More from SF & the DUP

Earlier today, Martin McGuinness spoke in Limerick at the Sean South commemoration. Sinn Fein headlines the text of his speech: Martin McGuinness calls on DUP to meet power sharing challenge. The Belfast Telegraph has this, presumably in response, from Nigel Dodds: Dodds tells SF not to expect any more from DUP.McGuinness:

“If DUP members are to hold Ministerial office it will be within the power sharing and all-Ireland arrangements set out in the Good Friday Agreement. But while the DUP have without any doubt been brought closer to that point, ignore the spin of London and Dublin that they have arrived there – they have not. There is no point pretending otherwise. After St. Andrews talks Ian Paisley indicated that he would share power. He has yet to say when. He has yet to say he will do so by March 26th following the elections. He has yet to say he agrees with the the transfer of powers on policing and justice by May 2008. So let me put a challenge out to a man who describes himself as a plain speaking Ulsterman.

“Ian, are you going to share power with nationalists and republicans by March 26th? This is a simple question. It requires a simple answer.

“A positive response from Ian Paisley clearly moves the current situation forward. It would be seen by many as the DUP finally beginning the journey towards accepting equality for all citizens. So let Ian Paisley rise to the challenge set for him and his party. Sinn Féin has continually demonstrated our willingness to stretch ourselves and take risks in order to make this process work. We want the process to move forward, we want to share power with the DUP, we want to see the issue of policing resolved. But others have responsibilities they need to meet.

Dodds (via the Belfast Telegraph, the press release is not on the DUP website yet):

Mr Dodds said Sinn Fein aren’t going to get a different answer from the DUP no matter how long they keep demanding one.
Sinn Fein must support the police without concessions, he said, the DUP is not required to give any commitments on devolving of policing and justice.

McGuinness also said:

The debate that is currently underway within our party and community is vitally important. But this debate cannot simply be reduced down to policing or to support for the PSNI. The Ard Chomhairle have indicated that we will move to an Ard Fheis to discuss this issue in the context of a positive response coming from the DUP. We await that response. But people should not become distracted by the DUP. People here need to focus on our strategy, on our objectives.

Which gives SF wiggle room to move forward without the DUP endorsement it does not look like they will be getting.

  • Yokel

    Official: DUP in wind up SF mode

  • ingram

    LOL
    N1 Yokel

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • Yokel

    I’ve just heard Hain on the radio and really all he said was that Paisley has said that he is prepared to share power…Thats it, no added bits.

    I have yet to hear any news coming out that there is real pressure being exerted on the DUP. I’m sure something is going on but nothing has yet surfaced about a focus, a pressure on the DUP’ers.

    Thing is, why not?

  • Nationalist

    Matbe Sinn Fein should just that they are prepared to support a fully accountable police force and fully accountable legal system in the North, once they are both Fully Accountable.

    No add ons and then let Mr Hain take it from there.

  • ingram

    Yokel,

    The DUP are not in the same position as Sinn Fein are! apart from Dr Paisley the other leadership figures within that party are young and eager to make sure they are not taken for “fairies” like Trimble.

    They can wait and wait. Plan B is not even a serious option. That would involve the abandonment of the GFA.

    Sinn Fein are in the “Hot Seat” and until they move position one way or another they will remain there. The three governments recognise the FACT that Sinn Fein will have to enter into policing arrangements in line with the GFA.

    The DUP argument regarding Sinn Fein not being trustworthy is a fair one and suported by all parties. They have lied to everyman and his dog and are not to be taken at face value.

    Consequently the moral high ground is retained by the DUP.

    Sinn Fein is best advised to accept and bite the bullet and at least put the ball back into the DUP court. If they get fecked by the DUP then that is a risk they will have to take.

    The honest truth is Sinn Fein have NO room to move, internally they are damaged and cannot hope to repair that damage without going forward.The level of dissent within the movement is the key to the long term stability of the deal.

    I am convinced that the DUP are giving out mixed messages by design. Sinn Fein are not certain of the ground they walk upon and are really asking Dr Paisley to give them the right to call an Ard Fheish? in other words if Dr paisley says we have the basis for a deal we can call an Ard Fheish?

    How the pendulum has swung and for the first time in years Sinn Fein have been cast free by the governments.

