“No guts, no government”…

According to tomorrow’s FT, we can expect, precisely what we expected before the St Andrews’ junket summit: niente, nada, zip. The endless boredom of this now elderly Peace Process™ can be understood by these candid words reported by Martina Purdy, “It used to be a case of ‘no guns no government’ but as one cynical hack put it, it’s now ‘no guts, no government’.”

  • Pete Baker

    Equally interesting comments in that report from the British and Irish governments, Mick

    Perhaps too much is being read into body language, but Mr Blair’s official spokesman certainly cleared up the Alliance leader’s confusion on whether the deadline was for devolution or just an agreement on devolution (David Ford wasn’t the only one confused).

    Downing Street said it related to an agreement while the Irish foreign minister, no doubt not wanting to contradict London, said the deadline meant: “The immediate kicking in of the ISSUE of devolution.”

    Dermot Ahern also talked about the operation of the bones of a deal, but did make clear he wasn’t prepared to wait months for implementation.

    Nonetheless, this is not exactly what Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern said when they imposed their 24 November deadline.

  • Deadlines are only effective when the parties believe that this is the end game. I am not convinced by either side that they believe that either government is serious about the deadline. It remains to be seen.

  • Saemus

    I suspect your government would like our government to be more serious about it because of the Irish electoral cycle. Sadly for Bertie no one here ever believed that 24/11 was an absolute deadline because that is not how the process works.

  • Rory

    The very question “What if the deadline passes without agreement?”, quite apart from all the petty observations of members’ salaries and expenses, and the conflicting and at times almost astrological prediction of what might happen from all quarters of informed comment, not least Slugger, demonstrates only that that the “softly, softly catchee monkey” strategy, beloved of British foreign policy from the heyday of the empire is quietly being applied once again in this period of difficulty with the oldest colony.

    But which party represents the “monkey” and has that monkey perhaps already been induced into, if not full compliance, at least a growing complaisance?

    I have had my bets down for a very many years. This is a race for long stayers and stamina, consistency, experience and commitment should out in the final furlong.

  • Henry94

    It may be that neither side is that afraid of the alternative. The DUP can say they kept Sinn Fein out of government and Sinn Fein will be happy with the joint stewardship approach which will move the all-Ireland agenda forward more effectively that Stormont could have.

  • Dessertspoon

    And there you have it Henry94 the nail to be hit on the head. The truth is those in a position to do a deal went to St Andrew’s with no intention of doing it because no deal suits them both. Well it doesn’t suit me…….and why is the sticking point now policing and power sharing, isn’t that what it was before they went? Have they really spent all that money and time talking about nothing – what are the meetings about??? What the hell was the point in going??? Can someone please stop the roundabout I want to get off.

  • Elvis Parker

    ‘Sinn Fein will be happy with the joint stewardship approach which will move the all-Ireland agenda forward more effectively that Stormont could have’
    Henry you delude yourself if you think the governments have any intention of going down this road. They hold the DUP and SF equally culpable so why would they ‘punish’ the unionist postion?
    Also to do so would be consign any hopes of a future deal to the bin.
    Besides how long have these governments got 3 years in UK and 8 months in the Republic?

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    If Feeney is saying ‘don’t hold your breath’, I wouldn’t.

    DS,

    Stopping about March is the latest estimate. But who knows? This comedy of errors has taken eight years to bed in. So much displacement activity, in such a small place!

  • POL

    Bring on joint authority or power sharing,either way its a win,win situation for nationalism.

  • smcgiff

    I’d be of the opinion that there will be a loser if there is no deal – The DUP.

    I imagine most people realise that SF wish to do a deal and they would be willing to sign up to policing, but not with the strings the DUP are attempting to tie it up in (rat out mates, and hand over the “pension fund”) – Everyone knows this isn’t going to happen, so by so asking the DUP are effectively admitting they don’t want to go into government.

    Ironically, what would have been unthinkable all those years ago when Big Ian started into politics in a big way seems to now be more desirable than being in Government (albeit with SF).

