DUP fail to deliver for March 26th: Enter Plan B?

The DUP’s kick for touch today has put the spotlight on the British government. Secretary of State Peter Hain has staked a lot on Monday’s deadline being rock solid. With Gerry Adams indicating that Sinn Fein believe the British government must follow through on its commitments to put Plan B into operation in a post-March 26 scenario, the focus will now be on whether or not the coming hours bring with them a fudge from London, or a wake up call for the DUP.The failure of the DUP to meet the deadline will be interpreted by many as indicative of the failure of the DUP leadership to prepare the ground within the party for the prospect of power-sharing with Sinn Fein. There is nothing to indicate that the DUP will not spend the next 6 weeks seeking yet more excuses for further postponing the devolution date, and that is obviously something which will be foremost on the minds of the governments in London and Dublin.

Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, may have envisioned this scenario when he indicated that the 26th March deadline may not be met. What will be interesting in the short term is whether or not Sinn Fein seek to row back promises made by the British government to the DUP which were contingent upon the 26th March deadline being met. For example, where does the DUP’s cold feet leave the legislation over the retention of academic selection? Republicans could also seek moves by London to expedite the Irish Language Act through legislation.

Furthermore, Gerry Adams’ statement tonight includes a challenge to the Irish government:

“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.”

What is clear is that Sinn Fein’s hand has likely been strengthened by this last minute retreat from the DUP, an irony which should not be lost on the DUP. But this will not come as a surprise to those who believed the failure of the DUP to cross its rubicon prior to the Assembly election was always going to leave plenty of room for last minute jitters. Whilst Ian Paisley may have carried the vote today, what has become clear in recent days is that the quality of those dissenters from within his own party remains a significant obstacle to further progress in the north of Ireland.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris,

    I’m not happy that the DUP are messing around, but if they’re giving a definite date in May then why should we refuse to be flexible ?

    Republicans made a big deal out of not being made to follow other people’s deadlines. Surely they should allow the DUP the same leeway ?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d add to Tommie’s January note about the ‘quality of the dissent’ within the DUP, that whilst there is a deal to be brokered to pull in some of the MPs (the IT suggests that the two players Paisley wants to keep on board are the potential future ministers, Campbell and Dodds), there is nothing to suggest that their concerns cannot be bought off.

    That would include: 1, the same kind of financial deal SF is looking for, but which the iron Chancellor is playing hard to get on; and 2, the sort of clean bill of health for SF on policing that SAA promised.

    I would further suggest that Michelle Gildernew’s unscripted remarks on Talkback were as unwelcome within the DUP as they were in some sections of Sinn Fein.

  • Observer

    I agree with Stalin …

    SF have been given plenty of time over the years.

    Look at how long we waited for decommissioning!

    Manys-a-time Unionists called for IRA/SF to be sidelined from the process. Contradictory?

  • I would further suggest that Michelle Gildernew’s unscripted remarks on Talkback were as unwelcome within the DUP as they were in some sections of Sinn Fein.

    Then you would be wrong.

    If Unionism is waiting for Sinn Féin to get on their hands and knees and lick the boots of the PSNI then they will be waiting until hell freezes over.

    Sinn Féin passed the Ard Chomhairle motion in order to hold the cops to account, not to become their official cheerleaders.

    It’s about time people lived in the real world for a change!

  • Rubicon

    Comrade Stalin – you would have a point if the delay requested was tied to something – but it’s not. At the outside – the DUP could argue that the financial package was inadequate and with the Scottish election looming they couldn’t get any movement from Brown.

    Nobody believes that is the reason for the DUP delaying. They simply aren’t ready and they will never be. In the words of their own members – they require lifetimes – not weeks.

  • Mick Fealty

    “Sinn Féin passed the Ard Chomhairle motion in order to hold the cops to account, not to become their official cheerleaders.”

    There’s some clean logic in this Chris. But it doesn’t marry with what the leadership assented to in the SAA.

    Just to be clear. Are you suggesting that some people in the party were not annoyed at the complications her answer gave rise to: even though, as I pointed out at the time, it was entirely in line with party policy?

    Or are you questioning the idea that it created difficulties for the DUP, particularly those who were reportedly keen on a deal (which to my own knowledge certainly contains some of the so called ‘dirty dozen’)?

