DUP have a cunning plan…

THE DUP have a six-point plan for devolution. According to the Beeb, it includes an end to IRA paramilitary activity, republican support for the rule of law and “fundamental changes to the Good Friday Agreement”. Since those boxes will all be able to be ticked in the very near future, I wonder what else is on the list? Today, Jeffrey Donaldson cunningly conjured another obstacle out of the air when he said: “We differ from the IMC in their view that it’s not a matter of concern that the command and control structure of the IRA remains intact. If they are no longer engaged in criminal or paramilitary activity, there’s no need for that and we will want to see that structure dismantled.” Since the IMC is expected to give the ‘RA a clean bill of health in its report on Wednesday – by saying a politically-minded IRA can’t be held responsibly for members carrying out unsanctioned criminal operations or the like – I guess this move from the DUP is not unexpected. But if even Bobby Storey is hanging up his cloak and dagger and Gerry Kelly ready to jump onto the Policing Board, can the DUP really resist moving until yet another IMC report?

  • fair_deal

    “cunningly conjured another obstacle ”

    The call for disbandment is not new.

  • Pete Baker

    There’s also more detail in that report than a cloak and dagger being hung up.. and as for Gerry K getting ready to jump.. his stated position hasn’t changed since January.

    Don’t forget, Hain expected that call for a special Ard Fheis to be heard at the end of July.

    But the quadruple lock on policing is still there.. SF want it bypassed before they’ll commit to anything on policing – that remains the stumbling block.

    And that’s a position they’ve chosen for themselves.. it hasn’t been imposed on them by anyone else.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “The call for disbandment is not new.”

    Arguably, this is something different. And therefore new.

  • fair_deal

    Go to BBC NI website search for DUP IRA disbandment. You will find news stories containing this going back a number of years.

    It is also in the DUP’s seven principles outlined in their 2003 manifesto

    “4: Terrorist structures and weaponry must be
    removed before the bar to the Stormont
    Executive can be opened.”

    It is not new.

  • Hopefully like Baldrick’s cunning plans, it’ll all go belly up for them.

    Why don’t they grow up and spend their energy dealing with bread and butter issues affecting people here, rather than conjuring up plans to ensure the maintenance of remote control direct misrule?

  • ben

    “Terrorist structures and weaponry must be removed” — they have been.

    Except, of course, for some of the DUP’s sectarian terrorist friends. They’re different.

  • unfair exchange

    delay, delay, delay…

  • IJP

    Well said Gonzo.

    Waiting for the DUP to spell out clearly and realistically what it wants to do a deal is a bit like, well, waiting for SF to spell out clearly and realistically what it wants on policing.

    Yawn.

  • Crataegus

    Yawn Yawn Yawn; what a negative bunch and utterly predictable. Why don’t they and SF take up a hobby like war hammer or dungeons and dragons and do battle with the evil lord and let the rest of us get on with real issues. Waste of space, time effort and money.

  • Jonathan

    Regardless of what plans the DUP are shouting about at the moment I believe that the DUP & The Shinners will brooker a deal. It may not be to everyones liking, but then you can only please some of the people some of the time.
    It’s about time that our localy elected MLA’S delivered instead of the clampets that the Labour Government has inflicted on us.

    Right Ian & Gerry get your fingers our of your azzes and get on with what you were elected to do.

  • George

    That’s another five factories for the Irish Republic.

    The grateful people of the grey Republic thank you. Keep up the principle our DUP friends while we keep looking at the principle.

  • McGrath

    The DUP obviously don’t view the UVF and UDA as terrorist structures, hence their not calling for disbandment towards that end.

    Ya see, nationalists are not going to listen to the DUP, never mind trust them, until there is even a remote sense of fairness.

  • spice girl

    In my opinion, the DUP stance for once is almost reasonable. Patton has almost been implemented, and as Pete pointed out above SF have made no movement whatsoever. If the assembly was formed tomorrow, the pressure on SF would evaporate, and they could continue to ignore policing indefinitely – look what happened with regards to decommissioning – when the UUP lead unionists into government there was no movement whatsoever, and the whole thing went belly up. I have little doubt the same thing would happen with policing.
    On the other hand, it’s bout time the DUP gave a SF a chance. Decomissioning was a massive step, it needs to be acknowledged for what it was. I can see no reason why some nice choreography could be carried out, so that the assembly was set up one week, and SF joined up when X number of the patten proposals were implemented – say 4 weeks later. If SF didn;t join up, then they would either be sanctioned or the whole thing droped for another 3 years.

