Robinson ups the ante

Breaking news... The Belfast Telegraph is selling hard the story of deepening crisis in the Executive, although as I type, nobody else seems to have picked up this latest twist. Peter Robinson’s charge is constitutionally a serious one, that the Regional Development minister SF’s Conor Murphy breached the code of office by failing to bring a ” massive” regional strategy to 2025 before an Executive meeting.

“Mr Robinson said he wanted an immediate Executive meeting to deal with the issue before it becomes a matter for the courts.”

In political terms, it’s clearly a straight challenge to Sinn Fein to come in or get out. Quite a gambit. Yet how does it square with yesterday’s story of a meeting with SF next week to try to settle the whole Executive crisis? And why is Robinson flanked by party colleagues meeting the Independent Monitoring Commission today, if not to obtain their views on IRA compliance? Forcing a crisis or calling Sinn Fein’s bluff? We shall see how the news is analysed in the coming hours and days.

What’s the DUP’s next move if Sinn Fein fails to respond?

  • Pete Baker

    Brian

    The Irish Times report, noted below, has the DUP meeting the IMC today.

  • slug

    Good battle-a-day copy for Saturday’s News Letter.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Brian,

    you are surely not encouraging the dreadful practice of futuring? If Pete Baker finds out you could be in for a lecture – though he is busy at the moment with a very similar thread.

    It could be that Robbo needs some cover for his arse from an attack from big Jimbo or even Wee Reggie (nice imagery) if he jumps or even slithers on Police and Justice and the evelation of a procedural wrangle to the courts probably better than feck all.

  • Dec

    And why is Robinson meeting the Independent Monitoring Commission next week, flanked by party colleagues.

    To demand an update on loyalist decommissioning?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    He may have an interest in putting a date and (former) owner on the semtex used last week in the dissident attack – if it is still amenabe to that kind of analysis.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    One important point here is that Sinn Fein just aren’t up to the game played at this level. Retorting, in effect, when the Punt sends you a message, that, ‘we’re pretending not to be cognizant of this message because you are merely a co-first-minister, and therefore can’t communicate with us without Murderin’ Mart’s co-signature on your own messages’ is something more than pathetic.

    Unable as they plainly are, I don’t actually believe Sinn Fein are going to keep themselves in the position of defaulting, which is very obviously where they currently are. But I have to ask: how much more self-inflicted humiliation will their voters take from their ‘leaders’ before they begin to, well, wise up? The SDLP may have got things wrong to an almost Trimblesque extent at the tactical level, but they’d be up to the job of following the rules. Especially if they were the rules they they themselves had negotiated. Yet I keep coming back to this: Robinson has Adams exactly where he wants – exposed, vulnerable and with no retaliatory leverage – and it’s Adams himself who has put SF there. You almost begin to wonder . . .

  • Dec

    He may have an interest in putting a date and (former) owner on the semtex used last week in the dissident attack – if it is still amenabe to that kind of analysis.

    Or indeed the numerous previous dissident attacks which used semtex (though not to such fanfare).

  • It was Sammy McNally what done it

    Its a Repetitive Rooster

    “Yet I keep coming back to this: Robinson has Adams exactly where he wants ”

    The problem for Robbo is that he has been summoned to talks before the Executive meeting by SF – and so he’s dancing the merry dance of distraction – which will probably be enough to fool a lot of his supporters e.g. yourself.

    There was all sorts of funny jibber-jabber (Smash SF etc) before they signed up to “chuckle a day” with Marty and Co – so Robbo may well be getting ready to to do the jump thing.

  • Brian Walker

    Sorry Pete and everybody. I held off for an hour as I was sitting at the computer and wanted to put down a marker for “one to watch.” Old news instincts die hard! I should stop twitching as I’ve plenty else to be getting on with. “Next week” corrected to “today”, Pete. And over to you for the inevitable follow-up.

  • interested

    Robinson has the Ministerial Code tucked under his arm and its a ‘weapon’ which hasn’t recieved much scrutiny.

    Unlike post-1998 its actually binding this time, so the threat of legal challenge against Ministers would have teeth.

    Whilst the IMC do have the role of monitoring paramilitary activity I believe they now also have at least some role in judging the actions of Ministers and whether they are fulfilling that code.

    There could be more than one item on the agenda for the IMC meeting.

