Sort it out yourselves

Liam Clarke highlights that no big pow-wow over policing and justice is being planned. He argues it is up the two parties to get it sorted and non-government intervention the wisest option:

“If governments intervene at this point, it will dissipate any pressure on either party to get on with the business of government. The best message London can send to both parties is “if you sort this out between you, then talk to us about money. If not we’ll work something out with Dublin”.

However, he believes that McGuinness’s Guildhall speech and Adams comments in Cleveland indicate Sinn Fein are laying the ground work for an election, seeking to rally the nationalist community with a victim narrative and the standard issue caricature of the DUP.

  • slug

    The victim narrative is so PATHETIC.

  • Dec

    standard issue caricature of the DUP

    Recent evidence to the contrary please?

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    The clearest and most obvious break with caricature was agreeing to power-sharing with SF and operating it in within the agreed rules until SF started blocking things.

  • fair_deal,

    Can mutual-vetoing really be deemed to be ‘power-sharing’?

    Operating in an arrangement where power-sharing may be possible, is not the same as operating actual power-sharing. I don’t believe that the DUP ever intended to actually share power.

  • Dec

    …agreeing to power-sharing with SF and operating it in within the agreed rules until SF started blocking things.

    FD

    You appear to have your timeline somewhat askew.

    That being said I will miss your robust defences of the DUP’s ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ notions of partnership.

  • Dec
  • fair_deal

    Horseman

    “Can mutual-vetoing really be deemed to be ‘power-sharing’?”

    Most power-sharing systems have vetos. Also if you agree to operate a system with checks and balances then the grounds for complaining about the checks and balances being used are IMO highly restricted.

    Also there has been much more done were things were sorted out than not and that would be even more true but for the present impasse.

  • Carson’s Cat

    “Sinn Fein are laying the ground work for an election,”

    O’Dowd just about said as much last night on Radio Ulster.

    Horseman
    “I don’t believe that the DUP ever intended to actually share power.”

    You may believe what you want, but one thing which is definite is that the DUP were & are quite prepared to operate the systems arranged at St Andrews.

    Sinn Fein were prepared to operate those, at least for a while, but it would appear they are now backtracking.

    Those arrangements may be power-sharing, or they may be mutual vetoes, but all the parties, and in particular the DUP and SF signed up to operate those arrangements. If they aren’t working out quite how SF would like them to then that isn’t the fault of the DUP. The Shinners mightn’t like what the DUP are doing, but they’re working perfectly legitimately within the arrangements which were agreed to by SF.

    My biggest gripe is that the SDLP cant seem to find the b*lls to take on the ‘victim’ narrative of the Shinners. They sometimes look like they’re up for a fight but inevitably then shrink in behind the SF coat-tails and let Adams & co set the narrative.

  • fair_deal,

    … if you agree to operate a system with checks and balances then the grounds for complaining about the checks and balances being used are IMO highly restricted.

    The same, of course, is true in respect of the DUP. They agreed (nay, insisted upon) the mutual veto, so their grounds for complaining about Sinn Féin’s use of it, is a bit weak. Did they not realise that it was mutual?

    You didn’t really answer the question of whether the DUP really intend to share power, rather than let others do things as long as they don’t run counter to the DUP’s wishes. That, of course, is not sharing power, but merely letting others implement DUP policies or vetoing them when they do not.

    Unfortunately for the DUP the only way out of this impasse is one where SF (and the SDLP) get to take decisions that the DUP don’t like. In other words, the mutual veto must go, or the DUP must learn not to use it.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    The ILA issue was a manifesto commitment (as it was for the UUP). It was flag-posted well and truly in advance. Also the statutory obligation for a Language Strategy is still there so the cupboard is not bare.

    Also as I said to horseman “if you agree to operate a system with checks and balances then the grounds for complaining about the checks and balances being used are IMO highly restricted.”

    “That being said I will miss your robust defences of the DUP’s ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’ notions of partnership.”

    I would point out that my argument goes beyond that (for both SF and DUP). There is an alternative to the coin toss that is to trade.

    Unionism has not yet sought something that Nationalism doesn’t want to give but it will occur. It will then be faced with exactly the same choices.

  • Unionism has not yet sought something that Nationalism doesn’t want to give …

    Care to name something?

  • Carson’s Cat

    F_D
    “Unionism has not yet sought something that Nationalism doesn’t want to give but it will occur.”

    That is a good and very interesting point. It possibly shows that actually unionism, in the form of the DUP, has been prepared to share power, in that they haven’t decided to use Government to bring forward a unionist wish-list which they would know wouldn’t get cross-community support and which would only damage the possibility of devolution lasting and succeeding.

    SF on the other hand seem to have made a skill out of bringing forward policies which they know don’t have any chance of gathering the cross-community support which is necessary for Government here and so increase the chance of crisis. I wonder which way of doing business actually represents good government and in that actually is closer to real power-sharing.

    Claiming you want power-sharing but then bringing forward policies which your partner in Government are clearly never going to support doesn’t show much of a willingness to actually operate the power-sharing you claim you want. The DUP therefore can hardly be blamed for rejecting things which SF knew well would never be accepted.

