“There is a difference between being friendly and being open..”

In the Irish Times, Quentin Fottrell, has some thoughts on the verbal innuendo and private sparring at the recent US investment conference..[subs req] and those questions and answers at the press conference in particular.

And what about Paisley, who said that he’ll miss “the rough and tumble” of government? Paisley said he and McGuinness try ironing out their differences in private, and that the political situation wasn’t perfect or entirely democratic. I guess that’s what happens when you have no opposition and work in a circular parliamentary chamber.

Looking back, Paisley said he had negotiated the best deal for government that he could for his party. With reference to McGuinness, he added, “I suppose it is the best my friend here thinks that he has got.” People laughed, but it made me uneasy. McGuinness smiled – a tight, choreographed smile – and his face reddened, perhaps glad he will no longer have to play Laurel to Paisley’s Hardy.

Later, McGuinness added: “We friends have to leave for Hillsborough Castle.” Given recent behind-the-scenes mallarky, both “friend” remarks seemed loaded with sarcasm. With good reason. Sinn Féin and the DUP are like two magnets, bouncing off each other if they get too close: there will forever be a space between them.

He’s also picked up on the deputy First Minister’s temporary blindness..

Only last week, McGuinness called on the DUP to fulfil its promise to devolve policing and justice powers and said of the IRA Army Council, “I do not know if it does exist or not.” More worrying ambiguity for the visiting delegates. Americans are open and direct. We are not. There is a difference between being friendly and being open, or being direct and being passive-aggressive, and we have mastered it.

I don’t know how high-flyers like Michael Bloomberg might feel about this private sparring, public chuckling or verbal innuendo. It could give them the heebeejeebees or, worse, persuade them to hold on to their wallets, and quietly slip them back in their pockets.

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The ‘friend’ card was always going to be played by SF knowing that it politically damaged any Unoinist recipient of bonhomie – and also annoyed the feck out of them.

    Robbo will have to be on his guard for Marty sneaking up behind him with a big smile on his chops when the cameras are around.

    I suppose the paralell for SF would be if the royals e.g. Prince of Wales (dont you just love that title) decided to turn up at Stormont and started hugging republicans instead of trees.

  • George

    I don’t know how high-flyers like Michael Bloomberg might feel about this private sparring, public chuckling or verbal innuendo. It could give them the heebeejeebees or, worse, persuade them to hold on to their wallets, and quietly slip them back in their pockets.

    The devolution of peace and justice is the litmus test. It will provide clear proof to investors that Northern Ireland is a safe place for investment.

    The fact that Northern Ireland isn’t ready to look after law and order is the clearest evidence
    you need that it isn’t yet a completely stable environment for investment.

    Unfortunately, the DUP have failed to realise this salient point yet.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Whether you are right or wrong on that George it’s certainly a good line ( to go along with the proposed change to the abortion legislation etc ) for those parties supporting the transfer of peace and justice powers to Non Iron.

    Are the Alliance and UUP now fully behind the transfer?

  • joeCanuck

    like two magnets, bouncing off each other if they get too close

    But sticking together like one if one of them turns.

  • Pete Baker

    “The devolution of peace and justice is the litmus test.”

    It may be a litmus test, George, but addressing the passive-aggressiveness would bring the timing of that test forward.

  • Observer

    The fact that Northern Ireland isn’t ready to look after law and order is the clearest evidence
    you need that it isn’t yet a completely stable environment for investment. –

    Posted by George on May 13, 2008 @ 01:21 PM

    So the same goes for Wales then?

  • George

    Observer,
    It might shock you to hear this but Wales doesn’t have the same stability issues as Northern Ireland does.

    How many “peace walls” are there in Cardiff?

    As a result, investors don’t need the same reassurances before ploughing the cash into the Valleys as they do into NI.

    Accordingly, while the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is telling American audiences of the importance of devolving justice matters to encourage investment, the Secretary of State for Wales feels no such need.

    Pete,
    the passive-aggressiveness is merely another indicator that NI is not yet a place where investors can feel truly comfortable that their interests won’t be subsumed by some internal issue.