McDonnell: Sinn Fein will sign up to Robinson’s deal…

With Gerry Adams going to see Gordon Brown today, Alasdair McDonnell believes Sinn Féin is “simply talking up a crisis to cover up its negotiating mistakes at St Andrews, and its subsequent political failures”:

They built their trap themselves and they walked into it. Sinn Féin will cut a deal very soon, but let there be absolutely no doubt, it will be Peter Robinson’s deal. It will keep Sinn Féin in power, perhaps with some personnel changes, but it will not be a good deal for nationalists.

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  • truth

    I have to agree with Alasdair McDonnell on this one, Sinn Fein have made massive mistakes in signing up to the St Andrews aggreement. The DUP are in complete control in the assembly and have blocked anything Sinn Fein apparently secured at At Andrews.
    (1) No policing and Justice transfered
    (2) No Irish Language act
    (3) No Maze stadium
    (4) A U Turn on Education
    Sinn Fein have been made complete fools of, they were wined and dined by the British and sadly for Irish republicans history has repeated it self once again.

  • No one wants the institutions brought down with Bush on his way, robinson is in a strong position, SF are setting themselves up for a fall.

  • slug

    Shoudl Alasdair McDonnell lead the SDLP?

  • An Lochlannach

    The DUP would be in a very strong position in the unlikely event of an election. They only have to recite the litany of Sinn Féin’s frustated intitiatives, neatly summarised by ‘Truth’ above, to silence the TUV and the UUP.

  • wab

    If the DUP think SF are serious about not nominating, thay can frustrate then easily – all it takes is for Paisley not to resign.

  • LURIG

    Spot on truth. I am NO great SDLP fan but they flagged this up AFTER St. Andrew’s. Sinn Fein were out-negotiated, out-thought, out-dealt and TOTALLY out-played in Scotland. The DUP are master tacticians and have played the Shinners like a fiddle. Many nationalists believe that the DUP are in FULL control of Stormont with the Shinner monkey dancing to the Unionist organ grinder; it has been VERY embarrassing to watch sometimes. Did ANYONE EVER believe that the DUP had changed? They were ALWAYS a divisive, sectarian party that wants to keep full control of their wee fiefdom up at Parliament Buildings AND Sinn Fein have been their willing submissive partner. We witnessed the antics of the DUP on Belfast City Council last night when the tried desperatly to keep a Nationalist Lord Mayor out and then spit fire when Tom Hartley’s was elected. That is the TRUE DUP. Policing & Justice = OUT; Maze Stadium = OUT; Irish Language Act = OUT; Parades Commission = OUT; Changes to Education = OUT. THANK YOU SINN FEIN. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE DELIVERED.

  • Dessertspoon

    Wab – is this true? Couldn’t Marty just resign and instead and bring about the same situation?

  • steve48

    lets be clear policing and justice will be transfered and Brown could move this on by threatening to squeeze the policing budget.

    the dup will deliver a language act which creates equality between Ulster scots and Irish

    SF ministers who would have to cough for the infrastructure around the Maze won’t weep for the loss of the stadium

    education is a mess and will remain so while ruane is there but there is hardly a u-turn

  • Ian

    Wab,

    Then the long-term stability of the institutions rests on Paisley staying in good health. How sustainable is that?

  • get real

    I would agree with you truth and following on from that I would say that true to form the British Government have got Sinn fein and the republican movement exactly where they want it. Despite the figures at the last election Sinn Fein have heamoraged support since. 200 people at the public meeting with Gerry Adams for Fermanagh, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan compared to 1600 in the same venue last year. 2 buses were laid on in Armagh to bring supporters to their public meeting only 10 people availed of them. The British government have been as crafty as they always were, Sinn Fein Support is dropping away, republicans are splintering and the Provos are impotent. By the time the British have released a few more informers names, exposed other unsavoury practices by Sinn Fein which they are turning a blind eye to at the moment they will have put the final nail in their coffin. Sinn Fein’s biggest problem was they never got to know their enemy.

  • Ian

    Dessertspoon:

    “Couldn’t Marty just resign and instead and bring about the same situation?”

    There’s something more dramatic about the sin of commission than the sin of omission. Marty could have resigned at any point in the past or future, but I suspect would have come across as more at fault for doing so.

    It’s a strange coincidence that the Paisley/Robinson switchover, which provided the mechanism to bring things to a head, comes in the same week as SF’s P & J deadline expired. Which makes me wonder if there’s some background choreography going on (wasn’t Paisley originally due to retire the same week as Ahern??)

