“Very good Martin. Now please get on and produce some results”

Martin McGuinness’ statement in the Irish Times (subs needed) this morning is remarkable in one respect only: the fact he doesn’t say anything. Most of it comprises a complaint about people not speaking to him:

“I think I have a far better working relationship with Ian Paisley than Mark Durkan or Séamus Mallon ever had with David Trimble. I think that grates on them, it hurts them that the DUP and Sinn Féin have managed not just to get this government up but run it properly in a fashion that can deliver for the people.”

The latest PA report carries Alasdair McDonnell response:

“Many people would have been much more interested in hearing about his priorities for government, or his view of the challenges facing the people of the North, and how he intends to address them.

“The appointment of a Victims Commissioner, or a strategy for a shared future perhaps but no, instead we get party political posturing and pointless anecdotes.

“Martin McGuinness has spent the last six months telling anyone who will listen how well he is getting on with Ian Paisley.

“Very good, Martin. We get the message. Maybe you should have tried it years ago.

“Now get on with producing some results.”

,

  • Nevin
  • harry

    yes martin off course you are geting on with paisley.

    i am sure he just loves you. and why wouldn’t he. Sure Martin you are just as unionist as paisley is.

  • BonarLaw

    Belguim has been without a government for 150 (ish) days and their world hasn’t ended. If we have a government that does nothing because of its’ construction, our world won’t end either.

  • lib2016

    Ah yes! That lovely pair Trimble and Mallon made such an impact that they got fired. Surprised that McDonnell wants to remind us of that.

  • The Penguin

    Very disappointing.
    Not one hard question asked of McGuiness in this colour piece, he might as well have got one of the party faithful to pen it.

    It is well known by every journalist that both the DUP and SF hate the “Chuckle Brothers” tag, but he’s even allowed to claim he doesn’t mind it.

  • joeCanuck

    I was able to access that piece, Mick, and I don’t have a subscription.

  • From tiocfaidh ár lá to Chuckle Brother. Viva the revolution and all that…

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Sorry, remind me what all those lives were lost for, Martin?

  • harry

    From tiocfaidh ár lá to Chuckle Brother

    a mark durkan one liner

    mark, is he is still about then ?

  • Aquifer

    ‘Sorry, remind me what all those lives were lost for, Martin?’

    And Ian. This was a double act, violence and intransigence. Maybe we and the 3000+ will get our joint OFMDFM apology soon.

  • Turgon

    The great play which McGuinness makes of his good relationship with Paisley is interesting. The closeness of this relationship seems to be a matter of considerable concern and indeed disgust in significant sections of the unionist community especially amongst traditional DUP members and supporters.

    DUP members and supporters have in the past suggested that the “love in” would quickly fade away. That both McGuinness (and Paisley) seem to continue to trumpet it is surprising as it combined of course with the lack of much in the way of constructive decision making and the allegations of sleaze may be dangerous to SF and especially to the DUP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I never thought I would say this, but I am very impressed by the SDLP these days. Ever since they decided to stop enslaving themselves to the onward march of the Shinners, they are really starting to shine.

    It’s a shame they wouldn’t cross over to the opposition, they’d do a sterling job. We need more of the kind of directness and straight talking that we heard from Alistair McDonnell.

    Turgon, well said. They said it wouldn’t be a love-in, but a work-in. I’ve seen very little work being done lately.

  • Turgon

    Thank you Comrade.

    I am begining to wonder if the current coalition may be begining to loose support. I am of course extremely biased on this (indeed am I not biased on everything?).

    I was chatting to a good friend tonight whom I have not spoken to for a good few weeks. He is very much a UUP supporter as are his family. He did eventually come to a slightly more pro DUP position (though I doubt he could ever have voted for them) but he and they are now disgusted with the hypocrisy of the DUP and Paisley and of course the sleaze and inaction.

    Previously the UUP got so far away from their supporters that they failed to realise they had lost so much support. It is too early to suggest that is happening to the DUP but again you begin to wonder. I will sleep a little happier in my cave in Ballymenastan tonight. Though of course even if a fall in DUP support occurs there is no guarentee it will allow us to come out of the caves and capture Kabulfast. Still I can dream the dream of the prodiban victory.

  • Dewi

    Turgon – I’m still astonished at the Afghan dye in the Book of Kells – did u really have a secret Lapis Lazuli mine at Devonsish ?

