“We tried your mandatory coalition, it doesn’t work..”

If the current circumstances continue, Peter Robinson might just be tempted to take Jim Allister’s advice..

“The argument against voluntary coalition is “oh, you can’t have devolution without Sinn Fein in government”. Why not? Because, some whisper, we might go back to “the bad old days”. Who would take us there? Surely not those we are assured have given up violence for good? If Sinn Fein are only playing the role of democrats so long as they stay in government, then we are being blackmailed as well as conned! Now is the time for Peter Robinson to face reality and go to HMG and say, “We tried your mandatory coalition, it doesn’t work, will never work and if you want devolution in Northern Ireland, then it must be, as elsewhere, on the basis of voluntary coalition.”

, , , , , , ,

  • Ri Na Deise

    The real agenda!

    A prod parliament for a prod people.

  • Pete Baker

    That’s a lazy assertion, Ri.

    And one that Allister refutes

    “Let me make it clear, we are not opposed to Catholics in government, or cross-community government, but we most unashamedly are implacably opposed to terrorists in government. Yes, when it comes to government I wouldn’t have a Provo about the place!”

  • wise up

    yeah thats a great idea…

    Courtesy of the anti-republican undercurrent which apparently will forever exist amongst the “centre ground” and independent media, the blame for everything from the credit crunch to the shitty weather is being squarely laid at SF’s door, with little mention of the fact the majority of issues had been negotiated and agreed previously, with full support of the UK government (including policing and justice and irish language act), and in fact it is the DUP who are causing most of the stalling. Oh yeah thats right, i forgot, they’re so scared of Jim Allistair and SF topping the EU poll that they won’t even send in their negotiating “A-team” by and large because they are quite happy with the status quo, and F**k the credit crunch, they can just blame the shinners.

    while i’m (kinda) on the issue, good impartial reporting by the media on the RIR parade, SF had a peaceful dignified protest as stated, no credit given to them for it, while the loyalist mob, i suppose you could say, were just being themselves, but the media by and large thought it was ok for drunken youths to chant sectarian songs, throw missiles and disgrace the memories of their so-called militaries dead troops.

  • ??

    Yes, when it comes to government I wouldn’t have a Provo about the place!”

    so really what he is saying is that he wants a government with the SDLP even though they do not speak for the majority of nationalists…

  • Ri Na Deise

    No opposition to catholics in government as long as theyre the easily bullied pacifists the SDLP.

    Maybe I should re-phrase it to ‘ a Unionist parliament for a Unionist people’.

  • dasw

    I agree with Ri. Really stupid idea Pete. If they didn’t have the ‘terrorist’ mantra, they’d have some other excuse for not sharing government with catholics. If we didn’t have a mandatory coalition, we might as well ressurect Carson. Maybe in 10 years when DUP get used to the idea that catholics aren’t subhuman and in fact have the right to elect their own representatives in government perhaps we can ditch mandatory coalition. For now it’s better everyone learns to work within this structure. The whole terrorist mantra is an excuse for not accepting representatives democratically elected by people with suffrage. What are catholics to do say: oh you’re right we’re too stupid Jim to know what kind of a person we wish to represent us why don’t you choose for us who rules us? Only if Allister and his fellow bigots actually choose public representatives for catholics in Northern Ireland could they possible be acceptable to them. And even then considering the bigotry and contradictions which animate their consciousnesses I have a feeling they’d still come up with some objection.

  • ??

    dea that catholics aren’t subhuman ……….

    only the ones that engaged in and supported terrorism

  • latcheeco

    But Allister,
    Could it not also be said to HMG, “We tried your partition, it doesn’t work”

  • Ri Na Deise

    ??

    And active support for state terrorism was completly absent in unionists?

  • Harry Flashman

    “so really what he is saying is that he wants a government with the SDLP even though they do not speak for the majority of nationalists…”

    A perfectly normal scenario in coalition governments all around the world, if a party can’t get an overall majority of seats over the next biggest party it forms a coalition with the smaller ones eg Fine Gael could not work in coalition with Fianna Fail so they form a coalition with Labour even though Labour got fewer seats than Fianna Fail and FF end up on the opposition benches until next time around.

    I see nothing wrong with the arrangement myself.

  • ??

    #

    ??

    And active support for state terrorism was completly absent in unionists?
    Posted by Ri Na Deise on Nov 08, 2008 @ 11:16 PM

    Unionists oppossed all terrorism, anyone who broke the law so be made to pay, unfortunately nationalists dont hold those values.