  • What’s to stop Sinn Féin from nominating someone else as DFM? Caitriona Ruane, for example. How would unionists take to voting for that double act?

  • percy

    SF are just “swinging the lead”.
    Don’t teach your kids this technique, they’ll have ya by the bollocks for more pocket-money.

  • Driftwood

    Peter Robinson’s body language and countenance on TV last night was that of a man whose Christmases had all come at once. He’ll throw a few crumbs to the SF beggars as and when he feels like giving them some scraps.
    That is SF, the lap dog begging for its master to give it some sustenance.
    Our day will come….ROFLMAO!

  • Dessertspoon

    Fair point Ian…I just think the whole thing is rather sad. All of this stop start nonsense is not doing us any good.

    Driftwood – I read someone elses comments that said they though Robinson looked a bit nervous and unsure…funny how two people can look at the same thing but see something completely different.

  • Greenflag

    driftwood,

    ‘Peter Robinson’s body language and countenance on TV last night was that of a man whose Christmases had all come at once. He’ll throw a few crumbs to the SF beggars as and when he feels like giving them some scraps. ‘

    So you believe Mr Robinson is an idiot and wants the Assembly to fail ? SF will allow Robinson to settle in and Paisley to retire but they won’t put up with the ‘croppy lie down’ treatment . If the UUP can walk out so too can SF . But if they do they’ll choose the time and issue . And what then for DUP political carriers ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Sinn Fein’s biggest problem was they never got to know their enemy.’

    So this explains why SF is the second biggest party in the Assembly and may be the largest after the next election ? And also now hold the Lord Mayorship of Belfast ?

    With political enemies delivering like this SF doesn’t need friends .

  • Driftwood

    Greenflag
    No, Robinson is far from being an idiot. He knows SF are bluffing, and won’t go ahead with this, which will make them look even weaker.
    I don’t think he’s even bothered. Westminster is probably past caring, but some small morsel of comfort will be needed to SF, so they can claim some sort of ‘achievement’ to plaster over the mess.

  • feismother

    Malachi O’Doherty had a good piece on Talkback today. He pointed out that Gordon Brown needs the backing of the DUP in the Commons. If SF had taken up their seats they might be in a stronger bargaining position. But they didn’t.

  • againstthehead

    I agree with most of had has been said by the unionist commentators above and generally agree that the DUP are in a strong position.

    HOWEVER

    The LAST thing brown needs is the assembly to come crashing down. He may get desparate and try to appease SF. then again, he needs DUP votes …

    Could be an interesting week…

    What all this has highlighted is went a cracking job the DUP did negotiating – if an election was called, I think they could spin all this very much in their favour.

  • Don’t think so

    Not for the first time O’Doherty is out of touch. Brown doesn’t need the DUP votes as he now has enough of his own MPs on board and if he did, do you really think the DUP would vote against increased detention of terrorist suspects? O’Doherty can’t be trusted to offer reliable any analysis of SF as he constantly lets his antipathy to cloud his judgment.

  • brendan,belfast

    Running to the British Prime Minister because you fouled up on delivery in Government is an off strategy for an Irish Republican party. They have simply been trumphed politically on all the major issues, SF have had an awful run in Government over the last year.

    I would love to hear the conversation where Adams and Co are pleading with Gordon Brown to deliver on issues which are totally within the remit of the Assembly (stadium / shrine & ILA).

  • Driftwood

    brendan
    apparently Gerry and Marty have left Downing street without commenting, Peter is to meet Gordon later, I wonder who will be alpha male in that chat?

  • Half Pint

    The only thing this proves is the DUP can not so much as change their leader without SF/IRA agreement.

  • ‘Brown doesn’t need the DUP votes as he now has enough of his own MPs on board and if he did,’

    Labour do sound very confident about their own rebels toeing the line – but is this because they have bought off the DUP?

    ‘do you really think the DUP would vote against increased detention of terrorist suspects?’

    For £200m of course they would

  • TAFKABO

    Crises are only to be expected if people insist on hysterical language like “croppy lie down” everytime things don’t go their way.
    Perhaps if republicans finally grew up and stopped acting liked moody teenagers we would see real political progress.
    I genuinely belive republicans and nationalists still don’t quite grasp how democracy works, believing they have some inalienable right to everything they demand.

  • interested

    TAFKABO
    I’m afraid to tell you that your comments simply show that you’re an unreconstructed bigot who obviously wouldn’t have a fenian about the place.

    You’re a unionist dinosaur who cannot accept change and you should go out and demand an Irish Language Act as pennance for your crime.

