Allister`s plan to scupper Stormont

The News Letter has an report about Jim Allister outlining his plans to scupper the Executive. He plans to stand only in safe Unionist seats at the Westminster elections whilst standing for every Assembly seat. He hopes by taking enough seats and boycotting Stormont it will result in Sinn Fein taking the First Minister position and thereby topple the Assembly.

That is a very credible plan, however it could backfire on him. Whilst his results were decent enough, the fact is, 418,000 people voted for Stormont participating parties and 66,000 voted against…in a Westminster election where the existence of Stormont is in the balance there may be a very different outcome to the Euro elections – you might find UUP, Alliance, Greens and even SDLP people voting DUP in constituencies where TUV stands, not out of support for the DUP, but out of support for Stormont.

I do believe however, if Allister succeeded and Sinn Fein were to become First Minister it would be `curtains` for Stormont! I also believe that a repeat performance by the DUP of the recent election on negative scare tactics will be detrimental to their vote and it will be necessary to campaign on the positive measures achieved for all the people of Northern Ireland, for businesses in Northern Ireland and also for Unionism due to devolution!

  • dave

    That’ll be entertaining – pray tell, what are all these positive outcomes?

    (hint – try and start some of them without ‘Stopped…’ and see how far you get.)

  • DC

    So there’ll be a SF First Minister…big fucking deal, they can suffer under the Peter Principle whereby they become the next party to be promoted to a level beyond their competence.

    A bit like the DUP to date.

    Peter Principle:

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

    It probably is most apt to Peter Robinson, but seriously a SF FM can’t be any worse than the little to no progress to date, it’s just re-arranging the political furniture, which we know hasn’t really been inspirational.

    I say bring on the challenges and let’s see what SF can deliver, hopefully it’s good and if not well so be it.

    But really big deal!

  • business rates relief, orange hall rate relief, increased Ulster-Scots funding, no water charges, free transport for the elderly, extra winter fuel payments for the elderly, funding for musical instruments by bands – all buried away in the DUP manifesto on the DUP website but barely mentioned in DUP election literature!

  • dave

    You do realise that the extra winter fuel payments were introduced by the UK government, don’t you?

    And that water charges, if not introduced next year, will start to cost the Executive (and thereby taxpayers) a fortune?

  • gram

    >>I do believe however, if Allister succeeded and Sinn Fein were to become First Minister it would be `curtains` for Stormont! <

  • Fair point gram. I do think it is worrying that there is a suggestion that an election result the DUP doesn’t like would mean the collapse of local democracy. Doesn’t say a lot for commitment to making life better for us all.

  • McCollum

    Kilsally:

    Orange Hall relief – achieved by direct rule administration following lobbying by the Orange Order to Unionist Representatives?

    Ulster-Scots funding this year was reduced not increased?

    Water charges were deferred in order to buy the DUP time to ‘bed in’ Assembly – they will be introduced in the near future?

    Winter payments – introduced by Labour Party not the DUP?

    Free transport to the elderly was introduced under direct rule and only extended by the assembly this could have been achieved without devolution?

    Funding for musical instruments – from the Assembly, please provide evidence other than the DUP have it on their website!

  • Yes but I think that would turn on its head with a Sinn Fein Minister. I don`t agree with Allister`s goal but I do agree that if he `achieved` enough to put Sinn Fein in the First Ministers seat that the DUP and maybe the UUP would bring down the executive.

  • DC

    “business rates relief, orange hall rate relief, increased Ulster-Scots funding, no water charges, free transport for the elderly, extra winter fuel payments for the elderly, funding for musical instruments by bands – all buried away in the DUP manifesto on the DUP website but barely mentioned in DUP election literature!”

    They all seem like tinkering to create a little bit of economic improvement to the impoverished (which is good but it is a minimal good)- and yes – plus promotion of a language which isn’t really a language and promotion of a cultural thing which isn’t really a culture.

    Northern Ireland’s reputation and image is in ruins with both the best advocates for positive change now off the stage: Blair and Ahern.

    SF need to realise unionist politics is not something to be avoided and ridiculed but met and tackled by themselves head on with a view to positive change, the same goes for the DUP.

    There’s no point in pointing anymore and saying “ha ha look at the Unionists’ sectarianism and racism” simply because they are Ireland too. SF may as well point at themselves. That Party’s only tactic seems to be one of pointing out shortcomings, which fuel further political divisiveness that in turn defeats SF’s own political purpose of effecting change.

    It is called reducing the sense of other political parties’ importance and relevance to exaggerate their own. But no change is the outcome when using such an approach, which is usually and largely media-led. Point scoring with no action. There is no point scoring points off one another whenever the set-up requires mandatory working together.

    Self-defeating. Stagnation. It is this that creates doubt about the viability of politics here, which leds to Allister offering stoppage that some people seem to think is better than overpaid MLAs really doing nothing.

  • Would the DUP really want Owen Patterson taking over from the executive? Apart from being in bed with UUP, he has some pretty scarey things to say about public spending.

  • dewi

    If and SF First Minister would result in DUP/UUP bringing down Stormaont then you have to question their commitment to the institution now.

  • gram

    >>I don`t agree with Allister`s goal but I do agree that if he `achieved` enough to put Sinn Fein in the First Ministers seat that the DUP and maybe the UUP would bring down the executive.<

  • Jo

    A statistic which some might care to ignore if they think that devolution isn’t a popular thing is the number of questions asked by MLAs, the number of issues dealt with by those representatives and the workload on the various constituency offices operated by ALL political parties.

    If those offices were filled with people drumming their fingers on the desks, then, yes, close up the shop.

    Water charges are v unlikely to be itnroduced, tho the principle of something (£100?) per houseld needing to be paid might be considered.

