“it’s possible the power vacuum will continue for another week..”

So when was the last meeting of the Northern Ireland Executive? Or is it fictional as well? The earliest report of a cancelled meeting seems to be from July 5th. Since then, according to Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, his party has been trying to ensure that “the Executive meets on an agreed agenda” – which seems to translate as ‘agree to put our items on the agenda or there will be no Executive meeting’. And, footballing visual metaphors aside, that inability to agree appears to continue. As Mark Devenport notes

A meeting was expected this coming Thursday, July 24th, but I am told that the preparatory special advisers or “minreps” meeting has not taken place. So it’s possible the power vacuum will continue for another week.

At least. Still, they all have a political mandate..

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    No point in having meetings unless the DUP agrees to seriously discuss Police and Justice as SF will be doing the collapse thing if they dont.

    As SF have done the jump thing on policing time for Robbo to follow and do likewise – presumably after themarchingupanddownoftenwherenotwantedtocelbratettheheadydaysofreligiousdomination season is finished and Wee Reggie and Big Jimbo are on holidays and before El Gordo summonses him back to Downing St for another telling off for draggis his feet.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s totally daft to put the business of the government on hold until agreement on these other matters is reached. The agreement should be sought in parallel. DUP and SF really are complete failures when it comes to running the country.

  • Greenflag

    comrade stalin ,

    ‘DUP and SF really are complete failures when it comes to running the country.’

    What else can you expect given the system ? We’re talking here of a two headed donkey with one of the heads stuck where the arse should be . Take your pick as which head is the arse -DUP or SF – It doesn’t matter . Both heads are facing in opposite directions . As the DUP head goes forward the SF head is forced to move backwards and vice versa . Thus eternal stasis is built in to the settlement . The only way to get both heads going forward in the same direction would require such an act of political and acrobatic contortions that the backbone of said body (donkey) would snap in two resulting in instant paralysis if not death . And that would be the end of another political experiment in futility for another generation .

    Repartition makes a lot more political sense at least from an Irish nationalist perspective .

    Thus necessitating another long term stay for bo

  • Greenflag

    Error in above post – The last half sentence is unfinished and inapplicable .

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin,

    not a bit of it – there is both a political settlement and a peace settlement – without the latter which includes Police and Justice you can forget the former – the British and SF clearly need to knock Robbo in to line on this one.

  • slug

    A silly season story.

  • Briso

    Pete:
    which seems to translate as ‘agree to put our items on the agenda or there will be no Executive meeting’

    Couldn’t translate as ‘agree to take your items off the agenda or there will be no Executive meeting’, could it?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Greenflag,

    Stormont may be a donkey but repartition is definitely a hobby horse of yours – and its a bit of political masturbation if you ask me (which off course you didnt) – and is essentially the same thing as integration with the UK for those from the opposite side of the fence who prefer a horse of a different colour i.e. not green. So put your political trousers back on and try taking a more sensible political option for a dry ride.

  • Pete Baker

    Briso

    Perhaps.

    Perhaps I should have kept to my original phrasing?

    “which seems to translate as ‘agree to meet on our agenda or there will be no Executive meeting’.”

    The point being, as you well know, John O’Dowd’s aversion to the v-word [veto].

    “or there will be no Executive meeting.”

  • ulster_sightseer
  • Pete Baker

    Sammy

    “there is both a political settlement and a peace settlement..”

    You mean the “indigenous” deal “put together by Sinn Féin and the DUP”

    That was the St Andrews Agreement?

    It’s now a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive.

    You do know what the deputy First Minister, eventually, had to say?

    Or should I just alert the amphibious squadron, again?

  • Comrade Stalin

    IWSMWDI:

    not a bit of it – there is both a political settlement and a peace settlement – without the latter which includes Police and Justice you can forget the former – the British and SF clearly need to knock Robbo in to line on this one.

    Sure, let’s forget the former and go back to direct rule. That suit you better ?

