“It is clear that Sinn Fein has always known that no agreement was reached..”

Northern Ireland First Minister, DUP leader Peter Robinson, has responded to Sinn Féin’s apparent threat, via TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, to take the ball away – notwithstanding Mary Lou McDonald’s clarification..

When Ministers were appointed they made public and legally-binding pledges which are not being fulfilled. This cannot continue. A meeting of the Executive has been scheduled for 18th September. If this meeting were not to take place it is self-evident that there would be serious consequences for the good government of Northern Ireland and indeed potentially for those who refuse to fulfil their legal obligations.

Let me make it clear the DUP will not respond to threats such as that which Sinn Fein has made. If we were to do so on this issue we would be vulnerable to having the republican threat of bringing the institutions down used again and again in order that we would comply with other Sinn Fein demands. Nor indeed will we make political concessions in order to encourage any party to do that which it pledged to do and carry out duties which it is legally required to perform.

And he provides some clarification on the details of what agreements there actually are.

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.

More detail of that clarification

Rather than accepting republican claims about what was agreed at St Andrews let me quote from the document published by the Government.

“Discussions on the devolution of policing and justice have progressed well in the Preparation for Government Committee. The Governments have requested the parties to continue these discussions so as to agree the necessary administrative arrangements to create a new policing and justice department. It is our view (i.e. The view of the two governments) that the implementation of the agreement published today should be sufficient to build the community confidence necessary for the Assembly to request the devolution of criminal justice and policing from the British Government by May 2008.”

The reference to policing and justice in the above statement was aspirational and without any binding timeframe. However, so that the matter of where the DUP stood on this issue is clear let me also quote from Dr Paisley’s statement agreed by the whole DUP negotiating team and made at St Andrews as soon as the two governments published their agreement.

“There is no definitive date for the devolution of policing and justice powers. We remain of the unshakable view that those powers can only be transferred whenever there is the required community confidence.”

It is clear that Sinn Fein has always known that no agreement was reached and that the DUP were working on the basis of the statement issued by the party at St Andrews. Moreover the reference in the St Andrews agreement by the two governments expressly acknowledges that any devolution of policing and justice was conditional to the Assembly asking for the functions to be devolved – this is a direct reference to the triple-lock veto.

, , , ,

  • u

    Just as elvis parker highlights on another thread:

    “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. “

    So forget about the tough talk, if Sinn Fein agree to convene the next Executive meeting, Robinson will cave in on the devolution of policing and justice.

    Do the DUP think they can keep on DUPeing the people?

  • kensei

    If this meeting were not to take place it is self-evident that there would be serious consequences for the good government of Northern Ireland and indeed potentially for those who refuse to fulfil their legal obligations.

    If SF’s threat is seen as idle, then this one takes the biscuit. Even if somehow the DUP maanged to get SF out of the Assembly without them simply switching tactics and leading them a merry dance another way, or simply collapsing it, it remains unclear what the consequences of such instability would be. I doubt they’d be pleasant.

    If this is an attempt at a “bring it on”, then we’re into serious brinkmanship and people are talking themselves into boxes where they cannot back down.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    DUP re-state their position in response to SF restating their position…no change in either position.

    DUP still isolated – British and Irish Governements, SDLP and SF wait for Robbo to jump as he peeks over the edge has a bit of a wobbler.

    The 2 wee-fellahs Reggie and Davy still obfusticating on the issue.

  • fair_deal

    Posters are requested to stick to a consistent nickname on a thread

  • cynic

    Read this morning that Peter is kicking moves to stop dual and triple mandates into touch because of the uncertain nature of events at Stormont. Wouldn’t do if the poor dears were to loss two wages as a result of taking the moral high ground. Just imagine the strain of living on a councillors allowance.

  • joeCanuck

    I have to wonder if Sept 18 is a “definite” date or more of an aspirational one.
    I seem to remember a certain party not meeting a “definite” date but turning up a few weeks late to show that they could not be pushed around (haha).
    A gauntlet has been thrown down; are SF likely to come home wagging their tails behind them?

  • x

    Robo is getting frustrated. The Shinners mightn’t turn up to the executive, last time it was Robo who wouldn’t turn up.

    The mess that is St Andrews just continues our socalled politicians are still locked into their own political fantasy worlds.