    The parameters within which a regional assembly CAN operate consist of the distribution of a block grant of monies far exceeding the tax money raised in this area

    – who gets what when and where. That is, in essence, the definition of politics.

    It seems transparently obvious that an English Welsh or Scottish MP visiting here 2 or 3 days a week to rule in Viceroy fashion has no interest in the above. The fact that he or she would, in te absence of devolution, be ruling jointly with an Irish Government counterpart should make opponents of devolution think a little, if that is possible for them to do.

  • oracle

    ***418,000 people voted for Stormont participating parties***

    Quite right they did…..but 723,979 DIDN’T

  • Zoon Politikon

    The TUV claims to represent the disenfranchised old Dupers – no point calling them Paisleyites for even he became a Lundy in the end. This may be correct or not but surely its only proper that a party that represents the significant minority and who supports anti-agreement views be represented. Its now viewed by many that the DUP is the UUP in drag, or rather to abuse Mallon’s soundbite: the DUP is the UUP for slow learners. Time to disband the original party of protest and its no longer fit for purpose or use.

  • Gram – because the DUP manifesto hankers after voluntary coalition , same as Allister ( qualified majority voluntary coalition ), as do alot of the UUP and as stated by Owen Patterson of the Tories. I just can`t see them operating a mandatory coalition with a Sinn Fein First Minister.

  • Cushy Glenn

    Where is the evidence for this claim that support for devolution is growing? Just because all the MLAs and their payroll poodles are touting this line doesn’t mean it’s true. Many Unionists – the thinking ones- are distinctly underwhelmed by the duffers running the executive from their own tribe who can’t even get us a stadium sorted out. A team of third rate part time Tory MPs in Stormont castle still seems light years ahead of Ritchie, Foster, Poots or Ruane

    And of course we all know Marty is joint first minister and Gerry and Jeffrey have to share a cubicle when they need to have a crap, but such is the mantra of Punt that the unionist electorate will never be able to stomach a Shinner first minister, no matter how much airbrushing and soft focus media coverage the BBC slosh out.DC’s analysis is spot on, including his key point that no change is what is really happening. Of course what he doesn’t spell out is that that has always been the real bedrock of Unionism

  • Different Drummer

    If Jim-Ulster-Allister is a good as he thinks he is – then SF 1st minister has to be the default position.

    No putschist Loyalist would have it otherwise.

  • Driftwood

    Owen Patterson will be an excellent leader here. Much better than Woodward. The NIO effectively runs the province anyway, It makes no difference having our Trumpton talking shop.
    As for cuts, George Osborne will not be held hostage by anyone, they are coming.
    Jo, no Irish government official will be ruling alongside Shaun or Owen unless the constitution is changed. An advisory role maybe, but that’s ok.

  • otto jaffe

    Just start calling them “The Nationalist Designated First Minister” and “The Unionist Designated First Minister” right away. No need for change then.

    PS. Now that these roles go to the two biggest parties (of at the least the biggest from each designation) without assembly input they should come out first in the d’hondt divvying process.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Kilsally,

    ” I just can`t see them operating a mandatory coalition with a Sinn Fein First Minister. ”

    Touch of the talk radio approach with this thread – say something without any foundation and get a response.

    As pointed out above and on other posts the UU / Tory crypto merger have stated they want to end ‘tribal poitics’ – although most people view their supporting the Unionist tribe as more of the same – the collapsing of Stormo because they dont like the choice made by the other tribe would make them look completely tribal.

  • DC

    Thanks Cushy Glenn but what you leave out is the fact that when in government you participate in this, one party’s problematic politics becomes your own. So no action is actually tantamount to a form of useless action, if you know what I mean.

    To help explain, it is no longer suitable anymore to point to Unionism and say “ah-ha-gotcha!” because when you’re in government the mandatory coalition creates vicarious liability where stating the obvious at times is just downright unhelpful.

  • gram

    >>Quite right they did…..but 723,979 DIDN’T<

  • `Touch of the talk radio approach with this thread – say something without any foundation and get a response.`

    OK – I will put it another way – if the DUP were prepared to operated a mandatory coalition with Sinn Fein as the First Minister then they would not be getting my own vote nor the votes of various family members all of whom voted 1 DUP, 2 UUP, 3 TUV, 4 Alliance, 5 SDLP at the recent election or something thereabouts!

  • DC

    Kilsally – big deal.

  • gram

    >>As for cuts, George Osborne will not be held hostage by anyone, they are coming.< >The NIO effectively runs the province anyway, It makes no difference having our Trumpton talking shop< http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6482001.ece

  • Quagmire

    SF already have a de-facto First Minister in Marty Mc G anyway. He has exactly the same powers and responsibilities as Robinson. I love the way Unionists spout on about democracy, but when the likelihood of a democratically elected Republican First Minister raises its head then they pick up their ball and leave the field. Its democracy on their terms or not at all. Joke!! As a nationalist it doesn’t really instill me with confidence in terms of the voluntary coalition debate. Seems Unionists still want their cake and to eat it. Well folks bad news, mandatory coalition is here to stay. Your joined at the hip with Republicanism, in a power sharing arrangement, on an All-Ireland basis, with mutual vetoes ad infinitum. It seems you have three choices (1.) Continue with mandatory coalition forever and ever amen in the hope that demographic gods are in your favour (2.) Joined Authority with a bigger role for the Republic (3.) Begin negotiations Island wide for a new 32 county democracy to be established on this Island with rights and entitlements for all.

  • fin

    SF topped the poll for Europe (with help from the TUVites) and dispite warnings the world didn’t end.

    There will be a Westminister election next, its possible that a majority of seats will go to nationalists (Especially if the TUVites help out). If they do, again I don’t think the world will end.

    Then there is a Stormont, possibly SF will be the biggest party (Especially if the TUVites help out) I don’t think the world will end either.

