Dating doesn’t work, we’ve got to get down to delivery…

Ian Paisley Junior led on the Northern Ireland question on Questions and Answers tonight. You can find some of his substantive responses below the fold…First on testing Sinn Fein’s commitment (sufficient to let down policing and justice powers to Stormont):

“How will it be measured? Let me give you some practical tests. Instead of condemning the police, we will see parties actively engaging with the police, not just holding them to account, but encouraging them in their communities to come and solve crime. And crimes like rape, like murder, and organised serious crime. We will see evidence coming forward and communities being encouraged to give evidence, and not molested if they do give evidence before an open court”.

Bowman: Is the May 2008 a realistic date?

At that point is out of his [Blair’s] hands. If there is a government established in March or April of this year, as a lot of people hope there will be, then it really is down the politicians to build confidence in the community and demonstrate that there is a desire to have that controversial issue of policing and justice transferred. I am a devolutionist. I want to see those powers transferred. I’m not going to be standing in the way of them. Neither is my party. But we are not going to do is just hand over controversial and serious issues like that, unless the community feels confident and encouraged to see it happen. And I hope that confidence does come. But I say again, this process isn’t about unionists. It isn’t about what we want, it is about Sinn Fein delivering for the needs of democracy in Northern Ireland. And that will affect democracy on the whole of this island.

That’s the old deadline/target date road bump covered then, and the up to, through and beyond a deal scenario…

But will this thing actually fly…

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  • parcifal

    I think the SF President will string this out till friday, in the hope of just a smidgen more certainty from the DUP, and then will call the Ard Fheis; which needing 2 weeks, will mean it will happen on the weekend on the 26/27th January.
    A few days before the dissolution of the Assembly.
    The optimism will be palpable.

  • Henry94

    The tests he outlined are no more than what could be expected if the Ard Fheis votes to support policing. So I think he was being quite sensible.

    instead of condemning the police, we will see parties actively engaging with the police, not just holding them to account, but encouraging them in their communities to come and solve crime. And crimes like rape, like murder, and organised serious crime. We will see evidence coming forward and communities being encouraged to give evidence, and not molested if they do give evidence before an open court”.

    If that is the DUP position then there is no reason why the deal can’t happen. But is it the DUP position?

  • Bemused

    Exactly, henry94. Expect various cave-men like Dodds, Allister and McCrea to weigh-in today with a raft of “I wouldn’t have one about the place”-type rhetoric.

  • Mick Fealty

    The people Bemused mentions above are toeing precisely the same bottom line on the fundamentals of the deal as Junior lays out above.

    If there is a difference, it is that they have all focused their ‘tests’ retrospectively, and Junior’s examples are implicitly contemporaneous.

    Is this the source of SF’s anxiety?

  • steven

    What hasnt helped in the past few weeks and days is different views being expressed from the some DUP MP’s.

    The Party Leader made it clear in his new years speech that if SF deliver, the DUP will not be found wanting.

    But time is definetly running out!!

  • Henry94

    Mick

    In my opinion it is a huge difference. As Gerry Kelly has said a new beginning is a new beginning. If people start picking and choosing past cases as tests for Sinn Fein we will be in an unending saga.

    First of all cases will be picked for political rather than justice reasons and second it would actually make support for policing far more political than it need otherwise be.

  • Mick Fealty

    So indemnity, or more precisely exemption from past liabilities is the real question here?

  • Henry94

    Mick

    No, the real and key question is the seriousness of the DUP about power-sharing. If they are not serious they will introduce impossible conditions.

    To ask republicans to back-date support for policing to include the RUC is an impossible condition.

    To ask people to give information they came by as part of a struggle we supported is an impossible condition

    And to let the DUP decide which cases are priorities for the police on the basis of their possible difficulty for Sinn Fein is an absolutely impossible condition.

  • Declan Murphy

    If big Ian, little Ian & Co. don’t want to do the deal, Sinn Fein will be quite happy to run the North through the Irish British partnership arrangements as part of a Fianna Fail Sinn Fein coalition government in the South. All we need is the minister for “foreign” affairs portfolio. Bertie has given his strongest hint yet he may walk this route and it is my opinion that he may well have to. As for Ian let him no no no.. all the way to political obscurity.

