If SF did collapse the executive

The latest remarks by SF about collapsing the executive have already been covered by Pete Baker. I have always tended to the analysis that the threat of collapse and direct rule will cause the DUP to make at least some concessions. That is the logic which I feel inevitably results from the fear of Plan B which Paisley used as one of the major drivers forcing him to accept the agreement in the first place. If the executive does collapse (still in my view the less likely scenario) Jim Allister’s latest comment that the whole thing is untenable would be pretty resolutely proven and I suspect would be accepted in large measure (though possibly grudgingly) by the DUP. Of course the DUP can and will claim that it was better to try devolution and that unionism is in a stronger position for it having been tried by them. That would then be a battle from the past: Either way, it is likely that the practical differences between the positions of the various unionist parties would be reduced. Following any collapse there would be likely to be a period of Direct Rule and further negotiations. I want to suggest that any possible negotiations should see an outbreak of peace between unionists. I accept that this is futuring but I do feel that unionists need to consider options for every eventuality.Since the immediate cause of any collapse would be the devolution of policing and justice, it is very likely that the DUP would come under additional pressure to accept such devolution, possibly helped by various strange opinion polls in the likes of the Belfast Telegraph purporting to show support for P&J devolution within the unionist community. No doubt the additional issues of the Irish language and the Maze stadium would also raise their heads. My analysis and I guess at some level SF’s is that all these would be involved in a further attempt by the governments to force the DUP to accept compromise on these issues. Others have suggested that actually the governments would be annoyed with SF over their collapsing the agreement and would not be of a mind to entertain further SF demands.

Either way following a collapse, it would be important for the DUP not to enter any negotiations simply seeking to defend the current status quo; nor should the only concession the DUP demand be an end to the army council. If SF collapse the agreement a great deal more would need to be looked at. Rather the DUP should use possible future negotiations not to continue with the current Stormont but instead to propose a more radical agenda. They should push the idea of voluntary coalition seeing as the mandatory coalition would have been shown to have failed. The governments (if they blamed SF for the collapse) might be willing to consider this. That always ignores the issue of whether or not the SDLP would be willing to enter into such an a coalition but that might (only might) not be the stumbling block it used to be with an SDLP under Hume. I am happy to be corrected by SDLP types on this but currently Durkan is sounding less than impressed by SF’s position. Whether or not that would make him willing to contemplate being in government without SF is of course a very different matter.

In any future negotiations the other unionist parties (the TUV and UUP) would, in my view, be best advised to be supportive of any hardline stand by the DUP. Such support would be extremely useful to Robinson. He would then be able to say that all strands of unionism were solidly behind the DUP’s position: that it was SF, which had collapsed the agreement without good reason, and as such it should be SF and not unionists who should be pressurised and politically threatened.

Such a stance from the UUP (and TUV) would of course be a clear contrast to what happened when the UUP were involved in negotiations as the largest unionist party. Then the DUP tended to sit on the sidelines and denounce whatever had been decided, though in fairness there was, by the end of Trimble’s tenure, rather a lot to be denounced. Clearly the other unionist parties might be tempted to do that again and indeed if the DUP did make major concessions they would be just right to do so. However, if the DUP do try to hold the line properly they should find support, not carping, from the other unionist parties. They should also enter negotiations told that if they come away with success that will be recognised and supported by the TUV and UUP. Such a change in tenor would be difficult in view of the recently fractious nature of relationships between the unionist parties (poor relations which are the fault of all the parties). However, in any post collapse negotiations all that would be best to be forgotten and instead a cooperative atmosphere would provide the strongest bulwark against further republican demands and the best spring board from which to advance the position of unionism.

There is of course a way of maximising UUP and TUV support for the DUP in any future negotiation process: that would require true strategic vision from Robinson. Vision I have previously accused him of lacking but which he could then show quite brilliantly. Robinson could in any negotiations following a collapse bring UUP and TUV representatives with him. He and the DUP could suggest that they have tried the current agreement but due to SF’s refusal to take part in meaningful coalition government: a new agreement is need. In such a scenario one party alone should not represent unionism but instead all unionists should have a say in crafting unionism’s proposals for the future. That would strengthen Robinson’s position and would also (to an extent) guard him against inter-party squabbles and attempts to gain advantage at the DUP’s expense.

Such a suggestion would of course chime with previous DUP suggestions that they, in the long term, favoured voluntary coalition and would also accord with Robinson’s previously declared wish to have unionist unity. Supported by Allister and Empey and faced with a united unionist block supporting a radical renegotiation of the agreement it is possible that the tables could be turned on SF and they could find that collapsing the agreement would have been a remarkably bad idea for them.

Of course the threats of collapse could well all be a bluff from SF but if that is so it is a bluff designed to get support from its own hardliners as well as extracting concessions from the DUP. SF seem to calculate that the DUP greatly fear collapse and an election as they fear the TUV. Although republicans and unionists are notoriously bad at analysing the other community’s position, that might be a reasonable calculation. However showing to republicans that unionists already have plans afoot if SF does collapse the executive and that those plans would be far from SF’s liking might help show republicans that their threats could be a very double edged sword.

  • There is a pretty big assumption in your analysis that following collapse Robinson’s reputation would not be in tatters as a failure for unionism, just as Brown is proving unable to do the job of PM.

    You also move into a pre European election phase where Jim Allister will most certainly top the poll on the back of DUP arrogance and incompetence .

    Added to which your analysis misses the additional leverage which any new “relationship” between the UUP and the Conservatives might bring to the table.

    Even in the silly season the two DUP wings are starting to split. Jeffrey Donaldson going public on the Maze & Republican shrine versus Gregory Campbell. Junior Paisley chiming in the background calling on dissidents to be shot on sight.

    Your alternative conclusion could be that the DUP implodes and a new unionism emerges from the wreckage.

    Could this prove to Mervyn Storey and David Simpson the theory of evolution?

  • An extended and detailed discursion, which deserves full thought, analysis and response: none of which I have time for just now.

    One quick notion: we are going into the autumn, which means the build-up to the Chancellor’s statement (and it’s going to be a tough one). It is in every NI party’s interest to have a seething pot , that could be in need of a few pinches or pokes of extra seasoning. Or even a bit more “cabbage”.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    There was no ‘Plan B’, Paisley wasn’t threatened with anything, he was, for the umpteenth time in his squalid career, lying. You won’t find a single spod in the DUP who’ll back up this senile, on-air utterance of his because what he claimed happened didn’t. You need no clearer evidence for the lack of the threat than the Punt’s (rightly) self-confident stitching-up of SF. ‘Joint Authority’ was always a chimerical piece of nonsense used by Paisley to delude the sillier of his fundie followers. More fool them for ever being taken in by his guff. The Republic, for one, never was, since they would sooner see Rockall used for British nuclear testing than ever sign up to ‘joint authority’ for this place.

  • Turgon

    interested,
    Thank you for your comments. That is indeed a way in which it could all play out. If the executive collapsed much as people like me might have a bit of schardenfreud if Robinson was damaged there would be a more important objective. That would be to ensure no major concessions to SF due to the collapse and use the fact that SF had collapsed the agreement to argue for a radical renegotiation of the agreement to unionism’s benefit.

