“Senior Irish and British officials currently sound like prophets of doom..”

In the Guardian, Henry McDonald on the deadlocked Northern Ireland Executive and the mother of all DUP-Sinn Féin battles to come in September.

The mother of all DUP-Sinn Féin battles to come remains the policing and justice question. According to reliable sources Peter Robinson and his team met a senior delegation of Ulster Unionists at Westminster last week during which the first minister spoke in rather hardline, belligerent terms about the issue.

He, and indeed Gerry Adams (who has also hardened his rhetoric over what he regards as DUP intransigence) could be bluffing. Both parties enjoy the limited power they exercise and in all likelihood know that it is the only show the British and Irish governments will tolerate.

But, like politicians and economists accused of talking their countries into a recession, the two parties are in danger of sleepwalking Northern Ireland into another crisis – which would only add to the woes of a population already enduring the miseries of the credit crunch, rising food and fuel bills, and a rain-sodden, damp-soaked summer.

As always, go read the whole thing.

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  • joeCanuck

    There is an earlier thread on Belgium. Perhaps we can follow their example. They are proof that a country can function ok without a government.

  • Driftwood

    No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

    HL Mencken

    Always quotable, but even he could not have believed the sham-farce that is Stormont.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Bit of light futuring.

    The boot for Poots means surely that the DUP will say No to the Bobby (Sands) Bowl in September and this will help Robbo deliver his message that he has magiced up the confidence of the Unionist people (with Wee Davy Ford’s help) for the transfer of Police and Justice. All parcelled up with a grand fudge on Education and not a sniff of an Irish language act.

  • Brian Walker

    Robinson and Adams have clearly riled each other over diametrically opposite claims over the devolution of J&P;,with the Irish language and the stadium thrown in. By the timing of his London speech, Adams was clearly the aggressor for breaking out of the parameters of the constitutional relationship: while Robinson and co were equally obviously provocative for their scathing refusal to move on any of the key points of SF’s agenda.

    Nowadays there is no Jonathan Powell to spoon feed them deal. They’re on their own and must learn transactional politics. Like ideas for:

    Phased introduction of Welsh language model, with costs reduced by wide preference of electronic versions over bound hard copy.

    A stadium solution located some awkward distance from an abstract commemoration of the prisoners.

    P&J;solution along promising existing lines, with an SDLP minister if not Alliance.

    British-Irish intervention may be needed before Christmas. Are Shaun Woodward and Dermot Ahern the men to deliver it?

    Stand by for lobby stories along these lines.
    Or suddenly, magically next month, the shadow boxing will end with a P&J;deal. Just like that!

  • Mark McGregor

    Brian,

    Those of us that have had to endure endless Section 75 consultations can’t help but notice and be relieved that we now get a notice that we can be consulted rather than mountains of nonsense paper work on everything from carparking at a government building to the disposal of nuclear waste – it was getting very, very stupid.

  • Greenflag

    joe canuck ,

    ‘There is an earlier thread on Belgium. Perhaps we can follow their example. They are proof that a country can function ok without a government. ‘

    Follow their example ? Why ? The Belgians have been without a Government for a year . Northern Ireland has been without an Assembly from approx 1972 to 2007 ( excluding maybe a year or two of pretending there was a Government ) .

    I make that Northern Ireland the winners /losers by 33 yrs to Belgium’s 1 yr .

    What HMG really needs to do with this lot is

    Step 1

    Drag both parties into a large dark room for several hours /days perhaps . Take out the pie charts , graphs , power point presentations on the detailed government finances for NI and point out who is actually coughing up exactly how much to keep both circuses on the road .

    Step 2 .

    Bring in a sunshine machine . When the harsh facts of life have been imparted to the assembled circuses – Set the sunshine ray machine on full strength on both ‘vampires’ and have a few crucifixes and stakes available just in case they refuse to see the light 🙁

    Step 3 .

    Bring some sledge hammers -they’ll be needed to ahem install the stakes 🙁

  • Dave

    Alternatively, Greenie, they could just let Gerry do his little “I’m not a puppet” routine for his party faithful, knowing they can yank his strings and put him back in his box when they beleive they’ve done enough to convince said faithful that Gerry is his own man, thereby winning rousing cheers for their puppet.

  • Ho hum

    He can meet the UUs in London but couldn’t drag himself over to the Omagh memorials?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    While Henry is right to highlight the areas where the executive can move on, they can affect the credit crunch and rising food and fuel bills about as much as they can influence the rainfall this summer…

  • C-d

    Usually reliable sources??? Thought that Peter Robinson was on holiday in USA for August. If so what does that say for the reliability of the rest of the story?

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “rain-sodden, damp-soaked summer”. Such an evocative writer.

  • Will McGimpsey have a few choice words for Murphy and Robinson after the latest ferry tale?

    I understand questions are now being asked about other recent Government tenders …

  • Comrade Stalin

    The boot for Poots means surely that the DUP will say No to the Bobby (Sands) Bowl in September and this will help Robbo deliver his message that he has magiced up the confidence of the Unionist people (with Wee Davy Ford’s help) for the transfer of Police and Justice. All parcelled up with a grand fudge on Education and not a sniff of an Irish language act.

    More delusionary fantasy. The SDLP are in the news today being very annoyed at what they see as the ongoing conspiracy to deprive them of a ministerial post which is theirs by right. They’ve got a point.

    Your weird fixation with Alliance is almost disturbing. I do wonder why you’re not promoting the idea of the SDLP getting the post ?

  • “After last weekend’s biblical deluge in Northern Ireland comes the political storms.”

    Why is Henry working up such a lather? Surely it’s safer to allow the politicians to indulge themselves in masterly inactivity than cut themselves with Ockham’s razor. Let the blood flow – internally.