“difference between leverage and crisis..”

More from Stormont Live today. Two representatives of parties outside the Northern Ireland Executive, the Alliance Party leader David Ford and the PUP’s Dawn Purvis, give the view from there of that potential crisis.

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  • graduate

    Not too often that I agree with the PUP but on this occasion I think Dawn is spot on! Time SF stood up and tried normal politics like the rest of the world. They’re not victims anymore- time for a new mindset

  • Yokel

    Oh for fecks sake would they all grow up.

    No need for this. It just looks like whinging.


    Hypocrisy how are ye? Nationalists & Republicans will take NO patronising lectures from Dawn Purvis, the PUP or their military wing. Her time would be better spent persuading her ‘friends’ to give up their weapons and criminality throughout the North. The absolute gall and double standards!! The entire political process has been a duplicitous one from the start. Republicans have been hounded from pillar to post while Loyalists have murdered, feuded, extorted to their hearts content. Dawn talks about ‘the democratic process’ while the UVF remain armed to their teeth. Nationalists have had ENOUGH of this nonsense. If the media and British & Irish governments had spent a tenth of the time and gave a fraction of the vitriol to Loyalists regarding decommissioning that they gave to Republicans the UVF party might be in the Assembly without their guns. Truth be told that many Nationalists and Republicans have INDEED had enough of these stinking double standards and if the Assembly has to collapse to expose it so be it. At long last Sinn Fein have grown a pair and started to speak for and represent their frustrated electorate, it’s been long overdue.

  • Comrade Stalin


    So explain this to me. Sinn Fein’s song and dance supporting agreement, an agreement which they won a mandate for during the last election, was contrary to the wishes of the nationalist electorate who in fact want to see the whole thing collapsed, because their street sign isn’t in Irish ?

  • hiro protagonist


    You are all over the place.

    Purvis made sense and SF do need to grow up and realise this is how politics works, they have to deal with Unionists, not the big bad brits. This whole hissy fit is making SF look weak, why they would admit to it even if they are I have no idea.

    Purvis also made comment last week about decommissioning as I recall reading, I think if she had a say the guns would be gone, no question of that really.

    So what are you angry about in this whole situation?

  • DC

    Pure politics on both sides, Alliance and PUP.

    These are the benchmarks that Alliance set out which had to be met in order to instigate a debate around devolving policing and justice with a view to taking control of such powers (full document available off the party website):

    ‘While most attention may fall on the nature of Sinn Féin’s commitment to policing and the rule of law, Alliance believes that these benchmarks should apply to all political parties. Notably, given the UUP’s relationship with the UVF-linked PUP, there are also particular issues where the Ulster Unionist Party needs to give assurance to the wider community.

    The Alliance Benchmarks on Policing and the Rule of Law

     Are the representatives of parties engaging with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in a regular, consistent and constructive manner, both locally and centrally, and promoting that view within their communities?

     Are political parties prepared to recognise the Police Service of Northern Ireland as the sole and exclusive legitimate policing agency within Northern Ireland? (This does not imply agreement with every operational decision, but rather a recognition of the right of the PSNI to make them.)

     Are parties prepared to take the seats that they are entitled to on the Northern Ireland Policing Board, and on the District Policing Partnerships?

     Are Ministers prepared to take a revised Pledge of Office containing a specific commitment to upholding the rule of law in a fair and consistent manner?

     Are parties prepared to co-operate with the lawful authorities to address so-called ‘individual acts of criminality’ arising from any organisation with which they may be associated?

    Alliance would want assurance that each of these benchmarks has been sufficiently addressed.’

    As said previously, given the historic concerns with such powers lying outside of NI in relation to the combined Republican/Nationalist constituency, it would seem part and parcel of proper and sincere confidence building measures to now, 10 years after the GFA and 2 years after the St Andrews ‘Agreement’ to get appropriate movement on policing powers. The above clip doesn’t seem to match what has been written above and instead slates SF for stunts even though the benchmarks have been reached, in my opinion at least.

