“If you’re going to apportion blame..”

The Northern Ireland Executive may, or may not, meet [added link] on the 18th to approve the deferral of water charges, again, but on today’s Politics Show Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd and the DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson gave differing views on whether progress has been made on “partnership government” the key issue of the devolution of policing and justice powers.. and the implications for certain parties. It’s worth noting that John O’Dowd is careful to put forward his personal view rather than his party’s position.

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  • Ulsters my homeland

    IRA/Sinn Fein aren’t fit for government, never were and never will be.

  • Concerned Unionist

    I sincerely hope that Peter Robinson takes Sinn Fein to court for not fulfilling their mandate and also non delivery on their code of conduct for good government. Political differences between the two parties should not stop good governance; everyone knows that if the Executive and the Assembly falls who is to blame. Peter Robinson says he had cleared enough papers for 3 or 4 Executive meetings and that it is Sinn Fein that are holding the Government of Northern Ireland to ransom.

  • The dup are not fit for goverment never were and never will be.
    What has that achieved!

  • Brian Walker

    Frustrating interview .. why was O’Dowd not pressed on why the Robinson-McGuinness statement on taking j&P;forward was suddenly not good enough? and Donaldson likewise on the IMC statement on the IRA? .. and both of them, what do they expect from Brown on Tuesday? and what does “ a first class political crisis” actually mean: – going to the courts, reporting formally to the SoS that the Executive isn’t functioning or what? A limp, bored and boring canter round the course. You have to try to pursue an argument as an interviewer not just sling out plain person’s questions… but then I suppose I’m getting old..

  • DC

    Through no fault of Jim Fitzpatick at all, but this whole debate around no collective government seems so slow, outdated and bemusing.

    What we would do for an opposition with doable alternatives to sweep away such slow sectarian thinkers in a 24/7 world, to be honest it’s still faintly embarrassing from what ever way you come at it.

  • steve

    Hey boys what happened to the party line about dupers treating the shinners like lap dogs

    Donaldson sounds desperate

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘this whole debate around no collective government seems so slow, outdated and bemusing.’

    Whatever you choose to call it – soup de jour or a la carte – this is how politics NI will be served up for the next generation or more . The double veto in non action . Mr Robinson already hinted at it several months back in his ‘battle a day’ speech . Expect high drama when it comes to the colour of post boxes , offending emblems in sensitive areas and the usual .

    After all it is what NI was built on -why should it be any different today than in 1920 ? Oh you mean ‘time ‘ has moved on ? Perhaps in other parts of the political universe but not among the dreary steeples etc etc .

    Mr Fitzpatrick should have known better than to expect anything other than the standard ‘it’s themuns ‘ from these two experts:(

    Just further proof it ever it was needed that this Assembly is not going to last out it’s term -imo. And I suspect that when it goes there will be no great rush to replace it either . Northern Nationalists have nothing to fear from losing this Assembly .

  • barnshee

    “Northern Nationalists have nothing to fear from losing this Assembly ”

    Needs amended to:-

    Nobody has anything to fear from losing this Assembly

  • IJP

    It is quite clear that Sinn Féin has been trying for some time to create a “political crisis” when there’s none to be had. This is merely because they cannot get their way on the issues democratically, so they are threatening to abandon democracy. It’s a familiar tactic, but really quite boring.

    Northern Nationalists have nothing to fear from losing this Assembly

    The last time I looked, “Northern Nationalist” parents didn’t know what was happening to their P6 children’s education, “Northern Nationalist” residents didn’t know what was happening about bungalow blight and apartmentalization, “Northern Nationalist” commuters were sitting in traffic to to the absence of any movement on sustainable transport and housing.

    This isn’t about Unionists or Nationalists, it’s about the fact we in this small corner of the world can’t govern ourselves and need the Brits to do it for us – the irony is that this is primarily because Sinn Féin refuse to move from “negotiating mode” to the “governing mode” now required.

  • dunreavynomore

    at the moment we do not have functiioning 6 co government. if the assembly collapses the parties lose a lot (far too many anyway?) of seats/position/jobs, but does the population lose much more than having to listen to a lot of people who seem to be out of their dept and are happiest blaming each other for their own weaknessess?

