Blair and Ahern mesmerised by shadows..

According to the joint statement from Prime Minster Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern – “The message of the electorate is clear.” Riiight.. sure it is.. But it gets better worse, Tony Blair’s also promoting the idea that the election was actually about those ‘bread and butter’ issues – “The issues were amazingly, in a sense hearteningly enough, water rates, health, education and the economy and so on.” Issues which, admittedly, all parties sought to highlight in advance.. even if the proposed solutions all seem to include higher central government spending.. And there’s also the troublesome fact that, when the the shadow boxing was over, the electorate had voted in larger numbers for the two parties at the greatest remove, not to mention being the loudest, on one long-standing issue – the constitutional question.

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  • Tony Blair’s also promoting the idea that the election was actually about those ‘bread and butter’ issues – “The issues were amazingly, in a sense hearteningly enough, water rates, health, education and the economy and so on.”

    Come on give some credit! We all know that its for these reasons exactly that people in NI voted in their droves, more in this election than in any other time in our history, for the dynanism and progressiveness of the DUP and SF. Isn’t it?

    Things can only look up for NI with Big Ian and Big Martin at the helm.

  • Rory

    Oh, come on, Pete. The art of political commentary depends always on how to read between the lines. But even that is no longer necessary (except for the incredibly naive or literal pedants – neither category within which you fit). Tonight’s 10pm BBC Radio news programme with David Kitterick inter alia laid out the prospects for slow learners. Jeffrey Donaldson was in particular oh-so-tellingly evasive. He deserves an award.

    Paisley’s pre=election last minute demand for financial subvention will be part way met, as secretly agreed at St Andrews. The demand for a reduction in corporation tax will be teasingly demurred. Paisley can then crow triumphantly (yet again) of his gains and then join with Sinn Fein in denouncing the miserliness of Brown in denying even more essential shillings.

    Expect the usual bluster before the dawn of harmony.

  • Rory

    P.s.

    I loved the report that said that Blair and Ahern were now insisting that the DUP and Sinn Feinn get down with each other in order to establish a power sharing executive.

    I am all for gay rights etc. and I know that the Doc went down on his knees before a stern Tony at St Andrews – but is he likely to swallow this?

    Comments please.

  • Pete Baker

    Reading between the lines, Rory?

    Well ignoring the argument that we should hold political representatives to account for what they actually say, rather than interpret for them..

    There is an additional point to note. We’ve already had an attempt to pretend there has been a new, and improved, financial package agreed between the relevant parties.

    I doubt there’s anything extra ahead.

    None of which touches on the still out-standing issues.. policing, for example.

  • Rory

    You may or my not have noticed, Pete, but the SF/policing difficulty seems to have been seriously muted in recent hours when the DUP big hitters have had the floor on the serious news outlets. The McGeogh/McAnaspie arrest charade was stage managed to resolve that DUP difficulty.

    An already agreed modest increased financial subvention will provide their required bribe (that is a glass bead bribe to their electorate – not for the good burghers of the DUP personally) and after that it’s all Bingo!

    But anyway I know I would be breathless before you listened to me and it has been a long day. Good night and thanks for all your analysis and commentary on this election.

  • Pete Baker

    “The McGeogh/McAnaspie arrest charade was stage managed to resolve that DUP difficulty.”

    Rory, I know you proffered this theory in the earlier thread.. but no-one seems to have told the SF MP for the area.

    Btw, from the other thread..

    “I suspect if Pete and I ever get to agree then the concept of both unionism and republicanism will have, as in Lenin’s concept of the state, withered, atrophied, and blown away on the breeze of progress.”

    Your own analysis, in regard to the pigeon-holing of opinion, is somewhat off.. if you don’t mind me saying.

  • Where are all the SDLP contributors who once again (naively) got carried away by the supposedly accurate (to within 3%) Belfast Telegraph opinion poll?

    A reminder:

    SF to poll 22% narrowly ahead of a resurgent SDLP on 20%. When the eventual difference was a massive 11% rather than the predicted 2%, you really must question the alleged validity of these things. Mark Durkan was utterly trounced and appears to have got off mighty lightly in the subsequent post election “interrogations”.

    Clearly the nationalist power base has now shifted indefinitely with the mass of young voters clearly voting in droves for the more energetic All-Ireland party rather the one-man show that has become the present day SDLP.

  • Pete Baker

    macswiney

    You seem to thinnk that everyone took the Belfast Telegraph poll seriously

    Of those indicating their intentions, 25% said they will vote for the DUP and 22% for Sinn Fein – revealing their respective support bases are not fragmenting.

    Hint. Few did.

  • páid

    A sharp thread. And fellow Nationalists please note PB’s honesty wrt to the constitutional issue being to the fore (as ever).