    Sinn Fein are simply in no position to make any demands. If they walk out, either the executive will continue to exist, or it will collapse. Either way they’ll be out of government, there will be no devolution of policing and justice, and there will be no Irish language act. They’re really better off staying in and trying to work the system properly. Deliver for the voters, rather than bleating about these relatively insignificant manifesto commitments.

    I don’t see why SF are making such a big issue out of P&J;anyway. They have proven themselves utterly unimaginative at running the departments that they have control over, merely implementing whatever the civil servants tell them in the same way that the British minister did before them. Why do people delude themselves into thinking that running the police and the courts will be any different ?

    I’d fully support all-party talks between the remaining parties to resurrect the executive without Sinn Fein. We did precisely this in 1998, when the DUP excluded themselves, and there is no reason why we cannot do it again. Wreckers cannot be allowed to halt political progress and if Sinn Fein want to be wreckers then they need to be firmly stopped, just as the DUP were firmly stopped when they tried to use their old tactics.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade, Pete,

    what neither of you seem to get is the GFA/STA is essentially a deal between the British and Nationalism which both buys off the Provos campaign and undoes much of the pigs ear left from partition. The main remaining component to be delievered by the British ( by applying pressure to Robbo ) is Police and Justice – the law will only be adhered to as long as it is run by Irish people – that is the principle that underpins the long term success of the peace process. El Gordo knows this as witnessed by him summoning Robbo to Downing Street.

    The main reason the DUP and Robbo and Ian before him cut a deal putting their sworn enemies in power, is that the Englezes threatened them with greater papal influence from the south – works every time as it will again with Robbo.

    Indigenous deal me arse – thats window dressing.

  • Dave

    Robinson and Dodds, being about the best of a bad bunch, could probably make a positive contribution to Northern Ireland’s economic prosperity, but the rest give the worrying impression of trained monkeys in hospital operating theatres. As Arlo Guthie quipped about Ronald Reagan’s somnambulism, “I think it’s good to have a sleeping President: the more he sleeps, the safer we are.”

  • Traditional_Unionist

    Its quite obvious SF/IRA still have a long way to go yet before they can get anywhere near policing and justice. I wouldnt even let them anywhere near government but lets stick to this debate at the minute I guess.

    The IRA terror council still is in existance and while that is the case it is quite incredible that people are trying to force the issue of policing and justice.

    also are SF/IRA going to continue their behavour of going to events to celebrate the lives of people who killed policemen or attempted to? meaning we will have the ludicrous position of SF/IRA one day saying they support policing and justice and even having control over both and then the next day going to support events to support terrorists who tried to destroy both policing and justice and murdered to do so, policmen included.

    this is just simply madness and how anyone can be pushing to have policing and justice in the hands of such people is astounding and so irresponsible.

    it may be dressed up by having an alliance minister, but SF/IRA and the deputy leader (who himself still attends terror supporting events) will stay have a massive say over everything, with the DUP being unable to do anything without SF/IRA’s agreement

  • also are SF/IRA going to continue their behavour of going to events to celebrate the lives of people who killed policemen or attempted to? meaning we will have the ludicrous position of SF/IRA one day saying they support policing and justice and even having control over both and then the next day going to support events to support terrorists who tried to destroy both policing and justice and murdered to do so, policmen included.

    A few years ago Sammy Wilson unveiled a UVF mural on the Shankill Road. Yet it was the same UVF who killed the first policeman in NI, one Victor Arbuckle in 1969. Should you not ask the same question of the DUP before devolving policing powers?

  • steve

    TU

    Somebody has to say it so it may as well be me

    What was in the past was not policing and it sure as hell wasn’t justice. it was simply state sponsored terrorism, akin more to Saddam’s republican guard then real policing

  • Comrade Stalin

    what neither of you seem to get is the GFA/STA is essentially a deal between the British and Nationalism which both buys off the Provos campaign and undoes much of the pigs ear left from partition.

    The GFA is a unionist document. Sure it has a few token things about the police, articles 2+3 and the Irish language, but overall, the net effect of the document was to consolidate the union by getting nationalists to formally sign up to the principle of consent. Trying to paint it otherwise is to deny reality. This “nationalist deal” has done nothing to make Irish reunification more likely – feel free to correct me.

