Mohammed goes to the mountain?

Ian Paisley has been invited to speak at the Labour Party Conference by Tony Blair.

  • Pete Baker

    There’s more in that report than the headline..

    However, the same DUP sources that confirmed Paisley’s conference visit also ruled out any chance of a breakthrough by the deadline. They said it was ‘premature’ to accept that the IRA had ended all criminality.

  • fair_deal

    Pete

    The Labour Party Conference is on the 24th – 28th September. The IMC report on paramilitarism isn’t until October. The Scottish talks aren’t until October. Everything is premature.

  • Pete Baker

    There’s specific reference to the deadline, fd.

    But the main point of the article isn’t that Paisley has been invited to speak.. it claims that, for the first time, he has accepted the invitation.

  • Nevin

    PS Anyone noted McDonald’s other story, “UK agents ‘did have role in IRA bomb atrocities'”?

  • “But the main point of the article isn’t that Paisley has been invited to speak.. it claims that, for the first time, he has accepted the invitation. “

    I’m cringing already. The Sinners must be rubbing their hands together!

  • TAFKABO

    Beano.

    I’d wait and see what he has to say before I got too excited.
    The DUP may have many faults, but they know how to play the game, and by all accounts, Paisley can turn on the charm when he wants to. The very fact that he has agreed to go is, as has been pointed out, the relevant factor here.

  • fair_deal

    Pete

    You honestly expect the DUP to start throwing away bargaining positions in newspaper articles weeks before talks?

  • Fanny

    “… by all accounts, Paisley can turn on the charm when he wants to.”

    Sorry, whose accounts might they be?

  • That’ll certainly give them something to think about away from the process of getting rid of Blair!

  • Rory

    The invitation is an indication of how desperate Downing Street and New Labour are

    Amen! to that.

    An invitation to address Conference was normally reserved for delegates from fraternal bodies. If New Labour under Blair is now seeing fraternity between itself and the DUP it really is time for a rank and file revolt to take back “the Party we love”.

    Still, pity George Brown is not still with us. Now that would have been a most interesting eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, Paisley and George.

  • Greenflag

    Paisley will use the occassion to up the ante on any devolutionary power sharing . Why should he do otherwise ? What has he to lose from a PM who is by his own words on the way out ?

    You can expect another anti SF tirade etc etc . He’ll probably not refer to the Pope as Anti Christ nor will he remind the Labour Party that every British Prime Minister since Harold Wilson and including the present incumbent has been a traitor . (at least in the eyes of the DUP leader)

    I could enjoy seeing Paisley ‘booed’ off the podium but I suppose a few people will listen politely. Wonder why he never accepted before ?

    Fear of being ridiculed or cold shouldered or horror of horrors bumping into Gerry Adams on the conference floor .

    This Mohammed needs to find a mountain somewhere preferably in the Andes or Himalayas . He has nothing to offer Northern Ireland except a divided past and an even more sectarian future !

  • Fanny

    “Still, pity George Brown is not still with us. Now that would have been a most interesting eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation, Paisley and George.”

    Arthur Brown and Paisley might have been interesting too.

  • Crataegus

    Julian

    Paisley will be of NO interest to the conference given the in fights.

    It will be interesting to see how Blair weathers this, stage managed as it is. Left types can be very unpredictable.

  • Crataegus

    Fanny

    This Arthur Brown?

  • Fanny

    That’s the one, Crataegus. I’d imagine the God of Hellfire would feel right at home with Mr Brimstone himself.

  • Fanny

    “Left types can be very unpredictable.”

    The BBC on the other hand are not. It was cringemaking to watch some tosser of a journalist interrupt Blair’s meeting in Israel to badger him about the leadership issue. This n.b. in a country still licking its war wounds. The baffling thing was that neither the journo nor the anchor saw anything wrong with this, not even when the PM very rightly put him in his place.

  • TAFKABO

    I’d rather see him meet Arthur Griffith.

    who knows, maybe it will happen in the next life?, though I hope I don’t end up in the same place as those two

  • Fanny

    Is this what you mean, TAFKABO?

    Wiki: “Griffith was sexually puritanical and bígoted. Despite initially supporting William Butler Yeats’ National Theatre he attacked John Millington Synge’s The Shadow of the Glen and The Playboy of the Western World as slandering Irish womanhood and morality, and was extremely critical of William Butler Yeats’ acceptance of a literary pension from the British Crown. He also voiced his support for a 1904 pogrom in Limerick against the tiny Jewish community, which was supported by the Catholic bishop of that diocese.

    Appropriate bedfellow right enough.

