In praise of… Peter Hain

Frank Millar has a useful end of week wash up on the lead up to this deal. It’s easy to forget that when the so-called “comprehensive agreement” collapsed, just before the Northern Bank robbery, there was little sign of any momentum. For all the moral (and legal) compromises in getting to where we now are, Hain may have played a crucial role in bringing at least one aspect of the Irish question to a close:

…it would be disingenuous for anyone in the Northern Ireland Office to claim that Hain and Blair have always sung from the same hymn sheet. However, there is acceptance at the highest levels in Whitehall that Hain’s conduct of the policy debate – coupled with what one source describes as “his impatience with the impasse” – served an important function in a process that had grown “too indulgent”. And, in terms of the end result, was there any significant difference between Hain’s stance and Blair’s more emollient message to the DUP on the need to directly engage with, and persuade, Sinn Féin? At the last, in any event, Hain was able to laugh with everyone else.


  • koane

    Probably the most underhand, double dealing, unprincipled politiican in British politics – and the ideal candidate for the job.

    Getting the Rev to ask Grizzly to cut him some slack was a masterstroke.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Probably the most underhand, double dealing, unprincipled politician in British politics ‘

    I doubt it . There are at least 600 others:)
    But then just look at who he had to deal with ?
    The two most principled (in theory anyway)-underhanded -treble dealing performing politicians in these islands ?

    If it works out and I repeat IF -then Peter Hain will be perceived as the most successful Secretary of State that NI has ever had to endure . And to crown it all he did as a part time nixer while managing Wales on the side !

    Prime Minister Hain ?

    Not as improbable as some may think ! Post Brown though I’d have to say ! If Brown loses out to Cameron then Peter Hain has to be a real contender for the succession.

  • Crataegus


    Probably the most underhand, double dealing, unprincipled politician in British politics – and the ideal candidate for the job.

    The problem with Hain is it is obvious what he is up to. With really good double dealers you don’t see it coming until the knife is in.

    Wonder how Bertie will do in the coming election?

  • kokane (formerly koane)


    Whatever about Prime he should at least get to be Foreign minister – and if yankies decide that somewhere needs to invaded what better man to convince the Engleze poeple that they should be part of it.


    re. Bertie – dont understand how he does it – hes been caught with his fingers in the till but will probably still squeak it unless some events ( collapse in house prices) happens soon.

  • Greenflag

    ‘and if yankies decide that somewhere needs to invaded ‘

    Methinks that after the Bush experience our American friends are unlikely to ‘invade’ anywhere else for a generation or two or longer .
    This Iraqi War may even have a too negative effect in returning the US to an isolationist policy which could leave global politics in ‘flux’ until such time as the Middle Kingdom emerges to take up the reins as ‘world’ policeman
    circa mid century .

    ‘!Bertie – dont understand how he does it -‘

    Political skill . Just compare Bertie’s ‘management’ of FF since he took up the reins to any of the others on this island ? Only SF and the DUP come close but in a ‘national poll’ Bertie would far exceed either of these minor party leaders !

    The ‘voters’ know that house prices are overvalued so the fact that they are ‘slipping’ will have little impact. Probably the reverse .FF has always had huge support from the construction industry and the latter know from history that an FF or FF/PD Government is always better for business.

    Let’s hope the next Finance Minister manages a soft landing for the economy when the bubble finally deflates . Three steps forward and one step backward is good enough progress 🙂 Beats the one step forward and three steps backward we’d have with an FG/Lab coalition !

  • kokane


    Bertie has great skill – seeing him appear on telly crying about his divorce after being caught up to no good proves that. The mystery lies with the electorate. Perhaps our new found wealth means that anybody can sell anybodys grannie as long as they dont upset the economy. Finna Fail must be the most corrupt political group in Europe – far worse than the Tories and probably shade the Scilians in a corruption penalty shoot out.

  • gareth mccord

    what a guy he is after all he did fall asleep during a meeting with a greiving father who wanted answers on why the british gov paid a uvf member thousands of pounds while he commited murders? WHAT A GUY??

  • gareth mccord

    WHAT A GUY???

  • ben

    Yeah, Gareth, that’s how it works. He steers a popular course while you’re fuming and frothing at the mouth on the fringe about something or other in all-caps. He’s very good at it. But you carry on with that … what was it, something about a grieving father? I didn’t quite follow.

  • Greenflag


    ‘The mystery lies with the electorate.’

    Indeed it does . But it’s no mystery in the Republic . The electorate votes and there is a Government . I understand that the electoral process in NI was/is not always clear on that point .

    Let’s just hope that Bertie’s efforts and those of the many others who ‘pushed’ the peace process will ensure that there are no more ‘troubles’ related grieving fathers in NI .

  • Good on yer Hain, it just goes to show that if one stands outside the proces for a second, Hain did the right thing. However if you waste your time agonising over “devils in the detail” you’ll miss the bigger picture.

  • Gonzo

    The full article can still be read at Nuzhound, dated April 1, 2007.