    SF have done what they said they would do as far as I can see, for once albeit! They tangoed to intice the DUP to chillout and govern, it isn’t being reciprocated in any respect. So far it has largely been histrionics from the UUP and DUP in the face of change of education and now it would seem policing. But my view is myopic in that I looked to St Andrews and that apparent Agreement and judged the responses thereafter to such political movements.



    Fair enough, most of us DO want the Agreement to continue and we DO want powersharing to work. However perception is EVERYTHING and many Nationalists see Unionism resorting to type and reverting to the old ways where sectarianism drove most things. What exactly has the Assembly agreed on from the start? Probably wage rises for MLA’s. What policies or legislation has been passed? The driving force behind Unionist delays in a new stadium, policing & justice, Irish Language Act etc appear to be sectarian. In addition that age old hypocrisy of Unionism’s two faced attitude to Loyalist terrorism comes to the fore again. Only last night we seen the DUP spitting fire because Tom Hartley of Sinn Fein was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast. The same Unionists who voted for a PUP Lord Mayor of Belfast & UDP Deputy Lord Mayor when the UVF & UDA were at the height of their sectarian murder sprees. Can you NOT see how or why this would annoy MOST Nationalists particularly when we saw the Unionist furore over IRA decommissioning. Can you not see why we get annoyed when Dawn Purvis and her friends lecture Sinn Fein when her own military wing refuses to disarm. Already we see the DUP, UUP & Alliance call for the IRA Army Council to disband while the UVF & UDA remain armed to the oxters. This causes GREAT resentment & anger within the Catholic community.

  • observer

    SF have done what they said they would do as far as I can see, for once albeit!

    _ SF did what it had to do, IE become a democratic party. Remember these are terrorist scum were talking about who had to be house trained into observing normal democratic standards.

    Now they had put a person so dumb that it makes Bush look like Einstein, in charge of Education. Send Her Home!

  • DC – you make very good points BUT this is still silly, grandstanding, politics by SF. If the Shinners really wanted to get progress on devolving policing and justice why manufacture an artifical deadline and give the DUP about 60 hours to meet it?

    Here’s another theory. Gerry has been a marginal player since the Southern general election last year. But this week, Gerry gets to fly off to London for secret talks with Gordon and Richard gets to run around Stormont briefing journalists on Sinn Féin’s raw unadulterated power like it was the good old days all over again. The Folks on the Hill won’t be slagging Gerry off for being yesterday’s man this week! Men (and I use that word deliberately) do much sillier things for the illusion of power.

    Either way, it’s bad politics.

  • observer

    lready we see the DUP, UUP & Alliance call for the IRA Army Council to disband while the UVF & UDA remain armed to the oxters. This causes GREAT resentment & anger within the Catholic community.

    – The UDA arent in government and it says a lot when the catholic community are OK with the terrorist army council still existing. Maybe the DUP should just walk away



    To say nothing then of the DUP’s involvement with the UDA in the 1974 & 1977 strikes; the Third Force; Ulster Resistance; Red Beret’s in the Ulster Hall; gun licences being waved on Ballymena hillsides; Willie McCrea’s platform sharing with Billy Wright; Clontibret and Peter the Punt!

  • Quagmire

    I’m extremely happy that SF have finally grown a set. I’d rather have the plan B that was talked about before as opposed to what we have now. The DUP may think that they hold all the cards vetoing this and vetoing that but what SF have shown today is that they can exercise the ultimate mother of all vetoes but bringing down the hole house. At least under joint rule/Plan B we would have already had an Irish language act. SF has done more than enough in the past year in terms of bedding down the process and giving the DUP space to blow off some hot air from time to time, but enough is enough! Direct rule does not benefit Unionism as the simple matter of the fact is the Brits want out and the DUP know this. The death of Unionism in the end will be its own intransigence and lack of ability to recognise the fact that approx 40-50% of “our wee country” is made up of nationalists/republicans. We live here too for God sake!!