  • TAFKABO

    Yeah, something like that. I’ve always believed that no matter what label one applies, most extremists end up in the same place.

  • Fanny

    Yes. Shame the rest of us in the meantime have to suffer for their sins.

  • Greenflag

    .’ Shame the rest of us in the meantime have to suffer for their sins. ‘

    Why do we have ? Surely it’s a mater of choice .After all they get the votes 🙁

  • Rory

    Fanny,

    Why not let’s go for bust then and have him square up to James Brown – Man of Renown?

  • Fanny

    Greenflag, you know as well as I do that this earth of ours is replete with the graves of innocent people who fell victim to extremism. In most cases they did not vote for the fucks who caused their deaths.

    Think 9/11, five years ago tomorrow.

  • Fanny

    “Why not let’s go for bust then and have him square up to James Brown – Man of Renown?”

    Nah, Rory, that’s Willie McCrea’s nemesis. Willie simply can’t reach those high notes.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Think 9/11, five years ago tomorrow.’

    Indeed . The innocent victims in that atrocity did not vote for Al Quaeda . I was not referring to the entire earth which as you say is replete with the graves of innocents . I was making the point that in NI when given the choice to vote for extremists both tribes have deliberately CHOSEN to vote for both the DUP and SF . That’s all . You may of course reject the tag of ‘extremist’ for the Party of the Protestant God -the DUP – or the Party of the Republican God -SF . It’s your choice .

  • Fanny

    “You may of course reject the tag of ‘extremist’ for the Party of the Protestant God -the DUP – or the Party of the Republican God -SF . It’s your choice .”

    Greenflag, I choose to agree with you. What sane person would not?

  • Henry94

    Ian Paisley has been invited to speak at the Labour Party Conference by Tony Blair.

    Suggested theme, “Tough on education, tough on the causes of education”

  • Greenflag

    ‘What sane person would not? ‘

    Obviously the hundreds of thousands of ‘sane people ‘ who vote for the DUP and SF . One man’s extremist is another man’s sanity spokesperson in the sectarian divided NI polity . It’s a given as long as the political equation remains as it is . A ‘revived’ Assembly will not improve matters either IMO .

  • Fanny

    Nice one, Henry.

    Greenflag, it’s hard for most of those involved to admit it but the events of past decades in NI have been driven by insanity. Insanity continues to rule here, and the revived Assembly will provide the world once again with proof, if more proof were needed, that this place is one sick puppy-dog and many of its political leaders are barking mad.

    One positive outcome of this would be the realization among the electorate that extremism is indeed insanity, and that it might actually make sense to elect parties espousing dignity and respect for all one’s fellow citizens.

  • Bushmills

    Oh deary me, the Provettes are really out in force on this one. Why shouldn’t Labour suck up to Paisley? In the event of a hung parliament, which seems increasingly likely, the DUP’s 10 MP’s (I say ten because I think they’ll take back either FST or SB next time) could prove very useful to the Labour government.

    Anyway that aside, it is my understanding that the DUP has been sending representatives to the Labour conference for the last five years at least. Sorry to burst your bubble boys, but not every member of the Labour Party are Ken Livingstone, Anthony Wedgewood Benn clones. Most probably have an open mind on matters concerning Northern Ireland, and might actually be interested to hear a Unionist perspective for a change.

  • Henry94

    Bushmills

    In the event of a hung parliament, which seems increasingly likely, the DUP’s 10 MP’s (I say ten because I think they’ll take back either FST or SB next time) could prove very useful to the Labour government.

    The DUP will lose seats at the next election. either they will go into government, causing the emergence of an anti power-sharing party to split the vote three ways or they won’t, causing the “garden-centre” vote to come out for the UUP along with serious tactical voting from nationalists.

  • TAFKABO

    As far as I’m aware, only the DUP had an election candidate endorsed by a Labour minister (Hoey), during the last election campaign.

    It is a popular conceit of republicans that the whole world is on their side and everyone loathes Unionists, but this sort of thinking can only be to your enemy’s advantage, if he knows how to exploit it.

  • Bushmills

    Henry94

    I’ll offer you £100 that the DUP emerges from the next Westminster election with either 9, 10 or 11 MP’s. The rest of your analysis is just wishful thinking. DUP split? Wise up. The days of Unionist fracturing are long over.

  • bertie

    There is some sort of acceptance that SF and the DUP are mirror images of ech other. That is just not that case. Most DUP voters would not vote for the political wing of loyalist terrorists. The mirror immage of SF is PUP/UDP and next time round, unless thay break the link with the PUP, UUP, but as yet noone voted for a UUP allied with the UVF.