  • francesco

    “move over martin, we’re only startin'”
    west belfast, a few years ago…

  • DK

    “”move over martin, we’re only startin’”
    west belfast, a few years ago…”

    Are you sure? I saw it on a wall in the Markets. Maybe it was in both places – the one in the Markets was done by the YMH though.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    My assessment is still based on the election which happened at a time when it was obvious what the DUP’s plans were. The results suggested then that most unionists are begrudgingly supporting the DUP, given that it is the only credible show in town, and I think they want to see where it is going to go; and I don’t think that has changed much. But I agree that the executive needs to start showing that it is here to do business.

    Regarding the UUP, there are a lot of problems, but above all they regarded their vote as a certain thing and they never thought they would have to actually do any work to hold onto it. They have no “machine”. The DUP on the other hand have an expertly run, very slick PR engine. DUP elected representatives have a reputation for getting stuff done, and I think you’ll find that a lot of their votes are coming from soft unionists supporting them on the back of their solid constituency work.

  • francesco

    YMH Young Mcdonald Henry…

  • Gum

    To me the SDLPs attitude to the current executiive just smacks of jealousy.Until they lose their attitude that they are better than Sinn Fein they wont be able to challenge them in the polls.

  • URQUHART

    Martin is having rings run around him. It’s embarassing. He’s delighted with himself cos he is friends with Paisley and kept busy writing letters to Burma.

    In the meantime, Robinson runs the show without challenge.

    A sad episode

  • Gum

    Not really Urquhart. I think thats what you like to think rather than what actually is going on. Anyway – does anyone mind? We have peace and relative prosperity and our govt for the most part is working well. Unionists cannot stand that McGuinness is working withh Paisley and has such a high place in govt. The old Stormont that suited them so well isnt coming back. Even Pailsey has accepted this, they should too.

  • Nevin
  • nmc

    our govt for the most part is working well.

    In what respect? Honestly. Here’s my opinion on how well it’s working: they haven’t succeeded in doing anything other than thart which is acceptable to both tribes. They haven’t as yet tackled anything controversial other than, possibly, the classroom assistants strike which hasn’t been an astounding success.

    Meanwhile the posturing involving the sickening characters sitting around going on about how fantastic everyone is and getting their photographs taken together goes on so everyone can think wow, they’re talking to each other. Bollocks to that, they should be fighting and arguing and getting things done. Pissing people off with unpopular decisions while fighting their corner on other issues. Prioritising, that kind of thing.

    Instead we’ve got a smoke and mirrors show and we’ve yet to see if the whole thing can float, or will it sink without trace as soon as the bickering gets started? I for one would like to see them get on with it, so we can find out.

  • BonarLaw

    Aquifer

    “This was a double act, violence and intransigence”

    Bad politics, however woeful, do not equate to a genocidal murder campaign.

    Gum

    do you really think that “government” is being run from OFMDFM?

    Comrade Stalin

    “But I agree that the executive needs to start showing that it is here to do business.”

    I would contend that most unionists are just happy to get on with making the mortgage repayments regardless of the executive gets up to. In fact, the less government we have the better all round so if glorious inactivity produces stability and prosperity then well & good.

  • Gum

    Bonar –

    of course not, but I have no problem with the happy faces all roound. We have a hge image problem to overcome and if Paisley and McGuinnes smailing and working together is what the world sees when it looks in then I think its a good thing.

    I [i]do[/i] think their relationship [i]is[/i] imporant for good govt, and that those that say Robinson is running the show are just uninforned. Important, yes; personally running the whole operation, obviously not.

  • cut the bull

    nmc Could’nt agree with you more. Classroom Assistants are going to go on strike again.

    Can the Education Minister not use the power within her remit and get this sorted instead of talking in riddles like she has previously done.

    The employers latest ground breaking initiative is to ask parents to come in and take the place of the Assistants should they decide to strike again.

    If this is an example of how the Education Boards intend to proceed in this dispute, I believe that the Education must act because her failure to do so is putting childrens health and safety at risk.

    Cut the bull and and start making moves to get this dispute sorted.

    It looks like the Executive and the Assembly is functioning as opposed to working.