  • Bigger Picture

    What comes across from Allister’s speech loud and clear is that he is quite happy to play the DUP scarecrow rather than actually forming any sort of third party unionist standing. Hence the pleading with Peter Robinson to end the current crisis. The problem is Jim and the dog in the street knows that the TUV have no capability of delivering for any Unionist, the only party that can do that are the DUP.

    Jim Allister runs off TUV successes, no Maze and no Policing and Justice devolved. I am sorry but did Nigel Dodds not speak out (he even coined the phrase) against the Maze shrine long before Jim raised his sorry head, even before the TUV had been formerly created even? It was opposition to Poots’ plans inside the DUP that stopped that nonsense long before Jim came on board. (If not please refute me Mr Allister because i know you read this site)

    Again Policing and Justice, this was the manifesto that Jim himself signed up to when in the DUP. He often likes to quote old manifestos but ignores later ones that he was personally involved in. He may not like to remember but he signed up to that commitment and no amount of re-postering now will endear him to Unionists.

    The fact that these two non-successes also highlights the complete ineffectiveness of the TUV in forming a critique of the current arrangements at stormont. I personally agree that forced coalition is crap, completely crap and insane. However…

    Jim Allister contends that we have a shambles at Stormont and it is leading us down a road to a United Ireland. When in fact the reason why we now have a shambles at Stormont is the fact that the Shinners are hoping mad that they are NOT getting their way and NOT proceeding towards a United Ireland. Hence their last minute protest at the RIR parade forced upn them by Mark McGregor and his mates in order to try and reassure their base support,following a static vote in Enniskillen.

    Jim needs to realise that no unionist is going to blame the DUP for SF hoping and squeeling complaining that the DUP are blocking equality(read Republican key issues)

    (btw who would have thought that after 30 years of trying to drive the British army out of Ulster all SF can now do is side deals, the political struggle is really working out well for you lads there)

    Lastly we have the vote splitting issue. By being the third unionist party the TUV are automatically in the vote splitting position, as the largest unionist party the DUP have every right to contest an election. The vote splitting issue only arises whenever we see which unionist came third. However i thought they knew that seeing how they stepped aside in Enniskillen?

  • Ri Na Deise

    Ya. Pull the other one.
    Denial aint just a river in Egypt.

  • Ri Na Deise

    To ?? btw

  • George

    Pete,
    That’s a lazy assertion, Ri.

    And one that Allister refutes “Let me make it clear, we are not opposed to Catholics in government, or cross-community government, but we most unashamedly are implacably opposed to terrorists in government. Yes, when it comes to government I wouldn’t have a Provo about the place!”

    Is it really a lazy assertion?

    In the first 50 years of Northern Ireland’s existence there wasn’t a single elected Catholic Minister. How are things going to change now if in 2008 there still isn’t a single elected Catholic MLA in a unionist party?

    We hear talk all the time of how up to 20% of northern Catholics vote unionist but we have still to see that reflected in a single elected representative.

    So perhaps you could tell me how we could have a Catholic in government if it was a coalition of the UUP and DUP?

  • Sneakers O’Toole

    ??

    And active support for state terrorism was completly absent in unionists?
    Posted by Ri Na Deise on Nov 08, 2008 @ 11:16 PM

    Unionists oppossed all terrorism, anyone who broke the law so be made to pay, unfortunately nationalists dont hold those values.

    That’s a pretty bigoted thing to say. Not all nationalists support violence, have you forgotten the SF was a minority party pre-ceasefire? Have you looked at the size of SF’s Dail contingent lately?

    It’s that type of generalisation that was used as an excuse for loyalists who wanted to K.A.T.

    I’m genuinely annoyed by that post.

  • The Raven

    I’m coming to this a bit late, but:

    “We tried your mandatory coalition, it doesn’t work, will never work and if you want devolution in Northern Ireland, then it must be, as elsewhere, on the basis of voluntary coalition.”

    So, Ri (and others). Are you basically saying that because (a) I’m from a P/U/L background and (b) I agree with the above statement, that (a)+(b) = the (c) of The Raven must be a Prod bigot who doesn’t want a Catholic about the place?

    There are quite a lot of us about that are getting really f**ked off with the inactivity, and would be quite happy to see some other permutation of (preferably) voluntary coalition, just to see…well…*anything* happen at Stormont…

    Or is it just easier to categorise us all as bigots, because some of us are dissatisfied with the service we’re paying for, but not getting…?

