Paisley, Beowulf and Plan B

Many cultures and societies have frightening non specific things they fear. Societies we now rather condescendingly call “primitive” are full of stories of frightening monsters which frequently needed to be appeased; usually by the sacrificing of virgins and such like before a hero confronts and defeats them. The minotaur from Greek mythology is a case in point. The people of Easter Island seem to have built massive statues to appease some unknown potentate. In the Anglo Saxon poem Beowulf (no not the film which I have not seen but was denounced by Kirsty Wark on Newsnight Review, and if the thinking man’s sex symbol disapproves: that is all we need to know; sorry I digress) the eponymous hero defeats the monster Grendel, then Grendel’s mother before at the end of his life killing a dragon but dying of the wounds he receives.

I suppose I should get on with the Northern Ireland politics bit.
A bit like one of these unspeakable monsters the DUP tell us they were faced with a similar (if more prosaically named) monster had they rejected the St. Andrew’s Agreement: Plan B. Whenever Jim Allister and other heretics complain about the agreement they are told of the dread Plan B which would have seen a greater role for Dublin.

This raises a number of interesting questions.

Firstly Plan B involving Dublin and London in running the country would not have involved having terrorists in government (the current British and Irish governments conspicuously lacking terrorist members). Clearly there would have been disadvantages for unionists. However, at least some unionists would probably have preferred this arrangement (even with the Dublin involvement) to the current situation with convicted and self confessed terrorists in government including one who of a time wanted to kill every British soldier in Londonderry. Such a plan might also have avoided some of our current ministers, including the comedy ones like Ms. Ruane who are indeed quite comical unless of course one has children of school age in which case she is more tragic than comic.

The next question is how long would Plan B have lasted. We were told in the run up to the St. Andrew’s that had no agreement been reached there would have been no further negotiations for many years. Remember, however, that Hain was desperate to get an agreement to help ensure Blair’s legacy was something other than Union flag draped coffins from the most unpopular war in recent British history. As such Hain might well have been bluffing; in the past Paisley might have called Hain’s bluff: but not this time. Any subsequent negotiations with a Brown government might well have had a less partisan British government to deal with than Blair’s with Mowlam and later Hain. As such it is surprising that Paisley lost his wile or nerve.

Next is the question of just how bad Plan B would have been. It might well have involved the end of academic selection but one has to question whether or not a minister could be found in all of Britain or Ireland to be as incompetent as Ruane. There is also the suggestion that Plan B might have involved the six super councils and effective repartition. I am highly dubious that these councils would have been given that much power although I agree that Irish on Fermanagh’s bins and bin lorries might well have been a disaster (they might even have painted them green). Other disasters like the tightening of planning laws would indeed have been a true tragedy, hurting various members of the DUP severely. The reality is that it might have been problematic but again it is highly likely that Hain was bluffing. In the Brown era with less interest in Northern Ireland and the nagging possibility of a hung parliament in the future it is possible that Brown might have been careful about antagonising unionists; leaving aside what does look like a general favouring of the United Kingdom in its overall sense in his politics. Also the fact that Britain would still have been paying the lion’s share of the subvention here: and he who pays the piper tends to want to call the tune.

Of course one of Jim Allister’s major theses has been that there was no real Plan B at all. He has claimed that Paisley never told him what it was and indeed if that were untrue surely the DUP would have revealed Plan B in all its ghastly awfulness by now in order to discredit Allister. I suspect there may have been a scarecrow Plan B but that it was not worked out or finalised and a real Plan B might not have been quite the Ancalagon the Black of Tolkien’s Silmarillon. It might instead have been Lord Tennyson’s Kraken which to quote the last line “In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die”; in other words it might not have amounted to very much.

So we do not know, but holding up Plan B as the terrifying assault on unionism which Paisley does: a sort of Kubrickian Doomsday machine may well itself, have been a bluff. Of course whatever it was, Plan B might well have been a disaster for Paisley as it might well have spelt the end of his ambitions to be First Minister himself as he would probably have been too old by the time the next opportunity came round.

Hence, to return to the beginning: No Beowulf our Dr. Paisley may fancy himself as a man who in his old age went forth to slay the dragon; but the dragon may well not have existed and if it did is most unlikely to have been of the dangerous fire breathing type. Maybe instead Dr. Paisley is a Faust, selling his political soul; in this case for power. Now I am sure various DUPers and others will ignore all my careful and painstaking allusions and will just attack the substance of the piece.

