“but I can’t give a blank cheque.”

Whilst everyone is on the same page… Conservative Party leader David Cameron has been commenting on the ongoing row over the devolution of policing and justice powers. From the BBC report

Mr Cameron said there was a great deal of cross-party consensus on the issue. “We all want to see devolution of law and justice as part of the devolution process,” he said. “We’ve always said you’ve got to have confidence on all sides before it can happen properly. “But we want it to happen and generally speaking commitments that are made we will try and agree to, but I can’t give a blank cheque.”

  • DC

    There we have it, more likely to get a better financial package under Labour as the Tories can’t guarantee it, in fact can’t even guarantee they’ll stick with any Labour-agreed financial package.

    David Cameron, man you can trust.

    And if I don’t trust him already with this wavering, how can our lot who already claim above that they lack confidence – become more confident!

    As a sort of relevant ‘confidence-based’ aside, I noticed with interest the EU delivered a report on the Georgia / Russia War.

    Uncomfortable conclusions for Georgia
    As a European Union report into last year’s conflict between Georgia and Russia puts a large part of the blame on Georgia, the BBC’s Tom Esslemont in Tbilisi asks where this leaves the small Caucasian nation.

    Georgia ‘started unjustified war’

    The war in Georgia last year was started by a Georgian attack that was not justified by international law, an EU-sponsored report has concluded.

    Now correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t it David Cameron who flew over to Georgia before the British diplomatic Foreign office, and indeed everyone else, backing that controversial president Mikheil Saakashvili.

    From the Spectator:

    David Cameron has stolen a further march on the government by heading out to Georgia before either the Foreign Secretary, who is going next week, or the Prime Minister. With Russian troops only 15 miles from Tbilisi, the Georgian government is keen for any signs of international solidarity and so Cameron can be assured of a warm reception.

    Well you messed that one up Dave!

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    It was the ‘ahem’ 21st century upgrade of the Crimean War . You could call it the

    ‘Charge of the Light Cameroonian Cavalry’

    with the emphasis on ‘light’

    Standard Operating Tory procedure back in action-business as usual.Fire Ready Aim in that order 🙁

    But he’s right about the ‘blank cheque’. The State of the British Treasury by the time and if Mr Cameron enters Downing Street, is likely to resemble Mother Hubbard’s cupboard . Northern Ireland’s hungry dogs have been forewarned .

    ‘Down boys down’ says the chief Cameroon ‘It’s a new paradigm out there or haven’t you noticed .’

    No Dave -they haven’t noticed and they are not and never have been interested in noticing . All tha matters for this lot is the colour of kerbstones , parades , flags , victims , tribal heroes , annual subvention , the 12th July , the Union and it’s nemesis for the orange fraternity a United Ireland .

    So Dave has handed the Russians an ace in the eternal poker game in return for a deuce . Well I suppose it’s a better deal than what the USA has picked up in Afghanistan .

    Dave’s next pre electoral move will be a ‘softening’ of Tory -Afghan policy . The voters UK and USA want out .

  • fin

    DC, not to mention the invitation of far right neo-nazi politicans to the Tory party conference, the BNP are woolly liberals compared to some of the Tories European bedfellows,

  • DC

    The issue apprently is confidence Greenflag, and Cameron can’t fix it so best to deal now.

    Also, Gordon Brown has made mistakes in the past but Cameron went out of his way over Georgia and it has come to bite him in the bum.

    It was a silly move to move fully against Russia and all of this before he was even PM, now we have the Tories messing about in Europe upsetting people. What we have is another, even perhaps worse, potential-PM dabbling in foreign policy and seemingly cocking it up.

    Re the Lisbon Treaty, it’s either a principled stance on a Tory policy of a referendum, or the first signs of a potential PM succumbing to egoism. As the atmosphere is fast changing to one of EU-wide cooperation and compromise as the global challenges seriously stack up: economic, environmental and political. So, to take such a stance now re Lisbon does merit consideration of Cameron integrity or egoism. Egoism in not wanting to back down so as not to lose face to Tory backers despite the Treaty being all but sealed.

    It might save face to a small pocket of Tories but it is in my view cutting of Britain’s nose to spite its face. Leadership is about taking difficult decisions to achieve a common good.

