Junior took his eye off the ball…

Interesting quote from Jim Allister tonight on Newsline:

Allister: The focus should have been on the constitutional issues; getting the best deal for Unionism; cutting OFMDFM; getting rid of the IRA Army Council; getting rid of mandatory coalition. And what do we find? One of the key negotiators took his eye off the ball and was off pursuing other interests with the Prime Minister.

Thompson: He claims that this all took place on the margins of the St Andrews’ Talks, that he took the opportunity to raise a number of understanding constituency cases. At no time, did the DUP use any of these matters as leverage in the negotiations.

Allister: You only have so much leverage in these negotiations (the St Andrews talks). Who thought it appropriate to waste some of that leverage on constituency and quasi commercial matters? It really doesn’t add up. Here you are at the crunch point in negotiations and what’s Ian Paisley Junior talking about: the Causeway: Ballee lands: some other golf development; when he should have been talking about making sure the IRA Army Council was gone, and gone forever.

Junior was bullish, as well he might. This is certainly embarrassing particularly since some of his senior party colleagues involved in the negotiations at St Andrews have claimed they were unsighted on this. Certainly his actions make life extremely complicated for Ministers like Arlene Foster who have had important decisions to make in this area.

Internally many will also be ‘doing the math’, and calculating the precise value of these measures, some of them apparently ringfenced from further interference from the Executive, as a proportion of the the value of the things that were on the party’s Executive Council’s own shopping list.

But for the public, it is the externalities that hold the greatest interest. Not least the precise nature of the ‘quasi commercial’ interest Allister mentions (four items on Juniors short-list involve developers). And the pleading for ending a judicial review.

At the very least, the man is burning political capital he can ill afford to waste.

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  • Paul P

    Paisley Junior is arrogant and too sure of himself and is embarrasment to his colleagues.

    But Allister is bitter and twisted and by his own assesments would have agreed to SF in Goverment by now.

  • steve

    Paisleys a self serving politician but in all fairness none of the items brought up by Allister were on the table or would ever be on the table so its all just so much hot air

  • loki

    Wonder where Mr Allister got his information from? Could it have been from another North Antrim MLA who was a big Jim supporter and maybe has ambitions for a Westminster seat once Papa Doc finally goes?

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t think Junior took his eye off the ball for a moment.
    He just happened to be playing a different game.

  • cut the bull

    I think members of the DUP are clearly embarrassed by IJP’s continued distance from the truth. this is a song that pissed off DUP’ers could possibly be singing to IJP in the coming days.

    Things were alright for a while, we could smile for a while.
    We see you on T.V every other night, usually talking shite
    You need to stop and say, no more.
    Oh, your putting the party through hell, But can’t you tell
    That we’ll not be lying over you, lying over you,

    Even your Da may have to say “so long” – You’ll be left standing all alone
    because we’re not lying, lying. lying. lying.

    It’s hard to understand
    There’s Government departments in our hands, So we’re not lying.

    If I was you, I’d tell the truth
    But it’s true, so true.
    You need to do it even more, Than you did before
    But, mo chara, what can we do?
    For you don’t bother the party.
    We’ll not be, lying over you, lying over you.

  • Fraggle

    Anyone else think IPJ would be perfect for Fianna Fail?

  • cut the bull

    While wee Jim Allister will be singing his own protest song trying to gain a bit of support for his new movement or party or whtever it is.

    IT’S MY new PARTY

    Nobody knows where traditional unionism has gone
    Paisley left the same time
    Why was he holding Gerry and Marty’s hands
    When he’s supposed to be holding mine

    I’ll start a new party, and I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if it happened to you

    Playin’ mind games, keeps me up all night
    I’ve left the DUP a long while
    Die hards around the wee province are joining with me
    I’ve searching for a reason to smile

    I’ll start a new party, and I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if it happened to you

    Ian and Marty just walked through Stormont’s door
    Like a drag queen with her king
    Oh what, sure it’s no big surprise
    They’re kissing each others rings

    I’ll start a new party, and I’ll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
    You would cry too if it happened to you

  • cut the bull

    It’ll be interesting to see if Arlene Foster is stillkeen on taking Daithí Mc Kay to court in relation to her minded decision in relation to the Tourist Centre.

    Sure maybe IJP will help her in her quest if he can demand that judicial reveiws are dropped, then what can’t he do.

    Onward to an independent judicial and justice system, yAAAAWWWAANNNNN!!!