    The rest will be determined by events BUT in my opinion Sinn Fein will take the deal without the DUP committing to a firm date.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • qubol

    Sinn Fein should pass a motion pledging support for the police ONLY if the DUP clearly and unambiguously state that they would like devolved government by March 2007 and devolved Policing and Justice by May 2008.
    Pass the motion and let the whole world see that the process has fallen because of DUP just can’t stomach power sharing with nationalists.

  • Yokel

    Martin Ingram

    Rusty Nail’s last words may well be very observant indeed.

    What I find amazing is on past form I’d be waiting on the Unionists to really come under the cosh right now, but nope nothing. And there are less than 48 hours until the next SF meeting.

    There is no doubt that SF have hit the panic button on the big red hotline phone to Tony. In the past thats got a reaction but now, nothing. I’m still waiting for Tony to cave in but its now looking less and less likely.

    The UK government has either told SF that they expect the DUP to do it or simply to just stop messing about. If your view & Rusty Nail’s observation up there is correct and they go to the full meeting & motion stage without anything from the DUP or indeed anything from London (including issues discussed by yourself and others elsewhere), that surely is going to cause damage internally.

    Do I then assume that the British government dont really give a fiddlers if there is a bit of a SF split as long they (the government) can keep any armed dissidents under control?

    Those people who are strong on conspiracy theories could easily believe that the UK government is actually aiming to see SF off in its current form, has seen its chance and is pointing the gun…..I’m not sure thats Tony’s game mind you.

  • Yokel

    Qubol

    As pointed out elsewhere, I believe in reponse to Henry94, that won’t fly unless Tony totally reverses his statement on Friday which talks of a period of proof on the ground. The point is that the proof is mean’t to come first.

    I’m not saying that Tony might not try to work with such an idea but he’s going to be shat upon from all heights and locations after a sudden hardening of position on Friday.

    It’s very odd, I’ve answered a few posts in the last few days from those, I assume of a broadly republican and indeed SF position, and the more I do the more I get the image of a steel trap door shutting with a heavy snap.

    Maybe there’s something I can’t see. Maybe Tony will panic himself.

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s political chicken, simply at a more intense stage than we have seenheretofore.

    Hmmmm… Considering Gerry Adams’ warning that ‘others are playing politics with policing’, this looks remarkably like a call for Sinn Fein to play for margins rather than the right thing to do:

    “So let us grasp the opportunities which will come our way in the course of the next year. Let us be sure that when we gather here again next year that we have all here done everything that we can. That we have ensured that seats are not left behind in any of the elections we will face this year through lack of effort. Our project is bigger than that. Our struggle is bigger than that”

    .

    On a slightly different point, a UUP MLA I spoke to this evening worried that the DUP’s fuss over policing will only increase the number of concession SF can squeeze out. Now we have certainly seen a few vigorous appeals to the British ref. But it is far from clear whether, at this stage of the game, the concessions being sought can be vouchedsafe by any party outside Northern Ireland, and keep the local political scrum on still on its feet.

  • qubol

    “this looks remarkably like a call for Sinn Fein to play for margins rather than the right thing to do”

    Not really mick – Republicanism hasn’t stayed out of policing this long just for the craic. We have serious concerns and we need to know that if we sign up to a fair policing service then Unionists are on board too and won’t frustrate the creation of fully accountable policing in the North.
    When we consider the state of the DUP, Paisleys age and health and the statements from leadership contenders like Dodds – Republicans can justifiably be worried about the DUP’s future intentions – which is why clarity from the DUP is essential.

  • The simple solution is to call an Ard Fheis if everything else bar the transfer of P&J is sorted i.e MI5 etc

    The motion to the Ard Fheis should state that Republicans will endorse policing as soon as P&J powers are tranferred and not a moment before.

  • ingram

    Yokel,

    I have to say I am not surprised that the DUP have not come under any OVERT pressure.

    I think Dr Paisley wants to do business with Sinn Fein,after all time is not on his side . I remain to be convinced many of the other leading members of that party are that committed at this time.

    In relation to HMG. The Republican movement is batterd and defeated. The threat from Dissidents is under control. The balance to played is to bring Sinn Fein beyond the last Rubicon BUT without effecting a major breach in the broad movement.