    I also don’t buy Guido’s specious argument about having a tie-break referendum as the Irish referenda were put differently, the first without changes the second one, yesterday, with those changes made to achieve the backing of the Treaty. Does his third theoretical vote have more changes made to it or less – back to the original No?

  • bob wilson

    Truth is that Woodward and Robinson screwed up royally on policing and justice. Robinson arrogantly thought he could simply ignore the UUP and he forgot the lessons of Trimble! Now he desperately wants Reg’s help.
    And Woodward has bothered to keep either UUP or the Conservatives in the loup.
    Of course Cameron isnt going to give any guarantees without seeing the detail first

  • igor

    Why is no-one asking if we need this money?

    PSNI is one of the highest funded forces in the UK. Where is all this money going? By their own admission their internal processes are a mess and there’s no real focus. Millions must be being wasted

    Before we spend a penny more on policing, when we are assured that it’s ‘down to the wire’ we need to be sure the chainlink is steel not gold plated.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Robinson arrogantly thought he could simply ignore the UUP and he forgot the lessons of Trimble! Now he desperately wants Reg’s help.

    Keep on wanking, Bob. Soon you’ll be fantasizing about Reg Empey being First Minister and David Cameron taking over the world.

  • bob wilson

    Comadre Stalin – you think Robbo can get his MLAs to vote for policing and justice? If Reg decides to vote against there will be enough DUP rebels to prevent it passing

  • DC

    Bob, there’s such a thing as honouring commitments taken and made by the British Government, past or present.

    It would seem both the DUP and David Cameron are suffering from the same disease that of ambiguity and of not wanting to honour commitments, however nuanced or loosely worded they might have been re the DUP’s particular claim on its devolution stance. But events now seem to be taking their place now.

    So no one is asking for a blank cheque but money in the region of that which is enough to do the job, usually set and agreed by OFMdFM and the civil service and rubber stamped by the treasury in agreement too. Note to Cameron, time to back some detail and lay off such ambiguous rhetorical devices. Or else how is this confidence to be gained and sustained?

  • Thereyouarenow

    To my mind Camerons unhelpful comments should be an encouragment for the DUP to come to a good deal with Brown that Hilary could proclaim.

    If Hilary praises the deal from the roof tops I do not see the Tories reneging on it.

    If the DUP do not deal and soon they will be at the beck and call of the UUs in the not too distant future.

    If I were the DUP I would deal now (I would drive a hard bargain with Gordon though).
    The UUs will be in a stronger position to undermine the DUP in the future. When you have some power you better use it. It may be gone before you realise it.

  • Greenflag

    DC ,

    ‘Cameron went out of his way over Georgia and it has come to bite him in the bum.’

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel was more reticent about Georgia /Russia but oddly enough she now has a similar problem as Cameron. Her potential Foreign Minister in waiting the successful leader of the German FDP (Liberal Party ) i.e junior coalition party Herr Westerwelle is of the same male favouring mindset as our Senator David Norris, and also the Mayors of Berlin and Hamburg.

    While it matters little to Germans who have long since got over their homophobia ,problems are forseen with Herr Westerwelle visiting say Saudi Arabia or some other oil rich Middle Eastern country where the penalty for being of that ilk is decapitation ;)?

    Upsetting the Saudis is a move not taken lightly but nobody should mess lightly with the Russian bear -particularly when said bear can switch off Europe’s natural gas supplies before you can say Peter Robinson .

    ‘I also don’t buy Guido’s specious argument about having a tie-break referendum ‘

    Guido is OTT on this one . Voter urnout was up 7 percent and many who thought it would be carried the last time (including myself ) did’nt bother to vote then . Some of the NO vote held firm with SF , Coir and some of Ganley’s , Libertas but the element that was scared into NO last time were less scared this time. Perhaps like me they were instead scared by the unlikely combination of SF, Coir , Libertas and an odd bunch of sub rosa right wingers with British Tory Party and National Front affiliations 🙁

    The margin of the win precludes any third vote . Apart from anything else the EU was sent into turmoil by Ireland’s previous No vote, and in the middle of an economic crisis this Yes vote will bring some relief to European leaders . To have another vote would risk the EU Commission having the entire island certified as a bunch of indecisive , malcontented troublemakers, and we all know that we don’t want to inherit that vaunted title from our Northern neighbours ;)?