  • DC

    It’s an absolute joke to the people of Northern Ireland that Paisley was nipping in like that on council-like matters.

    Talk about cutting across constitutional matters for the sake of parish pump business. Complete idiot, it reduces any worthiness of the ‘deal’ right down to miniscule council business. Little more than securing the cronyism that we all knew was in him.

    In that anyone in such dealings would have time and indeed audacity to mention virtually extraneous issues to the process must lead us to conclude that this really was a top down process with much of the course already plotted a long time ago.

    It was ‘no big deal’ the StAA. It reminds of the time when certain people said about such agreements that they were known to be in tough negotiation only for them to be sitting around watching the news/PR people describe to the world something that they weren’t doing. I.e. negotiating.

  • first or deputy first

    first or deputy first minister paisley junior or slab both great money men. I say we let them fight it out in a barn of their own choise to see who wins.

  • ballymena

    Hearing what he was lobbying on there seems to be one which is fairly sectional interest and he’d have been better off taking the lobbying elsewhere. Mind you – whether you agree or disagree with either his lobbying venue or the stance he takes, the Causeway and the dualling of the A26 are matters of wider public interest.

    Lets face it – Junior is a little embarrassing, but that isn’t a crime. Jim Allister was at the St Andrews talks and he wasn’t invited to the top table with the ‘big boys’ of his former Party – he’s incredibly bitter about that and its one of the reasons he left the DUP – he felt sidelined and wasn’t given the important role he clearly felt his ‘talent’ deserved. Now he’s gone from the DUP he’s on a wrecking mission against them.

    If the NIO and everyone else also have been patently clear that none of the issues raised by Paisley Junior were in any shape or form taken as part of the negotiations then it also negates the issue about taking his eye off the ball. Are we seriously saying that a person can only do one thing at a time??? Is that the capacity we expect of our elected representatives?

    Danny Kennedy can scuttle off and look for peerages for his colleagues but looking for a dual carriageway is now a hanging offence…..

    Interesting times indeed.

  • cut the bull

    I am trying to take a step back and think what it would be like to stand in the shoes of a politician.

    Especially if your caught up in accusations of wheeling and dealing and scull duggery involving favours being done by you, on behalf of property developers.

    I think you would do your best to calm yourself and maybe quietly, very quietly sing this wee song to yourself,

    Money in a brown envelope world.

    I scheme all night, I scheme all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
    Ain’t it sad
    And still there never seems to be, any dignity left in me
    That’s too bad
    In my dreams I have a plan
    A few brown envelopes and I’m a wealthy man

    I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around in Stormont’s main hall…
    Money, money, money
    Must be funny
    In a brown envelope world
    Money, money, money
    I talk shite, it’s hot and runny
    In the fly man’s world
    Aha-ahaaa

    All the people I could screw
    If I had a little money
    It’s a big brown envelope world
    A man like me is hard to find, but you must have a greedy frame of mind
    Ain’t it sad
    And if you happen to be like me, you’ll act like the three wise monkeys
    That’s too bad

    Hear no, see no ,speak no, I’ll have to go
    The less you say, see or hear , the less anyone knows
    My credibility has lost a fortune I’ll get the blame, my political career will never be the same…
    Money, money, money
    Must be funny
    In a brown envelope world
    Money, money, money
    I talk shite, it’s hot and runny
    In the brown envelope world
    Aha-ahaaa

    It’s better than life on the broo
    If I had a little money
    It’s a big brown envelope world
    Money, money, money
    Must be funny
    In a brown envelope world
    Money, money, money
    Always sunny
    In a brown envelope world
    Aha-ahaaa
    All the moves I could do
    If I had a little money
    It’s a big brown envelope world
    It’s a big brown envelope world

  • Lurker

    Treating the peace process like a gravy train was there from day one. After the first talks at Stormont in Dec 94, with the man who now counts pubic hairs in films, Gerry Adams stood on the steps of Connolly House and said that if the British were serious they would now reverse a decision to deny funding to the Mean Scoil, on the grounds that it didn’t have enough pupils.
    Guess what the Brits did; they forked out and established a precedent that probably prolonged the whole process, as parties learnt that they could bring shopping lists for TG4 reception in the North and an Ulster Scots academy (£13 million) and whatever you’re having yourself.

    Dig deeper; there’ll have been more that Ian Og playing this game.

