“our excellent relationship with the US political administration..”

According to a BBC report, “Martin McGuinness has denied his party damaged international confidence by threatening to scupper Peter Robinson’s nomination as first minister.” Not that Sinn Féin did threaten to scupper that nomination, of course.. Whether they will threaten to scupper the Northern Ireland Executive in future remains to be seen..

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The ball is in Robbo’s court (the Unionist veto)and if no movement before the new year then there will be nothing to have confidence in. But judging by the mood music after the STA implementation meeting in London this is extremely unlikely.

    What will be very enjoyable viewing is wee Reggie complaining from the sidelines that the DUP have done a deal with SF on P and J that the UU would never have done.

  • Pete Baker

    Really, IWSMWDI?

    So you don’t believe Martin when he claims that Sinn Féin didn’t threaten to collapse the Executive?

    Or you do?

    It is still about the Sinn Féin leadership and the pressure they feel from their party members and activists, you know.

    That’s where the instabiliy emanates from.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Of course he threatened to collapse it. The day I start believing politicans is the day I…

    If it was an internal SF matter Gordo would have told them to feck off as he was in the middle of multiple crises. He would not have booked Marty in, summoned Robbo and invited the Irish government. If SF were in a hole of their own making do you really think Robbo would be trying to dig them out of it sepecially when he believes the Unionist elctorate dont want P and J transferred and Jimbo and wee Reggie will be on his case.

    The key question is – will Robbo jump (second) and the answer must be – based on what we have seen. Yes – and if he has any sense well before any election (Engleze) so Wee Reggie and Big Jimbo wont be able to damage him too much at the polls. Go Robbo go.

  • percy

    you could say it was a “poisonous foundation” to begin with ; SF negotiating themselves into a position where devolution of P&J;became a target date.
    But sure isn’t it grand that they do support the PSNI?
    People seem to forget that, and even when MMG visited the injured officer, they still maintain
    “I can’t see anything “

  • Pete Baker

    “Of course he threatened to collapse it.”

    And what then do you make of Martin’s claim that he didn’t threaten to collapse it then?

    That’s when the problem was transformed from an internal Sinn Fein problem to an external [all party] problem.

    One which still depends on a DUP solution.

    Martin apparently thinks that doesn’t undermine stability…

  • DC

    Pete, to undermine international confidence it would be appropriate to establish who has had the historic to now modern day influence on such actors that frame the changes to that ‘confidence’ level.

    If you think it’s Unionism, think again. Those with influence can claim a somewhat qualified intent to change a certain “no”. Good relations were and still are maintained.

    I think you are off the mark basing your glee on the fact that Sinn Fein had to go internal to external because the external SF informs the internal and there is a point in switching. The switch happens whenever the vitals for the continuance of that deal begin to be run down to halted via the veto, despite a rather fundamental-for-all power being withheld with no acceptable nor accurate reason given.

    Sinn Fein as a, consociational, power-sharing party used its democratic vote share to assert an appropriate demand for policing change inkeeping with that electorate’s wishes. A vote of which happened previously that was to bring about same, if vetoes stop democracy then democratic votes leave the democratic system due to its own inbuilt incompetence (largely created by the SDLP after suffering from political neurosis caused by long Unionist years of incorrect moral egoism).

    If sovereignty was always an issue the more democracy to change that is always helpful, shared democracy too, rather than an acceptance of the apparent ‘best of British’ approach. As David Ervine once said “we are the people” so let us all govern on all areas, policing is a fundamental aspect of that democratic franchise.

  • It is still about the Sinn Féin leadership and the pressure they feel from their party members and activists, you know.

    That’s where the instabiliy emanates from.

    That’s only partly true Pete. It’s also down to the serial reneging by the DUP, in particular, on the various elements of the St Andrew’s Agreement, a deal which Gordon Brown confirmed this week the party had signed up to, in spite of their protestations to the contrary. [Needless to say, the fact that the party is in government as a result of the deal illustrates that they are beneficiaries – now’s the time to deliver on their side of the bargain – the devolution of powers from Westminster – policing and justice – and the introduction of an Irish Language ACT.]

    I hold no brief for SF whom I regard as having been blinded by the arclights of position but being unable to exercise the power granted by such position.

    The fact that SF and the DUP are so enthusiastically heralding the flying visit of the most disgraced US president of recent times is an indication of how out of touch both parties are not alone with public opinion globally but in their own back yard.