  • Cahal

    Isn’t it very likely that in 10 years the SDLP and SF will make up >50% of the MLAs?

    We’ll see how fond of voluntary coalition the unionists are then. Once again very short sighted strategy from unionists.

  • Wilde Rover

    Would this be possible without reneging on the Belfast Agreement? And if that is the case, would this make the changes to Articles 2&3;of the Irish Constitution void, allowing the original Articles 2&3;to take effect?

    Or is it a case of that ship having sailed?

  • blinding

    If only the catholics would elect protestant catholics sure the unionists would be delighted to go into coalition with them.

    The sooner the nationalist/republican people make Sinn Féin the largest party in Northern Ireland the better.Its only then that the reality of the position they are in will become clear to Unionists.
    Protestant catholics are getting thinner on the ground every day

  • anne warren

    Unionists oppossed all terrorism, anyone who broke the law so be made to pay, .

    Posted by ?? on Nov 08, 2008 @ 11:30 PM

    This statement may well be true if Loyalist organisations such as the UDA, UFF, LVF etc, sectarian murder gangs, and the “shoot to kill gang” are separated out from unionists. Why have Loyalist paramilitaries not yet decommissioned? Are Unionists pressing for decommissioning? If not, why not?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry:

    I see nothing wrong with the arrangement myself.

    Harry, neither nationalists nor unionists will tolerate a situation where the largest parties in either camp are not part of the government. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the way of things.

    “??”:

    Unionists oppossed all terrorism, anyone who broke the law so be made to pay, unfortunately nationalists dont hold those values.

    Unionists don’t oppose terrorists. The UDA and UVF from various parts of Belfast marched to applauding crowds last Sunday, unhindered and uncondemned by anyone from the unionist quarter. Those organizations exist because there are people who support them, and the level of support is high enough that unionist politicians dare not cross them.

  • cynic

    “had been negotiated and agreed previously, with full support of the UK government (including policing and justice and irish language act)”

    Oh no they hadn’t. SF just told you they had…. and you believed them

    That doesn’t mean that they can’t be. Just that SF need to engage, not dissemble and stall

  • cynic

    “Would this be possible without reneging on the Belfast Agreement? And if that is the case, would this make the changes to Articles 2&3;of the Irish Constitution void, allowing the original Articles 2&3;to take effect?””

    … to be purist it actually sailed in 1922 and is still sailing on despite what some of the passengers might promise others or what the crew on other ships might do.

    …sorry…but that is the reality

  • Greenflag

    George ‘

    ‘In the first 50 years of Northern Ireland’s existence there wasn’t a single elected Catholic Minister. ‘

    Apart from a few weeks in 1974 (Sunningdale ) there was’nt a single Catholic Minister for the next 25 years either . The Trimble / Mallon fiasco spent more time out of office than in office IIRC . The past ‘power sharing ‘ year is an embarassment for those who loudly trumpeted Northern Ireland’s new dawn over a year ago 🙁

    ‘How are things going to change now if in 2008 there still isn’t a single elected Catholic MLA in a unionist party? ‘

    Things won’t change George until there is an end to the NI state as it’s presently set up . The NI State in it’s present format can only exist with mandatory coalition . The SDLP learnt that lesson in 1974 . Nothing that has happened since then on the Unionist side has made a blind bit of difference . Irish Nationalists and Republicans forget that at their peril .

    Allister is the ‘wedge ‘ that excuses DUP ‘backsliding ‘ on issues which weaken SF’s appeal to their base .

    Adams should pull the plug on this Assembly and the demand from Northern Nationalists and Republicans to the British and Irish Governments should be to reintroduce Direct Rule for a coupe of years prior to a repartition of Northern Ireland administered by a neutral international agency .

    The alternative is another wasted 50 years playing ‘sectarian ‘ politics with the DUP or their TUV descendants .

    As for Allister he needs to be told by the entire Catholic /Nationalist /Republican population or their representatives political or clerical in Northern Ireland that his TUV party can go **** off back to wherever they don’t come from.

    Geniuses like Allister and his ilk fail to realise that it has taken 40 years and thousands of lives to achieve even ‘mandatory ‘ power sharing . Why would ‘voluntary power sharing ‘ come at a lesser cost?

    Just because Mr Allister has no problem with ‘tame ‘ Catholics ?

    Paisley -Mark II minus of course the dog collar and the charismatic rhetoric in pandering to the bigots of unionism before selling them down the drain .

