SF flag up prospect of climbing onboard…

BY contrast to Martin McGuinness’s statement, Sinn Fein chief kite-flyer Mitchel McLaughlin softens the tone and doesn’t rule out a return to Stormont via the two governments’ roadmap. “If their proposals are about easing the DUP into a full executive, then we will give them due consideration,” the Foyle Assembly member said. “If we get a proposition which simply supports or concedes ground to the DUP and opponents of the Good Friday Agreement, then we are not interested.”

  • yerman

    The Shinners are slowly but surely performing the necessary u-turn:

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/shadow_assembly_a_short_term_bitter_pill/

    Firstly it was the “if it speeds up a united Ireland” to cover their blushes and now its suppoedly to “easing the DUP towards full Executive devolution”.

    Either way its a u-turn from SF and maybe some of their supporters now need to look at earlier comments.

    “There will not be a Shadow Assembly.”

    “Let it be clear, full Assembly or no Assembly”

    I dont want to quote too many of your comments Pat, but I think those give a flavour.

  • Mick Fealty

    I was also intrigued with the juxtaposition of this and the McGuinness statement. I wouldn’t like to second guess anything Sinn Fein were likely to do. But this looks like the selling of a major ‘dummy’.

  • I’d suggest no-one is likely to refuse to turn up for the initial stages of any shadow/non-shadow* Assembly, Mick.[* delete as approporiate]

    Avoiding the blame is still a priority and it seems that, apart from the summer recess, during which committees of some kind may[or may not] operate, the Assembly sittings will be under the terms of the current legislation – ie there are 6 weeks in which to agree an executive.

    Of course, that initial 6 weeks offers plenty of time for the game of political chicken to be played out.. in one way or another.

  • RmcC

    “The Shinners are slowly but surely performing the necessary u-turn:”

    It’s actually called changing one’s mind. Somebody once said (from memory): “A man who can’t change his mind can’t change anything.”

    Others in NI might like to take note of those wise words.

  • Yokel

    Realpolitik RMcC, so the dance begins..anyone want to suggest what type of dance each party does? Grand metaphors gratefully received…

    I always felt the DUP were the uptight boys hanging off the wall…

  • RmcC

    “I always felt the DUP were the uptight boys hanging off the wall…”

    LOL. I’m still coming to terms with your wonderful metaphor. You have no IDEA of the imagery you’ve handed to me 🙂

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Can’t see any reason not to participate in a shadow assembly, provided the “shadow” format has a reasonable, set-in-stone expiry date. Six weeks of shadow assembly followed either by full restoration or at least an end to the foot-dragging bullshit isn’t something that nationalists ought to be afraid of.

    SF and the SDLP are both talking tough on this issue, particularly the latter. If they are doing so for tactical reasons, and want to be seen to be agreeing only with the maximum pain, then fair enough, it’s a good strategy. Equally I can understand their absolute opposition to a shadow assembly with an open-ended lifespan.

    But if the shadow format is guaranteed to last only a certain amount of time, then I can’t really understand the nationalist objection to it. (Except, as I say, unless it’s strictly tactical and not based on any real objection at all.)

    Hopefully this might force the issue one way or the other, leading to either a restored executive or joint authority by the autumn.

  • Mick Fealty

    Billy:

    “…absolute opposition to a shadow assembly with an open-ended lifespan”.

    This is precisely the circle that needs to be matched with the DUP square.

  • Claudy

    I think that I would agree with Mark Durkan in his view that if the two goverments start railroading the process, this might spell the end of the Assembly and with it the Good Friday Agreement – thus falling straight into the hands of the DUP. It would be sensible for Sinn Fein to remain cautious about an Anglo-Irish Governmental approach in many respects.