  • Rubicon

    Quite right Chris – SF should have been holding the cops to account a long time ago – but – better late than never. Gildernew’s statements make her a fair weather supporter of continued quasi-politically motivated murder of Irish men and women. She needs to ask herself whether she is inside the tent or out.

  • There’s some clean logic in this Chris. But it doesn’t marry with what the leadership assented to in the SAA.

    Neither here nor there. St Andrews was not binding on anyone and Sinn Féin signed up to nothing. The SAA was merely the reccommendations of the two governments. The Ard Fheis is the body that decides what Sinn Féin does and does not assent to.

    Just to be clear. Are you suggesting that some people in the party were not annoyed at the complications her answer gave rise to: even though, as I pointed out at the time, it was entirely in line with party policy?

    What complications? Michelle said what she said and I agreed with what she said.

    Or are you questioning the idea that it created difficulties for the DUP

    Not my concern

  • Observer

    So much for the attacks made on police stations and personel in the last week in and around your neck of the woods, Christopher!

    Murphy did his best to avoid condemnation. Instead he directed his comments at ‘getting the ‘British’ out of Ireland’.

    Well, I hate to burst your bubble boy… but the ‘Brit’s’ are here to stay whether you like it or not!

    I find you and your party’s position extremely patronising and contradictory.

  • realist

    The reports on the BBC state:

    “DUP leader Ian Paisley said the details of the resolution would be released after negotiations with the government are concluded.”

    The government has threatened to dissolve Stormont

    “The Ulster people will be persuaded, they will not be driven,” Mr Paisley told reporters after the DUP meeting.

    Is this not just a demand for talks/negotiations to continue for however long they see fit? the fact that Paisley is refusing to release the details until after his so called negotiations are conculded is something of a give away – I know he is old but he clearly thinks we are all stupid. Is 6 more weeks going to persuad “The People of Ulster” is it hell.

  • Love the photo of Ian, dressed as his true self, a Salam puritan gangster ready for his next breakfast meeting with fellow gangster Jackie McDonald.

    To clinch this delay the DUP/UDA must engage directly with Sinn Fein anything less is just another delaying tactic.

    (1) DUP/UDA engage with Sinn Fein face to face and ask for delay of six weeks.

    (2) Hain sticks to his word and disolves the process and directs responsibility towards DUP/UDA

    Either way the DUP/UDA are f–ked, it is just whether a condom/lubricant is used.

  • So much for the attacks made on police stations and personel in the last week in and around your neck of the woods, Christopher!

    Sorry, was there a question for me in the middle of your whine? Police Stations? It was my impression that it was just Cross, then again perhaps you know better.

    Well, I hate to burst your bubble boy… but the ‘Brit’s’ are here to stay whether you like it or not!

    Keep telling yourself that!

    I find you and your party’s position extremely patronising and contradictory

    I’ll not loose too much sleep over your “concerns”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    you are of course right that the comments of MG displeased some, but at the same time they pleased many.
    SF members are a pragmatic bunch, willing to do and say things in pursuit of the overall goal. While at the same time holding many deeply held views.
    Adams and Kelly et al have crossed their own personal rubicon, others while recognising the overall thrust of the leadership strategy nonetheless baulk at the out workings of that strategy.
    A bit like the DUP condemning violence while at the same time supporting and encouraging violence at the Whiterock march.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin – you would have a point if the delay requested was tied to something – but it’s not. At the outside – the DUP could argue that the financial package was inadequate and with the Scottish election looming they couldn’t get any movement from Brown.

    No actually, I think the delay is more to do with the same kind of immature approach that the republicans had years ago – they want to be seen to be in control of the situation and therefore will never met an imposed deadline. Republicans constantly said that they would never allow themselves to be dictated to by external deadlines, the DUP should be extended the same courtesy.

    By stopping the process the DUP are demonstrating to their supporters and their opponents that they will get to say when it happens, not anyone else. What’s more is that I’m sure that the two governments have probably agreed all of this with the DUP; I think the DUP will have told them that they will definitely be signing up but need an artificial delay so that they can be seen to be in control.

    Observer:

    I find you and your party’s position extremely patronising and contradictory.