    The STA was a daft fudge between the DUP and SF. It “secured” various matters on the same basis as the GFA did – ie very ambiguously. Remember the two-year decommissioning deadline which SF were able to freely ignore ? It’s right there in black and white in the GFA.

    The main remaining component to be delievered by the British ( by applying pressure to Robbo ) is Police and Justice – the law will only be adhered to as long as it is run by Irish people – that is the principle that underpins the long term success of the peace process.

    Do chuckies still hold on to this blinkered belief that it’s in the gift of the British to simply wave a magic wand and deliver things ? Why don’t you go the whole hog and ask them to “deliver” Irish reunification ? I’ll tell you why, because it’s bollocks, and republicanism recognized that when it signed up to the GFA. Please get your ideology straightened out before contributing.

    Devolution of policing and justice can occur only through agreement and negotiation, just like devolution, cross-border bodies, etc. The fact that you’re too incompetent to achieve that agreement, and instead desire the British to go over our heads, is hardly anyone else’s fault outside of your own.

    The main reason the DUP and Robbo and Ian before him cut a deal putting their sworn enemies in power, is that the Englezes threatened them with greater papal influence from the south – works every time as it will again with Robbo.

    So you want the British to actually threaten your fellow countrymen with subjugation if they don’t do what you want, rather than actually talking to them and dealing with them yourself ? Doesn’t this mentality show the complete lunacy of your political ideology ? Don’t you realize that this exposes you to having the same tactics used on your in turn ? Do you really think that people will believe that your goal is a shared united Ireland where unionists play an equal role, if you are prepared to freely admit that it’s fair game to get the British to beat them up with a big stick in order to get what you want ?

    FWIW, I support the full devolution of policing and justice powers. I recognize that, as with decommissioning, it is not going to be achieved by people throwing their rattles out of the pram. It will be achieved through negotiation and dialogue. In the meantime there’s a job to be done.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Traditional unionist :

    The IRA terror council still is in existance and while that is the case it is quite incredible that people are trying to force the issue of policing and justice.

    This is a stupid red herring and you know it. If the IRA disbands the army council, will you freely and openly accept Sinn Fein as partners in government ? No you won’t, so stop bullshitting.

    also are SF/IRA going to continue their behavour of going to events to celebrate the lives of people who killed policemen or attempted to?

    If people wearing Orange sashes can attend Orange marches carrying replica sub-machine guns, then why not ? If people can, on the 11th/12 July, openly flaunt the law, destroy property (private and public) and incur tremendous taxpayer-borne cleanup expenses, all without any protest from “traditional” unionists, are you sure that you’re in a position to debate the issue of devolving justice ? If traditional unionists can appear side by side with convicted terrorists at rallies outside churches, are you really in a position to make determinations on who is or is not fit for government ?

    meaning we will have the ludicrous position of SF/IRA one day saying they support policing and justice and even having control over both and then the next day going to support events to support terrorists who tried to destroy both policing and justice and murdered to do so, policmen included.

    This is no more than unionist politicians demanding that other people unequivocally sign up to the police, and then go on to condemn the police whenever they raid loyalist paramilitary meetings.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade,

    If the GFA was a unioinst document then why did Nationlaists vote overwhelmingly for it (and if you believe the DUP ) a majority of Unioinists voted against it – in spite of severe pressure from the Englezes.

    The reality is my dear boy that as both Robbo and his be-collared predecessor have acknowledged they only signed up to the STA to avoid threats of papal(all things nasty from ROI ) influence from the south.

    The Britsh (“Hand of history” and all that ) know from that history not to feck this up and these threats will rightly continue until Unionists toe the line.

    After this element is in place then the focus should be on finding a proper and reasonable accomodation with Unionists but not before – carts before horses (see above )and all that.

    I’m sure El Gordo has made this clear to Robbo and as Bill Mc Claren the rugby commentator like to say the DUP will soon ‘supply the necessaries’.