  • DK

    But spice Girl, there are only 2 Patten proposals that haven’t been started on – one was civilianisation (i.e. less police on desk work, something the Daily Mail has been calling for for years) and I can’t remember the other. It was a thread on slugger a while back.

    Anyway, as Pete points out, SF won’t join until policing is devolved, but that can’t happen (as they know) until the assembly is running, and the DUP won’t join unless SF support the police, and round we go again….

  • T.Ruth

    The key would be an unequivocal undertaking from government that any party which resiled from support for exclusively peaceful democratic politics( as measured by IMC) would be expelled immediately from Executive level politics while the institutions continue without that party. This would help overcome Unionists’ very real and justified distrust of anything Sinn Fein and the IRA would promise in a negotiation.
    Changes to make the Ministers and NSEW bodies accountable to the Assembly would be reasonable as would the expectation that all parties wishing to wield executive power would support the policing and justice system. This would in itself confirm that the IRA had gone away.Lest any one think I have ignored Loyalist paramilitaries be assured that I believe they have no place in politics until they have suffered a significant transformation.Continued investigation of all past crime would also be a priority for most Unionists whether the perpetrators were state or terrorist sponsored.
    T.Ruth

  • P O’Neil

    Saying No, No, Never, is not a cunning plan. May be if things continue at this pace Paisley will shuffle off his mortal coil, and after doing a jig, we can set about establishing a New Assembly without a coffin dodging war criminal as first minister.

  • bertie

    “Why don’t they grow up and spend their energy dealing with bread and butter issues affecting people here”

    Criminal structure in place, whilst not “bread and butter” should be of at least equal importance.

  • Butterknife

    Did the leader of the DUP not expressly state on TV during the last elections that Sinn Fein must disband?

  • fair_deal

    Butterknife

    Yes he did but apparently gonzo doesn’t remember that or the other multiple references to disbandment before or since (nor when this is pointed out is he willing to reconsider because Jeffrey Donaldson saying it again is “somehow different”)

  • George

    T.ruth,
    “The key would be an unequivocal undertaking from government that any party which resiled from support for exclusively peaceful democratic politics( as measured by IMC) would be expelled immediately from Executive level politics while the institutions continue without that party. This would help overcome Unionists’ very real and justified distrust of anything Sinn Fein and the IRA would promise in a negotiation.”

    The only problem with this cunning plan is that it removes democracy from the equation, handing the decision on power to an unelected quango th IMC.

    But hey, who cares about such trifles as democracy?

  • circles

    Hold on a second now Butterknife. “Did the leader of the DUP not expressly state on TV during the last elections that Sinn Fein must disband?”
    “Yes he did” says FD.
    Something is surely seriously wrong here. The DUP want the disbandment of SF? Has this been publicly stated?

  • Butterknife

    Circles do you remember the time that the leader of the DUP grabbed UTV’s reporter Ivan Lyttle’s collar? Well I believe it was at that time. Mind you i would have thought a crime was commited there but i guess not.

  • Flyonthewall

    Look folks the government could save us all some money by calling off the St Andrews talks and shutting the Assembly right now. THERE WILL BE NO DEAL ON DEVOLUTION BEFORE NOVEMBER 24.
    The DUP have told their grass roots this and quite a few local Councillors are mightily relieved (not sure about some of the MLAs though).

    What incentive do the DUP have for taking a risk and cutting a deal with SF before the November deal line? I can’t see any at all.

    Some might say taking executive power is an incentive- well inheriting the lion share of government departments at this stage with unpopular plans on education, water rates etc about to be implemented is a headache no local politico really wants or needs (especially those with a Westminster salary and a healthy majority.)

    The DUP got itself into its current strong electoral position by presenting itself as the strongmen- negotiators who could be trusted not to jump into government with SF. So why would they take an electoral risk over the next 6/7 weeks.

