Belfast: “capital of procrastination..”

Great quote from Peter Hain on BBC Wales, via Seamus McKee this morning. The other great soundbite he had to offer was that it was “either devolution or dissolution”. Aha, the great game of political chicken continues. But it seems, if Mark Devenport is right, that he may actual dilute what is required today (primarily from the DUP) to ‘mood music’ so that it is weak enough to let said party off with a general intention to take up their posts in January, rather than naming their prospective candidates for First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

  • seabhac siúlach

    If they are not able to even nominate the First and Deputy First ministers today (that minimalistic step), then any further delay is merely postponing the inevitable…the catastrophic train wreck that awaits this ‘process’ in the spring…
    It is hard to see a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis taking place or being successful given the veto the DUP have been given on devolving policing powers in any new assembly, not to mention the talk of ‘political lifetimes’. It is also hard to see the DUP suddenly warming to the idea of power sharing with Sinn Fein. In this. it would appear that the DUP is sacrificing progress in the name of party unity.

  • Technically the dissolution paper will be triggered this afternoon, if there is no committment of any sort…

    I’m not sure the man in the Belfast street would call it a catastrophic train wreck though…

    Past bends in the road have been just that, a bend in the road.

  • Philip

    It is no longer a matter of nominating but rather the more vaguer word of indicating their willingness to take up the posts. However consider this hypothesis: come March the electorate vote the UUP and SDLP as the main spokesmen for their communities. If this happens does this make today’s events academic or even unlawful as it indirect interference for a future election as the government has presumed an even that has not happened yet.

  • My online radiotimes says that at 10.00am BBC 1
    we’re to have Stormont Live,
    “Jim Fitzpatrick and the BBC NI politics team bring live coverage of the Stormont Assembly on the day nominations for a Shadow First and Deputy First Minister are due to take place.”

    Instead its “homes under the hammer.”

    I can only say its a bit of a pisser getting up early after groaning through the Ashes last night on Five Live.
    Anybody got any details, has meeting been postponed?
    In my pajamas at home under the cosh 🙁

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    I’m wondering whether it’s logical to put pressure on either party to nominate someone for a position today when, in March, an election is to take place which may change the party composition in the Assembly. Surely the time to nominate is in March……after the results of the election are known, after the people have spoken. In the mean time the parties should agree to the broad thrust of the SAA and to endeavor to implement it – powersharing, policing, the Irish Language Act etc. If the parties haven’t made a sufficient effort in the meantime, the people can deliver their verdict.

  • Radio Ulster is gving live coverage now

  • Yokel


    Not often I’d agree with you but you might be right there.

    Philip, it would be nice if both the SDLP & UUP were the dominant groups, in that theres marginally more chance of working together successfully, but no chance of it happening.

    There may be a slight re-alignment as I am sure the DUP & Sinn Fein have peaked in % vote terms and Sinn Fein in particular could face a marginal eating away of their vote from the dissident camp (if they get themselves in position to contest)that would exceed any additional gain from the SDLP.

    As for the DUP, I’m pretty sure the UUP are pretty much down to their ‘never Paisley’ core. In addition a lot of DUP votes look borrowed, whilst some of the Shinners gains from the SDLP have a greater permanence about them.

  • seabhac siúlach


    “…Sinn Fein in particular could face a marginal eating away of their vote from the dissident camp (if they get themselves in position to contest)”

    I don’t know about other ‘dissident’ groups but Republican Sinn Fein cannot contest the elections as to do so would require them to take the electoral pledge (or some such thing) to renounce violence/recognise Stormont or whatever, which they refuse to do on a point of principle…
    They cannot, therefore, run on an abstention ticket as they cannot even get their names on the ballot papers.
    So Provo Sinn Fein have no worries on that front (not being so burdened with all those deeply held principles, ahem…).

  • Yokel

    Seabhac..if they want they will find a way around it.

    What money on the First Minister being Robinson?

  • Yokel

    Peter Hain has been arrested with a bag in Stormont?

    Boy that guy is desperate to shut down debate…..

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    Plan B is the only option now.