    The position that Chris is stating is the equivalent to that of the DUP. If a crowd of loyalists brick the peelers and they respond with a baton charge or CS gas, I can assure you that the DUP will be complaining about the tactics used and writing to the Chief Constable to protest. September 2005 was a clear demonstration of this being at work. Ian Paisley himself blamed the rioting on the Secretary of State, and I don’t remember hearing him condemning the rioting.

  • Roisin

    [i]Well, I hate to burst your bubble boy… but the ‘Brit’s’ are here to stay whether you like it or not![/i]

    Hate to burst yours*, so’s Sinn Fein and their mandate. Get over it already.

    * That was a lie, I enjoyed saying that. Loved it in fact.

  • Comrade Stalin

    While I’m at it, I’m still noticing that neither the DUP nor the UUP have said squat in response to the PSNI assessment that UDA extortion and criminality is still rife; nor have they said so much as a word about the proposals to give £1m to the UDA to persuade them to end violence.

    As people who claim to uphold law and order and support the PSNI, I expect the DUP to be providing public encouragement for the application of the full force of law to stop all terrorist activity. The DUP would not tolerate such a loud silence coming from SF; why should anyone tolerate a loud silence coming from them ?

  • Mick Fealty

    For the most part, so far as I can recall, the DUP kept their public counsel to themselves over that issue Pat. The UUP on the other hand were far more vocal in their outrage at the police reaction afterwards.

    I think the long march image you offer is a useful one though. Some individuals are clearly over the finishing line, whilst others have yet to arrive. The deficit, I would suggest, remains an agreed standard around which everyone can be critical of the cops.

    Chris,

    You might start by talking to some of your Belfast based colleagues? As I’ve said, she was speaking entirely within the wide remit allowed her by party policy, but her candour was certainly not appreciated by everyone.

    I am not suggesting that this situation within unionism, as scoped by Chris Farrington, is directly analogous with the one facing Sinn Fein (on the face of it, SF is far more ambitious and fleet of foot than the UUP ever was), but clearly there is a balance to be struck between holding internal tensions at bay, and doing an mould breaking deal with your opponents.

  • Henry94

    There are a lot of red herrings being raised on this. British helicopter crashed or otherwise are not going to be any more welcome in Crossmaglen six weeks hence than they are today.

    Nor are people going to be any more likely to tell the police things they don’t want to tell them.

    So those are just excuses and the real reason is deadline bursting for the sake of it.

    In order to show the “People of Ulster ” will not be dictated to by Peter Hain the DUP intend to subject them to an extra six-weeks of Direct rule by Peter Hain.

  • Cato

    Mick

    While some of the more mature, progressive thinkers in the DUP would have been disappointed with what Miss Gildernew said, there are others who were glad and who are praying for some excuse in the next six weeks to save them from sharing power with those they will always see as their bitter enemies.
    I would imagine that the most fervent opposition to government with Sinn Fein can be found in the Council chambers in Antrim and Ballymena.
    I think this six-week delay will prove to be a very shrew move for the DUP.
    As I said on another thread, if Anthony Blair was the broker of a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the Israelis said they needed another six weeks to hand back the West Bank, would he demand that they hand it back immediately?
    The comparison works well, because we are dealing with a similarly intractable problem.

  • Been a good week for Loyalist gangsters, first Danegeld to the UDA, then the DUP seem to get away with delaying tatic without so much as a murmour.

    Would a breakfast meeting between Gerry Adams and Tom Slab Murphy be greeted with silence as the breakfast meeting between Ian Paisley and Jackie McDonald?

    Will there be silence if the sectarian prosecutrion and tax demand of the Murphy family is withdrawn, I hope so if there is to be equality.

    Calling all those who support ne-con loyalism, what say you about the UDA getting their danegeld and the breakfast meeting between Ian and Jackie, your silence is deafening.

  • Crusty Burke

    And like I said earlier, “the People of Ulster” should not be used as shorthand for “the Unionists of Northern Ireland who vote DUP”.

    There are plenty of us Ulstermen who neither live in NI or vote DUP…

  • Crusty Burke

    In fact the more I think about it, Hain should tell the DUP that he will appoint ministers from the South to run NI departments until such time as the DUP see fit to allow the Northern Ireland electorate to have the government they voted for.