    Hey if it works once it can work twice 🙁

  • ??

    Are Unionists pressing for decommissioning? If not, why not?
    Posted by anne warren on Nov 09, 2008 @ 12:37 PM

    all terrorist groups should be made to decommission arms. Nationalists, unlike unionists, voted for an armed terrorist party that had to decommission before serving in governemnt.

    And ill repeat what i said ANYONE engaged in terrorism should be jailed.
    ————————————

    Those organizations exist because there are people who support them, and the level of support is high enough that unionist politicians dare not cross them.
    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Nov 09, 2008 @ 01:36 PM

    nonsense, typical alliance crap, obviously someone who has never lived in a “loyalist” area.

    When unionists had the choice to vote for paramilitary groups they refused to do so in overwhelming numbers.

  • Greenflag

    harry flashman ,

    ‘I see nothing wrong with the arrangement myself.’

    And there would’nt be if Northern Ireland was the Republic . Newsflash Harry – it is’nt and it can’t be . That’s why it took NI 40 years to get to it’s present enforced ‘mandatory ‘ coalition .

    You should be ancient enough to remember Sunningdale and Unionist opposition to the ‘tame ‘ Catholics of the SDLP ?

    NI can never be a ‘normal’ democracy in it’s present format . It is a state divided against itself ,always has been and always will be . And that’s why only ‘mandatory’ coalition can work . And if it can’t then it has to be DR followed by repartition by a neutral international agency .

  • Red Kangaroo

    “No opposition to catholics in government as long as theyre the easily bullied pacifists the SDLP.”

    Ri

    Wise up. The SDLP are the only major party in N.I. that comes anywhere near the international standard that democrats hold dear.

    By the way I thought Sinn Fein were republicans not Catholics. So the truth comes out..

    It was and is a sectarian war???

  • Is Direct Rule completely off the table?

    It would cost a lot less.

  • kensei

    Pete

    That’s a lazy assertion, Ri.

    Nope, it ain’t. Allister is proposing to rule SF, effectively forever. That leaves the SDLP, assuming they would commit the likely electoral suicide by going in. Unionists would utterly dominate any Executive that can be reached by excludind SF – that’d be either DUP-SDLP, or UUP, Alliance, (TUV), SDLP. Which is precisely what Unionism wants. Additionally, it does lead to the distinct possibility of permanent coalition, which is little better than one party rule.

    It seems Unionism wants to deal always with the last leaders of Nationalism. Their unfortunate problem is they don’t get the choice.

  • blinding

    If Irish nationalism/republicanism produces an Irish equivalent of Barack Obama and he was both 40 shades of green and 40 shades of black the unionists would still not find a shade that would be acceptable to them

  • The Raven

    Naturally, blinding, I’m sure you meant “some unionists”, or perhaps “those unionists currently holding power”.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Why should we be the only place in the western democratic world subjected to this absurdity? ‘

    Because Northern Ireland is/was a State founded on absurdity and is not and never has been a normal democracy . That’s why it was established in the first instance .

    “Let me make it clear, we are not opposed to Catholics in government’

    Can any body imagine any SDLP or SF politician making a statement like Allister in Pete’s quote above ? How about Durkan or Adams or McGuinness making a comment such as

    ‘Let me make it clear , we are not opposed to Protestants in governent ‘

    They would be laughed out of court and considered absurd but for Unionists of a certain mindset Allister’s comment is okay ?

    Maybe Allister needs to form a Catholic version of the TUV so he can call it his ‘Catholic Party ‘

  • blinding

    Naturally, blinding, I’m sure you meant “some unionists”, or perhaps “those unionists currently holding power”.

    Posted by The Raven

    Yes you are correct(The Raven)

    Its just the frustration with all this Unionist prevarication about which type of nationalist/republican politician that they are willing to work with.
    Its up to nationalists/republicans to choose their politicians and whichever party has the greatest representation should have the most influence.I believe that its only when Sinn Féin are the largest party in Northern Ireland will some Unionists realise that they have to co-operate with the politicians that the republican/ nationalist community chooses.

  • anne warren

    When unionists had the choice to vote for paramilitary groups they refused to do so in overwhelming numbers.Posted by ?? on Nov 09, 2008 @ 01:53 PM

    care to elaborate? As you say, Unionists may not have voted for paramilitary groups. Did they ever vote against them? Here’s one recent example of what I was referring to.

