“We are sitting arsing about..”

Northern Ireland’s First and deputy First Ministers are due to appear in front of the relevant Assembly Committee today [Adds online here] but, in the meantime, the battle over the deadlocked Executive continues to played out in the media. The deputy First Minister

Mr McGuinness said that the situation was “very serious” but that the institutions could only work on a basis of “partnership and equality”. “In the course of recent days we have been engaged in a number of discussions with the DUP aimed at agreeing an agenda for an executive meeting on Thursday,” he said. “Agreeing an agenda means that all issues of concern need to be put on the agenda – not simply those of concern to the unionist community or the DUP. “Despite our efforts this has not succeeded and no progress has been made.”

We’ve heard the “very serious” warning before. And the First Minister

“The only reasons that they have publicly given for the executive not meeting are that the agenda is in some way being constrained,” said Mr Robinson. “I am saying we can have an open agenda, we can deal with whatever issues, including policing and justice, which can be raised at the executive table if they wish.”

Hard to disagree with the UUP’s Reg Empey though..

“We are sitting arsing about, arguing about something that means nothing to people in the short term.”

Of course, it is important to some in the short term..

, , , ,

  • autocue

    Robbo has just called their bluff!

    The NI First Minister has said he is happy to have an executive meeting on Thursday with an “open agenda”.

    Peter Robinson said he wanted to “remove the fig leaf” of Sinn Féin’s claim that he only wanted to discuss issues that were important to the DUP.

    On Tuesday, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the meeting was highly unlikely to take place because of delays in devolving justice powers.

    The executive has not met since June because of the dispute.

    “The only reasons that they have publicly given for the executive not meeting are that the agenda is in some way being constrained,” said Mr Robinson.

    “I am saying we can have an open agenda, we can deal with whatever issues, including policing and justice, which can be raised at the executive table if they wish.”

  • DC

    Good, bring in TV cameras I want to see these ‘representatives’ discuss what the particular problems are. No, really. Get them in there, let’s get some transparency and accountability on this.

    I’m fed up being told what is what, I think it is fair to see our politicians carry out the necessary work of compromise. The apparent ‘seriousness’ of it all justifies this measure as to democratic worthiness.

    In fact, even audio will do and the voters can decide on who said what and whether it is good enough or not.

  • ulsterfan

    SF look sillier by the day.
    The rug has been pulled from under their feet.
    Now lets start talking about P&J;in the Executive and anywhere else.
    It is an open ended agenda and no pre conditions attached to any item on it.
    We may not be able to agree the terms of this devolution and it may not happen!

  • Dec

    Hard to disagree with the UUP’s Reg Empey though..

    “We are sitting arsing about, arguing about something that means nothing to people in the short term.”

    Clearly this is so since people just don’t care about crime, pathetic police clear-up rates or the PPS deciding to drop murder charges as and when it suits them. Fair better that we pretend, like Reg does, that the assembley can fix the global credit crunch.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    What happened to Robbo’s serious consequences ? Last night he stormed out of Stormo in a huff. Is that what he meant?

    The DUP have been told by the Englezes to get on with setting a date for police and justice – SF should sit tight until they agree to do so.

    Wee Reggie jumping up and down at the sidelines of the Neo Cons conference was very amusing – he should be telling the DUP to get their act together – but like the recent malarkey in Limivady Wee Reggie doesnt do backbone very well.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    I hope the people who voted this crowd of unrepentant Republican murderers into government are happy with themselves.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    DC

    “[i]I’m fed up being told what is what, I think it is fair to see our politicians carry out the necessary work of compromise.”[/i]

    Hoe can you compromise with those who haven’t even begun the process of truth and reconciliation?

  • Steve

    Robbo has just called their bluff!

    Has he? Looks to me more like he blinked!

    SF look sillier by the day.
    The rug has been pulled from under their feet.

    Really looks like dupers just bent the knee and begged SF to play along

    I hope the people who voted this crowd of unrepentant Republican murderers into government are happy with themselves

    Don’t know as I am canadian but as I read the papers they are happier with this lot then any of the other 4 party’s

  • cynic

    “Robbo has just called their bluff

    SF look sillier by the day

    How can you compromise with those who haven’t even begun the process of truth and reconciliation

    Wee Reggie doesnt do backbone very well.”

    Ah the financial mountains move, institutions topple, the word economy tetters on the brink of a major major depression …..and this is what passes for politics in NI and debate in here. Oh well, we elected them.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ‘I hope the people who voted this crowd of unrepentant Republican murderers into government are happy with themselves’

    “[i]Don’t know as I am canadian but as I read the papers they are happier with this lot then any of the other 4 party’s”[/i]

    What papers are happier with IRA/Sinn Fein than the other parties? (expose them)

  • barnshee

    Its all a charade
    Poor SF are sitting with the crumbs from the UK tax table
    The Dupers are staring at being accountable and its scaring the hell out of them

    Smug UUP and (lesser) smug SDLP are smirking because they can, for the moment avoid blame
    .
    What can they do separately or collectively about the various crises . Sweet fuck all– but at least the “fall out” is keeping eyes away from their total lack of power.

    Poor old Conor reduced to the begging bowl with the dreaded Enleze. Try down south?
    Is that a gentle fuck off I hear on the breeze ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Hard to disagree with the UUP’s Reg Empey though

    “We are sitting arsing about, arguing about something that means nothing to people in the short term.”

    Of all the parties the UUP should know most about ‘arsing about ‘ . They ‘arsed about ‘ for a decade before NI erupted into flames . They again went into an an ‘arsing about ‘ mode when Jim Molyneux was leader for about 20 years and led them into a political cul de sac from which they have never really emerged . The DUP have been ‘arsing about ‘ for 40 years .

    So why should’nt SF arse about for a pro rated length of time in the ‘arsing about stakes ‘

    IIRC – the Sunningdale agreement collapsed because ‘Unionists ‘ in general refused to support it and instead preferred to arse about for another generation rather than ‘share power’ with the ‘evil ‘ SDLP .

    Martin McGuinness needs to stick to his guns ( no pun intended ) and tell the DUP to take a hike.
    He needs to get a date for the devolution of P& J before he goes into any executive meeting . And he needs the same for issues on the Irish language and other critical issues that will maintain SF’s support among it’s voters.

    In a real political sense is’nt all of this just a symptom of the complete lack of trust between both sides of a ‘supposed ‘ partnership government.

    Not only has NI a non government of opposites but it also has it’s only real opposition within it’s government.

    It’s a nonsense . Wrap it up . Back to DR – fire the lot and bring in the UN or EU to redraw the boundaries of this failed ‘entity ‘ which can never be a ‘normal ‘ democracy ‘ in it’s present format .

  • Driftwood

    “We are sitting arsing about..”

    Pretty much sums up a very large proportion of people in Northern Ireland. The Civil Service anyway. Local Govt. Police. etc etc

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]So why should’nt SF arse about for a pro rated length of time in the ‘arsing about stakes ‘”[/i]

    They weren’t voted in to arse about. They were voted in to make progress to make N.Ireland work, not to run the country down.

  • borderline

    1922-1972 Unionist misrule

    1972-2006 British rule, ‘Troubles’

    2006-2008 Stalemate

    It’s not up to Nationalists to try and make the bigoted little gerrymandered statelet work.

    Pull the plug.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]1922-1972 Unionist misrule

    1972-2006 British rule, ‘Troubles’

    2006-2008 Stalemate

    It’s not up to Nationalists to try and make the bigoted little gerrymandered statelet work.

    Pull the plug.”[/i]

    LOL

    12th century – 2008 the invasion of Irish nationalism/Republicanism on Ulster soil.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    They were voted in to make progress to make N.Ireland work, not to run the country down.

    I think SF were voted in to wind the country up*, surely? Seems like they’re doing a good job.