    Who would have been right and who would have been wrong in such a set of circumstances would be less important than preventing republicans gaining what they wanted and in addition advancing our own agenda.

    Rooster Cogburn,
    As you will see from the blog I linked to I agree with your analysis of Plan B. However, what I am suggesting is that if (and it is a big if) but if SF collapsed the agreement a degree of unionist unity would help move unionism forward. That would be less fun than a bash the DUP extravaganza but would be likely to be more effective in gaining what unionists want.

  • bob Wilson

    Malcolm – do you seriously think that Gordon Brown and more importantly his panicking back benchers are going to bung Robbo et al MORE money?

  • Your proposal only works if unionists believe Robinson is up to the job. Not only leadership of the DUP, but unionism.

    Many non-DUP unionists were sceptical of Robinson’s capabilities before (despite the Dept of Foreign Affairs glowing assessment – which in itself should be troubling).

    DUP slick presentation, threatening writs & spin from special advisers now looks ridiculous. Substance and capacity is lacking.

    Questioning the DUP’s credentials in this respect is certainly not fun. It is pretty disturbing & they have a lot to answer for.

  • bob Wilson @ 11:43 AM:

    Only by the wildest stretch of the imagination. I doubt that is the designated first base: it’s more likely to make sure that what we think we have, we hold.

    Remember those budget cuts down south: the full €1M for 2008-9. What will be the knock-on effects of those on cross-Border projects? Other projects have EU financing dependent on local pump-priming.

    All I was implying was we should not rule out a bit of stage-business by the spear-carriers as warm-up to the headline act.

  • DC

    “but if SF collapsed the agreement a degree of unionist unity would help move unionism forward.”

    10+ years too late mate.

    And you would be better respecting some demands put forward by nationalists / republicans today and think how they could be met around the table. Will this voluntary coalition deliver them? If not, why not? And, really if the DUP cant share power on a compulsory basis, what chance voluntarily?

    Today the debate is shifting, no longer about big ideology such as Unionism and Nationalism et al, but moreso about how at the micro level some of the inherent political demands can be met democratically under devolution, even the shifting of socio-economic situations such as investment in the Maze is already causing a crumbling inside this apparent unitary concept once called Unionism.

  • elvis Parker

    Robinson’s statement issued today is very interesting – at first read it seems very hardline but on carefully examination note he says:
    “We said then, and I say now, that we do not believe there would be support for the devolution of such powers to a SINN FEIN Minister in the foreseeable future.

    It is for these reasons that we have indicated the context within which the Assembly and Executive Review Committee should explore modalities for the devolution of such powers. The DUP does not believe there would be support for the devolution of policing and justice if SINN FEIN Ministers were to have responsibility for any policing and justice function. ”

    But of course we all know SF have accepted they wont get the job – so is Robinson actually signalling that he is prepared to see policing and justice devolved (without SF involvement)?

  • PeaceandJustice

    I agree that Unionist unity would be a positive step in the event of Sinn Fein PIRA causing the collapse of the Executive. But I think we should be concentrating on keeping the Executive up and running without Sinn Fein PIRA members. Why should one party/gang be able to bring the house down? A group that tells us they are now committed to peace …

    To Elvis Parker – Ealier this month, Jim Allister said:

    “Irrespective of who is the Minister, the real control goes to OFMDFM, because it then recommends who should be Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Justices of Appeal, the Attorney General and can move to remove Judges. Herein is the ultimate obscenity, that a leader of the IRA which butchered Judges, including Lord Justice Gibson and his wife, will now have unacceptable control over our Judiciary. Sadly, the DUP has never tried to withhold these powers from McGuinness. The moment they assent to devolving policing and justice they hand these powers to McGuinness.”

    What is the DUP response to this?

  • ulsterfan

    The two branches of Unionism could merge for the very simple reason that Paisley Snr is no longer in charge.
    There is no great difference in party policies between UU and DUP and any ill feeling for wrongs committed in the past can be set aside.
    UU opposed DUP because of Paisley the person and now that he is gone all can celebrate.

  • baslamak

    This is really a joke, the British government gives the Unionist a permanent place in government and copper bottoms their wretched little statelet; and they are to fearful to pick up the baton. There is to be no devolved government as the Scots and Welsh have, admittedly less the democratic content. Why, because the DUP and now it seems the UU prefers to cling to nanny’s apron string. Unbelievable.

    Has there ever been such a more pathetic bunch of politicians who on being offered power, refuse to accept one of the most important arms of any state, the police, preferring that it remain in the hands of foreigners.

    Far from ranting with anger at Robinson and co they should be laughed out of the UK parliament, as they are not fit for purpose, they should also be brought before the courts for defrauding the English tax payers.

    I ask again can anyone think of another Party who have been placed in power and refuse to pick up the baton, preferring to shirk their responsibilities.

    The Ulster Unionist and the SDLP need to answer some serious questions too, do they accept SF’s democratic mandate and if so, will they form an administration with them. If not, the whole charade should be brought crashing down as it is clearly nothing more than a sham.

    How can anyone vote for a party that refuses to take up the reigns of government, or was Harold Wilson correct when he accused ulster unionists of being spongers.

  • cynic

    Baslamark

    You seemt to exist in another dimension and to have strayed into this one. What is going on is called politics. The fact is that, to use a technical term, SF have dropped a bollock and either:-

    1 messed up on the negotiations or

    2 lied to their party about the real nature of the deal they had made.

    You can pick whichever you think is worse. They also do not seem to appreciate the change in their strategic position. They have lost all their big cards

    …Army …Guns ….Credibility….unswerving US Support …. their mate Tony.

    They have suddenly realised that they now have to negotiate with the DUP not rely on others to pressurise them to make concessions. Yes, they have to negotiate those whom they share this land with and who have strong vested interest in any deal. Bit of a shock then that they negotiate a bit harder?

    And do you know what? On present evidence,SF arent that good at this politics business. Their first reaction has been to run to Dublin and London but that cant help. SF did the deal, not them. The years of having roads laid and mappped out for them, doors opened and speeches written are slipping away.

    Now its all up to them. They created this impasse. They dug the hole and climed in. Now let them find a way out, in all our interests.

    And if they dont? So what? What do they do? Go back to war? What with? What for? Who will support it? It really is time to get real.

  • cynic

    Well well, Robinson’s statement looks quite definitive:-

    “Let me deal with the inaccurate propaganda which is being disseminated by republicans about policing and justice. The St Andrews Agreement between the Government and the government of the Republic of Ireland neither bound nor required the DUP to accept the devolution of policing and justice nor did it impose any timetable for such devolution. Moreover even the hopes of those two governments were set within the context of the legal requirement known as the triple-lock which the DUP wisely negotiated before St Andrews.”

    Can SF have been stupid enough to lie to their whole party on this one?

