To infinity and beyond.. or, at least, beyond 26th March

Regardless of what the actual message from the electorate was, the question that remains is – What next? The Belfast Telgraph’s Chris Thornton returns, in another 10 minute slot for their online video output, this time with editor-in-chief Ed Curran, to review the situation – and, in part, the discussion he had last week with Mike Smyth and host Michael McMillan. Meanwhile their colleague Noel McAdam picks up on the main topic they consider, the credibility of the government’s March 26th deadline. It’s probably worth noting that, according to Noel McAdam “senior Sinn Fein sources believe the DUP will bust the March 26 deadline.”

“We won’t like it,” one senior Sinn Fein figure said, “but we can live with it.”

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  • lorraine

    having fought the electon on a nod and a wink to power-sharing Paisley can either learn to say yes or continue to say no to a greater role for dublin in the internal affairs of this great wee state. whatever way he jumps, the shinners are laughing all the way to the bank; not only are the shinners good at vote management they are pretty good at issue management

  • Harris

    From the Irish Times

    “But to get into government Sinn Féin must deliver more, the DUP insisted, particularly in relation to policing after Ms Gildernew’s campaign comments.”

    From this ongoing statement, one would think that the DUP are not bluffing about Sinn Fein’s quarantine period, which if enforced, would see the 26th deadline come and go.

    Has anyone heard what the DUP are actually looking for, with respect to “delivery” by Sinn Fein? And what would a few more months give the DUP (from Sinn Fein) that they don’t already have?

  • Harris,

    There was some discussion on the BBC election programme about Gildernew’s comments and Babs Brown didn’t do them any favours either, dismissing as “hypothetical” the question about whether or not they’d inform the police of dissident activity.

    Unsurprisingly, the other 4 panelists managed to give a straight answer to this question, hypothetical or not.

    I was surprised Sinn Feni couldn’t given what’s happened recently. In my eyes, though I could never bring myself to vote DUP, it made their stance seem a little less unjustified.

  • Harris

    Beano

    “Unsurprisingly, the other 4 panelists managed to give a straight answer to this question, hypothetical or not.”

    After all, it was election time, as I’m sure Miss Gildernew knew well how to pacify that element of her constituency.

  • Ca Va

    All Ireland Bodies

    It,s started already! Two days after election and we are now getting TV4 Irish Language programmes beamed into the North from Divis Mountain Transmitter. Whwre will it end!!

  • Rory

    Has anyone heard what the DUP are actually looking for, with respect to “delivery” by Sinn Fein

    I don’t believe so, Harris but then that is unsurprising given that neither the DUP or its taciturn leader seem to know what they mean either. It would formerly have been understood to simply mean “No! No! No!” (whatever that might mean) but now no one knows even what “No, no ,no” means and the leader isn’t saying – most especially to his own party.

    It is always possible that he will yet renege on the binding promise he gave at St Andrews to enter into power sharing by the justification of that part of catholic theology that states that a promise given under extreme duress (usually taken to mean fear of one’s life or bodily well being) is not binding in conscience.

    So far the DUP demands for verifiable decommissioning of arms by the IRA, a cessation of all activity considered criminal and recognition and support for civic policing have all been demonstrably met. Short of outreach work to attempt to teach reading skills to loyalist paramilitaries it is difficult to know what else Sinn Fein might do.

  • Dave

    I believe that the DUP will meet the (deadline) March 26th. After all it is the wish of Republicans to be part to the British establishment, isn’t it? Or do SF/IRA have another agenda once they obtain political power sharing with unionists? There is only one way to find the answer to that question and that is to give the terrorists of SF/IRA the opportunity to be part of the solution, put then to the test

    Besides this is the perfect opportunity for the DUP to prove to republicans (IRA/SF) that democracy works. And should it be the case that this process (political sleight of hand) prove to be the making of lasting peace for the people of Northern Ireland, then who the hell would want to be part of a united Ireland?

    Is the war to destroy Northern Ireland is still in progress? Bombs and guns are at the moment silent as that particular campaign has come to an end (didn’t work you see and never will). The idea that the people of Northern Ireland will vote for a United Ireland is not on the cards as far as the Protestant community is concerned. The Catholic community in a Northern Ireland which is getting back on it’s feet on all fronts would be hard pushed to vote for a United Ireland.