    The rest of us want a decent health service, clarity on education, relatrively dry roads after a few spits of rain and a job to pay for the mortgage. Not that much really – but too much for the muppets on the Hill

  • Glensman

    I think it would be unfair to say that SF are engaging in brinkmanship. The SF leadership had a hard time carrying the P & J vote with the membership, as part of that vote P & J was promised (to delegates) by May…

    If the party leadership cannot deliver what was promised in the near future then they would be bound, not by St. Andrew’s but by party rules, to walk away from an executive that does not have the power envisaged by the St. Andrew’s Agreement.

  • Traditional_Unionist

    This political sham and mess we currently have up at stormont is totally unsustainable.

    having power sharing up and running is not benifiting anyone. It is a complete joke and no way at all to run a country

    I suppose when you go for an undemocratic setup like what was agreed in the St Andrews agreement then this is what you get. can the people of this country not see though that this is just going to go on, and on, and on, and on, and…..

  • Henry94

    It is a complete joke and no way at all to run a country

    The traditional unionist way was hardly a resounding success either.

  • Neither was it democratic…..

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Glensman,

    That’s as honest a reading as I’ve read in the comment zone here for some time. And you have it in one. Effectively the party is asking the DUP to sub them so they can stay inside the Executive and not be forced to walk.

    Whilst it doesn’t do the DUP a lot of good to be seen to be unreasonable in all of this, it won’t pay them to be too generous to Sinn Fein either. Politics is a rough old business, vulnerability in one often invokes ruthlessness in another. So don’t hold your breath!

    Yet there is a keener sense abroad amongst the politically engaged population (ie, senior businessmen, etc, and not anoraks/hacks) that none of our politicians are up the jobs they all applied for last year.

    I buy the idea that the floods both last year and this were new and seasonally exceptional. Nevertheless the response from the various Ministers was poor and disjointed.

    It’s as though they had learned nothing between last year’s populist buy off of those affected, and this year when what people wanted to hear was reasons, and a plan of action to tackle the cause of the problems.

    And that would seem to go to the problem raised by TU. Is this government capable of governing, or simply using their terms in government in order to undermine one another in what is fast turning into a government salaried full term election campaign?

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry guys, that was me. Just been doing some routine maintenance.

  • Traditional_Unionist

    Henry94,

    maybe not, but this is simply not democracy. It is unsustainable, and that is why this kind of political setup is not used anywhere else in the western world.

    Has nobody wondered why it isnt used anywhere else?

    maybe for the reason that it simply doesnt work

  • Having a unionist majority government is also unsustainable – because it seems that such a government would only seek to govern for one part of the community and would simply oppress the other part. No doubt the same could be said of SF on the other side. What needs to happen is the DUP must accept that it is sharing power with SF and work that arrangement for the benefit of all, not just its own constituency and its future election hopes….

  • bisto

    Maskey back-peddling like mad on the radio now! The problem for SF is that the more they highlight this and issue threats, the more they show how impotent they are over this issue.

  • Greenflag

    traditional unionist .

    ‘can the people of this country not see though that this is just going to go on, and on, and on, and on, and..’

    Not sure about the view from within NI but the view from the Republic would be that it has always been going on, in one form or another and will always go on because what is or appears to be at stake is the fundamental constitutional position of NI going back to 1920.

    ‘Has nobody wondered why it isnt used anywhere else? ‘

    Nowhere else has Northern Ireland’s unique political and sectarian history ?

    ‘maybe for the reason that it simply doesnt work’

    How appropriate then given that NI has a history of being ruled as either one party quasi fascist State (1920 – 1972)or as an offshore ‘colony ‘ complete with Colonial Governor masquerading as Secretary of State, up to the present Assembly ? At the very least the present system is maintaining continuity with multiple past non achievements of NI administrations .

    NI cannot be governed as a normal democracy for the very simple reason that it is not and can never be a normal ‘democracy’ in it’s present 6 county format !

  • kensei

    TU

    maybe not, but this is simply not democracy

    It is. It just isn’t majoritarianism. There is a difference.

    Mick

    That’s as honest a reading as I’ve read in the comment zone here for some time. And you have it in one. Effectively the party is asking the DUP to sub them so they can stay inside the Executive and not be forced to walk.

