“So we have deadlock over resolving deadlocks.”

On his blog Mark Devenport notes the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister’s rapid response to the NI First Minister’s suggested reforms.

[Martin McGuinness] goes on to make clear that Sinn Fein will veto the DUP’s suggestion for a system which might end the vetoes. So we have deadlock over resolving deadlocks. It’s also understood that the speech the First Minister delivered at the Ulster Hall differed from the one cleared by the Deputy First Minister’s office last week.

Perhaps he was wearing a different hat? Adds Apparently, he was – “Instead of the three-page speech which underscored the achievements of devolution, Mr Robinson gave an address as DUP leader.” More below the fold.From the BBC report

“Mr Robinson told delegates that the abolition of community designation – the system by which assembly members are categorised as unionist, nationalist or other – was at the heart of proposals which his party will publish in greater detail later this month.

“As a consequence of this, new voting arrangements for the Assembly and the Executive will be required,” he said.

“As a moral and practical matter, community designation is fundamentally flawed.

“It is deeply undemocratic, it entrenches community division and hinders the development of normal politics in Northern Ireland and in practice means that the votes of all Assembly members are not equal.”

That would be part of the “ugly scaffolding”.

And, as Eamonn McCann pointed out in the case of Mark Durkan’s speech.

Some, obviously, think this “nonsense,” and that anyone daring to envision a political system no longer structured in accordance with sectarian designation must have some petty, ignoble reason for so doing. That tells us rather more about them than about Durkan.

The same is true now.

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  • bob wilson

    It was a very interesting speech
    Robbo argued strongly in favour of power-sharing!
    He made these suggestions for reform
    But also in holding out an olive branch to the UUP and SDLP on the operation of the Exec he by implication admitted they have been playing silly buggers in the past.
    Was it just me or was there an element of panic?
    Does in fear the damage of the Euro election/d expenses and the publics association of the DUP/SF with a disappointing devolution means he is facing an electoral whirlwind?

  • Mark McGreg

    It should be pointed out that the Stakeholder Media subsidiary ‘Evolve’ were billing this £35 a head event as having involvement from a ‘senior Northern Ireland Government Minister’ – as it turned out Peter Robinson. His original speech was cleared by OFMDFM given an expectation he was invited and acting in that capacity. Clearly Robinson thinks he can drop his ‘governmental’ hat like a McCausland.

    Unfortunately I doubt that ridiculous state of affairs can last much longer. Especially now people are actually being charged to listen to this ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ Stormont minister nonsense.

  • Mark McGreg

    There’s a FoI there for anyone bored enough. Ask the OFMDFM for all recent correspondence between Stakeholder/evolve and their offices. If any work was undertaken by Robinson’s FM office in relation to this appearance as ‘DUP leader’ he has defrauded the taxpayer. Could put an end to this pretending not to be a minister rubbish once and for all.

  • loki

    This doesn’t sound like a typical DUP/Robinson speech. There was no language about battle or conflict or any of the other typical DUP language.It was conciliatory and reasonable in tone and sounded like something Tony Blair might have written. Honestly- Robinson quoting Bobby Kennedy?? Truly the Twilight Zone.
    Bob, Yep an element of panic indeed.

  • Mark McGreg

    God, I’m feeling bad.

    Say you wanted to ask what duties the FM official car was put to during this date. You just fill in this form.

    http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/index/about-ofmdfm/freedom-of-information/foi-request-form.htm

    Of course official cars aren’t at the disposal of people on DUP business.

    You could use the same form for a request on correspondence between Stakeholder/Evolve and OFMDFM. Or work the press office had done on specific dates relating to this event.

    Might come to nothing. Might come to abuse of office.

    I’m not interested enough but its there on a platter. Just fill in the form.

  • alan56

    Interesting speech from Robbo. Not just the content but the tone. More relaxed and friendly, few caustic remarks and generally good tempered.
    With a general election round the corner the target here may have been UCUNF?

  • Pete Baker

    Mark

    I know that’s part of what’s above the fold, but I’m much more interested in what’s below the fold in this post.

  • LittlePoint

    Alan

    The true test of this new contented, relaxed and friendly Robbo will be an interview with Martina Purdy or any other journalist who dares suggest that something he says may not be a good idea.