    I am sure that the British and Irish Governments may also suspect that the DUP do not wish to share power with Catholics, as they have a long history of being in favour of discrimination. If an Anglo-Irish governmental approach goes ahead, I am sure that there will be plenty of people keen to uphold Irish interests in such a process, but I can’t think of any Labour MP who would be upholding Unionist interests in a broader sense. Perhaps this is why Sinn Feain are keen on an intergovernmental approach!

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    yerman’

    ‘The Shinners are slowly but surely performing the necessary u-turn:’

    no offence but that is a load of balls that you will find hard to back up. The necessary u-turn is for the DUP to dump their sectarianism. If the British are able to coax them down that road then that will be a good thing.

    ‘I dont want to quote too many of your comments Pat, but I think those give a flavour.’

    By all means quote what you want, I go on record and I very publicly stand over my comments.

    For all rhetoric I see nothing that contradicts what I have said. Their will be no Shadow Assembly. Let it be clear, full Asembly or no Asembly. Or to be more pertinent full Assembly or the dole queue.

  • Yokel

    RmcC

    Umm, I can think of a few types of DUP lads hanging that could bring a laugh to some people alright…in ones innocence I missed the breadth of possibilities

    U-Turn..that seems to be the issue at hand….no one is really u-turning at all.

    Yes I can see why Sinn Fein would be comfortable enough with a joint authority approach but there are two issues with that:

    1. It does go against what I suspect, if put to the vote, the majority of people would accept and this place is a democracy at the end of the day and thats how it goes, majority decisions do pass (don’t bother saying majority rule is pre-1969..that was working for discrimination purposes, this is different). Is the democratic will of people going to be ignored? i.e. a true joint authority would likely be opposed by a majority though I believe any forthcoming proposal is unlikely to amount to complete joint authority in practice

    2. If Sinn Fein look at the party before the cause, such an arrangement will cause them some gyp. It will undermine some elments of their electoral (rather than core) support here and equally it will possibly stagnate any progress in the Republic. It’s polticians in the South who are throwing most fire at the Shinners..more than any unionist party…

    Though there is a united ireland faction in the Labour PP, there is a broadly pro unionist camp as well.

    I know quite a few people of a unionist persuaion and all of them say the same things…get back to an assembly. I don’t think they are somehow turning into Sinn Fein is ok types but they see it as a way of getting to bread and butter issues and just getting on with it. They don’t trust the ‘English’ just as much as they may not trust SinnFein or Sinn Fein the DUP or whatever. In fact I haven’;t spoken to anyone of either political persuasion who doesnt want the assembly back..given that highly unscientific straw poll, what the hell are the politicians playing at?

    On a final point does anyone still believe in this unionist/nationalist designation split? Why not just go for 65-70% and above on issues where the unionist/nationalist designation issue is normally invoked, which means that for major issues to pass they’d require support across the apparent divide. It would stimulate normal politics here and what beats me is why Hain hasn’t suggested it.

  • yerman

    Pat,

    Just so as to be clear – you’re saying that there will be no Assembly minus an Executive. There seems to have been some wriggle room left by the Shinners over exacrtly what a ‘shadow’ Assembly is.

    I assume from your comments that you dont think there can be any lower form of devolution other than full-scale executive devolution.

    Whether SF are changing their mind or performing a u-turn may be semantics, but the end result is the same. However, I would argue that its much easier for a Party to “change its mind” when they havent been quite to stringent about definately not accepting something which they are now clearly positioning themselves to accept.

    Yokel
    “In fact I haven’;t spoken to anyone of either political persuasion who doesnt want the assembly back”

    That comment is a bit like the report on the news the other week where they gave some % figure (reasonably high) of DUP supporters who want devolution returned. Obviously the simplistic spin put on that was that somehow a huge percentage of DUP supporters wanted full-scale executive devolution up and running a la the Belfast Agreement.

    However, its entirely possible to answer Yes to a question about wanting the Assembly back yet have entirely different pictures of what you are saying yes to. DUP supporters and unionists in general do want devolution up and running now. However, ask them if they want Sinn Fein in Govermnet whilst they’re still allied to criminality et al then you would get something of a different answer.