  • cynic

    So a few old people freeze to death, industry falters, unemployment rises and the poorest families face a choice of heat or food. What does it all matter? We have maintained the integrity of our quarrel.

    Old people die anyway and the pension bill drops, there will be more work down the DSS processing new claims and the kids can jump up and down to keep warm. SF will blame it all on the Brits or the DUP or, even better, the SDLP and everyone else will blame it on SF.

    And just to think. This is what we killed 3000 people for.

  • DC

    The Shinners have the measure of the DUP-mentality at least attitudinally, the DUP will become or are irascible, getting worked up over no progress while SF look cute by not actually having to do anything at all.

    I think post-GFA as hatched by Blair and Ahern, the system of nationality alone is diminished as co-operation is happening albeit limited and big ideology in today’s terms is more about values, cultural beliefs and behaviours, all of these can be accommodated under the state-let at Stormont. Whether you are Unionist or Nationalist all of us in NI can apply and get Irish passports and citizenship should over-ride any confidence issues, the Irish government have also played its part in tracking down terrorists in the Republic. Better to work with the people as against, it is about working for civilisation and not against it and given most of the British and Irish cultural values overlap when outside Northenrn republican’s sphere of interpretation shows a wider kinship not yet articulated.

    The key for SF is that it has more elasticity because it was trapsing to Downing Street back in the early 90s in the name of peace and progress, whereas the DUP until 03-06 where firmly rooted in the no never camp. The reason why the DUP are struggling is no clearer represented in the man of Jim Allister, not because now of his opposition, but because he really represents what the DUP really stood for over the years, now they are hamstrung by him as they haven’t spun out enough to sell the deal in practical terms. The DUP locked the door to its past politics although Jim Allister still has that key, reminding the DUP that they may well have risen to reach the powers of Stormont via a negative emotional anti-GFA campaign but he is quick to bring it all out again necessitating an explanation as to any delivery on all of that…

    So, SF know this and they have the measure of the DUP, and would like to split it some more, but SF do not have the measure of the wider attitudinal shifts inside NI which will not look too hot on this all but it is up to the other parties to re-capture the positivity of post-Agreement and dictate their own pace to push past this nonsense.

  • Greenflag

    barnshee.,

    Apologies -I keep forgetting there are Unionists involved also 🙂 But your amendment is fine 🙂

    IJP ‘

    ‘it’s about the fact we in this small corner of the world can’t govern ourselves and need the Brits to do it for us’

    Full marks for the obvious 10 out of 10 🙁

    ‘the irony is that this is primarily because Sinn Féin refuse to move from “negotiating mode” to the “governing mode” now required. ‘

    So the DUP were in the same negotiating mode for how long ? Remember back when Trimble and Mallon were trying to make it work and the DUP were out there on a limb barking ?

    I would’nt ‘primarily ‘ blame SF after all the DUP would’nt cross the street to spit at SF for the past 40 years -so what else would you expect .

    Slap somebody in the face long enough and you have to expect to be slapped back sooner or later . Only human nature . As I said above it’s government by double veto or non government what ever . It will last only as long as the people of NI are prepared to put up with it . Apart from blogosphere aand a few irate politically motivated people -not many in NI will bother their rear ends at the end of the day -imo.

  • Greenflag

    cynic ,

    ‘And just to think. This is what we killed 3000 people for. ‘

    Indeed and the TUV are looking for a ‘repeat’ performance 🙁

  • Back to direct rule?

    That is the logical destination.

    however both parties need the assembly

  • Patrick Stephens

    Sinn Fein are playing with fire here.

    Their electorate is hurting financially and all they can do is talk about talks. What a dissapointment from the party that was going to deliver a new Ireland.

    The best thing that could happen is an election and for the people to send them marching back to the sidelines.

  • That wont happen Patrick.
    SF are the tribe champions now.

    Somehow they will find a way to muddle thru as they both (SF & DUP) need the deal to work.

  • Phil Mac Giolla Bhain said

    Back to direct rule?

    That is the logical destination.

    If westminster has not learned after all the negotiations since the peace process began that joint authority(or de facto joint authority if you like)is the only alternative to stormount then they too must have joined the slow learners club.