    Who knows but this Irish vote may swing back some favour to the British Labour Party ? The new world economic /financial order now underway since the Pittsburgh G-20 is heading in a direction less favourable to the British Conservatives than to British Labour . Britain being out of step with the EU is bad enough but to add the USA and UK to the list sounds like economic and political hari kari .

    Still the Tories have some allies in Europe with some Czechs , Georgians and Ulster Unionists but probably not Lady Sylvia

    To coin an old phrase much beloved of an earlier crisis in Ireland it’s GUBU for the New Blue ;)?

  • DC

    Still the Tories have some allies in Europe with some Czechs , Georgians and Ulster Unionists but probably not Lady Sylvia

    Haha v gd.

  • Greenflag

    error -oops in 11 above

    ‘Britain being out of step with the EU is bad enough but to add the USA and UK to the list sounds like economic and political hari kari

    Should be

    ‘Britain being out of step with the EU is bad enough but to add the USA and RUSSIA to the list sounds like economic and political hari kari

  • frustrated democrat

    Cameron is right re Policing and Justice, no blank cheques until he knows what the deal is, how much it will cost, and the likelyhood of it having support and working.

    Labour hasn’t bothered to tell him what they are discussing, the DUP haven’t told the UUP (or SDLP) what they are discussing.

    Now it is all falling apart they are looking for scapegoats to cover the shambles they have created including:-

    An executive that isn’t working.

    A police force that isn’t policing.

    Gerrymandered P&J Minister proposed.

    No clue how much money is needed to create the police force needed.

    FM and DFM who can’t stand each other.

    A Secretary of State who wants a deal at any price.

    The DUP split right down the middle.

    Just how can P&J be devolved into this mess?

    Especially when the truth is most people don’t really have any interest, they just want a policeman to turn up when required.

    No promises, no bailout, no blank cheques.

  • DC

    FD, take that party line spec-o-dirt out of your eye, wud ye 🙂

  • frustrated democrat


    Which part of what I said is wrong exactly?

    It is always useful if you analyse what is said and criticise it if you feel you want to comment.

  • exile

    Absolutely spot on FD


    I agree that most people don’t really give a flying fook about the pricks NOT running the show up at Stormont but we should be wise enough to know that events beget events. If the Assembly implodes our old friend the vacuum will set in and sinister forces will exploit that for all it’s worth. All it takes, in these circumstances, is for an innocent civilian(s) to be killed for the old snowball effect to take effect. These things then take on a life of their own as everyone forgets who started it or why it started and we all withdraw into our own camps again for another generation. I would never be so arrogant to predict that this place is confident enough to dismiss this possibility. There is still a hell of a lot of bitterness and hatred just bubbling under the surface of our smelly sulphurous stinking volcano.

  • DC

    It isn’t correct because Cameron is standing over devolution but isn’t brave enough to back figures, which as I said before should be operational and sought from the NI Civil Service / Police and justice officials et al.

    The fact that there is little transparency is a matter for Robinson and McGuinness, but why would either consult Reg when he is using the news to say the time isn’t right, when timing is everything to certain executive partners. This is bloody stupid, but so was Vanguard.

    The rest of your arguments are your own views and opinions; no one really knows what’s going on but I’m trusting that the figures from non-political fiugures such as civil servants etc can be thrashed out and considered given that finance is supposed to be the key that opens the locked devolutionary door.

    If confidence can be sought by reaching financial arrangements and security in figures I would then expect Cameron to assist within in the realm of what is needed (and agreed); I don’t expect him to use rhetoric to skirt over detail, which is what I think he has done.

  • DC

    So, FD, as I’ve had a few drinks I’ll try and summarise once more:

    Basically, finance is key to confidence; Cameron wants confidence and understands it is key, but says he can’t do the finance bit that, if he is elected, was part of building that confidence.

    Ergo, we could have problems either with agreement or even ones worse without.


  • frustrated democrat


    No one has any idea what money is required for a police service that is fit for purpose. Even Patten agrees that it is not what he envisaged 10 years ago.