  • ingram

    Mick,

    quote”So indemnity, or more precisely exemption from past liabilities is the real question here?

    That is exactly ONE of the Sinn Fein issues and Henry knows it.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • Straight away after the St Andrew’s deal was ‘agreed’, Ian Óg was posting in his blog that it was a great deal and that power wouldn’t devolve etc etc until SF delivered – but it would devolve.

    Interesting exclusion of SF from the panel during a programme which devoted a substantial part of the discussion to the party and its stance. Instead it had at least two anti SF speakers – Rabbitte ajnd Paisley Óg – and two whose neutrality would be suspect, Laffan and Ahern. Lara Marlowe was a voice of reason among the mob which, as one audience member, noted descended into a Podge and Rodge routine between Dermot Ahern and Pat Rabbitte.

    SF voices were heard from the audience – and the chairman made sure they were identified as SF candidates in the forthcoming election. I suppose it would have been superfluous, I suppose, to make the same introduction to Rabbitte and Ahern.

    the final scenes were farcical as Ahern and Rabbitte parsed various statements made by one another to find out who was the most anti SF, who would or might accept support from SF in a vote for Taoiseach. (Pat Rabbitte need not worry on this score, I fear).

    Coming as it did on the same day that SF’s leaders were praised by the British Prime Minister for the most remarkable example of leadership in modern politics, it seemed to show how out of touch and self serving Rabbitte and Ahern were – and remain.

    I wonder does Tony Blair know who Pat Rabbitte, the leader of a sister party in the international Labour confraternity, who is he. Rabbitte, who?

  • Henry94

    ingram

    This is an issue for me. If it’s also an issue for Sinn Fein then I’m not surprised. But let’s be clear what the issue is. I don’t ask that the police stop investigating anything or exempt anybody from anything.

    What I’m saying is that support for the police be understood for what it is. It is support from the time the decision is made.

    People should be able to approach to police about today’s business without being grilled about something that happened in the past.

    Otherwise people won’t do it. It is a very practical thing and your pretend knowingness is out of place yet again.

  • ingram

    Henry 94,

    That my friend is CONDITIONAL support for the Criminal justice system.

    what you are arguing for is what Gerry Kelly advocated and was rejected by every other major party after his heart and minds appearance. A complete line in the sand drawn and the past is the past.

    That simply is not fair in a proper open democratic system. The victims deserve better.

    You, Sinn Fein and the IRA seem to have NO problem with people giving information about the many people murderd by the IRA and now referd to as the ” Disapeared”

    Could you explain to me what is difference between the Dissapeared and Say the murder of Robert Mcartney? that murder had nothing to do with the troubles and was subsequent to the signing of the GFA?

    Mr Adams has already said the IRA was involved and he had carried out an internal investigation. The IRA threatened to shoot those responsible for the crime?

    Henry 94 please explain the difference between the dissapeared and Robert McCartney?

    Is it because the killers of the dissapeared were given IMMUNITY from prosecution in return for their help?

    Is that what you want HENRY?

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • middle-class taig

    I agree with Henry. Unexpectedly sensible from Baby Doc. The one fly in the ointment is the “instead of condemning the police….” bit. SF are entitled to continue to criticise heavy-handed, discriminatory or political policing. To expect otherwise is an impossible condition. However, the culture of confrontation can be expected to dilute somewhat. Hopefully this is what he means.

  • Henry94

    ingram

    You, Sinn Fein and the IRA seem to have NO problem with people giving information about the many people murderd by the IRA and now referd to as the “ Disapeared”

    You still don’t understand the point.

    I have no problem with people giving information about anything if they choose to do so. But information about the past can’t be a condition for the future used by the DUP to stall on power-sharing or policing devolution.

    Many people were involved in the struggle at various times and levels. Do we want those people to go to the police about crime today? Or do we want them to be wary of going? Do we want them open to the arguments of the dissidents that the DUP are really calling the shots and not the police themselves.

  • Mary

    Henry 94.

    The point Ingram makes is a fair one.

    What is the difference between Colomba McVeigh and the others and Robert McARTNEY ?

    Ingram.