    1. Serious involvement in the affairs of NI by the Republic of Ireland.

    2. 7 super councils with an effective nationalist block West of the Bahn. Councils that, arguably, have the most power delegated to them than any other NI politician. The ramifications of this could eventually lead to repartition, and a rump N(Eastern)I.

    3. To allow the UK central government to continue to bring in hated policies that target, amongst others, middle class Protestants.

    This will be the DUP’s legacy… Vote DUP – Get inaction.

    The UUP are looking more and more the clever unionist’s choice.

  • Bushmills

    Mcgiff

    “The UUP are looking more and more the clever unionist’s choice.”

    Vote UUP – get capitulation.

    I appreciate how frustrating it must be for nationalists to have to deal with Unionists who are unprepared to jump through hoops for them and have a damned-foolish idea about sticking to manifesto committments. Imagine the cheek of the DUP.

  • smcgiff

    Bushmills,

    Not capitualating is not an option. The status quo is not an option.

    It’s a choice for unionism to capitule to a DUP/SF lead government or a defacto UK/ROI government.

    Take your pick.

    And please, do I have to imagine Rev Ian’s Cheeks!

  • smcgiff

    One other thing, Bushmills,

    The altruistic part of me hopes the nationalists and unionists can make a deal and set up joint government.

    However, I’ve no doubt in my mind, from a purely nationalist pov, that it would be better for nationalism for the DUP to fluff it.

    Defacto Joint stewardship (slowly and not as obvious at first, but more progressive as time goes on)
    A national Super council West of the Bahn
    A totally frustrated disinterested London government.

    What’s not to like!!!

  • Bushmills

    mcgiff

    The DUP has made it’s position perfectly clear. Those who refuse to support the police and the rule of law can have no place in the government of Northern Ireland. When Sinn Fein signs up to policing we can move forward, until that happens, we cannot. Don’t blame Unionists because Sinn Fein remains wedded to gangsterism.

    Sorry if you’re used to Trimble-style lap-dogs rolling over at nationalism’s behest, but it wont be happening again. The days of Unionist capitulation are over.

  • smcgiff

    ‘The days of Unionist capitulation are over.’

    Nope. The days of unionists deciding their faith in isolation is over – see my post above.

  • barnshee

    “Defacto Joint stewardship (slowly and not as obvious at first, but more progressive as time goes on)
    A national Super council West of the Bahn”

    Leads to West of the Bann (approximately) fucked out of N Ireland –cheers from all prods east of Bann(approximately) Shit runs down legs all over new ROI as penny drops -you’ve got them now protestants laugh for another 400 years

  • smcgiff

    Willing to sacrifice the Prods West of the Bahn, eh?

    Very patriotic! If we can assimilate 400,000+ east Europeans, I’m sure we could assimilate those indigenous to the area.

    The Republic of Ireland continues to pull away from the North East of Ireland for the next 400+ years.

  • Greenflag

    Elvis ,

    ‘Besides how long have these governments got 3 years in UK and 8 months in the Republic?’

    Whatever about the UK , the Republic is odds on to have the same Coalition parties in Government for the next 5 years 🙂

    And although I have some doubts about Gordon Brown’s vote pulling capacity south of the Scottish borders I still believe he can shave it .

    The political result of failure to restore the NI Assembly will be a ‘neutered’ DUP left to even greater political isolation, and an SF which will lose a couple of percentage points in the Republic’s upcoming general election .

  • lib2016

    The idea that the greening of NI could be stopped on the Bann died at Drumcree, due partly to Blair and his decision to stand up to the OO, the unionist parties and the paramilitaries.

    The idea that it could be stopped on the Lagan died during the Luv Ulster debacle.

    The British know it, Irish nationalists know it and those unionists not living in complete denial of reality know it.

    The Scots-Irish, whatever communal identity they eventually construct will continue to be as Irish as De Valera or Connolly ever were. Just what part of a modern multicultural Britain does their loyalty cling to for it to overcome the facts of history? Their ‘overseas Britishness’ is a polite fiction until they accept that the British Empire has been replaced by a common European identity.

  • Greenflag

    smcgiff,

    ‘The ramifications of this could eventually lead to repartition, and a rump N(Eastern)I.