    [* pun not really intended]

  • Unionist seem incapable of making an administration at stormount work.How many opportunities have they had and they have failed every time.For some reason they lack the generosity of spirit to enter into an inclusive and equal society.A time spent in opposition might give them the opportunity to experience the humility that could help them along the way.Though it cannot be done under the present system a coalition of sinn fein and the sdlp with the support of the alliance party would be the wake up call that unionism needs.
    It is my belief that these parties despite where some of them have come from would show a more progressive stance on inclusiveness and equality.Unionism has a long road to travel but shows little sign of even preparing for the journey.

  • Greenflag

    UMH ,

    ’12th century – 2008 the invasion of Irish nationalism/Republicanism on Ulster soil.’

    What we have here is a failure to communicate .

    IIRC

    1169 A.D century to 1550 A.D approx

    First invasion of Ireland by Normans and later Anglo Normans .

    1550 to 1690

    Second conquest of the island by emerging English imperial power and it’s ‘allies’ among the transplanted emigres in parts of Ulster.

    1690 to 1800

    Penal laws and wholesale exploitation of Ireland for the benefit of the expanding British Empire .

    1800 to 1920

    Absorbtion of Ireland into the British Union.

    1922 to 2008 Republic

    Emergence of an Irish State accompanied by political independence and eventual economic prosperity

    1920 to 2008 Northern Ireland

    I’ll let UMH fill in the ‘positive ‘ details of the achievements of the ‘failed’ entity . Should’nt take too long . I’ll omit listing the ‘negative’ details as it would take too long and there’s no point in repeating them yet again 🙁

  • Greenflag

    ‘They weren’t voted in to arse about. They were voted in to make progress to make N.Ireland work,’

    Mission impossible. NI only works ( I would’nt use the word ‘works ‘), is because of the constant supply of ‘crutches’ from the UK and ROI.

    ‘not to run the country down’

    I agree . They can safely leave that to the Unionists be they DUP or UUP . In either guise these parties have been ‘successfully’ running the province into the ground for almost long as the State has existed 🙁

  • 12th century – 2008 the invasion of Irish nationalism/Republicanism on Ulster soil.

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Oct 01, 2008 @ 03:26 PM

    Golly, UMH, you don’t know much about your homeland’s history, do you?

  • Dec

    Golly, UMH, you don’t know much about your homeland’s history, do you?

    Nor apostrophisation.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Golly, UMH, you don’t know much about your homeland’s history, do you? “[/i]

    why don’t you educate me Horseman? Is there room for that on slugger?

  • why don’t you educate me Horseman?

    If all your teachers, from primary right up to … well, at least post-primary, I hope …. haven’t succeeded, what hope have I?

    I suggest a trip to a library, or a bookshop.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    that’s a pathetic excuse out of it, Horseman.

  • USA

    Wee Reggie is wrong.
    Proper and accountable policing is critical to the long term stability of the devolution experiment in the wee six. The northing Catholic experience of bad policing will not let their political leaders proceed until the matter is satisfactorily resolved.
    Contrary to wee Reggie’s comments, it seems to this supporter of functioning pluralist democracies that SF are pushing hard on an issue that means everything to the half the electorate and therefore by extension it means everything to everyone in NI.
    It seems arrogant of him (and the DUP) not to recognize this fact.

  • USA

    Typo, “northing Catholicc” should read “northern Catholicc”.
    Sorry.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Come-on Horseman, tell us all about Ulsters history?

  • borderline

    UMH,

    we’ve gone through your nutjob theories on Ulster’s history before.

    Here’s a few facts.

    Your homeland is Northern Ireland.

    It’s boundaries were defined by the Boundary commission.

    And now some opinion.

    Your pathetic attempt to confer social and historical legitimacy on your wee political slum of NI by calling it Ulster was tried by Stormont in the 50s. They failed.

    And little UMH in cyberspace is not going to succeed in telling real UIlster folk like me, who know who we are, what we are.

  • ulsterfan

    All is not lost.
    On the latest BBC news Martin says he is not going to fall out with Peter nor is he going to stand in the corner an huff.
    Imagine the FTSE 100 and DOW Jones making a recovery without their help.
    The future is good.

  • runciter

    why don’t you educate me Horseman?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ireland

  • Ulsters my homeland

    congratulations borderline, you understand Ulster’s history isn’t just about the 20th century, but it’s about the decades and ceturies before.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “why don’t you educate me Horseman?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ireland

    Posted by runciter”

    so what part of that link do you want to highlight runciter?

  • runciter

    so what part of that link do you want to highlight runciter?

    I thought you might be able to read all of it.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “I thought you might be able to read all of it.”

    runciter on Oct 01, 2008 @ 05:41 PM

    you know what thought did

  • ManicHumper

    HAHAHA, I have never seen a more biting criticism of Slugger O’Toole commentists (!) than that – he asks for Irish history and you put up a wikipedia link! The Satire, the implied (and accurate) insult to all and sundry, oh the glory ! I love you now runelicker!

    Anywho, USA,

    Because Sinn Fein highlight an issue, this does not mean that

    A, the Roman Catholic population of Ireland express themselves through Sinn Fein, or that those who express their affections with a vote for sinn fein share this quantification of priorities,

    B, that a political party can ever be the consistent and accurate voice of the society,

    C, that those who vote for them constitute the entire Catholic Population, or their affections, you state that Unionists are inherently bigoted (with that old charmer, the universal disparagement) buy insist on the entire Roman Catholic population identifying with kneecappings and the rest. Pretty Harsh on them I’d say.

    Your either a fascist, as if De Valera didn’t learn this lesson when he was “looking into his own heart”, but still a plus for a Sien Fien man, or you have failed to consider the difference between a party and the society in the limits of representation in democracy. You can, if you wish for one party one people one voice, still get into north Korea from a ferry terminal in Japan or a flight from Beijing. They too can fill you with rubbish about colonialism and a thousand other ism’s whilst degrading your very humanity and freedom

    and about farty Marty and his stock slogans :

    “the institutions could only work on a basis of “partnership and equality” – so he knows he should accept the equality of the mutual veto and get on with the business of partnership.
    Its funny watching then apply the same old prattle, even as it drifts further and further from the twin ports of cogency and relevance. what a bunch.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    If you would pay more attention to your typing and spend less time humping we could maybe understand your message.

  • ??

    Clearly this is so since people just don’t care about crime, pathetic police clear-up rates or the PPS deciding to drop murder charges as and when it suits them……….

    all this can be addressed at the policing board , you dont need a ministry..

  • The Raven

    “Fair better that we pretend, like Reg does, that the assembley can fix the global credit crunch.”

    Funny, I heard Reg talking about myriad issues the other other day, such as heat-or-eat, prescription charges, job apprenticeships, rising local unemployment, stuff like that. Strange that you use the sheer scale of the credit crunch as a way of masking many smaller things that the assembly COULD be working on.

    “Proper and accountable policing is critical to the long term stability of the devolution experiment in the wee six.”

    Again, I have to say, as I have before, why should this be to the detriment of everything else? Much as I despise things being Nolanised, there were many on his show this morning that didn’t give a fiddler’s about policing. The guy working on the building site was a very good example…

    “SF are pushing hard on an issue that means everything to the half the electorate and therefore by extension it means everything to everyone in NI. It seems arrogant of him (and the DUP) not to recognize this fact.”

    A few people on the ground may feel it is arrogant of you to postulate that it means everything to everyone in Northern Ireland.

    Frankly I’m glad that Reg is about – he seems to be the only one shouting about it. I’m not a particular fan, but it sticks in my craw when wee Jeffrey and Gregory-hi come on and say “well sure you would say that, you’re not running things any more.” Perhaps that’s more of a reflection of how stuck in the past THEY are, than Reggie and his followers….

