A Slugger agenda for Brown in Belfast

Well now, how about a Slugger’s agenda for Gordon on his visit to Belfast next week? It may be no more than a ritual run round the kingdom, finishing ofF what he started in Birmingham. We can guess that the pre-spin will talk up the economic prospects, and an imminent deal between the DUP and SF – can’t we, just two days before Peter’s deadline?. Or maybe, as we recall what the DUP used to do to deadlines, it’ll only be a “route map?” Could our leaders even now have the brass neck to try squeeze a pound or two or a hundred million ( Olympic lottery funding) out of him for the stadium and the ramparts that’ll separate it from any view of the Memorial H block? Could it really cost between £300 and £700 million, the price for unlocking the logjam and keeping the DUP sweet? Any thought of suspending the Assembly is of course fantasy, as is a hope of a revised Assembly design without designations – unless the whole thing really implodes. I see that Mark Durkan may be backing off, showing him off again, if true, at his verbally incontinent worst. Anyway here’s my little list for Gordon.

New money, mind, new money partly from the Olympics lottery fund to build the stadium plus infrastructure.

Real money to pay for the even higher NI utility bills for the non-elderly poor.
(C’mon give us some dough, we’re not making trouble like Salmond)

Which reminds me, after your Glasgow speech last week could you give some assurances that you won’t try to hit us with tax varying powers when we haven’t asked for them? Are they just a cunning plot to cut the subvention or to try to make us take more responsibility? Good idea but sadly we’re not ready yet. Any idea about what to do after the rates freeze? Please? Pretty please?

While I remember, please get on with much better co-ordination between all three devolved administrations and the Whitehall centre, through a joint ministerial committee of all four governments. We need to swap ideas for governing each area according to each’s different needs without any losing out, and share policies where we can. This is essential for the next, more independent phase of devolution.

After J&P is handed over, has the time not come to say goodbye to Shaun Woodward as the last NI Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and set up a single Secretary of State for the Nations ( I know we’re not but you have to call it something) – so helping co-ordination described above?

With J&P accomplished. co-ordinate plans with Dublin to carry out Bertie Ahern’s promise of an invitation to the Queen to pay that State Visit.

Pledge to reduce UK corporation tax in the medium term.

With Dublin, speed up plans for an all-Ireland economic area ( these days, parity of pain but with better days to come)

Emphasise that there must be no let-up towards loyalist and dissident republican paramilitaries when J&P is devolved.

Remind us that Westminster still has the J&P big picture, the new Supreme Court and UK wide terrorism legislation and much besides..

No attempt will be made to disbar new immigrants from Ireland from voting in GB elections in a new definition of British citizenship. Irish citizens will remain “not foreign” as stated in the 1949 Ireland Act when the south cut its last ties with the Commonwealth.

Be honest about IDs in the common travel area – state photo IDs will be essential, just as they will be on flights from Edinburgh to London .

You’re a champion of constitutional reform. Insist on progress for an NI Bill of Rights. Failure means NI incorporations into the overall British Bill, possibly including specific Irish language rights.

And finally.. explain please how British values apply to Northern Ireland. British values equal Irish values?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    I have to say although he was part of the War(lets flatten an Arab country) Cabinet and ticks virtually none of the boxes for media presentation and looks more haunted by the day I find myself warming to El Gordo – perhaps as he’s the perfect antidote to smarm and spin.

    And he has taken a principled stand in favour of the transfer of Police and Justice – telling the DUP to get on with it – in spite of his slightly precarious maths at Westminster.

    I would be more than happy if he just gives Robbo another boot up the jacksie and then goes back to Engleze land without bestowing any financial favous at all – or at least making them dependent on political progress.

  • PeaceandJustice

    It will be interesting to see if the ‘DUPes of Hazzard’ can hold the line this time and stop the Sinn Fein PIRA gangsters from getting further concessions. They have already backed down over issues such as victims i.e. a SF PIRA terrorist is defined as a victim in addition to the person they harmed. Will they now allow a terrorist shrine to be built at the Maze? Will they continue to ignore Unionists in Eire who want British passports? Will they allow the biased funding in favour of the Irish Language to continue? Will they allow the flying of the Union and NI flags (and on car registrations) to be restricted while the rest of the UK changes the rules? Will they continue to ignore the status of the Irish Government building in Notting Hill, Belfast?

