No interim solution in sight

The Newsletter encapsulates the stage of development, or rather non development, of the Peace Process™. To their reckoning it is the fault of both Nationalist parties for holding out for a complete deal, when the DUP and UUP would only be happy to run with a shadow Assembly – “the only viable prognosis” it argues. Sinn Fein puts the impasse down to the DUP’s unwillingness to talk to it directly. Meanwhile (whatever the truth of either of those views), our own local lawmakers leave the harsher decision-making to “unaccountable Direct Rule ministers”.

,

  • Pete Baker

    Meanwhile, our own local lawmakers leave the harsher decision-making to “unaccountable Direct Rule ministers”.

    Hmmm.. well that’s another of the preferred narratives that are being pushed, Mick.. but if you look at the decisions that the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, has actually been announcing.. there are a lot of PR-friendly 2 year funding packages that, in effect, delay those harsher decisions.

  • Markkus

    Once again, the News Letter demonstrates that it is part of the problem, by taking its usual partisan line “it’s all the fault of the other lot”.

    Isn’t the “Shadow Assembly” just a Unionist face saver – another excuse not to co-operate – and aren’t Sinn Fein resisting it because it’s not what the electorate voted for?

  • pacman

    I always thought the shadow assembly was just another way for the gravy train to continue without anyone actually having to do any work but maintaining the facade that they’re worth what they earn.

    I must run for office one of these days…

  • William

    A shadow Assembly for an ideology (unionism)fast fading into the shadows – how apt!

  • yerman

    I think the Government should face down the rejectionist republicans who are holding back the prospect of political progress by their refusal to accept the restoration of devolution without an Executive.

    Its disgraceful that these backwoodsmen are being allowed to hold the rest of us to ransom.

    Move on without them if necessary.

  • fair_deal

    I can’t make up my mind if nationalists saying no to momentum in the process, saying no to change and saying no to the opportunity of engagement with Unionists is political childishness or political backwardness?

    Why take the opportunity to adapt, develop, improve, modernise, learn from past failures, change, replace (whatever you want) an agreement that never delivered sustainable governance when you can opt for childlishness metaphorically closing their eyes, covering their ears and stamping their feet and demand it has to be done in the way they like or they’ll scream and scream and scream or is it harking back to the old days of the peace process “remember how the process used to be when Unionists used to roll over and play dead for next to nothing”?

  • The Beach Tree

    fair_deal

    Perhaps because the Agreement represents the absolute minimum that nationalists will accept.

    So there’s no mystery to rejecting momentum, if momentum is backwards, no mystery to rejecting change if the change is backwards, no mystery to rejecting engagement if the price of that engagement is movement backwards.

    Unionists want certain things. You know what? thay can’t have them. Tough. Realistically nationalists have a veto on ‘local’ (or Strand I as we used to call it) progress, as do unionists. Unionists have been yelling to exercise their veto long enough, are they too dumb to understand it works both ways?

    Nationalists will be quite content to push Strands II and III with the two governments, over the heads of local politicians, and leave Stormont to rot. As far as many are concerned, Stormont is only a sop to unionism anyway.

    The Agreement is not the ,only thing Nationalists will accept. But it is the least they will accept. If Unionist’s offer less, as they clearly are doing, Nationalists are quite entitled to reject it.

    Personally I say run the system as it is till rejectionist Unionism can actually win a vote to change things in either of the two Parliaments that matter, Westminster or the Dail.

    If the Assembly collapses, let it. If it triggers elections, let it. If it bankrupts the country, let it. It’s time everybody, Unionists and Nationalist and neither included, paid the retail price for their attitudes and actions. We’ll soon see whose made of what if there’s no budgets, no appropriation acts, no payments to Departments, hospitals and schools.

    And when people ask why they should put up with it, tell them it’s cause they voted for it.

  • kensei

    Basically, everything The Beach Tree said. If it collapses, good. The alternative in the long run is expansion of the Republic’s role in the North’s affairs. The perception is that Unionists are fundamentally against sharing power, and there have been too many deadlines and excuses.