    I don’t believe that devolution of P&J is of any relevance to whether or not the dissents succeed or fail in their objectives. It is only important to SF as they promised it to their followers.

    The problem is the St A agreement which set the certainty of failure for one side or the other in advance. Unless the DUP and SF get together and renegotiate the Assembly infrastructure its future is looking very unstable at best. I doubt they have the maturity to grasp the nettle and since the FM and DFM don’t like each other it is a forlorn hope.

    The failure of P&J is a symptom not a cause.

    I want to see P&J devolved, I want to see a police service fit for purpose, I want to see devolution working, I want to see a functioning executive.

    I have however accepted that narrow party interests will prevent any of it happening with the DUP and SF in the driving seat. Maybe it will take another few years and new players for the maturity required to make it finally work.


    The most depressing article I have read about the current political scenario was Denis Bradley’s in yesterday’s Irish News. Denis is a man who tries to see the positive in most things but his honest comments that things were indeed starting to really slip at Stormont is a red alert warning and real concern. He stated that even Martin McGuinness is starting to realise that devolved government isn’t working and that’s why he has come out with such negative comments these past few weeks. Denis said that McGuinness is showing the body language/speak of someone who knows that Stormont is a dead duck and is preparing people for that. I know there are two sides to this but it seems that Unionist intransigence and their total failure to accept Catholics as equal are once again going to kill powersharing. It’s obvious that Jim Alister and the TUV are now dictating DUP strategy as well as the rising hope and desire within Unionism that the Tories will once again humiliate and put Republicans in their place. As Nat King Cole said “There may be trouble ahead….”

  • DC

    Lurig, cut their salaries off and then seriously let’s just see. MLAs families going hungry and on the dole queue, I kid you not!

    I would change my opinion of David Cameron overnight if he cut the pay and cut off Sinn Fein’s Westminster pay packet in total and also reduced the MP allocations to just 12 in NI affecting Unionists.

    Slap it up ’em then. Just wait to see and hear those Porkers squeal, it’ll be music to our ears. As such people, our MLAs, ‘working’ in Stormont at the moment are both too truculent and too vociferously opinionated to either hold down normal jobs or to work as like the plebs do within our little – and ever reducing – employment market on supervised contracts.

    From 2003 the MLAs should never have been paid, never.

  • Frustrated Democrat


    Is that the same Tories that this week, out of their three selections to date, selected 2 Catholics and 2 women for nomination as prospective Westminster candidates to the CU joint committee?

    Maybe that doesn’t fit your stereotyping just as well as you would like?



    I agree with a lot of that. The Assembly & Executive have become a self deluded, incompetent, ignorant, private members club drunk on their own arrogance and totally detached from the rest of us. Someone once predicted that Stormont would be a battle a day but the majority of people are now war weary and just want a decent form of government that will not humiliate or isolate anyone. It is obvious that the parties negotiate and agree on things that ONLY satisfy their own hierarchies, egos and inflated senses of self importance. The release of expenses claims shows that they are a shower of politically corpulent, greedy, selfish bastards with their fat ugly faces firmly in the trough all the while laughing dismissively as they push tax on tax upon us. In 18th century France each and every one of them would have been marched to the guillotine and been dealt with. Eventually the French people seen through Robespierre and his reign of terror. It’s time we did and I gladly will don the black mask if they set up the the gallows on the Stormont lawn. SHAME ON THE WHOLE BLOODY LOT OF THEM.



    An English Catholic is NOT an Irish Catholic. The British military still has a tradition of many English Catholic officers and Ian Duncan Smith is a Catholic BUT that still doesn’t change my views of the Tories or indeed the British military. It wasn’t that long ago that the Tories were in turmoil over selecting black candidates standing for them and they are STILL an elitist Old Etonian party whose first objective in office is to cut taxes and raise the income for Britain’s richest 200000 people. They are wolves in wolves clothing and will decimate the NHS, education, public services, the minimum wage etc. They are the toffs and Little Englanders party and ALWAYS will be.

  • igor


    What a wonderful argument. The Police and NIO staff told the treasury what they need in terms of cash so that’s what they should get. No questions asked.