    From Nuzhound:http://www.nuzhound.com/goto.php?
    Devlins take case to Attorney General
    id=165116http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/5860/2008/11/7/602246_362700243517Devlinsto.html

    Furthermore,
    This year’s the 60th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
    On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.
    http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
    Has the Declaration been “disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on political status in NI?
    If not, why not? Don’t you think it’s time we all started reading it and trying to assimilate its principles and put them into practice? And if not now, when? Change starts with us and remember
    “It is our duty to ensure that these rights are a living reality — that they are known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere. It is often those who most need their human rights protected, who also need to be informed that the Declaration exists — and that it exists for them.
    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
    Human Rights Day 10th December

  • Greenflag

    blinding ,

    ‘I believe that its only when Sinn Féin are the largest party in Northern Ireland will some Unionists realise that they have to co-operate with the politicians that the republican/ nationalist community chooses.’

    You might think that blinding – I would’nt . Not for one moment . At that point i.e SF as the largest party Unionists of all hues will walk out of the Assembly and demand ‘repartition ‘

    They will make the point not unreasonably that you can’t have a first Minister govenring a State which he/she has no interest in apart from seeing it pass out of exitence as quickly as possible !

  • ??

    #

    If Irish nationalism/republicanism produces an Irish equivalent of Barack Obama and he was both 40 shades of green and 40 shades of black the unionists would still not find a shade that would be acceptable to them
    Posted by blinding on Nov 09, 2008 @ 04:25 PM

    Why would unionists support nationalism? and why would he be catholic for a start? maybe nationalists should support Peter Robinson, that way we could unite together in the Union.

  • The Raven

    blinding wrote: “I believe that its only when Sinn Féin are the largest party in Northern Ireland will some Unionists realise that they have to co-operate with the politicians that the republican/ nationalist community chooses.”

    You’d be amazed at how many unionists “on the ground” accepted this many moons ago.

    The quizically named ?? then wrote: “maybe nationalists should support Peter Robinson, that way we could unite together in the Union.”

    I’m not even a nationalist, and I find the thought of supporting Mr Robinson and his party distasteful… You’d be equally amazed at how many unionists feel the same way.

  • Shades40

    Zimbabwe

    the country’s political deadlock.

    southern African leaders had told Zimbabwe’s rival parties they should share control of the disputed home affairs ministry.

    who controls the home affairs ministry, which has the police force under its command.

    NI

    ^^^

  • abucs

    Now is the time for Peter Robinson to face reality and go to HMG and say, “We tried your mandatory coalition, it doesn’t work, will never work and if you want devolution in Northern Ireland, then it must be, as elsewhere, on the basis of voluntary coalition.”

    I don’t think it is HMG’s mandatory coalition. It is the mandatory coalition of Northern Ireland, voted for by both sections of the population in Northern Ireland and also all Ireland as a whole in order to resolve a international sovereignty dispute and allow the place to be governed in an accepted manner and in agreed respected partnership, between the people in Northern Ireland and more wider afield recognised by Great Britain, the Republic the US and the EU. Apart from all the legalities of ditching the mandatory coaltition, the assumed acceptance and respected partnership also disappears.

    i remember the Hawks in the Republican movement saying – you can never trust ’em to keep their word. I hope they weren’t right.

    We’d go back to the civil rights days and nationalist areas would start to assert their local rights of government, involving mobilising of local people and unionists would start to usurp local rights and concentrate power with a 50% plus 1 Stormont veto, mobilising the forces of the state and we all know where that ‘tug of war’ ends up.

  • fair_deal

    Jim is a bit behind the times on this one. Peter Robinson at the DUP party conference repeated the aim to remove mandatory coalition at the party conference last week.

    “The forces of unionism and republicanism are not ideologically compatible. It was this knowledge that led me to predict that there would be a battle a day. It was for this reason we have argued that this arrangement is not our final destination.”

    IIRC in unscripted comments at the party he also referred to governance models as one of the DUP’s outstanding issues.

  • Greenflag

    abucs,

    ‘Apart from all the legalities of ditching the mandatory coaltition, the assumed acceptance and respected partnership also disappears. ‘

    What respected partnership ? For a few months / a year ? the Paisley /McGuinness ‘chuckie bros ‘ routine kept the plebs on both sides in restraint and lifted the hope ‘mood’. Since the accession of ‘battle a day ‘ Robinson as FM the spiral has been generally in downward mode .