  • Dec

    Funny, I heard Reg talking about myriad issues the other other day, such as heat-or-eat, prescription charges, job apprenticeships, rising local unemployment, stuff like that. Strange that you use the sheer scale of the credit crunch as a way of masking many smaller things that the assembly COULD be working on.

    They COULD also be working on P&J;. I’d be grateful if you could tell me why not?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dec:

    Clearly this is so since people just don’t care about crime, pathetic police clear-up rates or the PPS deciding to drop murder charges as and when it suits them.

    The idea that devolution of policing and justice could lead to political interference in decisions over whether to pursue or drop cases is quite frightening.

    USA:

    Proper and accountable policing is critical to the long term stability of the devolution experiment in the wee six. The northing Catholic experience of bad policing will not let their political leaders proceed until the matter is satisfactorily resolved.

    Actually I think it’s the other way around; the long term stability of devolution is critical to improving proper and accountable policing. If the justice ministry is run the way Sinn Fein’s Catriona Ruane runs the Department of Education, then policing will not improve but instead get substantially worse.

    I completely support devolution of these powers – it needs to happen immediately – but the idea that our politicians here are competent enough to actually deliver the benefits that are being promised is a completely different matter. I frankly don’t think we should even bother with the pretence of a devolved government if we can’t even get a very basic programme for government implemented.

  • Billy

    Ulster’s my Homeland

    “They were voted in to make progress to make N.Ireland work”

    Sinn Fein were elected to represent the people who voted for them.

    I am not a Sinn Fein supporter and never have been. However, I and the vast majority of Nationalists/Catholics that I know agree with Sinn Fein’s current stance.

    From day one, the DUP have made it plain that they are not interested in true parthership with Nationalists/Catholics – they are only interested in blocking anything that comes from the Nationalist side and pushing their own sectarian agenda.

    However, as much as it may disappoint you, this is not a pre 1968 Stormont and the days of croppie lie down are long gone.

    Neither Sinn Fein nor the SDLP have to accept being treated as second class citizens by the DUP.

    The end result is obviously stalemate.

    In the end, there are two possible outcomes, either the DUP will compromise (as they are clearly standing alone on this issue) or the assembly will fall.

    Frankly, either of these will benefit Nationalists more than Unionists. Whether you like it or not, the UK, US + Irish govts want P+J devolved or, at the very least, a definite timetable in place.

    The UK govt (either Labour or Tory) does not want a return to Direct rule. If it does return, (along with the associated fincial drain), it will be seen as a result of DUP intransigence.

    In any case, Nationalists generally get a better deal from the UK govt than from Unionists. Direct Rule will clearly see more (and ever increasing) input from the RoI into the running of the North.

    There is extremely little interest in Britain about the North and even less sympathy for the “Union” with the North – particularly in these turbulent financial times.

    I had to laugh about Robinon’s “serious consequences” – as if he is in any position to dictate anything. What has he done so far – refused to attend the Labour + Tory conferences and stormed out of Stormont in a huff – WOW, hold the front page.

    As much as Unionists may not like it, the pressure (from the UK, US + Irish govts) is on the DUP to start treating Nationalists/Catholics as equals in govt or risk losing their precious assembly.

    Robinson can huff and puff as much as he likes. Unionism is swimming against the tide on this one. As he said last week, no-one can force Unionists to devolve P&J;and that’s true.

    However, as history has shown, the UK govt in particular has had no problem in pushing ahead with alternatives in the face of Unionist intransigence.

    The poitical reality is that the DUP have painted themselves into a corner on this one. They can either bite the bullet and start treating Nationalists/Catholics as equal partners in govt or they can lose their assembly.

    Either way, it will benefit Nationalists.

  • The Raven

    “They COULD also be working on P&J;. I’d be grateful if you could tell me why not?”

    That’s the only bit you’re going to refer to in my post? Well, actually, I have no idea why they couldn’t. But I’m pretty fucked off that everything else has to take a back seat to it.

    Dec, there are 1.7m of us in the North. Don’t for one second think that all of us give the same importance to policing and justice that you do. My best mate has twin daughters coming up to their final year at Primary School. P&J;is *not* uppermost in his mind at this moment.

    From Comrade Stalin: “I frankly don’t think we should even bother with the pretence of a devolved government if we can’t even get a very basic programme for government implemented.”

    Pretty much sums it up.

  • ulsterfan

    Billy

    You make a great argument for complete integration and speak like Enoch Powell on this subject.
    A true supporter of the British presence in NI.
    Has your love and respect for Westminster diminished any lingering Irish Nationalism you may have had?

  • austin

    Oh dear, Ulsterfan,Billy has hit a raw nerve there.

    He is right in that the fall of the Assembly will move us forward to a joint authority arrangement administered by the Fianna Fail Government and a British Govt. deeply unsympathetic to unionism.
    If Stormont falls, most nationalists won’t care less and the devolutionist DUP will return to its default position as hurllers on the ditch.

  • ulsterfan

    Austin

    The Irish government would not touch the North with a 40Ft barge pole.
    They want nothing to do with us and simply pay lip service to the moaning of Republicans and then quickly forget about them .
    The ordinary people of the South are completely overwhelmed with apathy.
    The answer lies in a settlement between SF and DUP.
    The British are not interested in our wee local difficulty on P&J;and do you really think the Americans give a damn.
    There is a rumour of a stock market collapse which concentrates their attention.
    The Irish cause is neither important or of interest to them

  • Billy

    Austin

    “You make a great argument for complete integration”

    The UK govt have NEVER supported integration and never will.

    The simple truth is that, despite what Unionists like to believe, the North never has been an “integral part” of the UK and it never will be.

    Over the past 2 decades, we have seen the UK govt more than happy to let the RoI Govt have a large and increasing input into the running of the North.

    There is extremely little support in the UK for the “Union” with the North. Most people don’t care and the majority of those who do would be glad to be rid if it and it’s sponging mentality.

    The overwhelming majority of UK folk certainly don’t consider the North to really be a part of the UK.

    The simple truth is that Unionists have a stark choice – one which David Trimble faced up to a long time ago.

    They can either start treating Catholics/Nationalists as equals and try to win them over as Unionists or they can leave it all to the UK, US + Irish govts.

    It’s pretty obvious that UK govts (Labour and Tory) have been pursuing a policy of gradual disengagement over the last 20 years or so.

    It’s also obvious where the sympathy of the US administration lies.

    As I said, I (and most Nationalists) won’t care if the assembly crashs. Clearly, the UK, US + Irish govts will simply move toward an increasing joint authority model.

    The idea of integration died a long time ago.

    If the assembly is to survive, then Unionists (the DUP in particular) will need to get their head round the idea of Nationalists/Catholics as equals and act accordingly.

    If they do, then everyone benefits.

    If they don’t then they’ll lose their assembly and the main beneficiary of that will clearly be Nationalists.

    Whatever way Unionists try to dress it up, the political reality is clear. The UK, US and Irish govts will NOT tolerate the DUP attempts at reinstating Unionist majority rule – there will be no return to the days of croppie lie down.

    It’s either fair and equitable treatment for Nationalists/Catholics or a move toward joint authority.

    Like I said, either way benefits Nationalists.

  • Comrade Stalin

    They can either start treating Catholics/Nationalists as equals

    Would you like to explain what relevance this rhetoric from 1973 has today ?

    and try to win them over as Unionists or they can leave it all to the UK, US + Irish govts.

    The US and Irish governments are, at the moment, outright hostile to Sinn Fein. Did you notice how Gerry Adams has been running to London for help, and not Dublin ?

    Clearly, the UK, US + Irish govts will simply move toward an increasing joint authority model.

    What makes you believe that this will deliver on your requirements ?

    If they don’t then they’ll lose their assembly and the main beneficiary of that will clearly be Nationalists.

    If Nationalists benefit from the assembly not being present, then what are they doing in it right now, and why did Sinn Fein take the political risk of supporting the PSNI in order to achieve devolution ? Can you explain to me why nationalism has been spending the past 10-15 years negotiating to create an assembly which is counter to it’s interests ?

