Deja Vous?

The Assembly Hansard for yesterday is online. Bob McCartney’s contribution may not have inspired agreement throughout, but there was some interest:

Apart from an ego trip and ministerial office, St Andrews-style devolution offers little to unionists. The timetable affords no credible opportunity for testing whether Sinn Féin genuinely supports the police and the rule of law. At best, Sinn Féin will offer the minimum words necessary, with fingers crossed in reservation. The DUP will be inviting upon itself the plague of internal dissent that Jeffrey Donaldson, in a previous life, once inflicted upon the UUP. [Laughter.]

  • David

    Mr McCartney is right in what he says. The core problem lies (as usual) with the ongoing government strategy. Rather than seeking to build a centre ground coalition of the type that secured the GFA,Blair seems to believe he can persuade the extremes to enter into a deal. This leads him to endlessly appease them with favours which they take and then back of resolution.
    The prospect of a sustainable political deal has now gone for this generation. Blair must recognise this and bring the damaging process to a halt (it is hard for him as his motivation is his own legacy). In doing so he will allow N. Ireland to move on and thus create the ground for the next generation to catch up in a few years time. Blairs legacy would thus be as the man who took us over the difficult terrain and made a sustainable resolution probable. That he would not be PM when it happened is not relevant in history. If he continues to push as he is there is a real danger that the whole idea might crash and that would leave an altogether different legacy.
    It really is not Blairs fault that the generation that were active in politics or paramilitarism during the troubles cannot move on. It is the legacy of those years.

  • Sadly Bob is quite correct.

    What surprises me is that the DUP bloggers on this site won’t admit that they are going down the same road on the same journey as the unionist leader they helped to destroy.

  • A related point is that the DUP’s increasing immersion in this sordid process might have offered an opportunity for the UUP to outflank its rivals by adopting the analysis of McCartney (and Allister?). There is plenty of concern out there but very few politicos seem keen to articulate it, possibly because Assembly salaries and allowances are at stake.

    Sadly, from the twitterings of Empty last week, he seemed keener to berate Big Ian for not moving faster on the fudge that seems inevitable if and when the Executive is formed next year.

  • Truth and Justice

    This is the great McCartney who would lead Unionism to the promised land of the Governments Plan B – every thing McCartney has been crying about on the issues of a cap on rates no Water charges, end of acedemic selection and end of the Grammar schools these would be saved under the St Andrews Agreement all the things McCartney would want yet he has no alternative except plan B Joint Authority with the Irish Government. If you listen to McCartney he will lead us to this grat plan B!

  • The problem, T&J, is that when Plan A proves unworkable – again – what do you think is coming next? (Clue: think what follows “A” in the alphabet.)

  • fair_deal

    The Watchman

    “What surprises me is that the DUP bloggers on this site”

    Was that a reference to myself or others?

  • Pete Baker


    That’s déjà vu.. all over again..


  • Percival

    The Watchman

    Are you opposed to the concept of power-sharing per se or just sharing power with an emasculated republican movement that has been forced down the road of decomissioning to a degree Trimble never achieved and will be forced to sign up to support policing and the rule of law, something Trimble NEVER EVER achieved.

    The irony of UUP hacks like Mr. Shilliday flagging up McCartney’s comments is so thick you could choke on it: the UUP want the DUP to move faster towards forming an executive, while at the same time trying to highlight cranks like McCartney to the right of the DUP.

    Just what does the Ulster Unionist Party stand for nowadays other than base hatred of Paisley and his party?

    What Watchman, would your deal, if you had the power to negotiate one, look like?

  • Percival


    Spot on re. McCartney. While he advocated people should go to gaol over their rates bills the DUP went to St. Andrews and sorted the problem. Ditto academic selection.

    Bob can gurn all he likes, but his vision would lead Unionism into a cul-de-sac out of which we would not be able to reverse.

  • willowfield

    McCartney says the DUP is now a pro-Agreement party.

    It took you this long to realise, Bob?

    Bob was a fool if he thought the DUP could get a new agreement.

  • Greenflag

    Catchman ,

    ‘The problem, T&J, is that when Plan A proves unworkable – again – what do you think is coming next? (Clue: think what follows “A” in the alphabet.)

    In the Northern Ireland political alphabet there are no letters only acronyms . It will be just
    FUDGE number 2,0001 or 2,002 ?

    Hain has debased the coinage to a degree that Wood’s half pennies would in comparison look like gold coin 🙁

    There is nowhere else for Unionism to go unless McCartney is looking for UDI ? No British Government will cede what McCartney is looking for and McCartney knows it !

  • Wasn’t referring to you, Fair Deal, as you have at least made your position clear.

    Don’t have much typing time, Percival, but my ideal deal would keep the IRA out of government so long as the IRA existed. That’s Jim Allister’s position, as far as I can gather, as well. I don’t know if you’re a DUP person, but if you are then you should stop pretending that your people have negotiated a wonderful deal when it’s more or less the same thing that you lot exorciated Trimble for.

    Oh and as for academic selection, you may have said that the DUP has saved academic selection, but I seem to remember that “Ken and Cecil” were supposed to have “saved the RUC”. We’ll wait and see.

  • Gosh, Greenflag, you haven’t mentioned “repartition” yet.

  • truth and Justice

    Lets face reality the UUP are in support of St Andrews as are all the other partys the only person not is big bad Bob he thinks its a vote winner but with no alternative!

  • Percival


    Correct again. Bob can howl at the moon all he likes dreaming of his integrationist utopia, but it aint going to happen.

    The Watchman

    The old poker adage comes to mind – you play the hand you are dealt not the hand you want. Bearing that in mind, I think the DUP have done a remarkable job, especially on the Strand One issues.

    The only thing that an Irish Republican could claim as a victory in St. Andrews is the Irish Language Act, and even then the implementation of said act will be a matter for the assembly.

    The way to ensure and ILA with bells on, to ensure Sinn Fein get the concessions they desperately need on policing to sell it to their grass-roots and to ensure further unaccountable north-southery PLUS the abolition of Academic selection and the introduction of capital based rates is to walk away – which is exactly what the Shinners want the Unionists to do – it will enable them to trot the globe portraying our community as an equivalent to the worst elements of the Afrikaans (a false analogy I know, but on whwich will undoubtedly be deployed).

    No-one is enthusiastic about the idea of Sinn Fein in government from within the Unionist community, but the truth is that the DUP have pushed the Shinners further down the road to total decomissioning and they now have them on the verge of signing up to policing. These are things Trimble NEVER achieved when he was at the healm.

    Go with bob if you like, but his vision is a dead-end.

  • fair_deal


    Thank you for the clarification, even though not a party member I get the label DUP blogger hence my question. Your opinion is also one I value so I was curious.

  • Smithsonian

    Never, Never, Never
    Sackcloth and ashes
    Smash Sinn Fein
    Over our dead bodies
    Snowballs at Lemass
    O’Neill, Faulkner, Trimble

    Which ministry would Gerry like, Marty?
    Read animal farm

  • “… exactly what the Shinners want the Unionists to do – it will enable them to trot the globe portraying our community as an equivalent to the worst elements of the Afrikaans (a false analogy I know, but on whwich will undoubtedly be deployed).

    Percival, do you realise you sound just like Trimble-1996/7? Do I really have to remind you what happened to him?

    And how has the DUP done a “remarkable job”? It is just another pro-Agreement party.