  • DC

    “DC – you make very good points BUT this is still silly, grandstanding, politics by SF. If the Shinners really wanted to get progress on devolving policing and justice why manufacture an artifical deadline and give the DUP about 60 hours to meet it?”

    Come on, as much as it pains me to have to post the above there is a time when you have to jump in, in order to move on appropriately, like David Trimble did even though his jump overstretched his limits. My view is that, given dissident republican rumbles and having witnessed those preemptive moves by SF to encourage continued devolution, and also now with that party meeting those above benchmarks, it would seem to be ‘the time’.

    The DUP were given assistance by SF who did go out on a limb by not demanding concrete legislation prior to St Andrews in an attempt to quicken the return of devolution. That was probably done in terms of advancing Northern Ireland away from intransigence, vacuums and the potential for further Troubles and like most parties want, is the want to be seen to be making progress in a mature fashion. Vetoes with inappropriate reasons are neither mature nor sufficient.

    This isn’t about bending the knee to fear of force, but perhaps more a recognition that historically Unionism has been very damaging to Northern Ireland in that it hasn’t reacted quickly enough to secure appropriate change in the face of demands from Nationalists and indeed both the British and Irish Governments.

    I’m calling it time to build on somewhat more positive moves from SF to try and build on a somewhat poor democracy and in doing so fuck how Peter Robinson’s face will therefore not be saved in doing so because Northern Ireland comes first. And, so do better political relations.

    The above clip just seemed to smack of Unionist-lite overtures and lacked sympathy to a certain degree of demand coming from Catholics to have a wee part to say in policing themselves via their democratic representation. The IRA have gone now at least the political-IRA-SF, positive proof of that is borne out by the fact that the IRA came and visited witnesses to the McCartney murder scene encouraging the truth to be told in a British Court. Changed times and time to move on.

  • Pete Baker


    I agree totally. The DUP may think that Direct Rule is the ultimate Republican/Nationalist nightmare but politics & events appeared to move quicker under Direct Rule so for many of us it wouldn’t be that big a worry. It WOULD no doubt speed up the day when Downing St. says enough to Unionism and you would see no manner of Nationalist friendly legislation being passed by London & Dublin. It is let’s face it only a matter of time before evolution, not revolution, and a Nationalist majority dictates where the North’s future lies. Southern finance and ALL island economics seem to be driving that anyway. Sometimes Unionists cannot see the wood for the sectarian trees. You are correct, Unionist intransigence will bring the unity of the country closer more than anything.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I have to bugger off to work now, but I’ll try and answer in more detail to what you said earlier.

    This stuff about “perception is everything” and setting unilateral deadlines, and then threatening to collapse everything if they are not met, is in fact the tactics used by the DUP and much of unionism in the period 1998-2007. IRA decommissioning did not happen when the DUP/UUP set deadlines and applied pressure over them. In fact if anything, those actions delayed it. Why would any reasonable person believe that those same tactics would work if used by Sinn Fein ?

    Devolution of peace and justice is coming – everyone is, in principle, in favour although as Sammy Morse said in another thread, I’m not persuaded that the nationalist electorate see it as a make or break issue. People want policing sorted, irrespective of who is in charge, and given that the Sinn Fein ministers (with the exception of the Education minister) have done little except implement existing British policy and have provided no fresh thinking at all in their departments, there is little reason to believe that a Sinn Fein justice minister – a concept I am not opposed to – will begin to do anything that’s particularly new.

    I’m not that favourable to an Irish language act, but I can see a time coming when there will be compromise over it. The stadium thing is a more tricky one. Putting it in the Maze is just stupid. Note that there are unionists who want it there, and there are nationalists who don’t want it there. I don’t see how it is a Sinn Fein negotiating issue.