    Sammy McNally
    “The problem for Robbo is that he has been summoned to talks before the Executive meeting by SF”

    Lets remember that SF made great play of holding talks after their last ‘smash the executive’ climbdown. What exactly did they get from the DUP at those talks? Nothing of course.

    “There was all sorts of funny jibber-jabber (Smash SF etc) before they signed up to “chuckle a day” with Marty and Co – “

    There was clearly plenty of Shinner jibber jabber also – telling the troops that P&J;would definitely be devolved by now was probably a jackanory too far for some of the hard-nuts in east Tyrone and west Fermanagh…….

    Maybe you could shed some light on a question I posed before…. With the Shinners saying they’re going to hold a number of “consultations” with their members across what they euphamistically call the north, what exactly are they going to be ‘consulting’ them about?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    interested,

    Maybe you could shed some light on a question I posed before…. With the Shinners saying they’re going to hold a number of “consultations” with their members across what they euphamistically call the north, what exactly are they going to be ‘consulting’ them about?

    My guess is it that its some sort of orchestrated display of unity.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    I have been accused by Sam, Sam, the single-transferable-post Man of ‘repetition’. Can any other Sluggerite think of a comparable accusation ever having being made before in all of recorded history thus far? (Also: if, say, the Emperor ever accused Darth Vader of, ‘an inclination towards slight misanthropy/abusing the force’, we can accept that or similar examples from Great Works of Western Literature).

  • I think everyone is waiting for the Sinn Fein climb down on this issue. Adam’s ‘interventions’ of late have done more harm than good for SF in the credibility stakes. The DUP and Sinn Fein are dependent on each other – if they fail in their attempt at good governance they are both up the creek sans paddle.

  • David

    Without the threat of the IRA, Sinn Fein are a mere protest party.

  • interested

    Sammy
    “My guess is it that its some sort of orchestrated display of unity.”

    Why the need for such a display? That implies that there is currently sufficient disunity within SF to require such “orchestrated displays”.

    Why would there be such disunity at the present time then if they, as you put it, have Robinson dancing to their tune.

    An orchestrated climbdown might be another way to describe it of course….

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    interested,

    “An orchestrated climbdown might be another way to describe it of course”

    Well of course you may be right…but as a betting man I’ll wager you otherwise.

    “Why the need for such a display? That implies that there is currently sufficient disunity within SF to require such “orchestrated displays”.

    There surely is disunity – the extent is not clear – but if they get the Transfer ( which I think they will ) then it wont matter a feck.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Yeah, that’s right, they’ll get [sic] the transfer, but on the Punt’s terms (which he has already set out), not, of course, on the ones Sinn Fein have set out. That, after all, would require a time machine.

  • joeCanuck

    Rory,
    If you’re about this would be an excellent thread in which to re-post that Magnificent Seven clip from the previous thread. It being the same theme and all. Who will win the standoff?

  • Brian Walker

    Are the IMC’s powers relevant in the Conor Murphy case? Surprisingly they may be, even though Peter Robinson’s complaint implies no breach of the Pledge to use exclusively peaceful means. The IMC’s functions according to the 2003 Act include ” to consider whether..a Minister of the devolved administration was not committed to non-violence, or HAD BREACHED THE TERMS OF THE PLEDGE OF OFFICE.

    At the time the IMC was set up in 2003 the Pledge was limited to the terms fo the 1998 Act, It was greatly added to in the St Andrews Agreement Act 2006, as was the ministerial code. It seems anomalous that the IMC should consider breaches other than those to do with violence, but I don’t think that’s at all clear.

    However the IMC must report to the Secretary of State not the Assembly and it’s up to him to recommend action against a minister to the Assembly. If a resolution fails to attract cross community support, the SoS can suspend the minister himself. None of that is relevant to the Murphy example.

    However at St Andrews, the DUP were keen to bind in SF tightly to as much collective decision taking as possible, to avoid solo runs like McGuinness’s on the 11 plus and exploit the DUP’s greater muscle. The rules for Executive decision taking was altered accordingly. The St Andrews Act imposes a whole host of obligations on ministers – many of which it can be argued SF have breached, assuming its conceded or proven that they are solely responsible for the long gap in Executive meetings, which are normally required every fortnight as the Act states.

    The DUP envisaged that a significant breach of the Pledge and the Code would be actionable in the courts. But how a minister would actually be removed if a court found him/her in breach is not spelt out, as far as I can see. Does anyone know the answer?