    Whatever way Unionists try to dress it up, the political reality is clear. The UK, US and Irish govts will NOT tolerate the DUP attempts at reinstating Unionist majority rule – there will be no return to the days of croppie lie down.

    Who is trying to reinstate majority rule ?

  • ??

    They can either start treating Catholics/Nationalists as equals and try to win them over as Unionists or they can leave it all to the UK, US + Irish govts. /…………….

    Tell me Billy, what rights do unionists have that nationalists dont? What laws apply to republicans that dont apply to the rest of society?

    What you really want to say is that you want Unionists to do what Nationalsists/Republicans demand. You didnt get that by bombing , you wont get it with your hissy fits

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin

    Clearly SF want Stormo to continue – the strength of their position is that they fear its collapse a lot less that the DUP do and have all the major players in their camp. That is the real politics of the current situation and what keeps Robbo awake at night.

  • Billy

    CS

    “The US and Irish governments are, at the moment, outright hostile to Sinn Fein. Did you notice how Gerry Adams has been running to London for help, and not Dublin ?”

    On the matter at hand – namely P&J;, the 3 govts have been united and been very clear about what they want to see happen. Indeed, Gordon Brown could not have been any clearer in his recent speech at Stormont.

    Unlike you, I am very in touch with the feelings in the Nationalist community. It is very clear that the DUP are simply trying to block everything that eminates from the Nationalist community.

    As I said, I do not support Sinn Fein and I frankly don’t feel strongly about i.e. the Irish Language Act.

    However, I am not stupid and neither are most Nationalists/Catholics. The prevailing perception is that the DUP are not interested in partnership govt or compromise.

    The P&J;issue is in some ways the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    The tactics that Sinn Fein are adopting are simply those used by Unionists for decades.

    To be honest, I have little regard for most local politicians and think the assembly is a waste of time anyway.

    Whether you like it or not, the political reality is clear – no compromise on P&J;and the assembly will likely fall.

    If it does, it will be viewed by those who matter as a result of DUP intransigience.

    It is also clear that any move to direct rule will be a move closer to joint authority. If you think that the UK govt actually wants ro run this place directly and foot the massive bills, you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.

    The P&J;issue is simply the make or break point for this assembly. Either Unionists (the DUP in particular) prove that they are really capable of compromise and partnership govt with Nationalists\Catholics or they’re not.

    If they can do it, then everyone benefits. However, if they’re not willing to co-operate then why should Nationalists continue to participate in a sham govt where they are viewed as second class citizens whose aspirations will be blocked at every turn?

    From a Nationalist viewpoint, we’ll be better off with Direct rule from a govt that has no real belief in the “Union” with the North and that will be happy to let the RoI Govt have a large and increasing input.

    Despite what Unionist (and Alliance) supporters are trying to portray, there is no real political pressure on Sinn Fein.

    They have the support of the Nationalist community and the prevailing viewpoint beyond the North is that the main problem is Unionist (DUP) intransigence.

    It’s time for the DUP to bite the bullet (no pun intended). They can really try to work with Catholics\Nationalists in a power sharing assembly or they can continue to play to the TUV element and abuse their position.

    However, if they do that, they’ll lose their assembly. If that happens, I think it will be a very long time (if ever) that they are given any local authority again.

    It’ll simply be the first step on the road to joint authority and, once that journey starts, there will be no going back.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Clearly SF want Stormo to continue

    Not according to Billy, who says that it will benefit nationalists if it collapsed. I wanted to understand his thinking. I don’t agree with him, I think nationalists are worse off without Stormont. I think everyone is worse off without it.

    – the strength of their position is that they fear its collapse a lot less that the DUP do and have all the major players in their camp.

    Nonsense. There is no endorsement of the present Sinn Fein position, and no endorsement of anything which would lead to a collapse, from any of the parties which are elected in the assembly other than Sinn Fein themselves.

    You’re just plain wrong if you believe that just because there is support among the governments on the need to devolve policing and justice immediately means that the governments are in any position to force the issue. They aren’t, and the likelihood of slim minorities in Westminster going forward means that this is likely to continue. Sinn Fein are wedded to powersharing in a way that the DUP are not, they have bet the shop on it. They’ve disarmed, nearly disbanded the IRA, supported policing, supported local government, all principles which they have thrown away. You can’t seriously believe that the position they are facing – going to their electorate and saying that it can’t work – is a position of strength.

    It’s also wrong to say that policing and justice is perceived as a make or break issue. It is a serious problem and it needs to be sorted out, but there are many that are at least as serious, if not more. The idea that we should throw away the opportunity to work on the other 9 departments because of the 1 that is being delayed is nonsensical.

    I wouldn’t be too sure of this “position of strength” thing. Look at what way the cards are dealt for Sinn Fein in the event that they decide that powersharing cannot continue. There is a very real possibility that the other parties will decide to continue the government without them, in the same way that we all decided to continue without the DUP during the previous executive. Do you think the governments will tear down a powersharing administration which represents the remaining 70% of the voters in NI in favour of some sort of cobbled-together joint authority situation ? And in any case, what on earth makes anyone believe that joint authority will work any better for republicans ? Are Irish politicians from Dublin likely to be better placed to solve the policing problems in West Belfast than those from London ? Who says that Dublin even want joint authority in the first place ?

    That is the real politics of the current situation and what keeps Robbo awake at night.

    Robbo has nothing to lose sleep over. He hasn’t staked his reputation on things, and he hasn’t spent the past 15 years negotiating to try to get into government. His supporters aren’t crazy about the idea of sharing power with SF and they’re not going to complain that loudly if it stops. Relations with the Irish government have never been better, and the Irish government don’t seem likely to undo all of that hard work by negotiating over the heads of unionists again.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Billy,

    I’m certainly not in touch with the views of nationalists, or unionists, but I don’t think you are either.

    Can you explain :

    (a) what evidence you have that joint authority is likely

    (b) how you think joint authority will serve the interests of nationalists, or anyone else ?

    (c) why you believe the Irish government are interested in joint authority in the first place ? What is in it for them ? Why do you believe that the Irish government, having invested tremendous effort in improving relations with unionists, would go over their heads and destroy all that hard work for nothing ?

    (d) why you believe that the three governments would discard the opportunity to create a powersharing government featuring SDLP/UUP/DUP/Alliance ? Why should the rest of us suffer just because Sinn Fein don’t want to play ? What makes you think that the rest of us cannot do a deal ? What are you going to do to stop it if it does happen ?

  • Steve

    CS
    I am not Billy but let me give it a shot
    (a) what evidence you have that joint authority is likely

    It is already the stated policy of the labour party who are still in charge and moves have already been made to put this system in place. Do you think its an accident that the Republic is financing new infrastructure in the north?

    (b) how you think joint authority will serve the interests of nationalists, or anyone else ?

    ILA Is a no brainer for the irish especially as they have one of their own

    11+ already gone the way of the dodo in the UK and the Republic

    P&J;While it wont be under the direct control of local government, It will be operated by people not beholden to the onionist ubermensch who believe themselves above the common taig, Add to that that every year more and more of the biggoted former ruc administrative staff retires or dies off, the PSNI is hardly perfect but its getting better with every funeral and retirement

    (c) why you believe the Irish government are interested in joint authority in the first place ? What is in it for them ? Why do you believe that the Irish government, having invested tremendous effort in improving relations with unionists, would go over their heads and destroy all that hard work for nothing ?

    Every country has national aspirations and if you think a political party from the republic is going to sell out Irishmen to onionists you should see if you could borrow some of John Oconnel’s medication

    (d) why you believe that the three governments would discard the opportunity to create a powersharing government featuring SDLP/UUP/DUP/Alliance ? Why should the rest of us suffer just because Sinn Fein don’t want to play ? What makes you think that the rest of us cannot do a deal ? What are you going to do to stop it if it does happen ?