    É sin ráite,

    Social changes mostly prompted by immigration, from ‘Mexicans’ and others are gnawing the edges of the 400 year old chess game.

    South Belfast, and Newry and Armagh, contain tea leaves which should be studied.

  • German-American

    páid: Even an outsider like me can see the portents in South Belfast, but the tea is murky with regard to Newry and Amargh. Looking at the overall results and the detailed count it looks like a straightforward nationalist/unionist battle to me. Can you enlighten me?

  • German-American

    Oops, I of course meant Newry and Armagh.

  • Greenflag

    Paid,

    ‘And fellow Nationalists please note PB’s honesty wrt to the constitutional issue being to the fore (as ever).

    Indeed . Despite the media hype and the self serving spinning of both Prime Minister’s the ‘constitutional issue’ is the elephant which is too large to be ignored in the narrow room that is NI. When and if this elephant ever leaves the narrow room, it will be because there are no more walls .

  • Rory

    The elephant would yet remain, Greenflag, even after your oft vaunted repartition. Its corral would simply be much, much smaller making the beast more difficult than ever to ignore.

    Still I suppose the economy of a two county NI would be greatly enhanced by the export of the elephant dung.

  • Dewi

    Would the two counties under repartition include Belfast ?

  • Reader

    Dewi: Would the two counties under repartition include Belfast ?
    Without presuming to speak for Greenflag, but a practical repartition wouldn’t go along county lines anyway, the ‘East Londonderry’ constituency for instance would be part of the new NI, and West Belfast would be an enclave trapped by the new banana shaped council area

  • Greenflag

    Reader,

    ‘Without presuming to speak for Greenflag, but a practical repartition wouldn’t go along county lines anyway, the ‘East Londonderry’ constituency for instance would be part of the new NI’

    Correct most likely – but it would be up to a neutral international agency such as the UN or EU to delineate a new border and not Greenflag 🙂

    ‘West Belfast would be an enclave trapped by the new banana shaped council area ‘

    Not necesssarily . Given last weeks election results the political complexions of South and North Belfast can no longer be seen as guaranteed ‘Unionist’ .

    With the likely continued ‘greening ‘ of Belfast and the Upper Bann area as well as South Belfast a contiguous link between these areas and the Republic’s territory may be becoming possible . The ‘expansion’ of these ‘green’ areas will narrow if not cut off the solidly Unionist North Down from the equally solid Unionist Carrickfergus /East Antrim. Both major Unionist areas may have to stare at each other across Belfast Lough or connect through East Belfast ?

    It may now already too late for political Unionism in the Belfast City constituency areas anyway.

    Repartition will ‘evolve’ into a de facto practicality once the new Seven District Council plan is implemented. SF is already accepting of this and although the DUP has hinted at the Seven District plan leading to repartition they have not done anything to oppose it . They certainly won’t walk out of the new Assembly because of it -assuming of course that they first of all walk in !

    Repartition may be Paisley’s only remaining gambit left to maintain ‘political protestantism ‘ in the North Eastern part of this island . He knows that power sharing given the changing demographics across two thirds of Northern Ireland’s territory and the changing face of Belfast with SF now the largest party – these factors all militate against the longer term survival of the present 6 county NI State . Paisley (or his successor) can only exercise majority rule ever again in a smaller more Unionist State carved from within the present 6 county area.

    So whereas at this point in time Paisley can be said to have achieved his goal of being political unionism and political protestantism’s indisputable leader he is prevented from exercising real ‘majority ‘ rule by virtue of the SF veto inbuilt into the D’Hondt protocol.

    Don’t be surprised if Paisley and/or his successor wake up some morning and discover the ‘democratic (what else ? ) benefits of Repartition’

    Just imagine -not having to share power with nasty SF! Sorry Fermanagh and Tyrone and bon voyage South Down and Armagh and adieu to Derry’s Walls and Belfast but hey look on the bright side . You won’t have either Paisley as First Minister or McGuiness as his Deputy !

    Que sera sera .

  • Mark

    A Chairde,
    the beginings of this blog started with some sense, unfortunately then, decended into abject cax: there will not be re-partition, regardless of what unionism want’s or need’s become, in any event, under the present constitutional arrangements they have little to fear from their opponents. A nationalist majority in the six counties will only ever amount to some 1% – 1.5% which under d’hont is not going to impact greatly on their share of ministerial seats over and above it’s present level.
    What ordinary unionism ought to be concerned with is that none of their political leaders have told them the truth about what is coming.
    As to re-partition, while the free-stater’s were keen enough to desert their bretheren in the six counties of Ulster, we shall not now leave behind our country folk in the one and a half counties of Antrim and north Down, where anyway, there are in large areas large nationalist majorities.
    Le gach de mhein