  • interested

    Sammy
    “There surely is disunity – the extent is not clear – but if they get the Transfer ( which I think they will ) then it wont matter a feck.”

    No-one’s really debating if there will be the transfer of Policing and Justice. The sticky point for the Shinners is when. Given that they told their supporters it should be here already then every passing day is troublesome for them.

    As Rooster pointed out – in the rush to get the transfer they manage to u-turn on all their previously stated positions. SF previously strongly opposed it going to a single Department and a single Minister after devolution. Now because they’ve seen that agreeing to those things are the only way in which they might speed up the devolution occuring they’ve abandoned that.

    Previously John O’Dowd was getting all hot and bothered at the DUP daring to suggest that SF shouldn’t be eligible for the position – remember the “Sinn Fein is not in the business of excluding itself” stuff? Well now again they’ve agreed to a mechanism for transfer which ensures that they wont take the post (and Adams’ claims that it was a one term arrangement are utter sh*te).

    They managed to backtrack on two of their main issues around the devolution of Policing & Justice yet they still aren’t any closer in reality to actually knowing when its going to happen.

    I suspect that when the transfer of P&J;occurs some of those issues actually will “matter a feck” (to quote you).

    I’m glad though that you do accept that there clearly are problems within camp Shinner. Everytime they threaten the Executive and subsequently back down after getting some (increasingly transparent) fig-leaf for cover will only increase those tensions. The first aborted ‘nuclear option’ has managed to weaken Adams’ credibiity and not only will their continued threats manage to diminish in seriousness everytime they try it, but their whole air of superiority and credibility crumbles too.

    They’ll end up becoming the republican version of Trimble’s UUP, and we all know what happened then….

  • Quagmire

    Just bring the whole lot down. Its an absolute farce. “Our wee country” is simply ungovernable. It always has been and always will be. Too many pesky fenians living here for the DUP’s liking. If only it were the good oul days when the croppies would know their place and lie down. The sooner the political entity known as Northern Ireland is resigned to the history books the better in my opinion. Once Stormont is gone this time it should never return. Mandatory coalition doesn’t work and voluntary coalition is an absolute non-runner from a nationalist perspective. Ironic thing is that in the event of direct rule from London we will probably get an ILA anyway. Unionism always harks on about the benefits of the union i.e. the UK is a pluralist society rich in cultural diversity bla bla bla, except if you are a fenian. Hypocrites the lot of them. They are miles out of touch with their Parliament in London and indeed with the majority of public opinion in Britain. A strange lot altogether! Time for Plan B, if there is one.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Interested,

    we’ve been through this a thousand(seems like) times. Lets talk up SF difficulties and ignore the DUPs as per Pete Baker’s and the Repetitive Rooster’s Recycling.

    Adams original threat still stands – Robbo by his procrastination will now been be seen (correctly) when he mysteriously magics up the ‘confidence of the Unionist people’ to be responding to that.

    So what way do you think the Maze/Bobby Bowl decision will go? Up until this week I would have said NO – but I think Robbo is getting a bit tetchy lately so I’m not so sure.

    No sign of you taking me up on the offer of a bet re. the SF meeting.

    p.s. I’m not trying to be provocative, or suggest anything about your own behaviour but do Prod Fundamentaliss have a thing against betting? Is there a biblical reference to it being sinful?

  • cynic

    I have trawled through the Code and wonder just what sections the DUPs allege Murphy has broken. The only ones I can see that might be relevant are

    PLEDGE OF OFFICE

    Includes

    1.4 (f) to support, and to act in accordance with, all decisions of the Executive Committee and Assembly;

    MINISTERIAL CODE

    Ministers must

    1.5 (iv) operate in a way conducive to promoting good community relations and equality of treatment;

    In any case the problem is what this little spat reveals about the sheer childishness of what is going on. It seems to focus on putting a paper to the Executive with “Northern ireland” in it, getting approval and then changing all the language before publication to remove that term at every stage.

    If that is true, how utterly devious, pathetic and childish. Why oh why are we playing these clowns to behave like this? If they cannot cope with basics like this there is no hope on bigger issues so begone with the lot of them.

  • ggn

    “Time for plan B”

    I’ll second that. This phase of the process is over.

  • Inspector Cleauso

    Sammy,

    Why do SF (and their supporters) think that they must always get what they want, even if that means shooting their neighbours to get it?

    Where is Marty in all of this? Maybe his “handler” has tightened the leash!