    When watching the Assembly on TV you can only say what you see.A pantomime

  • Bigger Picture

    Turgon

    Very good to outline current DUP failings. Unfortunatley the process of Government doesn’t work with announcements day after day, sometimes the work of Govt is simply laborious and not seen to be worth public attention. I would say as an example that for all that has been reported about the Causeway, there has been many initiatives that Foster and Jnr are working on that aren’t being reported. Then again some people will never be satisfied. It’s a bit like people saying politicians did nothing before devolution returned when clearly many were doing very good work in their constituencies on a day to day basis.

    i never liked the mandatory coalition model and it appears that more people are coming round to that view. Not that work isn’t being done but rather that parties aren’t getting a chance to criticise the Executive because they’re all in it- therefore politics becomes boring and dull. No other political system works in this way and it is crazy that it is in place here. Considering many people’s views on this site and in Stormont mandatory coalition will only be here in the short term.

    Your problem is Turgon that Allister and co really needed an election there in the Autumn to try and build momentum to show that their and your view had public support. The basic fact now is that when politics is stale and boring and people are generally getting on with the running of govt nobody can really be bothered with calling for a revolution esp when they do not have a single voice in the Assembly (contrast with the DUP in 1998). Consequently it is going to be harder for the Prodiban to sell themselves as an alternative two years down the line as they will have no confirmation of how much public support they have with very little political exposure save Ballymena Council and Strasbourg (hardly where many NI issues are decided that effect people on a daily basis).

    I doubt that there is a winter of discontent coming for the executive. Merely the frustration of the two minor parties being overun by the two larger one’s and complaining about it, and hardliners who see momentum shifting away from them.

  • cut the bull

    Sometimes I believe you have to stand back and take a few steps in some one else’s shoes to try an get an idea of how they feel.

    A lot of former DUP members feel let down and aggrieved at what they believe were broken promises made to the faithful by the party leadership.

    In trying to imagine what any of those people would say to their former leader if they met him now I penned this song;

    I would do anything for love,
    But I wont do that, I wont do that

    I would do anything for love, but an Army Council in Stormont you can shove,
    You swore, you wouldn’t do that…
    I would do anything the love, but Sinn Féin government Ministers you can shove,
    You swore, you wouldn’t do that…

    I’m an Ulster says No die hard, an oul true blue, But it’s crazy and it’s true,
    I know you can save me,
    No one else can save me now but you.
    As long as there’s a chance of you turning,
    As long as there’s still hope of the Shinners burning,
    As long as you may return as the oul you –
    You better believe it! –
    I would do anything for love,
    But I wont do that

    I would do anything, to shove your dove, Shinners in Government you can shove,
    You swore, you wouldn’t do that…
    I would do anything, to shove your dove, Shinners in the Executive you can shove,
    You swore, you wouldn’t do that…
    I would do anything, to shove your dove, The Assembly you can shove,
    You swore, you wouldn’t do that…
    I would do anything, to shove your dove, The Chuckle brothers you can shove,
    You swore, you wouldn’t do that…
    Now I feel such a twat.

  • Turgon

    Bigger Picture,
    Sorry to take time to get back to you, a busy day.

    As ever I respect your analysis and difficult to disagree with anything you say.

    I suspect you are right and more work is going on than we notice. Though the public perception is one of not much; that may be unfair.

    I also know that you have previously questioned the mandatory coalition model (as obviously I have) and it may change. I am concerned, however, that there will not be adequate cross party support for this I must admit.

    We have discussed the pros and cons of a putative election in October / November before (clearly not going to happen now). I am inclined to agree with you. I know I previously said I did not want an election then but I think I was motivated by a fear that a failure for the prodiban would finish them. The wait keeps hope alive.

    The only point I would disagree with is that an election in October would have seen no organised party to face the DUP whereas a later election might have a party set up in time. I suspect that the prodiban with no party machine would have struggled against the highly efficient DUP machine. Also of course events might produce a problem for the DUP though your scenario of the agreement becoming boring but not worth deposing is an equally valid option.

    I guess we will wait and see. Any suggestions about how the mandatory coalition could be ended without a prodiban revolution? Also can you suggest any reason why Paisley allows the perception of the “love in” to continue. I am not having a go here, I know you have expressed concerns about it in the past and to be honest it seems quite politically foolish in local political terms without generating that much political benefit outside Northern Ireland.

  • Dewi

    Turgon – but what would be the programme ? What would you like a new government to do ?

  • veritas

    In Iraq they had comical Ali we’ve got comical Ian and comical Martin