  • fair_deal

    Turgon

    The overall issue highlights four things

    1. The use of incrementalism in the process leads to yet another period like this. Quelle surprise. Constitutive boys and girls harder to get but a lot easier to implement.
    2. SF have a cultural and organisational problem. They are not very good at coalition building here (regardless of success elsewhere in the world). Belfast City Council is a good example of their weaknesses on this front. Mandatory coalition involves regular deal-making. However, that involves trading and coalition builidng. SF seem unwilling or incapable of both. This is as much the issue as the mis-selling to the grassroots.
    3. No party or government can sensibly afford to concede to the threat as it will ensure it becomes an annual event. If the aim is stability then rolling over for this will ensure both repition and mimicry.
    4. The degree of republican dissatisfaction is also the product of a negotiating success ie the additional checks and balances secured at St Andrews. They cannot do as much as they pleased like in previous devolved administrations and in their frustration are lashing out and trying to create a way round them.

    “holding the line” “compromises” etc

    A deal should not be opposed for the sake of it, so what would constitute a deal that is in Unionism’s interests?

    “Plan B”

    I very much doubt if there was a piece of paper in a drawer but to present direct rule as a neutral or pro-Unionist outcome is highly questionable. As Jim Allister himself outlined in great detail.
    Link

    “in a further attempt by the governments to force the DUP to accept compromise on these issues.”

    The ultimate devolution of P&J;is policy. Opposition to the ILA is. On the Maze there is no party position but the economics lead to a No.

    “nor should the only concession the DUP demand be an end to the army council.”

    The day of one line demand lists ended with David Trimble.

    If a deal is struck I hope the TUV and JA will accept a core concern has been addressed. It was certainly the core concern expressed in his resignation:
    “For me the abolition of the Army Council was always a litmus test of the sincerity of Sinn Fein/IRA’s professed transition to involvement exclusively in peaceful and democratic processes. The Army Council is the apex of the military structures of the republican movement…Now, it seems, the Army Council can stay. Then, I can’t…If Sinn Fein/IRA is indeed truly and irreversibly committed to exclusively peaceful means, then it does not need, nor should it want or have, an Army Council. I just cannot comprehend how the DUP can contemplate government, particularly where it will be “joined at the hip” in the office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister, with an organisation which clings to an illegal Army Council of an illegal army.”
    http://www.jimallister.org/default.asp?blogID=608

    Granted the list of complaints has got longer since then but any progress on IRA structures should not be simply dropped for a new complaint or try to sidestep them/ignore they were said as was done earlier this month.
    http://www.jimallister.org/default.asp?blogID=1125

    “In any future negotiations the other unionist parties”

    There are already negotiations. It mightn’t involve trips to Leeds castle but they are still talks. The issues you presently outline can be raised there.

    Furthermore, if Jim Allister had chosen the ‘conscience’ of the party role, he would be playing a part in those talks not shut out in a self-imposed exile. He wouldn’t be reduced to press statements about judicial appointments but acting on his concerns.

    “Plan C”

    If there is a semi-collapse with big talks then yes these bigger issues will almost certainly hit the agenda. Which is why it isn’t in SF’s own interests to collapse it all (as the big defenders of mandatory coalition) even if they don’t seem to see it that way.

    Is there much case for radically different positions among the Unionist parties in such circumstances? Not really.

    However, the UUP still can’t seem to pick an identity despite the Tory talks, especially the Assembly party. So most likely some will attack from the left as they go for Alliance++ as an identity, others will try to make Allister look like a wimp, and Sir Reg will try to steer a course between both.

    The TUV have less grounds to do so politically. The DUP’s gone soft doesn’t fly when they aren’t being soft. However, with JA/TUV and DUP happy to treat one another as near eternal enemies the personal will no doubt get in the way of the sensible.

    TBC

  • fair_deal

    (continued)

    Mandatory coalition is a god awful system of governance but one practical question on the alternative – How do you establish a voluntary coalition including a nationalist party if their price for a coalition is all or some of the following devolution of P&J;/an ILA/expanded North South bodies?

    A switch in governance system will not make the difficult political disagreements go away.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    IRA/Sinn Fein can never be allowed to govern policing and justice in N.Ireland. If Westminster or Washington says different, why don’t they give control of Policing and Justice to Al Qaeda?

    No terrorist organisation (past or present) which was responsible for the callous murders of innocent men, women and children, should be allowed to oversee the safety of the people they set-out to destroy, no matter what change of heart they claim to have. They should be thankfull they aren’t locked up for life.

    All decent minded people in N.Ireland and further afield should stand up against this demand, because it’s in the interests of your own safety and those of your family that you don’t give P&J;powers to the very people who killed, maimed and torchered all people, regardless of religion, creed and class, simply because they seen you as opposition.

    Wake up people, smell the coffee, your children and childrens’ children deserve better. Make them proud, stand up against terrorists.

  • joeCanuck

    Wishful thinking, Turgon.
    The enforced power sharing, henceforth to be known as enforced stalemate, was, of course, a disaster waiting to happen and now we seem to be there. However, I don’t think there is any possibility of the SDLP trying to do an end run by agreeing to voluntary power sharing given what has happened. It would be electoral disaster big time for them.

  • Occassional Commentor

    Aristotle’s conditional support of “democracy” is predicated on his analysis that democracies make “bad” things happen the slowest. (As opposed to a dictator ruling by decree, that makes “bad” things happen the quickest. And what’s the odds of any gov’t ever making “good” things happen, either quickly or slowly?)

    There’s a lot to be said for gov’t gridlock.

  • runciter

    That always ignores the issue of whether or not the SDLP would be willing to enter into such an a coalition but that might (only might) not be the stumbling block it used to be with an SDLP under Hume.

    More bizarre fantasies.

  • Greenflag

    Fair Deal .

    ‘Mandatory coalition is a god awful system of governance’

    Full marks for the obvious FD .

    ‘but one practical question on the alternative – How do you establish a voluntary coalition including a nationalist party if their price for a coalition is all or some of the following devolution of P&J;/an ILA/expanded North South bodies? ‘

    The ‘practical answer ‘ is you can’t . This justs underscores the basic contradiction inherent in any power sharing 6 county NI political structure .

    Work it through .

    1) Majority rule -not going to happen
    2) Voluntary coalition – not going to happen
    3) Mandatory coalition – still waiting to happen

    ‘A switch in governance system will not make the difficult political disagreements go away.’

    Right. Unless the present State of Northern goes away and/or is replaced by a new State following a fair repartition of the present ‘ungovernable ‘ entity .

    Otherwise better get used to another 40 years of high wire ‘acrobatic ‘ non politics assuming the parties get through next week and the week after , and the marching seasons etc etc etc etc

  • DC

    “There’s a lot to be said for gov’t gridlock.”

    If only we had even a half decent functioning market economy then we could seriously ignore what goes on up on the Hill; they are so seriously outdated it’s laughable for it’s verging on neurotic patheticalness.

    I bet the politicians think they are really clever and tough too – await the 30 year blow back from lack of accountable public services – that should sort them out.

  • fair_deal

    Greenflag

    Unification or repartition doesn’t make the difficult issues go away either.

  • Cynic, fair deal and others,

    When you claim that SF is no good at coalition building and politics, what you really mean is SF, in your eyes, to keep the show on the road must concede to the DUP. (If they did this would they suddenly become top dog at the political game;)

    But you could just as easily say that the DUP is no good at politics and coalition building, because they refuse to concede to SF demands on policing. You fail to say this because your sympathy is not with SF.

