Preparation for Government Committee now a precondition?

Following yesterday’s failure to agree who should chair Hain’s Committee, as noted here, and the initial reaction by the Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, “The parties must urgently resolve this issue.”, Peter Hain has issued another statement, and what looks suspiciously like another deadline,”I want the parties to reflect carefully on this over the weekend and I have asked my officials to make contact with them to see where we can establish common ground. We will need to be clear where we are going by Monday.” Press Asociation report here.

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  • Briso

    Stop their salaries. Turf them out.

  • Stephen Copeland

    This brings me back to the good old days of ‘talks about talks’!

    The DUP’s excuses are getting stripped away one by one, but yet they still won’t even agree to talk about talking.

    I wonder is the model wrong? We seem to have a certain success on this site in getting DUP people to interact with republicans (sometimes), so maybe the whole Northern Irish political debate needs to be moved away from the old-fashioned ’round table’ model, whereby certain protagonists were so moved to loathing by the very sight of others that they could neither look at them, shake their hand, or talk to them.

    Perhaps the perpetual ‘talking about talking’ that passes for political debate in NI needs to be shifted lock stock and barrel to the internet. That way we need never see the steely glint in the opponent’s eye, or the shifty eyes of the hypocrites, and could keep our gaze firmly on the picture of QE2/The Proclamation hanging on the wall.

    The other advantages would include: no journalists to push your way through (unless you want them, of course), and the possibility of tag-team permanent talks.

    Whether the DUP would agree to any moderator for these internet talks is open to question, of course. Mick has a certain track record – maybe they would accept him?

  • The Dog

    100% – if the DUP can’t even agree the first thing on the agenda for this committee it is a sign that they are not interested in getting the show back on the road.

    Send the MLAs packing – stop the wages, stop the expenses.

    In fact go further – scrap the Assembly forever.

    Build up the all Ireland bodies – esp on the economy and tourism, develop cross border health projects esp on cancer and GP out of hours, get an all Ireland Environmental Protection Agency. Cut back on the number of departments – pair them up with the south to make joint rule easier.

    Also it is ironic that unionists wanted an Assembly but now they are acting in a way that will see its’ demise.

    The DUP only have their eye on a May election. Time to put it up to the bully boys and the bigots. Don’t give them an election. Don’t give them sham debates or a shadow Assembly.

    IN fact don’t give them an Assembly at all.

    No more stupid debates in half empty chambers, stop the pretence and spend the money on hospitals and schools.

    Is it me or has anyone else noticed that the DUP are all at sixes and sevens.

    For the press last night TJ was nowhere to be seen. Willie went on for almost 20 minutes saying how he would be happy enough with Francie and Jim to be in charge – ooppps.

    Has anyone seen Robinson or Donaldson. Send out the search party – the natural intransigence of the DUP is exposed for all to see and they don’t seem to know how to handle the pressure.

    I just heard that the DUP are now running away from debates with Sinn Féin – they refused to put anyone up for Hearts and Minds tonight.

    Maybe its’ because everyone is laughing their inability to put forward a defence that stands up.

  • Keith M

    Why not just allow every party to nominate a person and give each MLA an STV to select the chair?

  • fair_deal

    “Why not just allow every party to nominate a person and give each MLA an STV to select the chair?”

    Because Sinn Fein will reject such a proposal as they will think they won’t win then go out of the meeting and blame the DUP?

  • joeCanuck

    Banner headline from the DUP site

    LEADERSHIP THAT”S WORKING

    What twaddle!
    They way it’s going right now, come Nov 24, the people of N.I. will have no say in how the province is governed and there will be de facto Joint Authority between Britain and the R.O.I.
    Now, that may suit Paisley to a tee because he can then go back to the only thing he knows how to do well – sitting outside shouting “Never, Never, Never.”
    But how long are the young (ok, younger) Turks, Robinson and Dodds etc, going to sit twiddling their thumbs before staging a coup and turning the “Democratic” Unionist Party into a real democratic party where there are procedures for leadership review and election.
    As it stands right now, the “Democratic” Unionist party is still “Ian Paisley’s” Unionist Party, or as it was originally called, the Protestant Unionist Party.
    Pathetic

  • Keith M

    “Because Sinn Fein will reject such a proposal as they will think they won’t win then go out of the meeting and blame the DUP?”