    Robinson’s forte is electoral strategy and he knows that his unprecedented electoral support comes from fundamentalist prods, a hardcore party faithful, and more significantly former UU voters, disillusioned with the political process post 98. None of these groups want a deal at this time.

    With its top guns at Westminster, The Assembly shutting down will hurt the DUP less than the UUP therefore it will wait for about a year before letting the govt know that it is prepared to deal so long as it can claim to its supporters that cosmetic chances to the Assembly- like separating the OFMDFM amount to are negotiation of the GFA. They then hope to finish off the UUP at an Assembly election- aided by the Ulster Tories.

    By that stage difficult policy decisions will already have been made and implemented by the NIO, so any political diffs the devolved ministers encounter can be blamed on NIO mis government.

  • seabhac siulach

    If the DUP are so insistent on dismantling IRA structures, etc., how come they were so close in December 2004 to doing a deal…when the PIRA was in a much more formidable shape (as opposed to today when it does not exist to all intents and purposes…)
    Their famous ‘principles’ were shown then for what they are…little more than talk and a negotiating position…

    Politics is the art of the possible, and if they really wanted political power now then they should really not be playing semantic games with the meaning of ‘disbanded’ or ‘decommissioned’…why would you need the ‘command and control structure of the IRA’ to be dismantled when it is in ‘command and control’ of nothing…it is now a paper tiger…and the DUP knows it…

  • Butterknife

    Flyonthewall states one fundamental truth:
    The mothballing of the Assembly will hurt the DUP the least. In fact, and regrettably it has to be added, the latent sectarianism within the Protestant community may reward them by giving them a larger mandate next time round.
    Ian Paisley used to claim that Catholics voted for the DUP. I used to believe that not beyond the realms of fantasy but this artificial (sic) state is, i fear, being laminated by a veneer of hope that hides the widening voidness that is bad political leadership and grassroots despair.

  • Nevin

    If republicans recognise the IRA Army Council as the legitimate government of Ireland will the current Sinn Fein have to disband and reform?

  • fair_deal

    circles

    My bad didn’t Butterknife’s point properly. Apologies. My point was on IRA disbandment.

  • kloot

    he Assembly shutting down will hurt the DUP less than the UUP therefore it will wait for about a year before letting the govt know that it is prepared to deal

    In a years time the labour party will be only a few months into a new leader and Gordon will be too busy establishing his credentials in middle england to have time to spend on the NI issue. What is there in it for Gordon to spend time on NI, he will have seen the effort blair put in and the lack of a reward for it and he wont be too bothered going down that path.

    The time for a deal is now surely. In a years time, yes alot of the reforms will have taken place, rates will have been introduced, probably a lot of public sector cuts, but the Noarth South institutions will also have been firmly set in place, based on Irish-British agreements. They will not countenance the DUP trying to tear this down were they to try and sign up a year later

  • Nevin

    Here it is: The Cunning Plan.

    “If the IRA provides convincing evidence of the new peaceful mode they talked about in July last year by discernibly dismantling their terror machine it is bound to create greater certainty as would the provision by the government of a meaningful sanction for default by republicans at any later stage on the terms of a deal.”

  • POL

    My bad didn’t Butterknife’s point properly. Apologies. My point was on IRA disbandment.
    Posted by fair_deal on Oct 03, 2006 @ 12:54 PM

    Maybe just a slip of the tongue LOL

  • kensei

    “The mothballing of the Assembly will hurt the DUP the least. In fact, and regrettably it has to be added, the latent sectarianism within the Protestant community may reward them by giving them a larger mandate next time round. ”

    It is at best, a short term gain. If the DUP uses this as the sole excuse to keep the Assembly dead then they will carry the can over it and SF will emerge relatively unscathed.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    In the world of politics…what is the motivation to have paisly share power with sinn fein? Why on earth would paisly go into the assembly to be first minister sharing the space with martin mcguiness as deputy first minister. Paisly is calling all the shots now…he doesn’t have to share space with mcguiness… As it stands today…can’t see a deal happening…

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Fair Deal

    You overlook the fact that Paisley himself has already booted the issue of disbandment out of the park. According to his remarks in November 2004, his position was that a post-decommissioning IRA could become an “Old Boys Association”? (He even joked that he might consider joining himself.)