    Do you think the DUP will indicate a positive date for devolution of powers and if so when ?

  • ingram

    Henry 94,

    So do I conclude from you response that you agree ANY REPUBLICAN who has information about the murder of Mr MCartney should give that information to the police?.

    In relation to the main body. I repeat what you are asking for is Conditional support. Today many crimes are being solved by advances in DNA technology! some of these crimes are over thirty years old.

    What you are saying is just not practical nor fair.

    Lets leave it at that. We both understand it each others position although we can agree to disagree.

    Martin

    Ding Ding

  • ingram

    Mary.

    I do believe the DUP will agree to a ” firmish” date but not a concrete one Sinn Fein are asking for. My own view is Sinn Fein will call an AF and will quite rightly put the ball back into the DUP court.

    My own view is Sinn Fein also want the OTR issue sorted and will play this to the wire to try and extract some concessions over this issue.

    I think they have realised they have no chance with the MI5 argument. That seems to have gone away.

    Timings? not sure but the AF will have to be called within the next week or so.

    Good Luck

    Martin

  • Henry94

    Mary

    Finding Colomba McVeigh’s body is sole point of the exercise.

    But as I said I have no issue with people giving information in any case. But it can’t be a political condition for past cases.

  • Henry94

    Ingram

    So do I conclude from you response that you agree ANY REPUBLICAN who has information about the murder of Mr MCartney should give that information to the police?.

    You can conlude that I would.

  • kensei

    “That my friend is CONDITIONAL support for the Criminal justice system.”

    Republican support for the police and anyone else should always be conditional. No one would have suggested in 1950’s and 60’s America that the various police forces weren’t the legitimate forces to deal with crime. But when they had to enforce laws that were wrong, that discriminated against people, then people refused to give them their support, and refused to cooperate.

    “what you are arguing for is what Gerry Kelly advocated and was rejected by every other major party after his heart and minds appearance. A complete line in the sand drawn and the past is the past.”

    Unfortunately, it’s the only workable suggestion.

    “That simply is not fair in a proper open democratic system. The victims deserve better.”

    Even if people were convicted then people would be released under the GFA. The best that victims on all sides can hope for is the truth. Harsh, but a fact. The truth is more likely to come out if it is clear there will be limited repercussions and some kind of Truth Commission set up.

    Ding motherfucking Ding

  • Yokel

    Lets not start the Truth business again. The republican movement won’t exist in its present form if such a thing got to the truth.

    Don’t dig a hole for yourself lest you should fall into it.

  • Henry94

    Now that the McCartney case has been raised let’s take it as an example. Does anyone think that the solving of that case should be a pre-condition to power-sharing?

    Giving the poor solve rate of the PNSI I would suggest that is arbitrary nonsense.

    So suppose someone does come forward with information. Should the DUP be told about it or are our dealings with the police to be in confidence.

    What will be the standard here? And who will set it?

    If Hugh Orde or the next CC expresses himself happy with the level of support in the nationalist community will that be enough? Or will he be given the DeChastelain treatment by Unionist rejectionists.

    Not only is it wrong but it is impossible and intended to be so.

  • Ian

    Parcifal:

    “I think the SF President will string this out till friday, in the hope of just a smidgen more certainty from the DUP, and then will call the Ard Fheis; which needing 2 weeks, will mean it will happen on the weekend on the 26/27th January.
    A few days before the dissolution of the Assembly.”

    Either that or he’ll say the conditions are not right/further consultation within the republican community needed, go through the deadline, elections are cancelled.

    Then allow British government the time to complete RPA and other reforms that are beneficial to nationalism (bypassing Unionist objections), before calling the Ard Fheis anyway in about April, dressing it up as a unilateral ‘good-will’ gesture like decommissioning was. That will allow SF to reap the benefits in time for the southern general election (they did the same with a trance of decommissioning in Spring 2002).

    Such a move would also act as both a reward for Blair’s commitment and also give Brown an early opportunity to finish off the peace process and split the credit with Blair. Wouldn’t be good to let the DUP call the shots in Brown’s early years as he may be looking at a potential hung-parliament scenario in two years time.

