“That’s all we’re doing..”

After the footballing visual metaphor BBC NI’s Politics Show got down to some post-match analysis. UUP leader Reg Empey returned to his criticism of an Executive with “no strategic overview” and identified “Sinn Féin’s classic tactic” of getting “a whole lot of issues together to do a package deal”. The DUP’s Simon Hamilton defended his party’s administering within the “indigenous deal” that is the Northern Ireland Executive and Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, determined to avoid the v-word (veto) in the absence of Executive meetings, said that his party was trying to ensure that “the Executive meets on an agreed agenda” – which seems to translate as ‘agree to meet on our agenda or there will be no Executive meeting’. The devolution of policing and justice powers looms large in the discussion with implied references from John O’Dowd to the St Andrews Agreement’s deadline target date [What did the deputy First Minister say again? – Ed]. Towards the end there’s a quote from John O’Dowd worth pulling out [6min 10s in], “What we’re willing to do is to sit down with the DUP and enter serious discussions with them about it [policing and justice]. We haven’t had those serious discussions to date and I think that’s what’s missing out of this. We have had discussions, we have had meetings, but you see until you get down to hard-nosed negotiations then it’s all just optics. That’s all we’re doing.” Indeed.