“major problems ahead..”

That’s the prediction of the deputy First minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, on what will happen if the devolution of policing and justice powers is not completed by May in his interview with UTV’s Ken Reid – Direct streaming link here [wmv file]. He also denies having that conversation with Jonathan Powell. Of course, the deputy First Minister is still referring to May 2008 as a “deadline” rather than a ‘target date’.. And, as well as pointing to these comments, and these, he states that “It’s a big issue for Sinn Féin.” Indeed. Although he doesn’t predict what the SF leadership will say in response to that Ard Fheis motion..

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  • Twinbrook

    baker why haven`t you mentioned all the past indiscretions of McGuinness’s`s past, surely they would be a factor in whatever he does now…

    Isn`t he one of those callous Republicans!!!

    Await one of your slugger alter-egos or lickspittles to reply?

  • harry

    martin can stomp his little feet all he wants, P&J;will be devolved when the sovereign government of the UK decides it will.

    and if that passes by martin’s little deadline, well sf will do what they do best: roll over and take it.

    why would they break the habit of the last ten years.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Clearly there are rejectionist elements in Sinn Fein who wish to destroy devolution and, ultimately, the peace process. I hope that Gerry Adams can show the rejectionists the leadership to move things forward.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s a very unoptimistic spin you’re putting on that, Pete.
    The interview was over 10 minutes long and McGuiness kept repeatedly saying that he was optimistic about the future of the institutions. He pointed out that, if the DUP and SF come to a major disagreement, then there is trouble ahead. That is simply stating the obvious. I found him confident that a way can be found to make things work.
    The DUP have agreed that these powers should be devolved. My impression from them is that it is the same as setting up the assembly; have it delayed for a few months and they can claim a wonderful victory to their supporters.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    This is an excellent move by SF – if the DUP dont agree to devolution of police and justice SF will collapse the executive.

    I wondered why DUP were a bit soft on their apparent veto – obviously this is the reason.

    The DUP will also get the blame if SF do the collapse thing as both governements support it.

  • Reader

    IWSMcNWDI: The DUP will also get the blame if SF do the collapse thing as both governements support it.
    Who will get the blame if SF collapse the Executive because they won’t wait a couple of months, or because they would rather hang on to the Army Council?
    Anyway, didn’t SF go into St Andrew’s with the declared intention of making sure no-one could unilaterally collapse the Executive (again). Did they fail in that objective?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Reader,

    I thought that the rule change was that the Englezes couln’t collapse it – clealry if parties dont take part- then it is collapsed.

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t believe for a moment that SF will collapse the Assembly if P&J;devolution is delayed for a few months. Look behind the public posturing. Any agreement on the final date will be (maybe even has been) agreed behind closed doors. There’s no longer a need for a backchannel.
    It will happen.

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    I’m not inclined to future – optimistically or otherwise.

    The interview is linked and anyone can watch it and take from it what they see and hear.

    I’ve highlighted the points that seem relevant.

    Such as the deputy First Minister’s seeming confusion over ‘target dates’ and ‘deadlines’.. again.

    As for “have it delayed for a few months and they can claim a wonderful victory to their supporters.”

    Fine for the DUP. But for SF? That’s where the Ard Fheis motion comes into play.. and whatever the SF leadership had previously told their party members.

  • joeCanuck

    Connected – which Party’s spokesman said within the past two years that it would be a generation before SF could even be considered for partnership in Government.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    JoeCanuck,

    neither do I think they will collapse it – but I was wondering why SF were not bothered about DUP’s ‘veto’ – now its clear why – they have them by short and curlies with a bigger veto of their own.

  • joeCanuck

    But for SF?

    It can’t have escaped your notice, Pete, that they play the long game.
    As for procedural difficulties within their own Party, Adams and McGuiness have showed themselves to be masters at overcoming those. New resolution?

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “The DUP will also get the blame if SF do the collapse thing as both governements support it.”

    Both governments, and the US btw, support the ‘target date’.

    It’s not an enforceable ‘deadline’.

    Any party that withdraws from the Executive.. would become the unofficial opposition.

  • Pete Baker

    Joe

    On this they played the short game. To meet an actual deadline – March last year.

    And, relating to the Ard Fheis motion, they can’t re-cross that rubicon.

    We’ll just have to wait and see what they say in May.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, one reason that the Assembly won’t be collapsed is, to paraphrase Enoch Powell, at the end of the day all political parties that gain power become whores.

