Still waiting?

In the Guardian Henry McDonald is less than impressed with those who favour an optimistic reading of the runes for November [btw I think he meant a 180 degree turn, not 360 – Ed]. As well as arguing that the proposed consultation by the DUP is likely to produce a negative response, he returns to a suggestion he made previously, in November 2005, as Mick noted at the time.

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  • slug

    Henry’s analysis isn’t entirely plausible viewed through the lens of bargaining theory.

    The DUP I assume are clever enough to know one of the basic lessons of bargaining theory: you get a better deal if you bargain with a player who is very eager to close the deal quickly.

    Therefore, doing a deal with Blair may not be a bad idea after all.

  • lib2016

    Maybe it would be better to wait for a Democratic Administration in the States? 😉

  • Stephen Copeland

    slug,

    There are two problems with that;

    (1) The DUP cannot make a deal only with Blair – there is the nationalist side of the hhouse to consider too.

    (2) Blair’s legacy is not just peace in our time, it is also a greatly improved relationship with the Irish government, which is, in geopolitical terms (ie the EU, and the economy) much more important than the DUP.

  • A. Troll

    Balir might not be there in November, the way things are going. Great one about “Two Jags” Prescott. Or should his new nickname be “Two Snags”?

  • seabhac siulach

    This fits in to what I had been saying earlier in the week about the DUP wishing to use the ‘consultations’ to stall progress, to make meaningless the November deadline…
    (http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/a_busy_autumn_ahead/)
    It is unlikely the two govts. will move against the DUP while these ‘consultations’ are ongoing. As the DUP are by far the largest Unionist party, one might legitimately ask if they will just be talking to themselves on this…
    The answer is clearly likely to be whatever the DUP want it to be at the time.
    It is clear (to me at least) that their policy is to stall things for as long as necessary, for what purpose, I do not…Brown in No. 10, the arrival of the super councils, or just an unwillingness to risk their hard won status as top-dogs within Unionism with difficult political decisions (both to get into and within the Stormont executive).
    I go with political cowardice option, myself.
    Those rhetorical flourishes of Robinson in Killarney and the States do not hide the unyielding stance behind the honeyed words…
    This is typical of Unionism throughout recent history, of course, refuse the bad deal to be landed with the worse one…

  • Stephen Copeland

    seabhac siulach,

    It is clear (to me at least) that their policy is to stall things for as long as necessary, for what purpose, I do not…Brown in No. 10 …

    I believe that they have found out something about Brown that the rest of us do not yet know. They know that Blair is a lost cause for them, but I think that their recent confidence is due to something that has come to them about, or from, Brown.

    Only time will tell the rest of us, though.

  • seabhac siulach

    “They know that Blair is a lost cause for them, but I think that their recent confidence is due to something that has come to them about, or from, Brown.

    Only time will tell the rest of us, though. ”

    I thought the days of playing the orange card were over…
    Are nationalists to be left high and dry yet again due to the folly of yet another British politician? This has caused untold damage in Ireland through the years, starting of course with
    Randolph Churchill’s meddling back in 1885…
    We must remember that Articles 2&3 were given up with the understanding that power sharing was to take place. In the absence of this, I would say that all bets are off.
    If Brown is really playing politics with this, then he should be warned that he is playing with fire (quite possibly literally)…

  • Ciaran Irvine

    I believe that they have found out something about Brown that the rest of us do not yet know.

    Was Brown’s father not a Presbyterian minister? It could be as simple as that, the DUP assuming he’ll be more sympathetic to them on that basis alone. If there were communications to the DUP from Brown’s camp, surely it would have leaked by now?

  • Stephen Copeland

    Ciaran,

    It could be as simple as that, the DUP assuming he’ll be more sympathetic to them

    Its only a gut feeling, but I think the DUP is going on something stronger than an assumption. Their confidence is hard to win (to put it mildly), and yet Brown appears to have won it. Either they have discussed things with him behind closed doors, or others have let them know which way his wind is blowing. Whichever it is, they are prepared to blatantly spin things out until Blair/Hain is gone and Brown is The Man.

  • slug

    Anyone with an elementary knowledge of barganining theory knows that each party’s bargaining power is determined by their Batna. (Best alternative to the negotiated agreement). The talk of a good relationship with Brown may have the effect of shrinking what Sinn Fein believe to be their Batna.