  • Billy

    Bushmills TAFKABO

    I wondered how long it would be before we got round to the mythical “hung parliament, which seems increasingly likely”.

    If you can see 2.75 – 3.75 years into the future, can you please tell me what next week’s lottery numbers are?

    Although I don’t support the DUP, I actually don’t think that Robinson, Dodds or Donaldson are stupid enough to base their policy on something that might happen in almost 3 years time at best. In fairness – Paisley jnr definitely is stupid enough to do that!

    I think the DUP and Unionists need to realise that the govt is not bluffing – they will scrap the assembly – they will bring in joint stewardship – the “super councils” will come into being.

    All these things will happen long before a change of govt occurs. Even in the unlikely event of a hung parliament, the political landscape here will have changed to a large extent during the intervening period.

    I can’t really see a UK govt going back on constitutional arrangements and being seen to be blackmailed by Unionists – those days are long gone.

  • Billy

    a potential UK government will do almost ANYTHING to get into Downing Street.

    As for “blackmail”, grow up. If (big if) there is a hung party the DUP will be doing exactly the same as the LibDems, SNP and Plaid by attempting to use the House of Commons maths to the advantage of its’ electorate.

    Any bets Peter Robinson in the Cabinet?

  • Bushmills

    pakman

    Secretary of State for Defence – PD Robinson MP – Carlsberg don’t do cabinets, but if they did…..

    Billy

    I am not suggesting that the DUP should formulate policy on the basis of the eventuality of a hung parliament, what I am saying is that Labour might indeed require the votes of minority parties such as the DUP to prop up any Brown-led administration, therefore it makes sense for the Labour govt. not to make enemies at this stage.

  • Bushmills

    spot on. One unintended consequence of devolution in Scotland and Wales is to make any form of Westminster understanding between Labour and those nationalists almost unthinkable. IF Brown has to go grubbing for votes then his options are very limited.

    As for the cabinet, I always thought the Foreign Office could do with a shake up…

  • fair_deal

    Billy

    “If you can see 2.75 – 3.75 years into the future, can you please tell me what next week’s lottery numbers are?”

    Ask Lib2016 he can see 10 years ahead

  • Bushmills

    Jim Allister for Foreign Secretary!

  • TAFKABO

    Peter Robinson in the cabinet?

    The West Lothian question has put enough strain on the Union as it is, I’m not sure it could withstand the Castlereagh Conundrum

  • Billy

    Bushmills

    Don’t think it will happen but I can understand the point you are making.

    Pakman

    I think you need to “grow up”. I have lived in London for well over 20 years and NI politicians are viewed totally differently than English, Scots or Welsh. This “as British as Finchly” stuff is just crap.

    Most UK people don’t understand the NI situation and don’t care.

    Paisley is regarded as a fun figure and rabidly anti-Catholic – the spitting image character is pretty true to the average English perception of Paisley.

    Dealing with Paisley would NOT be viewed in the same way as dealing with the Lib Dems or SNP etc.

    It is possible that they would negotiate with the DUP once Paisley has been replaced with a pragmatic figure – probably Robinson.

    I assume that you added the cabinet reference for a joke – I wouldn’t think even the most ardent DUP supporter would fall for that one.

  • Bushmills

    “Jim Allister for Foreign Secretary! ”

    Do you know something about the next North Antrim selection meeting I don’t?

  • Bushmills

    pak

    Now, now, now, don’t be cheeky!

    ;-0

  • Billy

    Relax and ask yourself the question what wouldn’t Gordon Brown do to get into no. 10? An honest answer might put your 1054 into some perspective.

  • Fanny

    “As for the cabinet, I always thought the Foreign Office could do with a shake up…”

    As could the Home Office, if recent events are anything to go by: the Clarke debacle and (back to Mohammed topic) the insidious Islamicization of the HO.

  • Fanny

    maybe Nigel could get a job as well!

  • Fanny

    LOL, Nigel vs. Reid. Can you see thon sparks fly?

  • Crataegus

    Labour supported by the DUP mmmh. This is truely the stuff of nightmares, fortunately my sleep won’t be troubled by Labour supported by SF.

    That party has made voting for it in Westminster elections a complete waste of time. To maximise your impact the sane thing to do if a Republican would be vote SF for Assembly or Council elections and SDLP for Westminster. (The previous sentence requires a loose definition of sanity)

  • Bushmills

    Crat

    Unlike the Official Unionists, who were lobby fodder for the Tories for 50 years, I see very little problem in the DUP propping up a Labour administration and exacting the necessary concessions in the process. I, although a natural Tory, have no misty-eyed illusions about the Tory Party – they, more so than Labour have shafted the Unionist populace at every opportunity – we owe them nothing.