    An indefinite Shadow Assembly is not an option and so would run until it’s deadline then collapse because Unionists would refuse to sit in an Executive with Sinn Féin. Let’s skip the intermediate stage, no.

  • fair_deal

    The Beach Tree

    Present situation
    No Momentum, No Change, No Engagement

    Proposed situation
    Some Momentum, some change, some Engagement

    How is that backwards?

    “it is the least they will accept”

    Welcome to the world were more than one community has to be content before political progress is made.

  • The Beach Tree

    “Present situation
    No Momentum, No Change, No Engagement

    Proposed situation
    Some Momentum, some change, some Engagement

    How is that backwards? ”

    Very simple, Fair Deal.

    If the change is in a backwards direction, it is backwards. If the momentum is towards such a change, it is backwards. If the price of engagment is accepting such a change, it is backwards.

    “Welcome to the world were more than one community has to be content before political progress is made.”

    Yeah, well, Nationalists aren’t content. So there you go. Tough for you.

    Your idea of progress is nationalist’s idea of regress. In that case, they argue, better zero movement, than negative movement.

    So fine. If you won’t play by the agreed rules. Ditch Strand I, which Nationalists never really liked anyway, and go over your heads on Strands II and III.

    You only really have power in Stormont. So ending Stormont leaves you essentially powerless. Fine, If you insist.

    And if you don’t see that’s where the SDLP and SF and the Irish Govt. for that matter are going, you’re codding yourself.

  • Fair Deal

    There is more going on in the proposed situation than at present so it is forwards.

    “Nationalists aren’t content. So there you go. Tough for you.”

    How is that tough for me? If they are discontent all the more reason to look at the Agreement and make it better

    “Your idea of progress is nationalist’s idea of regress.”

    You may be stuck in a cycle of zero sum thinking I’m not. I am open to something new.

    “If you won’t play by the agreed rules. Ditch Strand I, which Nationalists never really liked anyway, and go over your heads on Strands II and III.”

    The ‘agreed’ rules require the support of both communities for there to be an executive.

    “where the SDLP and SF and the Irish Govt.”

    So the nationalist community doesn’t want an accomodation with their Unionist neighbours? Is this an inclusive peace process or a dictation process?

    “you insist”

    The people insisting on no form of sustainable devolution are nationalists.

  • The Beach Tree

    “There is more going on in the proposed situation than at present so it is forwards”

    If what is going on is regressive, and contrary to nationalists interests, then as far as nationlaists are concerned, it is backwards.

    After all, do unionists not consider the absence of an executive that had SF in it progress? Of Course they do. Would they consider movement towards that, progress, just because there is ‘more going on’? Of course not. Take the beam out of your own eye ‘fair_deal’ (Oxymoron if ever I heard one!)

    “How is that tough for me? If they are discontent all the more reason to look at the Agreement and make it better ”

    I never said they were discontent with what’s happening now, they are discontent with the DUP’s proposals for the immediate future. So you can’t have them. As I said. Tough for you.

    “You may be stuck in a cycle of zero sum thinking I’m not. I am open to something new.”

    Meaningless soundbite. You are open to one thing and one thing only. Your own worthless idea, and f*** the rest, your progress at others expense. And you’re not getting it. As I said. Tough for you.

    “The ‘agreed’ rules require the support of both communities for there to be an executive. ”

    The agreed rules are also clear about what is required if that support for that executive is not forthcoming; an election within six week, and try again ad infinitum. Frankly that’s what I’d most like.

    And it is that clear rule that the DUP are trying to wriggle out of any way they can. You’ve been given too much leeway as it is. No more. Play by the rules, or get nothing.

    “So the nationalist community doesn’t want an accomodation with their Unionist neighbours?”

    On your weasel terms, with you choosing who you dein that nationalists can have represent them? Ha, no, thanks. Clear enough for you?

    Nationalists made an accomodation in the GFA. Unionists did everything they could from that day to this until they broke that agreement. Well, you can suffer the consequences.

    You were happy enough to say stuff accomodation with your nationalist neighbours all these months, and years.

