On that business of policing and justice…

Given this is a game largely played by two players neither of whom are particularly interested in sharing their inner most thoughts with the outside world, guessing when Policing and Justice is going to be devolved is a bit of a pointless game… Robinson appeared to indicate a stepchange in negotations back in July. The fairly positive voices emerging from Alliance indicate they are on board too. Last week the BBC appeared to indicate a breakthrough on the community confidence issue, but as Jim Dee picked it in his report for the Belfast Telegraph, that issue hasn’t gone away you know:

Mr Robinson said that “a handful of issues” remain to be resolved, and that the financial underpinning of the package will be crucial.He said that once that is achieved “the imperative will be to build public confidence. And I have already said that I do not intend to be neutral in doing that.”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    There is no point in trying to guess the timing – but what we can say is that since SF lifted the threat to collapse Stormo Robbo has been moving things along at a pace that is acceptable to Marty.

    The problem for Robbo is that trying to run the issue into the Westminsters will surely only allow the TUV to make more political capital out of it. If he going to do it – then better sooner rather than later and that then gives him a few months to show that the sky hasnt fallen in and that agreement can be achieved in Stormo even in the most contentious areas.

    Whether the quareone Hilary has or will play a role in proceeedings remains to be seen but like all politicians she will no doubt not be endeavouring to quash any such suggestions if Robbo does indeed jump, as is now expected.

  • DC

    I don’t know what they’re doing up there, what sort of job is it that you only attend work twice a week and pretty much do nothing but talk and say your piece (probably consisting of nothing more than about 1 hour in total).

    And spare us all the constituency work nonsense as most busy offices have staff.

    They’re up there doing less than what they should be doing because they’ve got bad attitudes. Some are on £100,000 plus a year. I really fail to see how they can justify themselves most of the time, I really do.

    The sharper suit the blunter the performance it would seem and it utterly sickens me.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    what amazes me about the public attitude is that a few years ago it seemed a virtual impossibility that we could get the level of agreement that we have now and instead of praising SF and the DUP for what has been achieved we have non-stop whingeing.

    If Robbo and Marty can continue even at this painstakingly slow pace and get elected (perhaps even switching jobs) in 2011 then the Plain people of Norn Iron should be celebrating just how far they have come rather than complaining as if they thought that Norn Iron should be judged by the standards of a normal society.

  • frustrated democrat


    What level of agreement would that be then?

    Agreeing to disagree perhaps.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    “There is no point in trying to guess the timing..”

    There never was.

    As you well know.

    You might want to have a word with “Marty” though.

    He insisted that it is “absolutely imperative that the policing and justice issue is resolved before Christmas”.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    the substantive point is that Marty and Robbo are working away steadily to move to where most of us want to be i.e. a settled Stormo with all its intended powers in place.

    Marty has been rightly patient with Robbo, who is under constant threat of Lundification from the TUV and Robbo seems to be making the right noises.

    But if Marty occasionally gives Robbo the odd kick up the jacksie to get a move on, well it gives us something to talk about – but lets not lose sight of the objective here as those of us in the pro-agreement camp continue to welcome the steady progress.

  • DC

    Aye dead on Sammy. I’m living with people who already get on in life and mix both in social and private life; I’m not celebrating a couple of political Neanderthals getting it together after, what will likely be, 3 years.

    Please spare me your trite nonsense. I might have been able to feel pleased if they had been more open and transparent and been paid a good deal less given the time span. Not to mention throughout 2003-2007 all MLAs got paid for nothing when the assembly was off limits and closed.

    The way I see it is that, it was always a fait accompli as it was in down in the GFA text as desirable and awaiting delivery, based on agreement. That was over 10 years ago, the IRA wound up properly in 2005, after 94 and 97 start stops. There was of course that putative St Andrews Agreement in 07, where a spirit of confidence was supposed to have been reached!

    In my view Stormont is too slow. Or those up there are going too slow, as society either ignores and disconnects, or even worse they work at a pace which national governments alternatively take the decisions for them higher up and supersede. Europe may have to do the same on climate.

    And as for climate Sammy Wilson’s comments are the height of gross irresponsibility just as the DUP has been in deeds over the last 30 years, but as I said the powers that be above them will, I hope, ride to the rescue.

    I’m only effed-off at the money they pocket in the process for doing as little as possible and as slowly as possible so as to save face. And save votes through the passing of time alone than actual leadership itself, hoping that their electoral ignoramus will have forgotten that old party polemic.

    As Natascha Kampusch said: “Time heals all wounds.”

    But in politics a week is a long time and I think wasting time has been what it’s all about. Wasting time is easy.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    The substantiove point is that, as you well know, we are where the DUP always said we would be.

