Last chance to vote and comment

Today is the final day to respond to the DUP’s consultation on the St Andrew’s Agreement. You can respond online at the DUP’s website here. Personally, after much soul searching, debate with friends and family and re-reading of the St Andrews Agreement I have submitted a qualified No to the consultation.

  • JR

    “after much soul searching, debate with friends and family and re-reading of the St Andrews Agreement I have submitted a qualified No to the consultation.”

    Fair Deal it would have been more interesting to have read you reason(s) for a ‘qualified No’. We’re all to use to hearing ‘No’ in N.I. without a qualified reason.

  • fair_deal

    JR

    I will provide full explantion at the week-end. I am about to leave for a conference so don’t have the time now.

  • Mick Fealty

    In the meantime, it might be good to hear from other who have taken the time to respond to the DUP’s consultation, as how they voted, and why?

  • Animus

    I have chosen not to respond because I have never voted DUP. However, I have read over the document and it is quite a propagandist approach to persuading people to vote yes. I dislike the mixed approach and it is somewhat mean-spirited. Although I agree strongly with a cap on rates, I strongly disagree with keeping academic selection. I also think the way the DUP promotes itself over the UUP’s stance towards the Belfast Agreement is mealy-mouthed and ungenerous. The DUP could easily find itself standing in the same shoes in a few years’ time. If consultees vote no, does that mean the DUP will give up on devolution this time?

  • Butterknife

    I went to the DUP website and tried to get a look at the PDF of the GFA#2 oops sorry StAA: wouldn’t work for me – is this an omen?
    For what creditability the DUP had is long gone. In Lisburn there is a weekend tabloid that has a letters page and on it the local DUP usually have to defend themselves against accusation of mismanagement etc. This time it’s the decision not to fly the Union flag as promised in their manifesto but to resort back to the UUP position of flying the flag on agreed days. Further the Alderman/MLA/MP has been made a laughing stock by a writer who asked him if it was moral that tri-mandates exist – needless to say if we are responsible for electing such people then we should share the blame.

  • Greenflag

    Instead of a ‘qualified’ No an ‘absolute ‘No’ is the right choice .

    Despite the media hype and the pressure from both Governments to get the DUP and SF into the same devolved Government the simple political truth is that there is no trust between these parties – never has been and never will be . Even it it were to happen it would be an ‘involuntary’ power sharing coalition basically one minor hiccup or inadvertent statement away from implosion .

    The SAA would provide for NI a ‘sectarian ‘ carve up and a 2 party dominated devolved government with virtually no opposition . Apart from not having any real economic policy powers it’s hard to see any real benefit from this arangement other than the fact that SF and DUP Ministers might actually talk to each other once in a blue moon instead of never .

    There are those who say that the SAA is worth it because it gives NI at least the semblance of ‘normal ‘ democracy while it puts on hold the aspirations of both political tribes .

    The fact is that NI cannot in it’s present form become a normal democracy . You cannot have a change of Government in Northern Ireland without ending the State’s existence . This does not apply in the USA (as we have just seen) , in the Irish Republic ,in the UK or in France , Germany , Sweden etc etc etc .

    The ‘failed’ political entity will remain just that until such time as both Governments face up to the ‘real ‘ issue .

    In the meantime Direct Rule is the safest option even if it condemns NI to semi colonial government for another generation . It willthen be left to a new generation of Republican /Nationalist and Unionist politicians to try again .

    Fair Deal has no doubt his own ‘qualified’ reason s for NO . No doubt the usual ‘police ‘ OTR issues may be to the fore . But at the end of the day they are irrelevant and merely questions of ‘timing’. What is relevant is the undemocratic nature of this so called ‘settlement’.

    In any normal democracy there would be no question of any Government Party not giving full support to the police . The fact that this situation exists in NI is just further confirmation of the non democratic nature of the NI State .

    But then a State in modern Europe which elects a Cleric by popular vote as it’s First Minister is hardly ‘normal’ .

