It cuts both ways…

It might have taken a bit longer than many believed would be the case, but today seems to have finally delivered the politics of The Mutual Veto to the power-sharing structures up at Stormont. From a republican perspective, patience seems to have finally worn out with the exiting from the scene of Ian Paisley bringing to an end the ‘holding tongue’ strategy in the face of DUP goading.

Gerry Adams pointed the way, in the aftermath of Nigel Dodds’ Good Morning Ulster interview boasting of the ‘binned’ Irish Language Act and Nelson McCausland’s proud assertion in the Assembly chamber that the DUP held a veto over Policing and Justice. Adams’ reminder to unionists that there were two vetoes in the Executive- with all this entailed for Robbo’s fantasy east Belfast stadium- was echoed more forcefully by Alex Maskey during a Stormont Live interview this afternoon.

The shifting tone of the Sinn Fein leadership will have been welcomed by many within the nationalist community who have become increasingly agitated by the belligerent assertions by DUP representatives regarding the Irish language and Policing and Justice. It would appear, however, that the leaks from within the DUP at the weekend regarding the abandonment of support for the Long Kesh/ Maze project was the final straw.

The post-Dromore DUP appear to be a party unnerved to the extent that they risk upping the ante to a point in which only Jim Allister will benefit, given that, whatever bluff and bluster about the vetoing rights of the DUP, as the Victims Commissioners episode confirmed, resolving any contentious matter will involve satisfying both the DUP and Sinn Fein. In that context, I’d imagine that Jim Allister’s TUVites have been busy today cutting and pasting the various contributions from DUP representatives in a file marked ‘Words to Eat.’

So what may be next on the cards? Well, Arlene Foster’s eleven council model for local government could be an early victim of an Executive Cold War, whilst Edwin is known to fancy a number of projects which could be effectively torpedoed by nationalists subject to movement on the ILA.

Regarding the stadium debacle, it is obvious that the GAA are the least concerned -or affected- by lack of progress on that front. Ironically, the sporting body with the most to lose from an outbreak of Cold War at Stormont, the Irish Football Association, is that to which nationalists have the least affinity and to which unionist politicians would appear most eager to please- if the leaks regarding providing gift stadiums to Linfield or Glentoran (who must be regarded as favoured anchor tenant for the RobboDome) are anything to go by.

Of course, all of this may not come to pass. For the DUP leadership are as aware as republicans that a descent into megaphone diplomacy and tit-for-tat vetoing risks undermining the impressive electoral base coalitions both parties have nurtured in recent years. With that in mind, Sinn Fein leaders were careful today to contextualise their ‘mutual veto’ remarks within more measured assessments, cautioning against travelling down that road. What course of action the DUP will decide upon remains to be seen. We’re entering an interesting period….

  • cut the bull

    Chris a blind man could see this coming all Unionists , but particularly the DUP are as happy as pigs in shite.

    Republicans are part and parcel of administering brit rule and bending over backwards to get a critcal republican electorate to back a corrupt police and a corrupt justice system.

    While the DUP vetos what ever it deems necessary to hold on to its position of supremecy and to keep the knuckle draggers happy.

  • Pete Baker
  • Garibaldy

    Phoney war anyone?

  • slug

    “the DUP leadership are as aware as republicans that a descent into megaphone diplomacy and tit-for-tat vetoing risks undermining the impressive electoral base coalitions both parties have nurtured in recent years”

    Huh? It was megaphone diplomacy that generated the electoral success of these two ethnic parties.

  • Pete Baker

    Not necessarily a phoney war per se, ctb – there is, imho, a distinct disagreement there.

    But a phoney angle on the actual story.

  • BonarLaw

    Chris

    I fail to see how this is anything but a Unionist win- no Maze terrordome, no ILA, no P&J;devolution at the cost of what?

    This is just for starters. Expect no expansion of North South activity, no SF education agenda and no more jointery for forms’ sake in OFMDFM.

    I like to think of it as the McHugh Maxim:)

  • Chris Donnelly

    But a phoney angle on the actual story.