  • Brian Walker

    Cynic, you say
    “I have trawled through the Code and wonder just what sections the DUPs allege Murphy has broken.”

    Rather a lot actually. They’re worth setting out in detail, to provide a factual basis for discussion.

    From THE MINISTERIAL CODE 2006

    The Executive Committee will provide a forum for:
    (i) the discussion of, and agreement on, issues which cut across the responsibilities of two
    or more Ministers;
    (ii) prioritising executive proposals;
    (iii) prioritising legislative proposals;
    (iv) recommending a common position where necessary;
    (v) agreement each year on (and review as necessary of) a programme incorporating an
    agreed budget linked to policies and programmes (Programme for Government);
    discussion of and agreement upon significant or controversial matters that are clearly
    outside the scope of the agreed programme referred to in paragraph 20 of Strand One
    of the Agreement.”

    For a start: then there is

    “Duty to bring matters to the attention of the executive Committee

    cuts across the responsibilities of two or more Ministers;
    (ii) requires agreement on prioritisation;
    (iii) requires the adoption of a common position;

    Determining whether a decision which ministers wish to take or have taken relates to a matter that ought, by virtue of section 20 (3) or (4) of the act, to be considered by the executive Committee
    2.5 Where a Minister or junior Minister wishes the Executive Committee to make such a determination, he or she shall set out in writing the details of the decision taken or to be taken, and why he or she believes it is or is not covered by paragraphs 2.4 (i) to (v

    meetings of the executive Committee
    2.9 Without prejudice to section 16A (11) of the Act, meetings of the Executive Committee will be convened and presided over by the First Minister and deputy First Minister except where Statutory Ministerial Code they have jointly agreed an alternative arrangement. The meetings will normally be held fortnightly. The relevant provisions of the following paragraphs also apply to any subcommittees.
    2.10 Executive Committee meetings take precedence over all other business. Members of the Executive should attend all meetings except in the most exceptional circumstances.”

    rand One of that Agreement.

    ST ANDREWS AGREEMENT ACT amendments to 1998 act
    Breach of the duty to act in accordance with the Ministerial Code would constitute a breach of the pledge of office, and so where a Minister or junior Minister has not acted in accordance with the Code it would be open to the Assembly to impose any sanction available to them for breach of the pledge. The available sanctions are censure, reduction of remuneration and financial assistance, and exclusion from Ministerial office.”

    I think there’s a case to answer here.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Inspector Cleauso

    thats politics for you – the guy with the biggest gun and/or best allies gets the good stuff.

    Worked for Unionism for years – not its the good guys (slight bias) turn.

    ggn, once Marty and Robbo get over this bump in the road(sleeping policeman?) the’ll be chuckling along together like a couple of old paramilitary pals. In fact it would be nice for both of them to get out their old berets – with Robbo in red and Marty in black it would be ideal for a a Stormo photo-shoot.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    And there’s the thing for poor ould Sammy: much as he’d like to libel the Punt, he never murdered anyone, unlike Murderin’ Mart. And despite all those innocents Murderous McG dispensed with, it’s him who’s getting royally stuffed. That is, as far as everyone but Sam, Sam, the Single Transferable Posting Man’s concerned. Odd that. Almost telling some might feel.

    As it happens, I don’t for one moment dispute that all political power barrel ultimately comes from the barrel of the gun. And as with everywhere else in the world, here in NI, it’s the state who have the guns and the rest who don’t. Hence Gordon and the Punt’s ascendancy. Thank goodness for us Unionists that the Punt replaced the incapable Trimble and finally delivered us the boon of Provo decommissioning.

  • ??

    #

    “Time for plan B”

    I’ll second that. This phase of the process is over.
    Posted by ggn on Aug 29, 2008 @ 02:49 PM

    ——————-

    You just dont get it, Gordon needs the DUPs votes and Cameron is buddys with Reg.
    SF have no more guns. its over, even if direct rule returns there`ll be no change.

    Bring it on

  • interested

    Sammy
    “No sign of you taking me up on the offer of a bet re. the SF meeting.”

    You weren’t explicit as to what the bet was. If its about a meeting taking place – I’ve already said that’s clearly going to happen. It will help facilitate the Shinner climbdown. You will probably try to claim otherwise, but i didn’t get any sense of an objective measurable that you were going to base the bet on.. However you may surprise me.

    Many Protestants don’t engage in betting – the Bible is clear on it. However, I’ve had more than a few enjoyable evenings at the greyhounds so I wouldn’t refuse to take your money away from you.