    I suppose the conclusion is that the gunmen, bombers and murderers have lost and that democracy has won. Lets have power sharing, lets see what the representatives of the Catholic community can do, lets see what Northern Ireland can be when all the people pul together in the same direction.

  • confused

    To Dave

    Fair point. It has always been the policy of HMG to bring SF into the fold and become part of the Establishment.
    They very quickly turned their back on socialism and will do the same to republicanism.
    They have already betrayed their core beliefs and have nowhere to go except gain power for the sake of it.

  • Harris

    From Peter Hain:

    “The Secretary insisted there would have to be a fully-functioning devolved executive on March 26.

    And he also stressed that the legislation following last October`s St Andrews talks did not provide any scope for a shadow executive.

    He said: “It is either a functioning executive with powers devolved on March 26 or it`s dissolution and the politicians stop getting paid, Stormont closes down and we pack up Northern Ireland politics, maybe for years to come.

    “I will be writing to the party leaders and to the new elected MLAs explaining what the St Andrews legislation means because some seem unaware of it.”

    How can anyone be unaware of the contents of the St. Andrews agreement? They’re not unaware, they (DUP) just don’t care.

    Dave

    “Is the war to destroy Northern Ireland is still in progress? Bombs and guns are at the moment silent as that particular campaign has come to an end (didn’t work you see and never will).”

    But it did work. That part of the campaign, though unfulfilled (driving the brits out), served its purpose as far as Sinn Fein are concerned.

    “The idea that the people of Northern Ireland will vote for a United Ireland is not on the cards as far as the Protestant community is concerned.”

    This is what the political path is all about, Davy. In time, Sinn Fein will be part of both the six county political scene as well as having a say in the Dail. This mandate will eventually lead to an island-wide referendum on Irish unity. Do the math, I think you know where the protestant community will stand then.

  • confused

    To Harris

    The GFA does not make any provision for a referendum in the South.
    In order that a UI can be created a majority of people in NI have to give their consent. The consent of those living in the South is not required and their views on this subject can safely be ignored irrespective of SF position.
    All unionists are opposed to UI and apprx.25% of Catholics are in favour of staying in UK .
    You have a tremendous uphill battle—come back in 50 years and we will look at the position again.

  • Rory

    If the goodwill aspect of the thinking that Dave articulates above has any resonance at large within the unionist community and if there is reciprocation from the nationalist community at large (which I believe the endorsement of Sinn Fein demonstrates that there indeed is) then there is hope for us all.

    I, a nationalist, a republican would have differences with Dave on our understanding of “Northern Ireland” or the “Republic of Ireland” and most certainly on the question of the British link. But if unionists/protestants retain a fear for their future within a united country then, before I attempt to address that fear, I am obliged to recognise the validity of its existence and make damned sure that any reassurance I might give that that fear has no validity in truth is backed up with powerful convincingly true evidence.

    As of this moment, despite my own republican aspirations and indeed yearnings, I would not feel able in conscience to give such a reassuring guarantee. In any case words are a fine ointment but they do not butter any bread and, as a mother with a babe, it is the constancy of being there with loving actions of care and concern that creates a bond of unity. We all more than ever now have taken on this great moral responsibility to reach out and attempt to understand.

    It is not for me, a republican, to demand it of unionists – but I do have to ask it of myself in order to aspire to any measure of trust.

    Integrity alone demands that and without integrity the soul cracks and will eventually shatter.

    I believe that a referundum at this time or indeed in the foreseeable futre would be disastrous for all. Head counts will never bring unity – it is heartbeats that matter – as any lover will know.

  • Harris

    Confused

    “The GFA does not make any provision for a referendum in the South.”

    At the moment, but in time the GFA will become irrelevant.

  • Comrade Stalin

    confused:

    The GFA does not make any provision for a referendum in the South.

    Wrong. Here is what the GFA actually says :

    ii) recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland;

    The GFA clearly requires that there be “agreement between the two parts” and that consent be “freely and concurrently given, North and South”. You should try reading the document.

  • Dave

    FAO Harris

    “But it did work. That part of the campaign, though unfulfilled (driving the brits out), served its purpose as far as Sinn Fein are concerned.”

    Militarily SF/IRA have been defeated. are you telling me that this was part of the SF/IRA plan??? next thing you will be telling is that SF/IRA also have a plan to be politically defeated to justify the use of the gun and the bomb,again.

    It is not Republicanism leading to the path of peace that honour belongs to democracy.