    Check these out.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1358877,00.html

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2004/11/mood_music_good.php – 39k –

    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3109773.stm – 47k

    So Paisley has already said that an unarmed IRA can continue to exist, structures intact, as a sort of republican version of the Royal British Legion.

    But now with decommissioning out of the way, he backtracks. Surely this is a flagrant example of creating fresh obstructions?

  • Butterknife

    I do not see kensei how this can be anything but a long-term goal when you factor in mainland parties striping the UUP of their more liberal minded members. I am making the presumption that the former members of the UUP, which make up most of the DUP’s ‘think tank’, are calculating on this, and are bright enough to realise this probability.
    I dread to ask what the slip of the tongue was;)

  • P O’Neil

    Oh come one, how many people here realy believe that the Dajjal of Balleymena is capable of making peace?? I’m now of the opinion that big Gerry’s nomination of the Dajjal as first minister was calling his bluff. We are all well aware of Paisley’s secartian bile, and given that he (probably via the OO) does not want to share power with Catholics period, and the IRA issue has always been a convient pretext to maintain that position, although without explicity stating we will never share power with Catholics. It was only a few months ago the Dajjal called for the Red Hand of Ulster to be dyed a deeper shade of red, it is obvious, even to a blind man, the last thing he wants is peace. No matter what the IRA, or even spectre of the IRA, will always be his Goldstein / Bin Laden, and with out his fearmongering he wont be able to control the Unionist sheeple. Paisley and his demogogery started this conflict, and do you really think he is willing or capable of ending it?

  • fair_deal

    BP

    Then they robbed a bank and helped cover up a murder and thus any flexibility on what disbandment meant disappeared in a white van. Actions have consequences. Also for your suppostion to be true you have to ignore every other DUP statement calling for disbandment after that date. So the ball isn’t in touch, its on the field.

  • Nevin

    Bertie Ahern, The Napoleon of Notting Hill will leave Paisley in the Ballymena bunker on November 27?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Fair Deal

    “Then they robbed a bank and helped cover up a murder and thus any flexibility on what disbandment meant disappeared in a white van.”

    So you’re saying the goalposts HAVE moved?

    “Actions have consequences. Also for your suppostion to be true you have to ignore every other DUP statement calling for disbandment after that date.”

    Not so. I’m not denying that the DUP have moved the goalposts since Paisley’s “Old Boys” remarks – I’m just trying to establish that the DUP HAVE changed their position on this – as they undisputably have.

    You may seek to explain WHY they have shifted the goalposts and you can argue that they are right to have moved the goalposts, but you cannot deny that they HAVE shifted the goalposts.

    (Though I suspect that you may try to do just that…)

  • David

    Why not forget about the’Deal’ it is all a load of irrelevant nonsense. The governemnts should forget about these self serving pointless politicians. The bill for the assembly could be finally cut away. Use the saved money to transform the UDA. At 8 million it is a bargain compared to the MLA’s. Funny how the MLAs lifted their heads out of the trough to condemn cash for transformation within loyalism. Never a chance missed to condemn others (and ignoring their own hypocrisy).

  • Dread Cthulhu

    David: “Use the saved money to transform the UDA. At 8 million it is a bargain compared to the MLA’s. Funny how the MLAs lifted their heads out of the trough to condemn cash for transformation within loyalism.”

    Great… what a choice — fritter the money away on danegeld or on useless politicians.

    One should not be expected to reward what is normally considered socially acceptable behavior.

  • ciaran damery

    Another sop to the brits and orange cheer-leaders. This better be worth it or there’ll be hell to pay for it. Hell on earth, that is.

  • threebears

    There will be NO Assembly until the Rev Ian passes away.

  • Nevin

    “Transition and Culture of Lawfulness

    1.8 We have referred in the past to our hope that we will see a transition away from a situation where paramilitary groups engage in terrorist and other crime and where they exercise control over certain local communities through the use of violence and/or intimidation. We have expressed the hope that we will see the progressive marginalisation and eventual elimination of paramilitarism. By this we mean three main things. First, that paramilitary groups cease to be engaged in any form of crime, and in so far as they survive that they are acting lawfully on behalf of their old comrades or in other ways supporting their communities. Second, that they cease to exercise improper kinds of control or influence within their communities, with the corollary that they offer no hindrance to the normal operation of the criminal justice system or of other public services. Third, and flowing directly from the first two, that democratic politics are able to operate freely, openly and in full accordance with the law.”