  • Garibaldy

    Just ruin the plot of Beowolf for the rest of us Turgon!

  • Turgon

    Sorry Garibaldy. I thought most people knew the plot. It is on back cover of Séamus Heaney’s excellent translation, I have just checked.

  • Steve

    lol turgon

    nice to see you have joined the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” brigade

    And lets face it the terrorists sit on both sides of Storomont

    And the coulda…. brigade wotl even now would be shouting for Paisley’s head for letting Ireland rule british subjects

    some people are just never happy

  • Here’s a supernatural reference you’ve missed Turgon:

    DUPpy and the Gunman – our souls and green goo

  • Well we share a common genetic heritage across these islands, so Beowulf is a part of our genetic heritage (and all that malarkey). The foreign, alien, two -headed people of the 26 counties also have much the same genetic make up as the rest of the islands. You only have to go to Scotland and see the faces of the people and you’ll see the same ugliness across Cork, Limerick etc. Even the Black North spides are indistinguishable from the skangers of Dolphin’s Barn (a druggy, heroin infested area of west Dublin for all those foriegn alien people who haven’t heard about it, living 1000 miles way to the north). The point I was trying to make…

  • circles

    Ahem, yes indeed Turgon. Before we get to Plan B and all that could you maybe supply us with your definition of terrorism. For me the definition of terrorism that I think is fair enough is “the use of violence for poltical ends and includes any use of violence for the purpose of putting public or any section of the public in fear”.
    Now if you can accept this how can you say
    “the current British …government (is) conspicuously lacking terrorist members”.
    You don’t only find them in SF I’m sorry to tell you.

  • Colorectal surgeon

    Mr.Circles,
    Your head is so far up your arse that I am going to mention in my next textbook.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    Sorry but this is a collection of wishful thoughts to make the ‘alternative’ to the St Andrews Agreement seem as platable as possible and without any serious concerns or issues for Unionists. Complete balls.

    “Clearly there would have been disadvantages for unionists”

    A serious understatement. Since 1985 and the formalisation of the RoI in Northern Ireland’s affairs there had been a steady greening agenda in Northern Ireland with Unionists objections concerns or issues singularly ignored. The continuation and quite possible deepening of this process would have not be nothing to worry about Unionism, the reverse.

    “Firstly Plan B involving Dublin and London in running the country would not have involved having terrorists in government (the current British and Irish governments conspicuously lacking terrorist members).”

    Unless of course SF got a place in the RoI’s government. How rosy would have London/Dublin rule been in that scenario? How good would the strategic choice not to make a deal have looked in that scenario? (Remember this was all pre the RoI election result)

    “Next is the question of just how bad Plan B would have been.””I suspect there may have been a scarecrow Plan B but that it was not worked out or finalised”

    It could have been as bad as they wanted. There would have been zero controls on what they wished to do. Do you remember the likes of the framework documents and Downing Street Declaration? Left to their own devices that is the type of thinking London and Dublin come up with. They needn’t have had it finalised pre-St Andrews they simply needed to look up their own files or do a quick web search.

    “The reality is that it might have been problematic but again it is highly likely that Hain was bluffing.”

    Dismiss/diminish the potentially bad. In a direct rule scenario he didn’t have to bluff he could have done as he wished with no electoral consequences. Direct rule was not a period of good governance in Northern ireland.

    This is Peter Hain you are talking about, that man of humility, limited confidence in his own abilities and reluctance to use the powers he held, was just going to completely back off everything we didn’t want. The man whose period of rule probably lost more judicial rulings on decisions that any other than I can remember.

    “In the Brown era with less interest in Northern Ireland and the nagging possibility of a hung parliament in the future it is possible that Brown might have been careful about antagonising unionists;”

    Less interest does not mean automatically mean better outcomes. Thatcher didn’t show particular interest in Northern Ireland leaving the Foreign office and Howe to their own devices and we got the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    This is the application of the present political wisdom to a past event. The political expectation at the time of St Andrews was Blair would go, Brown would take over and Labour would rebound in the polls (which for a few months proved to be the case). A hung parliament is much more the present wisdom rather than then (it is also a key argument against fragmentation of Unionism to ensure the maximum number of seats are won) Also the SDLP and SF (as well as SNP, Plaid and most especially the Lib Dems) have seats in Westminster too. Unionists aren’t the only available kingmakers. (SF do boycott parliament however you must admit that a hung parliament is a mighty tempting scenario to shift policy.)

