“Timetable is a government objective…”

In Westminster this morning there was little sign of any nervousness on the DUP benches. Indeed in response to a question from Nigel Dodds, the Secretary of State noted: “the May 2008 date agreed at St Andrews is a government objective”. He went on to contrast it with two dates laid down in legislation: 30th January, for the dissolution of the current Transitional Assembly: and March 26th, when the newly elected Assembly is supposed to take up devolved powers. Which confirms the DUP’s line throughout this ‘crisis’ that it is not obliged to harden an objective into an obligatory deadline in advance of, or even after, any move by Sinn Fein to support policing…

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  • BeardyBoy

    I agree – Sinn fein has failed in relation to police

  • Ian

    All that is required of the DUP is that they agree that May 2008 is a valid target date that it is theoretically possible to meet IN THE CONTEXT OF DELIVERY. They haven’t even agreed that yet.

  • Mick Fealty

    Not sure anyone can ‘require’ it Ian. This appears to be precisely what SF accepted in private, before this crisis, given they were one of only two authoritative voices in the St Andrews negotiation. We know from the other parties that they were not seriously involved. This is SF’s deal.

    Which raises the question, what on earth was all this ‘fuss’ about?

  • ingram

    Hi,

    This mornings staements just re-inforces Mr Bakers recent efforts to educate one or two on this board recently about the difference between a target and a firm committment date.

    Well done Pete.

    Martin

  • BeardyBoy

    And why exactly must or indeed should the DUP do anything? I must agree that they are right – other people can say or do whatever they want – the DUP will make their minds up and take the consequence. If the English say something that does not mean the DUP must accept it.

    The DUP never said that they accepted any date so they are not obliged to – they may change their minds but it is entirely their decision, however Sinn Fein did make statements about Ard Feiseanna et cetera – they now have to follow through, the fools the fools the fools they have given us our fenian dead and Ireland unpoliced by a British Police Force will never be at peace

  • Balloo

    DUP do not have to move on anything at the minute. Sinn Fein HAS to sign up to policing, it is unavoidable.

    May 2008 as a target is fine. If the Shinners want to turn this into ‘blame the dups’ they should sign up without delay and force their hand.

  • parcifal

    BeardyBoy,
    Even in a 32C Republic SF need to support the police, is it really so different to report a crime to a Guarda or a PSNI officer, or help solve a crime?

    Also Republicans believe Protestants are Irish not British, ( 1916 proclamation )so how would it affect things if a PSNI officer knocked on your door or a Guarda, maybe its Irish B1gotry ???

    Stop being so hysterical.

  • Ian

    Mick:

    “Not sure anyone can ‘require’ it Ian.”

    Well Blair has stated that it would be “utterly unreasonable” of the DUP to oppose it as a Target Date SUBJECT TO DELIVERY FROM SF. It’s called Signing Up to the St Andrews Agreement, in which May 2008 is stated as a target date. Or to put it another way, Agreeing with Blair’s Assessment of the Way Forward.

    The DUP have been given several chances to sign up to the deal but the best that Paisley can say is that he “won’t be found wanting”, whatever that means.

  • Yokel

    Parcifal

    I think your point about Sinn Fein believing Protestants as Irish is a fair one. What is more important is what most Protestants (in Northern Ireland) see themselves as when it really comes down to it.

    Ian

    Blair can state its unreasonable all he likes, he wont be around in 2008.

    People seemed to have missed anyway that the chances are the DUP will go for P&J in 2008. As long as Sinn Fein can’t get the post, which they can’t and by the looks of it wont for a long time.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ian,

    Even setting aside the delivery condition, what precisely does this mean when you strip it down to the bare essentials:

    “‘utterly unreasonable’ of the DUP to oppose it as a Target Date”

  • Ian

    “People seemed to have missed anyway that the chances are the DUP will go for P&J in 2008. As long as Sinn Fein can’t get the post, which they can’t and by the looks of it wont for a long time.”

    And that being the case, I find it incomprehensible that the DUP can’t come out and say that they agree with May 2008 AATDSTDFSF. They’re just being obstinate for the sake of it – and bear in mind the default legal position that academic selection is scrapped on the 30th of January if Hain calls off the election i.e. if SF haven’t passed the AF motion.