    Because politics of exclusion are exactly what started and allowed the troubles to run for 30 years, any attempt to return to them will see IRA wannabe’s take to the field in numbers unseen since Bloody Sunday. The modern taig has not been conditioned to fear the police, while not too bright to begin with I predict they would be both reckless and fearless in any action attempted

  • ??

    P&J;While it wont be under the direct control of local government, It will be operated by people not beholden to the onionist ubermensch who believe themselves above the common taig,………….

    er , if stormont falls p+j which be administered by exactly the same people who are doing it today..

  • USA

    ManicHumper,

    You wrote “Because Sinn Fein highlight an issue, this does not mean that

    A. the Roman Catholic population of Ireland express themselves through Sinn Fein

    No arguements there, I never said they did. Most express themselves through the Dail Eireann govt who also agree (along with the British, US govts etc) the P+J should be devolved.

    B. that a political party can ever be the consistent and accurate voice of the society

    Very philosophical and again I don’t disagree. On a slightly more practical level have you ever considered that you voted for them, so until you philosphers can come up with a better idea than representative democracy then we are kinda stuck with what we have for now.

    C. you state that Unionists are inherently bigoted . Sorry I missed that part, could you point out where I said that all Protestants were inherently bigoted.
    insist on the entire Roman Catholic population identifying with kneecappings and the rest. Again, a figment of your over active imagination – must be good stuff you kids have got up there on University Avenue.

    Contrary to your rantings about “one party” and Korea etc, I have no desire to see a one party state. The Unionists already tried that for 50 years and look where it got you.
    You see kid, just because I adopt a position that points outs the weaknesses in Unionist positions or Reg Empty’s statements while sometimes highlighting the logic of some Sinn Fein moves does not make me a Fascist (or a Shinner for that matter). Perhaps it is you who only prefers political mandates be given to parties that agree with your world view, is that not Fascism?

    Comrade Stalin,
    Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday. I don’t disagree with your concerns about the local politicians being able to handle a P+J portfolio, but I feel it is part of the overall settlement package and nothing moves until it is devolved, so we will have to address the issue of their skill set when the time comes.
    I feel SF, the governments and others are pretty much singing from the same hymm sheet on P+J. Everyone is just being very patient with the Unionists right now till they find a way to get it done, same as St Andrews.
    At this point the Shinners can’t move forward without it.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    With regards to the British Government, lets not forget that the DUP MPs have come in fairly useful with regards to close votes recently. Neither Labour or the Conservatives will wish to alienate the DUP. SF decide not to take up their westminister seats, oh dear…

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin,

    to not recognise that Robbo is under pressure on this issue – is either silly or self serving.

    And talking of silly – Robbo looks a a bit silly having threatened ‘serious consequences’ if the first executive meeting after the summer break did not take place – and done – jack shit.

    The light chuckling between Marty and Robbo on the telly yesterday even though they are on the verge of missing the next meeting reiniforces this. LOL

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy:

    to not recognise that Robbo is under pressure on this issue – is either silly or self serving.

    What pressure is Robinson under ? Who is in a position to bring force to bear on him ?

    I have no personal interest in the matter either way. If you’re talking about the Alliance thing, again, the way I see it is that either way could work out well – or badly – for the party.

    And talking of silly – Robbo looks a a bit silly having threatened ‘serious consequences’ if the first executive meeting after the summer break did not take place – and done – jack shit.

    I would have interpreted “serious consequences” as being the undermining of confidence in the devolved government. There can’t be any doubt that right now, this is happening.

    Robinson is certainly not in a position to force Sinn Fein to stop their blockade of the executive. Nobody can do that. But that’s not what this is is about. Robinson is calculating that SF have backed themselves into a corner and that he can squeeze them. My interpretation is that he’s right, and that SF have grossly miscalculated. We’ll see who is right soon enough.

    It’s not impossible for Robinson to back down at this point. I think the damage to SF has already been done.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Steve:

    (a) what evidence you have that joint authority is likely

    It is already the stated policy of the labour party who are still in charge and moves have already been made to put this system in place.

    Where did the Labour Party state that joint authority was their policy (post 1997) and what moves have been made to put it in place ? How do you imagine this will happen in a scenario where they have a slim majority ?

    Do you think its an accident that the Republic is financing new infrastructure in the north?

    The RoI’s investment up here is based on a business case which calculates economic benefit flowing south of the border. It’s definitely a not an accident, but it doesn’t mean that the Irish government is about to assert control.

    (b) how you think joint authority will serve the interests of nationalists, or anyone else ?

    ILA Is a no brainer for the irish especially as they have one of their own

    If you believe that the Irish Language Act is a major issue for people on the ground, then you have no idea about what is going on in this place.

    I’m still seeing evidence of this weird republican rose-tinted glasses thing, where the Irish government imposes it’s authority and everyone runs to the border to join hands and sing songs. Your suggestion seems to be that joint authority will mean that the Sinn Fein shopping list will immediately be implemented. On the contrary, like I said, the political reality in the Republic is that the government – and indeed the electorate – are hostile to Sinn Fein.

    P&J;While it wont be under the direct control of local government, It will be operated by people not beholden to the onionist ubermensch who believe themselves above the common taig,

    If this is the case for the PSNI, then why did Sinn Fein agree to support that force over a year ago ? What makes you think the Garda are any better ?

    Add to that that every year more and more of the biggoted former ruc administrative staff retires or dies off, the PSNI is hardly perfect but its getting better with every funeral and retirement

    Er .. all the ex-RUC types were paid off very handsomely about 6 years ago as part of the Patten implementation. You might actually want to think about the possible effect of that upon the PSNI’s present inability to grapple crime.

    (c) why you believe the Irish government are interested in joint authority …

    Every country has national aspirations and if you think a political party from the republic is going to sell out Irishmen to onionists …

    What on earth makes you think the Irish national aspiration is to impose unaccountable authority over people who are grossly divided over it, and with the real risk of a civil war ? The Irish national aspiration is written right there, in the constitution. It talks about reunification based on consent. Joint authority is not reunification. The type of joint authority that you are talking about does not involve consent.

    Why should anyone – irrespective of religion – welcome the involvement of a government they can’t elect anyone to and cannot influence, and which is under no legal obligation to take their views into account ? How on earth does this arrangement benefit nationalists in the long term ? What would you do if the Irish government changed, and someone like Michael McDowell was back in charge ?

    Because politics of exclusion are exactly what started and allowed the troubles to run for 30 years,

    So, let me get this straight. The troubles here started when 70% of the elected representatives, nationalist and unionists, wanted to form a government, but Sinn Fein walked out ? That’s slightly different from what I remember seeing in the history books.

    Let me get another thing straight. You think it’s majoritarianism if a 70% government is established in NI because Sinn Fein walked out, and you think this should be avoided because of a possible violent reaction; yet you think it’s OK to impose joint authority, which only around 40% would support (assuming total support from SF and SDLP which is not that likely), and you think the violent threat from unionists should be ignored ? Don’t you think that this lacks consistency ?

    any attempt to return to them will see IRA wannabe’s take to the field in numbers unseen since Bloody Sunday.

    The IRA are a force which have disbanded (more or less), got rid of all their arms, and committed themselves to peaceful means. You think that this is an organization which is in the mood for war ?

  • dec

    Dec, there are 1.7m of us in the North. Don’t for one second think that all of us give the same importance to policing and justice that you do. My best mate has twin daughters coming up to their final year at Primary School. P&J;is *not* uppermost in his mind at this moment.

