Adams and Paisley to meet (at last)…

The machinations of a long weekend finish with a meeting today (rather than a kickstart of the institutions) between Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. As the Guardian notes (H/T SuperSoupy), “The DUP’s deadline would still enable the executive to start before Mr Blair resigns, or at least leaves No 10”. It also gives both parties an extension to look for more concessions (a little more sugar for our already highly Processed™ politics?), Sinn Fein a nice little success story in time for the General Election, and Tony Blair at least one up beat theme with which to top out his premiership.

One Whitehall source said: “Yes, it is messy and we are losing some face, but if the political parties can reach a consensus … then that is better than us trying to force an agreement upon them. We are insisting on the meeting as a sign that the DUP cannot go on delaying indefinitely. We will also get a deal before the prime minister leaves office.”

So, as we remarked when this ‘timetable’ was first announced, it is to be a forgiving schedule: a May rather than March restart. But as David Ford noted last night, the DUP seems to be shifting from condition-led, to a calendar-led settlement that delays devolution but “without stating what the conditions are”.

Devolution of policing and justice powers have still to be agreed, for instance. Is that water boiling yet?

  • SuperSoupy

    When Ian goes cap in hand to Gerry today, I wonder what the price will be.

    Is movement on policing and justice too much to ask?

    The 6 weeks delay certainly seems to create time for a debate on O’Loans report that Unionists previously prevented.

    What is the cost for taking the DUP off the hook they put themselves on?

    Or is magnamity the order of the day?

  • SuperSoupy

    Can anyone confirm media reports that leading DUP sceptic MEP Jim Allister did not even attend Saturday’s meeting? And if so what is the significance.

  • philip

    Let us hope no one refers to Harold Wilson’s ‘spongers’ critique.

  • SuperSoupy

    Mr Hain told the BBC on Monday: “I’ve just had news overnight that Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams are meeting for the very first time in their lives – the DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party, and Sinn Fein.

    “This is something that defies the word breakthrough, it’s never happened before.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6494599.stm

    Oh to be a fly on the wall.

  • philip

    “You started it”
    “You did”
    “No you did”
    ….

  • philip

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6494599.stm

    Our President has just said that the deadline ‘may be allowed to slip’.

  • SuperSoupy

    Philip,

    Indeed. If the DUP can convince others. They’ve played their cards now others are setting the bets.

    Paisley’s first meeting with Adams and he’s the one that needs a favour.

  • It’d be superb for them to hold a joint press conference and take questions; then we’d know that we really are home.

  • delta omega

    Supersoupy

    Jim Allister was at the meeting on staurday and he along with 17 or 18 others voted against the motion, with 90 voting for.

  • SuperSoupy

    Delta,

    Knew I should have taken Henry McDonald with a pinch of salt:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,2042235,00.html

    Thanks for the correction.

  • SuperSoupy

    How not to ask for a favour. Ian jnr seems to think the DUP are in a position to dictate when they need to achieve other’s consent.

  • Ian

    “Jim Allister was at the meeting on staurday and he along with 17 or 18 others voted against the motion, with 90 voting for.”

    If true, that’s closer to 80% than 90%.

    After SF’s Ard Fheis there was much debate on Slugger about how accurate their estimate of 90% support for the policing motion actually was. The DUP’s claims of 90% support has gone unquestioned so far.

  • SuperSoupy

    Above link should be:

    How not to ask for a favour – http://www.newsletter.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=3425&ArticleID=2179128

  • SuperSoupy
  • SuperSoupy

    The above is the Telegraph giving incorrect information just like Henry McDonald as the postponed meeting is the now suspended noon sitting of the Assembly.

    Bloody journos.

  • Ian

    “If true, that’s closer to 80% than 90%.”

    In fact, if the total membership of the Executive is 120, then 90 VOTES in favour (as opposed to 90 PERCENT) equates to only 75% support. (Presumably the balance of 12 or 13 were abstensions.)

    The reported 90% figure is either sloppy journalism or DUP spin.

  • Yokel

    Fuck well done to the Guardian for that revelation on the date and Tony Blairs departure…it was pointed out here over the weekend more than once.