    It happens in politics, people fail to agree, but your problem, and all those who support the GFA, is that there is no mechanism in place when this occurs.

    Hence it is either the first to swallow; or if not, its bring the whole house of cards down. happy days are here again?

    Or will Mr Brown having more important things on his mind, slap the DUP down and remind them who really rules in the north, whilst allowing the DUP a little wriggle room to spin the deal to their base. Unionist politicians cuddling up to tories is hardly going to endear them to old mor, now is it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    When you claim that SF is no good at coalition building and politics, what you really mean is SF, in your eyes, to keep the show on the road must concede to the DUP. (If they did this would they suddenly become top dog at the political game;)

    You can’t really single out SF for this. Actually none of the major parties in NI are good at coalition building. That was, I think, the idea behind setting up a forced arrangement so that they would not have to actually build a coalition themselves, it would be built for them. There’s no motivation for any of the parties to actually compromise and negotiate because the system isn’t flexible enough.

    SF’s problems have mounted up all at once. By trying to make themselves a political force in politics south of the border, and directly challenging the large governing parties there, they have in effect given motivation to the Dublin government to destroy them, or at least not do anything to help them out. Notice how Gerry runs to London instead of Dublin – it’s because Dublin have told him to fuck off. Notice also how Fianna Fail have been working hard to please the unionists – building the Boyne commemoration centre, helping to fund road and infrastructure improvement projects in strategic NI locations. It seems unlikely that Dublin would spend all this time and money trying to establish a rapport with unionism just to chuck it all in the bin for joint authority, an arrangement which would merely saddle them with a bunch of new problems rather than delivering them any significant benefit. Nope, I think the joint authority threat is probably out the window as well.

    Since, by some uncanny timing, this has coincided with a period where the DUP are effectively in control of 10 Downing Street when it comes to Northern Ireland matters, by virtue of Gordon’s internal problems, the British government are not in a position to face down the DUP even if they wanted to. And given that the Conservatives aren’t presenting a particularly inspiring programme to the electorate, it’s not unreasonable to assume that we’ll have a hung, or certainly very marginal, parliament at Westminster in 2010, a scenario which could lead to the DUP being able to veto Northern Ireland policy for the guts of another ten years.

    SF’s last trump card is the one which was deployed unsuccessfully by David Trimble – the walkout. But I don’t think they’ve thought it through. What are they going to do once they’re outside ? They can’t go to London – London can’t help. They can’t go to Dublin – Dublin are their political enemies. They can’t go to the USA – the Bush administration doesn’t take a soft line to pro-Venezuelan marxists, and I can’t see this being any different post regime change at the White House. They could go back to violence but they can’t even go to Libya now, and the USSR doesn’t exist, so finding weapons is tricky, and even then the political support on the ground isn’t there.

    This has all put SF them in a position where the only way that they can hope to hold onto power is to meet the DUP’s demands. Given the fact that they now have no friends or allies in politics – the SDLP certainly won’t be stopping to give them a hand up this time – the possibility is very real that d’Hondt could be re-run to set up a coalition which excludes them. Going into wild speculation mode, I think that the party could fragment into two or three pieces. SF know this and that’s why I think they won’t stage the walkout just yet.

    I don’t think the situation is rosy for unionism either, given what is happening in Scotland. The only way to hold the UK together in the event of Scottish independence will be to re-establish it as a federal state.

  • cynic

    Mick

    “SF, in your eyes, to keep the show on the road must concede to the DUP”

    That is not what I have said at all and a check on the posts on various threads will confirm this. What i have said is that ‘there is a deal to be done’. The problem is that SF have a shopping list and want it all. They won’t get it but they find that an unusual situation so they are threatening doom and destruction.

    I think that both sides need to learn to do politics.

    On the DUP side that means dealing with the dreaded republican and recognizing their right to exist and have an opinion.

    On the SF side it means switching from negotiating with the Brits ( or more accurately appearing to negotiate with the Unionists but running to the Brits and Irish every time they didn’t get what they wanted) to actually negotiating with those Brits who live in NI.

    The problem as I see it is that SF appear to have misled their constituency as to what was / was not agreed. This now limits their room for manoeuvre but a line ‘well we sold our party a pup and now they are terribly disappointed so you will have to help us out on this” is naiive and won’t work with the DUP’.

  • fair_deal

    Mick Hall

    “When you claim that SF is no good at coalition building and politics, what you really mean is SF, in your eyes, to keep the show on the road must concede to the DUP”

    1. Nope. They can seek to achieve whatever they want but in the present arrangements they need to win support from other local parties to isolate the DUP, offer something that removes DUP opposition or find other means to achieve some of what they want. They haven’t done the first two and little on the third.
    2. For exactitude I said “coalition building here” not politics.

    It was Adams who christened it an “indigenous deal” so he should have been aware that local deal-making was central to it.

    “But you could just as easily say that the DUP is no good at politics and coalition building, because they refuse to concede to SF demands on policing.”

    You could say it but would look foolish. They are playing within the rules set down by St Andrews and SF have been reduced to threatening a Trimble (and then sort of backing off it).

    Right now three parties are happy to hold an executive meeting (DUP UUP SDLP), one isn’t (SF). The fifth party in Northern ireland (Alliance) isn’t in favour of devolving P&J;now either. So they haven’t been doing too bad.

    As for the specific example of BCC, the DUP (and UUP) have a working relationship with the SDLP and Alliance that SF has not matched.

    In terms of DUP coalition building on the Executive the real test comes when they want something that they cannot achieve by the use of the checks and balances.

    As for Brown, as I said, it isn’t sensible for him to go that route as it will simply create the problems of “repetition and mimicry”.

    As for cosying up to the likely next government it is hardly an example of poor coalition building.

  • Greenflag

    Fair deal ,

    ‘Unification or repartition doesn’t make the difficult issues go away either.’

    Perhaps not but either would inject some constitutional certainty into the political can of worms that is NI. Who is serioulsy looking forward to anothe generation or two what has passed for politics in NI for the past several years ?

    Under either Repartition or a UI , ‘mandatory power sharing ‘ would cease to be. Voluntary coalition would become possible along ‘normal ‘ political lines along with ‘majority ‘ party rule if the voters opted for that choice .

    A fair repartition would result in a smaller Unionist state with almost 90% of the people giving the ‘vast’ majority support needed to underpin a ‘normal ‘ democracy .

    A UI would result in a similar (85% ) ‘vast majority ‘ support across the island .

    Contrast the above scenarios with the ‘vast support’ currently enjoyed in NI as per the GFA referendum – 70% ?(made up of 85% of Northern Irish Nationalists plus 50% of Unionists )

    NI post GFA and Assembly Agreement has ‘constitutional certainty ‘ of a kind . But in ‘practice’ it can’t .

    Meanwhile the voters / electorate /citizens / of Northern Ireland once again have to watch their dysfunctional ‘parents ‘ Papa DUP and Mama SF come to blows yet again in public .

    The DhSS ‘psychiatic ‘ van will soon be on it’s way from Westminster to once again bring in both parents for counselling .

    Perhaps it’s time for the ‘traumatised ‘ children to seek new parents ?