    Btw – I don’t ignore any DUP/unionist difficulties. However, they’re usually much more up-front and usually discussed to death on places like slugger. Republican difficulties are usually kept a bit more quiet and they attempt to wash their dirty laundry in private – unlike unionists. That’s why difficulties within SF becoming more and more obvious are very interesting. When they have to stagemanage events to present some facade of unity you really know that they’re in diffs.

  • lorraine

    instability arising from dup intransigence plays into the sinn fein strategy of demonstrating that norn iron is a failed political entity. so f**k if the assembly collapses: that’s the point! failed political entities fail. do you seriously think they give a shite about ministerial codes within a six county institution. keep your eye on the ball lads.

  • interested

    As for the “Plan B” thing.

    It may now of course be time for Plan C should the Shinners really mess things up.

    Seeing as they’d be the ones in default and the cause of all the trouble then why assume that the fallback option would still be preferable for republicans. After all, Plan B was clearly used to ‘help’ unionists enter Government. Plan C could well be used to keep republicans in it.

  • pacman

    I think Conor should be commended on two points:

    1 He’s obviously adhered to one of the central tenants of the Plain English (oh, the irony) Campaign i.e abbreviation and
    2 He’s surely prolonged the life of a few more trees by giving cognisance to environmental issues.

    A win-win situation……….surely?

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Dearie me Lorraine, that’s a comforting tune you’re whistling to yourself. For what it’s worth, this place is so easily governable that two part time English MPs could do it in their spare time. And would you look at that? Both of us, it turns out, would prefer Westminster rule to Stormont rule. Golly. Yet only one of us is going to get out that what they actually really want. [Hint: it’s not the one who wants a 32 county, unitary Marxist republic].

  • Rooster Cogburn

    And by such petty steps wuz Oireland’s freedom achieved. What is it that makes me quite so confident that that’s *not* what the Encyclopedia Hibernia is going to be saying in its 2316 edition? Seriously, this is what Republicans spent 3 decades murdering people for? So Murphy could dick about with the wording of press releases?

    As I’ve already intoned elswhere, Sinn Fein in office are woefully out of their depth. Unionists, I insist, finally fell out with the UUP simply because Trimble was so demonstrably, so insistently incompetent. The same thing is now happening with nationalists: as day after day, crauplent stunt after crauplent stunt, SF demonstrate that they’re not up to it, slowly but surely nationalist voters will drift back to the Stoops.

  • qubol

    Is Rooster Cogburn getting a by ball on the playing the man rule round here?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    interested,

    if you are trying to redress the balance of propaganda – then fair enough – but with Pete Baker soley talking of SFs difficulties then I think you are safe enough on Slugger on the Police and Justice issue.

    Re. Bet. I must check out google for some biblical stuff on betting. My bet £10 or £5( loser gives money to Slugger) is that the SF members’ meeting next week will be a re-statement of what Grizzly, Marty and others have said – no move by Robbo then they will collapse Stormo. To avoid boxing in Robbo/themselves ( depending on your point of view) further they may not specify a time limit.

  • interested

    “the SF members’ meeting next week will be a re-statement of what Grizzly, Marty and others have said – no move by Robbo then they will collapse Stormo. To avoid boxing in Robbo/themselves ( depending on your point of view) further they may not specify a time limit.”

    Thats IT????????

    I’m sorry, but another wooly…. “well if nothing happens then we’ll get verrrry angry” statement would be laughable.

    As for the gambling – I believe the Bible has things to say about games of ‘chance’ and about “casting lots”.

    If they don’t put a timelimit on it then it is a climbdown. No timelimit = empty rhetoric.

  • Brian Walker

    P.S. Cynic has a point after all when he wondered “just what sections of the Ministerial Code the DUPs allege Murphy has broken.” If as is now reported, he merely tinkered with the text of a strategy document the Executive had approved (“the North” for “Northern Ireland”) without taking it back for further approval then it’s plain silly to use such a heavy mallet to crack a tiny nut. SF ministers may still have a case to answer though for blocking Executive meetings, as my last comment makes clear – if you manage to extract the point from the Code’s formal, lengthy prose. So apologies to cynic!

  • ggn

    “If they don’t put a timelimit on it then it is a climbdown. No timelimit = empty rhetoric.”

    I agree.

    I think it is also interesting that Gerry Adams appears to have dropped off the face of the earth and with it all talk of an ILA.

