So, is everyone paying attention?

The Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, could be forgiven if he had a wry smile [or perhaps a *shakes head*? – Ed] when faced this morning with the Sinn Féin delegation of Bairbre de Brún MEP, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA and Caoimhghin O Caolain TD asking for a £10 billion, 10-year “Peace Building Strategy”, to “deliver an agreed programme that puts stability and growth on the fast track”, although the SF statement is short on actual detail. It hasn’t taken the NIO long to issue a statement in response.. and why would it?.. after all, Peter Hain previously announced the up to £16 billion 10 year “regeneration blueprint” in December 2005. Then there’s the additional element of private finance initiatives, highlighted in September.

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  • smcgiff

    Well, to be fair… SF are suggesting (I think) some of the money be provided by the ROI.

    Also, they’ve probably (?) a different idea of how the money should be spent (border area?) than Hain.

  • Roger

    From the Sinn Fein statement:

    “Both governments have already acknowledged the validity of the arguments about the need to invest in conflict resolution and there is a broad consensus between the parties on what is required.”

    That seems clear enough.

    Why must even the most positive of stories be perverted in order to invent some childish dig at Sinn Fein?

  • TAFKABO

    Why must even the most positive of stories be perverted in order to invent some childish dig at Sinn Fein?

    Because that’s politics.
    I refer you to another story posted today, in which the UUP sought to address the participation of ethnic micorities within politics.
    Take a look at the begrudgery that met their attempts and stop yer gurning.

  • Roger

    “Why must even the most positive of stories be perverted in order to invent some childish dig at Sinn Fein?”

    TAFKABO:

    “Because that’s politics”

    Hmmm.

    My point was addressed to Pete in his journalistic hat.

    Perhaps there’s no difference, eh.

    But anyway, it shows a lack of political maturity when people are prepared to cut off their nose to spite their face, whether operating as politician or journalism. There’s far too much of that in the North, and South too.

    As far as the UUP thread is concerned, the bitching seems to come from other parties in the Unionist community rather than nats or republicans.

    So the problem is deeply ingrained in at least one side of the community…..

  • Stephen Copeland

    TAFKABO,

    … the UUP sought to address the participation of ethnic micorities within politics.

    No they didn’t. They are seeking to grab the few thousand ‘ethnic’ votes before someone else does. They are not doing it for the benefit of the ‘ethnic minorities’, but for the benefit of the UUP.

  • Pete Baker

    Roger

    With my blogging hat on.

    I’ve pointed to the NIO response to the SF delegation’s statement, and highlighted the already existing 10 year investment strategy in NI.. and if I’m not mistaken one of the links included in the original post leads to a post on a report that includes details of the Republic of Ireland’s investment strategy over the same time-frame.

    You may believe that’s perverting a positive story.. but I don’t.

  • Roger

    “I’ve pointed to the NIO response to the SF delegation’s statement, and highlighted the already existing 10 year investment strategy in NI.. and if I’m not mistaken one of the links included in the original post leads to a post on a report that includes details of the Republic of Ireland’s investment strategy over the same time-frame.

    You may believe that’s perverting a positive story.. but I don’t.”

    The perversion lies in your attempt to give the impression that SF were decepetive about the imminent NIO statement. The SF statement makes clear that these issues were already agreed.

    And not only that but SF will have been involved in the discussions at which these things were agreed.

    You’ve taken what ought to have been a postive story and twisted it into a dig at SF.

  • Pete Baker

    Roger

    “The perversion lies in your attempt to give the impression that SF were decepetive about the imminent NIO statement.”

    The announcement of the up to £16 billion 10 year investment strategy was made in December 2005..

  • Roger

    “The perversion lies in your attempt to give the impression that SF were decepetive about the imminent NIO statement.”

    Pete baker wrote:

    “The announcement of the up to £16 billion 10 year investment strategy was made in December 2005.. ”

    And still your perversion lies in your attempt above to give the impression that SF were decepetive about the IMMINENT NIO statement of Tuesday 28 March 2006.”

    The Sinn Fein statement makes clear that these issues were already agreed!!

    So far from the impression that you’re trying to give, SF are not hiding the fact that these issues had been agreed before.

    It’s as simple as that.