    Not May 2008.

    But when they agree.

    Your attempt to dress it up as something other ignores everything that has happened and has been said in between.

  • DC

    “The substantiove point is that, as you well know, we are where the DUP always said we would be.”

    And as a judgement call Pete, I find that simply pathetic. Time wasters, well paid, six figure, time wasters.

    None of it makes sense to me. Maybe Harold Wilson was right after all. Truth can hurt.

  • Pete Baker


    “None of it makes sense to me.”

    That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the detail.

    And why paying attention to the detail infuriates those who would prefer it if the public didn’t know what was actually going on.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    frustrated democrat,

    that is some arrangement you have going there with your right wing friends from England – since this unlikely alliance/merger/what the feck is it – the UUP have become an anti-agreement party, taken on the might of the junior GAA in Tescos and forced the GAA off the airwaves as well as probably losing their only MP.

    It is not as if the UUP are outside the tent and are simply pissing in on SF and the DUP but are actually half in and half out and pissing on themselves as they claim that Stormo in which they are actually working and have a fecking minister doesnt actually work.

    Any wonder they are turning inot a confused sectarian rump?

  • DC

    It isn’t detail Pete, it’s those unionisy political actors being out of sync and taking a lot of money for a go-slow in the process while the rest go to the wall.

    Option 1: Deliver quickly and upset the ignorant and lose votes (yet potentially save lives and bed down confidence, co-operation and peace).

    Option 2: Go slow and do little very inefficiently so as not to lose votes and to stop political arguments (based on flawed leadership characteristics).

    And the option to the plebs on the street, lose jobs with no subsidised Stormont canteen in the process.

    Don’t you get it, it always had to happen but a leadership vacuum in Unionism meant they had to let time slip so that could give them a foot up to mask leadership deficiencies?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    re. “The substantiove point is that, as you well know, we are where the DUP always said we would be.”

    What about political liftimes?

    Nicely set out here http://ulstersdoomed.blogspot.com/2009/09/political-lifetime.html

    The DUP have lost a quarter of their vote to the TUV , they admit they are only doing a deal because they are threatened by the Engleze government (which they openly admit)- and the only reason the DUP are/appear to be crossing the finishing line – is because they are being dragged across – it takes some political naivety or party zealotry not to see that.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    patience – things are worse elsewhere – more corrupt in the south of the country and far greedier in Englezeland.

  • DC

    Well at least your points agree with my theory and judgement call, Sammy.

    As an aside, I only hope someone or some ‘body’ supranational or otherwise saves the climate, as if Obama can’t deliver on health care ‘locally’ then we’re fcuk’ed on the more global problems.

  • Pete Baker


    It could have been a lot smoother if Sinn Féin hadn’t begun by declaring that a deadline existed, May 2008.

    That the DUP had agreed to that deadline.

    And that the British Government would deliver on that deadline.

    When none of the above was true.

    That’s the detail that Sammy Mac prefers to ignore.

  • DC

    “It could have been a lot smoother if Sinn Féin hadn’t begun by declaring that a deadline existed, May 2008.”

    It was due for consideration before then as per 1998 GFA, please don’t rest heavily on DUP negotiations and spokespersons. Proof of that rests in their cop out back in 1997 time, when the DUP’s absence paved the way for a stronger nationalist front and the terrorists got out earlier than would have been the case if Trimble, and Unionism, had more backing on those moral grounds.

    Judgement calls Pete, you want to make any?

  • frustrated democrat

    Now we have it there is no agreement.

    Any progress is due to the pressure from Westminster 11:36. That is not what you were saying at 10:23

    A diatribe of inaccuracies against the UUP, of which I am not a member, doesn’t cover up the shambles that is the current DUP/SF axis.

    As I understand it.

    The UUP

    1. Fully support the GFA and the transfer of Policing and Justice, after all that is why Stormont collapsed in the 70’s because it was removed.

    2. Want a fully functional PSNI that is fit for purpose and that is fully funded to get to that level.

    3. Want a fully functioning executive to devolve it to.

    Do you disagree with any of those points and if so why?

  • Pete Baker


    “please don’t rest heavily on DUP negotiations and spokespersons.”

    I don’t. I rely on the detail of what emerges from those negotiations, the detail from various Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, the detail of what actually happens, and the detail of what is actually said.

    You know, the detail.

    Not a subjective “judgement call”.

  • DC

    Sometimes Pete the detail isn’t enough, as you are left with that question: ‘what do you expect from a pig but a grunt?’

    You want to play around in shit by all means.

    I’ll make those judgement calls and vote accordingly.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    re. the detail. Both the DUP and SF have spun the STA to suit their own ends – the DUP with their not in a political lifetime and SF with their May 2008 deadline.