  • Nevin

    [i]in NI when given the choice to vote for extremists both tribes have deliberately CHOSEN to vote for both the DUP and SF . That’s all .[/i]

    … poppycock, Greenflag.

    Here are the rough percentage votes cast in local government elections for UUP + All + SDLP v DUP + SF during the Blair + Ahern era:

    1997 UAS, DS 33

    2001 UAS 47, DS 42

    2005 UAS 40, DS 53

  • Elvis Parker

    “Paisley is regarded as a fun figure and rabidly anti-Catholic – the spitting image character is pretty true to the average English perception of Paisley.”

    So if he appears on the platfrom and is all sweetness and light saying ‘would you go into govt with people who won’t support the forces of law and order’ ? The only way is up surely?

    We may be about to find out how clever (or not) Paisley is!

  • Fanny

    Lies and damned statistics, Nevin. Fact is the monsters are in and running the show. Do sane people like this? Of course not.

  • Bushmills

    Monsters? Good G-d how awful for you, that people dare choose to vote at variance with your opinions.

  • Fanny

    My opinions have nothing to do with it, Bushmills.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    Thanks for confirming the numbers 🙂

    As devolution will never work in NI it’s a moot point anyway . Even the Scots are ‘Browned off’ with the half way house solution .

  • Greenflag

    ‘The only way is up surely? ‘

    Not necessarily in the NI political universe . There is a very strong tradition of going in the opposite direction to up .

    This tendency is seen even at local sporting events where many of the locals are seen wearing black and red shirts and hats with the slogan

    Up Down .

  • Nevin

    Sorry about the missing stat.

    1997 UAS 56, DS 33

    2001 UAS 47, DS 42

    2005 UAS 40, DS 53

    To what extent have the governments’ appeasement strategies weakened the role of the centre-ground parties? Can we expect to see further ‘bribes’ to the respective paramilitary godfathers to enhance/’legitimise’ their community roles?

  • kensei

    “To what extent have the governments’ appeasement strategies weakened the role of the centre-ground parties? Can we expect to see further ‘bribes’ to the respective paramilitary godfathers to enhance/’legitimise’ their community roles?”

    Yes. And to what extent has the “centre ground” parties being completely ineffective contributed to their downfall?

    To be honest, the current situation is the best for everyone now. Any deal will have a good chance of stickingn because there will be no sniping on the right from either side, which is the bane of negotiations everywhere.

  • Nevin

    Kensei, how can the centre ground parties be effective so long as the governments pander to the demands of the paramilitary godfathers?

  • kensei

    “Kensei, how can the centre ground parties be effective so long as the governments pander to the demands of the paramilitary godfathers? ”

    Glad you’re happy to admit that the DUP are paramilitary godfathers.

    I know how much you hatre it Nevin, but SF have a mandate and represent legitimate concwerns of a section of society. Quite simply, the “centre” parties did not deal with these concerns, otherwise they would have got the votes.

    Zero time for moaning on this score. Both the DUP and SF could easily be left behind by a shift in mood or failing to adequately address people’s concerns. It isn’t the first time the pendulum has swung that way. What uis hge;lping them both out, is the abject failure of the UUP and SDLP to present any kind of coherent vision or strategy, the former in particular.

    To nick a great line from the West Wing – “It isn’t about you”. The sooner the “centre” parties realise that and get in touch with their electorate the better for everyone.

  • Billy

    Elvis

    I would never describe Paisley as clever – he has got the DUP to their current position by:

    pandering to his religious fundamentalist flock.

    specialising in the politics of opposition.

    Now that the DUP are “in the driving seat”, they have not been incredibly successful – they have prevented a local assembly from sitting but have NOT altered govt policy on NI IN ANY WAY.

    I have Unionist friends who voted for the DUP as they were disillusioned by the UUP. However, almost all of them would be much happier if Peter Robinson or Jeffrey Donaldson became leader – they have no time for Paisly’s anti-Catholic religious fundamentalism.

    Paisley isn’t stupid enough to go to the Labour party conference and make a speech like his July 12th speech or call Blair a liar.

    I think you’ll find that his speech will be written by the more intelligent/pragmatic members of the DUP and he will have no input.

    However, he won’t be addressing a “loyalist” mob in North Antrim. If he fails to remember that and strays from his prepared text – he would emabrarrass himself (and the DUP).

    I think you’ll find that the DUP will use their PR capability to it’s fullest. He’ll make a short, prepared speech. If he is at any fringe meetingS and/or question and answer sessions – the DUP will have Robinson/Dodds/Donaldson on hand to stop him putting his foot in it.