And the unravelling continues…

As Pete notes there will be an officer board meeting next Tuesday, and possibly another of the Ard Comhairle. Count forward two weeks after that and we are within two or three working days of Hain’s deadline of 29th January – hence Blair’s flight home? Interestingly some of the dissenters inside the DUP have been signalling their continuing disenchantment by bypassing the party’s Press Office and releasing their own discordant statements. And we have some indications of decidedly acrid smoke within the party.

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  • Mark

    So you now have ‘dissenters press releases’ and ‘acrid smoke’. How does that fit with your rejection, from yesterday, of problems within the DUP?

    Seems like an about face or admission of complete misreading on your part?

  • Mick Fealty

    Just reporting the evidence as it comes to hand Mark.

  • Mark

    Sorry, but you dismissed your own line above out of hand yesterday – until you saw resignations was your rejection of DUP dissent IIRC. Seems like poor political reading when you ignore the story one day and present it as an issue the next.

    Does it fit an agenda today or are you admitting you got it wrong just yesterday?

  • Plum Duff

    Your omniscience, Mark, leaves us all, at times, in mouth-opened awe. Get a grip, for God’s sake. The situation has been so fluid in recent days I defy anyone to comment with exactitude on the inner machinations of either major party unless privy to insider knowledge. Neither is noted for leaking (MI5 excluded!) so the rest of us can only speculate as to their intentions and divisions.

    Yesterday was SF’s turn for micro examination, today it is the DUP’s in light of Nigel Dodds’ extraordinarily divisive statement after his leader had spoken. Is there a jockeying for position here? Is there enough of a ground-swell among the DUP’s backwoodsmen as to mount a credible challenge to the current leadership or its policies? It’s also interesting to hear how Ian Og appears to be riding both horses when he deigns to speak. Peter Robinson’s silence has been deafening.

    To paraphrase the Tom Waits song, ‘What the hell are they building in there?’

  • Paddy

    I think Blair would prefer Bob the Builder- ” Can we fix it? Yes we can!!!!

  • cynic

    Plum Duff

    I agree with your last but remember – collectively, we were daft enough to elect them all!

  • Yokel

    Here we go again.

    Hain was doing the rounds this morning in interviews. The sequencing is the same, the emphasis at this time is one issue.

    Sign up to policing, show that you are really practising what you signed up to, get devolution of policing powers.

    Whilst its obvious that the DUP has its dissenters don’t you think its strange that they seem to be just happily saying what the hell they want?

  • ingram

    Yokel,

    quote”Whilst its obvious that the DUP has its dissenters don’t you think its strange that they seem to be just happily saying what the hell they want?

    The reason for that is the DUP appear content and organised. The many different reports being made of the different strands is obviously well designed to off balance the Shinners.

    That is shown to be an effective tool. Just look at Sinn Fein and Adams? they just dont know if they are on solid ground or not.

    In my memory this is the first time that the shinners are really off balance, the chord to the mother ship ( Blair) is being pulled every two minutes.

    In contrast the Big Man is calm and dignified and makes a speech when needed.

    Sinn Fein however are now down to the 3rd largest party in the NORTH on the back of Policing. That is one less ministry.

    The gamble for them is if they do go for policing and an election they may go backwards ! in the pecking order and that would be bad for the good ship Adams/ McGuinness. Maybe the dictators would then allow a challenge to their leadership? after 23 Years it is about time somebody had the balls to challenge them.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

    PS. Parcifal! our bet is looking good mate

  • Yokel

    Thats my point Ingram,there seems to be no attempt to stop leading figures going out and opening their mouths. I’ve pointed out in a couple of threads that there is the very real possibility that there is some eye wiping going on.

    The statements from Hain & Blair are consistently on track, sign up and prove it. The timelines between signing up and devolution of policing powesr may vary but with this cross community vote business I believe that the DUP have got themselves a way of allowing policing powesr devolved in 2008 without too much controversy in their own ranks. I can see a UUP Justice Minsiter, and SDLP Deputy or vice versa being proposed and the people who would bring it down would likely be Sinn Fein. Result? The British government, if they go down this track, looks to impose the exact same two candidates. The DUP complain but quietly let it pass.

    The DUP appear to be playing blinders and the recent hoo haa seems to be SF hitting the panic button. It seemed really odd. Tony comes home, releases a statement. The NIO already has its ‘everybody’ agrees statement ready and out in no time. It really looks a bit like a fait accompli situation with the government saying to Sinn Fein, ok we’ve done it now, your turn. I am sure the UK government are not pleased at the DUP’s stirring of the pot but I suspect they know whats going on there. They don’t want to rock the DUP boat too much either, Paisley does have work to do within his own ranks but is likely to do it.

    On reflection I can now see where Dermot Ahern’s intervention came in. Dermot Ahern now says they havent really got a Plan B of any sort and arent working on any. His onus on the DUP business is exactly the same as the British government’s, stop stirring the pot and reduce the contradictions.

    The focus is now to do it, the sequencing is set and the next step is SF’s.

  • DUP watcher

    In the aftermath of the STA, the DUP collectively met in November and issued the following resolution:
    RESOLUTION OF DUP PARTY OFFICERS, ASSEMBLY GROUP AND EXECUTIVE

    Below is a statement released this evening from the DUP detailing the resolution agreed today by the DUP Party Officers, DUP Assembly Group and Party Executive:

    “The DUP in keeping with the outcome of its consultation process wants to build on the areas of progress made at St Andrews whilst recognising that other aspects of the proposals require further work. The Party will continue with the work in progress to ensure up front delivery by Government and republicans. The Party Officers will pursue all the remaining issues and report back before the Central Executive Committee, which is the only body that can take a binding decision, considers the matter.