    “Is this an inclusive peace process or a dictation process? ”

    It wasn’t dictated. It was agreed, and voted for, and accepted. You broke the agreement. You refuse to follow its procedures. You’re trying to dictate who gets to sit, to speak, to represent nationalists.

    But you don’t get to dictate to nationalists who they can vote for, or how they’ll be represented. You don’t like that? Tough for you.

    I have no wish to include those whose whole platform is trying to exclude someone else. The very idea is farcical.

    “The people insisting on no form of sustainable devolution are nationalists.”

    Hypocritical nonsense. The argument here appears to be “this form of devolution is ‘sustainable devolution’ because unionists say so, regardeless of nationalists views.”

    Well we can just as validly and equally say the actually agreed form of devolution, with an executive, is ‘sustainable devolution’ because nationalists say so, regardless of unionist views, and unionists like you are the ones insisting on no form of sustainable devolution.

    Because frankly we are as opposed to yours as you are to ours, and there’s absolutely no difference.

    Except we at least are sticking by the rules as democratically agreed, and you aren’t. So the boulder in the road is clearly you. Fine. You can suffer for it.

    The Beach Tree

  • fair_deal

    “You are open to one thing and one thing only. Your own worthless idea, and f*** the rest”

    I am open to more than one thing just not the same thing over and over again no matter how many times it doesn’t work. ‘My’ idea gives momentum to the process, delivers change to a polarising and stagnant atmospehere and political re-engaement with devolution back. It is also untried while the form you propose of devolution has been tried and failed. I want to see political progress while you advocate political collapse.

    “democratically agreed”

    The political landscape changes when the electorate changes its mind. You may hark back to 1998 all you wish but it is 2006 with multiple elections since then plus the opportunity to implement the GFA (and it didn’t work). The DUP, UUP and Alliance have all advocated voluntary coalition and they gained 55% of the popular vote in 2005.

  • The Beach Tree

    Fair deal

    I’m beginning to notice how many of my arguments you ignore because you seem unable to counter. Hmm…

    anyway

    “‘My’ idea gives momentum to the process,”

    Backwards, regressive momentum. Not interested.

    “delivers change to a polarising and stagnant atmospehere”

    Change for the worse. The atmosphere is polarised because of the very essence of what the DUP are, there’s no avoiding that.

    And better stagnant, than some of the DUP ideas. It’s only Strand I that’s stagnant, and frankly, we don’t mind that so awfully much.

    ” and political re-engaement with devolution back”

    A pointless unionist talking shop is not devolution. Refusing to talk to the majority nationalist party is not ‘re-engagement’ . Meaningless soundbites again. You must be UUP refugee!

    It didn’t work in 1981, it won’t work now. Too Bad for you.

    ‘I want to see political progress while you advocate political collapse.’

    Better collapse than your idea of progress. The process has already collapsed because you collapsed it.

    “The political landscape changes when the electorate changes its mind.”

    The northern Ireland Act is not ‘the political landscape’, it is binding law based on international treaty. You don’t get to decide when it’s done. That’s up to 600 mps at westminster, not your pawltry quota.

    ” You may hark back to 1998 all you wish”

    thank you, kind sir

    ” but it is 2006 with multiple elections since then plus the opportunity to implement the GFA (and it didn’t work).”

    And that was your fault, so why should you benefit from it?

    ” The DUP, UUP and Alliance have all advocated voluntary coalition and they gained 55% of the popular vote in 2005″

    eh, 55% of NI means nothing. now get 55% of the UK, get an Act passed, and you might have a case.

    The only time the ‘NI’ vote counts frankly is when the NI rules are operating. And under the NI rules your pan-unionist 55% ain’t worth shit. You just can’t get over this hopeless 50%+1 majoritarian bullshit, can you, Fair Deal? Tough for you.

    The Beach Tree

  • The Beach Tree

    And while we’re about it, fair Deal, don’t tell untruths

    ‘”My’ idea gives momentum to the process, delivers change to a polarising and stagnant atmospehere and political re-engaement with devolution back. It is also untried

    You’ve a boodly short memory if you don’t remember the 1982-86 Assembly or the 1975 Convention, both of which tried this stupid ‘forum first, executive later’ approach and they where, of course, complete fiascos.