    Thats a terribly naive view on how the Government funding process works. The reality is that PSNI is gold plated,. Millions is wasted in inefficient practices. Their leaked own internal report says so.

    No responsible Government should pour money into this mess until there is a clear vision on what the community will get back as a result.

    Of course, this is not a responsible Governmnet and is printing money so fast that what PSNI get in a month or twos time will actually be woth a lot less .

  • DC

    Well it was a bit simplistic Igor i’ll give you that but the point still stands that it is up to those in power to give out the information causing the problems or inefficiency. Or for others such as Reg to fight hard to find it out and feed it back to potential voters.

    I don’t believe the ‘confidence’ issue, never have done.

  • loki

    Lurig #1. The selected candidates aren’t English Catholics- one’s from West Belfast and one’s form North Belfast. Indeed, Andytown News runs a story on the local lad- Peter McCann, and O’Neill’s picked it up over on Unionist Lite.
    Please find a new seet of stereotypes, the old ones are starting to look distinctly frayed around the edges

  • Richard Aardvark

    “They are the toffs and Little Englanders party and ALWAYS will be.”

    What kind of Republican can rationally whinge about Little Englanders?

  • Comrade Stalin


    Comadre Stalin – you think Robbo can get his MLAs to vote for policing and justice? If Reg decides to vote against there will be enough DUP rebels to prevent it passing

    Couple of things. Firstly, it is this type of event which caused Robinson to make all his MLA candidates sign a bit of paper saying that they would toe the line or face a penalty. I do not expect that this will end up in court, but right now I expect Robinson is reminding his MLAs about it. I’d also expect that once he has sold it to the DUP senior leadership, that they will push it out to the minions.

    I suspect that Reg, like Cameron himself, will fold whenever his bluff gets called.

    frustrated democrat, your argument continues to imply that you think that the executive/assembly should be suspended or taken away until the people elect representatives that you approve of. That’s not really being a democrat.

    The matter of funding is, in my view, somewhat of a red herring. The PSNI is indeed gold plated and it needs to learn how to do more with less. Unfortunately PSNI funding up until 2012 is tied up in recruiting more officers, which is not necessarily the best way to get more police out in the community. I think a broad-based enquiry into the PSNI itself, with a view to identifying inefficiencies and establishing how funds can be better spent.

  • IJP

    A personal view here.

    Devolution of policing and justice is important. It is important because it relates to other departments; it is important because it was agreed in 2006; it is important because it shows we are ready to take on serious issues responsibly.

    However, the reasons it is important are also the reasons it is difficult. Departments are not working well (or at all) together; much of what was agreed in 2006 has not been delivered (and was foolish anyway); no one is showing any serious responsibility.

    Thus, even those in favour of immediate devolution have resorted to “It is important because otherwise the institutions will collapse”. This is probably true, although it shouldn’t be – no one should sign a contract before they’ve seen it, and certainly not if they are being put under unreasonable pressure to do so. But whether or not it’s true, it misses a bigger point – very few people out there would be too worried if the institutions fell.

    In short, therefore, this whole thing just looks like another example of bickering for the sake of bickering.

    And that is before we move on to finance. Again, in the same way no one should sign a contract without reading it, no one should sign a blank cheque – that is what got the UK and Ireland into such a shocking financial mess in the first place.

  • kensei


    God you’ve become a tedious mouthpiece since mocing to the Conservatives.

    How about it’s important because it allows us to set policies on tackling crime. And it is amazing how Unionists underestimate the importance of these things to others since they don’t really think them important themselves. I mean, why would anyone else care?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    re. “no one should sign a blank cheque ”

    by continuing to maintain their constitutional link with Norn Iron that is what the British government is already doing.

    Frustrated Democrat,

    Let me aks you one this question – do you agree that Police and Justice is an essential part of the Peace Process ?

  • Driftwood

    £600 million! For what? Boy are they going to have to justify this to anyone with a sick relative or shit public services. And when the cuts come, we will remember, big time. Just to give David Ford a limousine and get SF a few brownie points that will piss off ALL the electorate?
    Pathetic point scoring, and the UK government should take the money straight from the PSNI budget. Sure a 10% wage cut for them, and no overtime, oh and cut all coronary and cancer care, as long as the gravy train keeps a rollin’…