  • truth and justice

    I think Sinn Fein plan back fired, they did not count on the ordinary voter turning on them and the British and Irish Governments seemed to have given them short thrift. I also feel it has helped the DUP. Robinson was seen to call their bluff and speeking to ordinary DUP voters they seem a lot more happy since the change of leadership this is not good news for the DUP but not for the TUV.

  • Pete Baker

    DC

    “I think you are off the mark basing your glee on the fact that Sinn Fein had to go internal to external..”

    Believe me, there’s no glee involved.

    In part because Sinn Fein did not have to do anything of the sort. They chose to go external – and in the process undermine the stability of the NI Executive.

    And this is where Concubhar’s argument fails.

    “It’s also down to the serial reneging by the DUP..”

    In this particular case, the one under discussion, you should know by now that there was no such reneging.

    The argument that there was is based on the false Sinn Féin argument that May 2008 was a deadline.

    That argument was either a misreading, by the Sinn Féin leadership, of the St Andrews document.. or a deliberate mistruth.

    And Gordon Brown did nothing of the sort, Concubhar.

  • truth and justice

    I felt that I must mention the UUP position on Policing and Justice, their position was to agree it but without an end to the the IRA army council and with out the parades issue being sorted out first they would have been happy enough to go with it.

  • DC

    “In part because Sinn Fein did not have to do anything of the sort. They chose to go external -and in the process undermine the stability of the NI Executive.”

    Pete, SF going external maintained the balance of its party faithful (an essential thing to do btw) while in terms of stability at Executive level, with Paisley leaving and stepping down anyway, the change over itself was quite destabilising and that may even still mess up the karma from all that chuckling.

    There were never any real blistering arguments over this stance and therefore the balance both internally and externally was kept and international confidence maintained because everyone is mindful of what is to happen at some point into this political term.

    This was not showboating but backdoor stuff with people acting subtle so as to deal with some very real issues allowing a bit of speculation to concentrate efforts again to the origins of this new form of devolved governance contained in agreement at St Andrews.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    Well confidenence is a trickey commodity and can suddenly appear if it is required- I think we will
    witness the appearance of the Unionist electorate’s confidence for Police and Justice sometime before the new year – at least thats what Robbo will tell us.

    In relation to yankee confidence as many of these guys are sympathetic to SF/Mc Bride principles they probably know the story very well. Those who dont will probably have their confidence shaken – but you would imagine that if you were going to invest millions you might actually find out what the reality on the ground was and any commentator would have told them that without P and J in place the current situation would be volatile.

    With the DUP seemingly aboard the train now its arguable that confidence will increase but many potential investors yankee or otherwise may well be keping their hands in their pockets until the last building block of the peace process – Police and Justice is in place.

    Note to Grizzly for Press relaease: Private polling amongst the investor community in the US has indicated that investor confidence has increased after agreement on the implemetation of STA was agreed between Marty, Robbo and El Gordo.

    re. UU.

    Both wee Reggie and the incoherent ( at least on Hearts and Minds ) Fred Cobain (?) look to be postioning the UU AGAINST the implementation of Police and Justice – because the Unionist electorate are not ready for it. This would make them an anti-STA-agremeent party. To quote my favorite philosopher ‘arry Rednapp ‘Funny old game’.

  • Pete Baker

    DC

    “SF going external maintained the balance of its party faithful..”

    Yeah, by threatening the stability of the Executive.. and then denying that threat.. and then denying that stability was threatened.

    All because of an internal Sinn Féin problem caused by their own mistruths and misleading arguments.

    Sammy etc.

    No investor cares where policing and justice powers reside.

  • DC

    “Yeah, by threatening the stability of the Executive.. and then denying that threat.. and then denying that stability was threatened.”

    What stability Pete? It has been a rather unstable one, SF was merely speculating whether suspension of the democratic structures should be considered given the crude exclusion of its democratic mandate via blunt vetoing.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    “No investor cares where policing and justice powers reside. ”

    That is correct – but they do care that there is stability and P and J issue has the potential to unravel much of the political progress made to date. Presumably you understand this?

    There is little doubt El Gordo understands this otherwise how can we explain that he jumped to attention and hastily organised the STA implementation meeting?

    The Englezes clearly see the bigger picture here – you appear to only see the fine print of a veto ( No transfer of Police and Justice in the STA) which is effectively going to be given up by the DUP – a view now held by SF, SDLP and the UU.