    Concerns about St Andrews and a desire for the DUP to have extracted more of a price are perfectly understandable (I would share most of them) but to try and dress up the London/Dublin axis as something unionists should be content to ‘live’ with is foolish in the extreme.

    It also borders on advocating the attitude too common in Unionism that the stats quo is always better than anything else. The status quo has not been Unionism’s friend for many a decade and rather than accepting our lot should come up with how we can achieve change. Too often Unionism has thought it can issue demands then go sit in front of its TVs and expect these demands to be fulfilled.

    Politics is not all about nice choices. It is not religion or theology. It is not always a choice between right and wrong, sadly it can be a choice between lesser evils.

  • joeCanuck

    Fair Deal,

    I remember us discussing your lack of support for St.Andrew’s about a year ago or so.. At the time you said that you didn’t believe that the glass was full enough.
    Have you now changed your mind, since, so far, the unionist world hasn’t come crashing down?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Jim Allister cannot admit to there being a real plan B or his own position would be impossible for him to defend. He would be agreeing that the union would have been further weakened by not signing up to the STA but in spite of that he was not going to sign up to it anyway.

    On the issue of whether Jim considered closer ties to ROI would be a price worth paying in return for not having Sinn Fein in government? I recently emailed this question to his office.

    “Can you confirm if you would be prepared to exchange deeper cooperation with the Republic in return for the exclusion of SF from government.”

    and recevived the reply below.

    “I am afraid that Mr Allister can confirm nothing of the sort. We believe that Northern Ireland should be governed in the same way as other parts of the United Kingdom without unique contrived political links with any foreign nations.”

  • circles

    Is that right CS?
    Then a smart guy like you must have a more suitable defintion. So lets hear it.
    The definition I used was only from the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1973, Part IV, Miscellaneous and General.
    Of course you must have a better source mustn’t you?

  • Inspector Cleauso

    “Politics is not all about nice choices. It is not religion or theology. It is not always a choice between right and wrong, sadly it can be a choice between lesser evils.” Fair Deal 1:57pm

    This statement clearly ariticulates the position that Unionists, represented by the DUP, found themselves in at St Andrews and in the negotiations thereafter.

    Unfortunately for the present day DUP, Paisley fostered an electorate to think and vote with their hearts and not with their heads, and so it is very hard now to convince some grass roots supporters that power-sharing with SF is the most politically expedient thing for Unionists to do.

    Turgon, I’m a bit shocked that you allow yourself to extol the virtues of Joint Authority. When will you be doing a piece on the benefits of seven super councils for Unionists west of the Bann?

  • Steve

    I would think that you have the roles reversed Turgon

    Paisley is Grendel and unionist intransigence is Grendels mother

  • Greenflag

    ‘as a man who in his old age went forth to slay the dragon; but the dragon may well not have existed and if it did is most unlikely to have been of the dangerous fire breathing type.’

    Update/Redate ?

    And in their young age circa 1965 they (Paisley /Craig/Westand others ) went forth not just to slay the dragon that did not exist but they did mightily strive to create an even greater fire breathing giant green dragon where heretofore none had been.

    One wonders what ‘dragon’ the next generation of Unionist nay sayers will arouse ?

    ‘to create The people of Easter Island seem to have built massive statues to appease some unknown potentate’

    Unknown potentate was none other than the regular suspect i.e God (albeit their God). In the true story of Easter Island’s statues there could actually be a ‘moral’ for the people of NI . At one time Easter island’s population could feed itself . As the population increased and the major resource ‘wood’ became scarcer the island’s various clans appointed ‘chiefs and priests’ to protect /keep their share of the ‘wood’. Those ‘clans’ who could build the most /biggest statue were seen to be favoured by the Gods . Eventually the islanders became trapped on their island as they had used up all the wood to build and erect ever more statues using up ever more wood and then could not escape their self imposed isolation . Thereafter they were reduced to cannibalism and the population’s living ‘standard ‘ was reduced to stone age survival . By the time Europeans got to the island all that was left was the stone statues (Churches?) and 111 wretched inbred ‘survivors’.

