First hints of a deadline?

It’s been an unspoken rule of thumb that the government may cede an election in May, before further talks in the autumn and some kind of return to executive government after that. Publicly the DUP are saying nothing that will tie them into a public timescale. Until the now the British have said little on the matter. But Peter Hain appeared to take away that option on Sunday:

But Mr Hain insisted: “We’ve really got to end this paralysis and get things up and running. We cannot have (the politicians) standing again for a suspended Assembly.” The Secretary of State said MLAs are doing constituency work but were not fulfilling the legislative function for which they were elected. “It isn’t a threat, it is a statement of fact,” he told the BBC Politics Show. Speaking from his constituency in Wales, Mr Hain argued it would be inconceivable if candidates in a May, 2007 election were standing for an Assembly that did not exist – as had already happened at the last election.

Via Jimmy.

  • Brian Boru

    Dock their MLA salaries and then see how long the assembly stays suspended. 🙂

  • Cynic

    If this is how the Sec of State feels then why is he waiting to end the ‘Assembly’ (or should that be the ‘Unassembled’?)?

  • George

    Saw Hain. Basically said it would be ludicrous to have an election in May 2007 when the assembly hadn’t sat since before the last one in 2003. And he’s right.

    Definitely gave the impression that there would be a plan B, along the lines of ‘we will have to do something else’.

    In other words, if there is no agreement about the assembly up and running by next May-September, it’s gone and he’ll come up with something else.

    Any unionists out there who still think Direct Rule is a good thing? Looking forward to Hain’s decision?

  • seabhac siulach

    If there is continued foot-dragging by Unionists, continuing into next May, and if they, for no valid reason, are still holding up devolution, then I for one, would like to see some economic sanctions applied. Removal of allowances, etc. There should be a price to be paid for political immaturity. The GFA, North and South, was passed to allow devolution. It is the will of the Irish people. Any party holding this up for petty reasons should be subject to some sanction. By next May, after all, a weapon-less, practically disbanded, IRA will have been on ceasfire for 9 years
    Continued failure to engage and I think we should start talking about joint authority.
    Unionists should engage now or lose even more influence. Or are they already dreaming of Mr. Cameron swooping in to save them? Dream on…all British governments want rid of the dreary steeples.

  • belfastwhite

    If Unionist do not want to take their seats in the assembly lets at least get the Executive up and running with positions to all those political parties who wish to take part. British Ministers could then only take positions abandoned by those who refuse to share power. The train must leave the station soon.

  • George

    seabhac siulach,
    “Removal of allowances, etc.”

    Wake up and smell the coffee. The whole lot will probably go. If there is no assembly, there is no assembly.

    I for one have said from the start that I don’t think SF will be too perturbed at there once again only being one parliament on this island.

    The best charade SF carried out in all this GFA business was the idea that they really wanted a devolutionary parliament with limited powers. They couldn’t care less.

    The six councils will run the place on a local level with the British and Irish governments meeting a few times a year to discuss the general direction the place will be going in.

    All the while, the NIO will keep turning off the subvention tap.

    That’s plan B. If I was a unionist I’d be seriously looking to make partition (aka devolution) work. Sooner rather than later.

  • George

    Sorry, should read seven councils.

  • Crataegus


    “I don’t think SF will be too perturbed at there once again only being one parliament on this island.”

    I agree, but it is very much in everyone’s interest that a devolved administration here works. If SF actually want a united Ireland then they have to realise no one will want the North if it has the potential to sink their economy. As for Unionists they should spend some time in the Shire counties and listen to what the average English Conservative type thinks of this place. In a word Bye

    The problem that we have here is that our politicians are all acting out of their perception of narrow self interest. They need to raise the game, bury the pointless, self righteous crap, and get on with delivering an efficient, well educated and prosperous community with good services delivered efficiently. Personally I believe for us to do that will also require financial control back here. The reform needed so substantial that there is no possibility of reviving this economy with the dead hand of Whitehall at its throat.

    Not one of then are doing what they were elected to do. Name any other profession where you could get away with that?

    I am utterly fed up with the lot of them and feel totally disfranchised. I live in political Narnia where I cannot vote for, or against, anyone who will form the government, I don’t particularly like any of the political parties that I can normally vote for, I have to tolerate all sorts of nonsense because people are bigots and I have to watch murderers and criminals roaming the streets. When will people learn there comes a time when you have to stop whining about the need for dialogue and building trust and just get on with it and treat people on face value. Just try being naive for once and see if trust is abused, and just stop being so dammed clever over minor points.

    That was therapeutic.

  • The NI political class will continue to be clever over minor points for as long as they continue to be too buck stupid to make a serious contribution on important issues. Sadly, it could take a while to rectify that one.

  • Crataegus

    Young Fogey

    Agree have you heard Harold Pinter’s speech.

    Pinter is well worth a thread of its own.

  • Crataegus

    sorry above :- his own or Pinter’s speech