“I would hope that’s not what they’re saying.”

If you saw the Politics Show today you may have noted NI First Minister Peter Robinson’s studied look of incredulity during the exchange transcribed here. The DUP leader having dismissed NI Secretary of State Shaun Woodward’s “devolve justice, get investment” argument – “God bless Shaun, but I’ve seen him with better arguments at his disposal in the past.” – Jim Fitzpatrick followed up by linking the devolution of policing and justice powers with continued stability – “But they have raised stability, and for Sinn Féin this issue is the key one to maintaining their involvement in devolution. So if there is no devolution, the investment may go.”

[Peter Robinson] “Are you saying to me that Sinn Féin are saying that if they don’t get their way on some political issue that they’re going to lift their ball and go home? I would hope that’s not what they’re saying.”

[Jim Fitzpatrick] “But you must be aware that that is what they’re saying? Certainly that is [unintelligible]”

[Peter Robinson] “I think that they need to come clear with the public if that is what they are saying. I’m here for the long haul. I’m determined to make devolution work. I believe devolution is in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland. I’ll not be walking away. I’m determined that we work through all of the problems we face. The devolution of policing and justice being one of the issues that has to be resolved.

“But I have to say that there will be a lot of people who will have listened to what you have said and will be saying to themselves, well, if Sinn Féin is saying that they will use devolution on the basis of being prepared to allow it to fail if they don’t get their way, they wouldn’t have much confidence in the future.”

For Sinn Féin stability is just a bargaining chip to be used, sotto voce, in an increasingly desperate attempt to bolster the party leadership’s perceived credibility.

Adds Related BBC report.

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  • Coll Ciotach

    Of course SF should be prepared to collapse the Stormont council if it does not deliver for the people.

  • Sean

    The nerve of Sinn Fein expecting the unionists to live up to their word! Next maybe they will be expecting unionists pet terrorists to disarm?

  • Comrade Stalin

    SF walking out of Stormont does not necessarily have to mean that it collapses. When David Trimble walked out, Sinn Fein vigorously opposed the legislation which was rushed in to suspend the assembly. At that time, they did not believe that the exit of one party (or indeed of unionism) should be sufficient for the assembly to fall.

  • jim

    I think P Bakers last comment says it all really ! No ? What a muppet, objective and unilateral as ever, poor excuse for an decent blogger

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Keep on squeaking girls. Sinn Five are about as likely to walk out of the Executive (let alone that fantasy collapse it) as Elvis is to ride up the Ralone Road this evening on Shergar. The Payroll Republicans signed up for all this on exactly the terms they got, and now they’re getting them good and hard.

  • Curly Baker

    Can we not have some more of those great blogs about space?

  • How is community confidence to be assessed? Do we have to have a referendum? Could we even get local agreement on the wording of such a referendum?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Robbo can wriggle all he likes El Gordo is coming to town and the DUP will have to decide if they are going to implement the agreement or they are not and trying to pretend* he doesnt understand the implications of non-implementation even though it has been spelled out to him repeatedly makes him seem pretty silly.

    *studied look of incredulity – lol – poltics by making funny faces – is he going to stick a red nose on next and turn up on the poitics show with a bucket of water and a set of ladders?

    Essy on Pete. His last remark about Grizzly is simply a loyal, if fairly desperate attempt, to distract from the dreadful reality that poor Robbo has lost a quarter of his support and is leading his party into a deadend.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    for referendum – see GFA.

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: for referendum – see GFA.
    The GFA deferred the matters of timing and confidence to the future. Nevin’s question is fair enough, though it will actually be the elected MLAs who make the decisions, in all likelihood.
    The problem with a referendum though, is that it would have to be a cross-community referendum, and there’s no way to arrange that until we are all properly branded.

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    If the Punt grows tired of his funny faces, he can always try making any ould sh*te up, eh Slabbery? Though of course, as he’s not a spacer, *he* would find it slightly more embarrassing to have to keep on running from such witless jibber-jabber.

  • percy

    For SF and HMG this is the last piece of the jigsaw, which also DUP signed up to at St.Andrews.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    Well put.

    ps ‘jigsaw’ being a good euphenism for peace process – as Unionists, including Pete, really struggle with that terminology.

  • Sammy, the 1998 Agreement doesn’t deal with the resolution of issues such as community confidence; there’s no yardstick to measure it.

  • Sammy, I don’t know how you make Pete out to be a unionist …

  • Percy, I frequently use the term jig-saw and usually in connection with a shortage of pieces, not just one 🙂

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Tell us some more about struggling with the big words Slabbery. I’ll then tell you a few things about your struggle with reality: you know, the place were P&J wasn’t, as you slabbered it would be, transferred the better part of two years ago, otherwise, jibber-jabbered you, Sinn Five would walk out of the Executive and (somehow) ‘pull the institutions down’. Reality’s also the place where McMurderous swore himself hoarse saying there couldn’t be any possibility of even a theoretical Unionist veto on a Payroll Republican holding the P&J post, let alone it being exercised with gleeful pleasure. But, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    Keep making stuff up Slabbery: it’s not fooling anyone else, but every word you type is, I suppose, at least a minute or two more you’re safely away from the scissors. Or walking and talking at the same time.

  • Sean


    your posts just make you sound like a desperate attention whore. Now I know trolling and frankly you troll small beans junior, give it up you bore us son

  • save our Slabbery


    you don’t have many friends, do you?

    When’s a mod going to silence this freak?

  • DC

    I just watched it on BBC TV NI, what a horrible little man Robinson is, call it ad hominem but I found the way he came across on TV as pretty horrible.

    There it is, tough.

  • DC

    Robbo says: “I think that they need to come clear with the public if that is what they are saying. I’m here for the long haul. I’m determined to make devolution work.”

    DC says: “Well then don’t stand for Westminster election then. Yea?”

  • Pat the Baker

    “…Certainly that is [unintelligible]”

    Pete Baker, should it not be ‘inaudible’?

    Your video clips were actually useful.

  • What you all seem to avoid is the fact that we do not have a democratically accountable institution. It’s a farce.

    Every coalition government in history has had (vaguely) the same agenda. For example, the intended Lib-Lab alliance in ’77 shared (more or less) the ideas of social democracy. In Northern Ireland we’ve got four disparate parties pulling in different directions.

    In the parliamentary elections in ’79, people had a choice between two political ideals. They chose Thatcher, wrong choice in my opinion but there you go. The people spoke.

    An example of why the present system is fundamentally wrong is demonstrated by the idea that, if for some reason, a far-right party like the BNP captured 15% of the vote, under the D’Hondt system, that could entitle them to hold ministerial briefs. They could further their ideals unhindered. The 11+ row highlights this. A minister decides to bring in a rule and the Assembly can’t halt it.