Waiting for a rabbit to jump out of the hat…

Hmmm… Whilst Gerry Adams may be happy for Monday’s deadline to be made flexible (“up to, through and, if necessary, beyond a deal”)… the UK’s likely next DPM is not… The DUP, not entirely for the first time, share Sinn Fein’s assessment, that Brown’s offer was nothing more than confirmation from the UK Treasury of monies already offered by No10 at the time of Leeds Castle in 2004. The least hostile assessment we’ve picked up is that just £200 million of £1 Billion ‘new money’ is actually new, with the balance arising variously as £400 million from NI’s share of UK budget increases, and £400,000 coming from Brian Cowan in the Republic. But that’s a no show on one of only two things they DUP were asking for… Adams’ (and Gerry Kelly) is playing a blinder on his own personal approval of the PSNI, yet his party seems reluctant to give its collective approval of policing in Northern Ireland… which may be all the DUP needs to cry ‘default’, if pushed it by the British government…

Bush’s sudden re-engagement is interesting… His tax cuts seem to be finally paying off. A late, but generous, fiscal package from the US might help in bringing the financial offer into line with the DUP’s raised expectations.

But the issue of policing is likely to be more intractable: not least with some of the irregular happenings in Fermanagh.

  • The Rabbit being “added reasons” for the DUP not to share power, even in six weeks.

    This six weeks will be used to ratchet up reasons against sharing power with revelations, propoganda and the power of the media.

    Prepare for a six week blitzcrieg of black operations against Republicans that will lead to either further delays or dissolving the assembley for good.

    Six weeks for the DUP to prepare their dossier and polish their reasons why they will not share power.

    The Rabbit in question is the polished media friendly reason why the DUP will not share power.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s one, fairly common, interpretation. IN fact there is nothing much between SF and the DUP on the financial package. Nor, it would seem on much else of substance – settled when the current package was first offered, and in the IRA’s one transparent act of decommissioning. The only outstanding issue is policing (ho hum).

    Hain’s (read Blair’s) timetable does not do much to address the DUP’s (or Sinn Fein’s) concerns on that matter. Indeed, at the moment both parties’s positions appear to the naked eye to still be mutually incompatible with each other or indeed Hain’s timeline.

    It’s a nasty existential trap that Slugger with its various voices has been flagging up for most of the last year. That the UK government has been ignoring it may prove they have had a previously unseen rabbit up its sleeve all this time. But I will believe that only when I see the whites of its cute, seductive eyes.

  • Yokel

    You mean SF want to go begging from London for more too? Noooooooooo, well I never.

    The stage is looking increasingly set if SF have calculated for this delay as Adams comments suggest. Bear in mind that they will hold 3 ministeries, the DUP 4, they want all the money they can to make things as least painful as possible. Its their exceutive and both parties know it. Both need to keep their votes up, thats what its all about. Real politics.

    Art I assume you have read my post on the 6 weeks issue on the last thread. I think its a credible theory as certainly the UK press are full of reports suggesting blair will annoiuce he’s standing down early-mid May.

    A few months back, I believe an SF supporter suggested on here that Bertie was desperate for a Plan B scenario because he’d use it to pan SF in the elections down South. That post may well have been spot on.

  • Sean

    a bit off topic here but

    Bush’s sudden re-engagement is interesting… His tax cuts seem to be finally paying off

    from what I see the economy of the mid-west is as close to collapse as its ever been so how is this all paying off

  • Gerry Adams has just said, “The DUP must talk to Sinn Fein if they want functioning assembley in NI after Monday”

    Will Ian send the bus boy?

  • SuperSoupy

    Adams comments in full:

    “Two weeks ago the people voted overwhelmingly for agreement and for the restoration of the political institutions. All of the other parties are ready for government. There are no outstanding issues.

    “The DUP seeks to frustrate the will of the electorate. It cannot be allowed to block or delay progress.

    “Peter Hain has majored on his commitment to devolution or dissolution by Monday. He needs to keep to this.

    “If the DUP wants a functioning assembly after March 26 this can only happen through direct dialogue and agreement with Sinn Fein and the other parties.

    “In the meantime the two governments must now proceed to put in place their all-Ireland partnership arrangements.

    “The Irish government especially must compensate for the absence of local political institutions by providing effective representation in the political institution of the Irish state for citizens living in the north. The process of change must proceed.”

  • Yokel

    Its all down to Tony. If he goes for delay. SF will either take it or not. By the sounds of it they’ll get the machine running nicely to make full capital out of it, but accept it.

    Bertie will just have to take whatever Tony decides.

  • Ian

    If it’s six weeks delay and not eight then the timiing couldn’t be better for Sinn Fein. The show will eventually get on the road about 10 days before the southern elections – how’s that for a bit of positive publicity during the election campaign?

    If the two Aherns oppose the six week delay then this factor may also be in their minds as much as anything, since a boost to SF’s votes bay come at the expense of FF.

    One might ask the pertinent question: why haven’t the DUP realised the fact that they may be about to boost SF’s electoral prospects in the south? They’ve moved a long way from “Smash Sinn Fein”!

  • Yokel

    They dont care Ian because they’ve probably calculated that there is little chance of SF getting into coalition with anyone.

    What matters to them is that they keep their party and electorate together, just as SF wishes to keep theirs together.

    I’ve kept that posted ages ago about Bertie wanting a Plan B to pan SF with and I think you are probably right, good for SF may well be bad for FF. I suspect the biggest short term losers, if Tony agrees to delay, are Hain and Bertie.

  • kokane

    Tony, should call DUP bluff – publish plan B and stick to the deadline.

  • Rubicon

    I agree kokane – if the DUP aren’t ready now they won’t be in 6 or 8 weeks time either. Publish the Plan B, get it rolling and on Monday stop 108 salaries, cut-off party support allowances and kick the lot out of Parliament Buildings.

    In that context the DUP will struggle to find a context or a forum to establish devolution – if they ever wished to. Meanwhile, the tail that wagged this dog (the DUP) can waste away on the backbenches in Westminster. The future will be organised via the super councils instead.

    Pity – but it’s a fitting epitaph for Paisley. He just isn’t made of the stuff to lead and having usurped the UUP – he’s left unionism on very shakey grounds.

    Apart from the massive democratic vacuum this leaves – it’s not all bad news. The ‘great & good public’ will now pay for the water infrastructure at a similar level to the rest of the UK (unionists should be happy with that), PPS 14 will be enforced upsetting DUP & SF plans to ruin the countryside and the 11+ along with the grammar schools will disappear allowing the needs of kids like those on the Shankill to have their needs considered.

    I used to think it was the republicans that had to persuade unionists of the value of a United Ireland. It seems they’ve found some unlikely helpers.

  • confused

    If dissolution takes place on Mon that will be the end of the matter unless the Government brings in new legislation otherwise fresh elections are required and who wants this?