    The Beach Tree

  • kensei

    “The DUP, UUP and Alliance have all advocated voluntary coalition and they gained 55% of the popular vote in 2005.”

    Let’s look at that quote again through the Lens-o-Truth:

    “Unionists want a Shadow Assembly”

    Basically, no more games. In the long run it won’t make a blind bit of difference if the IRA hasn’t completely entangled itself at this stage, the weapons are gone, the intent is there, and the direction is all one way. So either, you live up to your commitments, or it goes over your heads.
    A blunt way of putting it would be “Stop f**king about”.

  • fair_deal

    The Beach Tree

    “how many of my arguments you ignore”

    Repetition or expansion on the same point needs no rebuttal as the original rebuttal still applies

    “It’s only Strand I that’s stagnant, and frankly, we don’t mind that so awfully much.”

    If this is true why demand the full return of Strand I? If you don’t miss it why would nationalism want it?

    The Strand II bodies are in care and maintenance mode. No growth in the number of them or the scope of their work. So a strand nationalists care about is stagnant too. The two governments couldn’t even manage a joint press statement on the possible ways forward today so Strand III does seem to be flourishing either.

    “your fault”

    Thank you for ascribing full responsibility to my good self. As someone who did not agree with aspects of the Belfast Agreement I wish I could claim the credit for its inability to work but I cannot nor can the DUP or a section of the UUP claim it either.

    The pro-agreement parties managed to mess it all up by their good selves.

    Nor did I exile people, punishment shootings and beatings, murders, robberies import arms etc as others did.

    “Refusing to talk to the majority nationalist party is not ‘re-engagement’”

    A shadow assembly will provide a forum for engagement between all the parties in plenary and in committee. A forum that does not presently exist.

    “55% of NI means nothing”

    I believe elections and voting has a political impact. If you reject that notion so be it.

    “You just can’t get over this hopeless 50%+1 majoritarian bullshit”

    You are advocating the Agreement but consider the basis for the principle of consent as bullshit. Hmmmm.

    Ultimately the inability of nationalism to get a majority in Northern ireland is tough for nationalism and its political goal.

    “1982-86 Assembly or the 1975”

    No nationalist or republican will be excluded. Nationalist parties have made clear their obkections but I am not aware of anyone threatening a boycott.
    The difference in 2006 is Strand II and III. Unlocking Strand I unlocks the rest.
    I am open to the idea of a shadow assembly having legislative powers so it would be more than a talking shop.

    The shadow assembly is not the final step. Its successful operation married by positive IMC reports could contribute to a new beginning and positive atmosphere that could deliver sustainable devolution in 12-18 months. I think that is much more sensible than crashing the process entirely.

  • The Beach Tree

    FD

    “Repetition or expansion on the same point needs no rebuttal as the original rebuttal still applies ”

    You never rebutted several of my key arguments. Please, FD, tell the truth, for your own sake.

    “If this is true why demand the full return of Strand I? If you don’t miss it why would nationalism want it? ”

    You (intentionally) misunderstand. Nationalism will certainly happily accept strand I … ON THE TERMS AGREED. Not on yours. If you’re are all that are available, we’ll do without.

    “The Strand II bodies are in care and maintenance mode. No growth in the number of them or the scope of their work.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that in the medium term. I’m perfectly happy with the happy operation of what we’ve got for the time being.

    “So a strand nationalists care about is stagnant too.”

    Actually, Strand II is happily working away, with cross-border ‘quangos’ taking deisions every day.

    “The two governments couldn’t even manage a joint press statement on the possible ways forward today so Strand III does seem to be flourishing either”

    I’m not terribly worried about ‘joint statements’. That’s a very weak reposte. I’m perfectly happy that the governments will continue to work away together for mutual benefit. Increasingly so as an internal solution becomes more glaring impossible.

    “A shadow assembly will provide a forum for engagement between all the parties in plenary and in committee. A forum that does not presently exist. ”

    Rubbish. The forum does exist, you simply refuse to use it. Moreover, your party has all of the SDLP and SF phone numbers. If you really wanted engagement you could do it tonight. you don’t, it’s obvious, and many of us are past caring.

    and the juvenile insults, b1gotry and namecalling your party considers engagement bears no attraction.