    Ahh Pete, never let it be said that you don’t like to flog a line….I note you are attempting to break your record for ‘the most links to threads one has initiated in a thread’- I’m sure the Guinness family have been contacted.

    Of course, there is nothing ‘phoney’ about the story as presented, though it may pain you to accept that.

    Bonarlaw
    …All leading to what? Do you honestly expect such a DUP agenda to come at no price? Surely following the course you propose will lead to the inevitable scuppering of the institutions, validating the Allister line, weakening the DUP and confirming to nationalists that the state is irreformable- hardly likely to dent Sinn Fein’s electoral appeal.

    No, I’d say that the new DUP leadership face a battle to rein in the dogs of war before they provide Allister with more ammunition to attack the party with when the probable compromise is finally done over these outstanding issues.

    As I say, interesting times lay ahead.

  • FlamingLip

    “Chris a blind man could see this coming all Unionists , but particularly the DUP are as happy as pigs in shite.”

    Really? Gosh, that’s great then! For a minute I was worried about the whole thing.

  • Pete Baker

    Chris

    “Ahh Pete, never let it be said that you don’t like to flog a line….I note you are attempting to break your record for ‘the most links to threads one has initiated in a thread’- I’m sure the Guinness family have been contacted.”

    If you’d care to respond to the points made in the background link..

    Or not..

  • Chris Donnelly

    Pete
    …and take you away from serial multi-threading through the night?

    The issue of policing and justice is but one being thrashed out between republicans and unionists at present- though it remains the issue upon which the DUP appear ready to rally round in a bid to re-fight the negotiations leading up to devolution last year.

    Of course, the consequences of waving a veto about in Stormont have not, in my opinion, been properly thought through by the DUP.

    That’s the actual story, Pete.

  • Pete Baker

    You’re perfectly entitled to present what you think is the actual story, Chris.

    But that doesn’t negate the background to the story.

  • DC

    Typical career politicians in the DUP worried about Jim Allister throwing up what the DUP made him swallow as substance years ago.

    All that can be said to the DUP and SF, stuff your seats you power hungry conservatives, just deliver the style of devolution awaiting you all. So that whenever you blow yourselves assunder in doing so, other parties can come along and pick up were you all left off.

    Seriously, it reads to me as if ‘oh crikey we spent years ramming sectarian divisions down the throats of the people, now we can’t seem to work together too soon otherwise our core vote may disintegrate’ in the face of progress for non-unionists / nationalist and indeed both.

    Deliver or get out. And stop playing propaganda games with the electorate and develop policies and ideology in line with the agreements you all signed up to. You are the politicians so deliver to that bend.

    The DUP have no clue about rights, responsibilities and recognising the new role to be played in a changed society. Just because they walked away 10 years ago doesn’t mean they can abdicate the substance contained in the Belfast Agreement.

    As for Sinn Fein, they demand equality and parity but they fail to understand key concepts of mutual respect that likely peg the DUP down to its sectarian flag. What was Mairead Farrell all about and stop playing political games with the Irish language and return to a proper linguistic strategy one that will likely deliver.

    The same way the DUP needs to deliver, probably by accepting much of the same agreed terminology, respect and recognition, that will require a watering down exclusive ethnic stances by writing in an acceptable level of cultural-identity policies in return for economic co-operation and wider bedding down of devolution.

    Both parties seem to be at fault for calling it badly.

  • Garibaldy

    I find it just a little too coincindental that just as big Ian announces he is stepping down we see the stepping up of arguments over what are by and large symbolic matters of little practical value. Especially when the DUP and PSF gutted the other parties over the budget – that is the reality of the Executive. Cooperation to ensure domination.

    The previous pursuit of Ian Óg by McKay, the hard stance taken over the Language Act and the rest do not change that. Any more than the spat over the Farrellfest did.

    In short this is good for both sides at a time when they want to look tougher – the DUP with the incoming leadership and TUV panic, and the Provos to make a point to Paisley’s successor. And give the impression to the people on the ground that progress is being made and their interests stood up for when the policing thing slips.