  • DC

    Pete Baker aka Slugger’s political ‘micro-manager’ 🙂

  • Comrade Stalin

    Concubhar,

    The precedent for ignoring things in agreements due to the language being, perhaps necessarily, non-binding was set by Sinn Fein. Decommissioning was supposed to be completed within two years of the Agreement being signed. Another seven would elapse before that was reached. At the time, Sinn Fein would say that the decommissioning should not be a precondition for the implementation of the rest of the Agreement, and that they could not deliver the IRA. The shoe is now on the other foot.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin,

    I agree with this comparison with decomissioning – in fact I made it on a previous post. SF have now done a Trimble and jumperd first i.e. signed up to Police and Justice on a promise from the DUP. This time the pressure is on the DUP to comply just as it was with SF and if they dont do now as everybody expects (British and Irish governments, SDLP , SF and UU), probabvly before the end of the year, then no more Stormont – just exactly like Marty told Robbo.

  • Pete Baker

    A couple of quick points, IWSMWDI.

    “on a promise from the DUP.”

    The point is that no such promise existed. That was invented by the SF leadership.

    The best Martin could come up with was Ian Paisley Jnr saying they’d stand by St Andrews – which was the equivalent of saying ‘we’ll see what the situation is in May.’

    “just exactly like Marty told Robbo.”

    Well at least, on this point, you don’t believe what Martin has told you.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    there may be a little bit of pin head dancing here but the bottom line is the DUP veto is only any use if they can exercise it – political opinion in Dublin, London, and the main Nationalist parties is against them doing so. If they choose to do so (even if done on the basis of principle) Robbo but he will first minister of Jack shit and the evil republic from the south will have an even greater say in what he likes to call the ‘internal’ affairs of Non Iron.

    It may not seem fair to Unionists but that’s the way things are post GFA/STA – the Englezes are not batting for Unionism but batting for long term peace and stability.

  • Pete Baker

    “there may be a little bit of pin head dancing here”

    There’s no “pin head” to dance on.

    SF don’t like the box they’ve stepped into.

    But they, in the words of Gerry Adams, put it together with the DUP.

  • DC

    You’re wrong Pete, or do you and Mick sit down at some point and play let’s figure out how to work up debate by playing up certain political agendas to ensure continuance of Slugger readership based on particular biases.

  • DC

    “Decommissioning was supposed to be completed within two years of the Agreement being signed.”

    Of course the actual agreement said such but it had an addition:

    ‘and in the context of the implementation of the overall settlement’.

    That was the snag for Trimble even though he stuck with the 2 years, SF stuck with the other bit. A bit of playing was done to each vote base. Nevertheless not enough progress was made on both counts that is why it took over 10 years largely due to the DUP ruining confidence, in order to pounce when the UUP had gotten its Unionists voters to swim up stream against a strong DUP current flooded with false hope and misdirection.

    Trimble got decommissioning but the IRA got 9/11 given to the DUP and the PSNI is still the PSNI, terrorists are out, SF now 2nd largest party etc, etc.

  • Pete Baker

    DC

    “You’re wrong Pete”

    No, I’m not.

    And you need to arrange a better argument.

  • DC

    “SF don’t like the box they’ve stepped into.”

    Then they really wouldn’t do what they have done. They wouldn’t be where they are now, especially having had the real opportunity not to be in that place, the place being with Robbo and his DUP. They are there with him because it’s time to work along aside that bitter bass to deliver. A little speculation on this occasion was like a spoon full of sugar helping the DUP to get that medicine for democratic recovery down them.

    Your argument is stilted, Pete. You keeping rehashing the same old arguments roaching up on the same old mat.

    Kapisch?

  • Pete Baker

    DC

    “Then they really wouldn’t do what they have done..”

    And yet they did.

    You talk about “a little speculation” “helping the DUP to get that medicine for democratic recovery down them”.

    But the mistruths and misleading arguments were sold by the SF leadership to the SF party members and activists to get them to support policing.

    Kapisch yet?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    SF took a gamble, persuaded their Ard Fheis that the DUP would sign up to P and J – whether that involved lying or not is a moot point – but lets says they told some porkers. None of that will matter provided the DUP actually DO sign up. The main political pressure is now on the DUP and SF are in the awkward position of having to support police without the transfer of Police and Justice. They can let this run for a while and then will pull the plug. The British and Irish governements ( how long before the yanks weigh in ) will be putting pressure not on SF but on the DUP and if they dont play ball SF will say we gave it our best shot (politically speaking that is ) but same old, smae old Unionism exercised it’s veto. This will leave the Englezes to turn to the one partner it can do business with – the Evil Republic of the south.