    Of course the mandatory power sharing which sounded fine and fair in theory has turned into something else in practice . Normal politics as the rest of the democratic world understands it has been turned on it’s head in order to make NI into a ‘normal ‘ democracy . That may not be possible . Yugoslavia could only function as a totalitarian communist State. East Germany could only exist as long as the Russian Communists were prepared to pay for it and defend it . NI can only exist if Unionists win every election. Therein likes the ‘secret’ to the inherent contradiction at the base of the foundation of the NI State . And that goes back not just to this Assembly but all the way back to 1920 .

    ‘you can never trust ‘em to keep their word.’

    Unless it’s in writing -witnessed by a team of international constitutional lawyers and signed in triplicate by high ranking clergymen of several denominations and approved by Government Ministers from Britain and Ireland and other high ranking politicians from the USA etc etc ..

    The real question to be asked is it worth it for Northern Irish nationalists and republicans to continue ‘pretending ‘ that the Assembly is ‘working ‘ and can work for the benefit of the people of NI ?

    ‘We’d go back to the civil rights days and nationalist areas would start to assert their local rights of government, involving mobilising of local people and unionists would start to usurp local rights and concentrate power with a 50% plus 1 Stormont veto, mobilising the forces of the state and we all know where that ‘tug of war’ ends up. ‘

    I don’t believe that there is any going back to what was at least in terms of widespread conflict , but there will be a reassessment among both communities as to the whether there is any value in even trying to attempt to build ‘democracy’ in Northern Ireland based in a Stormont Assembly .

    Maybe it just can’t be done -not at Stormont anyway !

  • Changed Perception

    Greenflag,

    What Allister and his Ilk want is a fairer democratic form of government, that works for the country and is accountable to the voters. If this can be free from terrorists and their blood stained hands so much the better.

    It is the loss of lives over 40 years of violence which by its very nature should mean the perpetraitors never receive a seat on our government.

    I admit that I was in attendance at the TUV party conference, having been invited along by a work colleague who is a member, and I have to admit I was presently surprised by what I found. Yes there were a lot of very animated speeches, I would assume largely for the gathered audiences benefit, but the underlying tone of the conference was not one of bigotry or a narrow minded agenda against Nationalists. There was a genuine sense of togetherness amongst the grouping behind a very real sense of “a cause”, which I found particularly refreshing.

    It was demonstrated to me the flaws of the current system (as if they werent apparent enough),and how that might be bettered, as a “lost Unionist” voter, I unashamedly admit that this made sense to me. Dont get me wrong, I didnt agree 100% with everything that was said or with every element of policy as outlined through a series of Notice of Motions, but as mentioned above by The Raven if there is a chance that it will help the country and provide as one speaker put it value for money back into our government then why not.

    As has been noted above, there is no guarantee that under a voluntary coalition the will be Unionist control, but the TUV are honest enough to admit that Nationalists as with Wales and Scotland may well work their way to that Government. Furthermore I think you are doing your community a disservice. Just because some Roman Catholics still abhor murder, and wish to be involved in politics solely to represent their voters interest as opposed to fronting a different agenda it does not make them tame, merely honest.

  • Greenflag

    changed perception ,

    ‘It is the loss of lives over 40 years of violence which by its very nature should mean the perpetraitors never receive a seat on our government.

    You’ll have to change your perception again at some point . Look around you at the ‘world ‘ beyond Northern Ireland. If your piece above was to be replicated around the globe – there would be no United States of America , no Israel , no Irish Republic , oo India no South Africa and most of the developing world would be coloured in red for the British parts , purple for the French and parts and green for the Spanish etc eetc .

    You don’t need to go to a political conference to find out the ‘flaws’ in the present system . The dogs in the street can tell it’s a dogs breakfast of a solution . What else for a dogs breakfast of a State?

    ‘but as mentioned above by The Raven if there is a chance that it will help the country and provide as one speaker put it value for money back into our government then why not.’

    There are always those who will look for the narrow ground and in Northern Ireland they will always find it. After 50 years they’ll find the narrow ground even narrower and the rut they are in deeper

    Btw it is not YOUR government . It is when it’s functioning the people of Northern Ireland’s government i.e all of them . If the people choose to elect people to represent them who have been involved in violence in the past then that is the people’s choice.

    Allister will be a short lived phenomenon. Unionist political history is replete with no end of parties professing to be more unionist than their opponents . It’s pathetic .

    Voluntary coalition can’t work in Northern Ireland -the very nature of the State and it’s accompanying historical baggage are against it .