    Pull the plug Mr Hain and be done with the farce -for now anyway !

  • Butterknife

    I agree. Have guts. Pull the plug.
    If Paisley was to make a deal now it will show him up as the master of all hypocrites by accepting ‘partnership’ with SF now, whereas in the 1960s he was the firebrand who helped destroy ‘power sharing’ in the 1960s with the SDLP.

  • John White

    Fair-Deal

    What chances do you think of a “stalking horse” challenge to Dr Paisley’s leadership.

  • JR

    If a deal was done 2 or 3 decades ago in ’74 with the Sunningdale agreement or the mid eihties with the Anglo Irish agreement the Unionist community would still have the UDR and the RUC. The economy would be in a far better position and SF would not have gained prominence in the Nationalist community. So, has Paisley do harm to the Union or not? Of course he did.

  • Baby Barrister

    The DUP download is a crock of sh1t, take the 20 points it makes…

    1.Fundamental Changes to the Belfast Agreement.

    Where? It even starts with a re affirmation of the Belfast Agreement (Art3)

    2. A DUP veto on all significant decisions – never again will Ministers be able to take decisions in defiance of the unionist community.

    What about the republican veto on all significant decisions? Para2 “where a decision of the Executive could not be achieved by consensus and a vote was required, any three members of the Executive could require it to be taken on a cross-community basis.”

    2.A DUP veto on North South decisions.

    Eh? Minister’s code- they have to pledge to take part in Executive/ North South Ministerial Council etc. it a legal obligation on the First and Deputy First Minister to appoint members to the North- South bodies
    Para8 “The Pledge of Office would require that Ministers would participate fully in the Executive and NSMC/BIC, and would observe the joint nature of the office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister”
    Para 21 a joint forum to be set up between MLAs and TDs North-South parliamentary forum
    Para 22 an all Ireland civic forum to be established called the Independent Consultative Forum.

    4. Strong DUP influence on all policies affecting Northern Ireland – accountable local decision-making instead of Direct Rule.
    See 1 & 2

    5. Implementation of measures to ensure Fairness and Equality for unionists.

    Where? They cant mean an Irish Language Act (note just a passing reference of support for Ulster Scots) or additional powers for Monica McWilliams Human Rights Commission, or access for EU nationals to Civil Service posts. The Establishment of a Victims Commissioner is for ‘victims’ not unionist victims

    6.The retention of Academic Selection.

    Nonsense, not mentioned at all in the document. Must be a side deal we don’t know about! While the 11-plus as a mode of selection has gone forever, A new assembly would have the right to retain academic selection but that would inevitably to be decided upon a cross community vote.
    Sinn Fein and the SDLP are against selection in principle, therefore they can veto proposals on any new method for doing so. The DUP has not secured any mechanism to prevent this. Indeed, their ‘accountability changes’ secure their opponents veto.

    7. A Cap on Rates.
    no tangible promise to have them capped at the same level as in the rest of the United Kingdom

    8. Local Control of issues such as water charges.
    That is a devolutionist argument but not St Andrew’s specific.

    9. Assembly to take responsibility for RPA with ability to block its all-Ireland agenda.
    see8
    10. Sinn Fein having to give full support to policing and the criminal justice system.

    Agreement requires all ‘parties’ to government to support the policing and justice systems. Sinn Fein can claim again that they are not the IRA. Sinn Fein could profess ostensible support for the police whilst the IRA demures or remains silent on this issue.

    11. An automatic end to 50/50 recruitment as soon as composition of the PSNI reaches 30% Roman Catholics.

    50/50 police recruitment goes when Patten target is met this is nothing new, just implementation of Patten which they claimed to be against

    12. No date for the devolution of policing and justice powers and a DUP veto over when this takes place.

    18 months- May 2008 is specified Implementation of the agreement published today should be sufficient to build the community confidence necessary for the Assembly to request the devolution of criminal justice and policing from the British Government by May 2008.