  • Pete Baker

    “And still your perversion lies in your attempt above to give the impression that SF were decepetive about the IMMINENT NIO statement of Tuesday 28 March 2006.”

    You’ve lost me there Roger.. the NIO statement is in response to the SF delegation’s meeting with Hain.

    I’ve indicated that there didn’t need to be much thought about the detail of that response since the £16 billion 10 year investment strategy was announced in December.

  • Roger

    “And still your perversion lies in your attempt above to give the impression that SF were decepetive about the IMMINENT NIO statement of Tuesday 28 March 2006.”

    Pete Baker wrote:

    “You’ve lost me there Roger.. the NIO statement is in response to the SF delegation’s meeting with Hain.”

    That’s right. New Labour announce every positive story at least two or three times. That’s the way their media operation works.

    The Sinn Fein statement honestly states that these issues had been agreed previously.

    So contrary to the impression you’re trying to give above, there’s no deception on Sinn Fein’s part.

    No reason for Hain to be forgiven “wry smiles” or “shakes of head”.

    He knows precisely what he’s doing.

  • fair_deal

    Roger

    For me this is not a positive proposal because it does even come across as a serious proposal. The statement reads as if this stuff has been cobbled together on the back of a fag packet. The £10 bn figure comes across as plucked from the air ie has no rational economic basis. It doesn;t seem to have taken account of the NIO and RoI existing investment strategies either. Such a cavalier attitude to public expenditure is not a positive approach by a political party especially not one seeking executive office.

    “The Sinn Fein statement honestly states that these issues had been agreed previously.”

    Err no it doesn’t. It states

    “Both governments have already acknowledged the validity of the arguments about the need to invest in conflict resolution”

    Saying someone has a valid argument isn’t the same as agreeing and acting on that argument.

    The term agreed is used but it is in a future context ie detail agreed when the Executive is up and running.

    They also offer nothing to substantiate the broad consensus between the parties neither methinks if pressed they would start harking back to the Belfast Agreement or they are referring to the abandoned Comprehensive Agreement. Parties who signed up to the Belfast Agreement can’t manage to agree what it meant. As the Comprehensive Agreement was abandoned when the Provos got camera shy with hurt feelings (pictures of a gun being cut up is humliating but pictures of dead bodies never were apparently) it isn’t much of basis to claim a consensus either.

  • TAFKABO

    As far as the UUP thread is concerned, the bitching seems to come from other parties in the Unionist community rather than nats or republicans.

    What nonsense, can you read?

    Go back and check the names again.

  • missfitz

    well now, what about Denis Bradley then, stating this evening that SF will be on the Policing Board by the autumn? Reliable sources also indicate strong moves in this direction.

    Tie it all up. 3 weeks ago you had Brian Cowan using that £10 billion figure as a reasonable estimate of what it will cost to sort us out, and as noted at the time, IPJ didnt demur, indeed he agreed with young Cowan.

    I think a deal is afoot, and I might now review my vote on the slugger site for never seeing another assembly. I think we are now seeing progress toward the end game

  • Dave

    “Why must even the most positive of stories be perverted in order to invent some childish dig at Sinn Fein?”

    Maybe the reason would have to do with the fact that S/F aka IRA/SF are a terrorist organisation, what do you think?

    Maybe some people can’t forget the past near forty years of terrorism waged by the Republican movement on innocent people (world wide) or maybe some people are annoyed that the military wing of IRA/SF were militarily defeated (oh! Yes they were) why else would Martin McGuinness informed the British Government “The conflict is over)? then again maybe the politics of IRA/SF don’t appeal to everyone. Maybe people don’t trust IRA/SF.

    This list is by no means exhaustive.

    Take your pick Roger or opt for your own reason?

    Why do you think people pick on harmless old IRA/SF?

  • SlugFest

    Dave,

    ‘the conflict is over but …’ was in fact never said/written by McGuiness, it was written by Denis Bradley.

  • Dave

    SlugFest:

    And which (Denis Bradley)would that be?
    We all have our source for info, I prefer to believe that it was dear old Martin who pass on the news that (The conflict is over).

  • Dave

    SlugFest:

    And which (Denis Bradley)would that be?
    We all have our source for info, I prefer to believe that it was dear old Martin who passed on the news that (The conflict is over). I only stated that
    “why else would Martin McGuinness informed the British Government “The conflict is over)?” I didn’t state that McGuinness had either said/written anything.