    I think you’re right FD, no matter how others my try to disguise it, the ones pulling the plug on this are SF/IRA. This is where Hain needs to come in and show a bit of muscle.

  • Briso

    FD:
    Because Sinn Fein will reject such a proposal as they will think they won’t win then go out of the meeting and blame the DUP?

    The problem is the DUP will not speak directly to Sinn Fein. They will accept any proposal as long as they don’t have to acknowledge their existence. Hence the refusal of the deputy speakers idea when Eileen said they could do it only as representatives of their parties, i.e. the DUP would have to address the chair as a SF man, not as ‘the speaker’. SF are saying, if you won’t even acknowledge our existence, what is the point of the thing?

  • Keith M

    Brisco, the whole point of having a chair is that they are neutral and NOT representing their party.

    If this really is the stumbling block then it’s instantly removable.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Time to bring back George Mitchell?

  • Briso

    KM:If this really is the stumbling block then it’s instantly removable.

    Elaborate. 😉

  • Keith M

    Sc : “Time to bring back George Mitchell?”. OK, we hand a hands down winner of humourous post of the week.

    Briso, if the stumbling block is that the chairperson must represent their party and nort be neautral, then change the rule. insist that the chairperson is neutral, is not allowed to vote (apart from having a casting vote). SF/IRA can the address “the chair” and the chair (as someone who is neutral and not controlled by party policy) must recognise them.

    Failing that give the position to Paul Berry. He is currenyly without party affiliation, and it might keep him out of trouble.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Keith M,

    … SF/IRA can the address “the chair”

    Are you getting confused here? Sinn Féin have no problem addressing any chair, even Ian Paisley. It is the DUP that refuses to speak to people it doesn’t like. Hence, of course, effectively ruling themselves out as chair, of course.

    The solution is, of course, as ever, simple. The DUP need to grow up.

  • Briso

    I think you’re missing the point. The DUP want to act as though Sinn Fein do not exist. The question is not about Sinn Fein recognising the chair. It is about the DUP recognising Sinn Fein. If the DUP won’t even do that, what is the damn point of this whole charade?

    I repeat, stop their salaries. Turf them out.

  • nmc

    Ian Jr. was on tv last night saying that not only do SF want to be involved in this comittee, but they are demanding to know exactly who will take the chair, and when.

    The cheek of them, wanting to know dates and stuff.

    Always the same tired old reaction, no – never blah blah blah. Get a job.

  • Keith M

    Stephen / Briso : So what is wrong with the proposal that I have suggested?

    The DUP successfully held the chair in several committees between 1999 and 2003 and these committees had SF/IRA members.

    Why is this an issue now?

  • Greenflag

    ‘what is the damn point of this whole charade? ‘

    Precisely . There is no point . Away with the Assembly and SF and the SDLP elected representatives in NI to be given representation in Dail Eireann and/or the Senate. Bury Stormont or turn it into a visitors centre.

    Irish Ireland North and South needs to turn it’s collective back on the DUP permanently. The DUP have nothing to offer except a disgraced past and a hopeless future.

  • Harry

    “Irish Ireland North and South needs to turn it’s collective back on the DUP permanently”

    I concur with that. These agents of british interference on our island should not be allowed to inhibit the progress of our nation. As a nation we should make them fully understand that.

    Under Bertie Ahern of course no such assertion will take place. It is the unionists in the nroth and the establishment gombeens in the south who are to blame, with the best of all things irish squeezed in between and with the british ‘off sides’ reaping their strategic rewards.
    Ireland will never achieve its potential under such baleful influences.

  • elfinto

    Much as I would like the DUP to disappear in a cloud of smoke the reality is that we are stuck with them. Our best hope is that the British and Irish governments get fed up and decide to move forward without the DUP (although that requires that the govts. develop spines) or alternatively, that the grand ayatollah shuffles off his mortal coil, and unionism realigns around a more pragmatic figure.

  • dodrade

    We get the politicans we deserve.

  • Greenflag

    ‘reaping their strategic rewards. ‘

    Reward???
    If NI is a reward then what would be a punishment ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Much as I would like the DUP to disappear in a cloud of smoke the reality is that we are stuck with them.’

