When is a deadline not a deadline, redux?

Talking to an English journalist currently on the ground in Northern Ireland. The message being picked up at the moment is that “absolutely nobody believes the March 26 ultimatum, and many are annoyed at a perceived attempt to fit the timetable to TB’s legacy”. Which may be whyIn the meantime, Peter Robinson is now questioning the validity of March 26th May 2008 as a deadline, even though it has been set by parliament. Given how close the British government is sailing to the wind on the constitutional nonsense of imposing policing and justice ministries on an unwilling Assembly, it might justly be concerned that it, rather than the DUP or Sinn Fein is the player most likely to lose the Blame Game.

  • Briso

    Which may be why Peter Robinson is now questioning the validity of March 26th deadline

    No he isn’t. He’s questioning May 2008.

  • the other one

    Surely the point about setting a date is to ensure that we don’t have another 4 years of MLA’s getting paid for no delivery. If there is to be no devolution then cancel the election.

  • Briso

    Oh, and I forgot to say, the only significant thing in the quote was Peter R accepting the May 2008 deadline might be achievable, something the DUP has never said before, unless I missed it.

  • BonarLaw

    The only deadline set and kept was 10th April 1998.

  • Briso,

    I’ll amend the post above. Pete and I discussed that briefly on the Slugger Radio session last night. I don’t think they have ever ruled it out. If anything, Robinson has been more liberal in his interpretation in the past.

  • Yokel

    I believe the DUP will go forward on the broad terms of the St AA but possibly not the timetable.

    The justice & policing timetable is viable but, ad I’ve posted it before, the DUP don’t really want to give Tony his success. They have talked to Gordon’s people and we may see that things will go into stasis, Gordon will take over and we’ll have our Assembly in the Autumn without much fuss.

  • The Clockwoman

    Is the DUP now a Pro-Agreement party?

  • parcifal

    Yokel,
    So you think Blair may have “yoked” himself to this deadline; and its unrealistic?

    INHO there’s no point teasing the process out for a further 6 months, we need this anxiety to get the major parties to jump.

    I feel certain there will be no movement by HMG.
    Its devolution or dissolution come March 26th.

    SF can take the pressure, not sure about the DUP

  • Briso

    Posted by Mick on Feb 08, 2007 @ 12:27 PM

    Briso,

    >I’ll amend the post above. Pete and I discussed
    >that briefly on the Slugger Radio session last
    >night. I don’t think they have ever ruled it
    >out. If anything, Robinson has been more liberal
    >in his interpretation in the past.

    I never said they ruled it out. They simply refused to ‘get hung up on deadlines’ if they were asked if delivery was possible by May 2008. Now PR has explicitly said the May 2008 deadline is achievable, just. No more, no less.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ the DUP don’t really want to give Tony his success. They have talked to Gordon’s people and we may see that things will go into stasis,’

    Which is presumably why Mr Blair is now reported as ‘interceding’ with US Republican Presidential candidate John McCain to put pressure on Paisley to agree to immediate power sharing after the March election.

    This whole business of the DUP prevarication etc etc etc etc and continually ‘raising the bar’ for SF -as in Robinson’s latest missive needs to be addressed head on by the Irish Government and the elected representatives of Irish nationalism and republcanism in Northern Ireland . The way to address it is to let the DUP know in no uncertain terms that if there is no devolution by May 1 2007 then the Irish Government and the representatives of the Irish people in Northern Ireland will revoke their hitherto support for a devolved NI Assembly.

    The Irish Government should keep to it’s deadline and not end up like successive British Governments who have made the word ‘deadline’ appear to mean something like a line on the horizon -in that the nearer one comes to it the further away it is!

    Mr Blair’s appeal for McCain’s intercession is pathethic . I understand that Mr Blair of all British Prime Ministers since Gladstone has done most to help resolve the ‘Irish ‘question -however it looks as if the petty minded DUP are determined to spite his efforts . That should come as no surprise to anybody .

    Irish nationalists and republicans in Northern Ireland should look beyond this farce of an Assembly and refuse to countenance under any circumstances a Northern Ireland State with a 17th century minded cleric as it’s First Minister .

  • Yokel

    Gents you miss the point, there will be an Assembly, simply not on Tony’s terms if the DUP can manage it. They may manage or they might not but they are sure as hell are considering it.

    Greenflag, if Gordon Brown decides to mysteriously revive this once he goes into power, then the Irish government can do little to stop him and frankly the nationalist parties will go for it as well.

    The No.10 vs the No. 11 dimension has been missed on Slugger, almost in enterity, just as in the rest of the UK the NI dimesnion has been missed as the key in Tony’s planned departure. Look at it from Gordon’s point of view. He comes in, everything gets revived and the Assembly starts to roll by Autumn. P&J goes in May/June 2008 and Gordon gets great success. Tony gets dumped on by history.

    By the time we hit end of March Tony will be almost out of rope, the much vaunted Plan B won’t have a chance to be created and activated (because it hasnt yet, its a myth at this stage).