    The DUP reiterates the need for the Government to deliver on the outstanding issues presented to it by the Party.

    The DUP holds to its long standing position that there can only be an agreement involving Sinn Fein when there has been delivery by the republican movement, tested and proved over a credible period, in terms of support for the PSNI, the Courts and the rule of law, a complete end to paramilitary and criminal activity and the removal of terrorist structures.

    The refusal by Sinn Fein even to begin giving support to the PSNI, the Courts and the rule of law has clear adverse implications for the timetable laid out at St Andrews. Indeed, republicans are retreating to their pre St Andrews position.

    The Government stressed, before, during and after the St Andrews talks that the twin pillars for agreement are DUP support for power sharing and Sinn Fein support for policing. Clearly as Sinn Fein is not yet ready to take the decisive step forward on policing, the DUP is not required to commit to any aspect of power sharing in advance of such certainty.”

    So has anyone heard when the next Central Executive Council meeting will be taking place. After even if the SF Ard Fhéis is held and the leadership motion is successfully passed, the DUP has collectively agreed to maintaining “its long standing position that there can only be an agreement involving Sinn Fein when there has been delivery by the republican movement, tested and proved over a credible period, in terms of support for the PSNI, the Courts and the rule of law, a complete end to paramilitary and criminal activity and the removal of terrorist structures.”
    Seems to be me that Jim Allister, Dodds, Simpson, McCrea, etc hold the aces in the pack.

  • Plum Duff

    ‘Whilst its obvious that the DUP has its dissenters don’t you think its strange that they seem to be just happily saying what the hell they want?’

    Yokel, you may be right and that this whole appearance of disarray within DUP ranks is just another way of playing ‘Hard Cop, Soft Cop’ with Paisley Sen. in the role of Oul’ Softie (am I hearing myself correctly?!?!). If that is the case, it should be interesting to see if SF can hold on to both their nerve and their members.

    Whatever the case, it certainly does not appear to create the same level of hysterical speculation from press and Sluggeristas as and when SF is seen to be wobbling.

  • Yokel

    11. Plum Duff it just seems odd and it wouldn’t surprise me. Such an act is not very helpful and I’m sure it’s irritating the British and Irish governments somewhat but after all the recent kerfuffle the underlying situation hasnt changed despite the media and indeed blogging frenzy over DUP divisions: Next move, Sinn Fein.

  • Mick Fealty

    Martin,

    “…obviously well designed to off balance the Shinners”.

    I don’t I buy that. There are genuine tensions inside the party. But, interestingly, it is not necessarily along the lines widely predicted (fundies versus progressives), but rather Paisleys and Robinson for an early deal, and this previously unidentified rump against!

    We may be about to see just how well (or otherwise) this coalition has actually been put together over the next few days/weeks.

  • Observer

    Its well known in the media that the DUP have lost the strict message discipline that they formerly had. Since the infamous Michael Stone incident at Stormont, individual representatives are sending their own press releases out to the media.

    This is simply the facts that Mick is reporting, there are up to five different sources for press releases from the DUP at the min.

  • Betty Boo

    If this doesn’t work out (again) but this time it has major consequences for SF, something like a big split and a leadership change, resulting in loss of votes, importance and influence, what then at this stage?
    The last ten years, since the beginning of the peace process, is has been about putting pressure on SF. This process is not finished yet. Can you affort to loose one of the main players at this point in time?

  • joeCanuck

    Given that a significant percentage of SF are not yet ready to accept that the very real politicisation of policing for most of the past 80 years is now over, and given that a significant percentage of the DUP will never agree to power sharing with republicans, and that neither of these groups seem to have an alternative party to bolt to, we may have a very interesting election on the horizon.
    Is it a slam dunk that SF and the DUP will be the two largest parties from their respective designations?
    There’s obviously going to some significant realignments in the next year or two.

  • Yokel

    15. Betty we won’t lose them. Any loss will still see them as either the first or second largest nationlist bloc party.

  • ingram

    Mick,

    I understand your point.

    I am very wary of these cute DUP Whores. I just have a gut instinct this apparent dissent in the DUP camp is just a game. Not disilimilar to the Sinn Fein game BUT more believable. Sinn Fein are in real danger when making ANY move. The DUP in my opinion enjoy much more wiggle room before anybody even threatens to abandon ship and jumps over board.

    Sinn Fein in contrast have not enough life boats for those wanting to go over board if they dont achieve some major concessions like a date for devolved power and perhaps more importantly a new deal on IRA OTR`s.

    That is the difference.The DUP could survive the date issue. Sinn Fein could not. The DUP along with the SDLP would go ballistic over the scheduled offenders bill and in my opinion would be a deal breaker. Sinn Fein need the OTR issue sorted for their criminal friends and are willing to risk the overall deal for a handful of influential killers.The OTR`s know this is the last card Sinn Fein have to deal.

    I am extremely wary of Robinson. I am aware or of one or two of his more majestic moves. A real operator.I dont think he would want a breach at this moment in time.I think he would move heaven and earth to avoid one.

    We shall see though in the coming months who has the best read on this game but I think Yokel is nearer the strategic mark for my money.

    Martin

  • ingram

    Observer.

    quote”Its well known in the media that the DUP have lost the strict message discipline that they formerly had. Since the infamous Michael Stone incident at Stormont, individual representatives are sending their own press releases out to the media.

    Sorry I missed your post.

    I don`t doubt that.That is the image they want to create.

    My point and Yokels is clear. It is choreagraphed to appear like dissent for a number of ears.

    Let us not forget the press are manipulated and lied to 365 days of the year, many of the press play the game and Robinson and others certainly enjoy a number of Pet journalists.

    What is clear though is at some stage the colour of the washing will become very clear.

    Martin