Let’s get back to Stormont, now

Reg Empy argues that indefinate stalling is only playing into the private agenda ofthe two big parties. He wants everyone back up at Stormont and to “start the clock ticking”:

Sir Reg said that the UUP did not support a rush back to power-sharing with Sinn Fein. The Assembly should be reconvened for six weeks to see if it could strike a deal on devolved government, he said. If, as he suspected, the Executive could not be re-established, then everyone would know where they stood in 2006 and this would clear the decks to explore other options.

  • belfastwhite

    Good idea Reg.

  • Yup, restore them now and let the buggers turn up and do a days work for a change.
    Where or who, is the shepherd that can get the sheep in the pen?
    Mick, you’re in Dorset, lots of lambs down there, maybe you’re the man with the fealty, to be the collie, ireland needs 🙂

  • The Dubliner

    There are only two options: a power-sharing executive invloving Sinn Fein as the largest nationalist party, or power-sharing by the British and Irish governments, whereby both governments will lay the economic and legal frameworks for a United Ireland.

    Rest assured that the British cannot afford to continue giving 5 billion subsidy to the giant begging bowl that is the north, and do not want to be indefinate joint-owners with the Irish, so the inescapable logic is a United Ireland.

    That’s the reality that Unionists have to face up to. Either they get their act together (highly unlikely) or they walk right into their worst nightmare.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Everyone is saying this, except the DUP.

  • Mick Fealty


    I get the first scenario, that much is in the public domain. But what’s your reasoning for believing that either the British or Irish government’s are thinking in terms of a UI?

    Or if it is simply that you see a dynamic kicking in, how would that dynamic inevitably work towards a UI?

  • Butterknife

    Good idea: as it is, its a greener form of Direct Rule.

  • jim

    Surely this approach is to achieve one single objective of exposing the political incompetence of the DUP and make some small gains for Reg and the UUP

  • martin ingram

    This is what a party out of the loup says. Reg is feeling a bit like Mark Durkan , in the car for the ride but not driving.


  • Butterknife

    True Jim.

    It was always easy for the DUP to play up to the crowd and shout ‘advice’ while having no responsibilities as they stood by the sidelines. Now that they are actually on the pitch they know now they cannot afford to take part in the game for although they talk a good game they are void of any real game plan.

    The UUP has to take part of the blame too. They were too cocky and they dropped the ball due to their ironic democratic structure of their organisation which led to power drifting away from its leader by dissenters such as the now DUP MP for Lagan Valley – due to the more centralised and theocratic manner in which the DUP conducts its affairs has any one heard a peep out of this man? Also the UUP are not ‘PR friendly’ at the moment, therefore it’s not fashionable to vote for UUP. It’s sad but true.

  • The Dubliner

    “I get the first scenario, that much is in the public domain. But what’s your reasoning for believing that either the British or Irish government’s are thinking in terms of a UI?

    Or if it is simply that you see a dynamic kicking in, how would that dynamic inevitably work towards a UI?” – Mick

    Mick, when Peter Brooke said that Britain had no “selfish, strategic, or economic interest” in the north, he wasn’t simply engaging in stage-management during the early stages of the ‘peace process’, he was actually articulating a transparent truth. Despite all elaborate theories that were proffered about why Britain stayed in Ireland, the simple fact is that they didn’t want to be here, but they didn’t have an exit strategy that could allow them to leave a ‘normalised’ society behind them. The IRA eventually copped this on: there could be no exit while their campaign (and the campaigns of other paramilitaries) continued. This is the same problem, of course, that the British now have in Iraq: they must normalise the country before they exit it. At this point, the north is about as normal as its elected politicians can make it. They’re effectively redundant. If they can’t get their act together this last time, then it goes to the default option: joint administration. And I don’t think anyone (who hasn’t invested heavily in the process) realistically expects the demented bigot Ian Paisley (who is now mainstream unionism) to return to Stormont with Sinn Fein, the democratically elected leaders of northern nationalism.

    If you look at the events around the collapse of Stormont in 1974, one of the options that Edward Heath considered was to partition the north into Protestant and Catholic sub-partitions, with the Catholic sub-partitions allowed to rejoin the Irish Republic. Another was what is here again: joint administration by Britain and Ireland, with the north’s citizens having dual citizenship. Another option was Irish unity. David McKittrick quotes from the minutes of one Heath/Maudling meetings that was released in 2000: “If the object were to preserve the option of creating a united Ireland at some time in the future, it might be better to seek first for a political solution in which the minority were persuaded to participate in government.” That, I suspect, is still the game plan today.

    Now, talk of a return to Stormont is just buying time. Even if Paisley did an Arial Sharon tomorrow, unionists and nationalists have diametric agendas, despite the grand talk of having more in common than divides them, etc. The political dynamics of Stormont are too fundamentally dysfunctional to be sustainable or stable. And without political stability, there can be no economic stability – and without economic stability there won’t be the conditions for a viable economy. So, we’re back to this five billion a year that Britain pours into the north’s economy to keep it from sinking. In ten years, that’s 50 billion. Any prime minister is going to looking at that figure want rid of the black hole (que the fiscal-minded Gordon brown). With the society ‘normalised,’ there is nothing blocking a workable exit strategy. That’s where the Irish government come in. The north can only become viable when it is integrated into the Irish economy. Isn’t that what Peter Hain has been dropping mega hints about? He knows that there can’t be economic unity without Irish unity.

  • Mark_Baxter

    The Dubliner

    How will the southern government manage to subsidise Northern Ireland to the tune of 5 billion a year? What can they do to remove the need for this subsidy? Also if Loyalist paramilitaries become more active in a UI, how would the southern government deal with that? Sorry if it sounds like scaremongering but there is the prospect that they could throw a real spanner in the works.

    All the best.

  • martin ingram


    You are not scaremongering. That is the reality.

    The South could not afford OR deal with a militant protestant community. They have a very big spanner

    The consequence of the last thirty is a need to go softly softly and it will take generations to achieve a UI. Sinn Fein is pulling the wool over the peoples eyes to suggest otherwise.

    The Dubliner is flying a Kite to think the Sourthern electorate would waste a Euro on the North. It is only recently that the South as gained any prosperity, they will not risk these gains on the North.


  • The Dubliner

    Mark, there won’t be a need to subsidise the north when it integrates with the Irish economy. Remember, the north is exempt from the bulk of the free market legislation affecting Britain. Ireland is freer still, and officially ranked as the third freest economy in the world. The north isn’t a liability to the south, but an asset. In ten years, Ireland will have absorbed 1.5 millions forgeign workers just to keep pace with its economic needs.

    As regards the Loyalists paramilitaries, what do they have to acheive by a campaign of violence in a United Ireland? Absolutely nothing. And without their friends in the British military such as Martin Ingram to facilitate their murder campaggns, they’ll be totally alone in their redundant enterprise.

  • Mark_Baxter

    The Dubliner

    Fair enough, I guess it just hard to understand that while part of the U.K. Northern Ireland will be a money black hole, while if part of a U.I. it’ll some how miraculously become prosperous. You say the market is more free but what does that actually mean to the man on the street?

    As for the terrorists, sure when has common sense ever played a part in our squalid little war. To be honest I would commend Martin, he helped to tackle the most vicious terrorist organisation in Europe, a very worthy cause.

    All the best.

  • DK

    The loyalists wouldn’t be terrorists then, they’d be freedom fighters, fighting for liberty and their own republic of Ulster. They’d be the new republicans and, if history is anything to go by (e.g. East Timor, Basque country, any other area occupied by a larger neighbour), they’d eventually get some sort of independence.