    The motivation of why SF want to create a crisis is what is interesting though. They either messed up their negotiations and want another bite at the cherry, or they just can’t handle Government and they can only trade on instability.

  • fair_deal

    Horseman

    SF isn’t using the formal vetos but an admin game that I think wouldn’t succeed if challenged in the courts (although you never know with judges and lawyers). Although the fact the DUP hasn’t gone down this route so far is interesting. I can only presume they do not want things to escalate too much.

    “You didn’t really answer the question of whether the DUP really intend to share power,”

    Yes they are.

    “Unfortunately for the DUP the only way out of this impasse is one where SF (and the SDLP) get to take decisions that the DUP don’t like. In other words, the mutual veto must go, or the DUP must learn not to use it.”

    This is the difficulty. Everyone agreed to a mandatory coalition with vetos but the republican position seems to be it must behave like a voluntary coalition.

    Also this ‘partnership government’ is very nice blarney but is essentially what you accuse the DUP of, give us our own way.

    It is also essentially to develop a victim narrative to avoid the St Andrew’s cock-up narrative. “We didn’t mess up at St Andrew’s and sell you a dodgy line its all because of them’uns and ‘some’ of them’uns hate you”

    Over time the DUP will not get all its own way because of the nature of the system.

  • polikensei

    FD

    The clearest and most obvious break with caricature was agreeing to power-sharing with SF and operating it in within the agreed rules until SF started blocking things.

    It’s nice of you an’ all, like, but just turning up is not really a concession.

    Also as I said to horseman “if you agree to operate a system with checks and balances then the grounds for complaining about the checks and balances being used are IMO highly restricted.”

    And again, this runs both ways. What are we talking about here when talking about “checks and balances”? We are talking about both parties trying to use the system to get what they want, and to limit the things they don’t want. Policing and Justice was a major issue for Republicans. The noises on the target date were consistent. Expectations were set. The DUP must have known there would be trouble if things ran on.

    They probably calculated they could take it. But if SF are effectively using their “checks and balances” on a issue they deem fundamental to make the DUP squirm then they have absolutely no right to complain either. This is check and balance in action: SF have clearly flagged this as a big issue. Either it gets sorted it, or the machine breaks from being jammed. Unionism have done precisely the same thing on decommissioning, and have not a leg to stand on in dismissing it.

    I’m not surprised SF are preparing for an election: this Assembly appears to be in a death spiral. An election will be the result of that. The DUP might well not fear it. But that’s another political choice.

  • polikensei

    SF isn’t using the formal vetos but an admin game that I think wouldn’t succeed if challenged in the courts (although you never know with judges and lawyers). Although the fact the DUP hasn’t gone down this route so far is interesting. I can only presume they do not want things to escalate too much.

    It’s more obvious than interesting. The threat of the courts to enforce this is an utterly idle one. If the DUP go to the courts who say, yes, SF must organise the meetings, then in the event that SF hasn’t found another way to block progress – of which I’m sure there are probably a number – then they simply collapse the Assembly. Congratulations, the DUP just won the world’s most useless victory.

  • fair_deal,

    … Everyone agreed to a mandatory coalition with vetos but the republican position seems to be it must behave like a voluntary coalition.

    A mandatory coalition with opposing viewpoints and mutual vetoes cannot work unless it behaves like a voluntary coalition. Surely that’s obvious?

    Also this ‘partnership government’ is very nice blarney but is essentially what you accuse the DUP of, give us our own way.

    Again, if the DUP are interested in sharing power, then yes, give SF their own way. Or face the inevitable stagnation.

    It seems clear that what the DUP want is that SF join in the anodyne administration of the status quo, whilst that status quo remains untouchable. In other words, that SF administer a symbolically and structural ‘British’ arrangement, without getting any movement towards their issues of concern. And you are surprised when they refuse?

  • poliense

    This is the difficulty. Everyone agreed to a mandatory coalition with vetos but the republican position seems to be it must behave like a voluntary coalition.

    Also this ‘partnership government’ is very nice blarney but is essentially what you accuse the DUP of, give us our own way.

    No, it isn’t. Apparently mandatory coalition means that the various partners should do nothing else other than try to block the policies of the other parties and try to stab out their eyes. The DUP have not given any ground anywhere. They nuked just about everything SF wanted and then boasted about it. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t violate the “mandatory” or “voluntary” part. It violates the “coalition” part, and no multiparty government organised in any way can function on that basis.

    It is also essentially to develop a victim narrative to avoid the St Andrew’s cock-up narrative. “We didn’t mess up at St Andrew’s and sell you a dodgy line its all because of them’uns and ‘some’ of them’uns hate you”

    Being on the right side of the detail of St Andrews when SF are prepared to bring the whole shebang over P&J;means about as much as Iraq complying with UN resolutions while the US Army builds up beside it. You might be right but it’s not going to matter a lot to the outcome.

    SF want P&J;devolved (and certain other things, but this does seem to be the one causing the most pain), and the DUP are blocking it. It doesn’t really matter if SF fucked up St Andrews.