    The DUP conceded the principle of devolution and justice at St Andrews. There was also a proposed time table, which while not binding, set expectations. I suspect that if there was some indication of timing, or what “Community Confidence” constitutes, or positive talk form the DUP, this crisis would have at least been postponed. They haven’t.

    SF made a balls in not tying down concrete dates and commitments for what they wanted. But I’m not sure they are asking for a “sub” here. It’s more like asking someone when they are going to pay up what they owe. And given the principle is conceded, they do owe it.

    It’s easy to focus on SF. But the DUP have taken this as a jolly way to throw their weight about and try to play some electoral games. Fine. Politics, is as you say, a rough business. But sometimes you can be so sharp you cut yourself. It is easy to say “This is only an issue for Republicans”. But if it is so important to them that they’ll collapse the whole show, then it’s an issue for everyone. Just like decomissioning was.

  • Traditional_Unionist

    Greenflag,

    if you want to go about calling the political setup in Northern Ireland years ago a “fascist State”, and saying it can never be a normal democracy. Can I suggest you also look into the Republic’s own treatment of Southern Unionists?

    One could say Northern Ireland learnt all these “bad things” you claim it has had in the past from its nice neighbour the Republic?

  • Traditional_Unionist

    Kensei,

    The reality of democracy is that the majority decision goes.

    That is democracy. There is a motion tabled by a member of the house which he feels will improve the country, and the members vote. whatever way the majority vote then that is what happens, passed or not.

    Some people may not like it, but that IS democracy. It really is that simple

    what is your view of democracy?

  • doctor

    TU:

    “One could say Northern Ireland learnt all these “bad things” you claim it has had in the past from its nice neighbour the Republic?”

    One could certainly say that, if one wishes to display a complete disregard for history as it happened. But do continue with the grossly exaggerated what-aboutery…

    And if one wants to lecture about majority rule, looking at it one way the northern statelet would have never existed if the wishes of the island-wide majority were followed eighty years ago. But then again, unionists can come up with very elastic definitions of a “majority” to suit one’s purpose.

  • Pete Baker

    As honest as far as it goes, Mick.

    “The SF leadership had a hard time carrying the P & J vote with the membership, as part of that vote P & J was promised (to delegates) by May…

    If the party leadership cannot deliver what was promised in the near future then they would be bound, not by St. Andrew’s but by party rules, to walk away from an executive that does not have the power envisaged by the St. Andrew’s Agreement.”

    And who promised the delegates P&J;by May?

    The same leadership who are now being envisaged walking out of the Northern Ireland Executive in keeping with “party rules”.

    bisto

    No wonder Maskey’s “back-peddling like mad”.

    He was one of the party leadership making statements about imaginary agreements.

    Look at it this way, Peter Robinson has just called the Sinn Féin leadership liars [to their own party delegates and in subsequent public statements] – and he quoted the evidence.

    What’s been the Sinn Féin leadership’s response to that charge?

  • Dave

    I guess when you’ve lived most of your life as a common thug, using violence to impose your will on others, setting up your opponents for assassination, disappearing women, donning your black beret and sending others off to a fate with fellow agent Scap in a Border barn, and organising ‘spectaculars’ in London to vent your frustration at not getting your own way, it must be hard to adjust to a new reality in the form of Peter Robinson, who doesn’t give a toss about double-dealing scumbags and the difficulties that they get themselves into by lying to their own supporters.

  • Greenflag

    TU ,

    ‘Can I suggest you also look into the Republic’s own treatment of Southern Unionists?’

    I did but obvioulsy you haven’t . The best reference to read is Ireland’s Holy Wars by Marcus Tanner . He’s English. So you can rely on his ‘neutrality’.

    ‘ Some people may not like it, but that IS democracy. It really is that simple’

    Well it would be if the State was democratic to begin with ie established with the support of the vast majority of the population . Northern Ireland never came close to having that degree of support which is why it could only ever become a one party state until ‘enough was enough ‘

    The United States , France , Germany , Britain (UK mainland) , and th Irish Republic are all working democracies because the vast majority of their citizens almost 100% accept the State as constituted . Northern Ireland never had that degree of popular support which is why today the only way for it to have any kind of self government is to have the ‘monstrosity’ of mandatory power sharing imposed by Westminster .