  • Greenflag

    Apologies for errors above

    ‘NI post GFA and Assembly Agreement has ‘constitutional certainty ‘ of a kind . But in ‘practice’ it can’t . ‘

    should read – in practice it has’nt.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    should read – in practice it [u]hasn’t.[/u]

    ….really, Greenflag!!!

  • truth and justice

    I think it is quite clear that it is Sinn Fein that is in a mess they have not got what they wanted it proves the DUP got it right and the in fighting with in Sinn Fein is only good for Unionism.If you listen to Turgon you would think this was a disaster the reality is he admits that parts of the St Andrews Agreement were good he does not seem to know what he wants. Let me assure you if this goes down joint authority will happen and then were will you be Turgon but with egg on your face!

  • Comrade Stalin

    fair_deal:

    The fifth party in Northern ireland (Alliance) isn’t in favour of devolving P&J;now either.

    I don’t think that statement is accurate. Alliance’s problems are with the mechanisms and the nature of the ministry. Not with the principle of devolution which I believe the party entirely supports.

    I don’t see a good reason for the DUP’s stalling at the moment, other than the danger of it looking like they are capitulating to SF.

  • Turgon

    truth and justice,
    Maybe you should read the blog before jumping in and denouncing me. If you do at some point get the time to read the blog (I admit it is quite long) you would see that I am suggesting that if SF collapse the agreement then unionists should all align together to demand things that will be of benefit to unionism such as a voluntary coalition.

    You will also see that I suggested that if SF collapse the whole thing the TUV and UUP should avoid schardenfreude towards Robinson and should work with him to ensure the above and provide an additional bulwark against republican demands.

    Now please do not let what I wrote prevent you from attacking what I said. Speaking from a position of ignorance and without reading (or thinking) is a time honoured tradition.

  • Dave

    “Going into wild speculation mode, I think that the party could fragment into two or three pieces. SF know this and that’s why I think they won’t stage the walkout just yet.” – Comrade Stalin

    That’s interesting even as wild speculation. What factors would unite the various fragments, forming the basis for the fracture?

  • cynic

    I think the SF fragmentation issue is wild, wild speculation. Republicanism like may radical groups has a history of splits but mainly when driven by some fundamental ideological issue. I don’t see one that would lead to a split here. OF course you could get an anti-treaty faction emerging but that opportunity was really years ago and they have since been neutered. Bluntly most people are far too comfortable now.

    If the Executive does collapse then SF will go into blame mode and the slogan will be ‘ we wuz robbed…you cant do business with lying prods’ while the DUP will wrap themselves in the flag and shout ‘see, we are not Lundys like Trimble, you can trust us to stop the Shinners evil machinations’

    Honour (of a sort) will be satisifed ion both sides.

    And the world will go on turning.

  • fair_deal

    CS

    The basis is twofold – a David Ford radio interview I heard and their manifesto proviso that hasn’t been met. Essentially the Alliance position similar to the DUP (agree to the idea in principle) but their hurdles are different (alliance want demonstration of collective responsibility by executive – dup focus on AC etc).

  • Driftwood

    Would anyone really notice much change in their lives, if the whole shower of crooks at Stormont was done away with, replaced by 2 part time mainland MP’s? As was the case in recent years?
    All posturing. Joint sovereignty “de jure” cannot happen unless the NI people vote for it.”De facto” yes, but the Republic could care less, neither Westminster. Buck the lot of them out, and their family ‘jobs’, advisors etc. See how many can get a real job.
    No? Thought not.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dave:

    That’s interesting even as wild speculation. What factors would unite the various fragments, forming the basis for the fracture?

    That’s a weird question. If they fractured they wouldn’t be united any more, which is kind of my point.

    It’s very wild speculation, but I can’t see how SF would hold together if they quit the executive and the rest of the parties decided to keep it going rather than let it collapse. I don’t buy the idea that the party is a single, united, monolithic entity which is wholly subservient to the leadership. The leadership will lose their grip if things go badly for them.

    cynic:

    If the Executive does collapse then SF will go into blame mode and the slogan will be ‘ we wuz robbed…you cant do business with lying prods’ while the DUP will wrap themselves in the flag and shout ‘see, we are not Lundys like Trimble, you can trust us to stop the Shinners evil machinations’

    Honour (of a sort) will be satisifed ion both sides.

    My argument rests upon the possibility of the executive staying up. If it collapses, then sure, I would agree that things are working out the way you’re saying. But even then, at the following round of all-party talks, there’s the real risk of the people who walked out getting frozen out

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    You are in my opinion very inconsistant with yorr view, you views are hard lined but when closely looked at your views are all over the palce if you dont like it tough.

  • Dave

    “What factors would unite the various fragments, forming the basis for the fracture?” – Dave

    “That’s a weird question. If they fractured they wouldn’t be united any more, which is kind of my point.” – Comrade Stalin

    Really? They’d be united by a common greivance – which would be the basis of the split. And it is your statement, not mine:

    “I think that the party could fragment into two or three pieces.” – Comrade Stalin

    See? You said fragment into one or more groups – not individuals. Hence they’d have to have a common factors to unite them as a group, so any “weirdness” is entirely your own. 😉

  • Dave

    “You said fragment into one or more groups…” Okay, now that statement is weird. Fragment into more than [b]one[/b] group…” (Redundant but not contradictory). 😉

  • Steve

    Driftwood
    Would anyone really notice much change in their lives, if the whole shower of crooks at Stormont was done away with, replaced by 2 part time mainland MP’s? As was the case in recent years?

    Well driftwood you as a unioninist would likely notice very quickly. Most of the demands of republicans fall in direct line with modern democracy as we in the rest of the world understand it. I think you would find much of SF’s shopping list of demands would be approved by your english masters if not rushed into in the interest of decorum.

    I am as biased as any one even if I dont live there but from what I perceive opinion will fall with SF and against the DUPes as SF appears to be promoting progress while DUPes advocate stagnation

  • Turgon

    Truth and justice,
    So you read the blog. Well done that must be a first. Now maybe you would like to comment on the substance of it? Or would that be too much to ask?

    To simplify so you do not need to read it again:

    I am not happy with what the DUP have done heretofore.

    However, if the executive were collapsed by SF they (SF) would be hoping to get the British government to help them.

    Now in that scenario the DUP might surrender: If that were the case the TUV would be right to condemn them. However, if the DUP were willing to fight for a new improved agreement with things like voluntary coalition I think the TUV should support that. Further I would hope that in a new negotiating scenario Robinson would bring to negotiations the likes of Allister and Empey, hence, showing a united unionist front. By so doing we might well be able to turn the tables on SF. The fact that a renegotiation of the agreement has been what I have consistently advocated (and is TUV policy) is irrelevant. In such a situation I would have no interest in “I told you so,” I would be happy nay keen to fight shoulder to shoulder with any unionist to help produce an improved agreement.

    The problem here, Truth and justice is that although I am a supporter of the TUV I am first and foremost a unionist and I am also an opponent of republicanism. As such if the DUP do hardline pro union things then I support them. I think that is the thing you are finding difficult to understand.