    P&J;now seems to be the only issue.

  • X

    To those who are holding a torch for the judges to punish any minister for taking a decison that in essence is a political one – i wouldn’t hold your breath.

    Murphy’s actions are purely political, have no relevance to the strategy, does not confuse anyone – for no matter what people say everyone understands “the North” is Sinn fein for Northern Ireland. So the only matter is can a minister take an executive decision to change the wording of a document, without changing the essence or the strategy of the document on his or her own.

    Answer – yes – of course they can and they do and they will. Will a court be interested – absolutely not – no judge wants to be involved in democracy even our toytown version.

    PLedges of office, ministerial codes are purely window dressing for the desparately unbelieving people, otherwise known as the D.U.P., who trust know one and believe that if all else fails the courts will throw them out.

    Bollocks too all

  • DC

    In relation to St Andrews for Sinn Fein there is no ‘in the overall implemention of the agreement’, so while the ‘Government’ didn’t legislate the Irish Language Act it is unclear as to how any of these problems re the Code can be overcome.

    If Conor Murphy has deviated away off the collectively agreed regional policy then there could well be repercussions as per the Code, but if it is just nomenclature about the ‘north’ rather than actual spending then it will be more difficult to figure out what can happen.

    And if there are illegal problems who will determine the statutory repercussions in terms of remuneration adjustments, for example.

    The biggest hoodwink was the removal of the collective vote for FM and DFM as this has largely removed the safeguard against having such truculent leaders, both of whom appear to be irascible to the point of executive failure.

    Then of course there is also this:

    12. The Governments have made clear that in the event of failure to reach agreement by the 24 November we will proceed on the basis of the new British Irish partnership arrangements to implement the Belfast Agreement.

  • pacman

    Whilst I’m loathe to agree with anything a shinner says these days, I think John O’Dowd hit the nail on the head in the Belfast Tele today:

    “The pattern seems to be Jim Allister raises an issue and it becomes a DUP priority.”

  • Rooster Cogburn

    That last point is one of the very few true things O’Dowd has so far said in his ‘public’ life. And it’s yet another argument for middle sized Jim. Just as the existence of UKIP, however disorganised they are, keeps the Tory leadership more Sceptically honest on the EU than they otherwise would be, so too does the TUV perform sterling work in keeping the Punt on the straight and narrow. Long may it continue to do so.

    And if I call Qubol’s post fatuous, am I calling him fatuous or his post? I’m fairly sure St Augustine settled that one, but as ever, I’d welcome debate. How many pinheads can dance on the head of pin etc etc?

  • qubol

    Rooster Cogburn: fatuous – I would hardly think so.

    Brian since this is your post, are you gonna do anything about Rooster’s ad-hominem (and libelous) attacks?

  • cynic

    Brian

    There’s no problem – its just a matter of the way this one has unfolded as we see deeper into the soul of this this psychotic administration.

    I still think there is a case for a breach of the Code on the face of what we know. Changing the document in such a manner would also be a ‘controversial’ issue.

    Above all, if this is true it looks like bad faith but my point remains. I think the blame on this one is a 70/30 split between SF and the DUPs. Above all it just highlights that the system isn’t working and that they do not seem to be able to work it.

    So what is going on?

    I know I will be criticized for this but the only rational construction I can put on this and all the other recent issues is that SF have finally realized that they did a bad deal at St Andrews and cannot get what they want on a number of issues because they will need cross community support and cannot achieve that. They have misled their own membership and strung them along on the basis that a concrete date for P&J;devolution had been agreed. The party is getting restive and now they are running for cover.

    I fear that they now hope to try to renegotiate St Andrews and therefore aim to collapse this model and seek a new one while blaming Unionist intransigence. The problem is that they haven’t a hope in hell of getting this. All that they do strengthens the DUPs position. Their ham fisted approach on this issue also exposes them.

    Oh well, perhaps a generation of Direct Rule will give them time to sort this out. That might actually be quite attractive to the DUPs with such a strong Westminster Team. It would also almost exclude the UU from representative government and leave SF hung on its own petard of refusing to take up Westminster Seats. Above all the DUPs could crow that they had forced even tighter integration of NI into the UK by facing down the Republicans’ machinations.

    And just imagine not having to see them all on TV each night! No televised sham debates from Stormont! The fleets of ministerial cars sent to auction.