    The idea of PSF demanding people adhere to deadlines when the whole process has been one shifted deadline afer another, often to accomodate them, is interesting to say the least.

  • Elvis Parker

    I did Gerry did cut a rather pathetic figure with his remarks about the Robbodome. I really dont think the vast majority of the unionist electorate care about any footie stadium – sure they’d like a new one and will whinge about Windsor but that’s all.
    The DUP’s soft flank is the ‘Terror Shrine’ haters who will be reassured by the ditching of the whole plan.
    The only card SF hold is the ability to delay and annoy on acadmeic selection – but ultimately this card is three of hearts not an ace of spades.

    In comparsion the more that SF whinge about P & J the more they are seen as ineffectual by their own supporters.
    Likewise the Irish Langauge Act – and no there is no way Broon will force an ILA through Westminster.

    No wonder SF are invented little causes like who gets to host what in the Playhouse on the Hill and this nonsense about ‘neutral’ spaces at councils.
    All fun and games but as reality becomes clearer and SF ministers start getting flak for introducing water charges etc what will their supporters do?
    My own guess is that some – a small number at first – will not bother voting. In time the nationalist electorate will vote in levels similar to unionists.
    Psycologically this will be a bitter blow for nationalists as their number of MLAs start to decline.

  • Billy

    Chris

    Although I’m not a Sinn Fein supporter, I think you have accurately summed up the views of many moderate Nationalists.

    I find it amazing that Unionists think they can bandy their veto around to appease their backwoodsmen and think that Nationalists will just blindly agree to anything that Unionists want.

    If Unionists want to initiate a tit-for-tat veto situation, that’s up to them. This can only escalate and ultimately lead to the end of the assembly.

    Who will benefit from that? There may be Unionists (such as the TUV) who delude themselves that NI will revert to Direct Rule with no input from the RoI govt.

    I think anyone sensible knows that this is not going to happen. Most importantly because the UK govt don’t want it.

    Personally, I find it all rather childish and hope that it doesn’t descend into that sort of farce.

    However, unless Unionists realise that we now have a level playing field and this isn’t the old Stormont, I think that’s the way it’s going.

  • DM

    Billy – you’re right, this isn’t the old Stormont. For one thing, SF were fully involved in negotiating for this cosy little set-up we have now. They helped put it all together. And they are just as capable of playing to their own backwoodsmen when necessary – the Farrell business for starters, MMcG’s recent rant about murdering Brits in Londonderry…

    The whole thing is posturing, the National Stadium was a political football from the start anyway – scrap it and divvy up the cash three ways and we can be done with this ‘I’ll veto your veto etc’ nonsense.

  • runciter

    Actions speak louder than words. SF look weak as piss right now.

  • Comrade Stalin

    So at the end of the SF/DUP grand masterplan, what do we end up with ? Two parties both threatening to veto each other, and, as such, no government.

    This is why mandatory coalition cannot work. Under other circumstances, in the event of a government failing to make any decisions, it would split and negotiations would occur to form a new government between different parties. That cannot now happen.

    The focus on policing and justice powers seems rather contrived. Who says, when the powers are devolved, that the minister in charge will be a Sinn Fein minister ?

  • willowfield

    Although I’m not a Sinn Fein supporter …

    Interesting the number of times Billy begins his posts with such a remark …

  • BonarLaw

    Comrade Stalin

    “The focus on policing and justice powers seems rather contrived. Who says, when the powers are devolved, that the minister in charge will be a Sinn Fein minister ?”

    M. d’Hondt after the next election perhaps?

  • Dec

    So at the end of the SF/DUP grand masterplan, what do we end up with ? Two parties both threatening to veto each other, and, as such, no government.

    To be fair, the only party vetoing the other (and then crowing about it) at the moment is the DUP. SF’s shot across their bow was long overdue and the ball would appear to be in the DUP’s (and specifically Robinson’s) court now.

  • DK

    This may be a silly question but…. if SF are against something and SDLP are in favour of it… if Alliance re-designate as nationalists and join the SDLP vote, will Sinn Fein be unable to veto it? And vice versa in the case of DUP/UUP if one was for and the other against.

