What was the real ‘Plan B’…

One thing we Irish (of all political stripes and none) are good at is myth making. In recent years much time, energy and imagination has been devoted to the myth of ‘Plan B’. For most of the period of the Assembly’s suspension it has been lauded by nationalist commentators as the easy route to joint authority. However, in the accelerated evolutionary time frame since St Andrews it appears Plan B was more prosaic than that: devolve limited power to council level, and reserve the ‘sexy’ stuff to Westminster for the foreseeable future. That, as Mitchell Reiss noted last June, would have constituted a collective failure on the part of the whole political class in Northern Ireland. It’s beauty (or injustice as those moderates who were committed to working the Agreement from the start have argued) is that it punishes everyone equally. A proverbial knocking of heads together of parties now profoundly committed to constitutional engagement: not to mention jobs, salaries and enormous potential for political patronage.

What was actually said in those talks late on the Thursday night in St Andrews that knocked some very savvy members of the Northern Irish press corps off their feet on Friday morning remains a mystery. But both main parties will hope it will be quickly forgotten if and when they get the Constitutional Agreement Show back on the road.

  • The Devil

    Well Adams had the war cry of “There is No plan B”
    So was he lying to grassroot republicans? or were they being kept in the know and everyone else was being lied to by the Government?

  • BonarLaw


    “we Irish”?

    I thought we in NI were free to define ourselves British, Irish or both. I choose the first option and frankly find the second offensive. I suspect those self defining as “Irish” would have a similar difficulty with “British”.

    Given your long association with our nationality issue this is a school boy error.

  • joeCanuck

    Get a life Bonar law.
    Yhere is no “British” nationality.
    There are Scots, Welsh, English and Northern Irish.
    If you are ashamed of your country, go live somewhere else and pretend to be someone there that you are not.

  • Go to the Sunday Tribune’s account of the emails between, on the one right hand, Donaldson and Paisley sprog and, on the far right hand, the blood-stained Kenny McClinton. We discover there that Donaldson believed in a “deeply green Plan B”, and was prepared to wave it at McClinton.

    Curiouser and curiouser, cried Alice.

    As for nationality, Granny can pretty well suck her own eggs. Why doesn’t everyone else learn the knack?

  • Frustrated Democrat


    You are factually incorrect… the passport carried by the English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish (who chose it) is a British or UK Passport.

    Anyone who is looking for an embassy abroad goes to the ‘British Embassy'(also sometimes called the UK embassy in UK Government circles e.g. the FCO) not the English or other embassy.

  • Elvis Parker

    The idea that there was a ‘Green’ plan B has always been rubbish. To have gone down the round of riding roughshod for Unionist opinion would simply have removed ANY chance of future agreement. Since mid 90s the focus has been on a settlement that can carry a majority in both communities so ‘Green Plan B’ had as much legs as the idea the Catholics are going to become the majority and all vote for a UI – none whatsoever.

  • manichaeism


    Even most of your fellow UK subjects would refer to you as Irish. Just as well you don’t live over on the “mainland”. You would really need to develop a very thick skin if you did!

  • Henry94


    Since mid 90s the focus has been on a settlement that can carry a majority in both communities

    That was Plan A.

  • Elvis Parker

    Henry it was core to Plan A would have been central to Plan B, C, D…
    The idea that because some antionalists get frustrated the Governments were going to abound this central principle is simply nonsense.

  • The Third Policeman

    Oh Holy Ghost BonarLaw are you that insecure in your own sense of national identity that you have to give out something ferocious just because of the slightest mention of the word ‘Irish’. Face it man, you may be a British citizen, but by being from [the island of] of Ireland, you are Irish (but maybe only a little bit if it really annoys ya!). And sure whats wrong with that? It means you can handle the drink better, and you’ll be loved if you ever go to New York!

  • Wilde Rover

    I imagine it must feed on the insecurities of every Irish person who considers themselves British that as far as most English people are concerned being born in a stable does make you a horse.

  • Born in East Anglia, of Norse and Anglian stock, educated in Dublin, (circa 1966) I had a double epiphany over “nationality”.

    Within weeks I was dumped by girl-friend A because I was “English” and then by girl-friend B because I was “Irish”. Nationality is in the eye of the beholder.

    Anyway, it’s fun screwing up those ethnicity questionnaires by maintaining one’s “Anglo-Norman-Huguenot-Irish” roots.

    Meanwhile, anyone doubting the existence of a “Plan B” (a.k.a. “dishing the Ultras”), has a nobler view of the infinite duplicity of the Westminster and Dublin mandarin class than history has indicated.

  • lib2016

    For the last few years we have been experiencing Plan B as all significant opposition to the GFA has been destroyed (the loyalist paramilitaries), undermined (the UUP) or confronted with the reality of their position (the DUP leadership).

    That’s why we have so much disinformation being spread on this board and on the wider media. The GFA was what Sinn Fein and the Irish people, including unionists signed up to. It is what is being implemented and the Brits are merely trying to reduce the need to confront their hirelings here by spinning the facts.

    As a republican I see no need to assist the Brits. Loyalism is their creation, let them continue to crush it.