    Political Unionisms big fear is not nationalists been on top, its the fact that their voters don’t really seem that bothered.
    http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/606/2009/6/11/619865_384232617226DUP8216.html

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Kilsally,

    fair enough – but being the First Minister is purely symbolic.

    We are back to a battle between pro and anti agreement Unionists – hopefully it will be just the TUV in the anti corner in the next set of elections.

  • Zoon Politikon

    DUP ‘bogeyman’ bluff called by voter apathy Subs. req.

    Eye of Newt…
    By Newton Emerson
    11/06/09

    The most interesting aspect of the European election is that the DUP’s call to stop Sinn Fein topping the poll fell on deaf unionist ears.

    Every reason given for the DUP’s dismal result – from the quality of its candidate to the impact of the expenses scandal – was long ago factored into the party’s calculations.

    Hence the completely naked appeal to stop the Shinners. The DUP has believed for some time that the spectre of Sinn Fein topping the poll is its electoral trump card. Changes it negotiated to the Good Friday Agreement at St Andrews in 2006, having previously floated them at Leeds Castle in 2004, make a Sinn Fein first minister possible without a nationalist assembly majority. The only reason the DUP would have agreed to this, let alone actively promoted it, is to scare its own voters with a republican bogeyman.

    Going hand-in-hand with that horror is the DUP’s sincere belief that every other unionist party splits its vote.

    From the day it was founded, the DUP has called everyone else a splitter while giving no quarter to anyone who dared throw the accusation back.

    Like every rival before him, Jim Allister received similar treatment.

    The DUP was much mocked throughout the campaign for aiming to “smash Sinn Fein” in Europe while working with Sinn Fein in Stormont. But there was no reason to suppose it would not get away with this cynical ambivalence.

    The DUP has been a simultaneously

    pro-agreement and anti-agreement party for as long as those terms have had meaning. It participated in talks, stood in elections and nominated ministers to the first executive, all while claiming to oppose them and all while remorselessly increasing its vote.

    Now it seems that this whole interlocking system of siege tactics and mentalities has finally run out of road.

    If there had been even moderate concern across the unionist population about Bairbre de Brun coming first she would have struggled to come third.

    Yet the absolute maximum number of people primarily concerned by Sinn Fein topping the poll can hardly exceed the DUP’s first preference vote of 88,346. This is precisely one third of the unionists who could be bothered to turn out and roughly one sixth of the unionist electorate overall.

    There are two broad ways of explaining this indifference. Either unionists are now so comfortable with Sinn Fein in government that they no longer care what happens in the parallel nationalist-republican world, sealed off as it is behind the agreement’s sectarian structures.

    Alternatively, unionists are still so uncomfortable with Sinn Fein in government that they would rather let it top the poll than vote for a power-sharing party.

    The absolute maximum number of people in the latter category can hardly exceed Jim Allister’s first preference vote of 66,197. This is precisely one quarter of the unionists who could be bothered to turn out and roughly one eighth of the unionist electorate overall.

    Perhaps more important than these figures, telling as they are, is the general apathy over what was supposed to be a psychological trauma. Not one single incident, large or small, peaceful or violent, staged or spontaneous, has been reported in response to Sinn Fein’s success. The phrase “So what?” hangs lightly in the air.

    The DUP has already issued statements essentially writing Jim Allister’s votes off as permanently lost and committing itself to a more active promotion of power-sharing. Better to take a steer from amiable plodder Jim Nicholson, who took the UUP vote up in percentage if not absolute terms despite a weak campaign and a disastrous start to the Tory merger. David Cameron’s confidence overcame all.

    Of course, this was “only” a European contest. How well would unionism cope with Sinn Fein becoming the largest party in the assembly? Once over the initial shock, there would be surprisingly little to cope with.

    Proportional representation ensures that unionism will remain the largest designation, however much individuals play around with their votes.

    Power-sharing means that Sinn Fein can do nothing without cross-community consensus. Sinn Fein’s failure in the south commits it to devolution.

    The agreement guarantees the status of Northern Ireland until a majority wishes to change it.

    Under a Sinn Fein first minister, unionists could soon realise that the only poll-topping contest which counts is a border poll they cannot lose. This would give them space to realign their own politics in a more positive direction.

    Besides, it would only be a Sinn Fein “joint first minister” now, wouldn’t it?

  • `I love the way Unionists spout on about democracy, but when the likelihood of a democratically elected Republican First Minister raises its head then they pick up their ball and leave the field.`..if it were democratic, then it would be open to voluntary coalition and the election of an opposition / removal of the parties of government.

  • fair_deal

    It is stunning how Unionism is managing to rip itself assunder about something it basically agrees upon, voluntary coalition, with the means and time-scale the core of the dispute.

    “He plans to stand only in safe Unionist seats at the Westminster elections whilst standing for every Assembly seat.”

    Sensible enough electoral approach – avoids the charge of splitting the vote to a significant degree and allows a smaller party to concentrate its campaigning resources.

    “if Allister succeeded and Sinn Fein were to become First Minister it would be `curtains` for Stormont!”

    Would it? The DUP might feel it couldn’t take up it’s d’hondt seats but would UUPCon? If the Tories are in power would they want a collapse of devolution on their watch? The cookie may not fall just as nicely as the TUV assumes.

    The UUPCon would even be able to say they are doing so to ensure the protection mechanisms for Unionism are exercised, the legislative safeguards still apply even with a minority Unionist executive and UUPCon could argue their lynchpin status in any new Exec stregthens their hand.

    Also collapse doesn’t actually get Allister what he says he wants which is a ‘Voluntary Coalition’ government.

    The TUV is very weak on future strategy beyond fighting elections. On H&M it was going to Downing Street to issue demands – the Willie Ross school of political (in)action – or collapsing it all with hope/prayer that something gets put back together again closer to what the TUV would like.