    If the electorate want it, and the DUP are currently blocking it and reuse to move, then SF have every right to say they are the DUP are the current problem. Others might say that it doesn’t matter, or that SF fucked up and they could do it better, but SF screwing up doesn’t actually matter one way or another for what happens next.

  • fair_deal

    Horseman

    “A mandatory coalition with opposing viewpoints and mutual vetoes cannot work unless it behaves like a voluntary coalition. Surely that’s obvious? ”

    No it’s someone wanting their cake and eating it. The clue is in the term ‘mandatory’. If someone wants the benefits of the VC system then agree to it.

    “yes, give SF their own way.”

    There is a contradiction in your argument. Earlier it was bad for the DUP to get its sole way
    “let others do things as long as they don’t run counter to the DUP’s wishes. That, of course, is not sharing power, but merely letting others implement DUP policies”
    But it is all right for SF to get its sole way “yes, give SF their own way.”

    It is impracticable because there are some areas were the two simply disagree. Power-sharing never promised everyone was to get everything they wanted.

    It is a recipe for ever escalating demands not stable and consistent governance – Monday SF demanded x or else and it was granted – Tuesday the DUP demanded x or else and it was granted. Wednesday was the UUP’s turn and Thursday they didn’t want the SDLP left out so gave them something too.

    “status quo remains untouchable”

    No one has said it is untouchable just don’t expect something for nothing. Trade for it.

    Do not presume that everything is hunky dory for Unionism and they think present circumstances are how they like the world.

    Using the alternative strategy of threatening the entire structures is an option that creates the least room for flexibility as moving in those circumstances greatest a very dodgy precedent.

  • fair_deal,

    A VC is a non-starter, given the clear unionist intention to try to freeze Sinn Féin out of it. However, a mandarory coalition with mutual vetoes is unworkable unless one of two things happens; one side surrenders (no hope), or both sides respect each others right to a slice of the pie. That is where the DUP are still found wanting.

    Power-sharing never promised everyone was to get everything they wanted.

    Of course not, nor did I say that SF should get its “sole way”. But the DUP has to stand back on a number of issues – otherwise it is back to the stagnancy of the mutual veto. That is what power-sharing means. That is why I continue to believe that the DUP is not implementing it.

    … don’t expect something for nothing. Trade for it.

    Trade what? I already asked for your suggestions, but you gave none. What do nationalists have that unionists want?

    Do not presume that everything is hunky dory for Unionism and they think present circumstances are how they like the world.

    Ditto on the other side. But both sides will have to have some gain as well as some pain. So far, it all seems a bit one-sided.

  • Dave

    What is government ‘intervening’ in other than government? The British government has a duty to ensure that its devolved administrations are functioning as designed. Of course, there isn’t a management consultant in the world worth his fee who will tell you that mandatory coalition between demented representatives of two competing nationalisms (three if you include European nationalism) could deliver a stable and successful management system, so the British government may wish to wash its hands of it but it can’t that until the Shinner supporters have become fully adjusted to their new roles as assistant administrators of British rule within the agreed internal settlement. In regard to the Shinner leadership, they’ll do well out of this cynical exercise: they’ll appear like anti-Stormont ‘republicans’ while consolidating support among their voter base for a return (again) to Stormont. Where else would you have schizoid sheep like that?

  • fair_deal

    Horseman

    “A VC is a non-starter, given the clear unionist intention to try to freeze Sinn Féin out of it. ”

    Offers the UUP a better deal than the DUP offers the SDLP. Show a little bit of confidence in nationalist negotiating skills 😉

    “both sides respect each others right to a slice of the pie”

    Fine it does not mean they immediately agree on the slice or type of pie. Hence they trade.

    “Trade what? I already asked for your suggestions, but you gave none.”

    Sorry I didn’t see that question. I would have thought there are potential trade offs around culture through the executive strategies, symbolry etc.

    “What do nationalists have that unionists want? ”

    It isn’t a case per se of Nationalism giving Unionism something. It would be more a case of what you are arguing against, use of veto.

    “So far, it all seems a bit one-sided. ”

    As CC has pointed out Unionism has adopted the ‘don’t ask’ approach so far while SF has went for ‘gimme gimme’.

    So far but no reason why that will be the permanent state. Unionism will have to ask for something sometime and SF can either return the veto favour or offer a yes in return for x.

    “Of course not, nor did I say that SF should get its “sole way”.”

    True you said “own way” but I would contend there is little difference between ‘own’ and ‘sole’.

    “the DUP has to stand back on a number of issues”

    Why does SF not stand back by not asking for them? Get things bedded down then start working on the agenda.

    I would also point out that one area of disagreement the transfer test the DUP did not adopt an F-U approach, the 11plus or nothing, even though they they could have done so based on what they got at St Andrews. It is the Education minister who has adopted a my way or no way approach (I also think if here approach had been different things overall would have worked out better).

  • fair_deal,

    I still cannot see what you think that nationaalists would offer unuionists as part of the ‘trade-off’ … except perhaps your strange proposal that they would stop asking for anything! So, to get something, they should stop asking for it?