  • New Yorker

    After a full year of the Assembly in operation it would be a good time to let the voters express their opinion in an election.

  • interested

    New Yorker,
    Why not have the perfect democracy (in your eyes) and have daily elections then. Everyone will get their say every single day and no-one could ever complain…..

  • gram

    >>(1) No policing and Justice transfered
    (2) No Irish Language act
    (3) No Maze stadium
    (4) A U Turn on Education
    Sinn Fein have been made complete fools of, they were wined and dined by the British and sadly for Irish republicans history has repeated it self once again<

  • Mayoman

    Not everything they demand, but things they were promised, and promised as part of a package that set up the current arrangements. IIRC, Danny Morrison’s long term view of the “peace process” was that unionists would eventually return to type, and prove they are incapable of running a political system with anything that approaches fairness. What SF have set up is the last chance to test the premise that unionists are not ‘institutionally bigoted’. It is clear that there is a sectarian basis for many of the logjams at Stormont. And that sectarianism is coming from the DUP. In the long game, it is back to the ‘good ol days’ for unionists, but without the willingness of the ‘mother land’ to support such a basket case run on that premise for any appreciable length of time. Maybe, all along, it was the goal of SF all to expose this?? Not long before plan B comes back to be talked about. Joint sovereignty at the very least, and maybe even worse for unionists?. And for what? Things that had been agreed previously and things that would have changed the way people perceive unionism, such as, if they had given support for the introduction of a completely harmless, but culturally important ILA? I appreciate this point is not reached yet, but the cracks and potential are clear to me. And there are aspects which could be very beneficial to SF if those cracks prove Danny Morrison’s theory.

  • New Yorker

    interested

    A year of operation is a sufficient period of time to form an opinion on how well the Assembly has delivered. If it is not working well, perhaps you need new people to run it.

  • TAFKABO,

    I genuinely belive republicans and nationalists still don’t quite grasp how democracy works, believing they have some inalienable right to everything they demand.

    You’re erecting straw men here. Nobody expects “everything they demand“. Nationalists would probably be quite happy with some of the things they demand – they do represent, lets not forget, 42.6% of the electorate. If the response of unionism is that 50%+1 gives them 100% of the power and control, then they cannot object to that being visited upon them when the time comes.

    Powersharing implies that both sides get some pleasure and some pain. Unionists seem to think that they do not have to share, but the whole of the GFA ‘settlement’ is based upon sharing, so throw that out and who knows where you’ll end up.

  • interested

    Mayoman,
    Your theory was/is dependent on unionism tearing down the institutions because they couldn’t stand those nasty kafflicks.

    However here we have SF threatening to pull down the Assembly because they can’t get their own way. This isn’t unionism refusing to share power, its SF refusing to work with unionism because they aren’t getting everything their own way.

    As for the “promises” from the Government, well welcome to planet unionism circa 1998/99. Lots of ‘promises’ were made to Trimble at that time by HMG but they were never delivered on because they weren’t tied down properly. The DUP learnt that lesson back then but SF continue to belive that they’re the NI political equivalent of Jose Mourinho – they’re the “special ones” who will have their every whim pandered to.

    Lets look at what the Government might say in return to Adams whinges.

    Why wont P&J;be devolved:
    Well why didn’t you tie that down in negotiations. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. Anyhow, do you think we’re going to allow you to f*ck up everything over that.

    They wouldn’t give us an Irish Language Act.
    Well, you negotiated a system of Government which allowed your political opponents to do that. Also, do you honestly think we’re going to meddle in devolved matters when the Scots are already twitchy. Again, you made your bed now go lie in it.

    For all the mantra of “change” from republicanism it would appear that they’re actually very bad at adapting to it.

  • interested

    This isn’t unionism refusing to share power, its SF refusing to work with unionism because they aren’t getting everything their own way.

    Another example of the strawman argument so popular amongst unionists!

    Sinn Féin (and the SDLP) did not expect to get “everything their own way“. But they expected to get their share of the power and the decision-making. SF have been happily working with unionism in a variety of ways that are not their preferred solution (police, the border, symbols, etc), but when they seek a relatively innocuous, but culturally mportant, thing like official recognition of the Irish language, the DUP bigots jump up.

    If the DUP want to “work with” nationalists on the position of the Irish language, then where is Poots proposal?

  • Dewi

    TAFKABO,

    “I genuinely belive republicans and nationalists still don’t quite grasp how democracy works, believing they have some inalienable right to everything they demand.”

