Maskey’s filibustering keeps deployment off Hearts and Minds debate…

A former boxer (according to Wikipedia he only lost 4 out of 75 fights) and a Malachi’s boy to boot, Alex Maskey argues, no doubt, like he used to box: goads his man, makes him drop his defences with a series of short jabs, and finishes it all off with a nice wee ‘cheerio’ slap at the end. If Alex Attwood was feeling pleased with himself after his handling of Daithi McKay a few weeks, he got the proverbial cold water treatment tonight on Hearts and Minds. But to do it Maskey had to throw every convention of civil engagement right out of the window.

Part Two here

So why did Maskey do it? Revenge for Daithi? Or was this attack as the best form of defence? He certainly filibustered long enough (ie for more than ten minutes television time) to freeze out any mention of the deployment of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. A deployment that can no longer be scrutinised by the Policing Board (nor any future policing and justice minister); because of specific arrangements negotiated by, wait for it, Sinn Fein. This press release came from Republican Sinn Fein just half an hour before the programme went out:

“Whilst Gerry Adams and his cheerleaders were quick to make ludicrous claims that the opening of an MI5 centre in Hollywood, Co. Down, constituted a positive move towards the introduction of accountable civic policing, it has now been admitted that at least 15% of MI5’s resources are dedicated towards targeting those with whom Mr. Adams disagrees. The RUC, of course, retain executive powers in enforcing the will of MI5.”

That last refers to the fact that, under the St Andrews Agreement, the PSNI can be obliged to carry out explicit orders from MI5 without any of the real time scrutiny the SDLP say they asked for but were refused in the negotiations towards what became, in the words of Gerry Adams an “indigenous” deal “put together by SF and the DUP”.

The news of this deployment appears not to have come from any official channels and its public announcement seems to have taken most of the local players by completely by surprise; including the Chief Constable who, Slugger understands, did not mention it at the Policing Board today. It may be this cat amongst the pigeons, that prompted Maskey to come out fighting in another of his famous/infamous rearguard actions.

Only this begins to look more like a panic attack than a common or garden political assault…

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  • sillyman

    Considering how badly they do every thing its amazing how they keep their designation as a political party

    I mean even when they whipe the floor with a political oponent its just an indication of how badly they doe things

    Give my head peace

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    “Only this begins to look more like a panic attack than a common or garden political assault”

    Poorly observed and biased speculation.

    The key points from this discussion were Maskey making it clear that if the DUP dont keep moving along with the process they will not be doing anything in Stormo and that Atwood and the SDLP are smarting from not getting the ministry.

    A few raised voices and a bit of condescension from Alex of the SDLP nearly winnig a punch in the chops from Alex of SF – very enjoyable stuff.

  • Mick

    The problem with Alex Maskey, apart from the fact that he’s a bully and a thug and should never be in politics in the first place, is that he’s punch drunk and simply can’t compete with the Alex Attwood’s of this world.

    The presence of Alex Maskey in politics raises questions as to how people actually oppose him. Can you raise your voice to him or not? Will he get you afterwards? It is totally unfair on the average politician, particularly the of the non-violent variety, to have this bully boy on screen.

    And to trivialise it by trying to lighten it up and introduce the redherring of MI5 at this stage just goes to show that you don’t have the competence to deal with this little monster.


    enjoyable stuff

    Not really – excruciatingly embarrassing for Sinn Fein and painful for the SDLP to watch this moron play games because he can’t play politics.


    I don’t know what Maskey was trying to do here but he came off far worse than Attwood. I agree, he give the intimidating menace of a bully who, in the absence of a decent reply, tried to shout down and intimidate his opponent. Not a good show from Maskey or the Shinners. I haven’t seen Noel Thompson as rattled or angry as that, especially with Maskey.

  • Totalpolitics

    First class show! What Maskey made clear was that the SDLP have no proposals on how they are going to deliver policing and justice, the tactics worked. Daithi’s style of lying back and letting Paisley and Attwood form an alliance of arrogance spoke volumes for the other two but mckay should have put in a few more punches which i’d put down to inexperience. He just needs to transfer the tenacity that he has applied to pursuing Ministers Paisley, Foster and now Wilson to the H&M;studio and in particular Attwood’s style.

    Attwood’s approach of being extremely condescending is probably difficult enough to respond to, does a shinner sit back and let the public see how condescending and arrogant he is or go on the attack like Maskey did? Both approaches clearly have criticisms but I think sometimes manners have to go out the window and the gloves have to come off.



    Perception is everything and as someone who has voted for both Sinn Fein & the SDLP in the past (not at the same time) I can say Maskey just looked foolish, bullying and intimidatory. It came across as corner boy stuff from Maskey. It seems that Maskey was sent in to do a job on Attwood after Daithi O’Kay was made to look like a pussycat by him but it backfired. Maskey came across as ignorant, repetitive and buffoonery. Attwood won this hands down! Noel Thompson lost it with Maskey and that says everything!