    Can’t you see that ? Or did your history begin in 1969 ?

  • heck

    if the shinners do plan to pull out of the assembly will the brits “suspend” it before hand as they did for Trimble?

    Remember that he pulled out over something less serious, the alleged leaking of government documents to SF by a civil servant.

    If the Brits do not treat this crisis in the same manner then it will show that nationalists in Norn Iron will always be second class citizens.

    bring it on!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick,

    That’s as honest a reading as I’ve read in the comment zone here for some time. And you have it in one. Effectively the party is asking the DUP to sub them so they can stay inside the Executive and not be forced to walk.

    If that was what Sinn Fein were asking, then they would have made their point in private to the DUP.

    No, this statement from SF was an attempt to appeal to their own members to try to keep them on side. It is problematic, in that making threats in public puts the DUP in the position where they cannot be seen to be acceding to those threats, and therefore makes it more difficult to get the deal done.

  • joeCanuck

    And vice versa, Comrade. Robinson has raised the stakes considerably. (Or is calling a bluff?)

  • kensei

    TU

    what is your view of democracy?

    Political representatives selected by popular vote of the people. Typically, majority or plurality parties will have more power but it does not follow that all their wishes will be met. The US System was designed with the “Tyranny of the Majority” in mind, and includes all sorts of checks and balances that may prevent the majority from getting their way.

    We have our own, specially designed checks and balances appropriate to the fragmented nature of our society.. Currently it is mandatory coalition and mutual veto.

    CS

    No, this statement from SF was an attempt to appeal to their own members to try to keep them on side. It is problematic, in that making threats in public puts the DUP in the position where they cannot be seen to be acceding to those threats, and therefore makes it more difficult to get the deal done.

    Which starts from the assumption that no attempt has been made. At the end of the day, if the DUP refuse to budge SF have limited options to apply pressure.

  • Comrade Stalin

    kensei, my point was that SF were not trying to get a point across to the DUP.

    I think SF have limited options full stop. Pulling out of the executive will hurt them more than it will hurt the DUP. There is a very real risk to SF that the rest of the parties will carry on without them.

  • Peter Doran

    The Day After

    Now there’s a coincidence…the Executive meeting is scheduled for 18th September….24 hours after the Fermanagh by-election…

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Peter Doran,

    It is also scheduled after the IMC reports on the 1st September.

    It is a fairly safe bet that after the publication of this report ( which will no doubt state that the IRA Army Council are less dangerous than league of lollypop ladies) that both governments will call on Robbo to jump – as they have a number of times before.

    It may be argued that Westminster numbers may prevent El Gordo from threatening Robbo but if he’s called upon to move and doesnt then Grizzly and Marty will be able to say the DUP are preventing progress and collapse the Assembly.

    SF should sit tight, Robbo will either jump or take the blame for Unionisim saying NO yet again.

  • Pete Baker

    I’ll repeat my earlier comment, for the benefit of Sammy Mc et al.

    As honest as far as it goes, Mick.

    “The SF leadership had a hard time carrying the P & J vote with the membership, as part of that vote P & J was promised (to delegates) by May…

    If the party leadership cannot deliver what was promised in the near future then they would be bound, not by St. Andrew’s but by party rules, to walk away from an executive that does not have the power envisaged by the St. Andrew’s Agreement.”

    And who promised the delegates P & J by May?

    The same leadership who are now being envisaged walking out of the Northern Ireland Executive in keeping with “party rules”.

    bisto

    No wonder Maskey’s “back-peddling like mad”.

    He was one of the party leadership making statements about imaginary agreements.

    Look at it this way, Peter Robinson has just called the Sinn Féin leadership liars [to their own party delegates and in subsequent public statements] – and he quoted the evidence.

    What’s been the Sinn Féin leadership’s response to that charge?

  • Dave

    Heck, the main difference will be that SF will have self-expired their usefulness to their masters, thereby leaving themselves open to the rigor and ruthlessness of a system that no longer has any need to protect them. I think at that point we’ll see a lot more ‘leaking’ (but it won’t be information that is designed to be of use to SF) and a lot more interest by the state in recovering the immense proceeds of PIRA crime, etc. Hence, the likelihood of Gerry and Martin biting the hand that feeds (and protects) them by going against the agreed strategy of integrating their constituency into the reformed British political system is next to zero.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    I take it you accept that the DUP are politically isolated and have been called up on to move by both governments? Please answer yes or no.

