Whatever happened to that deadline…

As it happens, I’m in town tomorrow for the formerly hard deadline, but it is far from clear what if anything that it will signify. Noel MacAdam in today’s Tele (no link as yet): “Taking a semantic, not to say strategic, leap or two, Peter Hain seems to believe that, while the actual date can change, deadlines remain the same [eh? – ed]. Without it, this week’s sweeping legislation would not have happened”.

  • Lurker

    Look at it from Hain’s point of view.

    He hasn’t go the SF commitment on policing or even a date for an ard fheis.

    If it doesn’t come before the march election, then they won’t be able to run de hondt on 26th and we will have to have another election six weeks later – in May, in the last days of Blair, and as likely no result then either.

    Hain knows that the DUP split could widen as the date for the ard fheis slips back. The DUP will be left without their testing period of SF good behaviour and the ranks won’t like that. Dodds is worried about this too, clearly, judging by his question in the house yesterday.

    So Hain has to balance a likelihood of a messy crash in March against the prospect of a clean crash tomorrow, for which Paisley gets the blame and, if I were as cold and cyncial and ruthless as he is, and wanted an easy life, and no mess on my plate when I am campaigning to be deputy PM, I would crash it tomorrow and step down as SoS and tell an understanding British public that these people are just impossible to work with.

  • 2050


    Totally agree. The DUP are letting the majority off people down and are showing absolutely no vision. At least the UUP showned vision and transformed the situation during the GFA.

    Same old narrow minded sectarian crap from the DUP at the end off the day.

    Haven’t they noticed the rest off the world has moved on.

    The British government & SF should push on with resolving the policing matter and the public can decide what they want at the next election or referendum.

    Bring it down unless they give that we glimmer off hope (vague indication) of who their 1st minister would be IF. Cut the money and the cozy expenses otherwise.

  • joeCanuck

    From another thread:
    Q. When is a deadline not a deadline?
    A. When Peter Hain says it is.

  • joeCanuck

    You know, sometimes I feel sorry for the SoS. The PM gave him two balls to juggle (Wales and N.I.) and it seems that he hasn’t got the hang of it yet, hence the dropped balls.
    But perhaps it’s just the embodiment of The Peter Principle.

  • joeCanuck

    Totally off topic but any possibility of giving a short seminar on how to italicize or embolden selected text.
    no rush.

  • Lurker

    Well, look at it from Paisley’s point of view. His vulnerability is that the SF might procrastinate on the special ard fheis on policing. As March draws closer with no movement, his party will fret and split. Paisley told his people that he would test Sinn Fein’s committment. The longer SF leaves off the Ard Fheis, the less testing time Paisley has. And there will be McCartney in the wings with a challenge in several constituencies.
    Paisley might think it makes more sense now to play for a crash tomorrow and get that election scrapped until the ardh fheis is out of the way. He knows that Hain will soon be gone and that – whatever the bluster – a future SoS will come back to the long game.

    Then, what about Adams’s position. He might be very tempted to procrastinate on the ard fheis, not just to head off any splits in his own movement, but to damage the DUP. He might prefer to be in government in the north before the Irish election but he might also reason that if a crash hear is widely blamed on Paisley, then the southern electorate will be very understanding.

    And besides: neither party needs the assembly as much with the big sectarian councils at their disposal, and powers could ultimatley be devolved to them.

  • Keith M

    2050 ” The DUP are letting the majority off people down and are showing absolutely no vision. At least the UUP showned vision and transformed the situation during the GFA.”

    The UUP had the “vision” to walk into a blind alley and make themselves redundant.

    The majority of people want to see any party in the executive supporting the police, the DUP are the only party with the vision and determination to stick to that stance. Weeks on from the St.Andrews Agreement SF/IRA haven’t even set a date for a meeting where they MIGHT end up supporting the police. The days of unionists jumping first are gone.

  • Yokel

    I think the DUP are not going to jump.

    Theyve already spoken to Gordon Brown, the same deal will be revived in 6 months.

  • Aaron McDaid (was Occasional Commentator)

    to embolden text, just put <b> and </b> around the text.
    For example,

    <b> test </b>



    For italics, use i instead of b.

  • joeCanuck

    thank you Aaron

  • 2050


    The current unionist leaders are not being asked to jump today they are being asked to give even a vague indication of who the would nominate IF the circumstances were right for a devolved government.

    Hardly risky stuff leading to unification or anything so terrible as that. In fact what are the unionists really risking by sharing power equally? Are there not enough safeguards for unionists in the GFA, Mitchell principals etc.

    Perhaps abit off holding hands and jumping in parallel is required.

  • Lurker


    You’re purporting to present both sides’ “points of view” but are doing so in a biased way, concentrating on Paisley’s fears and vulnerability versus Adams’ potential for scheming and subterfuge.

    A more balanced description of Adams’ point of view is that he can only sign up to policing once. Suppose he calls the Ard Fheis and gets support through, but Paisley still refuses to share power because, for example, the Parades issue still hasn’t been resolved to his satisfaction.

    Then SF may end up in a position where they have to either support the police as they’re batoning protesters out of the way on behalf of Orange marchers, or else withdraw support for police again which will be seen as a hokey-kokey approach to policing which lacks credibility. And would give a major boost to dissident republicanism. (CIRA fired at the police in Ardoyne in July 2005. No one wants to see them gaining popular support for doing so.)

    Of course, Unionists already have an a la carte approach to support for the rule of law (e.g. Whiterock in Sept 2005), but the British Government seem to be blind to this – which seriously calls into question the Brits’ impartiality and their ability to act as a neutral mediator.