    Easter islands chiefs and priests had previously justified their ‘elite’ status by claiming a favoured relationship with God and by promising to deliver prosperity and ‘bountiful ‘ harvests . They built their ‘stone monuments’ to impress the masses not to mention God and to buttress their power. Once the leaders could no longer deliver the goods , Easter Island degenerated into interminable civil wars until eventually the most inflammatory taunt that could be snarled at an enemy was not a simply a moronic ‘Fenian bastard’ or ‘Jaffa head’ but
    ‘The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth ‘

    Northern Ireland may be a long way from Easter Island but it’s political chiefs and priests on both sides are powerless to deliver either’s chief aspiration. SF cannot deliver the promised UI and neither the DUP/UUP/TUV can return NI to 1969 or 1965 or to ‘permanent ‘ UK Union .

    Which is why both sides are now building ‘statues’ as they try to divert the attention of their followers from the actual truth of Northern Irelands economic and political condition.

    In the final analysis what NI has now is the lesser of many evils . Small wonder then that the ‘flesh’ of the present arrangement sticks between the teeth of those of the most highly ‘principled’ of Unionists . But then the people of NI shold now be more than aware of where the ‘men of principle’ have led them these past 40 ? 80 ? years

  • Turgon

    Fair_deal,
    Well answered as ever. However, there are some issues you ignore. Firstly you may indeed say correctly that we did not know about Hain’s demise nor the possibility of a hung parliament. However, Hain’s departure might well have occurred even without his disgrace. Remember that Mandleson was a much fairer SoS than Hain or Mowlam. Both of these were pushing unionists for Blair’s deal. Had there been no deal we are very lilely to have got a fairer SoS. I am sure you will not deny that Hain openly made some of his suggestions as threats to the DUP and indeed your leader gave in to them. Once I suspect he would not have.

    Your terror of SF in governmant in the south is fair but only if you really believe they would have actually gained it and even then only if we would have had joint authority. I very much doubt it. I do not think Brown would have wanted it nor any other British PM. Politicians want to rule and I doubt a true dual rule would have been acceptable to the British (or Irish). A man cannot serve two masters and I am very dubious about Northern Ireland truly having two separate countries ruling it simultaneously. Again I suggest most of the money would have come from GB and again I suggest that he who pays the piper…

    I agree with you that politics is about choices and I know you also have concerns about St Andrew’s.

    Where you and I disagree, however, is that you think on balance it was as good as we were likely to get and the alternatives were worse. I feel that we could have got better and we were ill served by the DUP (though I agree not as badly ill served as we were by Trimble) and the alternative was not quite as bad as we were told it would be and it would not have been an end to any chance of devolution ever. It would, however, have been the end of Dr. Paisley’s chance to be First Minister and I think that coulded judgements and led to the current situation which I regard as a failure.

    I also believe that SF are no where near the point where we can accept them into power sharing with us. As such the democratic position is to refuse to enter into power sharing with them. I also feel as you know that the nature of devolution is so fundamentally flawed as to be unworkable no matter who is in power. The solution was and is a much more radical renegotiation.

    Dr. Paisley and the DUP did baldy and should have done better.

    Anyhow I hope you liked the Beowulf / Kraken stuff. It took ages to write.

    Regards

  • joeCanuck

    “any use of violence for the purpose of putting public or any section of the public in fear”

    I think that’s casting the net too widely, circles.
    Under that definition, a line of policemen using truncheons to subdue a crowd of hooligans on the rampage could fairly be described as terrorists.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    joe

    I tend to agree. circles’ definition of ‘terrorism’ could also be a definition for ‘war’, thus rendering it valueless. The aim is to separate the definitions, not share them.

  • Greenflag

    ‘We believe that Northern Ireland should be governed in the same way as other parts of the United Kingdom without unique contrived political links with any foreign nations.” ‘

    Mr Allister is living in cloud cuckoo land . He is of course entitled to his beliefs . Sadly for him the Government of the UK does not share his beliefs a fact that has been more than amply demonstrated these past 80 years. Mr Allister is perhaps unaware that the first ‘unique’ contrived political link was none other than the setting up of the NI Parliament in 1920. Had the United Kingdom wanted to ‘integrate’ Northern Unionists there would have been no need for a separate NI Parliament . Unionists of course could not bring themselves to ‘trust’ their fellow Britons then no more than they trust their fellow Britons now .

