“And that perhaps is the difference between now and the past..”

Slugger has gotten advance notice of an interview with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson in Total Politics magazine – which probably took place before Ian Paisley Jnr’s recent comments. And, in perhaps a reference to the threats of collapsing the executive taking the ball away by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, there is this

“People within the party recognise that, until the stability of the Assembly is more firmly established on a longer-term basis, there will be reluctance among people who are Westminster MPs to give up their seats to work exclusively in the Assembly. There will be a phasing-in of that approach,” [Peter Robinson] said.

And furthermore

“We have a choice as a people. Either you continue with the division or you seek to end it. My party took the position that, in the right circumstances, it was possible to proceed, but that we couldn’t concede to terror: criminal activities had to end; guns had to be handed over; and there had be support for the police, the courts and the rule of law.”

Finally, with perhaps an eye on the devolution of policing and justice powers.

Mr Robinson said: “While political parties in NI would have wide areas where they can agree, if you put the Conservative party and the Labour party into the same room, you would have battles every day on issues of socio-economic policy. “The differences we have, we are talking about and attempting to reach agreement on. There are battles, but they are ending without blood being spilt. And that perhaps is the difference between now and the past.”

Adds The full interview, by Slugger’s own Mick Fealty, is available here.