  • DC

    “Their electorate is hurting financially and all they can do is talk about talks. What a dissapointment from the party that was going to deliver a new Ireland”

    While they may not be delivering a new Ireland they are pressurising the DUP by making it take the grinding force of its wide electorate base, which is prepared to wait a while in the hope that it splinters unionism and splinters too any hope of a coherent and accommodating narrative. This gives SF more time, unhurried time, to construct a way in which a new Ireland might come about…

    If we are to believe that SF-IRA were behind the Northern Bank robbery then honestly the collapse of the Assembly is of itself not a big deal to that party. Just like the Workers’ Party when Sean Garland was scooped for the ‘super dollar’ forgery, so Sinn Fein too could well be at offshore corrupt capitalism by putting the money away somewhere for the role of that party alone. Will the people suffer, yes probably but heck haven’t they already suffered under ultra-republicanism.

    As with the Workers Party and SF I cant help but be struck by the incredibly hollow nature of it all in terms of their socialism and indeed of realising any new Ireland credentials.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Will El Gordo will sort it out? Like Grizzly EL Gordo doesn’t do economics very well ( he was just a very, very lucky chancellor) – but
    this may be his chance to show that like Blair he does do knocking the Unionists into line rather better.

  • dodrade

    I’ll be surprised if there isn’t a meeting, SF are on their own on this one and I doubt P&J;is in the top 5 priorities of even the most committed SF voter in the current economic climate.

  • Greenflag

    ‘all they can do is talk about talks.’

    That’s all any of the politicians have been doing for the past 40 years – Another 40 years of the same will make no difference .

    If the Assembly were to disappear tomorrow it would’nt be missed .

    Both the DUP and SF can go back to spitting at each other in public properly instead of pretending to be politie to each other in the tv studio !

  • IJP

    Patrick

    Spot on, in my view.

    SF voters are fed up with the total, and frankly embarrassing, failure to deliver anything at all.

    SF needs to the Assembly because it needs to learn about democracy and governance fast – and it’s not going to get the chance south of the border any time soon, precisely because it is so ineffective up here.

  • BonarLaw

    The delicious irony of this is if SF dig in and don’t convene an Executive then the next scheduled North/ South ministerial council won’t happen either.

    North Southery frustrated by DUP playing SF like a fiddle. Next let’s get them in front of a judge.

  • cynic

    “The Shinners have the measure of the DUP-mentality ”

    …dream on. This hole is largely of their own digging

  • Blinding.
    Joint authority would threaten the constituional position of NI.
    It would make NI unique within the component parts of the UK.
    Such a constitional threat would be
    “justification” for renewed loyalist violence IMO.
    So direct rule it has to be or a deal at Stormont.
    Those are the choices.

  • ciaran

    The dup are still trying to dictate the terms of government in this democracy.They are also trying to dictate who is worthy of holding ministerial office.Who or what gives them the right to do this?Certainly not the electorate. sinn fein are every bit as fit for government office as any member of the dup. Either do the job they were elected to do or piss off.

  • frustrated democrat

    The sooner the Conservatives and UUP finalise their discussions the better, hopefully in a positive manner, as we need some real politics in Northern Ireland.

    I suspect the voters in NI on both sides have had enough of DUP/SF carrying out a very good imitation of Nero.

    A Conservative-Unionist / SDLP coalition would help everyone in NI where it matters – health, education and economy – not Peace and Justice, Language Acts and the Maze.

    Come on Reg and David get on with it, time is pressing.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    A Chiaráin, what job exactly were they elected to do?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Boner,

    “The delicious irony of this is if SF dig in and don’t convene an Executive then the next scheduled North/ South ministerial council won’t happen either. ”

    Another irony is that if the DUP dont fall in to line with the 2 governments and SF the work of the North/ South ministerial council will have to be carried out by the 2 governments – without anyone to argue the Unionist position.

    But Robbo was blustering away before the STA and then duly signed up – so no need for you to worry about the North/South ministerial council – as Robbo will do the jump thing on Police and Justice. His bark has already been proven to be worse than his bite.

  • aquifer

    “The best thing that could happen is an election and for the people to send them marching back to the sidelines.”

    Right on, all these political ‘on the runs’ are past their sell-by date.

    But could we rely on our local media, gone to fat on the same only story, to find out what parties say they will do about water rates and hold them to it?

  • cynic

    “The dup are still trying to dictate the terms of government in this democracy.”