    Allisters answer above is of course evasive for the very good reason that he has nothing to offer the Unionists of NI anymore than Paisley could offer them 40 years ago .

    One could also read into Allister’s response that he favours full ‘integration’ into the UK with no devolved Government ? IIRC former Unionist leader Jim Molyneaux pushed this policy for almost 20 years to a Westminster which did’nt give it the time of day .
    So other than getting SF out of Government what is Allisters actual political objective? I suggest that Allister himself probably does’nt know or if he does he won’t make it public -well not yet anyway !

    Allister should perhaps think of visiting Easter Island and say a few prayers to his ‘stone statues’. Maybe they’ll wise him up ?

  • circles

    Joe and BG: Its not my definition, its from the emergency provisions act.
    But its true that I have been looking for a more concrete definition ever since shortly after the 11th of september and Bush Jr’s “if you’re not with us you’re a terrorist” speech.
    Any better offers?

  • “sadly it can be a choice between lesser evils”

    f-d, these are very like the words I used ten years ago when the DUP was outside the tent and Jeffrey had just done a runner. At that time the SDLP was the main pan-nationalist party. I suppose we ought to be grateful to the USA for squeezing the PRM until it disposed of most of its weaponry.

    If the DUP had put more effort into accommodating the nationalist aspiration and less into facilitating questionable property development

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    you suffer from the same problem as Jimbo – you aspire to something you cannot have (a better deal from the Englezes) and if it was left up to you or Jimbo you would actually end up with less (Plan B ) than you have got( a deal you dont like).

    That is why some Nationalists will want TUV to be at least partly sucessfull becuase that will mean MORE Nationalists gains.

    You simply dont get that GFA/STA is effectively a deal between the British governement and the Provos granting the Provos ( and Nationalist Ireland ) part of their demands in return for peace. No British govenrnment will risk breaking this deal for fear of upsetting this peace and also because the Enlglezes have implicitly recognized that the post partition Non Iron as a ‘normal’ part of the UK is neither a fair deal or desirable.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s probably hard (in fact you say it is) to come up with a precise short definition that will satisfy everyone.
    So I’d suggest parsing it; take a definition from the OED, e.g. and then definitions of the separate terms in that definition. Words like radical, or extreme, unlawful etc.
    Good luck.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    There are umpteen definitions, as well as different types, but that one above is too narrow.

    Busy, might come back to that one.

  • The pesky Allister is troubling the First Minister and the European Parliament with questions!!

    I wonder if Allister has noted this quote from the Common Chapter in Ireland 2000-2006:

    “The objective will be the generation of a co-ordinated transport and logistics plan for the island in the context of East-West linkages to Britain and Europe, including strategic cross-border roads and Trans European Networks (TENS) routes. To that end, under the direction of the NSMC, the authorities in both jurisdictions will be working together to identify and promote joint projects within this important area.”

    It would appear that the development of East-West infrastructure links are to be managed by the NSMC – a position that was in place during the time of the then DARD ministers, Robinson and Campbell.

  • joeCanuck

    I’m a bit surprised but I have to agree with Allister.
    It’s ridiculous that any attempt would be made to limit the number of written questions that an MEP can ask. (it’s not as if they are pesky lazy journalists asking stupid questions – perhaps)

  • Greenflag

    ‘because the Enlglezes have implicitly recognized that the post partition Non Iron as a ‘normal’ part of the UK is neither a fair deal or desirable.’

    That about sums it up . Unionists are however not listening to their English masters and not for the first time either. But the English piper is playing the only tune that can be played within the present 6 county Northern Ireland . The name of that tune is not ‘No Surrender’ but ‘Compulsory Involuntary Cross Community Power Sharing’ for ever and ever!

    When Paisley goes – as Adams appears to indicate the Assembly ‘farce’ will be ‘suspended’yet again. No wonder Adams did not put himself forward for election ! Perhaps he never thought it would last even as long as it has .

    Deja vu coming up – yet again !

  • fair_deal

    joecanuck

    My concerns about St Andrew’s remain. While some have diminished ie the ILA, others have increased for example the lack of a mechanism for default ie Quinn murder. However, as I argued in the articles there is no plan C for Unionism.