    This strategy by Sinn Fein is a high risk one. They’re going to the electorate cap in hand, having failed to deliver on many of the objectives that they promised, and saying that they want their mandate refreshed even though there is no clear strategic reason why a renewed mandate will actually change anything. Ted Heath famously tried this once.

  • fluffy lip

    @LURIG’s post 7

    But the PUP have never held any of those sectarian views on SF Lord Mayors etc that the larger Unionist Parties have and that you complain about. In fact the PUP have been criticised heavily by the DUP over the last 15 years for being too close to nationalism and sharing the ‘communist’ policies of Republicans.

    I am pretty sure the PUP’s tactical voting or non voting in city hall has gotten SF into office there.

    The hypocrisy around loyalist weapons ironically does not belong to the PUP, they have been clear they want silent and rusted guns and would prefer decommissioning. It is the British government who concentrated all their efforts and negotiations on IRA weapons and the IRA were happy to ignore loyalist guns to illustrate their war was with the british government.

    Now we as a country are left where we are, with one group decommissioned having negotiated their guns for government and the other cut off with no means of doing so and no face saving way of disposing of their guns (in their eyes) slowly becoming more and more irrelevant

  • I am pretty sure the PUP’s tactical voting or non voting in city hall has gotten SF into office there.

    Pretty sure my arse. The PUP always vote in lockstep with the other unionist parties in the City Hall as far as giving to posts to Shinners go. Only Alliance and the 2 nationalist parties have ever voted for Shinners in senior positions.

    @Lurig – I don’t see how asking for the IRA Army Council to disband is hypocritical. From an Alliance perspective, we recognise that it isn’t an active paramilitary player and don’t therefore believe it should be held against Sinn Féin’s position in government, but to use Gerry Adams’ language, “it would advance the process” enormously if it disbanded. There must be no place for private armies in a democratic society, of any political stripe, including loyalists (just to rip apart your straw man).

  • al

    Think Durkan and Denis Murray had it right today on Nolan. SF seemed to have negotiated poorly at St Andrews and the DUP have been able to walk all over them. In effect they’ve been found out and instead of continuing to bend over they want to appear strong to their prole supporters but because of their poor efforts they have no proper way of doing it so they have to throw the toys out of the pram.

    It might still work with the SF supporters who are dismal bunch to start with but the rest of the population aren’t going to look too kindly.

    The DUP have it easy in this one…they just nominate Peter as planned and then go “we’ve done our half”

  • fluffy lip

    @sammy morse

    Charming style you have there.

    On researching what my recollection may have been it was:-

    David Ervine abstaining himself from votes against Sinn Fein despite heavy pressure and criticism from larger Unionist Parties.


    David Ervine speaking in support of Sinn Fein’s display of lilies at Stormont despite said heavy Unionist criticism.

    My point was that the PUP are far from anti Sinn Fein and have been ridiculed and lambasted by Unionism for over a decade for holding a ‘softer’ position, one I might add that has become the norm.


    Purvis is wasted in the PUP.

  • DC

    “This strategy by Sinn Fein is a high risk one. They’re going to the electorate cap in hand, having failed to deliver on many of the objectives that they promised, and saying that they want their mandate refreshed even though there is no clear strategic reason why a renewed mandate will actually change anything.”

    Not necessarily true CS because they could, if played correctly, become the largest party and take FM position, which would be correct given the procrastination going on within Unionism on the back of 30+ years of utter intra-bloc divisiveness.

    He who pays the piper, if you like, calls the tunes.

  • Dessertspoon

    Speculate speculate speculate…..any facts out there????? Nope didn’t think so how about a cessation of commenting until 5:00pm tomorrow when we might have a tiny clue about what is happening.

  • Steve


    Whats the point or fun on commenting on a political blog if you have to stick to the facts and not speculate. It would be a news site then and probably aptly hosted by the BBC