    The last thing HMG wants now is to unite a fragmented and defeated cause. Those tasked to direct HMG strategy will be worried by a totally humiliated Sinn Fein.

    In a similar way the allies let Saddam Hussein retreat from Kuwait with his Republican guard intact, I doubt very much that HMG wants to inflict any real damage upon Sinn Fein, after all they have formed a superb partnership.That said the days of Sinn Fein being invaluable to HMG are fast diminishing.

    Sinn Fein still has some shelf live left, they will be instumental in the coming months and years keeping tabs on the dissident threat from within the system. The CRJ communities will be a major Intelligence collection tank.

    Interesting times ahead.

    Deal or No Deal.

    Adams say deal.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • Mick Fealty

    q,

    Maybe SF should be worried if they have promised something to their support that they are not now in a position to deliver. But this is their ‘deal’ as much as it is the DUP’s. No one else was involved in framing it.

    No amount of spinning a ‘target date’ as a functional ‘deadline’ is going to swing it – as David Trimble learned (much to his cost) in taking the May 2000 date as a ‘deadline’ for decommissioning too seriously.

    But I suppose that the very least you can say is that the two Sabhat (Monday to Saturday) statements from the party’s two most senior reps just don’t scan.

  • WindsorRocker

    This should be simple.

    Sinn Fein are being asked to support the police etc… and then we’ll have devolved government.
    If things are going well, then there is a real probability that we’ll get policing and justice powers too when everybody is settled down with each other administering the socio-economic issues and builds some trust.

    A period of making devolved politics work will create the favourable conditions where the devolution of policing can happen.
    It ain’t rocket science… unless, that is:

    1. SF don’t want to sign up to policing at all.
    OR
    2. They don’t want to sign up to policing before the devolution of those powers because that will be the first time they have supported something which, for the meantime, will be under Westminster control……. every other single development that SF have supported in the last 10 years has either been something which they can argue is controlled by Irishmen alone, or it was something that retrospectively justified their “war”.

    For the first time Sinn Fein are being asked to go down a route which they can’t sell to their base as either British withdrawal or a pat on the back for the armed struggle….. the present SF dilemma is, in my opinion, their big reality check.

  • Just curious

    Whats with the Ding Ding?

  • Yokel

    Ok, there’s a pattern emerging here. This idea of a vote yes to policing with a large dose of conditions is gaining currency amongst a number of posters of a particular hue.

    Is this just kite flying or is it seriously under consideration? Can someone enlighten us. If it is an option SF are considering, the British government know about it already so can we know?

    Those who indicated that SF faces were not all that happy at the St AA press conferences were on to something for sure.

    I am guessing the hope of the leadership was that they’d get some extra concessions in the subsequent talking but it looks like that hasn’t occurred. This is hurting.

  • Yokel

    Martin likes to do impressions of London buses.

    This one is called the devolution or peace bus or something and the idea is ding ding, get on the bus or don’t.

    Think thats it. He can correct me.

  • Pól

    Whats with the Ding Ding?

    That’s how the two brain cells communicating with each other.

  • Yokel

    Tony is now giving re-assurances in public looking at his interview in the Irish Times tomorrow. Basically saying he expects Paisley to uphold his side of the deal and softening his tone with SF.

    Two things missing:

    1. No subststantive change in the base UK government position

    2. Still nothing from the DUP and nothing from the UK government to publically push them to make such a definitive timetabled statement that SF seem to want.

    It looks like Tony is doing what he can but knows the DUP are not going to provide anything concrete and he’s not going to demand it..still 24 hours or so for the DUP to release something.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s really quite simple.
    SF endorse policing.
    If the DUP then say, “ha ha ha, look at what we made you do and we’re not agreeing to anything”.
    Would that be called cutting off your nose to spite your face?
    At the end of the day, there is cooperation with the PSNI or on the ground pretend cooperation.
    Nobody has a trump card here.
    Let’s move on.

  • Crataegus

    Yokel

    Still nothing from the DUP and nothing from the UK government to publically push them to make such a definitive timetabled statement that SF seem to want.

    I thought there was an Agreement at St Andrews and both DUP & SF agreed with it, it was their deal.? So not so many days later and what do we have SF wanting to add further conditions and a few extra side deals and sweeteners outside the agreement. Wise up!