    Turgon

    “However, Hain’s departure might well have occurred even without his disgrace. Remember that Mandleson was a much fairer SoS than Hain or Mowlam. Both of these were pushing unionists for Blair’s deal.”

    How many SoS’s were ‘fair’ to the Unionist position post 1985?

    It was all Blair’s deal just different SoS’s had different roles. Mo was operating in a get a deal scenario. Mandelson was given the task of trying to prop up a deal coming apart at the seams. Hain was given the job of getting a new deal.

    “is that you think on balance it was as good as we were likely to get and the alternatives were worse.”

    No it could have been better. Also I think the way to influence the situation is more within the DUP than outside it.

    “Had there been no deal we are very lilely to have got a fairer SoS”

    There is no evidence one way or the other who or what type of SoS we would have got. Wishful thinking does not make it so. Just remember Brown had a opportunity to show his beneficience to NI in the post St Andrews talks – it was not forthcoming.

    “Your terror of SF in governmant in the south is fair but only if you really believe they would have actually gained it and even then only if we would have had joint authority. I very much doubt it.”

    At the time of St Andrew’s it seemed a possible scenario. Again it is wishing anything potentially distasteful away. Remember the precedent of the AIA, prepared to ignore any internal NI opposition and there would have be next to no threat of serious violence either.

    Plus little chance of sympathy at westminster or further afield as our misfortune would have been seen of our own making a la Arafat after turning down Barak’s offer.

    “I do not think Brown would have wanted it nor any other British PM. Politicians want to rule and I doubt a true dual rule would have been acceptable to the British (or Irish).”

    Read Sunningdale’s Council of Ireland, the Framework Documents and Downing Street Declaration.

    Examine how the ‘consultative’ role of the AIA expanded since then to evermore Irish influence were each stage of the process required joint meetings and arrangements hammered out – a clear step beyond consultation. The Plan B may not have been immediately nasty but there would have been little to prevent it from so nor from it developing into such over time.

    A common Unionist perception of London has been desiring as little to do with the place as possible.

    “I also believe that SF are no where near the point where we can accept them into power sharing with us. As such the democratic position is to refuse to enter into power sharing with them.”

    This is the core problem with the TUV position. It accepts both the principle of power-sharing and SF being within it. It presents the stand as about principles but it is really a matter of timing, price and the degree of political risk willing to be taken.

    “The solution was and is a much more radical renegotiation.”

    I cannot see the political steam for a second full renegotiation is gained. any developments will be through the outworking of this instrumental deal.

    “r. Paisley and the DUP did baldy and should have done better.”

    Yes they should have done better.

    Granted most of this is all value judgements of risks real and imagined. I just cannot accept the depiction of Plan B immediately or afterwards as so pink and fluffy.

  • Turgon

    Fair_Deal,
    Again difficult to argue with you that much since I know your and my positions are not that dissimilar. Essentially you are, with reservations, willing to accept the current deal and try to modify it.

    I am not willing to accept it and want to modify it some more. Which is the correct judgement is the difference between you and me.

    If your position were the one which held the most sway in the DUP it would be more difficult for me to disagree with them. However, another of the problems is many of the DUP are very keen on political power and as such are willing to accept more things they maybe would rather not in orrder to gain power. Neither you nor I are particulary into power and as such our positions are closer than mine would be from some in the DUP. Indeed your position may be closer to mine than it is to some of your DUP comrades: maybe?

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    “If your position were the one which held the most sway in the DUP it would be more difficult for me to disagree with them. However, another of the problems is many of the DUP are very keen on political power”

    JA’s quitting did nothing to help those who were sceptical but wanted to work on it.

    The assumption of power is surely the ultimate aim of politics so it is not necessarily a bad trait.

    “Anyhow I hope you liked the Beowulf / Kraken stuff. It took ages to write.”

    I did indeed. Unfortunately the effort involved in a blog does not always go rewarded.

  • Turgon – leaving aside poitical analysis..well I do so reluctantly…you have inspired me to dig up my old Marillion 12″ singles to listen again to their prog rock pretentiouness in the 11-minute song ‘Grendel’…which all leads to the inescapable conclusion, as elucidated by Tom Holt…’It was an old dragon and that weedy bloke had no problem errr slaying it’.
    In other words the Allisters of this world are slaying paper dragons and tilting at windmills etc etc…and if I was sober enough I’d dig out the references 🙂

  • Turgon

    Fair_Deal,

    Again not that much between us. However, whilst the wish to gain power may not be a bad trait; going back on all you told people even in the immeadite past is, it makes people gravely doubt whatever is said in the future. The reality is that the leadership of the DUP are being seen now as purely opportunist and unprincipled.