    Power-sharing would be delayed to the autumn but there is no reason why this should impact on the May 2008 timetable for devolution of justice. It’s in SF’s interest for the ‘partial devolution’ period (i.e. devolution but not of justice powers) to be as short as possible.

  • Ian

    “dressing it up as a unilateral ‘good-will’ gesture like decommissioning was.”

    By that I mean the FINAL act of decommissioning and announcing a formal end to the armed struggle.

  • What happened to “ill-gotten gains”?

  • ingram

    Henry.

    I accept your point about the DUP not being the judge in these matters?

    Maybe an IMC TYPE body?

    It will be a defining issue( real support for the police) in this process

    Ingram

  • Yokel

    Ian

    We’ve been through this but lets get some facts our of the way.

    RPA changes nothing fundamentally, the population of the country remains the same. So what it gives Nationalists control in councils with some more powers. Shock horror it does the same for Unionists. God knows what the minority protection plans are but Unionists will make up a decent rump of every council here they are a minority in. Some nationalists will left to go hang by RPA so utterly dominating in new councils by Unionists. What benefit is that to them? All I can assume you mean is that by having control of councils with enhanced powers they can use it to discriminate in favour of one side.

    Maybe the statement should have been ‘will have benefits to SF’

    Secondly you believe there is some big vote for SF waiting to happen in the South. There isn’t. they are niche party and will remain so.

    Your logic on Brown makes no sense. Do you have any idea of the animosity between those two camps? This is the hidden issue behind this whole process, Blair’s legacy and fuck if he wants Gordon to get any. If Brown wanted help from the DUP with a hung parliament he would have to cut a deal well before any election. If all this goes as you say, then its everything is set in stone so what the heck help is the DUP going to give him then? He’ll have bugger all to give them at that stage to cut a deal with because, according to you, all these wonderful things will have gone SF’s way. So whats he going to do, reverse them?

    Jesus Ian, who the feeds you this cack? is it done via a CD-ROM every week?

    I can rock solid guarantee you that the DUP have had contacts with Brown’s people already and did so months ago.

  • Henry94

    Ingram

    The trouble with the IMC is that rejectionists accept all the negative reports and reject all the positive ones.

    You see there is a difference between the need for genuine assurance that cooperation with the police is real and looking for yet another excuse to block power-sharing.

    I have no problem with the need for genuine assurance. I think the CC could be asked aboout it at the Police Board. What would be the problem with that?

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s certainly possible Ian. But as things stand, the British don’t actually have control over the length of the proposed ‘control’ period. That remains in the hands of the DUP. As Durkan puts it: they have a ‘veto’ given them by SF.

    Your scenario seems to get SF off its internal hooks, but could leave them open to a two way attack on Policing in the Assembly election. Now there might be an advantage in that, fighting on pro Policing platform against dissidents has the potential to to pull in moderate votes. There is even interesting potential to squeeze the SDLP right out of the picture. But can they fight a unified platform on an issue they have not internally agreed?

    And what guarantees have they that, if they are seen to collapse the scrum, they will not be rewarded with a few more negative modular changes of the kind we have seen recently leaking into the public domain?

    If it continues like this, when the P&J powers are eventually devolved the departments they oversee will be a hollowed out shell and barely worth waiting for. Surely? Unless (with rhetorical conspiracy theory head on) that is the point?

    I’m also not sure Blair would agree with you over the value of his ‘award’. And it is far from clear that Brown is looking for a half share in one either.

    Adds: Hain has just called imposition of a P&J Minister from Westminster “a constitutional nonsense” (http://tinyurl.com/y4ybx3)

  • Yokel

    Henry

    And pro-whatever’s look at the positive stuff.

    The problem is that an IMC report is never totally one way or the other because the situation isnt one way or the other.

  • kensei

    “Lets not start the Truth business again. The republican movement won’t exist in its present form if such a thing got to the truth.

    Don’t dig a hole for yourself lest you should fall into it. ”

    The Truth wouldn’t be too kind to the British Government, Unionism or Loyalism either. I am happy to face it and deal with the consequences after.

    And the fact remains, at this point it is the best that victims on both sides could get.

  • kensei

    “And pro-whatever’s look at the positive stuff.