  • Stephen Copeland

    slug,

    The talk of a good relationship with Brown may have the effect of shrinking what Sinn Fein believe to be their Batna.

    You are overlooking the fact that there is a ‘na’, and therefore the ‘ba’ to it has to actually be better than it for Sinn Fein to even consider it.

    Either way, things cannot get worse for nationalism, unless Brown tears up an international agreement, damages the good relationship with the Irish government, alienates 45% of NI’s population, and risks the disapproval of the US (where the next administration might be Democrat). And all for what? The only ‘strength’ the DUP can have is a hung Westminster parliament, and that isn’t going to happen before 2009 at the earliest.

    So the DUP’s confidence is either a bluff or there are deeper things going on.

  • slug

    “Either way, things cannot get worse for nationalism, unless Brown tears up an international agreement, damages the good relationship with the Irish government, alienates 45% of NI’s population, and risks the disapproval of the US (where the next administration might be Democrat).”

    Did you do the Kuhn-Tucker (inequality constraints) extension to the standard Lagrange constrained optimization problem as part of your economics, the idea of slack in a constraint? Surely that could apply here. There may be some “slack” within this overall constraint. That is to say, there are changes that can be made that do not violate the constraint you mention.

  • blind

    stephen copeland “alienates 45% of NI’s population” surely you are not basing your thoughts on blindly sectarian headcounts ?????

    the dup (and putting it mildly) are running rings round sinn fein. gerry has being dancing the orange tune for some time now. does anyone else see the fragmentation unfolding in nationalist politics ?

  • Stephen Copeland

    blind,

    stephen copeland “alienates 45% of NI’s population” surely you are not basing your thoughts on blindly sectarian headcounts ?????

    No, blind, I am basing myself on electoral results. Nationalism is in the 42-45% range (and rising). And almost all of nationalism supported, and still supports, the GFA. So it would feel quite alienated by a Brown decision to bypass it.

  • heck

    given that one of Brown’s strongest supporters in the parliamentary labour party is Clare Short (of crossmaglen background), and a lot of his support comes from what remains of labours left wing, those who think he his going to alienate this support to pander to a bunch of right wing, homophobic bigots must be smoking some good UDA crack.

  • lib2016

    The EU is the most divisive subject in British politics and the unionist political parties, especially the DUP, are fanatically opposed to it. Not only is the Orange Card no longer playable, it has become a danger to all the main players at Westminster.

  • slug

    “The EU is the most divisive subject in British politics”

    The widening of the EU was something that achieved quite a lot of consensue in British politics, and the success of the Bank of England in recent times has placed the Euro debate to the side, where it has been forgotten. It does not feel as though the EU is all that divisive anymore, and British politics is a lot more eurosceptig than it was 15 years ago when John Major’s government negotiated the opt-out from entering the Euro in the Maastrict Treaty. More recently the inflow of migrants from Eastern Europe is bringing growth benefits to the British economy.

  • lib2016

    slug,

    I agree with what you say about the increasing Euroscepticism in Britain but would suggest that the EU has become so contentious that the political parties won’t even discuss it openly – the Eurozone and the Sterling area are indeed growing apart. Neither Blair nor Brown can hope to win a referendum on the Euro in the present climate.

    Most Irish people and the business community generally don’t see this as a good thing and if it comes to the crunch will prefer to go with Europe.

    Unionist opinion on the other hand makes UKIP look like European integrationists. They’re just too far off the scale for the established political parties.

  • Mick Fealty

    Blind,

    I would like to hear a bit more about what you see as fragmentation in nationalism? There is definately something unfolding within nationalist politics. But I’m sure it can be said yet to be fragmenting as such.

  • páid

    you may have missed a ‘not’ there, Mick. I have been reading Henry McDonald for a long time and have never learned much. Give me Moriarty and Thompson, McKittrick and Fealty any day!

    In the big clash of Unionism and Nationalism, each looks for fragmentation and chinks in the Opposition. Of course, as both sides cannot gain a decisive victory like Aughrim, what must happen is that the situation shifts so that neither ‘wins’ but events move on in a new direction. And that is what is happening.

  • dodrade

    I don’tt remember Gordon Brown having ever said anything on Northern Ireland. Is there any evidence he gives a damn about it at all?