    The TUV pours scorn on there being any distinction between the First and Deputy First Minister posts:
    “The fact that McGuinness, the personification of the IRA’s wicked terrorist campaign, is Joint First Minister adds insult to the grave injury
    done to democracy and justice in Northern Ireland.” (TUV Manifesto page 10)
    but now claims their access to the first minstership would enable nationalism to dominate – which is it, it can’t be both? The ‘psychological’ argument is offered as a justification this within weeks of a campaign were the TUV dismissed such ‘psychological’ arguments when proferred by the DUP.

    It is also doing what it criticises the DUP for it, playing fast and loose with some of its promises. In its manifesto it has the heading:
    “NO TERRORISTS IN GOVERNMENT” and the declaration was repeated in the News letter
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/politics/39TUV-opposed-to-terrorists-in.5371419.jp
    but their means to achieve it doesn’t deliver that:
    “Thus, we propose that it should be provided in primary legislation that no one with a terrorist
    conviction can ever hold ministerial office.” (TUV manifesto Page 11)
    Such a law only would achieve ‘no convicted terrorists’ not ‘no terrorists in government’ there is a difference. It would not be a bar to SF ministers just some SF members.

    To put it in laymans terms the TUV’s law means Gerry Adams can be first minister but maybe not Martin McGuinness (never convicted in a British Court but in the RoI).

    This also creates something of an curious distinction. Say just for a moment IRA/SF agreed to all that law and none of their ministers had a conviction. However, IRA/SF’s leadership etc remained chock a block with people with such convictions and they tell these conviction free IRA/SF ministers what to do – is a minister doing what exactly a convicted terrorist tells him/her to do a fundamental difference from the convicted terroist being a minister and doing it directly? Does the end-product differ or is it only window dressing?

    TUV comes very close to presenting Voluntary Coalition as meaning no SF in government, when all it does is remove the guarantee. The establishment of VC governance arrangements does not guarantee the end of IRA/SF in government.

    It also implies it is a ‘pain’ free option.
    Will it be a pain free option? The establishment of Voluntary Coalition government will involve trade offs with partner parties. What is TUV prepared to give the SDLP to ensure a government is created without Sinn Fein? Durkan’s demand for an enhanced NI Bill of Rights or Dominic Bradley’s Irish Language Act?

    Another TUV alternative is ‘streamlined local goverment combined with a single elected authority’ – a Molyneauxesque plan if ever there was one – yet there is no barrier in such arrangements for SF personnel with convictions to plan key roles. If terrorists in government is the issue why does it only seem to matter in some forms of government but not others?

    Key TUV goals are not delivered by their own proposals.

  • Disinterested observer

    The other question is whether SF would want to be First Minister when the Conservatives control Westminster (and hence the size of the budget) and are a sizeable party in Stormont?

  • Paul

    Do you people really believe that a tory government in westminister is really going to make that much difference? Labour has shown the way to making the nIreland question dissapear and that is to send them off to the corner to fight amongst themselves. They may tweak the details but they would never risk having the whole thing blow up in their faces

    A pole topping SF would however change there position for choice of ministers, I wonder what priorities a SF finance minister would identify

  • Driftwood

    I wonder what priorities a SF finance minister would identify

    Depends on how desperately they can beg from George Osborne for a start. Possibly a good idea to keep in with him. He’ll be the boss.

  • Paul

    Drift

    Sounds like a perfect plan to encourage Irish unity !

    Maybe the SFers are just as smart as they think they are

  • Quagmire

    “if it were democratic, then it would be open to voluntary coalition and the election of an opposition / removal of the parties of government.”
    Posted by Kilsally on Jun 17, 2009 @ 04:04 PM

    Democracy left the building my friend with the imposition of an artificial border, to ensure an in-built Protestant majority, against the expressed wishes of the majority of people on the Island of Ireland after the 1918 General Election. Moreover the period from 1922-1972, saw Unionism run what was effectively a sectarian apartheid state, which was characterised by a gross miss-use of power by those in govt. Do you think nationalists want to return to the days of croppy lie down? I don’t think so mate. As I said before mandatory coalition is here to stay, ad finitum. If you don’t like it then I refer you to my previous post where I state the other options on offer. Nationalists/Republicans are not obliged, neither morally or indeed legally, to usher in a new era of Unionist majority (mis)rule. The orange state is gone forever mo chara, get used to it cos theres no going back!!

  • Greenflag

    Good man that Allister . Scupper Stormont again . And then what ?

    Back to the guns ? Why not ? .Since the guns have fallen silent everything else has been tried so why not give the guns another go. Did’nt work last time but might work this time eh ?

    So SF take the FM position . So what ?
    If those are the rules of D’Hondt those are the rules . SF have accepted the rules and have taken the DFM position and others as per the rules . If Allister’s mob are saying that the rules don’t apply to the TUV or other disaffected Unionists simply because no unionist party gets enough votes to be the largest then why on earth should any Irish Republican or Nationalist ever trust any TUV politician or other anti power sharing Unionist or those who join them, ever again ?

    We’ve seen Suningdale bite the dust due to unionist intransigence and we’ve seen the Assembly self collaps through unionist walk outs on at least twice .

    Another collapse and Irish Republicans and Nationalists should prepare for Repartition , a new border and the division of Belfast into separate jurisdictions .

    Mandatory power sharing is the reward which unionists enjoy for not being fast enough to learn how ‘democracy’ is supposed to work . But we should’nt be too harsh on unionists . In a state carved out like NI then it was obvious from day 1 that it would have to be run as a sectarian quasi fascist state .

  • Ulsters my hoemland

    Oh, Quagmire, the world you live in must be fascinating.

    Blame everything on the ‘6 counties’ and those nasty unionists if it makes you happy. Unfortunately it doesn’t explain the Irish Republican Gaelic RC island/nation state which never accommodated for those Unionists.