    What I pointed out to you repeatedly was that you were obsessed with what was being said and missed the substantive political point i.e. that the DUP were trapped into either agreeing to the transfer of police and justice or having a non working Stormo and the Englezes do yet another deal (which the DUP admit they are terrified of )behind the back of the long suffering plain Unionist people of Ulslter – God bless ’em. Simples.

  • DC

    Or Sammy he missed the judgement calls from the police chief, or chose to ignore them entirely, that any more deadlock and delay on the issue of policing devolution could cost lives.

    As Pete Baker is a man of, from what I gather, non-religion and of reasoned arguments I am left frustrated and having to say to him and the DUP leadership: weak, weak, weak!

  • Pete Baker

    I can only try to show you what’s actually going on guys.

    If you repeatedly ignore that reality, or alternatively chose to campaign for a particular outcome, there’s not a lot I can do about that.

    But it isn’t the reality.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    frustrated democrat,

    10.23 – I was praising the fact that progress was made by the DUP and SF – the Englezes have helped in that the SOS is an allround good egg and has played a blinder.

    The UUP members were involved in the Tescos incident (only one of the 2 actually bothered to deny it) and involved in the BBC GAA issue and they have publically stated they would vote against the Transfer of Police – that is what most people would fairly describe as being AGAINST or ANTI and as the transfer is included in the GFA and STA most fair minded people would therefore describe that, and particlalry at this crucial juncture, as being ANTI-AGREEMENT.

    It is fair to therfore to describe them, based on their recent public utterances as sectarian and anti-agreement – with the only defence for their poor behaviour being their very poor leader and the party’s general ill health which may well prove to be fatal.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    You should not let the detail obscure your view of the substantive – as my Granny used to oft remark.

    And I’m afraid you CANT trot line 1) out having JUST given us line 2).

    1) ” can only try to show you what’s actually going on guys. If you repeatedly ignore that reality, or alternatively chose to campaign for a particular outcome, there’s not a lot I can do about that. ”

    2) “The substantiove point is that, as you well know, we are where the DUP always said we would be.”

  • DC

    “If you repeatedly ignore that reality, or alternatively chose to campaign for a particular outcome, there’s not a lot I can do about that.”

    Good. I’ll call that progress, of sorts.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac

    Look again. It’s where we are.


    “I’ll call that progress, of sorts.”

    You, apparently, would.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Oh, for God’s sake. Pete might be many things, but he is at least consistent – unlike some of the parties.

  • Dewi

    “I can only try to show you what’s actually going on guys”

    Or isn’t maybe. It’s pretty symptomatic of the DUP that their sole concern (just like Paisley) is not to take note of “deadlines” etc. No consideration of the benefits (or even disadvantages) of devolving P&J. It’s all trying to pot one over Sinn Fein. Isn’t it DUP policy to devolve P&J?

  • DC

    “Oh, for God’s sake. Pete might be many things, but he is at least consistent – unlike some of the parties.”

    He’s only consistent with the recent DUP line on P&J in particular.

    Why does he not go back further into the annals of DUP press releases and drag out – the “smash Sinn Fein” mantra etc.

    Things are open to change, which is fair enough, it’s the manner in which change is coming about that I am critical of, as I’ve stated above, relying on time alone than leadership itself whilst getting paid very very handsomely.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Hey, Slabbery, one of these days you *really* should explain to the likes of me and Pete why we’re living in this fantasy world of ours. You know, the one were P&J hasn’t been transferred, where Sinn Five haven’t pulled out of the executive and ‘brought the institutions down’, and where, most remarkably of all, all this didn’t happen the better part of two years ago! You know, the way you slabbered it would and had. But keep making stuff up, coz’ that makes it true! And not utterly, side-splittingly laughable.

    Oh, and since McMurderous knows his place and jumps in line accordingly, you plastics off-stage ought in all decency to make rather less jibber-jabber on the internets.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    The more I think on it, the more reckon we should have a competition: we’ll call it the Turtlebowl, and it’ll be awarded to the Norn Iron politician, or sectarian killer, who has had to make the most cringeworthy series of U-turns in a calendar year.

    Let’s toss Thames House’s bluest eyed boy into contention straight away: we obviously had the ‘by Christmas or else’ hilarity, but then before that we had the risible ‘veto on a veto’, when McMurderous pouted n’ pledged that there could be no possible circumstance in which Unionism would attain, let alone exercise a veto on a Republican being eligible to hold any transferred P&J post. I think that’s a record that’s hard to beat, but are there any other challengers out there? Let the entries flood in!