    Why do you think the 2 governements have the quarefellahs of the IMC reporting now.

    A) Coincidence
    B) They want movement

    If you can accept that the DUP are politcally isolated then that would mean all this jibber-jabber about the STA agreement is just that. Triple lock is as much use as a kick-up-the Jacksie if nobody thinks you should exercise it – except of course the DUP itself.

    “And who promised the delegates P & J by May? ”

    SF did. They can plausibly say that, being the good powersharing kinda guys they took the DUP on good faith (plus a few secret promises for good measure) and guess what? The crazy guys who dont believe in evolution dont believe in power sharing Police and Justice after all.

    Well nobody can complain that the DUP were not given the chance and that a very resonable SF did afford them the space of a few months to say something other than NO.

    It not that SF are taking their ball away – but rather that the DUP wont play ball and so SF are calling the game off – just as they should.

  • kensei

    CS

    kensei, my point was that SF were not trying to get a point across to the DUP.

    And my point is that you are assuming. There have clearly been discussions, with the news announced a while back. Perhaps SF feel this is the only way to make their point.

    I think SF have limited options full stop.

    Correct. They are:

    1. Roll over
    2. Try to get the governments to overrule the Assembly
    3. Frustration tactics
    4. Collapse

    They appear to be trying the viable 3.

    Pulling out of the executive will hurt them more than it will hurt the DUP. There is a very real risk to SF that the rest of the parties will carry on without them.

    This is an utterly idle threat. If SF pull out there will be an election. If SF are backed by Nationalism they will need dealt with. Anything else leads to serious instability which is in no ones interest, and not something the two governments will tolerate.

    I also doubt the SDLP have the balls or the complete suicidal instincts to try and cut out SF.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mc

    Your speculation, unsurprisingly, fails to address the question

    What’s been the Sinn Féin leadership’s response to that charge – Peter Robinson has just called the Sinn Féin leadership liars [to their own party delegates and in subsequent public statements] – and he quoted the evidence?

    I see you’re still citing your imagined secret deals to justify your belief in the SF leadership.

    You do realise that they don’t even do that?

  • Pete Baker

    And Ken,

    Still futuring, I see.

    Probably best not to look back.

  • 2050

    Responsible for our own P&J;, what’s the big deal at the end of the day ! Just do it .

    Come to far now, ceasefire, 10+ years of protracted negotiations, one sided decommissioning, acceptance of police, acceptance of power sharing by DUP.

    AP, UUP, SDLP’s contribution to resolving this final hurdle is what again ?

    Surely, those in power wouldn’t want the money cut in the tight times ahead.

    Stop the gurning and getonwithit

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    I’ll do you a deal I’ll answer your questions and you answer mine.

    a)
    What is speculative about asking you if you accept that the DUP are out of step with the 2 Governments?

    b)
    Do you accept the DUP are out step with the 2 Governments?

    Re. Lying to their own party.

    SF will just say they took the DUP on good faith to move the process forward. The DUP told their own supporters whoppers that the Professor of Whoppers at the Oxford University of Whoppers would be proud of e.g. We will not share power with terrorists, we will smash SF etc, etc,etc.

    This is mere flim flam – which SF should just ignore.

  • Pete Baker

    “SF will just say they took the DUP on good faith to move the process forward.”

    Sammy Mc

    Except, as the DUP have repeatedly pointed out, they made no commitment to May 2008.

    Despite what the SF leadership have repeatedly claimed.

    And your imagined secret deals remain un-mentioned.

    Honestly, your psychotic belief in an alternative reality is worrying.

    Once again then,

    What’s been the Sinn Féin leadership’s response to that charge – Peter Robinson has just called the Sinn Féin leadership liars [to their own party delegates and in subsequent public statements] – and he quoted the evidence?

    I see you’re still citing your imagined secret deals to justify your belief in the SF leadership.

    You do realise that they don’t even do that?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Pete,

    I asked you 2 simple questions – you did not answer either and then you accused me of being psychotic.

    Will you answer my questions now?

