The blogosphere is a free economy. People swap and borrow snippets and insights all the time with one general rule: acknowledge your sources. I notice that Pete’s exclusive translation of Francie Brolly’s remarks in a Swiss French language newspaper got picked up quickly by the BBC and used as one of Donna Trainor’s sharpest questions (14 minutes in, streaming until this evening) on last night’s Newsline. Possibly too late for today’s papers to give it a substantive mention, we await to see if Pete’s work is acknowledged in the Sunday’s tomorrow.Some of our readers have noted that although widely respected within (and beyond) the party Brolly is hardly senior enough to reflect the views of the party leadership. But, at the least, his comments do raise important questions about perspectives inside the party.
Yet Peter Hain was clear in the House of Commons last week that Sinn Fein has to call an Ard Fheis on the matter of policing:
Sinn Fein needs to call an ard fheis—and before it, I guess, an ard chomhairle—to make it crystal clear that it is signing up to the pledge of office and that it is endorsing the terms of this legislation and the pillar that I mentioned at the beginning about the support for the rule of law and policing. It is absolutely crucial that Sinn Fein has to call that conference, and I expect it to do so.
It will be well worth paying close attention to how this plays out. If Brolly is right, and the party has actually no intention of calling an Ard Fheis until next Summer or Autumn then the chain is broken and, so far as the veto holding DUP may be concerned, all other bets would be off: including the election!!.