    Paisley can then have his six weeks but in those six weeks NI would be run by both British and Irish ministers. Nice, eh?

  • Mick Fealty

    Cato,

    Perhaps I should have used a similar ‘some of’ caveat re the DUP. There is, of course, no guarantee that a six week delay will pull in a deal, but the DUP are clearly buoyed by the plasticity of previous ‘hard’ deadlines in this Process™. But neither has the imposition of a legislation backed deadline ensured closure.

    A paper tiger if ever there was one.

    CB,

    Aren’t you taking the mostly ironic term ‘Pro Consul’, just a wee bit too far?

  • Greenflag

    The farce continues . This is just a repeat of the Trimble/Mallon fiasco. SF need to walk away and let Hain collapse this charade of an Assembly . It’s already clear from the DUP demeanour that they can’t overcome their Janus faced approach to power sharing . It will save the English taxpayers a lot of money if SF walk .

    They can hope to try again in 5 years or so . IN the meantime Plan B will do fine . By 2012 the DUP may have become a normal political party and not a mix between fundamentalist 17th century throwbacks and more modern elements .

    Go on Hain -pull the plug! Otherwise you’ll go down in history as another Peter the Wolf !

  • against the head

    6 weeks, get over it. we’ve been waiting donkey’s years for progress. better waiting 6 weeks and going into a half stable assembly, than a split in the DUP after 3 weeks when some shinner robs someone, and the whole thing goes tits up.
    patience my dear friends. we’re nearly there.

  • Six weeks time the DUP/UDA use their ace cards of Northern bank robbery, McCartney murder.

    this is something they have yet to play.

    Said it before, we need to see Lord Lucan riding Shergar to stormont before the DUP/UDA share power with republicans.

    Now I really want Peter “time to go” Hain to pull the bloody plug.

    If you don’t Peter the only Deputy you will be is F–king “Deputy Dawg” rather than Deputy PM.

  • Roisin

    [i]In fact the more I think about it, Hain should tell the DUP that he will appoint ministers from the South to run NI departments[/i]

    Crusty,

    You think a British government minister should be telling Irish government ministers what to do? Strange position to take. Perhaps you simply worded that badly.

  • Truth& Justice

    If the DUP have committed to May then it would be foolish for the Governments to throw everything away it would cause chaos, Sinn Fein have had 35 years to get to were they are now surely several weeks is not a big deal!

  • Henry94

    Doesn’t the broad black brimmer suit Paisley all the same?

    Greeenflag

    It would be tempting to support a call for the plug to be pulled but if they need six weeks then it’s a small price to pay for restoration. I expect the power-sharing government to be stable and durable once it gets going.

  • You might start by talking to some of your Belfast based colleagues?

    I have spoken to Belfast based collegues however despite what some may tell you the world is bigger than Belfast 😉

    her candour was certainly not appreciated by everyone

    It’s hard to please everyone

  • rural deweller

    The Dup have played a blinder again.Sf are on the ropes and can do nothing but wait for the crumbs of the dup table.Watch Blair and Hain squirm and then let the deadline pass again.Then in May watch them do it again

  • The Dup have played a blinder again.Sf are on the ropes and can do nothing but wait for the crumbs of the dup table

    LOL, you sound like Comical Ali telling us that the invader has been defeated.

  • Crusty Burke

    I’m curious to know what a ‘rural deweller’ is; is it someone who goes around the countryside filling up wells?

  • rapunsel

    A blinder, how? The DUP are frustrating the will of the electorate for their own internal party political purposes and as ususl their arrogance knows no bounds with their talk of speaking for ulster. Personally I would be in favour of the plug being pulled on the assembly on Monday with the requirement that parties directly negotiate thereafter and I think there would be strong public backing for Hain to hold to his word and close the assembly and stop salaries etc. SF are looking in the stronger position this evening given the illogicality of a testing period of only 6 weeks and I would think that further concessions will be wrested by Republicans over the next 6 weeks given the likely fudge that will emerge.

  • Mick Fealty

    Chris,

    “It’s hard to please everyone”

    Indeed so. That’s the crux, as I see it, of the political dilemma/drama. But as Pat notes:

    “SF members are a pragmatic bunch, willing to do and say things in pursuit of the overall goal. While at the same time holding many deeply held views.”