    Notes for editors
    The Turtlebowl will this year be presented at the Stormont Hotel by Kylie Britney Avril Gaga McGimpsey, the unknown McGimpsey, or K-Bag to her friends and is sponsored by Murky Developments (“bringing a little bit of the South North”).

  • DC

    Nice summation by Alex Smith re Mandelson’s speech at Labour conference.

    I’m using it highlight the problems with our lot:

    Peter Mandelson has just come off the stage at conference to a rousing reception, having framed the next general election as one where voters can either fight for continued change through active government, or vote to return to the establishment of small state ideology.

    The speech had the tone and tenor of the leader’s speech, and the party message is being well honed now. Each minister is contributing to the argument that change in the post-recessionary age means devolved, active and personal government and that the election will be a clear choice between the power of government to lift people up, versus a party which fundamentally mistrusts public institutions.

    ‘Our lot’ clearly and simply just do not measure up to this vision.

  • percy

    Brown has just repeated Labour Policy is they want to see devolution of P*J in the next few months. ie Xmas.
    Ergo SF and HMG are on the same page.

    Pete are you claiming in the world of realpolitick that that fact doesn’t matter, or has no bearing on the outcome?

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Yeah, SF are on the same page. It’s the same page of course provided there weren’t any other pages. Oh, and that there isn’t a Unionist page. What with the Unionist page being exactly the same one the PM said this afternoon. And all those other pages, you know, the ones you’re pretending to forget about, where Sinn Five said ‘transfer by Christmas, last Christmas, or else’, ‘no Unionist veto on a Republican holding the post’ &etc;. But other than than, for Slugger’s bould Provettes, yeah, everything is for the made uppiest in the made uppiest of worlds.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy, you’re daft as a brush. If Robinson took a big dump on Martin McGuiness’ desk, you’d argue that it was only because he allowed him to do it.

    It remains clear, as it has been all along, that it is the DUP who are dictating the agenda here, not Sinn Fein. The DUP has provided no additional concessions beyond what was agreed at St Andrew’s; Sinn Fein on the other hand have acceded to a raft of concessions to the DUP, including excluding themselves from the job, excluding the SDLP from the job, tolerating a delay in the devolution in the first instance, etc.

    The costs of Stormont collapsing will be huge, but that doesn’t mean that it is not possible. I would remind you that the impact of the collapse would be felt equally as painfully by Sinn Fein as they would by the DUP. Joint authority, which is very unlikely to happen in the present climate in the RoI, will work against SF’s interests, not in favour of them. It is awareness of this fact that has kept Sinn Fein inside the process, and which will likely keep them in the process even if this matter stretches beyond Christmas.

  • Comrade Stalin

    percy, HMG may share a page with some other people, but anyone who reads a history book knows that this does not make unionists feel obligated in any way, and policing and justice devolution will not happen without their agreement.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Comrade Stalin,

    you dont get one simple thing – parties do not voluntarily follow policies that cost them votes i.e. the DUP would not be running with police and justice if they were not under pressure to do so. Do you not realise that this is one TUVs Jimbo’s biggest sticks to beat them with and they have already lost a quarter of their voters for being Lundies?

    The DUP are moving because they were pressurised in signing up to the STA and they are now pressurised by SF threat to collpase Stormo in conjuction with the Englezes threatening them with papal rule from the South – if I’m daft as a brush then Deputy Dodsy and Robbo are too – because they publically tell everybody who listen (and that obviously does not include you ) that they have no choice but to cut a deal with SF.

    Just like Trimble before him Robbo has been manouvered, not by SF but by the Englezes, into the required position because the Englezes want the deal they cut with SF to stick.

  • Comrade Stalin

    you dont get one simple thing – parties do not voluntarily follow policies that cost them votes i.e. the DUP would not be running with police and justice if they were not under pressure to do so.

    Like I said to you before, if unionists were under pressure then there would be no need for SF to make the sacrifices they have done. So your argument doesn’t work.

    And even if your argument did work, the history of this idea isn’t so good. Forcing unionists to do stuff has worked so well in the past. Like with Sunningdale and Drumcree. They’ll phone up their mates in the UDA and UVF and try to shut the country down.

    Unionists will commit political suicide rather than be seen to be jumping to the tune of republicans on the orders of a British government. They’re bloody minded and stupid like that. Those with a bit of sense can see the strategic and political benefits of having justice powers devolved. However they won’t do it unless they are seen to be coming out on top.

    You seem to think that SF have nothing at stake here. This is demonstrably wrong. If powersharing falls, SF lose almost everything they have, including their negotiating position. If all party talks to resurrect powersharing do take place, d’Hondt is likely to be the first thing to go.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    re “You seem to think that SF have nothing at stake here.”

    I dont think that.