    Get things bedded down then start working on the agenda.

    Exactly my point. The DUP are trying to persuade nationalists to become mere edministrators of British rule, in return for …. nothing at all!

    Why does SF not stand back by not asking for them?

    Power-sharing. Remember that? Administering a unionist agenda only is hardly power-sharing!

  • fair_deal

    Horseman

    “perhaps your strange proposal that they would stop asking for anything!”

    In the short-term and it is as CC suggest how Unionism is acting. It isn’t asking nationalism to behave differently from itself.

    There is the issue that we do not really know one another and it wouldn’t hurt to take time with the familiarisation. It avoids either side going straight to conspiracy land when a blockage is reached.

    “Power-sharing. Remember that? Administering a unionist agenda only is hardly power-sharing!”

    It isn’t a Unionist only agenda. The budget, Executive decisions legislation etc need the approval of both. To present power-sharing structures as one party rule is a fallacy.

    Also while I think SF did not make a good fist of St Andrew’s and after, I do find the implication that they would both negotiate and agree to a return to NI 1921-72 as the least bit credible.

    Unionism haven’t been bringing out its greatest hits. There is plenty to be getting on with that is little to do with either Unionism or nationalism per se.

    Power-sharing was supposed to enable work on what could be agreed while managing the disagreements through checks and balances.

    “edministrators of British rule”

    They administer the government they sought election to and took positions in.

    If the end of “British rule” is the aim it ends when a majority in NI and the RoI in two referendums vote for it. It won’t be achieved by administrative fiat but by persuading enough voters.

    In the meantime I think most would like a decent infrastructure, good education, an adequate health service and a job to go to while the new set of practical working relationships are developed (rather than expected to be instantaneous) but maybe that is me wanting to impose a ‘Unionist’ agenda.

  • fair_deal,

    … I think most would like a decent infrastructure, good education, an adequate health service and a job to go to …

    No argument. But in order to demonstrate their bona fides in respect to power-sharing, the DUP must let nationalism visibly gain something from its agenda. Don’t forget that ‘normalisation’ under British rule is a unionist objective. Your attempt to present it as a ‘reasonable’ middle way is disingenuous.

    The idea that, at present, neither side is achieving its objectives is blatantly wrong. The status quo is unionist, so the continuance, unchanged, of the status quo represents a success for unionism. Sinn Féin are not so blind that they haven’t seen that. They gave the DUP a decent period of time to show that they were actually going to implement power-sharing, but when it became obvious that this was not about to happen, then they used the nuclear option that, ironically, the DUP had built into the St Andrews (non-)agreement.

  • polikensei

    FD

    Unionism haven’t been bringing out its greatest hits

    The thing about Unionism’s greatest hits is that they are as much about blocking anything to do with Nationalism as anything else. For example, Unionism banned the display of Tricolours. Now, that’ll not happen again, but attacks on the Irish language, the GAA, on removing Southerners from committees is all of a piece.

    But still. I could have swore blind I saw the DUP boasting that they’d transferred money from Irish to Ulster Scots. I could have swore there was a switch in community festival funding that favoured Unionist events. And not in the Assembly, but I could have swore blind I saw Unionism pushing through “homecoming parades” for troops that Nationalism was set against. Seriously, spare me.

    I could also add that SF could have opposed allowing the Assembly into the commonwealth group, and held it as a bargaining chip. But they just said they didn’t care and allowed it through. Perhaps they should have held on to it to squeeze something out of the DUP? Perhaps everything should come down to horse trading and want you can get, without room for magnanimity?

    And finally – the principle fo Policing and Justice has already been conceded. The DUP “want it” too. The argument is over timing – which let’s be frank here – is driven largely by crude political calculations — how much electoral damage the DUP will take form the TUV, how mach damage they can do to SF. Now political parties will always look out from themselves, but the high horse act gets somewhat old int he circumstances.

  • fair_deal

    Horseman

    “No argument.”

    Some ground to build on.

    “But in order to demonstrate their bona fides in respect to power-sharing, the DUP must let nationalism visibly gain something from its agenda”

    They gained what Unionism, a degree of access to power and checks and balances to protect what they think are their interests. The bona fides is participating in government, working with the other ministers and the Executive and following the agreed rules.

    It is not saying yes SF 3 bags full SF to every SF demand and vice versa.

    I would also point out the difficulties started one year into a four year term and considering that government processes are so infernally lengthy even without hiatus it will take 2/3 years to see the Executive really function.

    “The status quo is unionist”

    Is it? The status quo is based on the Belfast and St Andrew’s agreements neither are ‘Unionist and nothing but’ documents.

    How does that fit with the SF claim Unionism wants a pre-69 scenario? Unionism is trying to undermine a Unionist status quo?

    There is a persistent tendency for nationalism to present the situation in NI as some sort of year zero. This is a denial of the change that has taken place.

    “Don’t forget that ‘normalisation’ under British rule is a unionist objective.”

    Is it? A normal society can’t vote for the end of British rule?