    I also have other interests which are indeed “all over the place.” I am very openly anti capital punishment, I am not that right wing in left/right political terms. Despite being a fundamentalist Protestant Christian I have some reasonably liberal social views: for example I think the Christian issues of sexual morality are largely of relevance to Christians and not those outside the church. I have an interest in Africa and in development work and health care in developing societies. I am also relatively pro environmental (a bit like Jim Wells), though I am a climate change sceptic.

    Overall Truth and Justice I try to think and in my blogs try to put forward ideas which are deliberately from a slightly different slant. I am sorry if that causes you problems.

    I am sorry I am not a completely one dimensional simplistic cave dwelling bigot. Like most of the rest of us I have developed my views due to my upbringing but also my own thoughts, experiences and the influence of friends, relatives and (horror of horrors) books I have read. Yes even fundamentalists do read books other than the bible (at least this one does).

    As I have suggested before I would welcome you emailing me and I could explain some of my other interests. Alternatively just continue denouncing my blogs without actually reading them; replying to you requires little effort so it is not especially taxing.

  • DC

    “The fifth party in Northern ireland (Alliance) isn’t in favour of devolving P&J;now either.”

    Funny that even though the party’s own policy has been met to at least consider devolving such powers:

    The Alliance Benchmarks on Policing and the Rule of Law

    Ø Are the representatives of parties engaging with the Police Service of Northern Ireland in a regular, consistent and constructive manner, both locally and centrally, and promoting that view within their communities?

    Ø Are political parties prepared to recognise the Police Service of Northern Ireland as the sole and exclusive legitimate policing agency within Northern Ireland? (This does not imply agreement with every operational decision, but rather a recognition of the right of the PSNI to make them.)

    Ø Are parties prepared to take the seats that they are entitled to on the Northern Ireland Policing Board, and on the District Policing Partnerships?

    Ø Are Ministers prepared to take a revised Pledge of Office containing a specific commitment to upholding the rule of law in a fair and consistent manner?

    Ø Are parties prepared to co-operate with the lawful authorities to address so-called ‘individual acts of criminality’ arising from any organisation with which they may be associated?

    Alliance would want assurance that each of these benchmarks has been sufficiently addressed.

    I would say those benchmarks have been met?

  • In the last decade members of SF have swollowed such shit from Adam’s, McGuinness and co it is difficult to believe they will cease doing so now. However policing was such a traumatic thing to ask of republicans, if Adams cannot deliver his side of the bargain and make devolved policing a reality. It is hard to see how SF could continue in the Stormont admin with any credibility.

    The police in the north have always been the stick that beat the nationalist and republican community and for them to remain in the control of London must surly be no no.

    Quite possibly a deal has already been done to devolve policing, could the SF brouhaha be about the timing. Surly if SF were to quit the Administration they would hardly flag it up in advance, thus allowing their opponent to prepare their ground.

  • cynic

    “if Adams cannot deliver his side of the bargain and make devolved policing a reality”

    Mick

    err….SF are on the Policing Board so what in real terms would the additional powers of devolved policing be? Aside from setting the budget ….er… zilch unless there was cross community support for new legislation. Do u see that as likely so what is the fight over? In reality its all posturing.

  • Turgon

    Mickhall,
    “The police in the north have always been the stick that beat the nationalist and republican community and for them to remain in the control of London must surly be no no.”

    Let us look at that latest piece of utter nonsense shall we?

    I know quite a few police officers past and serving. I know of one who was in a sort of investigating terrorists type job but most were and are involved in catching general criminals like burglars, perverts etc. I have also been friendly with ones who did a lot of traffic work and accident clear up work. So which of those jobs Mickhall were sticks to beat the nationalist and republican community?

    Moving on with your little sentence “…for them to remain in the control of London must surly be no no.” But Mickhall during the “fifty years of unionist misrule” the police (those sinister sticks) were run by Stormont and not from London. Sort of makes your sentence out to be the utter nonsense that it is doesn’t it?

    Also Mickhall if SF collapse the agreement then policing will remain under “the control of London.”

    Not really making much sense tonight are we Mickhall? (no different to usual then).

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    I am not really interested in you moral views they sound pretty un TUV like I am supprised your are in the TUV however my points are clear you agreed in the ST Andrews Agreement that it was not all bad for Unionism and accepted there were some gains, you support a party the TUV who have accepted sharing power with Sinn Fein in a Council styled model, your party leader slams his political opponents for their expenses yet never reveals his own, you also fail because of your lack of experience to recognise that Sinn Fein are in a mess which is good for Unionism, your party leader only ever attacks fellow Unionists yet never talks about anything else. This is why I find you and the TUV to be a non starter sorry if this offends you but it is my honest opinion!!!!

  • Turgon

    Thanks Truth and justice,
    Now on the subject of my blog any ideas?

    Or would you rather peddle lies like you did on previous threads when you claimed people were leaving the party who had not?

    Truth and justice I have tried to engage in debate with you. In general I enjoy debate with all unionists even those with whom I disagree. I have come to the conclusion, however, Truth and justice that you are just a rather simplistic troll. Or would you like to comment on the subject of the blog and prove me wrong?

    Incidentally I find “your honest opinion” a touch ironic in view of the lies which you have previously peddled about the TUV.

  • fair_deal

    DC

    In other threads I have been told that Alliance can’t accept the justice ministry because only the first requirement – structure – had been met but the second – collective responsibility had not.

    David Ford’s repeated comments about the Executive would indicate that it is not one he considers to be “operating in a collective and
    responsible manner”

    Alliance manifesto 2007

    “Alliance looks forward to the eventual
    devolution of policing and criminal justice to
    the Northern Ireland Assembly. Such local
    ownership of this machinery would go a long
    way to enhancing popular confidence in
    them. However, a security dimension has
    been a central feature of the conflict in
    Northern Ireland.
    ���� Alliance believes that the timing
    for the devolution should be
    primarily determined by the
    correct conditions being in
    place, including the executive
    operating in a collective and
    responsible manner. Realistically,
    this could be established after a period
    of 18 months, including two marching
    seasons.
    It is important that these powers are
    delivered in an appropriate context and the
    necessary structures for accountability are in
    place.
    Alliance does not believe that any of the
    structures offered in the Joint Declaration
    provides an ideal way forward, especially in
    the absence of collective responsibility.
    ���� Alliance proposes that criminal
    justice and policing functions,
    when devolved, are placed
    within a single dedicated
    Department as part of an
    Executive working to collective
    responsibility.”

  • DC

    You could of course extrapolate that out and therefore that would ensure that not one of the ministries should be operated, notwithstanding the Unionist-claimed sensitivities with policing.

    It does make sense as to what Alliance says, it really sets out the environment in which that can happen, anyone could come up with that – it is common sense; however, how do we make that sense common?

    People must realise it is action required now and questions must remain about the parties across the board, all parties, as to whether they are assisting with that must sought after environment?

    Chicken and egg time – one thing is for certain being negative will certainly kiss goodbye that environment so necessary as to be conducive to collective responsibility.

  • Turgon
    As to the points I made you are well aware of my meaning, the SF base is extremely uncomfortable remaining on the police committees etc when control remains in London.