    Also by the logic of “working the agreement” why did the DUP stand outside, oppose and ultimately help destroy Trimble’s agreement?

  • Turgon

    Belfast Metal,
    Sorry posts crossed. Thank you for that; I think.

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    “going back on all you told people even in the immeadite past is”

    I consider that an exaggeration. They did not go back on ‘all’. Although I fully accept the DUP stopped preparing the grassroots between 2005-07.

    People also tend to forget that the DUP explicitly sought and got an electoral mandate to negotiate a deal. Fair enough for someone to be unhappy with the contents of the deal but little ground to condemn the fact a deal was done.

  • “the DUP stopped preparing the grassroots between 2005-07.”

    How could it when the it hadn’t been rolled over in 2005? Also, the Chuckle Brothers routine has only been on stage for less than a year and that is likely to have had a greater impact than any manifesto.

  • Insider

    Nevin “It would appear that the development of East-West infrastructure links are to be managed by the NSMC – a position that was in place during the time of the then DARD ministers, Robinson and Campbell.”

    Get your facts right. Robinson and Campbell have never been DARD Ministers. Moreover neither had any part in formulating this policy. Further what is wrong with the poicy of improving links with the “mainland”.

  • Thanks, Insider, I should have typed DRD, the department where Robinson and Campbell played musical chairs instead of looking at the implications of Mowlam’s changes to the 1998 Agreement.

  • Listening the «The Price of Peace» and hearing one of the talking heads saying «we had to make people realise that this was the last chance» and I had to laugh to myself thinking «last chance my ass». He didn’t even allude to a workable plan b, he really insinuated that Plan A was all there was. How silly.

  • fair_deal

    Nevin

    “How could it when the it hadn’t been rolled over in 2005? Also, the Chuckle Brothers routine has only been on stage for less than a year and that is likely to have had a greater impact than any manifesto.”

    You seem to miss the point, if you are going to moveyou have to work with the grassroots in ADVANCE. It had done some preparatory work with the grassroots in advance of the Comprehensive Agreement. After the provos walked and its failure plus Northern Bank et al they stopped doing it.

  • Garibaldy

    FD,

    Were the grassroots really that stupid not to see that a deal was inevitable? Did they not read the papers and watch the TV news?

  • fair_deal

    Garibaldy

    Nothing to do with stupidity. The likelihood of a deal was a matter of interpretation and generally most people in NI are sceptical of what the media tells them. Helping grassroots understanding what is going on usually helps them accept the end result.

  • Garibaldy

    FD,

    The deal had been virtually done before the Northern Bank job. Clearly the resolution of the issue was only a matter of time. But I agree that they could have been more honest with their intentions.

  • f-d, doing a more massive u-turn than Trimble will at least confuse the grassroots, if not fill them with disgust.

    Perhaps they shouldn’t have been so trusting of the Grand Old Duke of York and his lieutenants; it’s not the first time they’ve been led up the hill. They didn’t just get SF in government, they got Comical Marty as DFM – and the odious Chuckle Brothers.

    And then there’s been the ongoing stream of revelations about the Paisleys and the North Antrim developer, Seymour Sweeney.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Did they not read the papers and watch the TV news? ‘

    LOL. I’m reminded of the old Hungarian joke when they were under Communist ‘rule’ .

    ‘My eyes don’t see what I hear and my ears don’t hear what I see’

    This Assembly is the last chance for the present NI 6 county format IMO. Next stop after this one fails -will be ‘repartition’ agreed or imposed following a resumption of sectarian conflict.The only way for SF to be kept out of Government is in a smaller (2 county size) Unionist majority State . It will of course mean saying goodbye to Fermanagh and Tyrone but then somebody made the point that Fermanagh at least would not be missed . Neither presumably will Tyrone , Derry ,South Armagh or South Down .

  • Greenflag, what harm has that old repartition nag ever done to you? Did you put your shirt on it and cry into your beer when it threw its rider at the starting gate? 🙂