“DUP-Sinn Fein partnership operating from an axis of denial”

The BBC report a new policy paper from the UUP [and Conservatives? – Ed]“Putting Things Right” [MS Word doc]. The focus of the paper is primarily on balancing the “glaring holes in the budget” against promises of a feast of jam, an issue that’s caused problems before for the dysfunctional Executive, but the BBC picks up on what the party proposes on policing and justice powers and, in particular, the funding issue. From the UUP statement

Given past performance, there must also be serious questions over the ability of DUP-Sinn Fein to negotiate a proper financial package to support the devolution of policing and justice. Any financial package for the transfer of policing and justice powers needs to be rigorously tested for its financial sustainability, risk management and contingency planning against potential shortfalls and it should be rolled out over a five year period initially being funded entirely by Westminster. Only then, on the basis of the outcomes of this five year period, should it be fully transferred. Clear, robust guarantees must be given that Westminster will not allow the Northern Ireland budget to suffer in the event of additional demands on policing, such as those created by civil disorder. Only on this basis can we responsibly consider the devolution of policing and justice.

Well, Peter Robinson did say that “certain accounting and other powers may have to be left with the treasury..” Adds The Belfast Telegraph notes some of the other proposals.