    As you demonstrate on a regular bases fact and truth are often uncomfortable bed fellows when it comes to political activists, As things stand the shinners are being asked to take responsibility for policing without any real control or input over it and justice etc.

    Some may think, more fool them for believing Gerry’s and the British governments crap in the first place. Never the less, swallow it they did and in fairness to them by joining the police committees they have done all that was asked of them.

    Whereas the DUP all summer have just sat and gloated at Adams discomfort, which is hardly surprising as the DUP leadership is still made up of hard line bigots whose main aim is to shaft republicans whilst licking out the English tax payers trough.

    Personally I do not give a flying fig about policing, as the administration of it under the current set up is of little interest to me, but what I fail to understand is the behavior of those politicians like the SDLP, Alliance and Ulster Unionist who like SF support the peace process, devolved policing and the British Statelet. They need to ask themselves is the time right for policing to be devolved now, from where they stand the answer should clearly be yes.

    Perhaps instead of giggling like little girls at Gerry Adams
    discomfort, they should get together and demand that the DUP agree a time table which will bring this charade to an end. In other words they should build a political coalition so favored by some sluggerites.

    The problem is the majority of these party’s are practicing the failed politics of the past, in that the only thing they can unify on is their hatred of SF and Irish republicanism.

    Which incidentally was one of the reasons many of us were against the Stormont charade from the start.

  • Turgon

    Mickhall,
    “…the DUP leadership is still made up of hard line bigots”

    Well I must admit I am not a supporter of the DUP but coming from you: the man who wants to brand things on working class Protestants / unionists and mistrusts all middle class Protestants / unionists because you once met a doctor on holiday whom you did not like, I think you using words like bigot is not the pot calling the kettle black but a lump of coal calling a piece of brown wood black.

    I am fascinated that you presume to tell the parties when they should feel it is the right time to devolve P&J;. I must give you credit: your are pretty sure of when you are right even when telling others what they should think. The arrogance born of naivety and wilful lack of understanding may be the most likely explanation in your case.

    There is one thing which you could be correct on, however. The other parties are laughing at SF, and hate SF. That may be because SF are the political bedfellows of and many of their leaders are the people who murdered so many people here and destroyed so much. Maybe just maybe that is why the parties despise SF and why they do not think that SF should have any control over policing?

    I think the genuine problem is that you Mickhall fail to understand that people really still have a big problem with SF being involved in policing seeing as they murdered so many people. Is that because you do not regard them as murderers when they killed policemen? or others?

  • Turgon

    If you would try and get beyond name calling and past, real or imagined slights, we might be able to have a debate. Although like many from your background I doubt you have the capability to do that, but I live in hope.

    I understand perfectly that many Unionists hate SF, some feel they have good reason to Im sure, but if so, why then agree to join with SF in a coalition government, surly the hight of hypocrisy.

    Are you telling us all this talk of a brave new world and a future for all coming from Unionists like Ian Paisley and others was lies, surly not?

  • Turgon

    Mick Hall,
    Doubting I have the capability for debate seems to be a slight does it not? To say that in the breath after complaining that I recall slights says more about you than I ever could.

    Anyhow as you might have noticed I am opposed to being in government with SF. As such I do tend to agree that unionists should not have done so. I also do not support Paisley. I know that makes simply putting all unionists into one box more difficult: you might even have to admit that they are all individuals with different ideas and views. That would never do, however.

    Mick Hall I put it to you that you are either:
    1). Lying
    2). Completely lacking in any understanding of unionists
    3). Simply not interested in their opinions but would rather categorise them as you have so ably demonstrated in the past
    4). All of the above.

    I am minded to agree that there is relatively little to be gained in debate with people like you. Your views are completely pre-set and utterly unable to be changed. The fact that they are such and you are not even from Northern Ireland does tend to make discussion with you a bit fruitless.

    However, I do feel that someone should challenge and criticise the nauseating hypocrisy of people like you who laud terrorists yet pretend not to support their actions: A classic example being your eulogy of Brendan Hughes.

  • Steve

    Turgon
    This isn’t meant as a personal attatck but you epitomize the problem with unionism today, you have blinding irrational hate of all things republican but you believe you are a reasonable man. You can not come up with a rational reason for not devolving P&J;so you fling diatribes about past grievances with the IRA.

    You refuse to countenance any interaction with the chosen elected representatives of the nationalists and the whole time scream about how unreasonable they are. When has any nationalist ever come on here and said SF should not go into government with the DUP because their leader encouraged violence against catholics?

    In fact judging by the history of your land its unionists that can not be trusted with policing and justice powers as they have always abused them in the past. But hey guess what the nationalists are willing to give you another go, try toeing the line on your side

  • Turgon

    steve,
    I cannot come up with a rational reason for not devolving P&J;?

    Well how about the involvement by the IRA in the Northern Bank robbery?
    How about IRA’s involvement in the cover up of the McCartney murders and SF’s initial lie telling about it: Maskey blaming it on “knife crime”?
    How about the murder of Paul Quinn and the subsequent spectacle of Conor Murphy accusing him of having been a criminal and the the same Conor Murphy (a SF minister) running to the IRA (an illegal terrorist organisation) and asking them about it?
    Maybe the fact that a self confessed IRA man would be involved in choosing judges. An IRA man many if not everyone in NI of all viewpoints regard as having been heavily involved in multiple terrorist acts?

    Then we have the issue which is confidence. It may be difficult to see from your vantage point of Canada but there is no confidence for the devolution of P&J;. That may not fit with your chosen version of “rationality” but there is no confidence within the unionist community to have P&J;devolved and if truth be told I doubt that confidence will exist for a political generation.

    You accuse the leader of the DUP (a party I am neither a supporter nor member of) of having encouraged violence: well how about the fact that SF MLAs actually murdered people? A bit more concrete than your claims about Dr. Pasiley.

  • Whoops
  • ?

    ?

  • ulsterfan

    what do Sf want?—ILA ,transfer of P&J;to NI and some sort of museum at the Maze.
    Lets assume Robinson gives them everything they ask for –what do they then do for the next 50 years.
    all their demands have been met.
    They may then fight about the naming of some street after a hunger striker or insist everyone wears a lily at Easter and at the same time secretly hope to deny Unionists of their rights.
    Even if they were successful in all of this they can not get the national question of reunification on to the agenda and will be in the corner speaking to them selves and pushing the dissidents away while the rest of the world passes them by and Unionists get on with life worrying about climate change etc.
    The union is safe and indeed strengthened by the tactics of SF.
    They are stuck in the 19th century trying to forget about the mess of 1916 and all that.

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    It seems you are rather rattled I always feel someone losses the arguement when they start insulting someone.You can call me a Troll if you which that must make you no beter than a Sinn Fein IRA spy who is trying to wind Unionisim up with your lies.

  • Turgon

    truth and justice,
    The problem is I am still awaiting any comment on the subject of my blog: the basic thesis of which is that if SF do collapse the agreement all unionists should forget why we are where we are and push together for an improvement on the current agreement. The DUP do not regard the current agreement as perfect: as such I would suspect they would be in favour of renegotiation. The only remotely controversial part of my bit from a unionist position is that I think Robinson should involve Allister and Empey if such did happen.

