Can anyone translate from Durkanese..?

JUST as they seemed to be making some headway, the SDLP appear confused. Durkan says the DUP’s proposed “two-stage process isn’t open” and the SDLP will apparently not consider any measures short of giving the Northern Ireland Assembly back its full powers. Yet: “If parties aren’t willing to form an inclusive executive, we then have to look at what other options there are short of suspension and direct rule again. But parties are only going to get real about how far they are going to go in circumstances where the governments are saying very clearly that there is a definite date for restoration.” Can anyone translate?I honestly don’t know what Durkan means when he says of the DUP’s two-stage process:

“A two-stage process isn`t open. If you start saying we are just going to go for a fallback, and then starting with a fallback that is just holding back.

“Let’s test it and see how far parties are willing to go.”

There is a valid point in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. Seeing it is another matter entirely.

  • Gonzo. You could try reading my previous post again, where I linked that story, this time ignoring the comments which take the thread completely off-topic.

  • steve48

    odds are we’ll have a shadow or advisory assembly by Sept with full devolution returning post election May 07.

    Policing and justice devolved in 07

    gives the dups another year to assess ceasefire and allows the Government to properly review no of depts etc in wake of RPA

    also means the government can take all the hard decisions i.e. water rates

  • Belfast Gonzo


    I did read your post. Now help me here. In your linked story, the intro says: “The SDLP will not consider any measures short of giving the Northern Ireland Assembly back its full powers, party leader Mark Durkan has said.”

    Then Durkan says: “If parties aren’t willing to form an inclusive executive, we then have to look at what other options there are short of suspension and direct rule again.”

    Does the first statement contradict the second or not?

    If not, why doesn’t Durkan say it out straight. If he isn’t prepared to accept the DUP two-stage approach, then what is he actually proposing? Anything? Am I missing the point again!?

    I don’t understand why he uses so much gobbledegook… a classic Durkanism; he probably has a good point, but it’s as clear as mud to us simple beings!

  • Gonzo.

    As I tried [and probably failed] to point out in my earlier post *ahem* my reading of the various positions stated is that no-one wants to actually admit that the parties aren’t willing to go into a power-sharing Executive straight away.. although the DUP [and the UUP it seems] have put forward these other proposals.

    Here was what I thought was the important point on what Mark Durkan said his position was, rather than the BBC’s – “arguing that the interim proposal would only be an option “if parties aren’t willing to form an inclusive executive”. Which already seems to be the case.”

    Of course, instead of getting comments on-topic the thread went awry..

  • Belfast Gonzo

    If Durkan has rejected the DUP’s ‘interim proposal’ outright, then which one is he talking about?

    I think the SDLP might be winging it a bit here…

  • Glen Taisie

    As Sinn Fein blunder from one embarassment to the next Dukan seems to be rejuvenating the SDLP.In my own community this is very evident.

  • Crataegus


    I read this as first and foremost the SDLP will not consider proposals that do not give the Northern Ireland Assembly back its full powers and within that overall context if parties aren’t willing to form an inclusive executive, the SDLP will then have to look at what other options there are. Ie they will consider options that do not include SF in government. It is not the overall context of full devolution that is open for debate but the structures of the administration.

    I think Durkan is playing his cards well.

  • J Kelly

    This is Durkan trying to be STRONG but as ususl looking weak. We wont accepct anything but 100% of the agreement but if we cant get it we will accept what ever is on offer.

  • Ziznivy

    On the same topic, can someone enlighten me what it means “to get behind the 8 ball” as Durkan insisted the partied must do today? Presumably this is a pool metaphor, but its meaning has totally eluded me.

  • heman

    Glen Taisie

    Nice one- always good for a laugh.


    Durkan would be playing his cards well if he did not represent nationalists. As he allegedly does- and indeed during particularly delirious times he asserts that his party should be viewed as leaders within that community- he has once again reinforced the view amongst the key constituency of voters within nationalism that the SDLP are ‘suspect’ on the core matters. (I can hardly wait for Feeney to get hold of this one.)

    On this occasion -as on many others- Durkan has put his foot in it. Despite Pete Baker’s protestations, Gonzo is absolutely correct.

    This is Durkan signalling to the DUP that his party would be prepared to blink first and join the DUP in an open-air Assembly without an Executive, where the DUP would regain the initiative by putting the onus on nationalists to walk out of an Assembly and thereby carry the can for ditching a form of devolution (however unsatisfactory it is.)

    This might have been a runner when the SDLP were at the races, but now that hey are firmly buckled into their back-seat position it ain’t gonna happen.

    Nationalists will not be fooled into endorsing a return of anything short of the GFA in total: Durkan has slipped (again).

    Coming so soon after the Tom Kelly OBE farce and John Dallat’s humiliating performance in Coleraine, it would appear the much heralded SDLP revival has come to a shuddering halt…

  • Crataegus


    In the past I have often thought that the SDLP acted as a shield for SF and I believe they are now positioning themselves out of the firing line. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    As for SDLP revival, they have a long way to go and I don’t see much sign of younger capable members coming through, but anything is possible and SF are in choppy water just now.

    If real damage is done to SF, due to its structures, things will really go into reverse but I don’t see SF declining just yet as no one has delivered a fatal blow, but equally I don’t see the SDLP going the way of the Women’s Coalition. The future of these two parties is anyone’s guess.