    The problem is that an IMC report is never totally one way or the other because the situation isnt one way or the other. ”

    And thus the whole thing is pointless.

    The answer is simple. Force the IMC to make a recommendation one way or the other that is binding.

  • Henry94

    Yokel

    So nobody is happy. Three questions for the CC which I think could be asked. I’m sure we can think of more

    1. Is the level of cooperation with the police noticeably deficient in any part of the area he is responsible for?

    2. Is any party in the Assembly being uncoopperative on the ground?

    3. Are day to day relationships between officers and the public good in all areas?

  • Yokel

    Henry & kensei

    The IMC’s relative ambiguity is its strength because it allows enough room to keeop nudging forward.

    At some point it will shit and then get off the pot.

    Kensei

    No one doubts that the loyalists had links with some people in the security services etc but unionism as a whole probably couldnt give a fiddlers. Many of them may not like it but there won’t be serious ructions. There wont be much upset because they always knew it was dirty.

    The difference for republicans is that they have been told, and some really do believe, that they were clean as a whistle, apart from a few traitors. The armed republican movement was basically brought to a standstill here, where it couldnt do anything of sufficient impact to nudge the Brits significantly out of the country. There have been few counter insurgency operations (for lack of a better term) that have been so successful in history. That didn’t happen just by some booted, uniformed feet on the ground and a few random traitors. And we havent even started on direct links between Republicans and Loyalists yet.

    Fine if we want to get it out in the open, do so, properly and I’d have no objections. I just think one side of the fence is probably better prepared for it than the other.

  • DUP Watcher

    MEP Jim Allister, in an exclusive article for the Belfast Telegraph, reminds the Prime Minister that the DUP wants proof Sinn Fein is serious about policing (Text below)

    So Sinn Fein, once it gets over its petulant foot-stamping, because unionists have not joined the Government in being gushing cheerleaders for the republican movement, might support the police and the rule of law. Good. But, how would we know and when?

    Given that since its inception the Provisional Sinn Fein movement has supported the very antithesis of the rule of law and all things lawful, it is hardly unreasonable for the DUP executive to insist that any mere verbal commitment is tested and tried over a credible period – it seems timely to remind the Prime Minister that this is the DUP’s binding policy. What might some of those tests be?

    Most are self-evident:

    Encouragement to join the PSNI, which can be tested by seeing an upturn in Roman Catholic applications in future recruitment competitions, the next of which does not open until March.

    Publicly promoted direct co-operation with the police, demonstrated by a sustained increase in the flow of information about crime, of all types, from within nationalist communities, and including co-operation with the Historical Enquiries Team.

    An increased conviction rate, resulting not only from statements to the police but evidence being given in court, not just in high-profile cases, like the McCartney murder, but in all cases.

    A marked decrease in and end of association with organised crime in such areas as fuel smuggling and money laundering.

    Then, there is the important issue of the return of ill-gotten gains, highlighted by Dr Paisley MP as essential, both at St Andrews and in the News Letter on December 30 2006. Clearly, Sinn Fein has far to travel in this regard. Wholehearted support for the rule of law will see an end to Sinn Fein’s fatuous denial that the IRA was responsible for the Northern Bank robbery. You can’t be in support of the rule of law and the police and at the same time repudiate the intelligence findings of the police in order to excuse and accept “the word” of an illegal organisation.

    Ending association with an illegality is a key and defining issue. The IRA is an illegal organisation with military structures in place. No one can credibly be said to be supportive of the rule of law and supportive of an illegal organisation at one and the same time. Hence, the logic of disbandment of the IRA as a corollary to Sinn Fein acceptance of the rule of law. How could anyone be said to genuinely support the rule of law and at the same time support, endorse, justify, or be associated with an illegal “Army”, with an “Army Council” (It is less than two years since the Republic’s Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, publicly named Adams and McGuinness as members of the Army Council, and Bertie Ahern described Sinn Fein and the IRA as “both sides of the same coin”). So, the end of the IRA Army Council would seem an indispensable part of proof of support for the rule of law. The IMC’s next report will be watched with interest on this point.