    The DUP know they have to deal because most of the electorate (if not their party) want them to deal and there will only be so much prevarication allowed in London after Tony goes. There have been contacts with Brown’s squad so its an option but whether it will work out as such is still open to interpretation. It could be a clean home run for Gordon within months of his taking over.

    All very neat and all possible.Not certain, but possible.

  • Briso

    >Gents you miss the point, there will be an Assembly, simply not on Tony’s terms if the DUP can manage it.

    What do you mean by that Yokel? No assembly on Tony’s watch or a different assembly than Tony is currently trying to bring about? If it’s the second (or both!) what are the differences they are trying to achieve?

  • Greenflag

    ‘If it’s the second (or both!) what are the differences they are trying to achieve? ‘

    Eh ? Well ye see it’s just that the DUP don’t want Tony Boy to get any credit for foisting this charade on the people of NI. They prefer to see that Gordy gets the credit for foisting this shambles of an Assembly on the English taxpayer . That way a Scot will eventually get the blame for the mess . The English will then finally get pissed off with the Scots and the Northern Ireland Unionists & Nationalists and declare a unilateral English UDI. The DUP will then be able to go to the NI people and say that the English cannot leave the Union because Northern Ireland’s UNionists won’t let them 🙂

    The short answer is sheer DUP spite and politicking to gain every point advantage they can over the UUP .

    Anyway Paisley is rreaping all the credit for sitting on his political arse for 40 years while spinning out the ‘Union’ for as long as this joke of a 6 county Statelet lasts .

  • Yokel

    Briso,

    The substance of the arrangment I would guess is going to be much the same, its the timing more than anything with maybe a concession or two round the edges (because they can). The DUP didnt do too badly out of the St AA at all, and even given the inevitable playing around and making contradictory sounding statements it really does seem to amount to timing above other factors.

    What those concessions are I have no idea, other than possibly trying to copperfasten their apparent veto positions and few other bones to show what a good deal they are doing for the citizens. Thats guesswork, however. Bit of investment money will be requested as well probably…but sure they all ask for that

    The DUP as a body do know they have to face SF, its a reality, its more about when and the circumstances rather than if they are going to deal with SF or not. The bogeyman days are running out for all but the people who refuse to see beyond their own noses.

    I first speculated on this holding action months ago, and whilst they might go with March 26th, what is emerging now from the DUP can be seen as genuine smoke signals that they are indeed considering throwing their lot in with the Gordon factor and delaying restoration. I’m guessing that its not all bluff and its not purely about the DUP keeping itself together. The only other poster I’ve seen explicitly line this hypothesis up regarding the Gordon factor has been one Malachi O’Doherty a month or two back.

    I’m not saying its for sure but to me its the factor that people here don’t seem to have paid as much attention to. Maybe they are right to ignore it, I’m just raising it again in the light of some of the smoke thats been coming up.

  • Greenflag

    Yokel

    ‘Greenflag, if Gordon Brown decides to mysteriously revive this once he goes into power, then the Irish government can do little to stop him ‘

    True enough in terms of realpolitik. But why exactly would any Irish Government want to stop a British Prime Minister making a fool of himself and the english taxpayer yet again in Northern Ireland ? After 35 years of increasingly pathetic attempts of HMG to bring true democracy to NI – the longest running political joke in western europe is now at a point where the game is almost up. If at first you don’t succeed by all means try again but eventually there comes a point when you have to stop being a fool about trying to achieve the impossible . Sometime back in the 1970’s you might think HMG would have learned but no HMG still persists with it’s increasingly futile attempts to square the circle in NI.

    ‘frankly the nationalist parties will go for it as well.’

    You might think that but there might just still be a spark of self respect and some political dignity remaining among the nationalist and republican communities in Northern Ireland . Ireland can do without an NI Assembly . It’s just more expensive overhead being dumped on the worst managed economic region in the EU and within the UK.. Any businessman will tell you that that is not a winning proposition for either political or economic survival!

  • Ca Va

    Anyone listen to Hearts and Minds tonite?
    Pure Vintage Paisley!

  • Picador

    It seems that the DUP is not willing to play ball, at least not for the time being. Perhaps Tony will give them a nasty little surprise before he departs in the form of further disclosures about the role of unionist politcians / RUC SB / loyalist paramilitaries in the dirty war. Wishful thinking perhaps but the man must be at the end of his tether with regard to Paisley and cos. moral grandstanding.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but the man must be at the end of his tether with regard to Paisley and cos. moral grandstanding.’

    There’s an easy answer then to being at the end of his tether – he just needs to do a Ted Heath with the Assembly when the election is over and Paisley reverts to full negative mode!

    Time for Irish Nationalists and Republicans to give this Paisleyite farce a wide berth and have nothing to do with the DUP or it’s ilk ! DR will do fine until we can have a de facto and de jure repartition of NI implemented by a neutral international body such as the UN or EU.

  • Yokel

    Picador

    Well it would be interesting but there’s plenty that could cross back the UK governments desk.

    A case of don’t dig a hole lest you should fall into it.