    Already I am feeling nostalgic for the firm but benign hand of NIO rule

  • ??

    #

    instability arising from dup intransigence plays into the sinn fein strategy of demonstrating that norn iron is a failed political entity. so f**k if the assembly collapses: that’s the point! failed political entities fail. do you seriously think they give a shite about ministerial codes within a six county institution. keep your eye on the ball lads.
    Posted by lorraine on Aug 29, 2008 @ 03:44 PM

    That time of the month already!”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Interersted,

    “casting of lots” – triffic turn of phrase. One of Luke’s?

    Cynic,

    Robbo will jump. The DUP are in the bag. We had even more bluster and jibber jabber before the DUP signed the STA. The more Robbo blusters e.g. the court case malarkey the more likely it looks.

    And then do you know what is really going to get on all our collective mamary glands – Robbo and Marty with Wee Davy will do a deal and tell all their supporters that the result is totally in line with their respective policies. And guess what ? – most of their supporters will believe them. Everbody will be able to come back on to Slugger and tell everybody else I told you so.

    Big Jimbo and probably Wee Reggie will call Robbo a Lundy and the SDLP will say that SF are nasty and horrible for cutting them out.

    By then the Bobby Bowl will have been decided and there will be a fudge on Education and the ILA will be put on the long finger.

    How boring is that going to be? Are there no more crises we can look forward to?

  • Brian Walker

    qubol. I bear no responsibility for a thread’s direction of travel. I’m no ghostbuster. Vulgar abuse is not generally seen as defamatory. Rooster or whoever would need to make specific allegations about a target or his/her conduct which would bring him/her into disrepute with friends and associates. The allegation has to depict the object as behaving out of character. There are also the conventions hah!) of engagment here, in which invective applies. As most of you are anon, neither feminae or homines, ( ad hominem geedit?) a libel charge probably doesn’t fly. But don’t quote me in your defence if there’s a knock on the door. I’m no lawyer.

    But Rooster et al will now take fresh note of the ad hominem rule nonetheless.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Indeed, and would welcome even a single example of ah hominem abuse. However, while I’m *not* a baby barrister, I would point out, it *is* actually possible to libel the anonymous. Difficult but distinctly possible. And for Qubol’s benefit, he might be interested to know that it’s actually potentially libelous to falsely accuse someone of libel (as, you know, he did me …). So he’ll perhaps be glad to know that I’m the least litigious person he’s likely to meet on the world wide web. Though that said, I would enjoy being sued. Thus if any, oh, rancid sectarian bigots out there masquerading as, purely for example, disinterested linguistic advocates want to have a go, please, *please*, bring it on.

  • Observer

    Dead obvious to me and I’m surprised no one has mentioned it!! This is all about the toughening up of the DUP for the poxy Fermanagh Council By Election. All you MLA’s that are crapping yourselves about having to earn an honest crust in the real world again, or having to exist on your disability allowance should keep your nerve. It will all get back to normal once the electors out in the sticks have had their fun and the DUP can get back to duping withour the imminent threat of having to face the dreaded ballot box. Its just a storm in a Fermanagh teacup!!

  • Pete Baker

    interested

    Allow me to paraphrase Sammy Mc’s

    “if you are trying to redress the balance of propaganda – then fair enough – but with Pete Baker soley talking of SFs difficulties then I think you are safe enough on Slugger on the Police and Justice issue.”

    Translation – Can’t address the detail of what is actually being evidenced.. so.. Whatabout?!?!

    *Cue psychotic thrashing around*

    Again.

    Oh.. Cynic.

    And a touch of the Sammy Mc futuring.

    Perhaps Sammy Mc it’s time, again, for more fair gaming?

  • qubol

    Rooster and Brian – I’m no lawyer either but there are a few points here you’ve missed – alleging that MMG murdered people *is* libelous unless Rooster can back up those assertions which of course he cannot.

    Rooster AFAIK libeling the anonymous is difficult but in your case I doubt possible since you have little in the way of reputation behind your name and apart from that you probably have libeled MMG.

    Brian, I’m not sure of your exact role in the slugger setup but I don’t think its possible to distance yourself from threads that easily. The argument that you just start a conversation is all well and good but when you have been alerted to a problem (and you have in fact commented on this issue in the thread) you can’t really claim to have no responsibility for it. If you think Rooster could write those same things in a newspaper comments page then that’s fine (although a bit worrying) but we all know he couldn’t and someone has to take responsibility for it.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    qubol,

    legally do you reckon its ok to call Robbo a (former) paramilitary as he wore a red beret and funny glasses and may have been waving a stick around in the air in the middle of the night in County Cavan?