    A masterful ironic comment given Unionists historical view and practice of democracy…..

  • Mayoman

    Interested: nothing you say changes the fact that it just looks like unionists will say ‘no’ to everything because they can. NOT because there is a decent reason to do so. The mechanics of how they do that are less important. I think this site sometimes gets bogged down in minutiae of how the politics works, and ignores the bigger picture of perception. At the moment, SF can make a very strong case that it is walking away simply because unionists are acting to type. Its a very easy sell given the history of that ‘state’. Have unionists considered the demise of Stormont on this premise and what could come after?

  • interested

    Horseman,
    SF and the SDLP (but most particularly SF) should have expected to get the share of power and decision making that the system of government which they negotiated and supported.

    If they didn’t see it coming well slap it up them.

    SF have been working with unionism – police, border, symbols. (paraphrase)”

    Yeah, we’ve seen how happy SF are to work with unionism in terms of symbols when it comes to District Councils.

    The DUP has clearly been happy to work on the Irish language. It still gets a vast amount of funding – but now at least on a par with Ulster Scots language and culture. Promotion and protection of the Irish Language does not equal an Irish Language Act. There are many many different ways in which it can be done. However, SF claims that the only way it can be done is to have an Act so therefore they spit the dummy out when they don’t get what they want.

    Its childish.

  • interested,

    It seems that you belong to the ‘might is right’ school of thought. The problem with imposing such a philosophy on a system designed to be consensual is that it forces the other paties to adopt the same approach. In this particular case, given that the ‘consensual’ aspects of the GFA and the StAA are being laughed at by the DUP, you are forcing SF into a position of having to exert their might. At present, that might seems to be limited to the nuclear option. I don’t think that it is SF’s preferred outcome, but you are (happily, it seems) pushing them towards it.

  • TAFKABO

    If Sinn Fein are so sure that they were guaranteed certain things at St Andrews, why didn’t they just get Blair to sign some handwritten pledges?

    Welcome to our world mo chara.

  • Family affair

    I think the Shinners are just taking the piss out of Robbo. Like there he is, taking over from the big lad after how many years and about to become First Minister and then on the eve of his coronation the pesky Shinners throw a spanner in the works. Hehe… Robbo must be seething…
    Expect Marty to throw the arm over Peter’s shoulder tomorrow night and wisper “ach Pete we were only messing kiddo… But this is what could happen if you say ‘no’ all the time…”.

  • Mayoman

    It basically doesn’t matter what or what not was promised. The bottom line is there will be joint sovereignty if the GFA fails (over the longer term), and SF may be the clever ones in starting to manouvre into the position that says it failed because unionists were unable to change. If that happens, who are the ones who have been clever? Joint sovereignty with one govt constantly wanting out (guess which!)? Just a thought.

  • I bet you Bobby Sands is happy with the outcome. Gerry Adams certainly is.

  • observer

    Joint sovereignty with one govt constantly wanting out (guess which!)? Just a thought.

    Posted by Mayoman on Jun 03, 2008 @ 05:19 PM

    yes the republic. They dont want you Republicans any more than Brown does

  • Mayoman

    Didn’t say he was or wasn’t. Just hinting that there may be a strategy for SF in the GFA failing because unionists yet again show they have a total disregard for political agreements. Its a basic republican tenet that the DUP seems set on proving.

  • Mayoman

    RoI opinion polls at 70% in favour of unification? Cloud cuckoo land observer!

  • observer

    Didn’t say he was or wasn’t. Just hinting that there may be a strategy for SF in the GFA failing because unionists yet again show they have a total disregard for political agreements. Its a basic republican tenet that the DUP seems set on proving.

    Posted by Mayoman on Jun 03, 2008 @ 05:35 PM

    Yep, the DUP have proved thety will not be moved by SF and their IDLE threats, Marty will be nominated on thursday with no ILA, no P+J, No education reform. Anyone want to take a bet on it?

  • Deal me in

    “Yep, the DUP have proved thety will not be moved by SF and their IDLE threats, Marty will be nominated on thursday with no ILA, no P+J, No education reform. Anyone want to take a bet on it?”

    Yes, I’ll take some of that? What odds are you offering?

  • observer

    Ill wager a £100 that the Shinners go back on Thursday without any up front deals on the abvoe

  • Mayoman

    Yeah, with Thurs starting to look dodgy and P&J;likely to be negotiated (if the DUP are clever), that looks like a good bet to me! Not definite, but worth a punt (Euro!)!