    IMC 10th Report

    Will the IMC stand by this position or will it abandon the ‘culture of lawfulness’ in order to protect the governments’ ongoing appeasement policies? Will the term appear in the imminent IMC report?

  • Butterknife

    I agree with threebears. Like the Christ, Ian can only win thro death or face being branded a complete sh1t by the Protestant people whom he conned by his fire and brimstone speeches, thus fuelling negative periods of our past.
    Remember the mantra of no mass no Lamass in 1965 when he and our PM at the time invited him up here for dialogue. Proof if proof be needed that Paisley always lacked vision but rather, arguably with good intentions, he always had a knee jerk reaction to events that was counter productive for the wider picture.

  • kensei

    “I do not see kensei how this can be anything but a long-term goal when you factor in mainland parties striping the UUP of their more liberal minded members. I am making the presumption that the former members of the UUP, which make up most of the DUP’s ‘think tank’, are calculating on this, and are bright enough to realise this probability.
    I dread to ask what the slip of the tongue was;) ”

    Id the DUP takes the blame for the failure of the Assembly to reform, then there will be political consequences. I believe, whatever the arguments of Joint Authority or stewardship or the like, the two Governments will make life increasingly uncomfortable for the DUP and Unionism in general. Let’s face it, if they do nothing except what they have announced, then they are already making life uncomfortable for all of us. Short term the DUP may crush the UUP but in the long term it will be Unionism that feels the pain with increased North-Southery, super councils and an end to subsidy.

    Unionism could repeatedly play the “No” card in the past because it would be secure that there would be no consequences (certainly no major conseqences) to saying. Now there are consequences for saying no as much as saying yes. New ball game, kids.

  • GrassyNoel

    Blah Blah Blah, NO FENIANS ABOUT THE PLACE, Blah Blah Blah.

    Not much has changed since 1969, except they’re talking to no-one but themselves at this stage.

  • barnshee

    “I believe, whatever the arguments of Joint Authority or stewardship or the like, the two Governments will make life increasingly uncomfortable for the DUP and Unionism in general.”

    How exactly will the govt make life uncomfortable “for the DUP and Unionism in general.”?

    Can’t be done actions will apply across society prods will simply not take part in anthing they don`t like up to and inculding a UI

  • kensei

    “How exactly will the govt make life uncomfortable “for the DUP and Unionism in general.”?”

    They will give increasing power or influence to Nationalism and the Republic, and they will crack down heavily, on say the DUP excluding Nationalism in the areas they control. They’ll cut the money coming into our 72% state funded economy, and they’ll make people here pay more. And the DUP will carry the can for that, and in the long term I can’t see it doing anything for their support. Stubbornness is all very well, but the British Government has the tools to break it, if it has the will.

    “Can’t be done actions will apply across society prods will simply not take part in anthing they don`t like up to and inculding a UI ”

    Oh yeah, Nationalism will to an extent get fucked as well, in measures like rates and water charges. And yes you can absolutely say, no we’re not taking part. But there is a cost to that. The North South bodies will go on without you. Nationalist controlled super councils in the West will forge bigger ties with the Republic. Police recruiting will still be 50/50. Etc etc etc.

    This is fundamentally different than just more direct rule. Actions will begin to have consequences in way they didn’t before.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    barnshee: “Can’t be done actions will apply across society prods will simply not take part in anthing they don`t like up to and inculding a UI.”

    Right… the UUP’s North/South watch to the rescue.

    To be honest, it can be done, albeit in a slow and gradual way, akin to the old chestnut about boiling a frog. Freeze / decrease the subsidies that keep NI running while opening the North / South border economically would be a big start, along with the currect regional initiatives on roads, power and police cooperation.

    Northern Ireland will be removed from its hermetically sealed bunker mentality and have to address and adapt to changes. All sorts of changes possible once that occurs.