  • fin

    is it me or is there a lot of traffic at the moment, a few weeks ago senior kiddo at Alliance with his nationalist/republican PR, couple of days ago Durkin with his united Ireland forum, couple of days ago Fianna Fail heading north, today Sammy getting involved in NAMA, tonight Robbo calling for an end of vetos, Gardai in South Armagh again, and people say nothing happens in NI these days

  • barnshee

    The chickens are coming home to roost

    They are running out of money

    Robbo is simply laying the ground for a blame game

    1 Domestic rates through the roof (they bloody are already)

    2 Water charges introduced? inevitable

    3 Additional charges for “re cycling”

    Robbo wants to be able to wring his hands and point at SF (and others) ” I simply could not agreement” its all their fault

    don`t vote- the govetrnment will get in

  • Driftwood

    DUP and ‘evolve’???
    Doesn’t compute…

    Maybe Peter’s holiday reading in Florida was enlightening..

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/059306173X/ref=s9_newr_gw_tr02?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=1MVKA3TZY17W70AH1N62&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467198433&pf_rd_i=468294

    Cameron made it clear tonight that the regional gravy train(s) are coming to their Dr Beecham moment.

    way to go.

  • Pete Baker

    Guys

    Try to leave your party political prejudice aside.

  • joeCanuck

    it entrenches community division

    I almost boked at that bit. The DUP doesn’t ever engage in activity/speeches that does just exactly that?
    Brain farts are not becoming.

  • igor

    Very interesting as it seems to set out the next stage of the DUP Agenda.

    My they have learned from the SF tactic of asking for a concession in return for something, pocketing it then demanding more before they move.

    So now Gerry, if the Shinners REALLY want devolution of P&J ……………………..

  • Dec

    Guys

    Try to leave your party political prejudice aside.

    LMAO!

  • YelloSmurf

    Can we focus on the actual issue here. It is fundementally undemocratic not to count the votes of all members as being equal. Why shouldn’t the 10% of voters in the middle have thier voices heard on the important issues which currently require cross community support.

    The only people against it are Sinn Féin and UCUNF (possibly). UCUNF are caught up in party political sniping in order to score points rather than considering what’s good for the electorate of Northern Ireland, all of the electorate.

    SF are opposed because they are scared that everybody else could gang up on them. This is true, but everybody could gang up the DUP equally. As it is, SF and the DUP can hold the rest of us to ransom in the assembly.

    If people think that this won’t work, they ought to consider how far Belfast has come since Unionism lost its majority, meaning that parties have had to ensure that thier proposals are acceptable on all sides of the chamber if they have any chance of getting through.

    There is also, of course, the fact that SF, the party that lectures the rest of us endlessly on “equality” is seeking to disenfranchise the 10% of voters in the middle. Anyone else can see that this is the very definition of unequal.

  • DC

    DUP and ‘evolve’???
    Doesn’t compute…

    Very good, very witty and very true.

    What prejudice? It is a good judgement call!

  • kensei

    Can we focus on the actual issue here. It is fundementally undemocratic not to count the votes of all members as being equal. Why shouldn’t the 10% of voters in the middle have thier voices heard on the important issues which currently require cross community support.

    It’s funddamentally undemocratic to give less than 10% of the representatives disproportionate power to broker deals.

    US senate supermajority requirement currently case in point.

  • kensei

    Some, obviously, think this “nonsense,” and that anyone daring to envision a political system no longer structured in accordance with sectarian designation must have some petty, ignoble reason for so doing. That tells us rather more about them than about Durkan.

    The same is true now.

    No, that’s simply incorrect. They may have a noble reason for whating change, or they may want squalid communal or party advantage. It remains true that this is more advnategous to unionism than nationalism by sheer force of numbers. There is also the experience of Belfast City Council with its no tricolour St Patrick’s Day parades, or the Alliance deciding when Republicans have been cleansed enough for them to ahve positiions of responsibility for example to draw on.

    This is a particularly nasty litle fallacy you are pushing. Sincerity is not an automatioc assumption in politics,. Especially here. And especially when you are just asking for soemthing you have been hankering after for ages, and oh what do you know, benefits you. Put up or shut up, Pete.

  • slug

    “It’s funddamentally undemocratic to give less than 10% of the representatives disproportionate power to broker deals.”

    So is the ROI rundamentally undemocratic?

  • Brendan,belfast

    Mark – it would make for a very boring FoI request. We wrote to the OFMDFM requesting that they join our event. They wrote back saying the FM could do it. Thats it.