  • SlugFest

    Denis Bradley, former priest from Derry, a.k.a ‘the Link’ between McGuiness and MI5.

    Bradly and a couple other folks that were strongly interested in a ceasefire (and peace), wrote a letter to be sent to John Major. they purposely kept it ambiguous and either signed or strongly implied that the letter came from McGuiness and not themselves.

    mind you, Bradley knew McGuiness quite well (had officiated at McGuiness’ wedding), but McGuiness had no idea what Bradley was up to. this is the story that both Bradley and McGuiness strongly adhere to. now, 50 years down the line we may learn that mcguiness quietly gave the wink, wink, nudge nudge to Bradley before the letter sent out, but for now, we might as well accept the story both men are telling.

    Upon receiving the letter, Major sent back a communication, and the this started what was to be a ‘relationship’ that let to the 1994 ceasefire (or was it ’93? … the one prior to Canary Wharf)

  • Roger

    Fair Deal wrote:

    “For me this is not a positive proposal because it does even come across as a serious proposal. The statement reads as if this stuff has been cobbled together on the back of a fag packet. The £10 bn figure comes across as plucked from the air ie has no rational economic basis.”

    So why do you think the parties are agreed upon it?

    “Such a cavalier attitude to public expenditure is not a positive approach by a political party especially not one seeking executive office.”

    So why do you think the parties are agreed upon it?

    Are you saying that the Irish and British govts are just throwing money about in a cavalier fashion?

    Are you saying they both aren’t fit for executive office?

    Do you know what you’re talking about?

    “The Sinn Fein statement honestly states that these issues had been agreed previously.”

    “Err no it doesn’t. It states

    “Both governments have already acknowledged the validity of the arguments about the need to invest in conflict resolution”

    Saying someone has a valid argument isn’t the same as agreeing and acting on that argument.”

    It also states:

    “and there is a broad consensus between the parties on what is required.”

    And that’s evidenced by the fact that that both govts are going along with it.

    As I said in the beginning, this is a positive story which for some curious reason has been turned into an anti-Sinn Fein story.

    As usual when you dig you find there’s just no substance to it whatsoever. There’s nothing there but the by now lazy habits of the anti-SF brigade.

  • Roger

    To Dave

    Thanks very much for your efforts, but most of us are well past the stage of blaming one party to a very complex conflict, and so should you be too however cosy it makes you feel.

    The only thing that’s important now is that those who matter are well past that stage. You can play catch-up if you wish.

    Otherwise you’ll remain irrelevant to serious debate, and sobeit.

  • Pete Baker

    Roger

    I was wondering why you were describing this as a positive story which I was perverting. I’d suggest you’re mis-interpreting the details involved –

    SF issued a statement today calling for a £10 billion 10 year investment programme.

    In response Peter Hain’s statement reads –

    He drew their attention to a number of existing initiatives such as the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland (ISNI) which sets out a long-term high-level view of planned investment.[emphasis added]

    The details of that investment, which was made public some time ago, are in the links in the original post. I’m not sure how you can describe that as both governments going along with the call from SF today?

    btw if viewing a statement from a political party in a critical way is now to be described as being anti-that-party.. well, we’re all in a lot of trouble..

  • Reader

    Pete Baker: I’m not sure how you can describe that as both governments going along with the call from SF today?
    Just as an attempt to interperet – I’m not sure Roger knew what ‘imminent’ meant in his note number 7. Could that, and its consequences, have led to all of the confusion since?

  • Roger

    Pete Baker wrote:

    “I was wondering why you were describing this as a positive story which I was perverting. I’d suggest you’re mis-interpreting the details involved –

    SF issued a statement today calling for a £10 billion 10 year investment programme.

    In response Peter Hain’s statement reads –

    He drew their attention to a number of existing initiatives such as the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland (ISNI) which sets out a long-term high-level view of planned investment.[emphasis added]

    The details of that investment, which was made public some time ago, are in the links in the original post. I’m not sure how you can describe that as both governments going along with the call from SF today?”

    Because rather than rejecting what Sinn Fein claim is a necessary investment, the NIO is saying that that’s what they’re doing anyway!!

