.

    The need for a fig-leaf photograph is very telling. It distracts from the fact that what is on offer is the Agreement the whole Agreement and nothing but the Agreement.

  • willowfield

    Henry94 is correct.

    As I and many others said all along, there was no alternative to the GFA, and it was fantasy for the DUP to claim they could get the Provos to agree to an alternative.

    The negotiations have primarily been about the implementation of the GFA in respect of decommissioning: exactly the same subject of the negotiations when Trimble was in charge.

  • Henry94

    In fact it would be a travesty if Paisley was to get away with the con-job he is now trying to pull on the Unionist people. He won’t be taking votes off Sinn Fein so the UUP should call him on this.

  • willowfield

    The UUP haven’t the wherewithall to call him. They have no clear message to give to the electorate. The DUP, on the other hand, are the masters of the message when it comes to elections.

    As I said on another thread, though, I think the main effect will be that the DUP will lose some votes, but the danger for unionism is that the votes will stay at home rather than transfer back to the UUP.

  • Henry94

    I think that the DUP’s position will unravel. I don’t think unionist voters care about pictures. They will want the deal.

  • unionist_observer

    Willowfield and Jonty

    Don’t start a blame game already, comments such as “The DUP failed.” and “some may say maybe its good they failed” are really not helpful.

  • chunkyguy

    As an aside – what would be in these pictures!!- a hooded man giving John de chastelaun a machine gun!!- I doubt this would really reassure unionists the war is over

  • Will

    Unionist_Observer,
    I have to agree with your comments – I think the Newsletter struck the right tone this morning:

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/rssstory/17019

    The Headline: PROVOS SAY NO…..
    Just about sums it up I think.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “what is on offer is the Agreement the whole Agreement and nothing but the Agreement”

    Ridiculous.

    OTRs in the Agreement?
    A peace dividend in the Agreement?

    I’ll maybe draw up a list of what’s in the paper that has no basis in the Agreement later. Politics here moved beyond the Agreement a long time ago (unless you’re in the SDLP).

  • Butterknife

    I am sick of these 4th rate politicians.

  • Henry94

    b BelfastGonzo

    Come on. OTR’s is simply the logical consequence of prisoner releases.

    And the money is a bribe to accept the Agreement.

    Just because you put a big fat Santa on your front door doesn’t change the nature of the door.

  • George

    Will,
    the Newsletter summed it up for their tiny readership but don’t think this is the general view.

    Irish Independent: No picture: No deal
    IRA and Paisley stick to their guns

    Irish Examiner: Hope fades: lights going out on chance for North peace deal

    Irish Times: Taoiseach and Blair resigned to collapse of peace plan

    No deal – no surprise: That is the general view on this island.

  • willowfield

    Unionist Observer

    Don’t start a blame game already, comments such as “The DUP failed.” and “some may say maybe its good they failed” are really not helpful.

    It wasn’t “helpful” to pose as a party that could replace the GFA!

    Will

    I have to agree with your comments

    You would, wouldn’t you?

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Even if a deal had been struck, would it have lasted? IMO, I don’t think it would have, for the following reasons:

    1. The DUP and Sinn Féin simply loate one another.
    2. The allocation of ministries would have posed an almighty problem, especially the Justice/Policing portfolio.
    3. The short electoral cycle in Northern Ireland (Westminster, Assembly, Europe, local) would see both sides grandstanding and hardening their positions for the benefit of their respective electorates every couple of years.
    4. Policy differences in areas like economy, health, education, etc.

    Six months, I reckon it would have lasted. A year, tops.

  • Davros

    Photographic evidence is a natural progression from the GFA 🙂

  • Michael Shilliday

    Seeing as the DUP stood on the promise of a deal, now that they have failed to deliver one (no matter where blame lies), surely their mandate has expired!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Henry

    I simply don’t care about Santa and I am sick of certain parties go on and on about staying within the Agreement when they have not done so themselves.

    Whether it is ‘logical’, an ‘anolomy’ or just something else they forgot to do in 1998 is neither here nor there. Every single party – from the DUP to Sinn Fein – has put forward proposals that have no basis in the Agreement.

    And that is a fact.

  • willowfield

    Gonzo

    They’re all just tinkering with the GFA. In essence, the GFA stands and will remain the basis of any subsequent deal on its implementation.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Sort of, yes. Could say the same thing about Sunningdale too, I s’pose.

    Thing is, this time the political structures have been basically agreed by the extremes. The problem is not this, but arms.

    Still.

  • willowfield

    Fair point about Sunningdale, Gonzo, but GFA covered more ground.

    Yes, the problem is the arms – and it is merely the implementation of the arms provisions of the GFA that is the stumbling block; not the GFA itself.