  • Dewi

    Pete – seriously what’s the big wow with you on this? Nothing else is done right or on time – why is this so critical?

  • harry

    i think that feelings and opinions of their membership is the last thing on sf’s leadership minds.

    they certainly will not collapse the assembly, whatever would they do then? policing has been accepted by the ard fheis, they cannot go back on that.

    so sf have put with it until PandJ is devolved, and maybe stamp their feet abit

  • Pete Baker

    Dewi

    “why is this so critical?”

    It’s not. Not to me that is.

    See harry’s comments.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    target date/deadline ? this is semantics, the 3 governements support the devolution in May – if the DUP dont go along with it they will be in breach of the spirit if not the letter of the STA if they dont have good cause.

    Re. Permanent opposition – if the SDLP agreed with SF there would be no cross party support – hence collapse.

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, but hasn’t Bertie already accepted that there may be some slippage and that that wouldn’t be a great problem?

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “this is semantics”

    Erm, no it’s not.

    The difference is whether that date is enforceable in any meaningful way – see previous post.

    Imposing those powers against the wishes of the Assembly would be a “constitutional nonsense” – and, importantly, “it is not the intention—nor is the power available to the Government—to do that.”

    “the 3 governements support the devolution in May”

    They support it in principle, i.e. as a ‘target date’, but they have all acknowledged that there will be slippage – see Mary McAleese’s comments

  • joeCanuck

    It’s been many months now since the brutal murder of Paul McQuinn and not a single person, north or south, has been invited to a police or garda station for a chat, to help the police in their inquiries.
    That leaves me with a nauseating feeling that there is political interference at the highest levels.
    The sooner P&J;powers are devolved, the better.

  • joeCanuck

    Sorry, slip, Paul Quinn.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete, slippage is one thing – deliberate obstruction leading to delay because of fear of politcal opponents (TUV) or to show political muscle is another. If the spirit of STA is breeched then SF ( with SDLP support) can justifiably scupper the edifice. This reality will force the DUP’s hand to get their act together. SF/SDLP now have the real veto.

  • Steve

    SF wont collapse the assembly they will force the DUP into collapsing it

    And yes the DUP will be blamed and lose all political traction everywhere but in the brains of their closed minded supporters

  • BonarLaw

    “I thought that the rule change was that the Englezes couln’t collapse it”

    Meaningless twaddle- see s. 5(6) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. You know the bit about “the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Northern Ireland”. If the government wanted to suspend they could.

    Could you also make up your mind about collapse. Which is it:

    “This is an excellent move by SF – if the DUP dont agree to devolution of police and justice SF will collapse the executive”

    or

    “neither do I think they will collapse it”

    Let’s examine what collapse means. There would be a resignation of the DFM a la Trimble. That would set the clock for a new election unless there was a suspension. So either the government intervenes to suspend (or worse) or there is an election. All the SF bluster would just lead to Westminster exercising its’ powers to dispose of a elected assembly whose powers, rules and composition ALL parties signed up to or an election to that self same Assembly with P&J;devolution being the single issue.

    SF are NEVER going to collapse this assembly. So the DUP have a meaningful veto and the Provos are left to threaten the nuclear option which the dogs in the street know they won’t exercise. So much for having the DUP “by short and curlies with a bigger veto of their own.”

  • joeCanuck

    Why is there a dearth of SF posters on this thread?
    Hope it’s not a Holy Week thing.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    you got it right with the parallell with the ‘nuclear option’ – I dont think they will collapse it because it will be a deterent to the DUP to behave in line with the spirit of the STA.

    If everybody but the DUP are in agreement and they are holding up progress do you not think that Friends of Sinn Fein (i.e. the British Government) will wave their Plan B under Robbo’s nose?

    If the unlikely event the Englezes dont behave as they have in the past i.e. do the decent Nationalist thing, then Grizzly will tell Martin to push the button.

  • Pete Baker

    BonarLaw

    I’d forgotten about the specific nature of the ‘Office of the First and deputy First Ministers’.

    How parties would fare in such a forced election would be purely a matter of speculation.

    But I doubt that, whatever the result, that ‘contitutional nonsense’ would be resolved.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “If everybody but the DUP are in agreement..”

    You seem to have missed the point.

    Everybody is in agreement that May 2008 is a ‘target date’.