    Such pragmatism certainly hasn’t harmed the party electorally: the argument remains reasonably plausible, and the party has remained alert to the feelings of its base.

    But it also contains an inherent contradiction which may have to be managed more skillfully than heretofore to avoid giving the impression of being an entirely ‘faux’ political cause.

    It has to be added that there may also be a similar danger for the DUP, if this deferment of real world politics (inasmuch as it is available to us) is to become prolonged.

  • Reader

    Chris Gaskin: If Unionism is waiting for Sinn Féin to get on their hands and knees and lick the boots of the PSNI then they will be waiting until hell freezes over.
    Trying to get Michelle Gildernew to acknowledge that police officers (now) have a right to life is hardly licking the PSNI’s boots.

  • Harris

    Henry

    “It would be tempting to support a call for the plug to be pulled but if they need six weeks then it’s a small price to pay for restoration. I expect the power-sharing government to be stable and durable once it gets going.”

    What a load of shite, Henry! Of all people, I’d expect a bit of outrage from you, yet you sit there bowing to every DUP demand. You need to put the skids on this transformation of yours!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Henry94:

    There are a lot of red herrings being raised on this. British helicopter crashed or otherwise are not going to be any more welcome in Crossmaglen six weeks hence than they are today.

    For sure. But what’s the crack with bricking and petrol bombing police, fire brigade, ambulance etc in the midst of a rescue/crash investigation ? That’s what I have a problem with. I’ve no problem with SF complaining loudly about the base and the crash, that is their right.

    Crusty Burke :

    And like I said earlier, “the People of Ulster” should not be used as shorthand for “the Unionists of Northern Ireland who vote DUP”.

    Indeed. Paisley’s talk reminds me of the USSR. When people spoke of the Party needing to approve a policy, what they really meant was that Stalin had to approve it. Likewise, when Paisley says the “people of Ulster” need to assent, he really means himself.

    In fact the more I think about it, Hain should tell the DUP that he will appoint ministers from the South to run NI departments until such time as the DUP see fit to allow the Northern Ireland electorate to have the government they voted for.

    Antagonism didn’t accelerate the IRA’s decommissioning or SF’s support of the police. Accordingly, it makes no sense for people to suggest antagonistic tactics in an effort to make the DUP bend, and I doubt that’s what we’re going to see. I think there is probably almost certainly a choreography already agreed, whereby the two governments and SF will back off for six weeks.

    I say again, I find all this “hurry up” agitation coming from republicans very hypocritical given that they took their time getting themselves sorted out. We’ve been waiting decades for this thing to get off the ground, six weeks is not going to break the bank.

  • Trying to get Michelle Gildernew to acknowledge that police officers (now) have a right to life is hardly licking the PSNI’s boots

    I don’t believe that Michelle said that “police officers (now)” don’t “have a right to life”

    Perhaps you could provide me with a link to these comments. Very different from what I heard her say.

  • rapunsel

    I suppose there might be some silver lining in thed cloud of another 6 week delay in that it increases the possibility( by an unknown amount) that big Ian could kick the bucket and save us and himself the hassle of assuming the role of First Minister. Personally I hope he remains in rude good health for ever.

  • June76

    Time to be clear. DUP are unlikely to be asking for an additional six weeks delay in order to change the anti-catholic/Irish mindset so evident within many of its members. So the delay is either, (a) a hope that events during the six-week period will provide an excuse to avoid powersharing, or (b) as Reg Empey says its all an enormous exercise to save face for certain elements of the DUP.

    Hain must recognise that for stable government to be established longer term, then the main protagonists must talk face-to-face. Therefore he would be doing Northern Ireland a very great favour if he did follow through with dissolution and thereby encourage the DUP to display “normal” courtesies and meet face-to-face with Sinn Fein and other parties to actually discuss the future options for the governance of this part of Ireland.