  • I thought there was an Agreement at St Andrews and both DUP & SF agreed with it, it was their deal.?

    St Andrews was just the response of the two governments, it was their proposals.

  • Crataegus

    Chris

    Ahh Now there isn’t an agreement then?

  • There is, it’s the GFA!

  • Plum Duff

    Chris

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t remember SF signing up for the GFA.

  • Crataegus

    Chris

    What was St Andrews etc all about then? Unfinished business it would now seem?

    Basically that has been the problem with SF they finish nothing!

  • Billy

    Ingram

    I am not a Sinn Fein member, voter or supporter. I agree with you that they are having major difficulties. Policing was always going to be their Rubicon.

    However, your views that the DUP are giving out mixed messages by design and that there is no real struggle within the DUP is, frankly, crap.

    It is common knowledge that Jim Allister bowed out of local politics in the 80’s because the DUP refused him a chance to run for Westminster. It is also well known that he now wants the North Antrim Westminster seat and was unhappy about being forced into Europe. There are a lot of locals in North Antrim who would rather have him than Ian Paisley Jnr. Paisley Jnr wants the seat and is being supported by his father.

    So no bitterness there then.

    Allister is supported in his general harder line views by Campbell, Dodds, Simpson and McCrea.

    It is also common knowledge that some of the “Trimble blow-ins” like Donaldson and Foster are disliked and distrusted by DUP hard liners while they enjoy the support of Robinson and his considerable support base in Belfast and Wilson also.

    To say that the blatently contradictory statements released today from Dodds are Donaldson are being done by design is ludicrous.

    No political party would choose to have 2 of it’s big hitters disagreeing so openly.

    There is also the added factor that, as Paisley senior will soon turn 81, the leadership of the DUP will been up for grabs sooner rather than later. Is it a coincidence that Dodds has become markedly more hard line since the Hearts + Minds poll put him only in 4th place to replace Paisley senior?

    Like I say, I am not saying that Sinn Fein don’t have major problems to overcome – I think they do.

    However, only the most unrealistic of Unionists would claim that the DUP don’t have major internal difficulties or that they are sitting pretty.

    It is obvious that this is not the case.

  • The Clockwoman

    Acceptance can be by acquiescence.

  • Yokel

    Crategus

    Part of Sinn Fein’s difficults, at least according to them, is that they wanting some solid words thet the timetables March 26th & May 2008) are set in stone and the DUP say so.

    They probably pretty much are but there’s no chance of the DUP saying so, which is what SF have pretty much said they need from the DUP. Interestingly, Tony pointed out that if Justice powers were devolved in May 2008 there would next to no chance of SF getting the post, ie the cross community vote idea. In saying so whats he not saying is under that mechanism SF won’t see that post for years but thats what it would mean. Will SF supporters swallow that?

  • ingram

    Billy.

    I made the same point myself about Paisley and his age. I agree I do believe he is up for the deal.

    Where we differ is this point:

    I believe the majority of the conflicting press releases have been planned and orchestrated to paint a picture that is unclear.

    The rest we can wait for the coming days and weeks to see who really does have a handle on this situation.

    Good Luck

    Yokel

    Your understanding of the little Red London Bus is correct.

    Ding Ding

  • Frustrated Democrat

    It seesm the DUP may fall in to the trap that SF fell into – overplaying their hand.

    Most people in Northern Ireland want a devolved government to deal with day to day issues, not this political tennis.

    The DUP may well suffer if it all falls to pieces and the promised FAIR DEAL becomes NO DEAL.

  • ingram

    FD,

    You are correct. That said it will be the last person holding the baby when it is dropped who will get the blame.

    Adams has a firm hold of the baby until he drops it.

    Paisley does not get the baby UNTIL Adams calls an Ard Fheish.

    Billy.

    Just one other thing to add to my last post.

    I accept their are a more than a few biggots in that party who do not want to share power with Nationalists. The issue is are they senior enough and determined enough to cause a breach in the DUP position? I dont think so but we shall see.

    Martin

  • McBurney

    Billy
    “It is also well known that he now wants the North Antrim Westminster seat and was unhappy about being forced into Europe.”

    Can’t say I’ve heard that one before. Care to elaborate on your views? Though from my experience of the North Antrim membership, I would agree that Allister probably has the support to outpoll Junior at a selection meeting.