  • pith

    Junior is getting away with this not simply because the DUP will not deal with him but because the other parties are failing to deal with him. There is a provision in the Stormont Standing Orders for MLAs to table a petition of concern. Could that be used to censure Junior? Alternatively could a motion be tabled to overturn the original Trimble/Mallon determination under which Junior and Gerry Kelly have been appointed junior ministers?

  • Ballymena, can you name the six businessmen who are in the deal alluded to by IPjr in the Monica Purdy interview and repeated on BBC Newsline last night?

    If the deal is a £50 million one who is putting up the money? The former owners? The six businessmen? Seymour Sweeney and Seaport (NI) Limited?

  • Turgon

    I must admit to slightly disagreeing with Jim Allister about Paisley junior taking his eye off the ball here. This episode along with his assorted other problems make me feel that he has no idea what “the ball” is, cannot separate the things he wants for his constituents (and his personal Westminster ambitions), his party and the whole of Northern Ireland.

    He seems simply without the skills necessary to be a successful politician. I remember that Willie Ross once told me that his assessment of Paisley junior was that he had all Paisley senior’s faults and none of his strengths. Whatever other people’s view of Ross (though I was actually always a fan), that assessment, damning as it is seems pretty accurate.

  • darth rumsfeld

    How ironic it would be if our beloved First Minister’s scripture reading this morning was Luke Chapter 15,verses 18 and 19…..

  • ballymena

    Nevin,
    Paisley made it clear that the Ballee stuff was purely representing constituents – its not the prettiest stuff in the world, but all the digging done by Purdy and the Bel Tel haven’t shown any wrongdoing. He may be guilty of being stupid, he may be guilty of being embarrassing on that one but it would appear he isn’t guilty of any actual wrongdoing.

    Why is it ok to lobby on behalf of a constituent who hasn’t got a pot to p*ss in but somehow a criminal offence to work on behalf of constituents who happen to own a business? Are we all consumed by some verson of class envy that we are to despise all owners of business, particularly if they happen to at any time buy or sell land in the course of that busiess? I suppose we’d prefer that politicans ignored businesses and actually encouraged them to leave their constituencies – taking jobs and money with them. That would be the ‘pure’ thing to do (it seems pure is the word of the day after Jim Allister’s rant about his ‘pure’ mandate…)

    Some of the issues he raised were undoubtedly parochial – but then some of the most successful politicians have got that parochial touch (and no I’m not necessarily likening Ian Jnr to any of them). There were also some issues included which are undoubtedly in the wider public interest. The A26 affects the vast majority of people living in at least 2 Parliamentary Constituencies and a huge number of people besides that.

    Jim Allister’s arguments crumbled for me this morning when he went on a “people’s solution for the people’s causeway” stuff. I don’t believe for one minute that in Allister’s heart of hearts he’s some left-winger who really believes in public ownership and the horrors of the private sector. Its simply because it suits his fairly bitter and narrow political wrecking agenda that he’s now suddenly all for public ownership and decrying any private sector involvement in a tourist attraction.

    Also this notion – as Turgon rightly points out – about ‘taking your eye off the ball’ is just nonsense. Frankly I want a politician who can concentrate on a number of issues at the one time. If you’re only able to keep your eye on one ball then you’re actually a myopic politician. Maybe Jim Allister only can focus on the IRA army council at the minute – that might explain why his profile on actual day to day European issues has dropped like a stone since his exit from the DUP – but surely its possible for a politician in Northern Ireland to deal with the constitutional and the local without getting too confused….

  • pith

    It would be especially ironic given Junior’s obvious incapacity for humility.

  • Bannsider

    ballymena

    “Jim Allister’s arguments crumbled for me this morning when he went on a “people’s solution for the people’s causeway” stuff. I don’t believe for one minute that in Allister’s heart of hearts he’s some left-winger who really believes in public ownership and the horrors of the private sector. Its simply because it suits his fairly bitter and narrow political wrecking agenda that he’s now suddenly all for public ownership and decrying any private sector involvement in a tourist attraction.”

    Absolutely. Spot. On.

  • pith

    Which branch of the DUP does Junior belong to? It’s not Bannside is it?

  • steve48

    What is most interesting is that if, as Jnr states, he was merely taking advantage of the situation to raise issues with local Ministers why did those Ministers feel compelled to raise the issues with the Prime Minister.

    Having raised the Giants Causeway with the relevant Minister pre-devolution are we still to believe that he did not raise the issue with either of the two relevant Ministers post devolution who miraculously came to the decision to deliver exactly what Jnr wanted.

    Is it right that a politician should seek to stop a judicial review?

