DUP will wait to get Policing ‘sorted’

There are some interesting remarks sown in at the end of Frank Millar’s piece in the Irish Times this morning:

…while Dr Paisley denied playing a waiting game during Labour’s leadership turmoil – insisting he was taking the situation “as it is” – usually reliable sources close to the party leadership claimed a growing view within the party that a “hung parliament” after the next British general election might provide the most advantageous conditions from a unionist perspective.

Insisting “this is not the time for a deal with a lame-duck prime minister”, one source told The Irish Times: “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And if it’s a marathon, that means November 24th is only a warm-up.”

Dr Paisley made clear that “delivery” would have to include a resolution of the policing issue.

Hmmm…. In the words of Red HurleyJohnny Logan’s ‘Eurovision winning classic’: What’s Another Year? CC to Resident’s Associations across NI.

  • Hurler on the Ditch

    For shame Mick…..

    Surely “What’s another year” was sung by the great Jonny logan??

  • Mick Fealty

    In this instance, am I entitled to wear my ignorance as a badge of pride?

  • Billy


    Yep, definitely a boost to the street cred.

  • seabhac siulach

    Regarding the rates going up in April 2007, I would say that this is now the real deadline, not Nov. 24th 2006…
    It is certainly focusing minds on the really important issues (i.e., cash or the impendling lack of) and off those esoteric issues of sham morality that the DUP is hung up on (and using to block progress), i.e., guns, policing, etc.
    An inspired piece of political/financial blackmail by Hain & Co.
    The next few months should be very interesting.
    Is this the ultimate test, by the way, for the DUP and its supporters as to whether they are truly loyal to the crown and not the half-crown? Well, they say money talks…

  • Mick Fealty


    “esoteric issues of sham morality”

    Do you mean policing?

  • Pete Baker
  • pith

    So there is going to be a hung parliament and unionists influence will multiply a millionfold.
    Ah yes, we haven’t heard that baloney before have we?

  • pith

    And another thing! The usually reliable sources in the DUP suggesting this sort of nonsense wouldn’t be the same usually reliable sources who used to suggest the same sort of thing from within the UUP would they?

  • seabhac siulach


    “Do you mean policing?”

    Yep, in an overly verbose way
    …and all the other sham excuses for failing to engage that the DUP comes up with, one after another, as each previous excuse or condition is fulfilled by Sinn Fein (weapons, criminality, disbandment (effectively) of the PIRA) or in the case of policing likely agreed in the event of real talks…
    Since when did negotiation positions become preconditions?

  • Bushmills

    Policing and Justice is the elephant in the living room, as it were. The Unionists will need some sort of committment to the new policing structure, possibly SF joining the Policing Board and/or some statement of support in the ministerial code, which all ministers sign up to, some form of statement from SF that young nationalists should join the PSNI and a committment to accept the rule of law as administered by the courts.

    That, coupled with a couple of IMC reports giving the Provos a clean bill of health will certainly increase the likelihood of a deal.

    As to the deadline – the two governments have as much to gain from stringing things out till April/May as the DUP does. Think of it this way – your are Tony Blair: Iraq is a mess, there is open rebeliion in your party and you are looking desperatly for something positive to end your premiership on. What better way to go than by presiding over the formation of an inclusive executive at Stormont in the last few weeks of your time in No. 10?

    You are Gordon Brown – you have just ascended to No. 10 and are desperatly looking around for something positive to kick-start you preniership – what better way than presiding of the establishment of an executive at Stormont for the first time in nearly four years?

    You are Bertie Ahern – Fianna Fail is facing an election defeat, the economy of the Republic is stagnating, the polls look grim. Your are desperatly scrambling for a positive kick-start to a general election campaign. What better than having a hand in “sorting out” the problems up North? Thus allowing you to pose as a great statesman and put a positive gloss on your time in office?

    The November 24th deadline won’t be met, but do the governments really plan to pull down the whole caboodle at this point in time? I doubt it very much.

    There boys – a Unionist analysis that doesn’t amount to “Brown’s better coz his da was a Protestant vicar, and we might have a hung parliament”!