    Nationalists and Republicans will never accept Unionist simple majority or Unionist plus a few tame Catholics rule .

    So the TUV had better get used to that . It’s not going away as they say.

    In any event my personal preference is for a fair repartition of Northern Ireland administered by a neutral international agency such as the UN or EU . I have long since given on the ability of Northern Unionist politicians ever to negotiate and stick to any agreement they ever make /made with the elected representatives of Irish Nationalism or Irish Republicanism . We remember that none of any of the myraid agreements that have ever been signed in Northern Ireland from Sunningdale to the SAA would ever have been signed by Unionist politicians , were it not for the pressure applied on them by either the UK or USA Governments . Unionist politicians simply don’t want to share power with the people or parties whom the Irish people of Northern Ireland elect .

  • Earnan

    Greenflag

    I think your solution might be the only one that makes sense in this dysfunctional state. I wonder if it will ever happen.

  • Greenflag

    earnan ,

    ‘I wonder if it will ever happen’

    When every attempt at power sharing over 40 years has failed and been seen to fail, not once or twice but several times , despite the best efforts of both governments and others , then it’s time to say enough is enough and go back to the drawing board . But the first step will be for Irish nationalsts and Republicans in Northern Ireland to give up on the ‘dream’ of a UI and settle for less . We do not want 800,000 alienated ‘unionists’ dragooned into a 32 county Republic . It would be no different from the dragooning of 500,000 Irish nationalists into the NI State in 1920 . And we see how that ended up:(

    The most logical solution and the least costly from an ROI perspective given the deep constitutional and political divide between the northern parties has to be a fair repartition drawn up , administered and executed by a neutral international agency. If it could be made to work for Yugoslavia how much more difficult could it be to make it work for NI ?.

  • skullion

    Greenflag,how would you see that carve up taking shape?

  • abucs

    Greenflag,

    I hope you are right about not going back to widespread conflict. I don’t think Britain, who controls the forces of the state, wants that either.

    Because of this latter belief, politics, from a Republican perspective should be profitable being underwritten by Britain, even if it is not supported by hardline Unionists. I don’t know if that underwriting by Britain will extend all the way to re-partition.

    I’m hoping (and i guess hoping is the word) that if we can get over the devolution of policing problem, things should be very much easier from then on and the arguements in the short to medium term will be based what’s best for Northern Ireland.

    What else can they really disagree about that will cause major problems ? Despite all the inevitable ‘hot air’ they are so close to getting this whole thing to work. Just devolve policing !

    Even if you temporarily have 2 ministers for policing and a third agreed neutral to decide on matters that can’t be resolved between the two – until policing becomes less of an issue.

  • Greenflag

    abucs ,

    ‘I’m hoping (and i guess hoping is the word) that if we can get over the devolution of policing problem, things should be very much easier from then on ‘

    On the face of it not an unreasonable hope in a situation where hope has been dashed so many times before . Alas nothing in NI’s 40 years of political uncertainty is that simple . If we could only get over police devolution sounds just an updated version and continuation of ‘if we only had a ceasefire /decommissioning / power sharing ‘ etc then things would be different and somehow it could be made to work . There comes a point when deja vu becomes too repititious to merit hope that things may or can change .

    ‘and the arguements in the short to medium term will be based what’s best for Northern Ireland.’

    The arguments in the short to longer term as in the past history of NI politics will not be based on what’s best for NI, but on what’s best for the DUP and SF political parties. As the two parties are diametrically opposed on everything from NI’s constitutional status to education to Irish language issues you have inbuilt into the system the seeds which will continue to provide Robinson with enough material for his ‘battle a day ‘ strategy . Inevitably Robinson’s ‘law ‘ has as per the laws of ‘political ‘ physics, attracted an equal but opposite force among Irish nationalists and republicans . In any normal democracy this would not matter as it would be just ‘politics’ as usual . In NI it has never been about politics as usual, for NI politics ever since the State was established has been mostly non existent and anything but ‘usual’. For the 50 years 1920 to 1972 it was effectively a one party State which could ignore any opposition which ever had the temerity to raise it’s head/voice .

    ‘What else can they really disagree about that will cause major problems ? ‘

    Don’t worry . If they can’t find a major problem they’ll find plenty of minor ones which in the aggregate will have the same effect on the politics of NI if not worse .

    ‘Despite all the inevitable ‘hot air’ they are so close to getting this whole thing to work. Just devolve policing !’