    Eh -Not at all . You are only stuck with them if you recognise them. By not recognising them they will go away 🙂 Where to ? Who cares . Paisley knows exactly where he’s leading them . The same place he’s always led them.

  • Greenflag

    ‘As a nation we should make them fully understand that. ‘

    The British Unionists are not our ‘nation’. The sooner our Irish leaders face up to that fact the better. Never mind what the idealised mythology in our Constitution states . Just look at the facts on the ground . Paisley is not Irish other than geographically. The British Unionists are IMO entitled to their own State but not at the expense of the Irish people of Northern Ireland .

    Thus a fair Repartition of Northern Ireland by a neutral International Agency is the fairest solution for both British Unionists and Irish Nationalists in NI.

    40 years of DUP politicians running around in ever diminishing circles of bigotry is 40 years too much . It’s now past time for all Irish politicians North and South , Republican and Nationalist to boycott the DUP under it’s present leadership. Let the British Government know that whereas HMG is obliged to offer ermine to Paisley’s entourage we Irish will offer Paisley and his ilk nothing apart from a 2 county size NI State where the vast majority of Unionists can enjoy Paisley’s brand of one party theocratic rule !

    At some point in the future the DUP may elect a leader who has some connection with the 20th century instead of the 17th . At that point in time Irish politicians may have a rethink .

  • Harry

    Repartition is a non-starter and would lead to civil war. Further, there is no reason why we should be forced to allow a part of the island to remain permanently british – it’s directly against our military, political and cultural interests to be agents and supporters of a policy that would see a british presence on this island extended for another 100 years.

    Partition is the single greatest thing that has damaged this country, north and south. All across the south people suffer from the consequences of partition to a degree that is much greater than its effect on the average englishman. Why should we therefore allow an englishman decide the future of our country? We are more powerful than that, though under the FF gombeens with their ducking-and-diving survivor’s mentality you would be forgiven for thinking we are a mickey mouse country with an addiction to dependency – church dependency for our schools and hospitals (Ahern said we couldn’t do it without them), EU dependency for our infrastructure and farming policies and FDI dependency on american multinationals for our current ‘wealth’.

    Nonetheless we are more powerful than these gombeens have the capacity to comprehend or communicate. Unionists must come to a compromise that is satisfactory to us or know that we have the will to make them face the consequences; that we also have the will to defend our people and our strategic interests.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Repartition is a non-starter and would lead to civil war. ”

    Same as the last one then . It will at least be over in 6 months or probably less . A big improvement on having to listen to another 40 years of DUP not talking about no talks and SF talking about the no talks that the DUP won’t talk about . The idiocy has gone on long enough .

    ‘there is no reason why we should be forced to allow a part of the island to remain permanently british ‘

    I’d use the word Unionist instead of British . The political fact of life is that at no period in the past 80 years has any section of Unionism expressed anything other than total opposition to a UI. There may well be small number of Prods who favour a UI but they keep their heads low and mouths shut for obvious reasons . Most of us prefer to live.

    ‘Partition is the single greatest thing that has damaged this country, north and south.’

    No it was’nt . As regards the Irish people as a people the greatest ‘damage’ inflicted on the Irish people in terms of lives lost and political hopes buried were the Second English Conquest 1550 through 1690 and the great Famine 1844 to 1848 . The number of lives lost as a result of Partition are less than one tenth of one percent of those lost in the above two tragedies .

    ‘All across the south people suffer from the consequences of partition to a degree that is much greater than its effect on the average englishman.’

    This could well be because England was not partitioned and the average Englishman knows/cares as much about Ireland and it’s history as the average Irishman does about the Republic of Myanmar.

    ‘Why should we therefore allow an englishman decide the future of our country’

    Hain is not English .He’s a South African . Apart from the English, NI has had a Scotsman, Welshman and even a Jew (Mandelson ) as Colonial Secretary and so far not a one of them has found the ‘solution’ . This could be for three reasons .
    a) there is no solution
    b) they are looking at the wrong problem.
    c) because of (b) the solutions they have arrived at to date won’t work .

    ‘ We are more powerful than ‘

    Albania possibly or even Estonia but not Israel and certainly not than the UK . We have to box clever oul son and take what we can get and that IMO is 30 county Republic. No point in burdening the Irish nation with 800,000 alienated Unionists . There’s no sense in that at all at all . Political idiocy of the first degree and thinking worthy only of a Unionist politician wi in 1920’s mode .