    Robinson has his first major test as leader. He needs to stand up to the Sinn Fein PIRA wreckers.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Peaceand Justice,

    What is this builidng of which you speak?

    “Will they continue to ignore the status of the Irish Government building in Notting Hill, Belfast”

  • Carpetbagger

    Anyone in the Republic who wants a British passport has to goto the British Embassy to get one.

    If the Unionists in Eire cannot do this it is their own fault and not the fault of the Evil War-mongering George Dubya Bush!

  • Ermintrude

    He should extend the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland now that (thanks to Dianne Abbot) he’s got the chance.

  • PeaceandJustice

    To It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it – I’m referring to this building.

    At the time Peter Robinson said that if the Government of Eire wanted a residence in Northern Ireland it should be open about it and build an official embassy. Since then, silence from the DUP.

    To Carpetbagger – In Northern Ireland UK born citizens can easily access foreign RoI passports; in Eire you cannot get a British one if born in the RoI after 1949. Even those Protestants who were ethnically cleansed from Eire and now live in NI find it difficult to obtain a British Passport.

  • perry

    There’s a nice photo of the secretariat building (is that what it’s called) on google.

    Do map links work? Here goes.

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-ha-emea-uk-goog-gm&utm_medium=ha&utm_term=map

  • perry

    Oops. They don’t. Sorry. Just type in “Notting Hill Belfast”. It’s the one with the circular car park.

  • USA

    1.I would have him decommission Loyalist weapons.
    2. Put an end to rip off telephone companies charging for an international call between Ballyshannon and Omagh.
    3.Reduce the NI corporation tax to around 10%. 4. Give Gerry Adams a course in economics.
    5. Get Noel Thompson off Hearts and Minds.
    6. Get rid of Britains sectarian ban on Catholic monarchs and/or Prime Ministers.
    7. Deny “flat earthers”,evangelical types and militant Christians of all hues access to toilet roll.

  • oneill

    Could our leaders even now have the brass neck to try squeeze a pound or two or a hundred million ( Olympic lottery funding) out of him for the stadium and the ramparts that’ll separate it from any view of the Memorial H block?

    According to the Telegraph, SF and the DUPes have sorted out that little problem to everyone’s (bar Pootsie’s and Donaldson”s) satisfaction.
    Even the taxpayers win. as not that much new dough will be required. Although that was, admitedly, “According to the Telegraph”.

  • Paul

    [i] According to the Telegraph, SF and the DUPes have sorted out that little problem to everyone’s (bar Pootsie’s and Donaldson”s) satisfaction. [/i]

    Does your definition of everyone extend to the three sports bodies who backed the Maze, or to the spectators who endure substandard facilities?

    I’m shocked but not surprised at reports that the shinners have ditched the stadium in return for being allowed to keep the H block.

    I’ve long suspected that their only concern was the H block, and that they had no real interest in getting a long overdue proper stadium for gaelic fans.

    Any “solution” that delivers a new all seated / all covered Windsor stadium for the paltry 20k or so that watch NI, while most fans at a 35k gaelic football match are still forced to stand on an uncovered terrace is an abject betrayal of the GAA constituency.

    Its also a wasted opportunity to deliver the best stadium possible, which would have attracted new spectators to all three sports.

  • Ann

    Gordon has no money and no new ideas. On the financial front expect a little tinkering with the barnett formula, which could see us lose a little rather than gain.

    We ain’t ready, for tax varingy powers and a whole lot else besides….

    Our politicos are still fiddling while the province burns, still haven’t worked out the Army council business, so can we expect very soon, some advance on that front before gordon gets here and urges – pushes – or what ever word one wants to use, policing and justice through?

    There’ll be no money for the maze stadium or anything else.

    And with the announcement of very big price hikes will our politicians still be awol as to what if anything they will do for the poor…

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    BTW, how is that new Maze Stadium coming along?