  • Traditional_Unionist

    comrade stalin,

    Thanks for that. I needed a good laugh

    for one the man standing on the platform with a gun was someone wearing an RUC uniform with a sash on. symbolising the many RUC men who were in the Orange Order. Nothing wrong with showing pride of those members, and the sacrifices they made.

    what property was destroyed on the twelfth by the way?

    I also see you conviently dont mention the full hotels throughout belfast and the amount of money the twelfth celebrations bring to the province…..

    Why don’t you name the “Traditional Unionists” who stood outside a church side by side with terrorists? otherwise it is simply a sweeping statement that does nothing to back up your arguement against me. I wasnt one of them and never would be so I fail to see how your point (even if true of some unionists) can be used against me

  • Steve

    TU

    Now you’ve gone and done it!

    All those facts Comrade stated are easily proven and are accepted with out really requiring chapter and verse as they have been cited a hundred times before

    As for property destroyed on the 12th? What about the Library damaged by the bonfire? Or all the pavements damaged?

  • Traditional_Unionist

    steve

    just because you claim something is a fact doesnt make it so.

    a fact in your eyes may be nowhere near a fact in others eyes. such is the beauty of debate and differing opinions 🙂

  • Steve

    Are news stories enough or do we need back up from the encyclopedia britanica

    I don’t keep all the links but just last week the stories about the damage from bonfires were in the news I am sure hyperlinker baker must have a half a thousand of them

  • Steve

    Heres a link for you to start on

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/less-orangefest-more-hatefest-as-lisburn-uup-mayor-fans-flames-of-hate-in-s/

    other than that I am sure that you will find me untrustworthy as i don’t share your benighted views

  • cynic

    “What else can you expect given the system ? ”

    ….but that’s what the parties agreed and we voted for.

    “Devolution of policing and justice can occur only through agreement and negotiation …… The fact that you’re too incompetent to achieve that agreement, and instead desire the British to go over our heads, is hardly anyone else’s fault outside of your own.”

    Yep…agree completely

    Well, we are getting towards crunch time where those we elect have to either show that they can work together or that they can’t. Yesterdays revelations

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/gangland-gun-trail-linked-to-ira-suppliers-13912934.html

    wont help agreement and may be seized upon by the DUPs. To be fair to the Shinners though, as PIRA fragments even further there will probably be a lot more of this sort of thing, robberies and genral crime from “ex” members and its largely out of their control now. They really would be better to consign PIRA to history now so they can dissociate themsleves from it.

    Meanwhile the absence of meaningful engagement on decommissioning from Loyalists (or any real visible support for that from Unionist politicians)weakens the latter’s hand.

    However, all that is the detail. The big issues are, do they want to do a deal and have they the leadership skills to sell the necessary compromise in both communities?

    I think the answer is ‘yes’ to both of these but with some angst on all sides. My betting is that they will do a deal and there will be a trade off

    Irish Language Act = Ruane’s Head and revision of education reform to keep Grammars and voluntary selection at 11

    Policing and Justice Devolved = formal end of PIRA and Army Council, P&J;powers to be progressively devolved against a published timetable of say 2 to 3 years, a fudge on the role of the Justice Minister and Deputy (which will be DUP and SF) and a formal target date for the end of 50/50 police recruitment

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy:

    If the GFA was a unioinst document then why did Nationlaists vote overwhelmingly for it (and if you believe the DUP ) a majority of Unioinists voted against it – in spite of severe pressure from the Englezes.

    Why do all the “fuck the pope” people demonstrate at July 12th considering that, at the time, the pope supported King Billy ? You can’t determine reality by looking at what side people choose to take.

    I like to think that nationalists voted for the GFA because they were being constructive and compromising, and were happy to give some fairly easy concessions. This does not change the fact that the content of the document largely worked to consolidate the union.

    The reality is my dear boy that as both Robbo and his be-collared predecessor have acknowledged they only signed up to the STA to avoid threats of papal(all things nasty from ROI ) influence from the south.

    The threat was no different to the one used at the time of the GFA. This argument doesn’t work, because Paisley has spent his entire life facing down such threats. Unionism has demonstrated time and time again that threats do not work. Of course, that usually results in a substantial cost to it’s political position (eg 1972). They have a suicide bomber’s mentality.