    I tried to answer your question. I dont know what SF various responses has been but it should be one of the following

    a)ignore the charge

    b) countercharge that the DUP are the biggest porky tellers in the history of porkies

    c) say the DUP sent mixed messages, lied themselves, changed their mind etc etc

    Or a combination of these.

  • DC

    Glensman – well put – agree Mick. It might not be 100% as it is but that’s the way public opinion will look at it.

    And, public opinion it is – that’s what the DUP are up against. So Sammy says this:

    “Well nobody can complain that the DUP were not given the chance and that a very resonable SF did afford them the space of a few months to say something other than NO.”

    Agree, SF will come out as ‘taking a risk for progress’ in doing so currying favour as both progressive and forward thinking, tbh SF owed Blair big time for a peace process tailored to their needs. Anyway, better to have an opportunity than have no opportunity at all, SF gave the DUP an opportunity to share power – they could have cemented fixed demands by holding up progress ensuring a tighter deal; however, they didn’t quite sell a pass to the DUP but positioned the party in a way that allowed the DUP to sign up and therefore had to be left wanting.

    Public opinion is what counts here, apart from the NIO poll my belief is anecdotal but I believe public opinion is moving against the DUP, and Unionism largely – as it always has done. Although having Iris Robinson about is no help.

    The peace process is well and truly processed but it is important to remember that while not a fully fledged democracy there remains loss of life potential as a result of indecision and uncertainty. As I always say on here about NI politics – put people first. Let your instincts kick in – the right thing is to move on it, at least talk about getting the structure bound in: fudge it if needs be.

    Sinn Fein should have by now submitted a request to unpick this lock, even for example by holding a media meeting saying they meet with FM with that explicitly discussed. Any such requests to get movement need to become more transparent, more positive so that it doesn’t come across as toy throwing whenever the DUP responds poorly to very sulky and terse demands by SF.

    Most of all, Unionists should be positive – they have a Northern Ireland, yes it is still Northern Ireland, somewhat changed though, be thankful for that. And lighten up and stop mistrusting people i.e. saying no confidence, republican and nationalist voters are not politically subhuman, plus the war that was is over.

  • LURIG

    Sinn Fein & the DUP are backing themselves into a mini Cuban missille crisis here where one threat & event leads to another which leads to another and so on AND neither can be see to back down. However the truth is that most of us are losing no sleep over it. They have spent the last few years disagreeing on everything and it has become weary, tiresome, boring and repetitive. It is Groundhog day again AND again AND again. Sinn Fein might be angry on Policing & Justice but every obstacle that went before has been overcome. What is so different this time? Even if P&J;still hasn’t been devolved in six months what are Sinn Fein going to do? What can they do except register their displeasure. I mean senior Republicans are not going to come out of the wings in zimmers with peashooters, are they? The fact is that Sinn Fein have bought into a devolved Stormont administration where Unionists are in the majority AGAIN so what did they expect?
    Listening to Mark Durkan yesterday it is obvious that the Shinners were out-thought and out-negotiated by the DUP at St. Andrews. The triple lock mechanism is kicking in as the SDLP predicted. Sinn Fein are in a corner of their own making and sound like Trimble’s UUP when they kept threatening to walk away. In the end they looked ridiculous and no one really gave a damn. It is history repeating itself. The SDLP are not going to prop them up this time and going by what Durkan said are there for the long haul irrespective of what Republicans do. Welcome to the 21st century Gerry & Martin. You are the monkey dancing to the DUP tune but the fact is NOBODY really gives a damn anymore. The unfairness and poverty is not there anymore to sustain another conflict. As a Nationalist I am more interested in the winter ahead and the bills that will come through my door. Yes we can still fire off steam and OTT stuff on Slugger AND I am as guilty as most (sorry for the unfair attack last night on ALL NI football; I acknowledge there are good decent NI fans, board members and officials in local football) but so long as that’s where it stays most of us are happy.

  • kensei

    Pete

    Still futuring, I see.

    Probably best not to look back.

    1. Actually, Pete, that one isn’t futuring.
    2. I’m not sure the lessons of the past have changed all that much from last week, or last month.
    3. We are rapidly moving past the point where what was agreed 18 months ago is more important than what are you going to do next.
    4. Stop jumping into conversations I’m having with other people to drop in snide remarks. It’s rude, aside from anything else.

    kthanxbye

  • ggn

    This voter for one would be quite content to see the Stormont experiment ending – Lets see what about a plan B I say.