  • Deal me in

    I’ll take that but what do you mean about “up front deals” – is that the same as no deal?

  • Mayoman

    I think you get a sense of how unionists deal now, deal me! I’d be careful! 😉

  • observer

    I’ll take that but what do you mean about “up front deals” – is that the same as no deal?

    Posted by Deal me in on Jun 03, 2008 @ 05:54 PM

    Means that there will be no deal on any of the above before marty becomes Peters no 2

  • Mayoman

    But means the DUP will concede all behind closed doors? To be released at a later date?

  • observer

    But means the DUP will concede all behind closed doors? To be released at a later date?

    Posted by Mayoman on Jun 03, 2008 @ 06:01 PM

    who knows, but as mcdonnell points out it`ll be the DUPs deal

  • observer

    It is clear that there is a sectarian basis for many of the logjams at Stormont. And that sectarianism is coming from the DUP – mayoman

    really? what about the retention of academic selection, standing down of the army council, or moves towards a voluntary coalition.

    Dont see the shinners moving on those issues, bloody sectarians

  • Mayoman

    Only a unionist could turn ‘concede’into a victory! 😉 I’ll keep my money safe in my pocket! I’d have no idea what I’m betting on with you!

  • observer

    Mayoman, any deals will be done on teh DUPs terms. And no deal will be done before thursday – guaranteed!

    Marty will do what he is told and become peters no. 2 – guaranteed

  • Mayoman

    Point made on both sides, not going to bore people any more.

  • Comrade Stalin

    LURIG:

    Let’s go through some of this stuff.

    Policing & Justice = OUT;

    It’s not out, just temporarily delayed. We had to wait nearly a decade for the IRA to disarm. It’s not reasonable for the chuckies to expect everyone else to stick to deadlines when they have a poor record of doing so themselves. What’s that SF used to say about artificially imposed deadlines ?

    Maze Stadium = OUT;

    Thank christ. The Maze stadium idea is rubbish. Put the stadium in our largest city, already.

    Irish Language Act = OUT;

    Impacts the 1/10th of SF voters who speak the language to any significant degree, and even then who don’t use it daily.

    Parades Commission = OUT;

    I recollect that the nationalists opposed Parades Commission recommendations on several occasions.

    Changes to Education = OUT.

    SF’s disastrous mishandling of this issue pretty much guaranteed this.

    THANK YOU SINN FEIN. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE DELIVERED.

    What is it you people think this is, a case of Sinn Fein (a minority party) making a wish list that everyone else has to agree to ? That’s not how it’s going to work. The future of this country will be an agreed future. You work out compromises, you negotiate, you provide a bit of give and take. You’ll never have a serious political movement which throws it’s rattle out of the pram as soon as they realize their wishes won’t be met.

    Powersharing does not mean that unionism has to become a doormat, anymore than SF must become a doormat. The mischaracterisation of the problems here as some kind of a unionist veto show how deep the misunderstanding runs. SF’s position gives them the power to veto absolutely anything the DUP decides that it wants. That they have found no opportunities to exercise this veto reflects on their strategic choices, not those of unionism. People contributing to this thread suggested that the old Stormont unionism has returned. Given that most things the Executive does require SF’s assent, I don’t see how this is the case.

    Perhaps SF’s problem here is their presentation of devolution as a means to achieve a nationalist tribal wishlist, the Maze Shrine, the ILA, etc. The setup at Stormont effectively means that neither side can get their tribal wishlists through without the consent of the other. It looks like the DUP figured this out before SF did.

  • Mayoman

    Comrade: I think most people would agree with most of your post if the process could start with unfinished business finished! Get to the stage where things that were agreed are delivered and start from there! But unionism seems bent on using what should be a progressive system to block a real key aspect of how the GFA was sold to nationalists. The wishlist is also just your convenient exageration. Its about common sense and perception, and the DUP are getting it all wrong. I’m just making the point that in the long term, SF can make capital out of this, and if they win THAT argument, then the union is dead. Maybe, just maybe, they are being the clever ones! I’m a small ‘r’ republican in that I despise violence, but there’s more than one way of proving a place is un-governable.

  • paul kielty

    Deal or no deal! Get noel edmonds over to sort it all out. Maybe he could do a political swap shop so marty and robbo could exchange parts of their respective ‘wishlists’. No, it won’t work. Edmonds and robbo would get on great judging by their penchant for the nice shirt tucked into the designer jeans combo, leaving marty feeling left out. You would never get our marty wearing a salmon shirt/pink blouse!!