    “they used the nuclear option that, ironically, the DUP had built into the St Andrews (non-)agreement.”

    AFAIK the requirement to sign off on agendas predated St Andrew’s.

  • bona fide

    FD – “There is plenty to be getting on with that is little to do with either Unionism or nationalism per se”.

    Yeah, and Ministers can still get on with that day to day, piddiling about, unimportant stuff without the Executive meeting. So, lets stop arsing around, and get the important, big stuff sorted out.
    Please don’t come back asking if I’m suggesting that education isn’t important – because of course it is – and if the DUP care as much as they claim to about education etc then they’d get a move on, set a date for devolution of P&J;and then they could all could get down to the more serious matters that do require Executive agreement.

  • fair_deal

    Hoseman

    BTW there is the way the various parties dealt with local government reform. The DUP minister opted for a non-confrontational approach.

    bona fide

    “Yeah, and Ministers can still get on with that day to day, piddiling about, unimportant stuff without the Executive meeting.”

    Plenty needs executive approval for example the redistribution of budgets. Plus the best way to get the input of all parties (i.e. a practical sharing of power on issues) is around the Executive table rather than by letter and memo.

    “if the DUP care as much as they claim to about education etc then they’d get a move on, set a date for devolution of P&J;”

    Likewise if SF cared so much they wouldn’t hold those issues to ransom

  • polikensei

    Likewise if SF cared so much they wouldn’t hold those issues to ransom

    No, mindless whataboutery won’t work. SF have indicated that P&J;is a deal breaker from the start. Again: Unionism has already conceded the point, and Unionism was happy to let other issues slide when the blocking issue was decommissioning, so the lectures are hollow.

    And

    I would also point out the difficulties started one year into a four year term

    Was this random? Was something tabled to happen after a year? Something that could act like some kind of trigger for the problems? Anything…..?

  • bona fide

    FD -“Likewise if SF cared so much they wouldn’t hold those issues to ransom.”

    Yes, but a big difference is in the way the two parties are handling this. It is the DUP are bleating and crying on that SF don’t care about “the people, ALL the people” (unlike the inclusive DUP(!!) who would try to have some of us believe that they do… although can’t say it too explicity of course). Nice try but will hardly wash.
    SF on the other hand will admit that they do care but unfortuately some of the big isues will have to be put on hold until we have some parity. That simple. And we all know that to achieve this, the DUP must agree to complete devolution of P&J;. As we’ve heard so many times, this request has hardly come out of the blue – we’re all tired of waiting. It is the DUP who are holding everyone to ransom.

    If we can’t deal with the big issue(s) then why bother with an Executive or Assembly at all? At the minute, and to date it’s just a waste of time and a load of ‘let’s pretend’.

    Do it properly or not at all. If we can’t have equality (I know it’s a hard pill for unionism to swallow, but hey…swallow it you must) then forget it.

  • George

    This no-brainer policy from Sinn Féin is obviously beginning to work as the unionist side of the Stormont equation gets more and more hot under the collar.

    The DUP made the basic error of actually thinking that things such as the Irish Language Act or the Maze Stadium meant a hill of beans to nationalism and were therefore to be derided and dismissed.

    What did matter though was how the DUP addressed these issues and their treatment of them, along with so many other comments from Campbell, Potts et al have shown that powersharing probably won’t work as currently constituted.

    Northern Ireland isn’t ready for it. What’s the point of having powersharing where there is no respect?

    Even at my most optimistic, I saw virtually no reason for a devolved assembly as currently constituted as it was plainly an enormous waste of resources.

    And with very tough times on the way it may be better to shelve the whole project for another generation.

    No loss to the overwhelming majority of people on the islands of Britain and Ireland.

  • ggn

    ILA – Dont forget about the march on Saturday Folks, Culturlann 12:00.

    Raise your voices!

  • DC

    I agree with your sentiments George.

    The issues which are being offered up as horse-trading here are those which are fundamental to certain people’s behaviour and beliefs. If you like you could say they define who they perceive themselves to be. Essential characteristics.

    I would advise caution in offering up horse-trading and a one sentence putting-down of cultural requests.

    More sophistication and sincerity from unionists in relation to these issues in the form of more articulate and visionary responses will be required. For example, a statement recognising the history of the Irish language in an all-island context, the challenges to its growth in that context too, the challenge re politicisation that causes unionists some concern in how the state implements requests for that kind of recognition.

    This hasn’t happened and poor leadership has offered good quality arguments from SF that in lieu of this sort of respect the old stereotypes still rest until proven otherwise.

    So, as Lord Rooker said when he was in Government here that the government has:

    “a responsibility to provide leadership in tackling the “twin evils” of sectarianism and racism”.

    Clearly this government is leaving itself open to claims that the DUP is doing a good job in doing a job of work to the contrary.

  • Greenflag

    ‘it may be better to shelve the whole project for another generation. ‘

    Repartition will do the business for several generations . Why take the long road when the shorter one will get you home twice as fast ?

    Move on to a 30 county approx Republic and leave the remaining Unionists in a smaller state to govern themselves however they see fit .