  • Ian

    “Even setting aside the delivery condition, what precisely does this mean when you strip it down to the bare essentials:

    “‘utterly unreasonable’ of the DUP to oppose it as a Target Date””

    Maybe the problem is that it implies that any devolution at all will be underway by May 2008. Maybe that is too much for the backwoodsmen to contemplate at this stage.

  • Ian

    “Maybe the problem is that it implies that any devolution at all will be underway by May 2008. Maybe that is too much for the backwoodsmen to contemplate at this stage.”

    Obviously by that I mean devolution including Sinn Fein.

  • parcifal

    Mick,
    The DUP appear to be ejoying the “creative ambiguity” in statements like utterly unreasonable, target dates, testing and delivery.
    Perhaps its payback for SF’s use of creative ambiguity they used so well to out-manoueuvre the UUP.
    SF are feeling distinctly uncomfortabe, in case its all trap.
    The hunter becomes the hunted, or is that haunted.

  • Ian

    “The DUP appear to be ejoying the “creative ambiguity” in statements like utterly unreasonable, target dates, testing and delivery.
    Perhaps its payback for SF’s use of creative ambiguity they used so well to out-manoueuvre the UUP. SF are feeling distinctly uncomfortable, in case its all trap.”

    Remind me – if Hain pulls the plug because SF haven’t had their Ard Fheis because the DUP have refused to sign up to the May 2008 timetable as stipulated in the St AA – how does that benefit the DUP, exactly?

    If it’s all about winning some childish ‘blame game’, well Blair’s ‘utterly unreasonable’ description of the DUP ‘s position doesn’t suggest they’re going to win the blame game. It’ll be the usual ‘plague on both your houses’ style draw. Meanwhile, academic selection goes and the Super Councils loom.

    I’m struggling to understand WHY the DUP are playing this game – I can only assume they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture and/or can’t help themselves from engaging in the politics of confrontation.

  • J Kelly

    The issue here is that the DUP have not agreed to share power on the 26th March never mind the May 2008 deadline. SF in my opinion will go for an AF if the DUP agree to powersharing in the immediate aftermath of an election and work to ensure that the position of the DUP taliban come next May is undefendable. If after over a year of power does anyone believe that the DUP will collapse the Assembly because the UU or SDLP are justice ministers. The reality is that the taliban within the DUP realise this and are attempting to halt powersharing now not P&J next year. All you had to do was read Simpsons statement yesterday “move on without Sinn Fein” so last year.

    Robinson and Donaldson seem to be the reformers and papa Doc agrees with them until he comes under pressure from the taliban. Reading between the lines the deal was done Blair went on holiday the sequence was SF move the DUP acknowledge and publically agree to share power. SF hold AF. Election. Executive. Its easy to see how it unravelled and as i explained above the taliban are fighting now to prevent things in the future.

  • Yokel

    It may be tough for them Parcifal but they are trying to bring the majority of their current support with them (and win some more).

    It isnt so much a trap as a progessive Hotel California, lovely place, really good then you realize youve gone in and cant get out. British governments plan all along. SF have no recourse to much of fundamental threat anymore.

  • parcifal

    Ian, sorry I should have indicated my true voice, like J.Kelly has explained, that its the taliban wing of the DUP who want no deal, at anytime.

    Seeing ian paisley jnr on Q & A, soften his position was a give away; he still came accross as a smug w*nker, but that’s for another day.

    The DUP is split over power-sharing, the hope is though that the moderates will win the day; as with SF, that voices of reason will be heard and call the AF.

    J Kelly yes I think you’re right the choreography is all there to divine.

  • Speculative thinker

    Last year’s AF motion stated that “This Ard Fheis calls for the creation of the new beginning to policing, in accordance with
    the principles of the Good Friday Agreement. A key requirement in this is democratic
    accountability. In the Six Counties, this requires the transfer of powers on policing and justice away from London and out of the hands of British securocrats to restored, democratically
    elected institutions in Ireland.
    The Sinn Fein President will propose to the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle that it calls a
    special Ard Fheis to decide Sinn Fein’s position on new policing arrangements in the context
    of:
    • Agreement between the parties on the departmental model and powers to be
    transferred;
    • The enactment by the British government of the legislation to give full expression to
    this transfer of powers on policing and justice away from London;
    • A DUP commitment to an acceptable timeframe for the transfer of powers on policing and justice.
    • A position paper would go to all levels of the party for discussion to inform a comprehensive debate leading up to the special Ard Fheis.
    Ard Chomhairle”

    Where is the Agreement between the parties on the departmental model and powers to be
    transferred?
    Where is the enactment of the legislation referred to?
    Where is the DUP commitment to a timeframe?