  • agh

    Nice post comrade. As you rightly say, SF have refused to budge:
    – P and J: council still exists
    – Education: Ruane is clueless and is attempting to run a dictatorship
    – Maze: No shrine no stadium
    – Irish Language: potentially the greatest waste of money of any proposal.

    SF make no attempt to make their policies acceptable to unionists. Hence, they get rejected…

  • Mayoman

    Agh: so its an avowed position of unionism to ignore the needs and yes, wishes, of a massive proportion of ‘their own’ people. And Comrade wonders why some see this as a return to old-style uionism! Keep it up, that mindset will see joint sovereignty before you can say ‘no, no, no’.

  • observer

    #

    Agh: so its an avowed position of unionism to ignore the needs and yes, wishes, of a massive proportion of ‘their own’ people. And Comrade wonders why some see this as a return to old-style uionism! Keep it up, that mindset will see joint sovereignty before you can say ‘no, no, no’.
    Posted by Mayoman on Jun 03, 2008 @ 09:23 PM

    Maybe SF would have better luck if they didnt ignore the needs and wishes of the larger proportion of “their own” people.

    They ignore unionists on education, on the Army council, on a voluntary coalition, on parades etc. Little wonder SF are alone and feeling it

  • Mayoman

    I think the fact that they are in govt in an agreed structure that, at least today, cannot be changed without the coonsent of a majority of ALL the people of NI is quite a move. Until joint sovereignty arrives anyway.

  • observer

    #

    I think the fact that they are in govt in an agreed structure that, at least today, cannot be changed without the coonsent of a majority of ALL the people of NI is quite a move. Until joint sovereignty arrives anyway.
    Posted by Mayoman on Jun 03, 2008 @ 09:39 PM

    Errr.. that was always the position. NI cant leave the Union unless the citizens agree. You think this was something new?? LOL you have been well n truly bought by the shinners!

  • Mayoman

    More funny you thought/think England’s patience was/is endless! They have no use for you and are disengafing. And I can just see you gifting them the opportunity!

  • observer

    More funny you thought/think England’s patience was/is endless! They have no use for you and are disengafing. And I can just see you gifting them the opportunity!
    Posted by Mayoman on Jun 03, 2008 @ 09:48 PM

    Anything else you want to read out of your SF manual ? Maybe you should go back to the one of outbreeding.

    Time SF steeped up to the mark. We want academic selection, voluntary coalition, Army council gone, parades dealt with.

    When youre ready to talk Im sure Peter will listen

  • LURIG

    Comrade Stalin

    Some strong language there, ‘you people’ and ‘Sinn Fein (a minority party)’! You are certainly letting us know how you perceive Nationalist parties and their electorate. I can’t see any Sinn Fein wishlist but there’s NO doubt that ANY thing they propose in the Assembly is vetoed from the start by those elements within Unionism that are driven solely by sectarianism. The DUP know that their grassroots are still largely opposed to powersharing and coalition government so ANYTHING that seeks to give the Shinners credence or EVEN agreeing with them is still seen as a weakness within large swathes of Unionism.

    1. WHY are Unionists, especially the DUP, opposed to devolved Policing & Justice? Because the thought of a Nationalist, God Forbid a Shinner, in charge of departments that Unionists controlled for decades threatens the very existence and stability of the Northern State for Unionists. It is tantamount to SURRENDER for many of them. However a ‘government’ without control of these is a phoney government.
    2. The Maze Stadium. Common sense shows that it is the ONLY viable place to locate a stadium in the wider Belfast conorbation. Those areas in Belfast that Unionists prefer effectively disinfranchise Nationalists in the city, they are NOT neutral. Also many Unionists only want THEIR version of history to be documented. They point blank refuse to acknowledge or accept that Republicans/Nationalists are entitled to theirs. The Hunger Strikes were an important part of Irish/British history and future generations have every right to read and learn about them. The ‘Terrorist Shrine’ excuse is bunkum. Take a walk around Belfast and Council Properties. They ARE shrines to Unionism, English Monarchy and the British Military. There are NO ‘Official’ Nationalist symbols worth talking about in Belfast. Likewise at Stormont so where’s this ‘agreed future’ you talk about? Where are the recognitions or mentions that 45% of the population see themselves as Irish?
    3. Irish Language Act. Again certain Unionists continue to refer to it as a ‘leprechaun’ language. One of the oldest languages and cultures in Europe is derided by people who can’t see past their own prejudices. The EU, Scottish & Welsh Assemblies have gone overboard to ensure that ‘minority’ and ‘regional languages’ survive and thrive. While rsepected international linguists have decided that Ulster Scots is, and NEVER has been, a language it also deserves recognition as it is important to many people. I have no problem with budget constraints but to cut the language off altogether is seen as sectarian by Nationalists.
    4. Parades Commission. Unionists wanted it’s abolition and got it with strong input from local councils on local parades. That is seen by many Nationalists as carte blanche for Loyal Order parades ANYWHERE. Given the history of Unionist Councils it is a disastrous and backward step. The spectre of Drumcree & Ormeau Road look large again.
    5. Education. Granted the handling could have been better.