    So could Alliance flip flop their designation and effectively break vetoes SF/DUP with the help of the SDLP/UUP respectively?

    More interestingly, could the UUP designate as nationalists for the same trick?

  • aquifer

    ‘patience seems to have worn out’

    Know how you feel, but if we had everything move at the pace of IRA decommissioning we might have P&J;powers transferred in about 5 years time.

    Lets give politics a chance, the other stuff was really not that clever.

    For those who are are really crap at both social revolution and real politics, go get a job.

  • willowfield

    DK

    Re-designation is not allowed post-St-Andrews as I understand it.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Why would IRA/Sinn Sein threaten to undermine the building of a football stadium? surely such a development would be good for the country and will encourage our youth to get into sports?

  • willowfield

    Sports that don’t involve indoctrination into Irish nationalism, though.

  • Billy

    Willowfield

    “Interesting the number of times Billy begins his posts with such a remark … ”

    Really – any evidence of a posting where I have condoned Republican violence? No – didn’t think so.

    I think you’ll find that my posts consistently condemn ALL violence ALL of the time.

    Anyway, I’m used to you posting lies and innuendo about me and others.

    The last time you “crossed swords” with me, it was your endless boring analysis about how the FAI were going to be pulled up by FIFA for flagrently breaching FIFA rules. I posted my opinion to the contrary and you were quite scathing about it (you tried to be amusing but that’s beyond you).

    Anyway, to no-one’s great surprise, you were talking shite AGAIN! and were proved totally wrong.

    I would have thought even you would get something right one day – I’m still waiting.

  • willowfield

    BILLY LIAR

    Really – any evidence of a posting where I have condoned Republican violence? No – didn’t think so.

    I never claimed that you had posted to condone “Republican” violence.

    Anyway, I’m used to you posting lies and innuendo about me and others.

    I have never posted lies about you. I have, however, exposed your REPEATED lies about Northern Ireland fans which you didn’t have the integrity to retract.

    The last time you “crossed swords” with me, it was your endless boring analysis about how the FAI were going to be pulled up by FIFA for flagrently breaching FIFA rules.

    That is another lie. I never once claimed that the FAI would be pulled up by FIFA. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    Anyway, to no-one’s great surprise, you were talking shite AGAIN! and were proved totally wrong.

    I wasn’t proved wrong. In fact, given that I consistently argued that the FAI’s interpretation was correct, I was proved correct.

    Please do not post here if you are unable to be truthful.

  • So the Provos don’t want their terror shrine “conflict transformation centre” any more?

    Cuz once those vetoes start getting bandied about, God knows where it will end.

  • Dec

    Cuz once those vetoes start getting bandied about, God knows where it will end.

    Actually, the vetoes started being bandied about a while back (Hint: Irish Language Act).

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”Cuz once those vetoes start getting bandied about, God knows where it will end.”[/i]

    It will expose shabby incompetent parties.

  • kensei

    beano

    Cuz once those vetoes start getting bandied about, God knows where it will end.

    It’s very simple. It’ll either end in compromise, or it’ll end with the Assembly collapsing.

    The DUP has clearly overplayed its hand. The thing is, it was a fairly strong one to start with and there was little need. SF realistically acquiesced to the dumping of the ILA and various other bits and pieces. That was not a situation likely to last forever, but with a few bones thrown here and there the DUP probably could have had kept it going for a while yet. But gloating over “successes” were likely to only have one response.

    Given that Robinson was one of the architects of St Andrews, I can’t see him being keen to have the whole thing fall about his ears as soon as Paisley leaves. Hence reported talks with Adams.

  • Jadedobserver

    Oh those poor, long-suffering Shinners. After delivering on commitments they should have delivered on years ago, the DUP is still being mean to them. I
    think this calls for another courageous initiative from Gerry Adams.

  • gram

    Bonarlaw:I fail to see how this is anything but a Unionist win- no Maze terrordome, no ILA, no P&J;devolution at the cost of what?<

  • The hind tit

    ‘Once Windsor is declared unfit by UEFA and “our wee country” have to play it’s home games in England will you still see this a a unionist win’

    I’m sure they could play in Croke Park. The results could have been better but it seemed to work with the rugby. Waddya think Edwin?