    Except the Sinn Féin leadership.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    ok, so it’s a target date. A date that all the parties are obliged to work towards. If one of those parties does not work towards it – and the other parties think they are being obstructionist then they are in breach of the ‘spirit’ of the STA. That’s the crucial point.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, I guess SF did take their eye off the ball on that one at St.Andrews. They’re going to have to accept the penalty.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy

    a deterent only works if your opponent believes that you will use it. No one believes SF will press the button. Yet already the DUP have vetoed the 7 council model, the ILA and now P&J;devolution (by May at any rate) and what from SF? Grizzly making some piss-poor remark about blocking the RoboDome in East Belfast!

    To think unionists were scared of these people being let near government!

    Pete

    The constitutional nonsense would not be resolved- the Shinners are hoist on their own petard. Lobby for the institutions to be legislated out of existance and remove the vehicle to which P&J;was to be devolved to or stick with the agreed structures and accept the DUP has the final say on when (if) it happens.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    JoeC,

    until I read Marty’s comments I thought that as well – cutehoors them fenians.

  • “Clearly there are rejectionist elements in Sinn Fein who wish to destroy devolution and, ultimately, the peace process. I hope that Gerry Adams can show the rejectionists the leadership to move things forward.”

    Who exactly are these rejectionst elements Comrade?

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “ok, so it’s a target date. A date that all the parties are obliged to work towards. If one of those parties does not work towards it – and the other parties think they are being obstructionist then they are in breach of the ‘spirit’ of the STA. That’s the crucial point.”

    And the time spent between then and now by Sinn Fein?

    Repeatedly pointing to a ‘deadline’ that didn’t exist? – just as one example.

    BonarLaw

    I’d tend to agree.

  • Pete Baker

    One, purely technical, caveat, BonarLaw.

    “accept the DUP has the final say on when (if) it happens.”

    Not necessarily the DUP.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    dont forget the Englezes will be on our side not yours.

    The DUP will opt out of the battle of the vetos by accepting the Army Council deal.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    If they [the DUP] do it will be on their terms – see Lord Morrow’s response.

  • BonarLaw

    Pete Baker

    You are, of course, correct. SF have to accept that the party which can deliver the majority of unionist designated MLAs has the final say. For this mandate that party is the DUP.

    Sammy

    “The DUP will opt out of the battle of the vetos by accepting the Army Council deal.”

    I hope they will use their veto to much greater effect than that. There are a number of issues surrounding the devolution scheme OF p&j;that need to be resolved in such a manner as to maximise unionist confidence. As we have seen from the Executive Review Committee Report that discussion has not yet happened either with the government or with Sf.

  • Bob Wilson

    I’m in agreement with my Conservative colleague Mr Law. Sinn Fein will not collapse the Executive. Mcguinness is just posturing.

    I too noticed Adams rather childish remark about vetos ‘If you annoy me any more I’lll, I’ll… I’ll stop you building a small football stadium in East Belfast. That’ll show you!’.

    Even sadder is the fact that Adams probably cannot stop this. When the Maze Stadium plan is seen to have no economic clothes the rugby guys will get on with Ravenhill, the GAA will be happy with their stadia but the IFA will need somewhere for internationals.
    A proposal to build a small football stadium would hardly require cross community support – the need for a stadium having been established.

    I find the posts by others frankly amazing – especially this idea that the UK Government cannot collapse/ change the institutions. The UK Parliament is sovereign and can change anything in the UK it wants (well as long as it doesnt cut across any EU Directives).
    So, for example, a future Conservative administration could abolish the system of designation, change the system for electing the FM and phase out mandatory coalitions.

    Secondly the idea that there is some obligation on the DUP to devolve P & J in May is also laughable. It is simply not the case. Shanun Woodward and his butler can ‘spin’ poinion polls til cows come home and maybe get Bertie and the Bush administration to encourage/push the DUP but that is all.

    Unfortunately any traction they might have had has been sent into reverse by President McAleese’s remarks. Is she a secret member of the DUP? I think we should be told.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    the Englezes have framed this beuatifully and allowed the DUP to be technically correct about deadline/target issue but handed SF the loaded political gun by stating that the DUP should work towards this date – if the DUP dont meet the target then it is they who are out of line.

    This is the main reason DUP are soft pedalling on this – as mentioned above the short hairs in the nether regions are being reined in.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “if the DUP dont meet the target then it is they who are out of line.”

    You’re not paying attention to the detail.

  • Gregory

    I just hope it isn’t Catriona Ruane MLA with the security portfolio,

    Jane Kennedy was bad enough, Paul Goggins made my work in Britain almost impossible, Ms Ruane would be the cue to ask for political asylum in the USA.