  • What’s amazing is how quickly this thread has degenerated into a massive dummy-spitting episode!

    Shinners here are saying Unionists are evil sectarian bigots who have already rebuilt the old Stormont in 15 months. Despite the Unionists having an overall majority of only 2, no capacity to push through any decision needing legislation without SF consent, and no control over criminal justice and policing, they’ve rebuilt Stormont overnight. Yeah, right, and the B Specials are going to kick in my door tomorrow. I wish Shinners wouldn’t say ‘Nationalists’ when they meant ‘Shinners’; I don’t see the SDLP running off to join the high-wire act.

    Meanwhile, the Unionists on this thread are running around in full bigot mode! “How dare those uppity fenians want some decisions to go their way?!?!?! “Don’t like our Irish Language Act decision? Well, we’ll feed you all on gruel from now on, you long-haired popish agitators. Next thing, you’ll be wanting rights and stuff”, cry the Unionists.

    Folks, this is just politics. Silly brinkmanship politics being pushed by people who know better, that only works because people like you are willing to get all excited about it.

    At the end of the day, SF are co-architects of the system of government in place here. They signed up to it less than 18 months ago. The problem is, they aren’t very good at operating it. Having spent 10 years outmanoeuvering the Unionists during an extended period of end-game negotiations, they’ve now found that the DUP are better than they are at the whole running a government thing. And it’s no surprise; the Shinners were revolutionaries; they were good at broad sweeps of principle. The DUP were parliamentarians; they’re good at operating the machinery of government. No party in NI has less experience of actually running things than SF.

    The Shinners have made a tactical mistake in turning from being too passive to too aggressive much too quickly. The Shinners have basically concocted a deadline of 5th June for major policy changes from the DUP, and the announce their deadline on, what, the 2nd or maybe even 3rd? Be serious, no-one can actually deliver in so short a time-scale. A threat to walk needs to be built up slowly, racheted step-by-step. Forcing the issue in a ludicrously short time-frame is basically like forcing a screw off it’s thread – if Robinson doesn’t roll over, either you back down or you collapse the government. The Shinners haven’t left themselves a whole lot of wriggle room and that’s a bad way to negotiate.

    The DUP have played the Shinners off the pitch for the past year. It’s no surprise. In some ways it’s very annoying, as we have a small but decisive majority for a centre-left social agenda in the Assembly, but nothing progressive is actually happening because the Shinners have been rolling over to Robinson all the time. But ultimately, that’s politics. Either the Shinners will get better at it or the electorate will dump them for someone who’s better.

    But let’s keep all this in perspective. Regardless of who blinks first in the great Mexican stand-off, no-one will die, or be carted off to jail by the secret police, or have their house ransacked. All these issues are, in the really grand scheme of things, small-fry stuff. Are they stuff worth risking the economy, inward investment, political and social stability and even a return to violence for? I think not, and I reckon the electorate don’t think so either.

  • how you perceive Nationalist parties and their electorate

    Only one Nationalist party is involved in this childish charade, so let’s get over the silly persecution complex, shall we? This is the classic Shinner response to any sort of criticism: play the tribal card and pretend you’re being persecuted. It’s the same when anyone criticises Catriona Ruane – it’s supposed to be because she’s a Republican and a woman, not because she’s screwed up the best chance of abolishing selection in a generation. No-one is persecuting Sinn Féin except for themselves and their own political incapacity.

    Why not try to defend Sinn Féin’s tactics in terms of what they might deliver for the population? Oh, sorry, you can’t do that because they’re stupid, so you’ll have to resort to claiming persecution. I get it now.

    Oh, and your Maze comment is spectacularly stupid. I don’t really care where they build Fisher-Price Stadium, but the idea that the Ormeau Park, whose surrounds have seen their Catholic population boom over the past decade, is a cold house for Nationalists is hysterical.

  • observer

    not because she’s screwed up the best chance of abolishing selection in a generation.