  • DC

    Greenflag, please do tell me on what basis will you use to repartition, and what of those who are left in clusters inside a new territory.

    Should they too adopt the same arguments or create new ones that involve a repetition of: not getting on, hate, disgruntlement to exaggerate to prove a point they cant get on – ever.

    Should they take to using a similar counter-ethnic strategy in the way that the last group resorted to, to win about new land for themselves.

    Surely without such an appropriate basis or criteria crude geopolitical arguments must only serve to offer up the same problems inside a new territory for someone else to deal with.

  • Dave

    Stormont isn’t going to ‘shelved.’ The whole process of integrating sectarian murderers into the political system is built on a premise proffered by Albert Reynolds: “Violence fills a political vacuum.” You can’t make political actors out of sectarian murders if you remove their stage, i.e. Stormont. You’re stuck with it until the risk of a return to organised violence by murder gangs which has the tacit support of nationalist community is minimised to by the process of integrating nationalists into the reformed British political system, giving one generation a taste of ‘normality’ that they will not spit out in a hurry. Stormont was never about successful government; it was always about ensuring that a vacuum cannot be filled by violence.

  • Steve

    Thats kind of a dark vision of the onionists youre running there Dave

    I guess we will just have to hope they see the light and learn how democracy’s work

  • Billy

    George

    You’re spot on there.

    Power sharing is a complete waste of time if there’s no respect and the DUP, especially the people that you have mentioned, illustrate that point perfectly.

    As you say, it’s a complete waste of a lot of time and money that would be better spent elsewhere.

    For once, I agree with Liam Clarke. The UK govt should forget about a devolved administration until the DUP show that they are genuinely ready for it which they clearly are not.

    In the meantime, they should sort something out with Dublin.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘must only serve to offer up the same problems inside a new territory for someone else to deal with’

    Not at all . In both new states the ‘new ‘ political minorities would be too small to be anything other than coalition partners with other larger parties in the pursuit of non constitutionnally challenging political objectives i.e schooling , public services etc etc .Thus in order to give people in a smaller NI a smaller ‘nationalist ‘ party might find it profitable to ally themselves with the AP and UUP to provide an alternative to the DUP. In the enlarged Republic the new ‘unionist minority ‘ under PR could form a local party which could give them enough seats to use in coalition forming with the larger parties .

    The point being that in such a new political environment ‘aspirational ‘ politics of either the Unionist or Nationalist ilks would be of little relevance in normal day to day politics and would not be a major stumbling block as they so obviously are in the present NI Assembly .

    I don’t believe that the DUP can ever work constructively in the ‘partnership’ sense with to Irish nationalism . It’s like asking a ravenous fox to curb it’s appetite when it ‘s locked into a henhouse with a bevy of plump hens .

    Just not going to work unless you replace the hens every day 😉

  • DC

    Yes Greenflag but why would they bother coalition building unless an agreed basis for transfer was concluded prior to joining the Republic.

    It goes back to the criteria / basis used. If it’s just a concentrated ethno-national demand expect a similar hind kick by estranged unionists, not coalition building. Dream on!

  • Greenflag

    Steve ,

    ‘I guess we will just have to hope they see the light and learn how democracy’s work ‘

    40 years of hoping has’nt done much else other than shine a light into the darkness . The more light that is shone into the black hole of ‘unionism ‘ the more is absorbed and nothing is returned . The gravitational hold of the ‘unionist political universe ‘ is such that any nationalist or republican party dealing with ‘unionism ‘ will inevitably be destroyed as it approaches the ‘event horizon ‘ of the unionist ‘black ‘ hole .

    The old Irish Nationalist Party in NI succumbed to it’s demise by ‘reaching out ‘ so too did the SDLP (Sunningdale ) and so too will SF with this farcical ‘power sharing ‘ charade .

    SF and the SDLP need to withdraw from this Assembly while they still can . Let NI be ruled direct from Westminster until NI can be repartitioned by a neutral international organisation such as the UN/EU .

  • Reader

    steve: Thats kind of a dark vision of the onionists youre running there Dave
    These would be the onionists with ‘tacit support of nationalist community’, would they? I think you missed a bit of context.
    So let’s test the tacit support – do you hope that the Kingsmills killers will ever be convicted of murder? Would you help with that if you could?

  • Greenflag

    DC,

    ‘but why would they bother coalition building ‘

    How goes the present mandatory coalition building in NI ? Is it a success ?

    ‘expect a similar hind kick by estranged unionists’

    So ? NI has had to cope with some 47 % of it’s population being ‘estranged’ nationalists . I’m sure the Irish Republic can cope post repartition with the 2 or 3% of it’s population that would be ‘estranged ‘ unionists . Not unlike the ‘estranged ‘ unionists of counties Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan post 1922 .

    ‘Dream on! ‘

    Methinks the ‘dreamers’ are those who still cling to the belief that the present NI Assembly will be anything other than a house of cards . It can’t be !

  • fair_deal

    bona fide

    “SF on the other hand will admit that they do care but unfortuately some of the big isues will have to be put on hold until we have some parity.”