    If Hain does concede the six-week delay, we can expect even more prevarication and delay in any kind of normal politics. Mr Hain, if you want to prove yourself equal to your next job, demonstrate some real “leadership” and create the conditions for genuine dialogue among parties by refusing to fold just becauser the DUP have played the “Orange Card”

  • Greenflag

    Henry94,

    ‘I expect the power-sharing government to be stable and durable once it gets going. ‘

    That’s the difference between us . I don’t . And quite frankly I don’t blame either the DUP or SF . These are two parties who are diametrically opposed on everything from the colour of post boxes to the national anthem/s never mind policy differences .

    I also believe the best thing Hain could do to inject some needed rwality into the whole *&*^&*#@ ing process would be to fire the lot !

    Next time out the parties might actually believe the next colonial envoy !

    If I genuinely thought it could last I’d say give Paisley his 6 weeks .

    Hain has fallen victim to the ‘englishman’ in Ireland syndrome . No matter what they try to do it will rub the wrong way with one shower or another .

  • Greenflag

    June 76,

    ‘Therefore he would be doing Northern Ireland a very great favour if he did follow through with dissolution and thereby encourage the DUP to display “normal” courtesies and meet face-to-face with Sinn Fein and other parties to actually discuss the future options for the governance of ‘this part of Ireland. ‘

    Now there’s common sense 🙂

    ‘If Hain does concede the six-week delay, we can expect even more prevarication and delay in any kind of normal politics.’

    Anyone who has ever kept feeding Doc Croc in the past has ended up as political carrion . It looks like Hain is already dead meat .

    Stuck between Tony’s legacy and Brown’s need to kick the NI cesspool into touch for a few years poor Hain can’t win either way . But at least if he gives the Assembly the boot I suspect a large number of people in Northern Ireland will be relieved !

  • Henry94

    CS

    But what’s the crack with bricking and petrol bombing police, fire brigade, ambulance etc in the midst of a rescue/crash investigation ?

    Sinn Fein representatives on the ground were working flat-out to stop the sinister elements responsible for such attacks as there were.

    Conor Murphy got savaged (in the Howe sense) by know-nothing who hadn’t the slightest understanding of what he was trying to do but were simply willing to throw anything on the anti-Sinn Fein bonfire.

    If MPs are going to be held responsible for what happens in their constituencies then let’s apply it to them all.

    And let’s also ask who is going to take responsibility for the real risk of badly maintained British helicopters coming down in a residential area.

    Anyone who doesn’t deal with that issue forfeits the right to be heard on the incident at all in my opinion

  • Henry94

    Greenflag

    Time will tell. If it’s not up and running in six weeks you are right but if it’s still up and running in six years then I am. Agreed?

  • Truth& Justice

    I belive it will be up and running in six weeks and i believe the DUP will have brought the party with it and delivered a better deal than we have, all credit to them they have been tough and not found wanting!

  • Intelligence Insider

    Art Hostage,

    If you honestly believe that Gerry Adams and Slab Murphy have never had a breakfast together you are much more of a fool than even I give you credit for!

    Truth & Justice,

    What is this better deal you are talking of? It’s still sinn fein in government, the same as the GFA, except we could now have the former chief of staff of the provos in joint command of Northern Ireland with Ian “never, never, never” Paisley! Give me the UUP/SDLP led government anyday!

  • Greenflag

    Henry94,

    ‘Time will tell.’

    I concur as always time will tell unless of course time gets stuck in the same rut as Ni politics have been for 80 years .

    ‘If it’s not up and running in six weeks you are right ‘

    I will take no pleasure in this . This power sharing farce just compounds the last power sharing farce and it’s already heading down the same road .

    ‘but if it’s still up and running in six years then I am. Agreed? ‘

    Yes but not if there is a 5 year interlude in between then and now 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Crusty Burke ,

    ‘There are plenty of us Ulstermen who neither live in NI or vote DUP…’

    There are approx 2 million people livng in Ulster (all 9 counties i.e 3 in ROI + 6 in NI) Paisley’s DUP represents 200,000 voters .

    Even if Paisley had used the correct political term Northern Ireland his 200,000 votes out of 1.7 million inhabitants omits 1.5 million people .

    Pull the plug Hain and save Northern Ireland the embarrassment of having a geriatric fundamentalist preacher as it’s First Minister .