    Paisley signed up to the STA because he was in a position to do so having climbed to the top and defeated all of his rivals.

    The Britsh (“Hand of history” and all that ) know from that history not to feck this up and these threats will rightly continue until Unionists toe the line.

    Now that the British have secured the defeat and disarmament of the IRA with (relatively) little loss of life, they can essentially do what they damn well please within the confines of the international agreements they have signed up to. Sinn Fein are a minority movement within a minority region within Ireland. They are in no position to demand anything. You can jerk off all day about history and imperialism and all the rest, but it’s not 1921 anymore.

    After this element is in place then the focus should be on finding a proper and reasonable accomodation with Unionists but not before – carts before horses (see above )and all that.

    In other words, you want to defeat the unionists first with the help of the British, and then deal with them from a position of strength ? This is your idea of a shared future ?

    I’m sure El Gordo has made this clear to Robbo and as Bill Mc Claren the rugby commentator like to say the DUP will soon ‘supply the necessaries’.

    Great. So can you please ensure SF get the memo ? They’re threatening to pull out because they’re concerned that the DUP will not do so.

  • Comrade Stalin

    TU:

    for one the man standing on the platform with a gun was someone wearing an RUC uniform with a sash on. symbolising the many RUC men who were in the Orange Order. Nothing wrong with showing pride of those members, and the sacrifices they made.

    You what ? This is an RUC uniform ? I wouldn’t mind commemorating the RUC, if that’s what you want to do. NB I believe replica guns are illegal.

    what property was destroyed on the twelfth by the way?

    Road surfaces and fences chiefly. Also myself and my work colleagues were ordered out of our offices at 3pm on Friday afternoon, due to the bonfire assembled in front of the office completely obstructing vehicle access to it. Along the Shore Road a bonfire was lit on the main road near Fortwilliam Park.

    I don’t mind the bonfires when they’re on waste ground away from the road, provided they don’t burn anything illegal; and I can ignore the 12th, I don’t want to ban it. But this illegality is outrageous. You can’t call yourselves “law and order” people and then defend this bollocks.

    I also see you conviently dont mention the full hotels throughout belfast and the amount of money the twelfth celebrations bring to the province…..

    Source for this ? I saw one or two very stupid tourists interviewed on BBC believing that it was a cultural celebration. Then again, I’ve seen stupid tourists turn up for hunger strike demonstrations and other chuckie events, so I guess it’s even-stevens.

    Hotel rooms are short in Belfast, they’re full throughout most of the summer. Clearly the 12th does not make people stay away, that’s at least some improvement compared to previous years when there would be a mass exodus.

    Why don’t you name the “Traditional Unionists” who stood outside a church side by side with terrorists? otherwise it is simply a sweeping statement that does nothing to back up your arguement against me. I wasnt one of them and never would be so I fail to see how your point (even if true of some unionists) can be used against me

    If I was in a political party, and members of that party attended a demonstration where convicted terrorists were also present, then the position is simple; if those members were not expelled then I would have to leave lest I find myself tarred with the same brush. Can you guess what might happen if TUV members were seen at a hunger strike rally, even as “bystanders” ? Do you think they’d be allowed to stay in the party ?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade,

    ” Now that the British have secured the defeat and disarmament of the IRA with (relatively) little loss of life, they can essentially do what they damn well please within the confines of the international agreements they have signed up to. ”

    The Englezes, as I pointed out above, want to settle this properly to both ensure continuing good relations with ROI and preventing the next generation IRA – F(uture)IRA? kicking off. That suggests they will deliver the DUP by threatening them with the papal south as they have been delivered thus far. If they don’t SF will (and should) collapse the assembly.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade,

    re King Billy and the pope – that was not an appropriate comparison for a number of reasons – one of those reasons is that it not known/understood by those involved in the marches. The complexities of the relationship between France/Britain and the Papacy do not sit comfortably with the sectarian conciousness of modern day Orangeism.