  • slug

    I thnk in both his recent hearts and minds performances Attwood has come across as pompous and more interested in attacking Sinnfein than the DUP. Attwood came off worse when engaging both Maskey and McKay because he shot himself in the foot. Nationalists will understand Sinnfein attacking the SDLP because they are only defending against another SDLP attack. The voters know that the more the SDLP do this the more the DUP like it.

    Paisley and Attwood certainly had a gameplan in the previous programme Mick referred to and this was confirmed when the SDLP put a clip of Ian Paisley calling for nationalists to vote SDLP on their website the next day.

    If the SDLP keep attacking Sinnfein they will keep losing votes.


    Sinn Fein are doing a good enough job at losing votes themselves rather than depending on the SDLP. Today it was announced that the British Intelligence Services are increasing their presence in the North; so much for a United Ireland! Sinn Fein are politically incompetent and intellectually incapable of representing the Nationalist community as we seen with Maskey’s embarrassing performance. They are OK for filling out your DLA & Income Support form but not much else and I speak from 25 years experience of both parties. The Shinners are totally useless outside the welfare and housing benefit system and prefer to represent the “world owes me a living” brigade who are easier to control and manipulate. The biggest crime is that the SDLP are allowing the Shinners to totally dominate Catholic working class areas where many have no time for Sinn Fein and where there is no alternative party to vote for.

  • Big Maggie

    I have never knowingly voted for Sinn Féin. Given Alec Maskey’s performance I shan’t be doing so anytime soon.


  • abucs

    I think they both need to work on their body language. Alex 1 was looking very uncomfortable and close minded and Alex 2 was looking very worn and disinterested.

    Interesting use of camera angles and editing shots by H&M;as well.

    It wouldn’t hurt either one of them to lighten up a bit and control the interview rather than sitting there like schoolboys waiting to explain their actions to the headmaster.

  • austin

    Maskey exposed as a bit of a corner-boy -Shock Horror!

    Atwood revealed as vacuous and effeminate with no plan of his own-Cor Blimey!

    Same old, same old…

  • slug

    Posted by slug on Mar 06, 2009 @ 02:10 AM –

    I have been posting by slug here, for some years, and the above was not me. Slug – could you choose a different name? Many thanks.

  • percy

    UUP and DUP do exactly the same to each other; bitchin’ n slaggin’.
    I’ve never really managed to grasp why there is more animosity between SF/SDLP and between UUP/DUP, than between each other.
    Divide and Rule?

  • slug

    “I’ve never really managed to grasp why there is more animosity between SF/SDLP and between UUP/DUP, than between each other. ”

    Because they compete for votes. Doh.

  • Slug

    If the SDLP keep attacking Sinnfein they will keep losing votes.

    Or they will get across the general view that Sinn Fein are basically incompetent in government.

  • Mick Fealty

    It didn’t read like you slug.

    Think abucs got it in one.

    I personally would have like to have seen Alex box. And personally have no problem with his ‘corner boy’ style. In fact it was at times rather classy.

    And to be fair to Sammy’s crit of my take above, the exchange says as much about the bankcruptcy of the SDLP’s argument over policing as it does about Sinn Fein’s smokescreen around the deployment of the SAS’s first cousins on their watch.

  • ulsterfan

    Looked at the show again and it is obvious that Alex does not like Alex.
    Oh! by the way Alex won the argument.
    One of my more perceptive posts!!!

  • Salem

    Alex Attwood is attacking Sinn Fein for lying to their electorate which they claimed to be working for ! For one Alex Maskey has proved to be nothing more than a bully on the interview, when Alex Attwood began to speak he constantly interuptted him! Is Sinn Fein now using the precedent from the 152 days out of the executive as their own form of veto ?

    Bit by Bit the DUP are chipping away at the Good Friday Agreement and Sinn Fein are greasing their palms with the thirty pieces of silver from them.

    Sinn Fein are completely out-negotiated and outperformed by the DUP in Government. Are they in reality is effectively representing Nationalists in Government?

    Under them there is still –
    No date for Policing and Justice
    Education post primary transfer system in Chaos
    Crucial part of our government system – D’Hondt has been removed !

    PS SLUG (the fake one) your comment –

    If the SDLP keep attacking Sinnfein they will keep losing votes.

    Dont make me laugh – Sinn Fein recently are only capable of thinking about motions which are setup to attack SDLP and their Minister. Only last week during the budget debate they were reminded to focus on the motion and not to berate a single minister !

  • Well i found their spat mildly amusing but hardly informative. Me thinks they don’t spend too much time together outside of politics. Noel shud have put a pint or 2 of guinness in front of each of them and let them chill out. And on that other matter – what’s so bad about having some MI5 money about the place. I tend to think of it in similar terms to all the money flooding into this place thru Tribunals – a lot of the money paid to those lawyers must trickle back into the Norn Iron
    economy thru either the local lawyers who live here and presumably spend most of their money here & employ people in their offices etc or the outside lawyers staying in Hotels and eating out in restaurants and drinking in pubs etc – which is presumably what the M15 folk are also doing both on and off duty. It’s not as if the millions are just poured down the drain. Think of the bigger picture folks and dont get so uptight about it all like the 2 Alex’s. Its all a win win situation for Norn Iron if u ask me.