    If the Ard Chomhairle calls an Ard Fhéis after its meeting this Saturday, could the Ard Fhéis be be deemed unconstitutional and aborted on the day by dissatified delegats due to the fact that none of these conditions agreed and imposed last year do not appear to have been met?

  • parcifal

    spec
    you can’t always get everything on your shopping list
    but you can be sure that SF will “shop till they drop”

  • BeardyBoy

    Parcifal my point is that Sinn Fein negotiates itself into a position were it is virtually obliged to accept and encourage a British Police Force to police in Ireland and promote them as a legitimate force and yet still be at the mercy of Unionism saying “Sorry – you and your voters are unacceptable , you will not be accorded any rights unless we say so and you will have to perform whatever acrobatics we say in order for us to consider recognising you our your voters as equals to us”
    paisley is right – they did not say they would accept them by any date – so he can do as he likes.

    Sinn Fein accepts a British solution to Ireland as legitimate and the forces of Britain as legitimate – what a balls up.

    At the very least they should have pushed for Poynings in reverse – no law/act or Govt directive enacted in London can apply here unless supported my a majority here.

    Local democracy and accountability not power devolved power retained.

  • parcifal

    BeardyBoy,
    I have wrestled with these contradictions; and I don’t believe the British Gov’t will allow the horrors you describe.
    Also the united ireland cannot be achieved simply on republican terms; but must be built via politics and persuasion.
    In my view the Assembly will help the long term goals, however its your call too.

  • GrassyNoel

    Oh for f*ck’s sake, would they not just get on with it and stop fannying about with their linguistic contortions and acrobatics, constantly trying to frustrate each other.

    SF know they will have to sign up to policing. DUP know that when SF do eventually sign up to policing they will have to accept shared power in a devolved assembly and that they will not be able to exclude SF ministers from P&J indefinitely. This is cheap point-scoring at best, and not even that in my opinion, they are all just trying to delay the inevitable for no good reason.

    No doubt they think everyone’s watching and paying attention and gasping aloud at the sheer scale of their intellectual dexterity in their relentless efforts to try and drag the process out for a few more years, but er…guess what lads? Channel 4’s only NI-related item this week was Ervine’s death, and I’d say even that was an editorial coin-flip in the finish as a mark of respect to the man. It’s not as if anyone outside of the island of ‘Eire’ gives a shite, so quit yer f*cking posing and get down to it.

  • parcifal

    hey GrassyNoel, are you trying to deprive me and others of the ecstasy of our oppression 😉

  • BeardyBoy

    Wise up – folk like me will keep sipiong away and undermining the whole edifice – might take years but we will destroy whatever is built – cheery thought for me – keeps me busy

  • BeardyBoy

    Parcifal – I am not a republican I am a monarchist and definitely not a socialist before someone accuses me of that vileness

  • Bruce101

    “Robinson and Donaldson seem to be the reformers and papa Doc agrees with them until he comes under pressure from the taliban.” (J Kelly)

    This is what puzzles me. Dodds appears to be on the Taliban wing but surely it was Paisley, Robinson and Dodds who were the three DUP negotiators at St Andrews. The Doc’s acceptance statement afterwards was made with Dodds beside him. Dodds has his fingerprints all over the St Andrews deal. It appears he did not have the balls to follow it through.

  • BeardyBoy

    Parcifal

    What makes you believe that the English will behave properly – they are not honourable – they will do whatever is expedient – the trick is to ensure that expediency for them equals advantage for you

  • DK

    “What makes you believe that the English will behave properly – they are not honourable”

    Beardyboy – you’re not a monarchist, you’re a racist. Get it right.

  • BeardyBoy

    Depends what you mean by racist