    What do you think those Unionists living on the island should have done? Abandoned their UK citizenship and Unionist politics because the Gaelic Catholic Irish demanded it?

  • Driftwood

    Greenflag
    No need for guns or Stormont.
    neither worked in the past, nor will they in future.

    simple Direct Rule from London, with an advisory role for Dublin.

    Cameron, Osborne, Patterson et al are a far higher calibre politician than NI could ever produce. (The last decent politician from here was Brian Faulkner, and before him Terence O Neill)

    Simple, cheap and easy to operate. Problem solved.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Driftwood,

    thats a very objective analysis – you sppear to rate not having been in government and having being an economic advisor during a period in which the Tories almost bankrupted the country as a recommnedation for being Prime Minister.

    A severe case of the colonial ideology perchance?

  • Driftwood

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Labour have practically bankrupted the country, in the same way as Cowen and Linehan down South.

    George Osborne has made no secret of what needs to be done to fix things, and it will involve economic pain. AND stark choices. Stark choices that I don’t think the fragile Stormont administration are capable of making. Maybe it just about held during what Mervyn King called ‘the nice decade’, but that’s gone.

    Things are not about to get better anytime soon.
    At least we get rid of brown soon. The Republic has to wait a few years to oust Biffo and co.

  • Greenflag

    Driftwood ,

    ‘simple, cheap and easy to operate. Problem solved.’

    So you expect SF to send their MP’s to London?

    Your understanding of Irish politics is amiss if that is your expectation . Anyway the British (mainland ) don’t want DR -the dirty long spoon’s reach would be shortened. Too close to home .

    Your confidence in the calibre of Cameron et al to deal effectively with NI I don’t share. Not because they’re ‘Conservative ‘ but simply because they’ve never been able to do other than make a bad situation worse in either Ireland in Empire days or in Northern Ireland since partition . Their track record is generally abysmal with Heath’s forced dissolution of the old Stormont being the only ‘light ‘ ever shed by the Tories on NI !

    The last ‘real ‘ British politician to have a decent stab at solving the Irish question was Gladstone and he’ll not be returning either ;).

    A fair repartition would be initially messier but is the better solution longer term for Northern Ireland’s republicans and nationalists if for nothing else than for their self respect as part of the Irish nation . Unionists thereafter can make whatever arrangments they wish either DR from London or a devolved local Assembly with voluntary power sharing .

    Brian Faulkner was in retro probably the best ‘reasonable ‘ politician that Unionism produced on this island .Unfortunately he was’nt listened to and even now the same mobs who disavowed Faulkner are flocking to support Allister and the TUV 🙁 Captain O’Neill despite his name was an old Etonian ‘englishman ‘ and simply not cut out for NI politics of the mid and later 60’s .

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    So how do you explain your preference for Cameron given that he was advisor to the Tories the last time they nearly bankrupted the country?

  • Comrade Stalin

    fair_deal, I haven’t been having a great couple of days but your sensibly worded and measured contributions always cheer me up.

    Greenflag:

    Back to the guns ? Why not ? .Since the guns have fallen silent everything else has been tried so why not give the guns another go. Did’nt work last time but might work this time eh ?

    I don’t think it will come to this. The PIRA in the late 1960s was borne out of a scenario when there were serious problems with systematic exclusion of people from employment, housing, and government based on their religious and political beliefs. I don’t think that situation will recur. Nobody is seriously charging that there is discrimination in employment anymore.

    The threat of violence comes from the lunatic fringe who believe that it is necessary to provoke a civil war by trying to bait the loyalists. The loyalists have never needed an excuse to shoot people themselves either, of course.

    If the executive falls, it will not mean the end of Sinn Fein’s role in Northern Ireland government (lower-case G used deliberately here). The devolution of further powers to councils means that councils which they either control, or where there is a nationalist majority, or upon which there are voluntary power-sharing arrangements, will have SF possessing power – as is right and proper in accordance with their mandate and their ability to reach agreement with other parties. It’s not inconceivable that cross-council powersharing arrangements could arise, where more than one council is part of a general powersharing agreement; this would be where SF would have a shot at power in a council area where they are a minority, in exchange for unionists having the same shot in a similar case where they are a minority themselves.

    In terms of national government, I do not believe that joint authority is likely. Apart from anything else Sinn Fein do not want it, as the ruling parties in Dublin are hostile to SF and they’d conceivably be able to use leverage in NI to punish them. But the British government will have to consult Sinn Fein, along with all the other parties, when it comes to making decisions in a direct rule situation. The British are not going to bend over backwards to accomodate SF, but they will force accomodation between SF and unionists, and punish both when they fail to reach it.

    Jim Allister and the TUV fundamentally come from a perspective that believes that they are in control. The reality is that they are not in control. It’s not 1922 anymore and unionism does not have the power to exclude Sinn Fein or anyone else from power. The only outcome of any attempt to do so will be damage to unionism’s inimical interests.

    I don’t like Sinn Fein being in power, the same way I’m not looking forward to being governed by the Tories. They committed despicable acts in the past, but more importantly, they are incompetent in government. But I’d much rather have them up front where I can see them, rather than wielding power through unaccountable consultative panels, quangos, backdoor deals and secret carve-ups with the British government.

  • Babeuf

    “`I love the way Unionists spout on about democracy, but when the likelihood of a democratically elected Republican First Minister raises its head then they pick up their ball and leave the field.`..if it were democratic, then it would be open to voluntary coalition and the election of an opposition / removal of the parties of government.”

    If it was democratic, a reactionary political minority put into majoritarian power through partition and the threat of violence, wouldn’t still be holding an entire nation to a veto for the past 90 years, thus preventing full national sovereignty and democracy. 😉

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Babeuf, you’re right, those Unionists are the problem. If they won’t agree in pledging allegiance to a Gaelic Republican independent island/nation state, you’d be better off driving them into the sea, hey?….Oh, but wait, you tried that since the warmonger Pearse announced the Proclamation, and it still didn’t get rid of them. What’s next on the table to get rid of those nasty Protestant Unionists? Have you tried shaming them into submission? or even calling them Nazis?