    The new Lansdowne Road is well under way….

    http://www.lrsdc.ie/gallery/singlecategory.asp?PCID=34

    http://www.lrsdc.ie/gallery/singlecategory.asp?PCID=90

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Peace & Justice…

    “….in Eire you cannot get a British one if born in the RoI after 1949”

    That’s because they are citizens of the Irish Republic (EIRE) and not the UK.

    ie,One cannot get a UK passport, but one cannot get a US, French, German, Australian etc…or whatever passport! The same applies internationally!

    FYI …..NI is the somewhat disputed terroritory in question containing TWO communities each with their own national loyalties and identities!

    One is either loyal to the Irish Nation or loyal to an Anglocentric club of countries.

  • frustrated democrat

    Seems that Brown is now ‘supporting’ the Democrats and that a complaint has been lodged at the UK Embassy in the US. (BBC News)

    I am sure the Democrats will want the support of a failed UK PM, maybe they lodged the complaint.

    Seems that in the US Canada the the UK the drift to the right is inevitable. Harper (with majority), then McCain and then Cameron as the new centre right leaders.

  • Carpetbagger

    “….in Eire you cannot get a British one if born in the RoI after 1949”

    As was pointed out here before you can. (And that it is a matter for the British Governemnt how easy it is to get one)

    You have to goto the Embassy and tell them why you want one and you bring proof that either of your parents was a British subject at the time.

    Sir Anthony O’Reilly did so.

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Greagoir O Frainclin – yes, some of the minority community in NI give their loyalty to a foreign state. That happens in many countries around the world. However the position of Northern Ireland as part of the UK is not under dispute – no matter how much you would like it to be!

    Therefore, there is an equality issue regarding those of the British cultural tradition who want a British passport in Eire as well as the Protestants who were ethnically cleansed from Eire and now live in NI.

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Carpetbagger – you are missing the point. Simply living in Northern Ireland is enough to allow you to get a foreign passport from Eire. Therefore, those of the British cultural tradition in Eire should have the same rights. It should be both or neither.

  • PeaceandJustice,

    Decisions on who can, and cannot, get British passports are the responsibility of the British government.

    PS, I’m pleased to see that you’re starting to practice your Irish. Can we expect more bilingual sentences from you in the future?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Peace and Justice,

    “some of the minority community in NI give their loyalty to a foreign state”

    800,000 and odd are Unionists

    700,000 and odd are Irish Nationalists

    …the minority you mention is not so small.

    Please don’t be so dismissive of such people!

  • Billy

    “PeaceandJustice”

    Perhaps, Gordon could also mention the “loyalist” terrorists who are still fully armed and still up to their necks in drug dealing, extortion and racketeering.

    Do you remember them at all?

    He certainly won’t be making any changes to the flag legislation in NI.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the vast majority of people in the UK don’t give a toss about the North. Brown has a lot more to worry than Unionists whinging about flags.

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Greagoir O Frainclin – religion doesn’t always equal political views.

    To Billy – to paraphrase: the vast majority of people in Eire don’t care about extreme Nationalists like you in Northern Ireland.

  • Soubriquet

    Perhaps while he is here he can explain why we weren’t included in todays announcements re heating etc. I can’t believe a bigger deal is not being made about this so far. Are our poor/old worth less than those across the water. Why for the purposes of this scheme are we no longer in the UK?

  • Billy

    “PeaceandJustice”

    ‘To Billy – to paraphrase: the vast majority of people in Eire don’t care about extreme Nationalists like you in Northern Ireland’

    All opinion polls show that a majority of people in the South favour a United Ireland.

    On the contrary, the vast majority of people in the UK don’t give a toss about the North. There is little or no sympathy for the Unionist cause (at least the “Union” with the North).

    If the British decided to pull out of the North, the vast majority of UK people couldn’t care less and a majority of those who did care would be in favour of a pull out.

    If you have any evidence to disprove this, please produce it.

    The bottom line is that the UK govt and people do NOT consider the North to be an integral part of the UK and do NOT treat it as such.

    Consequently, increasing amounts of legislation applies to GB but not NI. Unionists can squeal as much as they like about the Parades commission, flags legislation etc – but that’s all you can do is squeal.

    The UK govt will continue to give the RoI govt considerable and increasing involvement in the running of NI and there is nothing that Unionists can do about that.