    P&J;is not an equality/parity issue it is a political one

    “And we all know that to achieve this, the DUP must agree to complete devolution of P&J;”

    Brown is satisfied with a date.

    “Do it properly or not at all. If we can’t have equality (I know it’s a hard pill for unionism to swallow, but hey…swallow it you must) then forget it.”

    Yawn. Equality isn’t the issue for Unionism. however much it is presented as that to get the victim narrative going. It is the being expected to roll over and play dead because it would be easier for nationalism.

  • Steve

    steve: Thats kind of a dark vision of the onionists youre running there Dave

    These would be the onionists with ‘tacit support of nationalist community’, would they? I think you missed a bit of context.

    So let’s test the tacit support – do you hope that the Kingsmills killers will ever be convicted of murder? Would you help with that if you could?

    Posted by Reader on Oct 09, 2008

    No Reader I didn’t miss the context at all but just like the onionists choose to do with their killers, I chose to ignore it

    As for Kingsmill, I very much would like to find the killers as there is a 50/50 chance that they are republicans or government agents, lets find out once and for all. Since it happened what 30 years ago the chances of enough evidence for conviction or even convincing one side or the other is as remote as the Easter Island I won’t be hopping up and down on one foot waiting

    As for me helping, unless they move next door to me in Canada the chances of me having contact with them is fairly remote. Though there was that skinny fellow in grade 6 who claimed to be Irish! As soon as I remember his name I will forward it to the historical enquiries team

  • DC

    “So ? NI has had to cope with some 47 % of it’s population being ‘estranged’ nationalists .”

    There have been agreements put in place and politicians elected to carry on from these agreements and carry out work on their behalf.

    I would be keen to explore this criteria with you re repartition but am concerned that it will boil down to a hard nut-like ethno-national substance. Thus guaranteeing a repetition of problems to be carried over to the Republic for people there to deal with.

    Hardly a worthy cause, lest of all for those in the Republic who would have to consent and who do have a degree of sophistication meaning they would probably feel uncomfortable with such terms of geopolitical transfer. Especially after conditions attached to the GFA regarding consent of a majority of people in Northern Ireland.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘There have been agreements put in place and politicians elected to carry on from these agreements and carry out work on their behalf.’

    Sure just like Sunningdale 🙁

    ‘I would be keen to explore this criteria with you re repartition but am concerned that it will boil down to a hard nut-like ethno-national substance.’

    It’s been explored before here on slugger at length -research the archives and you should find plenty of debate and numbers .

    ‘Hardly a worthy cause, lest of all for those in the Republic who would have to consent and who do have a degree of sophistication meaning they would probably feel uncomfortable with such terms of geopolitical transfer. ‘

    Worthy cause ? Come on get real DC . Just look at the ‘wordy peace process and the 40 wasted years of blather upon blather and agreements that don’t agree etc etc etc . Most of it avoidable shite if the border had been drawn up properly in the first instance in 1920 .

    We need to go back to basics and have a neutral international agency draw up a new border and be done with the patent insanity of the present so called self governing semi devolved bankrupt entity that is Stormont . It’s no longer even the joke it once was 🙁

    The GFA is all very well in theory but as it’s not working in practice then it has to be replaced .

    Do you foresee the DUP and SF maintaining their present ‘partnership ‘ government for the next 30 ? 40 ? years . I don’t . Put them out of their misery and just close the place down this time -permanently ! Save the taxpayer’s revenue and give it to those who will otherwise ‘freeze ‘ this winter .

  • bona fide

    Fair Deal

    “P&J;is not an equality/parity issue it is a political one.”

    In itself, it is not, but completing the deal will help give effect to it. “And we all know that to achieve this, the DUP must agree to complete devolution of P&J;”

    “Brown is satisfied with a date.”

    You’re being pedantic – I think most would be satisfied with a date and if a date was given then the wheels, which are already very much in motion, will speed up and allow for the completion of devolution relatively quickly.

    “Yawn. Equality isn’t the issue for Unionism. however much it is presented as that to get the victim narrative going. It is the being expected to roll over and play dead because it would be easier for nationalism.”

    We know that equality isn’t an issue for unionism. Clearly never has been – (despite what gregory would have had us believe on Nolan the other day!) And que, all this hesitation – can’t bear the thought of allowing pesky taigs to set the agenda. Being expected to roll over indeed – ha! Take steps to complete the deal you helped negotiate, you mean.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    What exactly is the objection to devolving P&J;? I supported it 7 years ago and I still do. Of course now its all tied up in pointless posturing any devolution looks like a win/lose for someone so we get stuck in this endless go around. I have yet to hear one sensible, rational, evidence based reason why P&J;should not be devolved.

  • dub

    Greenflag,

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HOMOGENEOUS ULSTER

    The Irish News said this in the 1920’s and it is more true now than ever.

    Why don’t you go up and check out Belfast and North Antrim and South Down and North Armagh?

    The unionist entity you are looking for will still have a substantial nationalist minority. There would be an effort to wipe them out in your dream repartition scenario. WIPE THEM OUT. Got that?