  • Babeuf

    Ulsters my homeland (mine too!)…

    …Well obviously quite rightly I have a monopoly on the truth…

    …but then again what has a national democracy got anything to do with excluding unionists…

  • Ulsters my homeland and babeuf’s too

    Babeuf, Hope you don’t think because your an Irish Catholic, you’ve got a monopoly on the truth? Those days are over, even in the Catholic ‘Free State’

    and I think you know how the ‘Irish National democracy’ excludes the Unionists on the island. 😉

  • PaddyReilly

    Well folks bad news, mandatory coalition is here to stay.

    the DUP manifesto hankers after voluntary coalition, same as Allister (qualified majority voluntary coalition), as do a lot of the UUP and as stated by Owen Patterson of the Tories.

    Actually, when the next Assembly is elected it is highly likely that it will contain one or two less Unionists than the present one, with Unionists thus consigned to permanent minority status, with no designated block having a majority. So a voluntary coalition becomes a possibility, because a majority of the seats will be occupied by parties that already believe in power sharing: SF, SDLP, Greens & Alliance. Neither will the TUV be in a position to intimidate the other parties- PUP and UUP- which have voluntarily consented to power-sharing. Only the DUP have to watch their backs because of the TUV.

    The First Minister thing can be rotated on a yearly basis. Basically, Belfast City Council is the model.

    So Allister isn’t going to collapse anything. If mandatory collapses, majority rule with voluntary supersedes it. He is rather like a man sawing off the branch of a tree on which he is sitting. Back to the drawing board.

  • Ulsters my hpmeland

    Ah darn, Paddy. Jim said if the SDLP were left with the option of either home rule or no rule they would accept VC.

    Looks like TUV will have to rethink things. Maybe they should seek to remove all those politicans in Stormont with terrorist and criminal pasts, that’ll pull in a few more votes and shake things up a bit.

  • babeuf

    “Babeuf, Hope you don’t think because your an Irish Catholic, you’ve got a monopoly on the truth? Those days are over, even in the Catholic ‘Free State’

    and I think you know how the ‘Irish National democracy’ excludes the Unionists on the island.”

    I think you’re missing my humour?

    …And I’m certainly not a Catholic, and have never been one…

    …think you may find some of greatest Irishmen and Republican’s were protestant or from a protestant religious background… ..not that I’m one of ‘them’ either…

    …And, I have never had much time for the free state nor Dev’s catholicism in the 1937 Constitution…nor have Irish Republicans throughout the ‘free state’s’ history…Irish democracy always inevitably would require a ‘real’ Republic of the whole Island…

    …the Free State did indeed go somewhat out of it’s way to give a voice to unionism, with the Senate etc… …just that wasn’t buying political reaction and sumpremacism… …and the Free State did as much if not more against Republicans as Stormont in the North…

    …Know? No, please enlighten me…

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Is this a wind up?

    [i]”…think you may find some of greatest Irishmen and Republican’s were protestant or from a protestant religious background… ..not that I’m one of ‘them’ either… [/i]”

    I wonder if the seperatists like Tone had realised the devastation ‘Ne Temere’ would do to the Protestant population, would he have been so enthusiastic about Irish seperation?

  • Greenflag

    UMH ,

    ‘I wonder if the seperatists like Tone had realised the devastation ‘Ne Temere’ would do to the Protestant population, would he have been so enthusiastic about Irish seperation? ‘

    The biggest ‘devastation ‘ which occurred to the protestant population in Ireland -North and South was under British Rule from the period 1840 through 1918 when the combined effects of famine ,emigration , Anglican Church disestablishment and world war had a many times greater impact on the Protestant population than Ne Temere .

    Marcus Tanner in Ireland’s Holy Wars goes into the numbers in detail for those who prefer facts to folk mythology !

    Tone was an atheist and only nominally Protestant . He had little time for any religion and saw it for what it was then and still is a means for the priestly class of all denominationsto earn an easy living at the expense of the poor and ignorant !

  • shibboleth

    In reference to the non-voters I’m always reminded in these circumstances about Craigavon Health Trust circa 15 years ago who said they would abide by the democratic process on some controversial decision.

    The trust made their case, the vote happened, the trust was defeated and the trust pushed through its decision anyhow. Asked to explain this breach of the democratic process the Trust spokesman said that the trust followed the majority view. A surprised reporter asked how was this so? The answer was that if you took the votes of those who concurred with the trust as well as those who had to be in favour as evidenced by them not actively objecting against the trust position, then one could only assume the trust had the democratic backing.

  • frustrated democrat

    Sammy

    Please check you facts the Conservatives in 1997 handed over the best economy of any outgoing government in the UK and Labour followed their plans for at least another 2 years, then it all started to go wrong….

    Assembly

    If the CU’s contest Assembly seats they will do so on the basis that they support the Assembly no matter who is first minister, decision staken by the DUP that come back to haunt them are only their problem.

    They will also support a voluntary coalition on the basis that the Assembly needs a funded opposition to make it a meaningful goverment. The form that might take would be open to discussion with and the agreement of all parties. It would NOT be an attempt to exclude anyone from government and would also allow the TUV and or the DUP to go into opposition.

    Expenditure

    Expenditure cuts in the UK are inevitable it will make sense to have CU politicians in Government to ameliorate them in so far as is possible.

  • Silverline

    What does Allister actually belive first he wanted a super council with sinn fein in it second he wanted a voluntary coalition which could have sinn fein in it and thirdly he wants to bring the executive down for joint authority and more consessions to sinn fein, does he even know the colour of his socks?