    Raven

    Was a new bypass for Jordanstown uppermost in his mind? That’s being taken care of nonetheless. (I’m really not sure what point you’re making other than Government policy should follow the whims of 10-year olds – free Wiis for the elderly?) Frankly the idea that people don’t care about crime is laughable and a huge smokescreen to draw people away from the fact that the DUP by ‘sticking’ it to SF for months, have now become unstuck. This site was until recently full of Unionists crowing that about the DUP were leading SF by the nose – that crowing has somewhat subsided now. I wonder why? Instead we have nouveau moralistic posing from unlikely sources – I wonder what they’d make of the suggestion that next year’s marching season be abandoned and the millions saved on security costs go towards winter fuel relief.

  • slug

    Sammy – still betting on actual devolution of P&J;before 2009?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    slug – No.

    Luckily I had no takers.

  • slug

    I was tempted. Too late.

    This dispute is BORING. I can’t see how it will lead to collapse, important matters will be passed by emergency procedure and ordinary business can continue. Sinn Féin successfully got the Government to drop its ability to suspend the NI Executive, requiring fresh legislation. So this stalemate could go on a long long time and result in administrative and legislative devolution, with executive devolution limited to the least cntroversial, emergency, issues. Unless Sinn Féin walk, but if they do then D’Hondt is re-triggered. They never did walk from government before in many years of councils.

  • One reason why Robinson is under some pressure to resolve this impasse soon, is that if he waits too long, and then resolves it is any way that looks like compromise, he leaves himself wide open to scathing TUV attacks just as the European Parliament election campaign starts to kick off. The sooner he resolves it, the longer time he will have to sell the resolution before Jim Allister starts his fight-for-life.

  • George

    This dispute may be boring but it doesn’t mean Sinn Féin can’t continue this policy indefinitely.

    Why? Because the British, Irish and US governments aren’t going to back down on their policy of supporting the devolution of policing and justice.

    Just like unionists could wait for years playing the drawn-out decommissioning game, SF can do the same with policing and justice.

    NI will muddle on as it always has and I really don’t see this damaging the SF vote (north or south) in any way shape or form. This is a no-brainer for them.

  • slug

    “One reason why Robinson is under some pressure to resolve this impasse soon, is that if he waits too long, and then resolves it is any way that looks like compromise, he leaves himself wide open to scathing TUV attacks just as the European Parliament election campaign starts to kick off. The sooner he resolves it, the longer time he will have to sell the resolution before Jim Allister starts his fight-for-life. ”

    That’s also a reason why he will choose NOT to resolve it soon…!

  • slug,

    That’s also a reason why he will choose NOT to resolve it soon…!

    Are you foreseeing a nine-month stand-off? Will the Executive still be there if it goes on that long?

  • slug

    “Just like unionists could wait for years playing the drawn-out decommissioning game, SF can do the same with policing and justice. NI will muddle on as it always has and I really don’t see this damaging the SF vote (north or south) in any way shape or form. This is a no-brainer for them. ”

    Could be. Effetively, that means that the number of major decisions being made is limited during this period. Obviously, however, no party will want to stop executive decisions that are of manifest benefit to their voters, but these can be passed by the emergency mechanism if necessary. So I’d expect a period of minimal change and only the most uncontroversial measures being adopted. I would also expect this could go on for a while and currently the Government has bigger fish to fry.

  • slug

    Horseman – depends if you think SF would walk.

  • Steve

    CS
    Where did the Labour Party state that joint authority was their policy (post 1997) and what moves have been made to put it in place ? How do you imagine this will happen in a scenario where they have a slim majority ?

    plan B ring a bell at all?

    The RoI’s investment up here is based on a business case which calculates economic benefit flowing south of the border. It’s definitely a not an accident, but it doesn’t mean that the Irish government is about to assert control.

    I have never heard of a government spending its money in another jurisdiction except in the case of third world aid, are you saying that nIreland is a third world country?

    If you believe that the Irish Language Act is a major issue for people on the ground, then you have no idea about what is going on in this place.

    It is a major issue to enough of SF’s electorate that it is a major issue no matter how the onionists try and spin it

    the political reality in the Republic is that the government – and indeed the electorate – are hostile to Sinn Fein.

    They are however not hostile to the nationalist community of nIreland and will deal with its chosen representatives

    If this is the case for the PSNI, then why did Sinn Fein agree to support that force over a year ago ? What makes you think the Garda are any better ?

    Because they were promised devolved P&J;, never said the Garda were any better but as they are not openly hostile to half the community

    Er .. all the ex-RUC types were paid off very handsomely about 6 years ago as part of the Patten implementation. You might actually want to think about the possible effect of that upon the PSNI’s present inability to grapple crime.

    They were not, much of the command and control structure of the worst police force in europe was retained, unfortunately

    What on earth makes you think the Irish national aspiration is to impose unaccountable authority over people who are grossly divided over it, and with the real risk of a civil war ? The Irish national aspiration is written right there, in the constitution. It talks about reunification based on consent. Joint authority is not reunification. The type of joint authority that you are talking about does not involve consent.

    Baby steps son, baby steps

    Why should anyone – irrespective of religion – welcome the involvement of a government they can’t elect anyone to and cannot influence, and which is under no legal obligation to take their views into account ?

    This has always been the case for nIreland nationalists except the Republic has more of their interest in mind

    So, let me get this straight. The troubles here started when 70% of the elected representatives, nationalist and unionists, wanted to form a government, but Sinn Fein walked out ?

    total bollocks and you know it, the troubles started when onionists started killing arbitrary catholics for kicks, it was reinforced when peaceful civil rights demonstrators were battoned, stoned and eventually shot off the streets. It was perpetuated by the politics of exclusion

    Let me get another thing straight. You think it’s majoritarianism if a 70% government is established in NI because Sinn Fein walked out

    SF havent walked out, they have just used their mandate to forward their agenda. If the government was formed with out SF then it would be the politics of exclusion and against the GF & St A agreements if not plain illegal.

    The IRA are a force which have disbanded (more or less), got rid of all their arms, and committed themselves to peaceful means. You think that this is an organization which is in the mood for war ?

    Note the phrase IRA WANNABE’s? Their are still a few around if you havent noticed

  • slug

    A cost, to Sinn Féin, of executive stalemate? More of this sort of thing?

    By Maggie Taggart
    BBC NI education correspondent

    A second Catholic grammar school has broken ranks with the Catholic authorities and said it intends to run an independent entrance exam.

    St Michael’s Boys College, Enniskillen, which has more than 700 pupils, has written to Catholic primary schools in the area to explain its plan.

    The decision conflicts with advice sent out only a few weeks ago.

    Principal Eugene McCullough said they made the decision in the absence of any definitive and agreed plan.

    However, the school has not given details of what sort of test it would run.

    The principal of a local primary school confirmed that the grammar school had written with news of the plan and said the Department of Education “needs to get its act together”.

    One other Catholic grammar school, Lumen Christi in Londonderry, has already said it will set independent entrance tests.

    The decision by St Michael’s flies in the face of direct advice from the Catholic bishops who wrote last month to all Catholic schools telling them they do not approve of any independent entrance exams.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Steve:

    plan B ring a bell at all?

    Yes, it rings a bell as a vague, undefined threat made by the NI secretary who subsequently said “There is no plan B”. If you know what the details are, perhaps you’d like to fill us in ?

    I have never heard of a government spending its money in another jurisdiction except in the case of third world aid, are you saying that nIreland is a third world country?

    No. And I find it very hard to accept that a government has never spent money on another jurisdiction; I am sure that other countries have co-operated and co-funded roads and rail services that are in their mutual interest. Either way, this does not mean that joint authority is on the cards. Indeed, that is why unionists are supporting it.

    It is a major issue to enough of SF’s electorate that it is a major issue no matter how the onionists try and spin it

    What percentage of SF’s electorate regard it as a major issue ? How much Irish do you speak yourself ?

    [The Irish government .. ]are however not hostile to the nationalist community of nIreland and will deal with its chosen representatives

    This is the government that accepted partition, sold the “six counties” down the river, and failed to intervene in 1969. Whatever makes you think that you can trust them ? Remember that Sinn Fein historically regards the Irish government and the Irish state as illegitimate.