    The total denial of reality and vicious hatred cleverly hidden in F-D’s posts.. equality is not an issue!!! … should wake you up. Unionism has not changed. And it never will. It needs to be killed with kindness but killed nevertheless and allowed survive as cultural expression only. There wull never be a normal society in the 6 counties until its poison has been drawn. We have seen recently a succession of utterly disgusting actions and comments from prominent unionists. There are no Conor Cruise O’Brien’s in their midst asking difficult questions. Their “Lundy’s” are expelled. Look at what happened Ian Paisley when he became an Ulster Irishman. He was booted out by his own party.
    The outworkings of the GFA is one long tedious play in which they will gradually lose all their power. Let it roll on….

  • Greenflag

    dub ,

    ‘THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HOMOGENEOUS ULSTER’

    Eh? did I say there was ?

    ‘The unionist entity you are looking for will still have a substantial nationalist minority.’

    A lot less substantial than 47% somewhere between 10 and 18% I would guess.

    ‘There would be an effort to wipe them out in your dream repartition scenario. WIPE THEM OUT. Got that? ‘

    No I haven’t . Nobody is wiping anybody out . Any new Unionist State could only remain within the UK and /or EU if it were democratically governed and adhered to the European Court of Human Rights .

    ‘Unionism has not changed. And it never will.’

    I agree .Which is why we should have as little to do with it as possible ergo -a fair repartition of NI by a neutral international agency .

    ‘The outworkings of the GFA is one long tedious play in which they will gradually lose all their power. Let it roll on.’

    It’s not rolling . It’s stuck in the same rut that Sunningdale was stuck in with Fitt , Faulkner and Hume -and in the same rut that Trimble and Mallon got stuck in -namely the very construct of the NI State . In it’s present format it’s going nowhere other than in ever dimishing circles .

    I’d have thought that much would have been obvious by now ?

    ‘It needs to be killed with kindness’

    Really ? If my memory serves me right the UK tried this approach with the Irish in the late 19th century by implementing land reform, abolishing tithes setting up universities , offering Home Rule. All too little and too late .
    It did’nt work for Irish nationalists -why would it work for Northern Unionists? .

    A waste of time and money . Time for Northern Ireland’s nationalists and republicans to move on without ‘unionism ‘ by pushing for a fair repartition of NI by a neutral international agency and be done with this issue permanently.

  • brian

    You all miss the point. Unionism now has no allies in the UK or anywhere else in the world…while Sinn Fein will soon have the entire Irish population of the USA backing a drive for the unification of Ireland. Adams knows this and is awaiting the millions of dollars and political support that Senator Obama’s victory will bring to Sinn Fein. Devolution of Police and the Courts is a great political stand against the backwardness and bigotry of Orangism. Once Americans hear Iris and Jeff and their reasons for not cooperating then unionism will be thought of as a relic of imperialism.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “while Sinn Fein will soon have the entire Irish population of the USA backing a drive for the unification of Ireland.”

    and what are they going to do? migrate to N.Ireland?

  • Greenflag

    brian ,

    ‘while Sinn Fein will soon have the entire Irish population of the USA backing a drive for the unification of Ireland. ‘

    If they don’t have votes in NI it won’t matter . Anyway it’s not the irish in the USA or the UK or Australia etc etc that matter re any drive for any UI -it’s the Irish in the Republic and in NI . The former are to put it mildly ‘undriven’ and the latter have driven into a Unionist ‘cul de sac ‘ .

    ‘Once Americans hear Iris and Jeff and their reasons for not cooperating then unionism will be thought of as a relic of imperialism. ‘

    I suspect most Americans including irish americans have more important concerns these days than the rantings of Iris & Co.

    BTW -unionism IS a relic of british imperialism in Ireland in the north east – no thought required . It’s as obvious as day and night 😉

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]BTW -unionism IS a relic of british imperialism in Ireland in the north east – no thought required . It’s as obvious as day and night ;)”[/i]

    The oul dog isn’t dead yet, it just needs a make over. I don’t necessicarily agree with fighting Irish expansionism with British expansionism, but then again it’s the only way some see their religion and tradition being safeguarded on the British Isles.

    I’m happy to let the Irish claim independance, even although their independance is meaningless now since they joined the EU, but I acknowledge their right to want it. It’s a pity they didn’t give that right to the Ulster people, instead of claiming an Irish identity over them.

    The Ulster people will be right!

  • dub

    Greenflag,

    You have said rightly many times that Sunningdale and the treaty of 1921 were but pieces of paper compared to the realpolitik… yet you think your 10 – 18 percent nationalist minority could rely on the ECHR, another piece of paper… might i point out that the ni entity has been in the uk for a long time and in the eu since 1972 and that has not stopped loyalist thuggery or state sponsored assasination squads… at the end of your post you rightly say that unionism is a relic of british imperialism… therefore it is NOT the same as Irish nationalism… imperial settler colonies wither and die eventually… they can therefore be killed with kindness. especially when the “mother” country wants rid….