Were still waiting to see whether the Prime Minister is going to make “an acceptable offer” to
OFMDFM the semi-detached polit-bureau to cover the cost of devolved justice powers. Meanwhile, also in the Sunday Times, Liam Clark has a reasonable round-up on the state of policing in Northern Ireland “under the rubric of community policing.” But he ends on an odd note. From the ST article
The growing problem with police resources plays into the big political picture. Sinn Fein is demanding that policing powers are devolved to the assembly but there are fears, particularly from the DUP, that the cost could drain other departments of funds if it is prioritised. Gerry Adams has hinted that Sinn Fein could withdraw from the executive if policing powers are not devolved, and the DUP is making contingency plans for that very possibility.
As the two big parties prepare for a showdown, the one thing they are both agreed on is that the British Treasury should stump up whatever is needed to cover the shortfall.
With everything else going badly, and resignations in his own party to boot, Gordon Brown wont want a Northern Ireland political and security crisis added to his other problems in the run-up to next years Westminster election. That realisation will give Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness some leverage when they meet him.
The existence of any such leverage would be dependent on Gordon Brown believing that Sinn Féin’s threat was something other than posturing for internal party consumption.
Looking on the, erm, bright side of life.. [*Ahem* – Ed]
It’s progress, of sorts..