  • Cushy Glenn

    “The biggest ‘devastation ’ which occurred to the protestant population in Ireland -North and South was under British Rule from the period 1840 through 1918 when the combined effects of famine ,emigration , Anglican Church disestablishment and world war had a many times greater impact on the Protestant population than Ne Temere”

    Hmmm…well in spite of the doom mongers in the Conservative party at the time I don’t think disestablishment actually brought about mass emigration. And the largest Protestant emigration was the successive waves of presbyterians fleeing 18th century famines and discrimination. The Great War was the major factor in decline of 20th century Protestants in the island as a whole but not for the movement of Protestants within Ireland ( or indeed within the UK as we should say). That was the outworking of the rebellion post 1919

    Wolfie was a bit of bigot by the way. He privately sneered at “poor Pat and his priests”. Funny how most of the prod nationalists were poseurs- Parnell being another prime hypocrite

  • Comrade Stalin

    PaddyReilly:

    Actually, when the next Assembly is elected it is highly likely that it will contain one or two less Unionists than the present one, with Unionists thus consigned to permanent minority status, with no designated block having a majority.

    I’d be interested to see which seats you think they’ll lose.

  • fin

    Cushy, possibly you are taking Wolf Tone and Parnell out of context, until recent times class and the natural ‘pecking order’ of society was quite rigid, Edmund Burke and his reaction to the French Revolution been a prime example, possibly best documented in the prose of Dickens. Although Burke, Tone, Parnell and many others fought for a better life for the poor and oppressed it wasn’t to elevate the poor to their level of society, as in Dicken’s books the concept was the basic structure of society was find, it just needs adjusting to gice the lesser classer a better life.

    Although Tone is the Daddy of Irish Republicanism the concept would have been an uncomfortable one for him

  • Greenflag

    cushy glen,

    Thank you for adding to the point . I should have used the dates 1740 to 1918 which would then have included the mass emigration of Northern Presbyterians following the ‘minor ‘famines of the 18th century.

    Disestablishment of the COI particularly in the south and west of Ireland where local protestant communities were a small minority anyway -had a serious economic impact on communities and forced many either to leave to the larger towns or to emigrate .

    ‘Wolfie was a bit of bigot by the way.’

    Not at all . He just had no time for religion . He was a ‘product’ of the enlightenment .

    ‘ He privately sneered at “poor Pat and his priests”.’

    Pat was poor and Tone understood the reasons why at the time . So too did Jonathan Swift and earlier still Molyneux.

    As for the ‘priests’ . Tone was ahead of his time . Parnell was a man of his time . So too was Dev who at one time several years after independence ‘confessed’ that not a whole lot could be done for a small regional economy like the Free State and later Republic . Thus the codology about a frugal and spiritual Ireland comely maidens at the crossroads dance, and quietly in the background unheard, the battering and abuse of the poorest and weakest in religious and state institutions.

  • Henry94

    If Allister won enough seats to prevent a Unionist majority then he would be the one under pressure. The other unionists would simply point to him as the man responsible for putting Gerry Adams in the FM’s office.

    I say Adams because I’m sure Sinn Fein would want to up the pressure and people are used to McGuinness.

  • Greenflag

    Jim Allister and the TUV fundamentally come from comrade stalin ,

    ‘ It’s not 1922 anymore and unionism does not have the power to exclude Sinn Fein or anyone else from power. ‘

    I hear you . Allister and the TUV and others don’t .

    ‘The only outcome of any attempt to do so will be damage to unionism’s interests.’

    When did that ever matter . The path of self destruction from Sunningdale to the present is clearly seen among a significant section within ‘unionism ‘. Allister is just the latest manifestation of the phenomenon.

    ‘I don’t like Sinn Fein being in power the same way I’m not looking forward to being governed by the Tories.’

    I suspect that the Tories will end up doing more damage to the NI economy or what’s left of it than SF could ever dream of 🙁

  • Greenflag

    paddy reilly ;

    ‘He(Allister) is rather like a man sawing off the branch of a tree on which he is sitting.’

    As long as it’s just a branch and there’s nobody directly underneath I guess we can let him get on with it 😉 ?

    ‘ Back to the drawing board.’

    Tabula rasa I’d have said -for thats what faces anti power sharing unionism and I don’t see any prospective Conservative Government handing out any more crumbs to adorn said bare table !

  • Greenflag

    Comrade stalin ,

    ’13.Jim Allister and the TUV fundamentally come from comrade stalin ,’

    Error CS apologies – please ignore in 13 above .

  • fin

    Has JA said anything about what he expects would happen after Stormont collaspse if SF were in pole position, I’m guessing both governments would be keen to get it up again as soon as possible, I would expect SF to be still in pole position when it was restarted.

  • PaddyReilly

    I’d be interested to see which seats you think they’ll lose.

    Dead cert: Unionist loss to SDLP in Strangford
    On the Cards: Unionist loss to SDLP in E Antrim
    Highly Possible: Unionist loss to SF in Upper Bann
    Highly Possible: Unionist loss to ?? in East Londonderry
    Could happen: Unionist loss to second centrist candidate (Alliance or Green) in E Belfast
    Probably for the next election: Unionist loss in Fermanagh S Tyrone

    (At the same time, Nationalist seats in Lagan Valley, SA Antrim and N Antrim are thought to be at risk. But looking at the figures, I think they are safe except that SF will lose to SDLP in Lagan Valley).

  • Cushy Glenn

    gf
    I’m not sure I agree
    Tone was indeed “enlightened” but I think he was very disparaging about the lumpens ( to mix images)and their deference to their clergy. In the way in which he condescended to those with whom he claimed to empathise, he blazed a trail for liberals in the 21st century

  • frustrated democrat

    Greenflag

    ‘I suspect that the Tories will end up doing more damage to the NI economy or what’s left of it than SF could ever dream of :(‘

    You couldn’t be further from the truth, the plans are to revitalise the NI economy – under discusssion are, all NI as an Enterprise Zone and 10% Corporation Tax for starters – source ‘Cameron Direct’ in Ballymena.