  • davidbrew

    Seeing as the DUP stood on the promise of a deal, now that they have failed to deliver one (no matter where blame lies), surely their mandate has expired!

    come and have an election if you think you’re hard enough Sillyboy. With even Willow acknowledging potential wipe out Basil will have the shortest political career on record-in fact he may not even have time to develop a chin to take it on! By your logic Trimble’s mandate expired the moment he broke his manifesto for the first time-i.e. about half an hour after the 1998 election

  • George

    Why don’t they get a few busy page 3 ladies to pose with the weaponry in the decommissioning photos to make them unusable for the DUP in any future election?

  • IJP

    Gerry O’Sullivan is spot on.

    WF

    The UUP haven’t the wherewithall to call him. They have no clear message to give to the electorate.

    Refreshing honesty. Since we’re being honest… the fact is Alliance was the party that should have called him. Unfortunately it seems to have disappeared completely. So completely, that Mr Blair mentioned it specifically alongside the PUP and the Women’s Coalition.

    The fact is:
    – a deal between extremes cannot stick;
    – anything that focuses more on convicted murderers than innocent victims is immoral;
    – increased segregation is not a temporary fix, but rather a potential permanent problem; and
    – stability will be based on commonality of interest, not a balance of tit-for-tat outrageous demands.

    The above is indisputable by any genuine democrat. If the electorate chooses parties that do not represent the above, it gets what it deserves. But parties that do stand for the above but are not vehement and determined enough to be heard will get what they deserve too.

  • Millie

    ‘Why don’t they get a few busy page 3 ladies to pose with the weaponry in the decommissioning photos to make them unusable for the DUP in any future election?’

    Or even better George, all IRA men to pose with said weaponry in their ballaclavas and their genitalia hanging out.

  • George

    That would certainly work Millie, even for the SDLP 🙂

    SF couldn’t give a toss about Stormont and the DUP (or UUP) will only be interested in working the bits of it that benefit the unionist community.

    It is power sharing but not in the sense of mutual responsibility and benefit.

    Instead it would be the DUP having absolute power over the unionist/British community and SF having absolute power over the nationalist/Irish community.

    All this tomfoolery just puts another tick in the “Northern Ireland – failed entity” column I’m afraid.

    But I’m sure the DUP will think they are winning.

  • Moderate Unionist

    IJP
    Gerry O’Sullivan is spot on.
    Agreed

    david brew
    Do you think that the DUP and SF could work effectively together if the photographs were produced?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Is anyone else here looking forward to joint authority ? I can’t wait to hear Paisley explain to his electorate how he allowed it to happen.

    The Page 3 suggestion is probably one of the more sensible things to come out of the discussion. That way everybody gets humiliated. I like it.

  • IJP

    Is anyone else here looking forward to joint authority?

    In much the same way as the Dublin Government looking forward to forking out €2bn a year without full sovereignty?

    We already have something approaching theoretical joint authority and that’s as far as it’s going. And the DUP knows it.

    Agree entirely with the Page 3 idea, though!

  • Peter Brown

    Seeing as the DUP stood on the promise of a deal, now that they have failed to deliver one (no matter where blame lies), surely their mandate has expired!

    So if your mandate expires when you fail to fulfil your election pleadges when did the UUP’s expire Michael? Wouldn’t it be better for once to put the blame where it lies according to everyone else and point the finger at the IRA instead of more unionist bickering?

  • unionist_observer

    “come and have an election if you think you’re hard enough Sillyboy”

    Well I think we are about to David – May elections?

    “It wasn’t “helpful” to pose as a party that could replace the GFA!”

    Yes, of course, but there was nothing that depressed me more than picking up the Times yesterday and reading the headline that the proposed agreement had fallen through the cracks. I don’t particularly like the DUP but I would have liked to see a deal getting done at long last. Furthermore I don’t like seeing thise thread and others descend into people gloating about NI not moving forward.

  • Moderate Unionist

    unionist_observer
    A very reasonable approach. I think most people are dissappointed that a deal wasn’t reached, but there were positives. The DUP would appear to be prepared (if not happy) to work with SF under the terms of the agreement published yesterday.

    This does represent a significant modification of earlier positions and I think they should be given credit for the hard work they have put into it.

    Second, all of the interviews with people that I saw on the television gave the impression that people just want the politicians to get on with it.

    Finally, I too would prefer that blame game stopped. The vociferous attack on the UUP position by the DUP invites a retaliation, which of course will lead to a counter strike.

    The future lies in co-operation (albeit with differences of opinion) between all parties. The problems facing us are difficult, if they weren’t we would have solved them years ago. We should acknowledge genuine contributions from all sides, accepting that nobody will be 100% right.