    Thats the way it works. You can say just the same about SF so this whole fiasco is about who blinks first or do they cut a deal. The reality is that either both sides consent or nothing happens.

    So if you voted SF this is what you voted for. It was cooked up between them and the DUP in part to damage / exclude the smaller parties.

    Didnt you notice that when you voted for it? Didn’t SF tell you?

  • IJP

    But could we rely on our local media, gone to fat on the same only story, to find out what parties say they will do about water rates and hold them to it?

    Good call, aquifer.

    We are all learning this “real democracy” lark, including the media.

    ciaran

    It’s actually pretty obvious SF isn’t capable of ministerial office, that’s the point.

    Murphy’s been given the runaround by his civil servants (hence his totally anti-environmental pro-car transport policy and his introduction of water rates), and Ruane’s failed completely to deliver anything while annoying pretty much everyone, including those who basically agree with her. Meanwhile, O’Dowd’s been busy attacking the water agency and Roads Service (which fall under, er, Murphy’s department) and precisely nothing has been done to counter the rising fuel costs and grocery bills which impact on SF voters’ lives probably more than anyone else’s in NI.

    A frankly appalling record. SF would do well to sort it out by using their portfolios to deliver real results, rather than create pretend “crises”.

  • Galway

    SF needs the Assembly because it needs to learn about democracy and governance fast – and it’s not going to get the chance south of the border any time soon, precisely because it is so ineffective up here.

    Never a truer word said!

    Sinn Fein is becoming more irrelevant in the Republic as never before. Watching this debacle at Stormont is a testament to the new reality faced by the Sinn Fein leadership. Resulting in a display of utter political incompetence that has heaped massive embarassment on its falling membership because of such immature behaviour. Could somebody tell me what SF has delivered in policy terms since Stormont became operational again. I thought the new politics of Northern Ireland was serving the common good for all her peoples and not for party political reasons.

    Sinn Fein need to start demonstrating political leadership and confronting the real problems faced by those who elected them, or face the real possibility of being sidelined by your political opponents for simply not delivering or can’t deliver on promises made to the people.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The idea that SF have nothing to lose through the collapse of the executive implies that SF’s voters are no worse off under the reimposition of colonial-style rule from London. I hope that SF are sure of themselves when they bring that policy to their electorate.

    I think that the referendum results in 1998, together with the election results since then, have all shown overwhelming support for the general concept of powersharing. The question is where the electorate have their allegience – is powersharing more, or less, important than the parties that they have charged with implementing it ? I think that SF are making a huge gamble if they believe that people would be prepared to back them over a walkout.

  • observer

    IJP. Sinn Fein create pretend “crises”.

    The DUP has done this from the day and hour they were formed. Its the nature of tribal politics. If any of us really believe that Northern Ireland has moved away from this ethos than they are living in a milk and honey dreamworld. Geoffrey Donaldson on the politics show kept saying that the things that are worrying people are mortgages and the price of bread. He said that some old people can’t afford to buy a loaf. Is this comment not a disgraceful indictment of not only the shinners but every politician in Stormont. If the DUP is so concerned about old people not having bread what do they propose to do about it? What succour have they for people struggling to pay a mortgage or indeed trying to get one? Perhaps Geoffrey could tell us what solutions on these economic issues the DUP will present at the Exec meeting on Thursday if it happens. So much for a fair deal when the shinners have such a cast iron veto on the governance of this country. I’m sure that the pensioners that Geoffrey said can’t afford to buy bread reckon that it is some fair deal!!

  • DC

    Well said observer because the DUP didn’t give a fuck 10 years ago when they stabbed Trimble’s Unionism in the back even though it was delivering the stage on which the DUP uses now as platform for ‘reform’ and ‘caring’.

    The sham of ‘caring to care’ is a nonsense and the notion of a fairer deal et al:

    This sham really reminds of Henry the IV, when Falstaff (Big Ian) faked death (a fairer deal) while the battle (GFA implementation) was raging about him, but when the fighting had ceased and battle won (power-sharing), he raised his head carefully and crept over to the dead body of Hotspur (Trimlbe) and stabbed him feebly in the thigh.