    They were not, much of the command and control structure of the worst police force in europe was retained, unfortunately

    It has the same command and control structure as any other police force. There’s constables, sergeants, inspectors, chief inspectors and so on. What’s wrong with the PSNI’s structure ? The Patten report – which Sinn Fein have accepted – have you read it ? – made no significant changes to the way the force was actually organized.

    Baby steps son, baby steps

    In what way is joint authority a baby step ? What you are proposing here is effectively a colonial government from Dublin. We won’t be able to elect any members to it ?

    Why should anyone – irrespective of religion – welcome the involvement of a government they can’t elect anyone to and cannot influence, and which is under no legal obligation to take their views into account ?

    This has always been the case for nIreland nationalists except the Republic has more of their interest in mind

    What makes you think that given the history ? If the RoI has the interests of northern nationalists in mind, why didn’t they invade or provide weapons in 1969 ?

    SF havent walked out, they have just used their mandate to forward their agenda.

    Precisely how is the SF agenda being forwarded right now ?

    If the government was formed with out SF then it would be the politics of exclusion and against the GF & St A agreements if not plain illegal.

    It might be illegal right now, but through all-party talks we can make it legal. I’m sorry, but SF have no divine right to be in government, and if they are going to continue to block it then why should the remaining 75% of us suffer ?

    Note the phrase IRA WANNABE’s? Their are still a few around if you havent noticed

    And the UDA/UVF wannabes (and not so wannabes) who would object to your threat of joint authority. What should we do about them ? Surely you don’t believe that we should accede to one threat and ignore another ?

  • realist

    If the DUP do not accept the devolution of P&J;then policing and justice should be administrated jointly between the British and Irish governments. If the DUP don’t want P&J;then theyve no right to complain if the Brits share responsibility for it with Dublin.

  • Steve

    plan B ring a bell at all?

    Yes, it rings a bell as a vague, undefined threat made by the NI secretary who subsequently said “There is no plan B”. If you know what the details are, perhaps you’d like to fill us in ?

    How would i know? Of course there was no fromally negotiated Plan B but I would be surprised if there wasnt an informal working model discussed between freindlies

    I have never heard of a government spending its money in another jurisdiction except in the case of third world aid, are you saying that nIreland is a third world country?

    No. And I find it very hard to accept that a government has never spent money on another jurisdiction; I am sure that other countries have co-operated and co-funded roads and rail services that are in their mutual interest. Either way, this does not mean that joint authority is on the cards. Indeed, that is why unionists are supporting it

    I have never really heard of a major Industrial democracy providing infrastrure to its neighbours, what you are alluding to is when two partners nations negotiate how the infrastructure of the two nations meet and interact.

    The only time I know of such an event occuring was in the building of the AlCan Highway during WWII when the american government agreed to pay to build a highway through Canada so that they could access Alaska by land instead of just air and sea

    I really have never heard of when the smaller nation agreed to build the infrastructure of a larger nation ….. unless guns were involved

    This is the government that accepted partition, sold the “six counties” down the river, and failed to intervene in 1969. Whatever makes you think that you can trust them ?

    How does a nation of a few million wage war against a nation 20 times its size, with 30 times its resources? Its like asking why the Island of Grenada didnt just drive the us army into the sea when they came for there wee uninvited visit

    It has the same command and control structure as any other police force. There’s constables, sergeants, inspectors, chief inspectors and so on. What’s wrong with the PSNI’s structure ? The Patten report – which Sinn Fein have accepted – have you read it ? – made no significant changes to the way the force was actually organized

    Except I was refering to the personel not the actual structure which should have been quite obvious by the rest of my post. Nice attempt at a strawman though, has UMH been giving lessons?

    In what way is joint authority a baby step ? What you are proposing here is effectively a colonial government from Dublin. We won’t be able to elect any members to it ?

    Colonial Government from dublin and London or colonial government from London only? Like I said baby steps son baby steps

    What makes you think that given the history ? If the RoI has the interests of northern nationalists in mind, why didn’t they invade or provide weapons in 1969 ?

    Yes and why doesnt Canada invade the US, one of those stupid attempts at strawmen. As for the weapons, how many times have we witnessed on slugger onionists accusing Dublin of that exact thing?

    Precisely how is the SF agenda being forwarded right now ?

    Simple even for an onionist SF has said this far and no further, it is working as we see robbo crack a little more each day

    It might be illegal right now, but through all-party talks we can make it legal. I’m sorry, but SF have no divine right to be in government, and if they are going to continue to block it then why should the remaining 75% of us suffer ?

    Yeah right you think London is going to go back to being bombed to satisfy a few onionists? I think 75% is over selling it big time as the SDLP is shedding support every time they even appear to agree with onionists. Not all nationalists love SF but they don’t seem willing to return to croppie lay down either

    And the UDA/UVF wannabes (and not so wannabes) who would object to your threat of joint authority. What should we do about them ? Surely you don’t believe that we should accede to one threat and ignore another ?

    I never said it was a threat just a recognition of whats on the ground, already this year we have seen “dissients” gaining support because people nationalists arent happy with progress

  • Billy

    Comrade Stalin

    Steve makes some very valid points.

    I would describe myself as a moderate Nationalist, I certainly don’t agree with many Sinn Fein policies and have never (nor would ever) vote for them.

    I was a SDLP supporter but no way could I support them now with a “leader” like Durkan and people like McDonnell and McGrady. Frankly, Sinn Fein are no less effective as MPS and they don’t even attend!

    However, for all the mistakes Durkan makes, there is no way that he would line up with the DUP, UUP + Alliance to exclude Sinn Fein. Neither would the UK, US or Irish govts have anything to do with it.

    It would be perceived as excluding the vast majority of the Nationalist electorate and, whatever you may like to think, the Nationalist cause has far more support globally than NI Unionism.

    There is no way the UK govt will allow themselves to be portrayed as supporting effective Unionist majority rule and, even if you don’t like it, the UK govt ultimately calls the tune here.

    The attitude that Steve describes “this far and no further” is an accurate description of the vast majority of Nationalists/Catholics that I know.

    As I said before, it doesn’t have to be this particular issue – this is just the final straw.
    The DUP have made it clear that they are NOT interested in real partnership govt or compromise.

    They clearly don’t see Nationalists as equals, they only accept them in govt because they have no choice and their agenda is to try and block anything that they perceive as benefitting Nationalists.

    Well that’s just not good enough. As Steve said, the Nationalist community will never go back to the days of croppie lie down.

    I don’t know why you imagine that the Unionist cause is popular in the UK/Westminster because it certainly is not. Recent events and the utterly laughable antics of Iris Robinson have added to the DUP’s already abysmal image outside of the North.

    If Direct Rule has to be re-introduced then the UK, US + Irish govts will be very pissed off. The blame will, at the very least least, be put as much on the DUP for their intransigence. Don’t forget – the govts are well aware of the massive step Sinn Fein took by recognising the PSNI.

    The only “pressure” on Sinn Fein that I’m aware of is coming from the DUP + UUP. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the UK Prime Minister recently make a speech at Stormont which clearly put the pressure on the DUP?

    Therefore, I can only see your viewpoint that Robinson is under no pressure as wishful thinking.

    I follow events in the North closely (from here in Australia). I also have family in the US. Obviously, with the current financial turmoil, there is little interest in the North. However, I can honestly say that any coverage I have seen basically says that the current impasse is caused because the DUP won’t discuss a timetable for devolving P&J;.

    I know that, in the US, that is definitely the prevailing attititude. Even amidst the financial turmoil, the Presidential candidates will be seeking the support of the very influential Irish/American lobby which is hardly a hotbed of Unionist support.