    Greenflag

    Whilst I have a certain amount of sympathy with your oft quoted repartition plans, its not on the agenda and the truth is that realistically for a long term future, local administration with some kind of power sharing is probably the only way to go in terms of logn term stability. The problem lies here, the solution here. Unionist’s and nationalists work with each other day in day out in places of work and long have done, its about time the politicians did.

    Nationalist politicians are just as happy (salaries apart) not to take hard bread and butter decisions as Unionist politicians but ultimately the answers do lie with them as the reps of their communities.

  • Picador

    Greenflag,

    “Time for Irish Nationalists and Republicans to give this Paisleyite farce a wide berth and have nothing to do with the DUP or it’s ilk ! DR will do fine until we can have a de facto and de jure repartition of NI implemented by a neutral international body such as the UN or EU.”

    ???????????

    I’ll put up with Paisley and co.s continued blustering in preference to an aggrandised Free State / ethnically-pure unionist laager state nightmare scenario, any day of the week. And that is saying something, believe me, because I really do not like the man. Anyway, some day in the not too distant future the old windbag will be pushing up the daisies.

  • The only other poster I’ve seen explicitly line this hypothesis up regarding the Gordon factor has been one Malachi O’Doherty a month or two back.

    Come on, Yokel, I bet if you searched, you’d find some of us flagged it up a year or two back!

  • Briso

    After watching quite a bit of Paisley on H&M last night, I’m sure he will go for it on 26th March. He wasn’t prepared to say what was needed from SF before then nor was he prepared to say that it was impossible. Lots of the usual bluster, but they will go in on March 26th. I honestly think that internally, they think they got a grand deal at St Andrew’s. They’re just trying to manage their constituency now going into an election. Robinson is already looking to the next deadline. There will be more ‘process’ around that time, but I think it’s more or less done for the March 26th. Time will tell…..

  • Greenflag

    Yokel,

    ‘its not on the agenda ‘

    Not in the sense that any party is pushing it as a political solution at this time. But look beyond that to the rapidly changing demographics within NI East v South and West and HMG’s Seven Councils redistricting plan and repartition does not look as ‘impossible ‘ or ‘impractical’ as it would appear .

    ‘ Unionist’s and nationalists work with each other day in day out in places of work and long have done,’

    So what ?. This is also the case along the border between France and Germany , Belgium and Holland , Italy and France .All of these States have contiguous land borders just like the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland . Already people from Newry commute to Dublin to work. There is no reason why post a fair repartition that people could not continue to do so -either way .

    Picador,

    ‘I’ll put up with Paisley and co.s continued blustering in preference to an aggrandised Free State / ethnically-pure unionist laager state nightmare scenario, any day of the week.’

    The Free State no longer exists and your assumed ‘nightmare’ would not be an ‘ethnically pure (whatever that means ?) unionist state . There would be a 10 to 15% Irish minority in such a State as well as other minorities such as new immigrants . As both States would continue to be in the EU and NI presumably still within the UK it’s Government would have to comply with EU standards in terms of civil and human rights . There would be no return to the 1920’s or the pre 1969 situation for any Unionist State’s Irish minority . Likewise the new Unionist minority in an enlarged Republic would have the same civil and human rights as the former .

    ‘believe me, because I really do not like the man. Anyway, some day in the not too distant future the old windbag will be pushing up the daisies.

    Your remark could be made by a half a million or even more people within NI on both sides of the political divide. But despite the certainty of Paisley’s eventual demise ,Paisleyism will continue to exist as a political force within NI. Already there are contenders to take up the mantle so one way or another a DUP will continue and Unionist opposition to the UI of SF’s ‘dream’ will continue much as before . Although I too have no time for Paisley I’m prepared to accept that he has kept many unionists within the ‘political fold’. It is also true to say that in his earlier days he did through his hateful and bigoted rants manage to drive some Protestants down a road they later came to regret as they passed time behind bars.

    But all of the above at this stage is in a sense immaterial. The simple fact is that a DUP/SF power sharing deal is a recipe for continuing political and economic chaos in NI for the foreseeable future . As of today Hanson is saying that if there is no power sharing govt after the election the Assembly will be closed down and Peter Robinson is saying that under no circumstances will SF be allowed to run the Justice dept .

    Put simply Picador- the whole thing is a *&%#@#** shambles 🙁 The only reason the Yokel’s and Picador’s of NI still cling on to the ‘hope’ of a ‘power sharing’ NI Assembly is because after a generation of political bollicking about among the parties in NI it is inconceivable that anything else is possible except a continuation of the same .

    Woody Allen notoriously said that he wanted to achieve immortality not through his movies but through not dying .

    NI may achieve ‘immortality’ through it’s eternal peace processing path – it’s never ending digging up the past -and it’s never ending cycle of failed political solutions .

    Why not face up to the political and economic reality that the very idea of an NI 6 county State in AD 2007 is a nonsense and move on to a practical solution which would enable 96% of the people on this small island to live in the State of their first preference i.e after a fair repartition of NI bya neutral international agency !