DUP and the limited value of ‘creative ambiguity’…

Hmmm…. Another interesting piece from Jim Gibney. This time we have what he actually wrote yesterday, and not last week.

Over the last few months, especially since the meeting at St Andrews, the most Ian snr has done using his own words is hint at the possibility that he is willing to share power.

Until Monday when he accused the British prime minister Tony Blair, of ‘misrepresenting’ his party’s position, he permitted others, including the Assembly speaker Eileen Bell and Tony Blair to interpret his intentions in the most favourable way.

It could be argued that this was the DUP’s version of ‘creative ambiguity’, a formula they denounced when it was used by others at various times during the peace process to remove road blocks of one form or another.

However, creative ambiguity has a limited life span. It is only credible if the underlying intention of those using it is to move the situation forward or to allow those who are having difficulties with moving forward time to come around.[emphasis added]

This, indeed, is the crux of the blame game. However, it is hard to find where the ambiguity lies in Jim Allister’s conditions for accepting the devolution of policing and justice powers. Given SF’s own unwillingness to help Trimble in the past, a helping hand from the DUP is unlikely to emerge voluntarily. And given the shape of the deal already hammered out, it is hard to see how they can be compelled to help either.

At the moment, it would appear that, the only thing holding up power sharing is SF’s insistence on the pre-approval of one single aspect of those powers.

  • Joe Romhar

    Why was the post censored?

    [Play the ball, not the man – edited moderator]

  • Joe Romhar

    Moderator, the ball was played. The quality of writing that flows from Jim Gibney’s pen is very poor. His column is easily the worst in the Irish News. What right have you to say his column is interesting and then deny me the right to object to that characterisation? Perhaps a bit of censoring to placate your friends?

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    If you are not interested in the article, or more importantly what Mick had to say about the content, just don’t comment.

    But sweeping statements about the ability of any writer clearly falls into the category of playing the man – hence the edit.

    But I did appreciate your last line.. and I’m sure my ‘friends’ will also. ;o)

  • Joe Romhar

    Pete Baker, don’t try that nonsense. Comment on any writer’s ability is fair comment. Just as comment on the ability of any sportsman. If it was a comment on his sexuality or something that would be a different matter. You are simply trying to cover for an atrocious columnist.

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    I’m not going to debate this point with you. The topic [the ball], is what has actually been said in the original post, and any linked articles, not how it’s been said – nor is it how any writer has expressed himself previously. If you don’t have a comment on the topic.. it’s probably better not to comment.

    If you are not clear about this – read the Commenting Policy

  • Joe Romhar

    doesn’t seem to apply when Suzanne Breen gets played – not too eager then to shout about commenting policy. Something of a hypocrite? Don’t debate it with me – just censor me.

  • Mick Fealty

    Oh yes it does Joe. You are a relatively new commenter here, so maybe the moderation does not quite make sense to you yet. In which case, please read the commenting policy.

    You are welcome to talk about the content all you like. I don’t care whose work you criticise, so long as you tackle the content. That’s the deal. If you don’t like it go somewhere else!

    As for covering for Jim, have you actually read the commentary?

  • Mick Fealty

    PS, I am grateful you did comment, no one else saw fit to do so. Just tell us what you think about what he says, not who he is!

  • Ian

    Mick, here’s a comment on the content of your post. When you say:

    “However, it is hard to find where the ambiguity lies in Jim Allister’s conditions for accepting the devolution of policing and justice powers.”

    you actually mean Allister’s conditions for accepting ANY devolution inclusive of Sinn Fein, not just P&J powers. Read his statement more closely.

    As an aside, the code word for this is ‘spirit98’. Is the spirit of 98 alive and well in the St Andrews Agreement?

  • Mick Fealty

    Good point Ian. Except that since the whole proposition is hanging by the single thread of SF’s own self imposed Motion 395, we can’t know whether the DUP will realise their end of the St Andrews deal.

    And until that (largely internal SF) question is resolved, there is no way they can put the ball back in the court of the DUP.

  • Joe

    I have been banned for refusing to kow tow to Sinn Fein Fealty – see you all around

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    You’re a guest Joe. And welcome if you just make some attempt to follow the house rules.