    ‘Unionists must come to a compromise that is satisfactory to us or know that we have the will to make them face the consequences’

    Once upon a time there were three bears etc etc .

    Where there’s a will there’s a won’t especially when it comes to dealing with NI or any of it’s politicos. This alas is an affliction that both Irish and British Governments suffer from and not without reason.

  • Harry

    “Partition is the single greatest thing that has damaged this country, north and south.”
    Obviously i meant over the last 80 years.

    We have to box clever oul son and take what we can get
    You have nothing to offer but defeat. And that’s even before you’ve started.
    Remember, this is our country that has been partitioned, our industry of belfast, our deep water port of Derry, our closed down western railway line that could be central to the economic regeneration of the north and west, our culture that has been anglicised so as to ensure no gaelic-minded patriots may appear to upset the Treaty and its associated establishments, our jurisdiction that was last under invasion threat by the british during WW2 using the north as the launchpad.
    It is our right to be fully powerful as a nation and to be totally free from the instability and political and economic inhibition that the northern irish state has caused on this island.

    It is after consideration of those things, not before, that you should decide on your course of action.

  • Harry

    ‘there is no reason why we should be forced to allow a part of the island to remain permanently british ‘

    I’d use the word Unionist instead of British . The political fact of life is that at no period in the past 80 years has any section of Unionism expressed anything other than total opposition to a UI.

    So what, are you afraid of them? Then they’ve certainly got you where they want you.
    And it is more accurate to say British than unionist for the unionists are nothing without the british and therefore the reason why britain wishes to maintain control of a part of this island is really the central issue.

  • Harry

    Unionists number 895,000. Nationalists number 740,000.
    Not much difference but we always hear people falling over themselves to justify why unionists ought to be listened to and how dead set against a UI they are and all the rest of it, the subtext being that we are to accept this and consider it the correct view. Meanwhile three-quarters of a million Irish people, also living in NI are less important; their views are not quite so urgent, they’re capacity for force not taken quite so seriously.
    In other words, it is the british behind the unionists and british guns that give unionists their strength. Nationalists, numbering almost the same, are told to wait another 30 years and maybe they’ll have an ability to outbreed; in the meantime shut up and live by the rules.

    To counter such intimidation with an immediate belief in your own powerlessness will certainly ensure impotence.

  • Nevin

    [i]The idiocy has gone on long enough.[/i]

    Just how long have you been prattling on about repartition, Greenflag/Greendub?

  • jim

    Whats stopping all NI Nationalists joining the DUP and dictating from within. A very British policy indeed.

  • elfinto

    Much as I would like the DUP to disappear in a cloud of smoke the reality is that we are stuck with them.’

    Eh -Not at all . You are only stuck with them if you recognise them. By not recognising them they will go away 🙂 Where to ? Who cares . Paisley knows exactly where he’s leading them . The same place he’s always led them.

    The DUP policy towards SF is exactly what you are proposing (or had you not noticed).

    When people claiming to be republicans start proposing repartition as a solution to our woes something tells me ‘this person is a Brit / unionist agent provacateur’. It used to be ‘Declan’ who, like yourself, went on about ‘fair repartition’ like a cracked record. Just for the record – there is no such thing as fair re-partition. It is a recipe for a renewed and bloodier war.

  • briso

    Keith M wrote:
    >Stephen / Briso : So what is wrong with the
    >proposal that I have suggested?

    >The DUP successfully held the chair in several
    >committees between 1999 and 2003 and these
    >committees had SF/IRA members.

    >Why is this an issue now?

    I honestly don’t know the answer to this. Why can’t they just rotate the chair? I can see why a permanent DUP chair would be objected to (and not just by the SDLP and SF) so why not just rotate it? Personally, if what you say is correct about 99-03, I don’t see the difference of principle between a DUP chair recognising a SF member of a committee and a DUP member recognising a SF chair? If you (or Fair Deal or anyone else) could explain it, I would appreciate it.

  • Harry

    Why don’t we start off with a crate, then a pouffé, a stool and finally – after some time and discussions – a chair. That way it won’t be a chair issue per se so much as a ‘Chair Process’ and no-one has to lose face.

    (The more alert may have noted that a pouffé does indeed generally precede a stool.)