    I also think you are being fanciful in your view about Robinson’s “serious consequences”. It was clearly meant as a threat – which is just laughable as he has absolutely nothing to back it up with.

    As many contributors have pointed out – what’s the worst that can happen? Answer – a collapse of the assembly. This is hardly a massive blow to Nationalists but would be to Unionists (particularly the DUP who are proving themselves more and more to be Ulster Nationalists rather than Unionists).

    The DUP clearly love the trappings of power while, in all fairness, Sinn Fein appear to be quite willing to forgo them in order to preserve their principles.

    Frankly, I don’t think Sinn Fein played this very well at St Andrews (a rare moment where I agree with Mark Durkan). However, more by luck than judgement, Sinn Fein find themselves in a strong position.

    Despite your wishful thinking, Robinson is under much more pressure from the influential players than Sinn Fein.

    That’s why he’s the one whinging on the media all the time and making empty threats.

    The truth is that the DUP can either compromise or the assembly collapses. This won’t be a disaster for Nationalists but it’s a real blow to Unionists and the DUP in particular.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Billy, Steve, normally I avoid trying to argue by qualification but you guys are from Canada and Australia. While you are entitled to your opinion, obviously, it is very plain that you have not set foot in this place within the past ten years or so for any significant length of time. Things have changed, and the old rhetoric that you guys are slavishly repeating dates back to the 1970s.

    Frankly, there is no fear or concern among anyone that unionists would actually be able to pull off an effort to reinstate majoritarianism. The concerns that people here are to do with the state of the economy, and, of course, policing and justice. I accept that it is possible that Sinn Fein’s electorate support the current SF abstention policy, but I think it is by no means guaranteed. I think that SF’s constituents expect the party to deliver on a range of issues, and I am not convinced that they are likely to endorse the SF strategy of deliberately not delivering on anything because they very foolishly backed themselves into a corner.

    Steve :

    How would i know? Of course there was no fromally negotiated Plan B but I would be surprised if there wasnt an informal working model discussed between freindlies

    You’ve moved quite some distance from your original claim a couple of days ago that it was the active policy of the British government. I think we have now established that it is not.

    As I said before, there is no rationality behind the point of view expressed by yourself and Billy that joint authority is some sort of solution, and would be some kind of acceptable compromise for nationalists. The only people who could support plan B are people who have not thought about it very much or, as I have said, people who have not been in this country for some time and lack visibility of the real change that has taken place in this society.

    The Irish republic has changed completely in the 15 years that have passed since any major NI political party has proposed joint authority as any kind of solution or arrangement. We’ve seen people like Michael McDowell manage to find their way into government. While he is now gone, he certainly won’t be the last of a breed of politician who finds Sinn Fein repugnant and who will have no particular interest in acting as an unelected colonial governor over a troublesome region of the island he/she has no real interest in. You will find that Irish governments in the future will be seeking to build bridges with unionists. They are not going to go along with your masturbatory fantasy of a future where the Irish government deliberately sidelines unionists.

    When you go for joint authority, you’re at the mercy of whatever kind of government manages to assemble itself in the Dail. The idea that this government will always automatically be sympathetic to Sinn Fein’s demands is one that is not substantiated by any recent experience. Look at the strategic picture; why would any Irish government act to support a political party like Sinn Fein which wants to take their votes and get into government in the Dail itself ?

    How does a nation of a few million wage war against a nation 20 times its size, with 30 times its resources? Its like asking why the Island of Grenada didnt just drive the us army into the sea when they came for there wee uninvited visit

    Now you’ve got me really confused. You’re arguing that a small nation cannot take on a bigger one and win, as if the period from 1916-1921 in Irish history never happened. If you were in touch with republicans here, you would know that many of them believe that the Irish state sold them out in 1969. Michael Collins has only recently been rehabilitated. Until very recently, he was a hate figure for many republicans who see him as the man who partitioned the country.

    Except I was refering to the personel not the actual structure which should have been quite obvious by the rest of my post. Nice attempt at a strawman though, has UMH been giving lessons?

    You referred to the “command and control structure” being unchanged, and now you’re saying that’s not what you meant. I’m not going to get into an argument about exactly who said what, it will quickly get very tedious. If you cannot express yourself properly then you need to fix it, not expect that the rest of us should somehow divine your meaning and then accuse us of raising strawmen when we fail to do so.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Apologies for the several long posts. I’m sure everyone reading this is bored to death by now. But i think the issues are interesting.

    Colonial Government from dublin and London or colonial government from London only? Like I said baby steps son baby steps

    We can elect politicians to London and we’re in a position to influence what it does. It’s far from perfect but it is not a colonial government. The joint authority you seem to be proposing would be where a friendly, grandfatherly Irish government would look down on it’s dispossed people in NI with love and concern, and fight off the dastardly unionists and their evil ways. Reality just is not like that. It might have more legs if we were able to elect people to the Dail, but the Irish political class very quickly squashed that idea (along with the FF/SDLP tieup) when it was brought up a year or so ago – which should really tell you all you need to know about the whole joint authority idea.

    Yes and why doesnt Canada invade the US, one of those stupid attempts at strawmen.

    It’s not a strawman at all, and the fact you think it is only shows your ignorance. My point ? That the Irish government does not care about Northern nationalists. They had a kind of joint authority in the Anglo Irish Agreement. What did they do with it ? Did you hear any nationalists praising that document ? Were any nationalists even involved or consulted about it’s content ?

    As for the weapons, how many times have we witnessed on slugger onionists accusing Dublin of that exact thing?

    Since I’m not a unionist, I can’t explain whatever daft stuff they come up with.

    Simple even for an onionist SF has said this far and no further, it is working as we see robbo crack a little more each day

    Robinson has not moved, as far as I can tell, from his original position which is that policing and justice powers can be devolved whenever there is agreement and when he believes the time is right.

    I love this fantasy of yours that SF are in a position of strength and are somehow on top of things. Sinn Fein have recently actually moved their red lines significantly. For example, Gerry Kelly was presented as a possible justice minister. SF have now accepted that an SF justice minister will not happen, at least initially, and they have conceded the idea of gifting it to Alliance. You’re entirely welcome to believe that SF are in control of this situation, but as I said, the reality is different.

    What SF are in fact doing is conceding to the DUP and to the Stormont civil service class many, many different things. Water charges for example. They’re also failing their constituents, like over the issue of the Hightown Road temporary bridge closure. Yet the details they choose to get macho and say “this far and no further” about are things like the Irish language act and the stadium, as well as obviously policing. Do you really think that SF’s voters like paying water charges and see this as a minor issue next to the stadium question ?

    Yeah right you think London is going to go back to being bombed to satisfy a few onionists?

    It won’t satisfy a “few onionists” (the childish made-up names shows the depth of your maturity), it will satisfy the requirements of all of the other political parties in NI who want to make powersharing work. That’s ~75% at the moment.

    I think 75% is over selling it big time as the SDLP is shedding support every time they even appear to agree with onionists. Not all nationalists love SF but they don’t seem willing to return to croppie lay down either

    But it wouldn’t be “croppie lay down” as, under the d’Hondt arrangements, the SDLP would be in government. It’s definitely not “croppie lay down” when Sinn Fein deliberately refuse to govern. This is not excluding Sinn Fein because they are fenians; it’s excluding them because they’re incompetent and ineffective, and the idea that we should not be allowed to do that when well over two thirds of us want to see power sharing work is fundamentally anti-democratic.

    You are very welcome to speculate that the Sinn Fein electorate will endorse Sinn Fein’s policy in government and their failure to deliver upon anything substantive. You are welcome to believe that Sinn Fein’s voters support their policy of sitting on their hands and sulking over a delay in devolving policing powers while ignoring everything else which is going on. You are welcome to believe that the SDLP’s constructive approach, and of course their very popular social development minister, will actually cost them votes. I don’t think that is the reality, but we’ll see if/when there is another election.