    I’d be likely to face a high treason charge for betraying the GLF.

    It could be rather Stalinesque – a confession by a beaten man from the dock – “I wasn’t queer enough”. I surely admit I wasn’t GLF enough.

    Speaking of which, I gather tomorrow the Minister for the DENI will be reported in the print media as presiding over a philosophy of child friendly sex offenders in our schools.

    It is an amazingly complicated mish-mash of criminological non-reasoning and blame-transfer.

    The explanation is as follows,

    SB and the NCIS (presently CEOP/SOCA) were far more involved with non-vetting imperatives than the faithful flock at Ardfheiseanna might think wise, or indeed, safe, for our kids.

    The British spook agenda was how to manage the FBI, who wanted pedo teachers arrested (net grooming re: US kids for example) and the Brits who do care very deeply, but only about the British teaching unions.

    So the compromise was that sex offenders can work in schools in Britain & NI, no problem with that, and the Brit intel services *respond* to RCMP/FBI requests and otherwise do nothing positive.

    I can safely say this, in the 7 years that I have worked on teacher vetting, not one single SF MLA propositioned on the matter, has supported a ban on sex offenders in schools.

    Well, I am glad I am ‘not queer enough’. As Pink Floyd have stated, leave those kids alone.

    I don’t want justice & policing devolved, I have enough probs with Jim Gamble & the Brit security services as it is. I don’t want to add the PSNI to my troubles.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    BOBW.

    RE. Collapsing the agreement – I was under the impression that the British government included a clause in the STA re. their own ability to collapse the executive. Are you saying this is not the case? Whether they could introduce fresh legislation to collapse it is a seperate point. There may be an issue with changing GFA/STA elements without the agreement of ROI as at some level this is an international treaty. Are you saying this is not the case?

    Re. Grizzly and the stadium – if the DUP dont meet their ‘target’ committments (devolution of police and ustice ) under the STA then all sort of deals will start to look problematic.

  • BonarLaw

    Can we all agree that P&J;will not be devolved by May? The Lord Chief Justice, the Chief Con. and the entire legal establishment were all talking about October before the FM indicated his resignation. Given the transition within the DUP, the vast amount of work required on the who, what, where and how much of P&J;devolution and the Irish Presidents’ remarks I think anytime this year might be optomistic. What can be done is appointing designate law officers and agreeing on the role of the Attorney General (and if necessary, the Solicitor General). But even that looks unlikely by May

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    does the STA not oblige all parties to work towards the ‘target date’ for devolution?

    If one of those parties does not do this then will they not be in breach of the spirit of the STA?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    I agree and as long as the DUP agree a reasonable timeframe, probably under a year, then SF will run with that.

  • BonarLaw

    Sammy

    “There may be an issue with changing GFA/STA elements without the agreement of ROI as at some level this is an international treaty. Are you saying this is not the case?”

    The GFA and STA were given legislative force by the UK legislature. Parliament can ammend or repeal its’ own acts at will without reference to any external body.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    if you make an agreement with another country which covers areas of mutual interest then could you not be in breach of that agreement if you decide to amend your own legislation which is relevant to that mutual interest?

  • Gregory

    One parliament can’t promise another to a course of action and nothing is forever.

    That is one of the reasons UN treaties frequently have to be fairly non-specific.

  • Mark McGregor

    Good god, this is what some people’s revolution has come down.

  • DC

    “Everybody is in agreement that May 2008 is a ‘target date’.”

    The DUP blame ‘lack of confidence’ but this stance should be equated with another DUP quote that was ‘of a mind’ and looked what happened with that one. A u-turn. The reason for not meeting the target date is spurious, wholly false, trickery.

    And it’s trickery because they haven’t got the leadership nor the charisma that is required to bolster confidence across the DUP and to instill that among its electorate. They cant see it through because of this. Punt is too blunt and too vacuous an entity.

    I mean, Pete, sit down and breathe in and out…okay.

    Right let me frame this now:

    “How can there be no confidence to share power over policing matters whenever the DUP already co-govern with Sinn Fein. Seriously how?”

    Just answer that question.

    Half-in half-out is open to critical questioning which makes the DUP look very hypocritical and uncertain of where they now are. Leadership is required yet Punt wants a safe seat. We’ll see. From my reading of it all it smacks very highly of contradictory politics and indeed political stances within the DUP at leadership level. Half-in half-out tends to create a half-baked ideas. And this ‘no confidence’ is a nonsense given the current setup.