  • pith

    Bushmills: “You are Gordon Brown – you have just ascended to No. 10 and are desperatly looking around for something positive to kick-start you preniership – what better way than presiding of the establishment of an executive at Stormont for the first time in nearly four years?”

    I can see it now. Trafalgar square filled with cheering people, street parties up and down the green and pleasant land, the Queen waving from the balcony, and all over Britain people turning to each other and saying, “Isn’t it great, that executive over in Northern Ireland that we didn’t know existed and didn’t know didn’t exist is up and running and it’s all because of Gordon. He’s brilliant!”

    Maybe he’ll just go for tax cuts.

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting pith. I’d be sceptical of that possibility too, though I’m not sure anything of that magnitude has been suggested here or elsewhere.

    It’s hard to tell how serious this is, since all of this is subject to secret negotiations. It makes sense for the DUP sketch out a hard fall back position, if the outcome falls short of what they are looking for.

    Less speculatively, if Blair goes, so does most of the No 10 staff. Whether or not they expect their direct influence to increase substantially (and they have certainly been putting the work in), they might reasonably expect SF’s to decrease.

    Even if this decrease is only marginal, we are into a stage of the game where margins count. Think of it as the introduction of new balls well on into a game of cricket or tennis.

  • Yokel

    Maybe someone should ask the DUP about their conversations with Brown’s people…..

  • Bushmills


    fair enough, no street parties, but given the hiding Labour are facing in the local and assembly elections, any good news would be much appreciated I’m sure.

    The same applies to Blair seeking a legacy and Bertie looking for a bounce.

  • pith


    I suppose what I mean is that Northern Ireland is worth very little in terms of political value outside itself. I don’t think it would have any impact on those who will decide Blair’s successor is still PM post 2009.

  • mickhall

    New balls Mick, the bloody wicket has been re- turfed, as seabhac siulach wrote, with the DUP there always seems to be a demand for another compromise on the part of SF.

    So, if SF join the police committee what will be the next DUP sticking point, any thoughts sluggerites, Gerry must shave his beard off perhaps.

    regards to all

  • Mick Fealty


    One of our commenters, Robert Keogh, was on to something when he argued that there was not enough public debate about the reasoning behind Mandelson’s changes to the Patten proposals.

    Rather too much of the discussion on all the issues related to policing has gone on behind closed doors with individual players/actors not feeling the least compulsion to explain their proposals for change.

  • Hurler on the Ditch


    “In this instance, am I entitled to wear my ignorance as a badge of pride?”

    Absolutely not…. unless you’re wearing your badge on a trademark “loganesque” white suit!

  • spirit-level

    “Think of it as the introduction of new balls well on into a game of cricket or tennis.”
    we await the first accusations of “ball-tampering” then by either the DUP or SF !

  • Comrade Stalin

    Today, Ian Paisley Jnr contradicted the view of the local police in Ballymena by claiming that the attacks on houses in nationalist areas were inflicted on themselves. Why does Paisley insist on acting as an apologist for loyalist paramilitarism ? What is he gaining by lying ?

    I would certainly like to see policing sorted, and that would include the DUP properly endorsing the police instead of apologizing for thuggery.

  • Billy


    NI is a non-issue with the UK electorate. I suspect that Gordon Brown will be faced with having 2 – 3 years to turn Labour’s current deficit around.

    His main concerns will be Iraq and the economy.

    I think NI will be very low on his list of priorities.

    I can see no benefit in extending the deadline for either govt. Blair, Hain and Ahern have stated in public on many occasions that Nov 24th is the end – it is also on the statute books.

    If they change it, it will look like backing down to Paisley and the DUP – it won’t happen.

  • aquifer

    A hung parliament ‘might’ just as easily result in PR in future westminster elections and an increase in nationalist representation. The next labour government’s policy of unity by consent may just as well harden into get rid of those sectarian blackmailers ASAP.

    Until unionism gets a strategy beyond an unfortunate personality cult it is headed for the exit door.