    13.Westminster Northern Ireland Grand Committee to meet in province.
    ??????????? whoopey doo!!!

    14. An end to all IRA paramilitary activity.

    Not even mentioned, just all party support for policing and justice

    15. A complete end to all IRA criminal activities.
    See 14

    16. A testing period to ensure republicans have delivered.
    Aye until March, after that they have even thrown away the Secretary of State’s suspension mechanism Para 14 the Secretary of State’s ability to suspend the Executive/Assembly which both Mandelson and Reid used when SF were up to no good is to go repeal of the Northern Ireland Act 2000
    17. Unionists no longer having to jump first- no delivery means no deal.

    Means we are totally dependent on SF/IRA. No republicans no government- some fair deal

    18.The electorate given an opportunity to pass their verdict.
    Oh thank you Ian, another bloody election

    19. Commitment to increased funding for victims.
    Define victims

    20. A Financial Package for Northern Ireland.

    An audience with Gordon Brown, which has already turned out to be a damp squid. The not very British policy of harmonising Corporation Tax on an All island basis does not appear to be on the radar screen.

  • Baby Barrister

    If FD was being consistant he would have taken about as long it took to read the STAA to give it an unqualified no.

    Even Darth Rumsfeld was able to put aside his anti Purple prejudice to see it for what it is- Good Friday Mark 2.

    Now what about pakman, Peter Brown etc ???

  • Bemused

    Jesus – the spelling on this site really is depressing.

    It’s a damp SQUIB you twit.

    Similarly the word is CONSISTENT not consistant.

  • smcgiff

    ‘It’s a damp SQUIB you twit.
    Similarly the word is CONSISTENT not consistant.’

    The word is ANAL not Pedant.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    What a mess the DUP have settled for less than the GFA.

    Had they backed Trimle maybe the GFA would have become something we could all of accepted.

    Every time RIP has attacked something or someone in the last 35 years he has undermined the union he still continues.

    Come back Sunningdale all is forgiven, I wait to see RIP and GA hand in hand on the steps of Stomont……………..that photgraph will find its place in the ALL TIME HYPOCRITES HALL OF FAME.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Bemused

    Try commenting on the content of the email – I knew what he meant and he has done a fairly good job in answering the document.

    The odd b or e won’t change that

  • Plum Duff

    Personally, I preferred damp squid. I LOL when I saw it. It reminded me of Johnny McQuaid with his alligators and breeding from a pair of gondolas.

  • rapunsel

    The agreement is about the spliting of power and not the sharing of power. Can’t decide whether splitting at this stage might lead to sharing in the future. Baby Barrister has a good analysis. How the DUP have the gall to claim they are getting an end to the 50:50 recruitment for the PSNI I don’t know? Still my gut feeling is that I don’t want Ian Paisley as First Minister despite the other arguments – so If a referendum was held tomorrow I’d be in the no camp.

  • Balloo

    Its still quite hard to believe what the DUP have negotiated and settled for. Its a disgrace that they have divided and conquered unionism to provide us with this second rate deal.

    Paisley has promised so much and delivered very little. Never mind pushover unionism, the DUP haven’t even put up a fight.

  • headmelter

    Will it be a yes or a no then? 😉

  • Ultonian

    THe SAA is the biggest concession ever given to Sinn Fein and by the people who told the publlic to support them to stop concessions.

    Paisley should publicly wear sackcloth and ashes and apologise to Trimble while calling on the people to support the Ulster Unionist parties principled stand.

    Anyone with a titter of wit will agree the only reason anyone would support the SAS would be to see Ian Paisley as first minister and persinally this is something I can do without.

    Amazingly as an Ulster Unionist all I wonder is why Jeffrey Donaldson or Arlene foster or even Peter Weir aren’t calling for an Ulster Unionist Council meeting to reject this treachery. sorry I forgot they are now members of the DUP and have negotiated this and are supporting it. Hwo times change