    Having done this lowly deed, he then went off to falsely claim credit (St Andrews) for the spoils of victory.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Is there anything new in all of this? The Provos make threats if they don’t get their own way – in the hope that Gordon Brown will be alarmed into pushing the DUP. The biggest losers in all of this will be the DUP if they give in to threats from the Sinn Fein PIRA wreckers. If Robinson caves in, I look forward to the next election.

  • Could this all end in Direct Rule?

  • Greenflag

    peace and justice ,

    ‘I look forward to the next election.’

    I take it you are an american or canadian or british . Nobody in Northern Ireland looks forward to an election . It’s the same as looking forward to a another census or to a microwaved meal that has been warmed up and let go cold six times already 🙁

    Why don’t you watch your grass grow – it’ll at least be less predictable than another NI election 🙁

  • Greenflag

    Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

    ‘Could this all end in Direct Rule?

    Yes -So ? This would at least provide NI with actual governance rather than the appearance of self governance .

    They could have another go in 20 years time when the present generation of political leadership are either taking treatment for Alzheimers or have preferably left this mortal coil .

  • Ulsters my home homeland

    “[i]The Provos make threats if they don’t get their own way – in the hope that Gordon Brown will be alarmed into pushing the DUP.”[/i]

    Remember what they used to do when things didn’t go their way? Remember the 1993 elections, where IRA/Sinn Fein didn’t gain as much votes from the SDLP as they were hoping. The 1993 elections were practically the same as those in 1989, no progress, with IRA/Sinn Fein coming in last.

    How did IRA/Sinn Fein react?

    The next day they exploded a 1,000 pound bomb in Glengall Street wounding 13 people and costing £6.5 million.

    Two days after that they exploded another 1,000 pound bomb in Portadown wounding Six people and costing £8 million.

    A day after that they exploded a bomb of 1,500 pounds in Magherafelt.

    Meanwhile the President of the Republic of Ireland Mary Robinson would continue to publicly transform the image of the IRA and it’s leader Adams, by visiting West Belfast and shaking the hand of the war criminal.

    …and the day after Adams reports to The Sunday Tribune (4 July 1993) that Republicans might accept joint authority in N.Ireland, another 1,500 lb IRA bomb goes off in Newtownards.

    In August 1993 the IRA carried out a series of fire-bomb attacks on the pier at Bournemouth

    Three days after that they bombed Strabane

    On the 3 September the IRA exploded a 1,000 lb bomb in the centre of Armagh.

    Two days after Pan Nationalist John Hume and war criminal Adams released a statement together, the IRA exploded two bombs in Belfast.

    In 2 October 1993 the IRA exploded another bomb in Hampstead injuring 6 people.

    Two days after that they exploded 5 bombs in north London injuring 4 people.

    While John Hume addressed Westminster and declared that he thought the Hume-Adams Initiative was the best chance of achieving peace that he had seen in 20 years, the IRA issued threats against staff of five building firms working for security firms.

    That next day (Saturday 23 October 1993) 10 people, including the bomber, would die with 57 injured in an IRA bomb placed in a Shankill fish shop.

    On Thursday 4 November 1993, John Hume, had a meeting with John Major, in London. Hume stated that there could be peace within a week if his proposals were adopted. In other words, he offered Major an ultimatum.

    On Thursday 18 November 1993, the Pan Nationalist Movement went into force organising a series of 16 peace rallies across Ireland.

    On Saturday 20 November 1993 John Hume held another meeting with Gerry Adams, where the two leaders issued a third Pan Nationalist statement.

    The following day a rally in support of the Hume-Adams Initiative was held on the Falls Road in west Belfast. Approximately 2,000 attended the event.

    On Saturday 27 November 1993, John Hume would continue to shift attention way from the IRA bombings + murders and onto the British Prime minister John Major, by stating that Major held “the key to peace”

    This dual approach by the Pan Nationalist front, one of terror and murder along with the transformation of evil into good using key figures like John Hume and the Irish PM, would change the demographics of N.Ireland forever. From 1994 onwards IRA/Sinn Fein would eat into the SDLP vote and become the second biggest party in N.Ireland.

    The result of a campaign of terror.

  • barnshee

    Greenflag

    “They could have another go in 20 years time when the present generation of political leadership are either taking treatment for Alzheimers or have preferably left this mortal coil .”

    Correct