    I have never said that St. Andrews was all bad: it was, however, much less than I had hoped for. To be honest look at fair_deal’s position: he is less than delighted by it but decided to stick with the DUP. I respect that but feel it was too bad to continue to support the DUP.

    You tell us that “…Let me assure you if this goes down joint authority will happen”

    Well think about your logic there. That would mean that no matter what the DUP would have to stay in the executive: even if the governments forced through an ILA, the Maze and P&J;devolution. It also means that SF should (from their perspective) collapse the agreement. And then you call my views all over the place and say I lack experience.

    I also I must admit was pretty annoyed with you when on this blog you told direct lies about TUV councillors: I ended up being rung at work on the basis of lies told by you.

    Moving on to the position of the TUV re a super council. On such a super council there would not be SF ministers. In that case we would not have Ruane wrecking education, we would not have McGuinness as co chair etc.

    Now you disagree with my position and I with yours: fair enough. I disagree with many unionists and have debate with them. The problem Truth and justice is that you do not really debate you just say that my ideas are wrong and would lead us into joint authority. That is fine as a once off but if you keep doing it it becomes a trifle boring. Maybe you should try discussing my actual blogs.

    Let me ask you: if SF did collapse the executive (the subject of the blog) what do you think unionism should collectively do about it?

    Finally I must also admit to being a bit exasperated that in the midst of fighting nationalists views I have to field nonsense from you. This happens very frequently: I would have a great deal more respect for you if you spent nearly as much time attacking SF posters as you do attacking me. The fact that this time your attacks were on a blog which was proposing unionist unity if SF did collapse the agreement shows to me that you seem more interested in fighting for the DUP’s position within unionism than you are in fighting for unionism. That distinction may be beyond you.

  • Steve

    steve,
    I cannot come up with a rational reason for not devolving P&J;?

    Well how about the involvement by the IRA in the Northern Bank robbery?
    No evidence has ever been provided that any member past or present was involved in the robbery, so no its not a rational reason

    How about IRA’s involvement in the cover up of the McCartney murders and SF’s initial lie telling about it: Maskey blaming it on “knife crime”?
    The IRA is nor Sinn Fein

    How about the murder of Paul Quinn and the subsequent spectacle of Conor Murphy accusing him of having been a criminal and the the same Conor Murphy (a SF minister) running to the IRA (an illegal terrorist organisation) and asking them about it?
    The IRA was not involved in this full stop.

    (an illegal terrorist organisation)bonus points for what aboutery considering the murdering loyalists know the prefered wall coverings of every unionist politician in nIreland

    Maybe the fact that a self confessed IRA man would be involved in choosing judges. An IRA man many if not everyone in NI of all viewpoints regard as having been heavily involved in multiple terrorist acts?
    so its just your preferance that english and unionist terrorists make these choices

    Then we have the issue which is confidence. It may be difficult to see from your vantage point of Canada but there is no confidence for the devolution of P&J;. That may not fit with your chosen version of “rationality” but there is no confidence within the unionist community to have P&J;devolved and if truth be told I doubt that confidence will exist for a political generation.

    so because unionists have no balls every one must pay the price, if the DUP or TUV had any balls they would give off with the whingeing and get on with governance

    You accuse the leader of the DUP (a party I am neither a supporter nor member of) of having encouraged violence: well how about the fact that SF MLAs actually murdered people? A bit more concrete than your claims about Dr. Pasiley
    Not at all more concrete, paisleys attempt at encouraging grievous bodily harm are well known. and if the balless unionists had governed fairly the IRA would not have existed. To me they sacrificed a lot for their beliefs, they have nothing to be ashamed of

  • Steve

    ulster fan
    while the rest of the world passes them by and Unionists get on with life worrying about climate change etc.

    Climate change doesnt exist according to the leading lites of unionism

    Of course neither does evolution, Dinosaurs or geology

    Code word :really, yeah really

  • Dave

    “To me they sacrificed a lot for their beliefs, they have nothing to be ashamed of.” – Steve

    Almost there. They sacrificed others for those beliefs and then, when it was politically expedient to do so, they scarified those beliefs. Since they killed others for beliefs they no longer hold, there is plenty to be ashamed of. In addition, it is one thing to die for your beliefs but it quite another to cause other to die for beliefs that are not theirs. Still, the dealers in death did rather well out of it with new careers as British public servants, so all’s well that ends well.

  • Dave

    “They sacrificed others for those beliefs and then, when it was politically expedient to do so, they [b]sacrificed[/b] those beliefs.”

  • Turgon

    steve,
    Even if we persist with the fiction that the IRA and SF are not inextricably linked those episodes show how unfit SF is for involvement in P&J;.

    Maskey’s nonsensical comments on the McCartney murder show that SF is happy to ignore and minimise crimes committed by the IRA.

    The Paul Quinn murder shows this in even more stark relief. We had Conor Murphy blackening the name of a constituent as his first response. Then he went to talk to the IRA who were at the very least suspects in this murder. That completely offends against things like keeping politicians away from the actual investigation of criminal actions which is pretty fundamental in a democracy.

    Then we have the issue of confidence. Well you can insult unionist people and unionist politicians all you like but the reality is that most unionists are opposed to devolution of P&J;and in a system with a mutual veto that means the powers stay undevolved.

    I do like the return to the wallpaper issue. Yet again the claims of a now dead criminal are taken as gospel. Clearly Ervine had something to gain from those claims but you accept them. Ervine was a lying sectarian criminal and as such I put absolutely no store by any of his claims. It is ironic that he seems to be the one unionist politician whom you choose to believe.

    In terms of the IRA being willing to sacrifice anything I do not think I can add much to Dave’s remarks.

  • Steve

    Ervine was a lying sectarian criminal

    So was Paisley, Thatcher, the Army, Paratroopers, RUC, B specials, RIR, OO thugs and Storomont

    You give them the benefit of the doubt though

  • truth and justice

    Turgon

    Will call a truce with you although i am begining to wonder if you are not Jim Allaister himself?

  • Turgon,

    Where you are correct is that like many people I find politically, most unionists to be a mystery to me. I admire your steadfastness and solidarity, although with middle class unionists this often does not appear to me to stretch to helping to improve the lives of your working class co religionists.

    You are clearly someone who holds dear his values and community, yet you take a ‘love us or leave us’ attitude, which I find very off putting as do most. One of the reasons Republicans often get a better press than unionists is because they have invited people from the south or overseas into their communities, to visit their homes, clubs, churches, meetings etc. You would in on all probability dismiss such people as gullible fools, but your community could do yourselves a favor by emulating this.

    Far to often all you do is berate or attempt to provoke those of us who disagree with you, even fellow unionists at times. The real value of slugger is it allows people from different background, ideologies, beliefs, classes, etc to engage with one and another, whilst not conceding their core beliefs. This at times allows us to learn a great deal, both about ourselves and those we debate with.

    Whereas you always see differences as a personal attack on you and yours and come out with all your intellectual guns blazing as if it is imperative to shoot your enemy down before he/she gets you. The problem with taking this stance is none of us end up any further forward.

    By the way I do not hate all middle class people, unionist or other wise, I dislike immensely your ideology as is my right in a democratic society.