    – see there we are. Nationalists complain about not getting their own way. At what point did they accommodate Unionists (and many catholics) who wish to have some form of academic selection retained. Its ok for nationalists do ignore unionist wishes.

  • LURIG

    Sammy Morse & observer.

    I see you didn’t address most of my points!

    1. Why are Unionists so opposed to devolved policing & justice?
    2. Why are Unionist symbols the only ones we see in Belfast?
    3. Whether you sympathise with the Hunger Strikers and their demands OR see them as suicidal terrorists was that period NOT an important time in Irish/British history?
    4. Who said Catriona Ruane was above criticism?
    5. Ask the Nationalist football teams and fans about their experiences in Ormeau Park from Loyalist elements in the Lower Ravenhill before commenting!

  • 1. Why are Unionists so opposed to devolved policing & justice?

    I don’t know. Ask them. I’m in favour of devolving policing and justice at the earliest reasonable date, but I don’t consider the issue of remotely enough importance to bring down the Executive.

    2. Why are Unionist symbols the only ones we see in Belfast?

    I don’t know, ask them. I think a Henry Joy statue in the City Hall grounds would look rather fetching, myself.

    3. Whether you sympathise with the Hunger Strikers and their demands OR see them as suicidal terrorists was that period NOT an important time in Irish/British history?

    Of course it was. What’s your point?

    4. Who said Catriona Ruane was above criticism?

    Many people, in many threads related to education in Slugger over the past year. Admittedly, they’ve become ever fewer as the extent of Catastrophe Catriona’s fiasco has become clear.

    5. Ask the Nationalist football teams and fans about their experiences in Ormeau Park from Loyalist elements in the Lower Ravenhill before commenting!

    Have a look at the names on the electoral register around North/South Parade, Ardenlee Avenue, Ravenhill Reach and, these days, even down around London Road before commenting. A national stadium would be well policed and I’m sure it would be in the interests of all concerned to see elements intent on trouble dealt with robustly. Only Sinn Féin have the chutzpah to benefit electorally from rapid demographic change in an area while simultaneously saying it’s a cold house for Catholics! Get real, the persecution whinge stopped working a long time ago.

    Lurig, you don’t speak for all nationalists and republicans, so don’t go around pretending you do. Sinn Féin are guilty of bad politics and picked the wrong time for a game of call my bluff. If this is how Sinn Féin whinge with the DUP I hate to see what Fianna Fáil would do to them if they ever end up in a coalition government with them.

  • Billy

    Observer

    “We want academic selection, voluntary coalition, Army council gone, parades dealt with”

    The Parades issue is already being dealt with by the Parades Commission. Lord Ashdown and his review committee have made it very clear that the Parades commission stays until P&J;has been devolved. If Unionists don’t like, that’s tough -there is nothing they can do about it.

    It’s obvious that the DUP have outplayed SF to date in the assembly. Although, it’s also fair to say that they have had more opportunity to “thwart” proposals from SF to date than vice versa.

    However, I have to laugh at those Unionists who come on here as if they have gained everything and Nationalists have gained nothing.

    While Unionists block P&J;, Nationalists can ensure that the Parades Commission stays in place.

    While Unionists can ensure that there is no stadium at the Maze, Nationalists can ensure that Windsor Park is not refurbished or, in fact, that there is no new stadium at all if they wish – the biggest losers out of this by far will be the IFA and the NI team.

    It’s clear that the DUP have played the game better than SF over the last year.

    However, it’s also clear that the days of ‘croppy lie down’ are long gone. SF are in a position to block quite a few things that the Unionist community want.

    Frankly, given the way the DUP have behaved to date, I think they are perfectly justified in exercising their veto.

    By the way, how can you demand a voluntary coalition? – the word voluntary is a bit of a giveaway.

  • paul kielty

    Sammy morse…..There has always been nationalists living on the upper ormeau road and the upper ravenhill road. Those massive schools have been there for donkeys years! Personally, I think most of the opposition for the ormeau park site will come from local residents affraid of the traffic conjestion. It already is extremely conjested. Although it would be wrong to dismiss out of hand the sectarian problems associated with the lower ravenhill road, my lady’s road etc…

  • USA

    Still trying to get in front of this news item. I read this thread to get an SDLP insight intrigued that McDonnell stated the terms of the deal would be dictated by Robinson. I saw nothing to back this up, it was just a statement with no elaboration or detail. Weak.
    I do however think that in the big picture “status quo” issue may indeed be working in Unionist favour for the short term at least. But Sinn Fein are definately firmly still in the game and may have a long term advantage.