    “I believe elections and voting has a political impact. If you reject that notion so be it.”

    Well, I don’t see any voluntary coalition. do you? so much for ‘impact’…

    “You are advocating the Agreement but consider the basis for the principle of consent as bullshit. Hmmmm. ”

    The principle of consent applies to the constitutional status of northern ireland, NOT the administrative arrangements within Northern Ireland. Go learn politics 101.

    And if you’re taking the agreement to an executive out of the agreement, I suppose we might as well take the agreement to the consent principle out. howdya like them apples…

    Except unlike Unionist parties, we tend to try and see our part of the deal through, even the bits we don’t like.

    “No nationalist or republican will be excluded.”

    Don’t believe you. Your party has no credibility on this issue.

    “Nationalist parties have made clear their obkections but I am not aware of anyone threatening a boycott.”

    You almost certainly will be soon, I’m afraid. The general word I’ve heard (from SDLP circles) is that this is why Blair’s imminent announcment was sidelined so quickly and ignominously. To his surprise, both nationalist parties were quite plain to him that they would not play ball. period. He caved. Poor you…

    “I am open to the idea of a shadow assembly having legislative powers so it would be more than a talking shop.”

    Without the executive I’m not. Idea dead. Next please….

    “The shadow assembly is not the final step. Its successful operation married by positive IMC reports could contribute to a new beginning and positive atmosphere that could deliver sustainable devolution in 12-18 months”

    We don’t believe you.

    We have had this experience before, and it was lies then. We think it’s lies now.

    And frankly we’re not playing silly beggars for 18 months so you can pretend you’re important. A nationlist agenda would frankly be furthered more by the two governments in the absence of such a talking shop in the 18 months, than with its presence. It’s a pure delaying tactic, we all know it, and we’re not interested.

    The Beach Tree

  • Dk

    “please, FD, tell the truth, for your own sake”
    “You (intentionally) misunderstand”
    “Go learn politics 101”

    This is an interesting discussion, but I thought there was a ball not man rule here.

    DK

  • fair_deal

    TBT

    “see our part of the deal through”

    LMAO.

    “ON THE TERMS AGREED”

    Still harking back to 1998. Terms that didn’t work.

    “your party has all of the SDLP and SF phone numbers”

    If by your party you mean the DUP they do engage with the SDLP as well you know. The DUP also engages with Sinn Fein in locally elected bodies. What was that about politics 101?

    “both nationalist parties were quite plain to him that they would not play ball.”

    So you have confirmed my original point that it is nationalism saying NO to progress.

    “The principle of consent”

    You attacked the entire concept of majoritarianism as “bullshit”.

    “We have had this experience before, and it was lies then”

    The previous shadow phase led to a full executive.

    “I don’t see any voluntary coalition”

    Because Nationalism is in NO mode and isn’t opening its mind to new possibilities. Offer the Alliance and UUP a good enough deal and you never know it could be the DUP on their lonesome.

    “Without the executive I’m not”

    Another NO yet you previously claimed it was I who “are open to one thing and one thing only”.

    “Don’t believe you” “We don’t believe you”

    If nationalism cannot challenge some of its own entrenched sectarian attitudes and expectations of the other political community so be it.

    The nationalist expectation was the DUP would refuse to negotiate when it gained political hegemony, it didn’t and they came close to a full agreement before the provos got camera shy (they weren’t embarassed of charred bodies but their poor feelings were hurt if you asked to see the guns going). Nationalism got its assessment of the DUP wrong once and is getting it wrong again.

    The DUP is in a much stronger position with the Unionist electorate than the UUP was, there is a clear opportunity for something better that will bed down.

    “the juvenile insults, b1gotry and namecalling ”

    As DK has pointed out the only person engaging in that on this thread is your good self.

    “Strand II is happily working away”

    Its deciding where canal boats can go, I am shaking in my boots.