    The stark reality is that the two governments have pre-cooked this one already so it’s only a matter of doing at some point, the ‘when’ is just a matter of playing for time in a bid to eradicate Dr No memories that tend to stick in the mind of unionists. This is just done to save DUP seats for its career politicians. Stuff your seats JFDI!

  • nineteensixtyseven

    This will be sorted out between the DUP and SF through backchannels, they need eachother to survive and neither will want to be to blame for collapsing the Executive again.

  • McGinster

    The attitude of some of the unionist posters on this thread is worryingly obstinate. Constant referrals to sovreign powers, Sinn Fein’s willingness to lie down and role over, petty point scoring of vetos etc.

    Sounds increasingly less like these guys actually want a shared peaceful future but would rather rub in the face of nationalists that we’re still subject to British rule. “We’re in charge, we’ll decide what happens and when, and you’ll just have to sit there and take it, Mick.” It’s like there is a mass creaming of underwear every time you get to throw an artificially engineered majority about the place.

    Devolution of P&J;was a part of STA and the spirit of the Agreement calls on all parties to work towards the target date. Slippage may occur but would be acceptable if the DUP could produce a shred of evidence that they where working towards that goal.

    Instead of being happy that Republicans have put the constitutional question to one side (and made massive concessions regarding its legitimacy) and are willing to work as coalition partners you can hardly contain your glee whilst pointing the finger and singing “Look what we made you do!”

    FFS lads, can we get over the gloating and get this devolution thing up running seeing as all the main parties agreed to it?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DC: “How can there be no confidence to share power over policing matters whenever the DUP already co-govern with Sinn Fein. Seriously how?”

    The obvious response would be the appearance of on-going criminality by PIRA-related individuals, most notably the murders of Quinn and McCartney, what with the appearance of cover-up, witness intimidation, etc. The phrase “they haven’t gone away, you know” would appear to be coming back to hobble certain aspirations. If absolutely nothing else, the damning appearance make for a ready excuse to their own constituencies.

    DC: “From my reading of it all it smacks very highly of contradictory politics and indeed political stances within the DUP at leadership level.”

    Given the passing of the baton, I would expect there to be more of these contradictions, as the new bosses sort out what they want, what they’ll give and what they think they can get away with.

  • McGinster

    And so continues the streams of crocodile tears for Paul Quinn and Robert McCartney. Jesus Christ, there’s a chance you might even be taken seriously if the delight at another chance to lay the boot into the Shinners wasn’t as painfully obvious. I used to drink in McGuinness’ Bar before and after the McCartney incident and while I wasn’t there on the night in question, I’ll be perfectly honest and say that if I was I probably wouldn’t have opened my mouth either.

    Is that because I think the IRA remain to be a functional paramilitary organisation? Nope.

    Is it because I would have thought I might be dragged to Connolly House the next morning and interrogated? Nope.

    Is it because I would have thought to myself, “If they can do that to him then they’d have no problem doing that to me or a member of my family?” We have a winner.

    And there’s the nub. The IRA have ‘left the stage’. Lack of witnesses for the aforementioned murders is intimidation, no doubt. But not Sinn Fein intimidation. Not even IRA intimidation. Just intimidation of the cold-blooded people capable of taking personal disputes to a terrifying extreme.

    If you think it’s cowardly go to the next bunch of loyalist drug dealers you pass on the street (during daylight hours) and tell them exactly what you think of them.

  • Bob Wilson

    Sammy:
    “if you make an agreement with another country which covers areas of mutual interest then could you not be in breach of that agreement if you decide to amend your own legislation which is relevant to that mutual interest?”
    Obviously UK Govt will not want to do anything that would offend RoI Govt but UK Parliament is sovereign and can do what it wants in UK.
    Sinn Fein have very limited room for manouvre.

  • Bonar Law

    a deterent only works if your opponent believes that you will use it. No one believes SF will press the button. Yet already the DUP have vetoed the 7 council model, the ILA and now P&J;devolution (by May at any rate) and what from SF? Grizzly making some piss-poor remark about blocking the RoboDome in East Belfast!

    We can clearly see the beginning of a shift in SF attitudes, however “piss-poor” you believe it to be. As I said previously, I don’t see the nuclear option being hit right away. But there are certainly a range of things SF could do to make life difficult for the DUP.