  • ciaran

    It is fairly obvious to say that maskey is not a good politican. But he made a laughing stock of attwood.And I have to admit I laughed through most of the interview.Attwood looked like a bumbling idiot who was trying to show intelligence which was sadly lacking.Maskey is to say the least unsophsticated in his approach and he played it well. Rather than being threatening or acting like a bully which john and lurig mistakenly think, he played his role in a very simple and direct style.Attwood should think twice about this type of interview if he can’t handle someone like maskey.It is not too often that maskey comes out of an interview looking like a clear winner but this time he managed it.

  • ciaran

    And one other point, rather than lose his rag with maskey, I could swear that noel was actually smiling at one point, as if he was enjoying the exchange.

  • George

    Maskey took Atwood apart. Atwood’s answer to what the SDLP would do to devolve policing and justice?

    Negotiate with the DUP. They must have been up all night thinking up that strategy.

  • alan

    Neither character came out of it well. Maskey looked cornored and wriled so did the only thing he could…keep interupting and repeating. Attwood never made his point clearly but sounded like he was prevaracating. Good press office advice should ensure that ther is a concise, relevent answer ready to any of your opponents charges. Preperation here was poor.

  • Arty Renny

    I really can’t understand how anybody, no matter how much hatred they have in their hearts for Sinn Féin or Maskey in particular,could have come away from viewing that debate and said anything other than Maskey sliced and diced Attwood. Noel nearly burst with laughter when Attwood tried to tell Maskey about ‘political craft’. Those in the most denial are the posters who said both sides were as bad as the other. That’s tantamount to saying ‘That ***** Maskey cleaned him up but I’m not going to give him any credit but my contribution will look stupid if I say Attwood was better’.

  • ulsterfan

    Maskey showed us that the SF cupboard was bare.
    There is no date set for devolution and more worrying no understanding as to when this will happen.
    They must have accepted Robinsons offer to ask for Devolution when there is Confidence in the subject—-in other words when the Unionists want it as opposed to any rights/promises given to the Shinners.
    Maskey had nothing to offer republicans last night and made matters worse by going on to attack Attwood.
    Asking him what SDLP would do is another way of saying “We have got nothing—So what would you do?”

  • Urgh!!

    Sinn Féin have a veto, The Dup has a veto.
    So in a way they both need each other which is probably the best way to have them.

    Oh and Alex Attwood has an arrogant and pompous ass or at least very often comes across as having one.

  • veritas

    Attwoods a fool more concerned about attacking Nationalists and Republicans who don`t agree with his blow in politics….

    Totally and utterly discredited and come the next election the sdlp which he relies on, will plummet again, if they have to vote for this man…

  • daisy

    Embarrassing for all concerned. Why would anyone bother to vote?

  • ABC

    Alex Maskey made a wee lad out of Attwood. Whilst Maskey nailed him on the “how would you do it differently?” line, all Attwood could manage was Hume-sounding platitudes.

    Maskey win hands down.

  • Bobby Kennedy

    1) The SDLP opposed the legislation because it was flawed. To say that they oppose the immediate devolution of justice because they oppose this legislation is just untrue. This legislation did not address a date – it just removed d’hondt!!

    2) Hummm….why would anyone who supports the agreement support this legislation?

    3) Maskey was clearly uncomfortable. There was no tactic or approach other than getting upset about some home truths around being slated by the DUP and reacting badly. It was frankly embarrassing that a politician got so anxious and uncomfortable and reacted so badly.

    4) ‘What would SDLP do?’ translation: ‘We’re out of our depth and don’t know what we’re doing, dig us out’.

    5) D’hondt gone and no date? what exactly did SF sell out on D’hondt for? it must have been for something…it wasn’t a date…so what? Hard to believe it would be nothing???

  • Bill

    Very funny clip – Attwood went into meltdown.

  • Bretagne

    Maskey victory – but a pyrrhic one. Like watching a roadcrash..

    Maskey is an arse. Meanwhile – UCUNF are shouting their own name at each other, and the DUP bring cedibility to the debate with Mrs Dodds????

    Oh god – I forgot that we have Jim Allister to brighten our early summer…the garden centre is gonna do good business

  • YelloSmurf

    Maskey made an absolute fool of himself. He came across as negative, defensive, infantile and downright rude. He didn’t attack Atwood on policy or the issues (at least, not on anything more than a superficial level), he just shouted him down. What an ignorant pillock. Had I been Atwood I would have walked out because the whole thing just struck me as a complete waste of everyone’s time.