    They’re agreeing it’s necessaty.

    It’s not complicated.

    It only gets complicated when you can’t get yourself out of the habit of SF dig mode on every issue.

    “btw if viewing a statement from a political party in a critical way is now to be described as being anti-that-party.. well, we’re all in a lot of trouble.. ”

    But you weren’t doing that.

    You were trying to give the impression that SF were being deceptive about the matter.

    And they weren’t. They pointed out that these issues had been agreed in terms of intent.

    And then the issue becomes, are the govt doing what they said they would do.

    And even you yourself on a previous occasion raised that issue in terms of the amounts of the monies promised by govt. That’s what SF are focussing on of course.

    So you see, you’re even contradicting yourself.

    Every way you turn, you’ve made a horlicks of this.

    Best to get out of the anti-SF rut and back to a real critical mode.

    It wouldn’t hurt that you remembered that govts are political parties too. Particularly when dealing with McDowell’s claims, eh.

    It’s about critically evaluating, not jumping on the by now tiresome anti-SF bandwagon.

  • Roger

    Reader wrote:

    “Just as an attempt to interperet – I’m not sure Roger knew what ‘imminent’ meant in his note number 7.”

    It simply means the statement produced today by the NIO after their meeting with SF.

    “Could that, and its consequences, have led to all of the confusion since?”

    No!! The confusion results from an attempt to pretend that this is suitable story for yet more tedious anti-SF rhetoric.

    But thanks for your concern.

  • paddycanuck

    Pete: “viewing a statement from a political party in a critical way is now to be described as being anti-that-party”

    Surely you have misspelled cynical, for your sniping at Sinn Fein rarely approaches what one could call a balanced critique, rather it is for the most part knee jerk, and predictable, and always cynical.

  • Dave

    “To Dave

    Thanks very much for your efforts, but most of us are well past the stage of blaming one party to a very complex conflict, and so should you be too however cosy it makes you feel.

    The only thing that’s important now is that those who matter are well past that stage. You can play catch-up if you wish.

    Otherwise you’ll remain irrelevant to serious debate, and sobeit.

    Posted by Roger on Mar 28, 2006 @ 08:26 PM”
    To start with you are correct, I am not past the state of blaming one party namely IRA/SF. I see nothing complex about a party hell bent on terrorism to gain political progress. I see nothing complex about the situation in Northern Ireland which is a case of the minority
    supporting an International terrorist organisation IRA/SF to over throw the will of the majority. Who’s playing catch-up now?

    The only thing of importance is that democracy and the freedom to be something other than Irish and Catholic in our own country is fought by those who believe such thing are worth fighting for. You can continue with your Er…adult debate and I will continue to keep to the simplistic and the basics, which means that IRA/SF will always be called IRA/SF, that IRA/SF should and will be challenged in all that IRA/SF do or say.

    I have the right and freedom to do so and I exercise that right on this site.
    You posed the question:
    “Why must even the most positive of stories be perverted in order to invent some childish dig at Sinn Fein?”

    Now you have an answer which I perceive is one to don’t much care for.

    It is nothing personal Roger, I do not like IRA/SF, I don’t like what they represent nor the way in which they present their brand of politics (Bomb and Ballot Box).

    Remember, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a quacking duck.

  • Alan

    I’m mightily confused with this thread.

    Am I right in thinking that SF asked for £10 Bn investment, only to be reminded that investment of £16 Bn had already been agreed?

    Why, then, do we need SF to tell us this? Do they want some kind of SF stamp on the £10 Bn part of the £16 Bn? I have been critical in the past of government when it repackages existing funding, but this seems to be SF trying to repackage government funding as its own. Or did they know all along that this was a non-runner and is that why Bairbre was heading it up?

  • Yokel

    Roger

    Just what exactly is conflict resolution and why is money needing to be spent on it exactly?

    You tell me or is it just a another stupid empty phrase

  • Alan

    “Am I right in thinking that SF asked for £10 Bn investment, only to be reminded that investment of £16 Bn had already been agreed?”

    The agreed part may be open to interpretation, but Peter Hain, in his statement, certainly reminded the SF delegation that he had already announced the strategic investment plan in december – up to £16 billion over 10 years.