    The constitutional nonsense would not be resolved- the Shinners are hoist on their own petard. Lobby for the institutions to be legislated out of existance and remove the vehicle to which P&J;was to be devolved to or stick with the agreed structures and accept the DUP has the final say on when (if) it happens.

    The issue becomes wider than simply P&J;at that point; if the DUP view the Assembly as exercise in being top dog, and in simply killing everything Nationalism wants, SF are far better off removing it and pushing for Plan B.

    SF certainly need to cure Unionism of the attitude they can do what they want because SF will do nothing about it. They should be showing teeth for that reason alone.

    Bob

    If a new stadium requires an Assembly decision of any sort, SF can block it. It could be imposed from above.

  • Gregory

    Minister Catriona Ruane’s department doesn’t know the legal definition of a child by age.

    The UTU perspective in today’s Newsletter was two years out, the SOA 2003 answer is U18.

    Let us be honest, the last thing we need is Sinn Fein pretending to be able to do policing or education.

    If the DENI doesn’t know the legal definition of a child, what’s the point?

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/Sex-offenders-may-be-working.3896882.jp

  • Gregory

    Sinn Fein are in bed with Jim Gamble.

    CEOP have the job of managing the FBI, to deliver just enough to keep state.gov & justice.gov going public in relation to British teachers.

    I’ve worked 7 years to get the sex offenders out of Ulster’s schools, I’m no closer today than I was in 2001.

    I paid for thousands of Holy Cross leaflets out of my own pocket, it is hardly the case I didn’t weigh up issues before deciding to help Sinn Fein. Why can’t they help me for once?

    What is the exact deal with this sex offender obfuscation. Do they have to be in the UDA or something before they’re a problem for Sinn Fein?

    It is the Ulster Unionist Party who are claiming to be gobsmacked, SF are not lining up to ask Catriona how come her Dept. doesn’t know the legal definition of a child!

  • elvis parker

    Kensei
    ‘SF are far better off removing it and pushing for Plan B.’
    If you think Brown or a future Cameron Govt are interested in pursuing this I think you’d be sorely dissapointed. (Actually Blair wasnt interested either Paisley talk of Plan B was a smokescreen)
    Sinn Fein need to bed the institutions down as this is as good as it gets for them. Talk of nuclear options is counter productive.

    Overall both DUP and SF are generating a row largely over nothing – keeps their core supporters happy.

  • kensei

    If you think Brown or a future Cameron Govt are interested in pursuing this I think you’d be sorely dissapointed. (Actually Blair wasnt interested either Paisley talk of Plan B was a smokescreen)
    Sinn Fein need to bed the institutions down as this is as good as it gets for them. Talk of nuclear options is counter productive.

    No, I don’t think they are particularly interested. Which is why if the Assembly collapses they’ll make token efforts to knock heads together, then just get on with it with input from the Republic.

    I think it is inappropriate to talk of the “nuclear option” at this time. Which would be why SF has merely referred to specific proposals and “major problems”. The DUP has been more gleefully using its veto, and then boasting of all the things it killed. That leads only one way.

  • Greenflag

    ‘they need each other to survive and neither will want to be to blame for collapsing the Executive again.’

    The old fable of the scorpion and frog comes to mind except in this case its a very large bullfrog with not one but several scorpions clinging to it’s back for the trip to the other side -the land of perpetual milk and honey etc etc. Right now the bullfrog has just entered the water to begin the long swim . Already some of the scorpions have become edgy and have started priming their poisonous claws .

    At some point ‘nature’ will have it’s way and one or other of the scorpions will be unable to resist the temptation.

    As to which is party is frog or scorpion it doesn’t much matter for the people of NI . For to swim successfully across the wide stream each party is going to have to spend so much time watching it’s scorpions or looking over it’s shoulder at the menace on top that neither will be able to focus properly on the work at hand . So Northern Ireland can at best look forward to governmental performance of a mediocre nature for as long as the present ‘system’ is in place.
    So expect no miracles -no major economic turnaround -no reduction in the dependency syndrome and a continuing outflow from NI of the best and brightest from all communities.

    Perhaps it would be for the best if one or other of the scorpions resorted to it’s natural instinct sooner rather than later !

    This particular Circus/Assembly already has enough clowns as it is – it also has enough high wire acts of derring do in terms of tribal community enhancement .

    As the bullfrog and attached scorpions fret nervously they may remember the name of the river they are attempting to cross . Rubicon comes to mind .