  • DC

    “But the mistruths and misleading arguments were sold by the SF leadership to the SF party members and activists to get them to support policing.”

    No Pete they had a date in mind to keep progress moving and was part of getting into governance with the DUP.

    The outcome being democracy and therefore that is why it was almost considered worthy of suspension because the origins of that deal were beginning to unravel and it was a deal to democracy however poor it is. It is about balance between SF as a party (internally and externally) and across the executive table. There wasn’t a balance at Executive level hence the return to the party.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    DC,

    one point that I dont think Pete has mentioned is that the reason SF may have ‘rushed’, ‘lied about’, ‘took a chance on’, ‘did the honourable thing’ (delete as appropriate to your ideology) this issue was because of the southern elections – though I may have my timings wrong here. I’m personally glad they jumped first as it will benefit everyone but I’m not sure they would do it again if they knew what a stinker the elections were going to be – though of course they would never admit that.

  • Guys,

    I’ve a Ben Elton book sitting staring at me from the bookshelf, called ‘The First Casualty’ and an old war photo on the front. As you know the first casualty of war is……? But it is important to note, the war is over. The DFM said so on Friday. So maybe it is time to adopt post war techniques in debating these matters.

    Despite assertions to the contrary, Pete is right about this stuff in all its particulars. His perspective may not be the ‘be all and end all’. But he reads the detail of these matters as well as any senior civil servant of party hack.

    Isn’t it about time we started to prize truth at least as much as narrow party advantage?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    There is an old saying – not seeing the wood for the trees and another not seeing the bigger picure. Both of these charges are more fairly levelled against Pete and yourself than the charge of ignoring the truth for narrow party advantage. I am not a member of SF but support most of their current policies. It is no use just saying someone is wrong without providing supporting arguements to back it up.

    In my opinion both of you resolutely fail to see/admit that the party with the greatest political difficulty over P and J is the DUP – as they are out of step with what the main players the Irish and British governement, SDLP and SF require/demand. A veto is feck all good unless you can exercise and El Gordo appears to have told Robbo that he needs to get on with implementing the STA in full.

    If there is no sign of transfer of P and J powers before the new year and if SF dont collapse the executive as a result then I will readily admit I have it wrong. If they do collapse it and the DUP dont take most of the blame then again I will admit I got it wrong. Alternatively if the DUP sign up to Police and Justice before then or if SF collapse the executive and the DUP get the blame I suggest both of you do likewise.

    Deal?

  • Pete Baker

    “It is no use just saying someone is wrong without providing supporting arguements to back it up.”

    You might want to try that some time.

    “If there is no sign of transfer of P and J powers before the new year..”

    More futuring.

    Whatever happened to May 2008?

    Here’s a tip, Sammy McNally, deal with the present before attempting to predict the future.

  • DC

    “Isn’t it about time we started to prize truth at least as much as narrow party advantage?”

    You’re either for us or against us approach there Mick; but, can I suggest this too in contrast for the sake of widening out on your comment: Plato’s noble lie.

    On the whole the return of cross-party devolution has been built on ambiguity, so I hardly see how tightening up on that now, given that St Andrews was strung on to the GFA, will exact much real truthful currency. That St Andrews agreement was always regarded as ‘putative’. Therefore, I feel, truth is not obtained from such a micromanaged focus because it fails to see correctly the wider conditions that precipitated the return of this government.

    The logic is to maintain peace and stability and for once, and for once only, I can see why it was done in terms of not getting that absolute truth over a commitment and specific date. It’s about keeping it together. Focusing in on one aspect misses out on this, the democracy is a young one, society is still restructuring via consociational-elitism and the people be they DUP or SF voters etc are being conditioned to move forward via leadership.

    The truth is policing and justice is intended to happen, and that is a truth in the wider context. It was part of a return to devolved governance in order to limit a return of that war, which some dissident groups have kept up, so the warring is something still to be finally gotten over as a whole.

    But Mick the subject remains:

    ‘According to a BBC report, “Martin McGuinness has denied his party damaged international confidence by threatening to scupper Peter Robinson’s nomination as first minister.”’

    I’ve answered previously based on the consequences of any further stalling on matters such as vital as this.