    Critically, there is the pivotal issue of the warped republican view of criminality. Less than two years ago Mitchel McLaughlin declared on RTE that though the IRA murder of mother-of-10 Jean McConville was ” wrong”, it was not a “crime”. Evidently, such a perverted view of criminality would make a nonsense of support for the rule of law. So, a clear affirmation from Sinn Fein that any breach of the criminal law of Northern Ireland, by anyone at any time, is and was unequivocally a crime, is a pre-requisite to meaningful commitments to oppose criminality. We have yet to hear such a declaration.

    Finally, the daily actions of Sinn Fein leaders must match their words. Glorification of terrorist acts is wholly incompatible with support for the rule of law. Three days after Adams spoke in Dublin of Sinn Fein preparing to support the police, he was in Fermanagh glorifying two IRA terrorists who met their just desserts when they attacked a police station.
    This sort of schizophrenic approach to the rule of law shows just how much Sinn Fein has to do to begin to convince law-abiding citizens that any professed commitment to the rule of law is genuine.

  • Yokel

    DUP watcher.

    Anything really new and unexpected there?

    Nah.

  • parcifal

    Ian,
    There is one deadline we know for sure, that is Jan 29th, when Hain dissolves the Assembly.

  • Ian

    Yokel:

    “RPA changes nothing fundamentally, the population of the country remains the same.”

    But compared against the current scenario, it will be much better for those nationalists stuck in unionist-dominated boroughs. (It’s not really an issue in councils with nationalist majority where power-sharing is currently much more prevalent.)

    In the 7 council model, very few nationalists will be left in areas with a less than 30% nationalist population. Also, I would imagine some kind of safeguards will be built into the new councils to prevent abuse of powers by majority parties.

    “Secondly you believe there is some big vote for SF waiting to happen in the South. There isn’t. they are niche party and will remain so.”

    They’re sure to do better if they’ve moved to support policing north and south by the time of the southern election, compared with if they haven’t yet made that move come the election?

    “Your logic on Brown makes no sense. If Brown wanted help from the DUP with a hung parliament he would have to cut a deal well before any election. If all this goes as you say, then its everything is set in stone so what the heck help is the DUP going to give him then? He’ll have bugger all to give them at that stage to cut a deal with because, according to you, all these wonderful things will have gone SF’s way. So whats he going to do, reverse them?”

    You’re making precisely the point I’m making, which is that SF should make their move on policing before the DUP get an opportunity to start negotiating and extracting concessions (or reversing concessions won by SF) from Brown.

    Mick:

    “Your scenario seems to get SF off its internal hooks, but could leave them open to a two way attack on Policing in the Assembly election. Now there might be an advantage in that, fighting on pro Policing platform against dissidents has the potential to to pull in moderate votes. There is even interesting potential to squeeze the SDLP right out of the picture. But can they fight a unified platform on an issue they have not internally agreed?”

    In the scenario I outlined the Assembly elections wouldn’t occur until SF have moved on policing, as the March election date would be called off. I’m just speculating (NOT advocating) that Adams might defer the decision in order to pocket Hain’s bag of tricks which were primarily intended as a crude blackmailing device to force an early movement into powersharing by Unionists, but which haven’t all been fully pushed through yet.

    It might also look better for SF (and assist their internal management issues) if they’re not seen to be desparately marching to the DUP’s drumbeat, and provided the AF happens by May they would still reap some electoral benefit in the south. Plus by May ’08 they would have demonstrated a whole year of support for policing, which should be plenty for the purpose of ‘building cross-community confidence’ provided it has been whole-hearted (and provided the DUP are not being disingenuous?).

  • kensei

    “No one doubts that the loyalists had links with some people in the security services etc but unionism as a whole probably couldnt give a fiddlers. Many of them may not like it but there won’t be serious ructions. There wont be much upset because they always knew it was dirty.”

    Unionism sacred cows such as the UDR, the British Army and the RUC would get an equally rough time.

    “The difference for republicans is that they have been told, and some really do believe, that they were clean as a whistle, apart from a few traitors.”

    Balls. Don’t even know where to start with that.

    “The armed republican movement was basically brought to a standstill here, where it couldnt do anything of sufficient impact to nudge the Brits significantly out of the country. There have been few counter insurgency operations (for lack of a better term) that have been so successful in history.”