    “I suppose we might as well take the agreement to the consent principle out. howdya like them apples… ”

    It existed before the agreement and as it exists in international law it exists beyond the agreement. All the Agreement got nationalism to formally recognise what was a fact.

  • kensei

    “So you have confirmed my original point that it is nationalism saying NO..”

    Quite right.

    “….to progress.”

    No. We saying no to regressing 20 years.

    Unionism loses nothing from a full Assembly, even if it collapses in violence. They walk away proved right except they may have done something positive in government.

    The DUP knew that a demand for pictures would be impossible for Republicans, so it’s great politics but it was never a deal. It’s one game after another, and the conclusion is that Unionism doesn’t want to share power. So it’s take it or leave it time.

  • No-tionalist

    No to unionists on this island. Their political aspirations are not valid

    No British “presence” is welcome. Their claim to the territory is not valid

    No British identity. This identity is not valid

    No to co-operation with our unionist neighbours on an equal basis. Their views do not matter

    No need to take onboard another point of view. Their view is misplaced, so we must steamroller the Prods and Unionists

    No cultural space for others, as no other culture is valid (apart from tiny minorities who are so small that recognition of them is handy in keeping things PC, but causes no long-term obstacle in our overall cultural endgame)

    No to the traditional reformed faith. Castrate the Protestant churches by making their doctrinal position increasingly socially unacceptable.

    No political progress unless we define what “progress” is. Progress on other terms is a backward step

    Black is white and white is black. If we say so.

  • lib2016

    to The Beach Tree

    Good to see the real position being spelled out at last. The DUP will cave or destroy the last vestiges of unionist control in NI and an increasing number of people can see that.

    If unionists want to continue the retreat to an ever smaller Pale which will soon consist of three out of seven local council areas then nationalists should not stand in their way.

    lib2016

  • briso

    Pacman said:
    ———————————————-
    I always thought the shadow assembly was just another way for the gravy train to continue without anyone actually having to do any work but maintaining the facade that they’re worth what they earn.

    I must run for office one of these days…
    ———————————————-

    Amen brother!

    The DUP want paid without going into government with Sinn Fein now or in the future (no deadline for devolution). We know this because they have repeatedly said so.

    Nationalists would be mad to collude in the destruction of the GFA on a promise from the DUP that they will support the re-instating of the executive at some unspecified date in the future when they are satisfied against their own specifications that Nationalist representatives are acceptable to them.

    I fully accept the DUPs right to try to destroy the GFA. We will not play ball. No play, no pay.

  • briso

    I, Briso, wrote the 01:26 comment.

  • kensei

    “No to unionists on this island. Their political aspirations are not valid”

    Could you quote to support that one?

    “No British “presence” is welcome.”

    Untrue

    “Their claim to the territory is not valid”

    True but we can’t do anything about that.

    “No British identity. This identity is not valid”

    Neither tur, again, could you support where anyone has said, that.

    “No to co-operation with our unionist neighbours on an equal basis. Their views do not matter”

    Actually, we desparate to co-operate on an equal basis. But Unionist keep saying no. Nationalists would go into the Assembly today.

    “No need to take onboard another point of view.”

    Disagreement does not mean that the

    “Their view is misplaced,”

    Yes. 😛

    “so we must steamroller the Prods and Unionists”

    Steamroller! The Agreement was signed in 1998!

    “No cultural space for others, as no other culture is valid”

    Again, any support for that?

    ” (apart from tiny minorities who are so small that recognition of them is handy in keeping things PC, but causes no long-term obstacle in our overall cultural endgame)”

    What?

    “No to the traditional reformed faith.”

    Well, that would be the traditional Catholic view, yes. But if it works for you knock yourself out.

    “Castrate the Protestant churches by making their doctrinal position increasingly socially unacceptable.”

    If you are going to disgrace yourself by holding bigotted and mental views taht are out of touch with the modern world, then don’t put the blame on us.

    “No political progress unless we define what “progress” is. Progress on other terms is a backward step”

    An agreed definition of progress is what we want. If we don’t see it as progress then it really isn’t. Again, the knife cuts both ways.

    “Black is white and white is black. If we say so.”

    Yes quite. I’ve given you more time than you deserve, btw.