  • Dan

    As a Scot living in England, I watch as an interested outsider. I hope Hain follows through with his threat and pulls the plug, cuts the salaries and locks the doors of Stormont. If it only takes 6 weeks to actually get the DUP to the point of agreement then fine we are now in Mid May, Blair has resigned as party-leader and the leadership election is underway. Brown (or Milliaband) take over by end of June. In Browns first 100 days he wants to get on with stamping his authority on the Party, the Government and doing things to bring Middle England back from Cameron’s Tories. None of which will be easy and to all of which Ulster is a distraction.

    Once his first conference is out of the way the Comprehensive Spending Review will be released in the Autumn, (presumably October) giving spending for 2009-11, it is only then when you will know if any “extra” money for Ulster is really extra or just an early announcement of what you were going to get anyway.

    So once all of that is out of the way if DUP and SF ask for an assembly then I am sure new elections can be set up in October or November.

    The point is time is running out for your best chance, to Blair this is a major part of his legacy. To Brown Northern Ireland is an overly subsidised part of the UK with a Labour Force which is unwilling to take jobs in the booming Irish economy.

    To the average South of England voter whom both Brown and Cameron will be competing over the present mood is we are being overtaxed to subsidise lazy good for nothings in the rest of these islands and if Scotland wants to vote for independence in May good luck to them, if you want an assembly or not want an assembly fine WE DO NOT CARE, but stop asking for more of our money. I apologise as I know life is more complicated than that but that is the increasing view.

  • Henry94

    Dan

    I apologise as I know life is more complicated than that

    Not very. I think you make an excellent case. Indulging the DUP gets Blair a tantrum so maybe a reality check rather than a subsidy cheque is required.

  • Greenflag

    Dan,

    ‘The point is time is running out for your best chance,’

    Not an argument likely to impress in the land that time has forgotten . NI has had two ‘other ‘ last best chances separated by 24 years .

    Sunningdale 1974 and the GFA 1998 . I can’t honestly say how long the former Assemby sat for after 1998 between 1998 and 2002 but it’s probably a safe guess to state that it ‘operated’ for less than half the time . No matter it ended in a farce. This attempt is the other way around .It’s beginning (well maybe )with a farce!

    ‘to Blair this is a major part of his legacy.’

    Nobody in England or Ireland or elsewhere except perhaps in Ballymena will hold it against Blair for not ‘succeeding’ in NI. The fact is that the only British Prime Minister who will ever have a ‘legacy’ in Northern Ireland will the one who manages to get Britain out of Northern Ireland .

    Blair has done his best and not since Gladstone has there been such a serious attempt to ‘solve’ the Irish question. It looks however as it may be beyond the political skills of any British political leader of whatever party to succeed in NI. Without American involvement and without pressure from the Republic’s government what was achieved in 1998 in the GFA would never have happened.

    Gordon Brown as you say will have his work cut out to win Labour another term . And in that context NI is an offshore nuisance . I believe the offshore ‘nuisance’ has upset the course of British politics in the past and indirectly may do so yet again .

    Thats the realpoli

  • Phil McAvity

    Dan,

    I couldn’t have put it better myself. It is ludicrous that one foreigner can legally pick the pockets of the English taxpayer to pay-off his fellow Celts in the hope that they might actually do the jobs for which they are paid. England cannot continue to be the cash-cow for the rest of the union, we are getting sick of it. The pressure is building on this government to start treating the English fairly and the longer it takes for them to deal with “The English Question” the more likely English independence becomes. Nice hat by the way, reminded me of a cross between Al Capone and The Edge!

  • philip

    Hain wants to be DPM so its worth the fudge …. hell i wish i had of become MLA…..

  • Observer

    Christpher/Rosie:

    Sinn Fein are more likely to disappear than the ‘British’.

    Britishness is an identity that many people subscribe to in Ulster.

    While Sinn Fein is a Political Party, who could easily ‘disappear’.

    Maybe not now, but possibily in the future.

    I find it odd that many ‘Irish’ citizens study in Britain and study ‘British’ law, British politics and the english language. Isn’t that ironic?

    Chris:

    Keep telling yourself that us British will leave someday… nationalists have been telling themselves that for many many years. Whatever makes you feel better.

    You’ll just have to learn to live with us, as I have with you. After all your party is for a workable and properous Northern Ireland, right?