    I’m sure the DUP have that ‘ramification ‘ in mind . It’ll be much easier to ‘push through’ once the UUP are no longer a credible political force . The DUP are almost there but not quite .

    What commentators on all sides seem to have ignored or refused to comment on is the fact that the DUP and SF leadership have never negotiated directly face to face . How can political parties who cannot /don’t want to /refuse to deal directly face to face ever expect to share power in a modern supposedly open democracy ?

    Both Governments have blinded themselves to the political and demographic realities on the ground in NI in their understandable desire to make ‘progress’ .

    So the call is up to Hain now . Will his bluff be seen as a bluff or did he actually meaan what he said re Nov 24th deadline ?

  • lib2016

    Greenflag,

    Sinn Fein support in the South seems to be centred in certain areas, partly on the basis of how corrupt the old republican base had become during the Troubles and increasingly by their policy of concentrating on grooming good candidates and the areas where conditions are right for those candidates.

    Have you any idea of how things are on the ground? They still seem reasonably confident of ten elected next year rising to fifteen T.D.’s by 2012.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The idea that the greening of NI could be stopped on the Bann died at Drumcree’

    Full marks for political naivety . Drumcree was only a ‘battle’ not a ‘war’ .

    ‘The Scots-Irish, whatever communal identity they eventually construct ‘

    Unionists are not just of Scots-Irish origin . Many are of English and Irish origin also .
    Their political and national identity is British .

    Best to accept that fact of life and move on to a fair and agreed repartition of Northern Ireland .

    A 30 county Republic can be just as successful as a 26 county Republic and a 2 county north eastern ‘rump ‘ NI State can be just as unsuccessful as a 6 county State. None of our business one way or the other .

    YOu can lead a horse to water etc . Why would we Irish want or even desire to ‘absorb’ 800,000 alienated unionists into an All Ireland Republic anyway . Why repeat the mistake of the NI State initiated in 1920 ?

    Could’nt we just learn from ‘history’ just this once ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Have you any idea of how things are on the ground? They still seem reasonably confident of ten elected next year rising to fifteen T.D.’s by 2012. ‘

    Labour appear to be imploding following the collapse of their recent effort to bring the government down . SF may pick up some Lab votes .

    Overall I expect SF to hold what they have . Frankly the Irish Republic’s electorate is and has been for some considerable time been ‘pissed’ off with the ‘pieces process’ north of the Border . We have no understanding nor regard for the DUP (despite Bertie’s tea party for the Ayatollah in Dublin ) and among the vast majority of voters SF’s economic policies sound like a recipe for economic disaster .

    SF’s performance North of the border will continue to grow in strength regardless of power sharing or not . It’s difficult to discern whether the absence of a power sharing Assembly in NI will help or hinder the SF vote in the Republic . It could go either way or have no effect at all.

    The priorites for the Republic’s voters in the next election will be -affordable housing , immigration control – and health care .

    Northern Ireland is going to be far down the list as usual .

  • smcgiff

    SF lost another %1 in an opinion poll released today down to 8%.

    SF will always have a fairly low glass ceiling in the Republic. Their policies are pitched to those in the lower socio-economic group of society, and guess who are the worst at turning out to vote.

  • Henry94

    Sinn Fein’s problem in the south is the same as Labour’s. Socialism is a tough sell in a property owning democracy on the cusp of one of the most impressive economic booms of all time.

    I would say to Sinn Fein what Eoughan Harris once said to the Stickies. Walk away from Socialism.

  • POL

    Leads to West of the Bann (approximately) fucked out of N Ireland –cheers from all prods east of Bann(approximately) Shit runs down legs all over new ROI as penny drops -you’ve got them now protestants laugh for another 400 years
    Posted by barnshee on Oct 13, 2006 @ 11:59 AM

    Sad and pathetic as usual barnshee,however i think you`ve totally missed the entire point.If the wee N.E of this country was not economically viable on its own then it`ll even be less so if there is a repartition.If it gets to that stage,where west of the bann does secede to the republic then it will be closely followed by other border super-council areas that are nationalist controlled,leaving this weee province with geograhically, feck all.
    Bit like a turkey clapping for christmas ya pillock.