    Mick

  • Joe

    better to be a pest than a guest where discussion is not welcome –

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    We try, as fairly as possible, to apply the commenting policy in order to allow for civil discussion without comments descending into character assassination – aka libellous slurs.

    To that end we ask all commenters to keep their comments focussed on the actual topic.

    Otherwise we will edit. It’s quite a straightforward and, to date, mostly successful approach.

  • kensei

    “Good point Ian. Except that since the whole proposition is hanging by the single thread of SF’s own self imposed Motion 395, we can’t know whether the DUP will realise their end of the St Andrews deal.”

    When does a negotiating bottom line become a “self imposed condition”?

    Answers on a postcard, please.

  • Pete Baker

    When does a negotiating bottom line become a “self imposed condition”?

    When it is self-imposed on a party as a precondition for holding an ard fheis to make a decision on policing through Motion 395.

    Hence the current impasse.

  • joe

    Pete, Chris Gaskin points out on another thread the type of material allowed – people being called orange bastards. Yet Joe Romhar (the name I posted under) is banned.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    joe,

    Re Joe Romhar, I had to get your attention somehow. You were going off at the deep end.

    I’m glad you mention the Orange Bastard thing. It is sadly all too routine for people spout unreconstructed prejudice rather than cogent thought out argument. Chris is direct, straight talking, and widely respected because he extends bottom line respect to his political opponents. Would that more followed his example!

    But we don’t/can’t clip everything that can be construed as playing the man. And I am not asking for saintly discourse. All I plaintively ask is that people try to play the ball.

    If you or anyone reading his sees something you believe is outside the rules of the game, then tell me! And I will take appropriate action.

    For my part, my concern is maintaining the quality of discussion, not providing protection for one party or another.

  • Joe

    Is the ban on Joe Romhar lifted?

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    It is.

  • Joe Romhar

    thank you – appreciated

  • Ian

    “When does a negotiating bottom line become a “self imposed condition”?

    When it is self-imposed on a party as a precondition for holding an ard fheis to make a decision on policing through Motion 395.

    Hence the current impasse.”

    You could just as easily argue that the DUP’s ‘negotiating bottom line’ of not entering an Executive with Sinn Fein until the latter party have demonstrated far greater support for policing than has ever been forthcoming from the former party, is a ‘self-imposed condition’ and a ludicrous and hypocritical one at that.

    What you seem to be saying is that if unionists require something in order to ‘build confidence amongst their constituents’, that’s a ‘negotiating bottom line’, whereas if nationalists require something for their voters it’s a ‘self-imposed condition’. The implication is that the needs of the nationalist constituency are inferior and subordinate to those of the unionist community. Which shows the same supremacist mentality that got NI into such a mess in the first place.

  • Pete Baker

    “whereas if nationalists require something for their voters it’s a ‘self-imposed condition’.”

    Ian

    The reason why it is a self-imposed condition on Sinn Féin is because Motion 395 was a Sinn Féin party policy put in place by a Sinn Féin party Ard Fheis.

  • Ian

    “The reason why it is a self-imposed condition on Sinn Féin is because Motion 395 was a Sinn Féin party policy put in place by a Sinn Féin party Ard Fheis.”

    So you agree that the DUP party executive motion requiring a ‘credible testing period’ (of unspecified length) after the AF before the DUP join SF in a power-sharing executive, is also a ‘self-imposed condition’, and if the DUP aren’t prepared to take up their positions on the executive by the 27th of March then devolved government should carry on without them?

  • Henry94

    In recent days I have seen Mick called both Conor Cruise O’Fealty and Sinn Fein Fealty. Who’d be a ref?

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Thanks for the sympathy Henry. It is much appreciated. I missed the CC0’F remark, but it goes in the cabinet with all the others.

    Ian,

    The difference is the specificity of one, and the openness of the other.

  • kensei

    “When it is self-imposed on a party as a precondition for holding an ard fheis to make a decision on policing through Motion 395.”

    I don’t buy it.

    This is a condition that the membership of SF imposed by voting for the motion. Certain things must be dealt with on policing before they would even discuss it – a bottom line. If the motion wasn’t there, it would still be the bottom line because of the problems SF would have with it otherwise. The DUP clearly have some similar problems, and some similar bottom lines. You might as well say SF support for the police is a DUP self imposed condition for power sharing.

    You are being disingenuous here to score cheap points.