    What is the resort spa project and why was it not progressed through normal planning channels?

  • steve48

    Anyone any idea what was on SF’s list.

    Irish Language Act?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Although not agreeing with Jimbo’s point of view I have been impressed in the past with his skill in portraying himself as the reasonable man who has been abandoned by unprincipled colleagues.

    He would serve himself better by concentrating on something substantive like the Quinn killing.

  • interested

    steve48
    No doubt about it – an Irish Language Act was on the Shinners agenda, that’s why it was added at the very end of negotiations without any other party hearing of it.

    That’s also why its been blocked by the DUP.

    Or maybe that’s taking your eye off the ball to some people….

  • pith

    Irish Language Act. Would that be in the same negotiating category as the Spa Resort with 200 homes?

  • “Paisley made it clear that the Ballee stuff was purely representing constituents – its not the prettiest stuff in the world, but all the digging done by Purdy and the Bel Tel haven’t shown any wrongdoing.”

    Ballymena,

    Here’s a quote from IPjr:

    “There are six businessmen involved in all of this case” (repeated several times)”

    Are there and, if so, who are they? If there are not then surely the quote is ‘inaccurate’.

    Was IPjr representing a developer or the former owners?

    “At one point, after the department had suggested a £75m figure, he wrote to Ms Ritchie accusing it of presenting “extortionate” valuations and “taking his constituents for a ride” .. BBC

    The constituents/former owners were supposedly getting 10% of the agreed figure so how was the DSD taking ‘them for a ride’?

  • Moe

    Which of the other DUP negotiators brought with them their own personal shopping list to help their own personal friends/lobster fishing companions?

    Is this how each of the DUP negotiating team conducted themselves?

    If this is such great representation of the people, why are senior DUP members ‘angry’ about this? Possibly because instead of trying to deliver a suitable financial deal – once like many issues a pre-requisite for government – or a decent default mechanism that doesn’t also condemn those who abide by the rules or many of the other major problems that are at the backbone of St Andrews, IPJ would rather have his own issues dealt with instead. There was surely much more at stake at St Andrews than the ending of a judicial review at Ballee.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    bannsider

    If Paisley Jr argued for the price of the Ballee land to come down from £75m to £50m, then the only constituent he was representing was Sweeney, as the original landowners would have been shafted.

    The other question is why Paisley Jr used the SAD talks to raise these issues and not Westminster or the NIO. Clearly there were implied reasons. You scratch my back etc. No wonder the DUP is fuming, if the NIO had practically bought Paisley Jr’s support for a deal in which his party had committed the ultimate U-turn.

  • pith

    Good point Moe. Did Paisley Senior know what Junior was up to? Did he approve? Did he support? Did Robinson know? Did the other DUP MLA for North Antrim know?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    To mix a few metaphors – instead of being thrown out with the bathwater babydoc will use all this dancing on the head of a pin to show that Jimbo is outside the tent trying to piss in but is
    doing so against the prevailing wind of the common sense of the good people of North Antrim oh whose behalf babydoc never stops worlking.

  • BG, the original offer to the DSD was supposedly £9m so the former owners would allegedly have got 10% of this figure. Were they being ‘taken for a ride’?

    A reduction from £75m to £50m – would probably pay for a visitor centre that could damage the Giant’s Causeway’s world heritage status. I understand Margaret Hodge, DCMS minister and UK WHS protector, is to report to UNESCO this month on the Causeway debacle.

  • “Did Paisley Senior know what Junior was up to? Did he approve?”

    You might ask similar questions of the planning application near Ballintoy.

    How come an apparently inaccurate planning application passed by Paisley snr, the Planning Service and the Planning Appeals Commission without correction? Perhaps a bathroom suite in a piggery is the fashion in parts of North Antrim 😉

  • Belfast Gonzo

    My previous post was meant as a response to ‘ballymena’, not ‘bannsider’.

    Nevin

    I think Paisley Jr is prepared to take a lot of people for a ride.

  • fair_deal

    Will the sock puppet on this thread please desist and stick to one identity.

  • Bushmills Golf Resort. The Regional Development Strategy that was endorsed
    unanimously by the Assembly before suspension outlined a tourism resort on the
    Northern Antrim Coast. In order to comply with that vision an application,
    supported by the local council and local business community for a signature golf
    resort has been applied for on the outskirts of Bushmills village. We have no
    doubt that if a local Assembly were functioning permission to complete this
    project would attract the support of the Assembly. However, to date the planning
    application is facing delay and a c c o d i to our conversations with the developer
    and the Planning Service will ultimately be refused. Such a refusing will cause
    economic hardship in the locality. Moyle is an economic black spot and yet its
    one chance to benefit form the potential of tourism is now being blighted We
    appeal to your ministerial team to support this application” .. Letter from Paisley jnr and Storey to Secretary of State, dated 20 June 2005 [pdf file]

    Presumably this is the spa referred to in the Hanson letter.