    Had they devolved ‘policing ‘ several months ago before Paisley left office the leap forward might have been made . Now however Robinson’s ‘machismo’ is on the line and so too are the credentials of SF among their supporters.

    ‘Even if you temporarily have 2 ministers for policing and a third agreed neutral to decide on matters that can’t be resolved between the two – until policing becomes less of an issue.’

    The fact that you would make such a suggestion is evidence that the issue behind this ‘crisis of hot air ‘ as you call it is seen for what it is – namely that the one side ‘Unionist’ cannot trust the other side with ministerial control over P & J . For Unionists the ‘war’ is not over and can’t be . It can’t be until from their perspective the ‘defeated’ stop feeling as if they have won and until the ‘victors ‘ i.e unionists stop feeling as if they have lost .

    And that as we know is never going to happen is it ?

  • Greenflag

    skullion,

    ‘how would you see that carve up taking shape? ‘

    That would be for a neutral international organisation such as the UN to decide.

  • blinding

    Now that we have had some time to see the Dup in office it becomes clear that a party that really was a party of protest and with only one policy ie:NO NO NO would not be able to make the jump across to actually being in goverment in such a short time.
    The naysayers and status quo preservers were never going to be able to cope with the compromise that being in goverment requires.I think that given time real politics will unfreeze this blockage in the DUPS pscyhe.Pretty much everyone is doing their best to give the DUP the time it needs.
    Under normal circumstances periods in opposition helps political parties clear their minds but this is more difficult in Northern Ireland.
    If the DUP is having such a difficult time with manadtory coalition is there the opportunity if they so wish to nominate themselves as the opposition and let the other parties get on with forming an administration.
    Mind you we all know that eventually the Dup will agree to devolving P and J its just they have to get over the mind set of the naysayer.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Under normal circumstances periods in opposition helps political parties clear their minds ‘
    but this is more difficult in Northern Ireland.’

    What do you mean ‘more ‘ difficult ? It simply isn’t possible. There is’nt any opposition in this Assembly. The ‘opposition’ is within the government .

    ‘If the DUP is having such a difficult time with mandatory coalition ‘

    You don’t have to be the DUP to have a difficult time with mandatory coalition but it helps mightily 🙁

    Question : Will there be a resumption of widespread conflict and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland ?

    Answer : No but there will be such a struggle for full devolution that not a stone will be left standing.

  • blinding

    Greenflag said

    What do you mean ‘more ‘ difficult ? It simply isn’t possible. There is’nt any opposition in this Assembly. The ‘opposition’ is within the government .

    Surely there must be a mechanism where if a party vuluntarily wants to declare itself an opposition it can do so.I am pretty sure a party can do this if it so wishes.

  • Greenflag

    blinding ”

    I see we inhabit two different universes 😉

    ‘I am pretty sure a party can do this if it so wishes.’

    That may well be but in the zero sum game of NI politics it’s about as likely as locking a ravenous lion into a cage with three plumpish lambs and expecting to see said lion become a vegetarian .

  • blinding

    Greenflag
    Of course you are right.

    But its no harm to point out that no party even the DUP are forced into goverment.
    If they are not happy with the present situation they could nominate themselves as the opposition.

    I know its not going to happen but why if the DUP are not happy with the present arrangement not step aside and let others that are willing to give this system a chance give it a go.
    Did the DUP sign up for this system or not.
    Yes they did and now all that they are doing is moaning about mandatory coalition.
    There is nothing mandatory about it.It was their choice to sign up.

  • Greenflag

    blinding,

    ‘Did the DUP sign up for this system or not. ‘

    They did and they did’nt 😉 They signed up for the theory but not the actual practice or the harsh reality . To give them their due thay have of course historically never really wanted to share power going all the way back to Sunningdale . The very concept goes against the ‘unionist ‘ grain -always has probably always will. NI politics is basically a two horse sorry wolf game with the electorate and the other parties filling in the roles of ‘lamb’ 🙁

    ‘It was their choice to sign up’

    It was and it was’nt . They had backed themselves as usual into a political cul de sac from which the only ‘escape ‘ was via the power sharing route . Remember almost half the unionist population voted against the GFA . That half is predominantly represented by the DUP and now also by their direct descendants the TUV .

    It’s not as if the DUP could vacate their lead position in the Assembly and expect the UUP to take over the ‘defence’ of the union . The SF wolf would have the UUP for a light breakfast followed by an Alliance veggie lunch and would have the SDLP swallowed whole by dinnertime .