    Sinn Féin could well lose some of their new support if they take it down, but could well regain some of their old support.

    The SDLP is weak at this moment with a weak leader, but they will not always be I feel.

    SF would be wise to seize on the oppurtunity and take out Stormont now, if they can.

    The SDLP would struggle on an electoral program of returning to Stormont without P&J;.

    I sense no love whatsoever amongst nationalists for Stormont.

    Continuing religous fundamentalism and cultural intolerance from unionism will not help the SDLP cause either, I think.

    Sinn Féin as the majority nationalist party should begin to prepare their electorate for a post stormont senario.

    Personally, I fail to see how making Northern Ireland work can advance the cause of Irish Nationalism though I can see how in the short term people’s material lives could be greatly enhanced.

  • Traditional_Unionist

    So back to the negotiating table again then if this fails and falls down?

    Believe it or not I do actually believe a fair and decent agreement can be reached to solve all this.

    But its going to take serious and frank dicussions about the current activity and behavour of MLA’s. SF/IRA are always very quick to look to the future and telling us we must move on from the past when the slaughter this country endured at the hands of its terror wing. Thats all well and good saying, but when we still watch MLA’s attending events celebrating their terror wings attrocities then it makes things extremely bad. Dont get me wrong, the DUP are far from free of blame regarding the current political crisis.

    There really needs to be REAL movement from both side and proof that they are indeed committed from slowly getting away from the past (while not forgetting it of course). But this simply isnt happening, we have MLA’s telling people like Jim Allister etc to “move on”, but how can everyone mover on when they are not being allowed to by these very same MLA’s?

    The whole thing is a farce and completely unworkable. THe main reason I describe it as this is because people signed up to an agreement that just required words, not actual movement on issues. no action was required from republicans, or unionists. just words.

    Until there is a new workable agreement this mess will just continue and indeed get worse.

    If it is indeed time to “move on” lets see our politicians make the first move. no words. ACTION!

  • cynic

    For some really strange reason while reading all this and thinking deeply about the Shinners predicament the following lyrics just seemed so right that I found myself humming the song

    LETS FACE THE MUSIC

    There may be trouble ahead
    But while there’s moonlight and music
    And love and romance
    Let’s face the music and dance

    Before the fiddlers have fled
    Before they ask us to pay the bill
    And while we still
    Have the chance
    Let’s face the music and dance

    Soon
    We’ll be without the moon
    Humming a diff’rent tune
    And then

    There may be teardrops to shed
    So while there’s moonlight and music
    And love and romance
    Let’s face the music and dance
    Dance
    Let’s face the music and dance

  • runciter

    The failure of Stormont is a problem for unionists, as Plan B is Joint Authority.

    A lot of nationalists will now be looking at that as the preferred option.

  • slug

    “The failure of Stormont is a problem for unionists, as Plan B is Joint Authority. ”

    …of David Cameron and George Osborne.

  • runciter

    …of David Cameron and George Osborne.

    We shall see.

  • Traditional_Unionist

    One question….how would a conservative government (only a year or two away possibly) treat things differently?

  • slug

    “We shall see. ”

    Only if the Exec collapses.

    Collapse the exec and get Direct Rule Tories.

  • Steve

    Collapse the exec and get Direct Rule Tories.

    Posted by slug on Aug 27, 2008 @ 12:18 PM

    I supose you believe that this will mean the reurn of the old warhorses mid 80’s policies

    Sorry even if Cameron wanted that he is in no position to even attempt it, up until the 90’s Britain was a prime citizen of the world and had the ability to go it alone but with spiral collapsing of the empire they are no longer in a position to ignore world opinion.

    The spread of user driven media means that england can no longer hide its sins behind a media blackout.

    There is simply no return to 1960’s unionism no matter how much the TUV and DUPers want it

  • cynic

    “Sorry even if Cameron wanted that he is in no position to even attempt it, up until the 90’s Britain was a prime citizen of the world and had the ability to go it alone but with spiral collapsing of the empire they are no longer in a position to ignore world opinion.

    The spread of user driven media means that england can no longer hide its sins behind a media blackout.”

    …..errrr where have you been for the last 30 years Steve? ‘Twas ever thus.