    Madness. The IRA remained capable of killing both here and within Britain right up to the end. In fact, it could go back to war tomorrow and still retain that capability. The Brits are here because Unionists are here. If the IRA had have drawn widespread support the British would have left long ago.

    “That didn’t happen just by some booted, uniformed feet on the ground and a few random traitors. And we havent even started on direct links between Republicans and Loyalists yet.”

    There have always been traitors hence why the IRA adopted the cell structure for a start. It is hardly a surprise.

    “Fine if we want to get it out in the open, do so, properly and I’d have no objections. I just think one side of the fence is probably better prepared for it than the other.”

    Unionism’s ability to believe that this was a “great wee place” pre-69 suggests you are probably right.

  • Ian

    Parcifal:

    “There is one deadline we know for sure, that is Jan 29th, when Hain dissolves the Assembly.”

    And for example, the minute that happens, the bar on academic selection of primary school pupils comes into effect.

    Where is the motive for SF to move on policing by the 29th of Jan in order to save academic selection?

    Far better from SF’s perspective to make the policing move to their own timescale than one laid down by the SoS or the DUP?

  • parcifal

    Ian I think SF are looking for bigger fish, and they’ll never have a friend like Blair again.
    Aside though I do believe the window of opportunity is narrowing and SF don’t have the luxury of using the election as a means of gaining support for their PSNI proposals.
    I feel friday is the last date to call the Ard Fheis, or this process is OVER.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ian,

    From the last Hain statement, the election appeared to be a fixed point in the firmament. But who knows?

  • parcifal

    Mick,
    Didn’t Dermot Aherne say as much on Q & A.
    There’s been much talk here on Sluggers of May 2008 for P&J, re target dates/ deadlines; but Hain has Westminster powers to dissolve the Assembly on 29th Jan , elections on March 7, and that is fixed and its impossible for Hain to go back to Parliament and ask for extensions.
    Can you confirm?

  • parcifal

    Mr Hain said the March deadline for restoration of government was absolute.

    “People know that on January 30th, Stormont either dissolves permanently or power is devolved, it is the last chance.

    That the latest today 4pm

  • parcifal

    Henry94,
    If Blair were to come out on his Thursday visit to norn iron, and say that it will be the policing board to decide whether or not SF is making progress with the PSNI, in order to realise the May 2008 target date of devoltion, that would satisfy everyone.

    It can’t be the IMC , as that’s not their remit, and it can’t be left to DUP whims, as that would make it political, so with SF on the policing board surely that’s the best way of ensuring a fair assessment and determination of progress.

    That way we can avioid and ding-dongs

  • Yokel

    Kensei

    You illustrate my points brilliantly, Not sure you mean’t to.

    On paper the electoral dates are set under legislation. Having said that new legislation can be put in place.

    Parcifal, spot on. Tony is a good as its likely to get for SF and they know it.

  • kensei

    “You illustrate my points brilliantly, Not sure you mean’t to.”

    So, are you suggesting that the IRA was entirely run by MI5? Therefore the state was killing it’s own citizens.

  • Rory

    Junior asks for co-operation on rape and murder and “more serious organised crimes”.

    It’s those pesky kids using the playground swings on a Sunday again that’s agitating him I bet.

    Will SF/IRA promise to control them? That’s what the decent folk of Ulster really want to know.

  • Rory

    …and, while we’re on the subject, what about “dogging”? That’s organised and it’s bloody serious. Shagging dogs on a Sunday! I ask you.

  • Greenflag

    An elderly loyalist woman ran with all her might to catch the city bus in East Belfast . ‘Thank God ‘she sighed , having made it . A well known loyalist sitting next to her said,

    ” You expressed that improperly, auntie. You should know that God does not interfere with the bus timetable. You should have said ‘Thank Paisley and the DUP for changing the bus timetable only last week ‘

    ‘You’re right,son , you’re right ,” said the old woman in agreement .’Please excuse me , I’m a little behind the times.”

    But after thinking awhile , the old woman asked:
    ‘God forbid this should happen , but what am I supposed to say if Paisley should die ?”

    “In that case , perhaps you may say ‘Thank God’ said Davy.