    There have been no winners just losers. The people of Northern Ireland must move forward and stop being the losers and start being the winners. This can only be achieved by pulling together, the old Republic of Ireland of the past is no longer, the old Northern Ireland of the past is no longer, it is time for a new Northern Ireland.

    The IRA are finished and a thing of the past, no one wants them. they do not speak for or represent the people of Ireland North or South of the border.

    Get over it and move forward.

  • DK

    “Head counts will never bring unity – it is heartbeats that matter – as any lover will know”

    Oh I don’t know – if you get up to three then you know that you’re in for a treat.

  • Rory

    “Oh I don’t know – if you get up to three then you know that you’re in for a treat.”

    If that is 3 inches that you are referring to, DK, there is no need to feel ashamed – size, like our aunties, is relative.

  • Northsider

    …and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin…

    Now, Sinn Fein will be totally focused on the Southern election, which is the only election they’ve really cared about.

    From now until March 26th there will be no statements, no actions, no nothing from Sinn Fein.

    The DUP are basking in their election victory, in the days and weeks to come, they will stew in it.

    SF, and Irish nationalists (hello!) are more concerned with making headway in the South.

    No matter what the DUPes do to try and prepare their base (and they seem inclined to a deal – note Dodds vote in N Belfast) they won’t be getting anything from Sinn Fein – it’s Sin É as far as the main nationalist party are concerned.

    It’s now up to Robinson to sell the ‘sell-out’; he’s got Dodds by the balls, but what about Gregory (his overwhelming endorsement in the election could be put down careful vote nurturing) although Dalek-voice Allister is a busted flush and it would be interesting to see if, when the next European election comes round, a stalking donkey is commissioned – albeit one with a union flag tied to its tail.

  • Pete Baker

    Yeah..

    The latest statements by the SF MP regarding policing..

    can be found here

  • Northsider

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    Pete, it’s all old hat. The DUP busted that hand by over-emphasis in the run-up to the election.

    There’s no capital left in this argument any more – it’s another day, it’s last week, what we forgot about, the thing before the last…

  • Northsider

    By the way…

    many people are a-weeping and a-wailing about the lack of representation for unionists in west Belfast.

    It’s a travesty, they say, it’s a crying shame they go on, it’s a blinking disgrace goes the standard media line…

    Er, ‘whatabout’ the Taigs in East Antrim – any chance….?

    It’s telling, it reveals something don’t it – and what, class, is that ‘something’ – well, it’s over to you…

  • Observer

    Pete
    I assume you are fixated on Gidernew’s comment because of the difficulties it may create for the DUP in accepting partnership with Sinn Fein.
    A more recent statement from Paisley on republican repentance may signal even more problems ahead, in that it may create difficulties for republicans in accepting this man’s bona fides as a power sharing partner and suggest he is about to go off on another sackcloth and ashes detour.
    Presumably you are working on the thread as we speak…

  • sean1

    Martin McGuinness is on record saying ‘stop all payments and close stormont on 27th’ if nothing comes of powersharing.

    Thing is see, that if the DUP go along with power sharing that’s OK with SF but not most DUP. If they dont well, thats OK to with SF. Paisley will have to explain to Unionism why they are paying water tax, increased rates, and all the other nice things unaccountable English Ministers do here. He can never complain about anything ever again.

    Furthermore he will also have to explain to Unionism why the Irish government has a greater say in running the place.

    Sinn Fein are on a win win. Lets see what of the two worse evils they’re going to take.

  • Pity poor Ca Va who’s only just discovered that TG4 is available in the north via Divis – it has been for over a year now. So bang and fizz goes that conspiracy theory. He doesn’t have to watch you know – but he could allow those of us who do to do so without his rude interruption.

    And, by the way, last time I looked, Divis was in the north so beaming into the north it is not!

  • Observer

    I must have missed the Paisley “repentance” thread.
    Has it ocurred to anyone that Sinn Fein obfuscation on political policing may be designed to hoist the DUP with it’s own petard?
    The Assembly is important to unionists, a lot less so to republicans. Having taken the step to engage with policing in the North, Sinn Fein have manifestly met the broad unionist demand to the satisfaction of both governments, the UUP and uncle Tom Cobbly. The DUP know better and are pushing for clarification from those crafty Shinners. They aren’t getting it and, as the deadline grows nearer, are faced with the prospect of caving in or watching the Assembly wind up, with them getting the blame.
    Exciting, isn’t it.