  • Yokel

    Yerman

    Yeah I get that.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Mick

    “…absolute opposition to a shadow assembly with an open-ended lifespan”.

    What possible justification could there be for a shadow assembly with an open-ended lifespan?

    Without necessarily agreeing, it is at least logical to argue that fully restored institutions are desirable, but impossible at the present time. However that argument has zero credibility if it is not accompanied by an agreement that in principle, a full assembly is desirable, and that all efforts that can reasonably be expected will be made to bring that outcome about.

    Now, the DUP seem to be saying that they are in favour of a restored executive – and that MUST mean including Sinn Fein, otherwise their position is completely meaningless.

    The trouble is that the nationalist community, the two nationalist parties, the Irish and British governments are united in their distrust of the DUP on this issue – and that distrust is reasonable, as the DUP has no credibility on the issue of power-sharing.

    Have the DUP ever given anyone any reason to suspect that they regard a power-sharing executive as desirable? The honest answer is no.

    Have the DUP ever given anyone any reason to suspect that they regard a power-sharing executive as an acceptable, necessary evil? Hmmm. Arguably, opaquely, grudgingly, bitterly.

    Have the DUP ever given anyone any reason to suspect that they regard a power-sharing executive as undesirable, inimical, to be opposed absolutely? Yes – on a daily basis for decades.

    Could the DUP seriously claim that they are making all the efforts they could reasonably be expected to make to bring about a power-sharing executive? No. They refuse even to acknowledge the physical presence of those with whom they claim a willingness to share power.

    So against this backdrop, when the DUP talk about a shadow assembly with an open-ended lifespan, it looks to nationalists like an attempt to set up a talking shop, so they can keep their salaries and frustrate progress while taking actual responsibility for precisely nothing, thereby setting the scene for another generation of sectarian polemicism.

    And the thing is, the DUP have absolutely zero credibility with which to counter this perception. In fact, they have minus credibility.

    Now, a shadow assembly with a strictly-defined lifespan might offer the prospect of forcing the issue, which would be a blessed relief. However a shadow assembly with an open-ended lifespan would last for years and achieve precisely nothing.

    Which is what, one suspects, the DUP wants. They might protest at this analysis, but I say again, they have minus credibility with which to refute it.

  • RmcC

    Yokel

    “Why not just go for 65-70% and above on issues where the unionist/nationalist designation issue is normally invoked, which means that for major issues to pass they’d require support across the apparent divide.”

    Works for me.

  • English

    Yokel,

    So unionists do not trust the English, I also notice that Nationalists don’t either – but with more justification given past events. England has done a lot to help Unionists previously, but you obviously have a short memory.

    Who exactly are the English you distrust? Why do you, like Republicans, single out the English?

    If it’s current politicians you are referring to, then you all need to get your facts right. As far as I know the two most powerful politicians Blair and Brown are Scottish, and Peter Hain is South African. Perhaps it’s the British you distrust?

    You do so with justification in any case. If a referendum was held in England, Scotland and Wales as to whether or not Northern Ireland should remain in the UK, the answer would be no.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    yerman,

    ‘I assume from your comments that you dont think there can be any lower form of devolution other than full-scale executive devolution.’

    Yes

  • Yokel

    English

    FFS READ THE POST

    You confuse a statement and a personal criticism on my part. It’s a statement based on my life experience here and what I have heard.

    I’m not criticising the English nor am I criticising those who distrust them….but in order to clear confusion Im happy to tell what I think of the English..I think Northern Ireland, both nationalist & unionist has been very lucky that they’ve been so bloody indulgent. If you care to read elsewhere I’ve shown open criticism of ths country’s unwillingness to take responsibility for itself, criticised demands they make for more money (from the English taxpayer in effect)and in one case`recently made the point that it made way more sense for the British government to be spending money on areas of mainland UK rather than here..

    Now read it again that context.