  • qubol

    par·a·mil·i·tar·y (pār’ə-mĭl’ĭ-těr’ē)
    adj. Of, relating to, or being a group of civilians organized in a military fashion….

    Could be Sammy, could be.

  • Brian Walker

    qubol
    Charges of this nature have been made frequently against MMG and he has not contested them. His acknowledged role in the past makes that inevitable. Statements, such as “If I have had the opportunity to kill every single British soldier that was on the streets of Derry I would have killed every single one of them without any difficulty whatsoever.” – while they don’t amount to murder, would clearly undermine any claim of total innocence. He would never make such a claim anyway and he can look after himself. In a way his comparative candour is to his credit. I don’t defend invective, it tends to cloud rather than enlighten but I can’t offer you any satisfaction on this one. By commenting in blogs, you risk being offended, the downside. Freedom of expression and wide access is the essence of the thing, the upside. I can only say to you now, you’ve made your point, I suggest you let the hare sit. Rooster, if usually pays not to rub salt in a wound.and it isn’t very attractive to read either. If I had that Ghostbusting gun I’d sometimes be tempted to use it.

  • qubol

    Brian, relying on the inaction of the libeled as a defense against charges of libel isn’t the best idea I’ve ever heard. As to the MMG quote you printed, this is irrelevant he wouldn’t have to prove innocence but Rooster/You would in effect have to prove guilt. big difference.

    MMG can undoubtedly look after himself but you’re missing the point. This isn’t about free speech nor is it about me getting offended. In letting these comments slide you not only open yourself (you/slugger/rooster) to legal challenges but you’re either sending out a message that the rules of the blog don’t matter or worse they only matter when you want them to.

  • USA

    This whole thread barely contained one accurate statement. It was just a collection of (mostly) those of a Unionist mindset spouting forth complete garbage for their mutual consupmtion. The premise was not accurate and the comments are so far from political reality that most people who commented just plain made fools of themselves.
    This has to be the most embarrasing thread unionists ever created on this site. Because they are so wrong and so unable to see it I worry for everyone over there.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Republicans: people who can say with a straight face that Murderin’ Mart hasn’t. Grow Up. And Brian, thanks for not finding me ‘attractive’. You’ll understand how I’d prefer to keep things that way.

  • cynic

    “The premise was not accurate and the comments are so far from political reality that most people who commented just plain made fools of themselves. This has to be the most embarrasing thread unionists ever created on this site. Because they are so wrong and so unable to see it I worry for everyone over there. ”

    Oh don’t worry so much USA. The Unionists here are quite capable of taking care of themselves. Indeed, that is one of the issues giving SF problems at the moment.

    As for ‘not one accurate statement’, well, that’s a matter of perspective. My perspective is that SF are in touble over Policing and Justice because they have over promised, under negotiated and misled their constituency. Also, this has shown that, without Jonathan Powell’s guidance and support, they ain’t that good. To borrow his phrase, the children are in danger of falling on their noses.

    That doesnt make me happy becasue I want to see the system work but the sad ‘political reality’ is increasing evidence that it can’t work in the current dispensation. Nothing at all of any signifigance is happening in Government. Nothing is being decided. There are no agremenets. Government isnt governing. Parties seem inacpable of negotiating or doing real politics.

    This is all leading to a growing mood that its poinless even trying. When Gerry then threatens to collapse the Executive if he doesnt get what he wants most people look at it and say ‘so what?’ How, they wonder, will they even notice?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Rooster

    >>I would point out, it *is* actually possible to libel the anonymous.< < Really? How would that work? And even if that were possible(LOL) I would hold this to be veritas; >>you have little in the way of reputation behind your name< < - qubol @ 12:25 AM >>would clearly undermine any claim of total innocence<< Ahhh but Brian ma auld China, he doesn't have to prove any claim of total innocence, this is(or should be) presumed until shown otherwise. However I have been round this block before, it is de rigueur on this site to allow sustained vitriolic defamation of MMcG. Hiding behind the excuse that he doesn't pursue these matters partly because it would be hard to prove that his reputation was lowered in the eyes of others because of said defamation, chiefly due to his past activities. This does not make him a murderer, although it does help to shine a light on how certain matters are viewed on this site.