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s interesting that there was the motion at the SF Ard Fheis on the matter of policing and justice devolution. The DUP should immediately issue a self-righteous smarmy stating calling upon Gerry Adams to face down the rejectionists within his party who are trying to destroy powersharing.

  • BonarLaw

    Gram

    the unionist parties should have no political objective other than to thwart the nationalist agenda. The one lesson from the past ten years is that nationalism in incapable of coming to a settlement but sees each unionist compromise as a further step towards the ultimate goal to be pocketed as the debate moves to new ground. If we owe Trimble et al anything it is exposing this simple truth about the process.

    Well, the lesson has been learned and now the breaks are on. And if as a result I get the opportunity of a few weekends on GAWA business in Glasgow or Manchester then that’s a price well worth paying .

    BTW is everyone else enjoying the irony of nationalists talking about collapsing the institutuions? Not so long ago they were aghast when unionists caused a suspension (note not a collapse). And wasn’t a key SF goal at St Andrews to secure th erepeal of the suspension legislation? Yet now we are told collapse is on the cards unless there is unionist “compromise”. Let’s see if Marty & Gerry are serious. I call for the DFM to resign in face of the DUP P&J;veto and set the clock running for fresh elections six weeks after the resignation unless a devolution time table is agreed. Likely?

  • Steve

    no bl we see the truth

    if they collapse storomont this time it will be the last nail in the coffin of unionism, leaving them a limp and spent force devoid of political capital

  • BonarLaw

    Steve

    if collapsing stormont is the last nail in the coffin of unionism why haven’t those who wish to bury the union done so already?

  • Billy

    BonarLaw

    I’m not aware of anyone saying that they will collapse the institutions. Nationalists can simply use the same tactics that Unionists are already using – veto anything that originates from “the other side”.

    The UK govt will get fed up subsidising this nonsense and either start imposing things or scrap the assembly altogether.

    Since you’re obviously so clever, why don’t you tell us what is likely to happen after that.

    The North being run by a Grand Committee in Westminster?

    Direct Rule with no input from the RoI govt?

    Some form of direct rule with a substantial and increasing input from the RoI Govt leading towards joint authority?

    I know where I’d put my money.

    You seem to conveniently ignore the fact that the vast majority of the UK electorate don’t give a shit about the North. It must be obvious to anyone that the UK govt is disengaging from the North both politically and financially.

    If they do move towards de facto joint authority, very very few people will give a shit except Unionists in the North and they are of no importance to the politicians in Westminster.

    A collapse of the assembly may not be a great result for Nationalists but it’s a worse one for Unionists.

  • Steve

    bl my mistake my prediction is predicated on loyalists collapsing storomont

    Brown had to concede the credit of devolution to Blair, he won’t be happy about accepting the blame for its collapse.

    if you collapse it you are fooked

  • kensei

    BL

    if collapsing stormont is the last nail in the coffin of unionism why haven’t those who wish to bury the union done so already?

    It’s only advantageous if we give it a go and Unionism is so backward and unable to compromise they force the collapse of it. I think we are well short of that.

    I do believe that lack of devolution of Policing and Justice should incur some response. But you don’t go nuclear first.

  • Ian

    “The post-Dromore DUP appear to be a party unnerved to the extent that they risk upping the ante to a point in which only Jim Allister will benefit, given that, whatever bluff and bluster about the vetoing rights of the DUP, as the Victims Commissioners episode confirmed, resolving any contentious matter will involve satisfying both the DUP and Sinn Fein. In that context, I’d imagine that Jim Allister’s TUVites have been busy today cutting and pasting the various contributions from DUP representatives in a file marked ‘Words to Eat.’”

    Chris, Sinn Fein would do well to heed that advice too, i.e. members shouldn’t be shouting too loudly about the right of the Army Council’s to exist and/or the continued need for its existence. If they do, they too might have a few words to eat after forthcoming negotiations between the SF leadership and the DUP.