  • cut the bull

    Presumably this is the spa referred to in the Hanson letter.

    It’s dangerous to make any presumtions clarity and truth is whats needed, but dont hold your breath waiting.

  • Wee slabber

    How ironic that this thread was so appropriately juxtaposed to one titled “Zimbawe’s Agony”!

  • Ballymena and Bannsider (assuming you are 2 persons),

    You don’t get it. North Antrim constituency concerns were NOT appropriate matters to be raised in the St Andrews negotiations. As for Junior’s claims that all this was on the “sidelines” of the talks, if it really was as unimportant as claimed, then why would it have required the PM’s attention.

    Maybe Junior is an unusually incompetent individual who owes his position to blatant nepotism. It’s just that there is an almighty stink that seems to surround him perpetually. He is certainly the DUPers’ Weakest Link. I wonder what else is out there.

    By the way, could people refer to him as IPJ not IJP as poor Cllr Parsley does still have a good name.

    Oh and bravo Nevin.

  • joeCanuck

    Which property developer loves hearing óg sing this?

  • pith

    Joe Canuck – very very good.

    Why is no one talking about resignation in this matter?

  • cut the bull

    Why is no one talking about resignation in this matter?

    Pith, You have asked a very interesting and searching question here.

    Why is no one asking for IPJ’s resignation. If there a big rotten apple in a ministerial position, that shouldn’nt stop the apple cart from being rocked and the rotten apple discarded, should it?

  • If no one else will, I’m happy to call for IPJ’s resignation. And perhaps he can take his oul’ da with him.

  • pith

    Cut the bull,

    The question of course is how many rotten apples there are in the barrel but this one is very obvious. Am I wrong to think that in similar circumstances elsewhere there would have been demands for Junior’s resignation over this and previous revelations?

  • Moe

    I think everyone knows Mr Arrogance Jnr will never quit as long as his Da is there to save him – I bet those angry senior DUP members can’t wait for the new era of DUP leadership: something tells me Junior won’t be in such a position to impose such embarrassment to the Party again.

  • Paisley Jnr on a ‘solo run’ says DUP

    “A senior source today said: “Obviously there are a number of very senior people in the party who are not happy about what has happened and will have questions to raise. He was obviously on a solo run.”

    Another source said: “This will leave a bad taste in the mouths of people who were at St Andrews and who had no idea that this was going on.”

    And a third source added: “There is increasing unease in the Assembly group about these ongoing revelations.”

    And there’re links to an Allister follow-up statement and the BBC broadcast here.

  • cut the bull

    Pith

    There are very few places in the world that have a similar political set up, the mandatory coalition.

    I think the only way he will go is if the DUP push him or the electorate vote wisely next time this clown stands.

    Though Ido agree if this had have been a normal sort of parliament IJP would have been out the door a few months ago with his Da waving him good bye and wishing him the best of luck.

  • Danny O’Connor

    I have to say that this man’s arrogance is astounding.The only person/people who will benefit from junior’s intervention at Balee is Seymour and whoever is left of the 6 developers.If he was interested in his constituents,the more money that the land made-the more they would have made.only 2 things smell of fish and 1 of them is fish.

  • pith

    Cut the bull,

    Mandatory coalition does make the exercise of individual ministerial responsibility awkward to say the least. However I think it would be worthwhile for the other parties to investigate whether it is possible to overturn the original Trimble/Mallon determination under which Junior holds their posts. As the Assembly has to grant the determination then surely it can rescind it too.

  • cut the bull

    Does any one know if Seymour has a split personality, maybe all six of him could be benefiting from IPJ’s lobbying.

  • lib2016

    Genuinely don’t see what this fuss is about rather than some rather naive infighting amongst the various unionist groupings.

    The GFA will succeed or not because the people of NI decide they want it to succeed or not, not because a provincial politican decides to do what provincial politicans do.

    Just as the Treaty succeeded in 1920 though some of the participants are alleged to have been indulging to excess in wine, women and song.

    Whatever happens it won’t be what we expect today but what our children decide they want.