    So please don’t make unfounded statements when the information is already available.

  • dewi

    FD – If Cameron introduces a 10% corp tax for NI only then I’ll eat my hat. Won’t happen.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but I think he was very disparaging about the lumpens’

    Remember the times he was living in . You could still be hanged for taking a bite of the King’s Deer and Tone was barely cold in his grave when the ‘lumpens ‘ could be ‘exported’ to Australia or Canada for stealing a loaf of bread . Why they just did’nt obey the law and die of starvation like decent law abiding subjects of the King I guess we’ll never know !

    Anyway I’m even more ‘disparaging’ towards fundamentalist reborns – babbling tongue and body twitching pentecostalists not to mention the ‘heaven magicians’ of Catholicism and the Calvinist two colour merchants of sanctimonious hypocrisy 😉 so you hardly expect me to condemn Tone his untoward utterances . The one I like best is when he was confronted by a begging fiddler he tossed the man a penny shouting ‘Strum Strum and be damned ‘ (did’nt have an ear for the music ye see )

    I’ll forgive Tone his ‘disparaging ‘ on the basis that he did not live long enough to mellow his attitudes but thats the lot political revolutionaries . They often die young .
    In the 1790’s most people in Ireland probably still spoke Irish outside of the big towns . Tone could probably only directly communicate with the small educated class and those along the east coast who could master more than a smidgin of english.

    Tone’s idealism will continue to be a beacon for many on this island. He had the right idea at the time but he underestimated the Hanoverian King and he overestimated the French ‘will’ to weaken the British Empire.

    A traitor to his class he was – which is why he remains a hero for the majority ;).

  • Greenflag

    frustrated democrat ,

    ‘the plans are to revitalise the NI economy’
    Wonderful . How novel . Who’d have thought of that eh ? Now where have I heard that one before ? Nice words -they always are ahead of an election . We’ll see the dead cat bounce after the election no doubt . The larger a Tory victory the smaller the dead cat bounce 😉

    As for the 10% corporation tax ? Back at the time of Sunningdale would have been a good time . But we are now in times of world wide competition for low tax rates . When everybody has low tax rates nobody has low tax rates . The poorer countries of the world have to come up with a better way to attract investment than playing beggar their neighbours . If NI why not Sunderland and the North East of England ? Indeed why not everywhere outside London and the South East ?

    I’ve a better idea . Export everybody in Northern Ireland to the Sahara Desert . The Germans are planning to use the Sahara as the solar power generator for most of Europe’s energy needs over the next 20 to 30 years . Testing of the technology at a solar plant in Southern Spain has shown this to be an economically viable project . A location in the Sahara will deliver three times as much energy as the one in Spain and will be less costly to maintain . With enough solar power installations the Germans reckon the Sahara can supply the entire energy demands of the Earth in about 6 hours a day !

    I see the role of NI exportees as providing some technical skills as well as security and overhead personnel for this immense project . They’ll appreciate the sunshine also and think of all the sandcastles they can build . Put Stormont to shame really !

  • Greenflag

    frustrated democrat ,

    ‘the plans are to revitalise the NI economy’
    Wonderful . How novel . Who’d have thought of that eh ? Now where have I heard that one before ? Nice words -they always are ahead of an election . We’ll see the dead cat bounce after the election no doubt . The larger a Tory victory the smaller the dead cat bounce 😉

    As for the 10% corporation tax ? Back at the time of Sunningdale would have been a good time . But we are now in times of world wide competition for low tax rates . When everybody has low tax rates nobody has low tax rates . The poorer countries of the world have to come up with a better way to attract investment than playing beggar their neighbours . If NI why not Sunderland and the North East of England ? Indeed why not everywhere outside London and the South East ?

    I’ve a better idea . Export everybody in Northern Ireland to the Sahara Desert . The Germans are planning to use the Sahara as the solar power generator for most of Europe’s energy needs over the next 20 to 30 years . Testing of the technology at a solar plant in Southern Spain has shown this to be an economically viable project . A location in the Sahara will deliver three times as much energy as the one in Spain and will be less costly to maintain . With enough solar power installations the Germans reckon the Sahara can supply the entire energy demands of the Earth in about 6 hours a day !

    I see the role of NI exportees as providing some technical skills as well as security and overhead personnel for this immense project . They’ll appreciate the sunshine also and think of all the sandcastles they can build . Put Stormont to shame really !

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    do I owe you some money? Too many fecking Welsh and Englezes in that team – any sign of any of your dreadful Princes showing up?

    re. Tax

    If PoshboyDC wants to move towards harmonising rates with the ROI then good on him. His party have no strategic interest in Norn Iron, as reflected in the GFA which he supports, so it would be good to see him delievering on this.

  • dewi

    Sammy – I reckon I’m a fiver up. Double on Saturday? I’ll go for the Lions?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    no – dont want to bet against them – Irish players to score more tries than Welsh in first test – and if none carried forward to next test?

  • dewi

    Deal.

  • frustrated democrat

    Sammy

    That is not in the GFA and he does have a selfish interest in maintaining the UK – source: speech UUP annual conference – do please try to get your facts right please.

    Dewi

    I hope you have a straw hat…

  • t g macamholaibh

    I’m sure it’s been pointed out before. If the assertion that SF cannot become the lead party in the six, the six cannot and will not funtion. There is no implicit veto from one party or one section of the community. Full stop. Democracy, in whatever form it takes, cannot be held hostage to one group. If you can’t live with this, you do not support the GFA. The days of hegemony are over. Full stop.